Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts  

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28 February, 2010

Are the Donks prepared to lose this year in order to get Obamacare through?

I generally agree with what appears on NRO, but I think that the anaysis below, while containing some truth, commits the sort of mistake that Leftists usually make: It looks at the group rather than the individual. I have no doubt that the political Left as a whole have an abiding hatred of American success and a yen to destroy it, but the number of Democrat Congresscritters who would voluntarily put themselves out of a job in the service of that hate is surely very small. From all indications, they REALLY LIKE being in Congress and the great majority will do all in their power to stay there: Even to the point of voting down Obama's pride and joy if they think that will help them this November

On Sean's panel last night, when the conversation turned to how nervous Democrats supposedly are over what for now is teeing up like a very bad November, I felt like I was channeling Mark Steyn, Mark Levin and Rush. That is, I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today's Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they're right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that "reconciliation," if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That's the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership's statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I'm glad Republicans have held firm, but let's not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you've calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Consequently, the next six weeks, like the next ten months, are going to be worse than we think. We're wired to think that everyone plays by the ususal rules of politics — i.e., if the tide starts to change, the side against whom it has turned modifies its positions in order to stay viable in the next election. But what will happen here will be the opposite. You have a party with the numbers to do anything it puts its mind to, led by movement Leftitsts who see their window of opportunity is closing. We seem to expect them to moderate because that's what everybody in their position does. But they won't. They will put their heads down and go for as much transformation as they can get, figuring that once they get it, it will never be rolled back. The only question is whether there are enough Democrats who are conventional politicians and who care about being reelected, such that they will deny the leadership the numbers it needs. But I don't think we should take much heart in this possibility. Those Democrats may well come to think they are going to lose anyway — that's why so many of them are abandoning ship now. If that's the case, their incentive will be to vote with the leadership.

At the end of the summit debacle, President Obama put the best face on a bad day by indicating that he intended to push ahead with socialized medicine and face the electoral consequences ("that's what elections are for," he concluded). He's right about that. For Republicans, it won't be enough to fight this thing, then deride it if Democrats pull it off, and finally coast to a very likely electoral victory in November. The question is: What are you going to do to roll this back? What is your plan to undo this?

This post from Irwin Stelzer at the Standard caught my eye this morning: "Americans overwhelmingly say that their main concern is jobs, and that they are satisfied with their current health care arrangements. In response, an allegedly chastened President Obama “pivoted,” and says his primary concern from now on will be job creation, which will take priority over his controversial plan to radically change the nation’s health care system. Yet, last week he backed a $15 billion job-creation bill, which passed the Senate, and a $1 trillion health care bill. Since the federal balance sheet is already under huge pressure, this set of priorities tells us that the Obama administration intends to concentrate available resources on transforming the economy — a long-term, permanent restructuring of the health care and energy sectors that was planned long before the failure of Lehman Brothers triggered the financial mess Obama inherited." Yup.



Barack Obama ‘destroys first year in office’

Obama is fixated on health reforms but voters' chief worry is jobs

When Barack Obama took office last year he was compared to Superman, even joking at a dinner that he had been “born on Krypton and sent here ... to save the planet Earth”. Last January he appeared on the cover of Spider-Man. Now, with his legislative agenda in tatters, the president has moved from comic-strip hero to comparisons to one of the great flawed figures of American literature. Ten days ago Charlie Cook, a leading election analyst, compared Obama and his battle to push through healthcare reform to Captain Ahab and his suicidal hunt for the great white whale.

Despite poll after poll showing that Americans’ main priority is jobs, the president has focused on reforming the US healthcare system and extending coverage to the 40m citizens with no insurance. “I think choosing to take a Captain Ahab-like approach to healthcare — I’m going to push for this even in the worst downturn since the Great Depression — is roughly comparable to Bush’s decision to go to war [in Iraq],” Cook told Politico. “It basically destroyed the first year of a presidency.”

Obama made a last-ditch attempt last week to secure opposition support through a seven-hour summit shown live on television. Although he was admired for his unflappable handling of 40 legislators, no progress was made as Republicans called for a clean sheet. “Boy, that didn’t work,” wrote Peggy Noonan, the veteran Republican commentator, in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.

With both sides so entrenched, she was not alone in regarding the summit as a waste of time. CNN described it as “theatre of the absurd”. Dick Morris, political consultant and former adviser to the Clinton administration, said, “I think it’s Romeo and Juliet. The two families fighting.”

Winning over the Republicans may not have been the real objective. “Obama never expected some magical epiphany from the Republicans,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a political analyst. “He achieved the point, which was to give the message to the nation that we all agree we need healthcare and it is the Republicans obstructing everything, not us.” The president is left with an unenviable choice. Either he moves on to other priorities or he uses what is still the biggest Democrat majority in 30 years to push legislation through, via a process called reconciliation.

“He’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t,” said Douglas Rivers, professor of political science at Stanford University. “If he rams it through it will be perceived as hardball politics. But the alternative of getting nothing through will be viewed as a political catastrophe.”

The irony is that Obama got close to netting his Moby Dick. After months of wrangling, the Senate voted on Christmas Eve to pass a bill for universal coverage. It seemed the best possible Christmas present. The Democrats had already pushed a bill through the House and all that remained was to combine the two into law.

They had barely digested their turkey when the unexpected victory of Scott Brown in the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts in mid-January robbed the Democrats of the 60 votes they need for easy passage in the Senate. Health reform seemed written off, particularly as polls showed Brown’s opposition to the bill was key to his victory. But Obama refused to give up.

Most Americans support the benefits promised in the House and Senate bills. These include banning insurance companies from screening out customers with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes.

The problem is that by equally large margins Americans oppose all the things necessary to pay for these reforms, in particular the $500 billion (£330 billion) cuts in payments to Medicare, the healthcare system for retired people.

Obama’s case was not helped by a last-minute resort to traditional pork-barrel politics to get the Senate bill passed by his own party. Special deals included giving trade unions a tax loophole on their members’ more lavish plans. The crucial vote from Ben Nelson, the Nebraska Democrat, came only after the federal government agreed to pay his state’s extra costs for Medicaid, a health programme that provides limited help for the poor.

After such a struggle, Obama’s team is insistent that it will not give up and has set a time-frame of a month to six weeks to pass legislation. “We are determined that we are going to pass healthcare reform,” vowed Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Obama will make an announcement this week about the “way forward”. He cited potential areas of agreement with Republicans, such as imposing ceilings on payouts in cases of medical malpractice and curbing Medicare fraud.

In a rare show of bipartisanship last week, a number of Republican senators voted for Obama’s jobs bill. But Republican support for his healthcare reform is something perhaps only Superman could achieve and the president will instead have to rely on rallying his own party. With mid-term elections looming in November and many Democrats’ seats in danger, they will be reluctant to support an unpopular bill.

Obama has said healthcare is so important that he will get it through even if it means he ends up as a one-term president, like Jimmy Carter. He may get his wish. The latest poll by CNN/Opinion Research found 52% of Americans think he should serve only one term.



Undying Creed: The Acceleration of Our Exceptionalism

Many Americans —particularly those involved with the major news media, academia, and the world of policymaking— envision their country becoming an ever more predictable follower of global fashions in everything from health care to climate change, jurisprudence to economic policy. In other words, they look ahead and see a nation that is a somewhat larger version of those that make up the European Union.

But in reality, those who believe that the United States is sliding down from its historical apex —and that we must accordingly downscale our expectations and adopt the assumptions and economy more appropriate to our European friends— are wrong. American exceptionalism has lost none of its momentum, and the United States is becoming more, not less, distinct among the countries of the developed world in its economic, demographic, and cultural evolution.

For at least a generation, the appeal of declinism and the belief that we must embrace foreign models has constituted, in the words of Georgetown University’s Robert Lieber, a kind of “historical chic” both domestically and abroad. “There is much to be said for being a Denmark or Sweden, even a Great Britain, France, or Italy,” Andrew Hacker suggested in 1971. More than thirty-five years later, the same refrain can be heard from author Parag Khanna, who envisions a “shrunken” America lucky to eke out a meager existence between a “triumphant China” and a “retooled Europe.” America, notes Morris Berman, another critic, is simply “running on empty.”

Such assessments consistently underestimate the sources of what the Japanese scholar Fuji Kamiya has described as America’s unique sokojikara, or reserve power. The peculiar demographic, economic, and cultural strengths of this country, Kamiya believes, create a vastly different reality from that of its major competitors.

This fact was largely ignored at the outset of the current financial crisis, which many pundits here and abroad blithely expected to accelerate American decline as other countries adapted more easily to hard times. Yet Japan’s rate of decline in GNP was three times that of the United States, while Germany and Britain contracted by twice as much. Moreover, the current recession has sparked far more overt social unrest in Europe, China, and Russia than in the United States.

America’s unique strengths will not fade quickly, and it’s difficult to see how an aging Europe, with its own ethnic problems, out-migration of skilled workers, weak military, and weaker technological base, could challenge our preeminent position. India and China are more likely long-term competitors, but both suffer from a legacy of poverty and underdevelopment that will take decades, if not generations, to overcome.

In India’s case, per capita income in 2005 ranked just slightly above that of sub-Saharan Africa; it endures chronic ethnic and religious conflict, as well as an ongoing and lethal struggle with Pakistan. Meanwhile China, like America’s former great rival, Russia, lacks the basic environmental protections, reliable legal structures, favorable demographics, and social resiliency of the United States. Inequality, a growing issue in most countries, including America, has been rising even more quickly in theoretically egalitarian China, which could further undermine its long-term social stability. China’s tendency to ascribe superiority to the Han race will also limit its ability to project itself onto a world that will remain predominately non-Chinese.

Perhaps the key distinguishing characteristics of the once and future American exceptionalism derive from the fact that in the coming decades America’s population will grow dramatically, adding at least 100 million people by 2050. This contrasts with more rapidly aging basic rivals in Europe and the Far East, including China....

Much more HERE


Theodore Roosevelt, Big-Government Man

Theodore Roosevelt has been known as “the Good Roosevelt,” “the Republican Roosevelt,” and “the conservative Roosevelt,” as distinguished from his fifth cousin Franklin, who’s credited with ushering in modern American big government.

Yet promoters of big government have long recognized TR as one of their own.

Biographer Frank Freidel wrote that “While at Groton [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] first fell under the spell of his remote cousin Theodore Roosevelt. . . . Theodore Roosevelt believed in using to the utmost the constitutional power of the president. . . . This strong use of government was for the most part appealing to Franklin.” During the Great Depression, FDR promoted “a program emphasizing national planning in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt.” Freidel noted that “in words reminiscent of Theodore Roosevelt, FDR declared ‘the duty rests upon the Government to restrict incomes by very high taxes.’”

Historian Eric F. Goldman said that Lyndon Johnson, who simultaneously launched huge domestic entitlement spending programs and escalated the undeclared Vietnam War, admired “the hyperactive White House of Theodore Roosevelt.” LBJ reportedly remarked, “Whenever I pictured Teddy Roosevelt, I saw him running or riding, always moving, his fists clenched, his eyes glaring, speaking out.”

Richard M. Nixon, who dramatically expanded federal regulation of the economy, liked Theodore Roosevelt “because of his great dynamic drive and ability to mobilize a young country.”

In recent years, influential Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and John McCain have gushed with admiration for TR.

For starters, TR reinterpreted the Constitution to permit a vast expansion of executive power. “Congress, he felt, must obey the president,” noted biographer Henry Pringle. Roosevelt wanted the Supreme Court to obey him too. TR ushered in the practice of ruling by executive order, bypassing the congressional process. From Lincoln to TR’s predecessor William McKinley, there were 158 executive orders. TR, during his seven years in office, issued 1,007. He ranks third, behind fellow “progressives” Woodrow Wilson (1,791) and Franklin Roosevelt (3,723) in that category.

Much more HERE. See also here



CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens' rights: "A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll. Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government's become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree. The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans. According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken - though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

The American Bar Association exposes its liberal bias once again: "I wrote here about Goodwin Liu, the leftist law professor nominated by President Obama for a spot on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Among my observations was that Liu has only practiced law in earnest for two or three years. The rest of his time since graduating from law school has been spent as a law clerk or a law professor. Moreover, Liu appears to have no trial experience. Nor, as far as I can tell, has he ever argued a case before a court of appeal... Yet the ABA has rated Liu "highly qualified."

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


27 February, 2010

A nasty memory of bigoted Leftism among American academics

My career as a social science researcher was not a difficult one. As a conservative, I had to write at a much higher standard than if I had been a common or garden variety Leftist but I could do that so 200+ of my articles got published in the academic journals.

One episode from the '90s, however, I still remember with displeasure. In the early '90s the editor of Sociology & Social Research was David Heer -- a sociologist who was basically interested in the facts of the matter rather than pushing an ideological wheelbarrow. He was located then and still seems to be at USC.

And I did at one stage submit a paper to him for publication in S. & S.R. which he accepted for publication. He seems however to have been too mild for the frantic Leftists in USC sociology and got pushed out of the journal editorship shortly thereafter.

And his successor at the journal -- Marcus Felson -- did something almost unheard of in academe: He "unaccepted" my paper. It was apparently too conservative for him, though he gave some other quite specious reason for rejecting it. He seemed to be a young man in a hurry so I appealed the matter to his Department Head at the time: Paul Bohannan. Bohannan was unmoved. So I appealed to the university President. But he was unmoved too.

The paper eventually appeared in another journal so Heer was vindicated and Felson was shown up as the nasty piece of work that he is. Without blowing the dust off some very old files (which makes me sneeze) I cannot remember for certain which paper it was but I am pretty sure that it is this one. I submitted the paper to S. & S.R. because it dealt with a matter originally raised in that journal.

I did write a scornful letter to Bohannan when the paper finally appeared in print. Felson I regarded as beneath contempt.


Low IQ among criminals

This study is from Australia but the same is generally true worldwide

ALMOST half the young people in NSW juvenile detention centres have an intellectual or borderline intellectual disability, a new study shows, and half have parents who have been in jail. "The kids in custody are some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in NSW," Peter Muir, the chief executive of the Department of Juvenile Justice, said yesterday.

The Young People in Custody Health Survey shows 28 per cent of the girls in detention centres have been admitted to a mental hospital and 43 per cent have harmed themselves at some time in their lives. More than 65 per cent of the young people have regularly used drugs in the year before coming into custody and almost all have used alcohol regularly. The numbers in juvenile detention increased by 52 per cent between 2004-5 and 2008-9, from a daily average of 280 to 427.

The Minister for Juvenile Justice, Graham West, commissioned the first review of the system in 17 years.

Mr Muir told a juvenile justice conference this week that the public wanted something done about juvenile crime but understanding who the offenders were could lead to a better outcome. "There are other ways to meet community concerns that don't involve custody," he told the Herald.

Rigorous testing found 13.5 per cent had an IQ of less than 70, which signifies an intellectual disability. A further 32 per cent had an IQ between 70 and 79, considered borderline. Only 9 per cent of the general population scores under 79. Mr Muir said intellectual disability might have contributed to the increased numbers of juveniles detained for bail breaches.



A Leftist rot in the body politic

Leftists believe only in themselves -- and it shows. Too bad about anybody else

American politics, particularly in the big-government, ever-more-insolvent blue states, are increasingly driven by scandal. We are witnessing a meltdown of the political class in states where the growth of government has, even in weakened economies, offered bountiful opportunities for living well off the public purse. Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have all had to force corrupt governors from office in recent years. But now New York is sprinting ahead in the scandal sweepstakes. If extraordinary front-page editorials in today's New York Daily News and New York Post calling for the resignation of David Paterson are any measure, the Empire State is headed for its third governor in three years.

That isn't to say that Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut haven't put up a good fight. A recent string of scandals helped defeat New Jersey governor John Corzine at the polls and forced Connecticut senator Chris Dodd to drop his reelection bid. In Illinois, Barack Obama's path to the presidency was paved by two scandals against would-be opponents that opened the door to the Senate for him. The governor whom Obama twice supported for office, Rod Blagojevich, has been impeached, in part for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat, while the man who bought the seat, Roland Burris, has been forced to step aside come November. Alexi Giannoulias--Obama's buddy, heir to the Broadway Bank, and the Democratic nominee for the Obama-Burris seat--is involved in his own troubles. His family's once-thriving bank made loans to the mob-associated Michael "Jaws" Giorango, who was convicted of running gambling and prostitution operations, and to Tony Rezko, a fixer with close ties to both Obama and Blagojevich. It seems unfair not to give Scott Lee Cohen, briefly this year's nominee for Illinois lieutenant governor, a passing mention. Cohen, a pawnbroker who self-financed his runaway victory despite being unable to pay child support to his ex-wife, dropped out of the race after accusations came to light that he had held a knife to the throat of one of his girlfriends, a prostitute.

And then there's Obama's hometown of Chicago, where he racked up an enormous majority in the Democratic Party presidential primary that was crucial to his early lead over Hillary Clinton in the popular vote count. A new study from the Better Government Association notes that in the past 36 years, "31 sitting or former Chicago aldermen have been convicted of corruption or other crimes."

Illinois and New Jersey are probably the only two states where corruption has burrowed so deeply as to involve the public medical schools. In Illinois, until recently, you could buy admission to the state's medical school. In New Jersey, thanks to the patronage of Senator Robert Menendez of Hudson County--a man elected to the U.S. Senate despite being caught on tape engaging in a shakedown--until last year you could buy the presidency of the University of Medicine and Dentistry. Shocking? Not when you remember why former New Jersey senator Robert "the Torch" Torricelli was forced to drop out of his 2002 campaign for reelection: he had accepted gifts from David Chang, a lobbyist of sorts for nuclear North Korea. New Jersey law clearly states that in the final 51 days of a campaign, a candidate, no matter how badly tarnished, can't be replaced by a substitute. Never mind: Torricelli's fellow Democrats on the New Jersey Supreme Court shredded the law and allowed him to be re! placed by fellow Democrat Frank Lautenberg, a former U.S. senator who went on to win the election. Lautenberg, whose accomplishments as senator are less than noteworthy, was one of the 60 votes that allowed President Obama to push his health-care proposals.

But for all this, New York doesn't need to take a backseat to Illinois and New Jersey. In the past few years, Joe Bruno, the Republican temporary president of the New York State Senate, and Democrat Alan Hevesi, the New York State comptroller, have been forced to step down and then convicted of taking bribes. Meanwhile, the inventory of state legislators and New York City Council members caught up in shenanigans is too long to list, though Hiram Monserrate is worthy of special mention. Monserrate, who has enjoyed close ties with the Scientologists, helped paralyze the State Senate for two months this past summer while he switched back and forth between the parties, looking to buy himself the best possible deal. Earlier, he had assaulted a lady friend with a piece of broken glass. When that case finally came before the bar of justice, Monserrate, an embarrassment even in Albany, was rebuked by the courts and expelled from the Senate.

Now, Charlie Rangel--New York State's ranking member in the U.S. Congress and the chair of the House's powerful, tax-writing Committee on Ways and Means--has been given a slap on the wrist by his fellow Democrats on the House Ethics Committee for taking lobbyist money for a junket to the Caribbean. Rangel, who is far better at raising other people's taxes than at paying his own, also recently discovered that his taxable net worth was roughly $1.5 million more than he had previously stated.

But when all is said and done, top billing in this debauched political floor show goes to the governorship of New York. Two years ago, Eliot Spitzer, anointed by The New Republic as a liberal messiah--this was in the pre-Obama days--had a brief rocky stretch as governor after he was caught using the state police to try to gather incriminating evidence about political rival Joe Bruno. But it was his patronage of a brothel that brought down this self-proclaimed supporter of women's rights.

The state police and the abuse of women play a similarly prominent role in the current scandal involving Spitzer's successor, David Paterson. One of Paterson's first acts after his predecessor's fall from grace was to admit his own extramarital affairs, including with staff members, and past drug use. He also demanded that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigate the state police, claiming that it had a special unit to collect information on public figures. Cuomo's investigation, released last year, unearthed no such unit, but it did find political interference by state police higher-ups, including an attempt to lessen the impact of a domestic-violence report involving a Republican congressman.

Now, in the middle of a budget crisis, Paterson has been caught in a new disgrace in which, like Spitzer, he's apparently put the state police to personal use. One of his closest aides, David Johnson, had by all accounts physically intimidated a girlfriend who went to court to receive an order of protection against him. But before she was to testify in court, she was visited by state police superintendent Harry Corbitt. She never testified. Key political allies have now called on Paterson to end his reelection campaign. Even more ominously, some political figures, including Congresswoman Nita Lowey, are now saying publicly what they've been discussing privately: that it's time for the inept Paterson, who's been largely ignored by the state's spendthrift legislature, to step down from office. A resignation by the floundering Paterson would turn the governorship over to his unelected lieutenant governor, Richard Ravitch, who no longer seems to be in regular contact with Paterson.

Ravitch owes his office to a dubious ruling by New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals. It was a decision, like that in the Torricelli case, that directly contradicted the state's constitution, which made no provision for appointing a lieutenant governor should the post become vacant. The constitution does provide that in such a case, the president of the State Senate "shall perform all the duties of the lieutenant governor." But as they eyed the chaos in the Senate--where Joe Bruno had been forced to resign as president, and where a collection of parochial pols, including the ineffable Monserrate, were running the show--the majority of the justices decided that the letter of the law needed to be ignored. (This may turn out for the best. As temporary president of the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Malcolm Smith would have been next in the line of succession to the governorship, if not for the court's legitimating Ravitch's appointment. If Smith had become gover! nor, he too would have been mired in scandal, having played a key role in the rigged bidding process that handed a lucrative state contract to run casinos to a group of which he was a partner.)

Paterson's appointment of Ravitch as lieutenant governor may be recorded as his best decision. The widely respected 75-year-old Ravitch, who played a key role in New York City's 1975 fiscal crisis, has no political ambitions, and he has the intelligence and integrity, despite a predilection for new taxes, to stabilize the ship of state for the time being. In fact, it is the presence of Ravitch in the lieutenant governorship that makes it possible to call for Paterson's immediate resignation.

In both New York and Illinois, there is a close connection between fiscal irresponsibility and political malfeasance. Both states are in marked decline; both are essentially one-party polities run by Democrats (although the Republicans, when in office, have engaged in their fair share of corruption). In both cases, a largely unaccountable political class left unchecked by a decreasingly engaged electorate has, buffered by the rhetoric of compassion, gone into business for itself. Big government may not be good for the economy or for the citizens, but it been very good for a political class that has thrived on state spending despite the growing risk of getting hauled off to the hoosegow. In New York and Illinois, oversized government seems immune to reform; scandals have led only to new scandals.

In the absence of functioning political and fiscal systems, excessive spending in New York and Illinois, like that in famously corrupt Greece and Spain, can probably be restrained only by the bond market. But by the time that happens, we can expect each of these semi-sovereign entities to be in for a long stretch of hard times.




I see that Time magazine has picked up on the study that I critiqued yesterday: "Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent". The "Time" article is surprisingly good and even points to evidence contradicting the headline claim. A small point, though: The author says that Leftists are more open to experience but the reference he gives for that shows nothing of the sort. The claim is however an old favourite of Leftist psychologists. My last look at the academic literature on the question is here. I conclude that, as psychologists usually define it, there is no political polarization on openness to experience. Leftists are however sensation-seekers. That might seem like a fine distinction but it is not if you look at how psychologists use the various terms concerned. The "openness to experience" claim is a way of saying that conservatives are rigid and narrow-minded whereas the sensation-seeking finding implies that Leftists like novelty for the sake of novelty.

Turnaround at British car company -- under Indian ownership: "After years in the red, Jaguar Land Rover has achieved a $60 million profit for the final quarter of 2009. The company, now Britain’s largest car industry employer, said that its return to the black had come amid a recovering market in luxury cars, backed by its own well-received new models. An amalgam of two of Britain’s most famous motoring marques, the company, which employs a staff of 14,500, was bought by India’s Tata Motors from Ford, of America, for $2.3 billion in the summer of 2008. Tata said that volumes in the last three months of 2009 had increased by 28 per cent compared with the period between July and September, big rises being recorded in North America, Europe and China. Land Rover was up 34 per cent after positive customer reaction to new vehicles, while the XF helped Jaguar to rise by 11.5 per cent. Despite latest sales data that shows Land Rover’s global sales more than tripled in January from the same month last year to 13,295 and that Jaguar sales more than doubled to 2,974 over the same period, there is more cost-cutting to come."

California is a greater risk than Greece: "Jamie Dimon, chairman of JP Morgan Chase, has warned American investors should be more worried about the risk of default of the state of California than of Greece's current debt woes. Mr Dimon told investors at the Wall Street bank's annual meeting that "there could be contagion" if a state the size of California, the biggest of the United States, had problems making debt repayments. "Greece itself would not be an issue for this company, nor would any other country," said Mr Dimon. "We don't really foresee the European Union coming apart." The senior banker said that JP Morgan Chase and other US rivals are largely immune from the European debt crisis, as the risks have largely been hedged. California however poses more of a risk, given the state's $20bn budget deficit, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is desperately trying to reduce. Earlier this week, the state's legislature passed bills that will cut the deficit by $2.8bn through budget cuts and other measures. However the former Hollywood film star turned politician is looking for $8.9bn of cuts over the next 16 months, and is also hoping for as much as $7bn of handouts from the federal government."

Don’t Count on Printing Press, Bernanke Warns Congress: "With uncharacteristic bluntness, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Congress on Wednesday that the United States could soon face a debt crisis like the one in Greece, and declared that the central bank will not help legislators by printing money to pay for the ballooning federal debt. Recent events in Europe, where Greece and other nations with large, unsustainable deficits like the United States are having increasing trouble selling their debt to investors, show that the U.S. is vulnerable to a sudden reversal of fortunes that would force taxpayers to pay higher interest rates on the debt, Mr. Bernanke said. "It's not something that is 10 years away. It affects the markets currently," he told the House Financial Services Committee. "It is possible that bond markets will become worried about the sustainability [of yearly deficits over $1 trillion], and we may find ourselves facing higher interest rates even today."

Another Democratic incumbent trailing in the polls: "Add New Mexico to the list of states (Arkansas, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Dakota) where polling has shown Democratic incumbents behind Republican challengers. The Democratic polling firm PPP shows New Mexico 2nd district Democrat Harry Teague trailing Republican Steve Pearce by a 43%-41% margin. That’s insignificant statistically but, in my view, significant politically, because incumbents usually do not trail challengers and can usually be expected to top 50% in polling; after all, every House member has won an election less than two years before the poll was taken. Teague carried the 2nd district 56%-44% 15 months ago. There’s a mitigating factor here: Pearce was the incumbent in this district from 2002 to 2008, and in the Democratic year of 2006 won reelection by a 59%-40% margin against a low-spending Democrat. In 2008 he ran for the Senate and lost 61%-39% to Democrat Tom Udall, and in that contest failed to carry the 2nd district.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


26 February, 2010

"Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent"

The study excerpted below is amusing. It is coming out in a sociology journal but concentrates on psychology to the exclusion of sociology! Amazing what can happen when you have an axe to grind!

The article is mostly speculation and theorizing but it does have some actual findings about IQ on which to build its house of cards. But the writer totally overlooks the social context in which the findings were gathered. They are not IQ findings from adults but rather findings about adolescents. The fact that data about adults were not presented is of course the giveaway.

The study found that the more intelligent adolescents were more liberal. So what does that prove? As someone who has taught both psychology and sociology at university level, I have little doubt what it means: It means that more intelligent kids are better at picking up and absorbing the lessons drummed into them by our Left-dominated educational system. It means no more than that. The sociological context overlooked is, in other words, the fact that the individuals concerned were still at school. I think that can reasonably be called: "Overlooking the obvious".

For the findings among random samples of adults, see here. Much more pesky!

More intelligent people are significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years." ....

In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.

Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."

Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.



An Unbridgeable Philosophical Divide?

One quickly realizes the major philosophical and principle divide between liberals and conservatives when they painfully deconstruct and analyze their respective rhetoric. Conservatives and liberals are worlds apart in their ideology; an ideology that is now more than ever serving as the impetus for bold and endlessly complex legislation foisted on the already burdened American people. Conservative cling to the power of equality of opportunity and unfettered freedom; while liberals, on the other hand, are fearfully willing to sacrifice the hard earned dollars of honest Americans for the freedom of equal outcomes.

To illustrate the point, let’s examine some of the more recent contentious political issues to better test and illuminate this hypothesis.

Healthcare: The Left was willing to sacrifice individual freedom to choose doctors, opting instead to impose a state-run monopoly on medical care at the expense of a market driven health system. They unabashedly didn't care that they were redistributing income from the more productive to the less productive; from the young to the old; from the healthy to the less healthy. In contrast, conservatives looked towards market solutions to resolve many of the existing health care issues, one that operated within a framework of the invisible hand of rational behaviors and the proper incentives. If cost is a factor in health care as liberals would argue, then why not ensure the solution has a price-based fixture?

Cap and Trade: Under the Democratic plan, income derived from a cap and trade scheme would be redistributed from productive carbon producing enterprises to non-carbon emitting enterprises. In effect, jobs would be lost, shifting from the USA to less responsible, emerging countries. Wealth would also shift from America to non- compliant nations; for what reason? Because of spotty, inconclusive scientific evidence that reduced carbon emissions would prevent global warming. Conservatives questioned that science. Not because they were Neanderthals. But when you ask the average American to pay $5 for a gallon of gas to save an iceberg in a remote part of the north he may never see when that same person is struggling to pay that month’s mortgage or he himself will be out in the cold, you better be damn sure of the consequences of “global warming.” Frankly, the Left failed in that argument.

Union Card Check: Democrats were willing to sacrifice the sanctity of a secret ballot to insure that Unions could fleece more American workers. With members (and clout) dissipating at record rates, it’s evident union bosses are feeling their grip on power lifting. It was easy to see this political exercise for what it was – a desperate bid to win at all costs, even if it meant cooking the ballot box at union halls. Here again, conservatives stood on an obvious side – the one for more freedom and more individualism.

McCain-Feingold: Democrats howled when the Supreme Court recently overturned corporate prohibitions in the landmark McCain-Feingold law. Here again, they’re willing to sacrifice the constitutionally-protected free speech of corporations and their shareholders. This has the long term effect of preventing this segment of society from spending their corporate dollars on political issues that are or are not in their best interest. The beauty of our First Amendment is captured best in its simplicity – when you abridge someone’s right to speak out for causes he/she believes in, no amount of demagoguing will cover that injustice.

In the real world, most Americans are neither completely liberal nor conservative in their overall views. Views and opinions change, based on one's own station in life and through differing circumstances. That's why we have laws, based on fundamental principles of what's just. Because if left to the devices and whims of populists, so-called principles would change in an instant, and freedoms would suffer. That's why conservatives look back to the Founders - they approached the building of this nation with the freshest of views - chief among them was the unfailing pursuit toward more, not less, freedom.

For the most part, Americans prefer their politicians this way as well. They would much rather have a President in the middle of the political spectrum, regardless of political affiliation, rather than have a polarizing dictator trying to sink their teeth into the free world. In fact, when policy is proposed, whether it has the appearance of being liberal or conservative, once it's vetted through the rigor of intense partisan debate, it usually comes out somewhere along the middle of the political divide. When it comes to the personal lives of Americans it is important to realize that views and opinions continue changing as individuals move up the economic bracket, get an education, have a family and gain a matured perspective.

Our laws are continuously based on fundamental social philosophies of what elevates the quality of the society as a whole. After all, we do not only live for ourselves, but we are active members in a society of people in which dignity, respect and honor must be at the core of growing our great nation. However, with that being noted, the populous is an accurate gauge to feel the pulse of a nation that can only survive if the populous are in the middle class and don’t infest the lower strata of the economic stratosphere.

Conservatives will never be able to cogently persuade a true liberal who is more than willing to sacrifice his freedom and income (and yours) so that there is absolute perceived equality. Likewise, liberals will never persuade conservatives to sacrifice their individual freedom and hard earned wealth to be redistributed by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, DC. For this reason alone, the Left and Right will never meet. It’s probably good that they don’t, for conflict is at the heart of democracy. I’m just glad I and my conservative colleagues are on the side of liberty!



Tax cuts and deregulation ended the Great Depression

Obama has a glimmering of that but much more needs to be done in that department

What finally ended the Great Depression? That question may be the most important in economic history. If we can answer it, we can better grasp what perpetuates economic stagnation and what cures it.

The Great Depression was the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. From 1931 to 1940 unemployment was always in double digits. In April 1939, almost ten years after the crisis began, more than one in five Americans still could not find work.

On the surface World War II seems to mark the end of the Great Depression. During the war more than 12 million Americans were sent into the military, and a similar number toiled in defense-related jobs. Those war jobs seemingly took care of the 17 million unemployed in 1939. Most historians have therefore cited the massive spending during wartime as the event that ended the Great Depression.

Some economists —especially Robert Higgs— have wisely challenged that conclusion. Let’s be blunt. If the recipe for economic recovery is putting tens of millions of people in defense plants or military marches, then having them make or drop bombs on our enemies overseas, the value of world peace is called into question. In truth, building tanks and feeding soldiers —necessary as it was to winning the war— became a crushing financial burden. We merely traded debt for unemployment. The expense of funding World War II hiked the national debt from $49 billion in 1941 to almost $260 billion in 1945. In other words, the war had only postponed the issue of recovery.

Even President Roosevelt and his New Dealers sensed that war spending was not the ultimate solution; they feared that the Great Depression —with more unemployment than ever— would resume after Hitler and Hirohito surrendered. Yet FDR’s team was blindly wedded to the federal spending that (as I argue in New Deal or Raw Deal?) had perpetuated the Great Depression during the 1930s.

FDR had halted many of his New Deal programs during the war —and he allowed Congress to kill the WPA, the CCC, the NYA, and others— because winning the war came first. In 1944, however, as it became apparent that the Allies would prevail, he and his New Dealers prepared the country for his New Deal revival by promising a second bill of rights. Included in the President’s package of new entitlements was the right to “adequate medical care,” a “decent home,” and a “useful and remunerative job.” These rights (unlike free speech and freedom of religion) imposed obligations on other Americans to pay taxes for eyeglasses, “decent” houses, and “useful” jobs, but FDR believed his second bill of rights was an advance in thinking from what the Founders had conceived.

Roosevelt’s death in the last year of the war prevented him from unveiling his New Deal revival. But President Harry Truman was on board for most of the new reforms. In the months after the end of the war Truman gave major speeches showcasing a full employment bill —with jobs and spending to be triggered if people failed to find work in the private sector. He also endorsed a national health care program and a federal housing program.

But 1946 was very different from 1933. In 1933 large Democratic majorities in Congress and public support gave FDR his New Deal, but stagnation and unemployment persisted. By contrast, Truman had only a small Democratic majority —and no majority at all if you subtract the more conservative southern Democrats. Plus, the failure of FDR’s New Deal left fewer Americans cheering for an encore.

In short the Republicans and southern Democrats refused to give Truman his New Deal revival. Sometimes they emasculated his bills; other times they just killed them...

After many years of confiscatory taxes, businessmen desperately needed incentives to expand. By 1945 the top marginal income tax rate was 94 percent on all income over $200,000. We also had a high excess-profits tax that had absorbed more than one-third of all corporate profits since 1943 —and another corporate tax that reached as high as 40 percent on other profits.

In 1945 and 1946 Congress repealed the excess-profits tax, cut the corporate tax to a maximum 38 percent, and cut the top income tax rate to 86 percent. In 1948 Congress sliced the top marginal rate further, to 82 percent.

Those rates were still high, but they were the first cuts since the 1920s and sent the message that businesses could keep much of what they earned. The year 1946 was not without ups and downs in employment, occasional strikes, and rising prices. But the “regime certainty” of the 1920s had largely returned, and entrepreneurs believed they could invest again and be allowed to make money.

As Sears, Roebuck and Company Chairman Robert E. Wood observed, after the war “we were warned by private sources that a serious recession was impending. . . . I have never believed that any depression was in store for us.” With freer markets, balanced budgets, and lower taxes, Wood was right. Unemployment was only 3.9 percent in 1946, and it remained at roughly that level during most of the next decade. The Great Depression was over.

More here



Report: Obama drops Consumer Protection Agency plan: "The Obama administration is reportedly backing down from demanding a separate consumer protection agency in its plan to overhaul the financial regulatory system. The Washington Post reported Thursday that the White House is willing to compromise with lawmakers skeptical of creating a stand-alone agency. … The agency had been envisioned to regulate sales and marketing of mortgages, home equity lines of credit, credit cards and other consumer financial products. Supporters have suggested that community group representatives sit on the board to make sure it addresses individuals’ concerns. Many business groups have stood in strong opposition to the creation of a new bureaucracy, arguing that such an agency would add an unnecessary layer of regulation and bureaucracy that will raise the costs of consumer financial products and limit innovation.”

Spain: Abortion law angers conservatives, Catholics: "Spain approved a sweeping new law yesterday that eases restrictions on abortion, declaring the practice a woman’s right and doing away with the threat of imprisonment, in part of a drive toward liberal policies that has angered conservatives and the Catholic Church. The new law allows the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks and gives 16- and 17-year-olds the right to have abortions without parental consent. The senate’s passage of the bill yesterday gives it final approval. The bill brings the country in line with its more secular neighbors in northern Europe and is the latest of a series of bold social reforms undertaken by Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who first took office in 2004 and has ruffled feathers among many in the traditionally Catholic country.”

Whose body is it?: "[Bruce] Tower has prostate cancer. He wanted to take a drug that showed promise against his cancer, but the Food and Drug Administration would not allow it. One bureaucrat told him the government was protecting him from dangerous side effects. Tower’s outraged response was: ‘Side effects — who cares? Every treatment I’ve had I’ve suffered from side effects. If I’m terminal, it should be my option to endure any side effects.’ Of course it should be his option. Why, in our ‘free’ country, do Americans meekly stand aside and let the state limit our choices, even when we are dying?”

The Marco Rubio phenomenon: "Rubio is still behind Crist in fundraising, but Rubio’s rise is something those who favor more limited government should note. If he wins the Senate race he will look like a giant killer, and will be a credible presidential candidate in 2016. From a distance it appears that Rubio is a lot like President Obama, notwithstanding their very different political views. Both rose out of nowhere, apparently, and as a Hispanic minority Rubio, like Obama, will appeal to the ‘diversity’ crowd. If Rubio wins the Senate that parallel will surely be noted. But Rubio and Obama differ in more than just their political views.”

"Historic" Obama victory plates that sold for $20 now $2 at Big Lots: "Just got back from Big Lots while making my weekly Arugula and Wagu Beef run and they had a big stack of handsomely boxed limited run Obama commemorative plates for $2. They used to sell for $20+S&H on TV. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Even though they were placed on an endcap at the front of the store, it didn't look like they were moving. Anyone want to wager this rather embarrassing remaindered stock vanishes very quickly due to an "anonymous" bulk buy?"

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


25 February, 2010

PCUSA: Presbyterians who no longer accept the authority of the scriptures

Which separates them from all their traditions as Presbyterians. They have fallen under the influence of a Satanic Leftist gospel rather than the true gospel. Needless to say, they have lost a huge slice of their membership over the years (estimated at nearly half in the last forty years) as there are many other Presbyterian denominations in the USA for faith-filled Christians to choose from. This latest act of hate will drive many more of their members away

The Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUSA) is about to release a report which denounces Israel as a “racist” nation which has absolutely no historical, covenantal, or theological right to the Holy Land. The report calls for the United States to withhold financial and military aid to Israel and for boycotts and sanctions against Israel. That’s not all. The report also endorses a Palestinian “right of return” and “apologizes to Palestinians for even conceding that Israel has a right to exist.” According to the press release, it also states that Israel’s history begins only with the Holocaust and that Israel is “a nation mistakenly created by Western powers at the expense of the Palestinian people to solve the ‘Jewish problem’.”

In addition, PCUSA has also resolved to divest in companies that supply military equipment to the American Army, e.g. Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, etc.

In 2004, this Church became the first mainline Protestant denomination in America to “approve a policy of divestment from Israel.” This was rescinded, but in 2008 the Church “created a committee dominated by seven activists holding strong anti-Israel beliefs. The lone member sympathetic to Israel, quit in protest when he saw their radical agenda.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center notes that 46 members of the US Congress and Senate are Presbyterians and fears potentially “significant repercussions in the political domain” as well as a negative “impact on interfaith relations.” They urge us all to protest directly to the top leadership of the PCUSA “to stop this dangerous campaign which denies the legitimacy and security of Israel,” and to “reach out to your Presbyterian friends.”

Amalek (the eternal enemy of the Jews) has arrived, right on time for the Purim festival. The war against the Jews is precisely what Purim is about. We read the classic indictment against the Jews for the first time in full in the haunting story of Esther. Haman, the Persian King’s advisor, tells him this: “There exists a particular people, far-flung, widespread among the peoples in all the colonies of your realm. Their customs differ from those of all peoples, and they do not abide by his majesty’s bylaws; his majesty has nothing to gain by tolerating them.” Haman also points out that the Jews are wealthy and offers the King the lion’s share of the spoils.

The Jews have been looked at suspiciously, murderously before — in Egypt for example, where their prosperity, fertility, and potential of becoming a fifth column greatly worried the new Pharaoh. But even Pharaoh did not propose what Haman (and Hitler after him) proposed: send the same edict everywhere, “to devastate, slaughter, and annihilate all the Jews (Yehudim), from the youngest to the oldest, children, women, in a single day…with their booty to be despoiled.”



More hatred of black conservatives

Leftists are great haters. That's why they are always desperate to find something in conservatives that they can label as hate

As Black History Month draws to a close, the web site The Root has chosen to publish a hateful article that demeans black conservatives solely for their political views -- grouping them with brutal dictators, convicted criminals and self-centered celebrities. This has drawn a stinging rebuke from Project 21 member Bob Parks. "It doesn't take much for liberals to call black conservatives 'self-hating,'" noted Parks, "but what is it called when someone decides that blacks deemed inappropriate should be wholly removed from history? What kind of egos are we talking about here?"

The Root is operated by The Washington Post. Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. serves as The Root's editor-in-chief. In a recent posting, "Black Folks We'd Like to Remove From Black History" by Jada Smith, 21 blacks are singled out for being "embarrassing." Smith wrote: "[W]hile we love our own, we sure do dream of erasing a few of them."

"It's not enough that progressives intentionally distort and rewrite black history to their political advantage, but now The Root, the Post and Professor Gates are showing additional contempt for black people by allowing open suggestions about who should be excluded from that rewritten history," Parks pointed out.

Of the 21 blacks selected by Smith to purge from black memory, there are five American political figures, five infamous foreign dictators, two criminals and nine celebrities. The two liberal politicos -- current D.C. councilman and former mayor Marion Barry and former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon -- earned their shame by being convicted of breaking the law.

The three black conservatives are demeaned solely for their politics. Republican Party chairman Michael Steele is the "Bozo of politics." Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas allegedly lacks "standing" among blacks because "he looks to the Constitution as 'colorblind.'" Former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, whose activism extols the values of the Declaration of Independence and the rights of the unborn, has "never managed to make a lick of sense."

Project 21's Parks added: "The Root meticulously nominated five political figures among narcissistic celebrities and murderous dictators. The two liberals broke written laws, while the others were convicted of the crime of being black and conservative. It's ironic that the hyper-sensitive Professor Gates presided over this fantasy of removing certain onerous blacks from our history. Now that he's got me riled up, I wonder if he and his bosses at the Washington Post will have me over for a beer to talk about their writer acting stupidly."



Obama's nanny care insults the American spirit

You are victims. You are helpless against the wiles of big corporations and insurance companies and you need protection. You need the government to take over and do things you cannot do for yourself. That is the thinking of what David Brooks calls "the educated class" that favors the Democrats' health care bills. Members of this elite spout tales of woe of people denied coverage or care with the implication that there but for the grace of government go you. So sign on and the government will take care of everything.

It's an argument that has often been appealing to Europeans but that has always been unappealing to Americans. That's why these advocates segue to other arguments, like Barack Obama's assertion that the government can expand coverage and save money at the same time. But voters quickly sniff out what this means. The government will use the "science" of comparative effectiveness research to achieve cost savings the only way government can: denial of care. The Soviet medical system kept down the heart disease caseload by placing cardiac care units on the fifth floor, walk up. Death panels, anyone?

In the meantime, the House, Senate and the latest iteration of the Obama health care legislation -- which is too vague for a cost estimate, according to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf -- promise to eliminate Medicare Advantage and cut $500 billion from Medicare, and increase federal spending by something like $1 trillion. Obamacare Plan B would add a new layer of federal regulation on health insurance.

Why do Americans reject such policies while Europeans seem content with them? One reason is history. Twentieth-century history -- and 19th- and 18th-century history too -- showed Europeans that they were often the helpless victims of tyrants and total war. That made them content to rely on government for security. Americans have had a different experience. As scholars like Seymour Martin Lipset have documented, Americans are more likely than Europeans to believe that there is a connection between effort and reward. And to believe that they can improve their situation by their own hard work and ingenuity.

As a result, Americans cherish their independence. One interesting aspect of the spontaneous Tea Party movement is the constant invocation of the Founders and the prominence of the "Don't Tread on Me" flag. Eighteenth-century Americans declared their independence, 19th-century Americans fought so that blacks could be independent too, and 20th-century Americans sacrificed to extend the blessings of independence to the wider world.

Americans tend to see themselves as independent doers, not dependent victims. They don't like to be told, especially by those with fancy academic pedigrees, that they are helpless and in need of government aid. That's why the politically popular American big-government programs -- Social Security, Medicare, veterans' benefits, student loans -- all make a connection between effort and reward. You get a benefit because you've worked for it.

In contrast, Americans have loathed and rejected big-government programs with no nexus between effort and reward. Welfare was begun in the 1930s to help widows with children, whose plight, as Russell Baker's memoir "Growing Up" showed, was often dismal. But when welfare became a mass program to subsidize mothers who didn't work and to excuse fathers from responsibility for their actions, it became wildly unpopular.

Bill Clinton recognized this when he signed welfare reform in 1996. Clinton worked his way up in Arkansas, a state with a highly unequal income distribution, with a few very rich families -- the Waltons, Tysons, Stephenses -- and many people with modest incomes. But polling shows that the Democrats' health care plans are overwhelmingly unpopular in Arkansas, even more than nationally.

Obama, who has chosen to live his adult life in university precincts, sees Arkansans and Americans generally as victims who need his help, people who would be better off dependent on government than on their own. Most American voters don't want to see themselves that way and resent this condescension.

Obama hopes to embarrass Republicans at his Thursday summit and persuade Democrats to change the legislative rules and jam through a health care bill. Tactically he's not likely to succeed. But his greater problem, on health care and other issues, is strategic. Most Americans don't share his view that they are victims, in need of protection and supervision by "the educated class."



The "stimulus" may have created some jobs, but it created no real optimism

A new government analysis says the stimulus act funded between 1 million and 2.1 million jobs as of December and kept the economy humming at a faster rate than it would otherwise, but consumer confidence has tumbled anyway - potentially hindering the continued recovery. With the economy and the unemployment rate crowding out much of the rest of President Obama's agenda, both the jobs figures and consumer confidence will become key pieces of evidence as Republicans and Democrats argue over last year's stimulus and how much more spending is needed.

The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed a little more than a year ago, was responsible for lowering the unemployment rate by between 0.5 percent and 1.1 percent in the final three months of 2009, and added 1.5 percent to 3.8 percent to the country's gross domestic product. "The policies that were enacted in the stimulus bill are increasing GDP and employment relative to what they otherwise would be," said Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans, though, said the stimulus has been good for government but not for creating private-sector jobs. "The fact is, if you are a government worker you probably got a pay raise from the stimulus; if you are a manufacturing or construction worker you got a pink slip," said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican.

Stimulus contractors say they've created about 600,000 jobs directly from spending, but CBO uses economic modeling to reach its conclusions. That accounts for the wide range of potential job creation. Going forward, CBO said, the effects of the stimulus on GDP will peak next quarter, and its effects on job creation will peak over the next six months before diminishing.

At the same time, consumer confidence is already dipping, according to the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, a private group that surveys consumer confidence. The board, in a survey released Tuesday, recorded a giant drop in confidence from January to February and said its "present situation" index, which measures confidence in the economy as it stands now, is at its lowest point in 27 years. The expectations index, which measures optimism about the future economy, also dropped after three months of improvement.




I can't help noticing that the problem with runaway acceleration in Toyota cars affects drivers of automatic cars only. If my Toyota Echo started uncontrolled acceleration, I would just push in the clutch and move the gearshift into neutral: An entirely mechanical process under my complete control and the end of the problem. Another triumph for old-fashioned tried and true systems?

Public Opinion of Unions Plummets, ALG Cites Public Sector Union Kickbacks as Cause : "A new poll conducted by Pew Research shows public opinion of unions plummeting, which Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson said was caused “by the endless handouts and kickbacks to public sector unions that are milking taxpayers and bankrupting the states.” According to the poll, as reported by HotAir.com, “Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.” “The American people are sick and tired of the class warfare engaged through public policy by government unions and their willing accomplices in federal and state legislatures,” said Wilson."

"Broken" Government is when Liberals Lose: "When Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced last week he wasn't running for re-election, he didn't state what may have seemed obvious. He couldn't say he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of losing, or that he worried he'd never achieve national office if that happened. Instead, he launched into a lecture about what was wrong with everyone else. The government is "dysfunctional" with "brain-dead partisanship." It's "Groundhog Day." This scenario repeats itself every time the Democrats take control. Bayh's bleats hardened quickly into the media's conventional wisdom. Why can't the politicians hold hands in a "Kumbaya" circle and get "something" done? Translation: When Obama and a Democrat-dominated Congress can't nationalize the health care system and force everyone to drive a Prius, suddenly government is "dysfunctional." When gridlock is holding up the liberals' agenda, Washington should know "the people" sent them to pass massive ultraliberal bills."

Obama Begins His Assault on Your Life Savings: "The welfare state and your life savings are two cars heading down a one-lane road in opposite directions. One must yield, or there will be a crash. For Americans who believe in the old-fashioned virtues of hard work, self reliance and respect for private property, the solution is obvious. The welfare state must yield. For politicians who believe in the welfare state and redistributing wealth, the solution is equally obvious. Your savings must yield. Barack Obama is of the latter group. In the new health care proposal he outlined this week, he suggested a series of unprecedented tax increases that would extend the greedy hands of government into the life savings of hard-working Americans. These new taxes would essentially construct a new fiscal pipeline capable of carrying money out of the savings of private citizens and dumping it into government coffers specifically for subsidizing Medicare under the new health care system Obama envisions. The White House summary of Obama's proposal presents this would-be pipeline as a facilitator of economic justice."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


24 February, 2010

Pathetic argument for more government spending

We know that Democrats are great haters but being anti-men is hardly wise -- particularly when the abuse is based on a lie. Reid just does not sound very bright

Advocates for men are calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to apologize for suggesting that men are more likely than women to commit domestic violence, especially when they're out of work for long periods of time. But Reid's spokesman told FoxNews.com on Tuesday that the Nevada Democrat is not apologizing for arguing during Senate debate a day earlier that the $15 billion jobs bill he is sponsoring should be passed to help prevent an uptick in violence.

Marty Nemko, co-president of The National Organization for Men, described Reid's comments as "irresponsible," citing numerous studies that show women are just as likely or even more so to commit domestic violence against their male partners. Nemko also noted that that the police reports women advocacy organizations use are misleading because "men are embarrassed to say their wives beat them over the head with a frying pan." "Instead of looking to try and find men jobs, he's bashing men completely unfairly," Nemko told FoxNews.com....

On Monday, the Nevada Democrat seized on a trend in the rise of domestic violence cases across the country that experts say can be linked partly to the recession that has left millions of Americans unemployed. "I have met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse. It has gotten out of hand. Why? Men don't have jobs. Women don't have jobs either, but women aren't abusive -- most of the time. Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive. Our domestic crisis shelters in Nevada are jammed. It's the way it is all over the country."

HotAir.com questioned Reid's suggestion that abusive men outnumber their female counterparts, citing a British study in 2000 that found that women are just as likely to initiate domestic violence." "If recession-related stress and money woes are shortening men's tempers, they're probably shortening women's too -- which, ironically, only improves Reid's argument about the jobs bill, although he's too captive to identify politics to try to make that point," reads one post.

Nemko also cited a California State University study that finds that women are as physically aggressive or more aggressive than men in their relationships with male partners.

More here


A very interesting interview with Rupert Murdoch, the new owner of the WSJ

I liked the bit where it was noted that out of ten major American newspapers, nine had lost circulation recently while the WSJ actually increased its circulation.


Obama’s Phony Populism

President Obama likes to portray himself as a man of the people. But a look behind the veil shows this to be a deception. Take the financial regulatory overhaul brewing in Washington. I know what you’re thinking: What could better illustrate Obama’s bona fides as a champion of the people? He wants to regulate the banking industry after the recent debacle and is being fought by the banks and the Republicans. Doesn’t this clearly demonstrate his pro-people agenda?

A closer looks reveals the real story to be something quite different. First, there has never been an unregulated banking industry in the United States. You can look it up. And since 1914 we’ve had a central bank, the Fed, whose regulatory powers have only increased over the decades. Several other agencies also regulate the banks. There are regulators at the state level too.

But to focus only on regulation is to miss a big part of the story. In truth what we have had is a banking cartel, a partnership of government (state or national) and nominally private financial institutions. This partnership has two broad aspects that function as a quid pro quo: regulation and protection from free competition, that is, special privilege. The two sides haven’t always agreed on the exact proportions of the two elements, and the bankers have even disagreed among themselves. But lack of unanimity about details should not be mistaken for lack of agreement about the fundamental nature of the system. It is a government-banking alliance. Neither side would have it any other way....

The upshot is that the government’s promise to represent the public is false. Even if it wanted to, it wouldn’t have the information required to do the job. The irony is that in presenting itself as the guardian against “systemic risk,” the regulators present the largest systemic risk of all. It’s the Federal Reserve after all that brought us the Great Depression and damaging inflationary booms and bust ever since.

So what can we do? A real program aimed at the people’s well-being would take decision-making away from the government-banking cartel and put the financial industry into a free and open market, where competition would discipline bankers and decentralize decision- making. No small group would be in a position to make economywide mistakes and then get bailed out by their friends in high places. Only in the free market is there accountability. Profits would be private, but so would losses.

Obama should study the Democrats of the 19th century, who stood for competition and free trade in all things, especially money and banking. The party has surely gone downhill since then.

More here


ACORN Gives Itself a Makeover

ACORN, the community organizing group unable to erase the scandals associated with them, appears to be dismantling their operating structure. Politico’s Ben Smith reports:
"The embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local-chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed.

"'Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency,' said the official, citing ACORN's 'diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks."'

"The new organizations, he said 'will be constituted under new banners and new bylaws and new governance,' he said, consistent with the recommendations of an outside panel."
No matter the structure, this is the same group shown on video last summer recommending methods to create an illegal prostitution business. It is the same group which intimidated banks into risky financial practices before the financial collapse. It is the same group whose employees have been indicted for voter registration fraud.

It's my fear that rather than confronting their shady actions of the past, it will just be business as usual for ACORN going forward.

SOURCE. Fuller coverage of the ACORN makeover here


The Really Dark Side of the Proposed Employee Free Choice Act

Many observers are justly alarmed by one of the biggest pending thank-you gifts from the Obama administration to Big Labor—the proposed Employee “Free Choice” Act (EFCA). Already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 800), the measure would radically change how unions organize employees. Under federal law since 1935, employees have voted by secret ballot on whether to accept a union as their bargaining agent.

But union bosses are now in a panic because not enough workers have been voting the “right” way. Private-sector union membership has plunged from 30 percent in 1958 to just 7.2 percent in 2009. And for the future? A poll conducted by Opinion Research Corp. last year found that, by a margin of 82 to 13 percent, non-union workers did not want their jobs unionized.

But under EFCA, once a bare majority of employees in the target “bargaining unit” signs authorization cards, the National Labor Relations Board will install the union as bargaining agent for all employees in the group. Never mind that the Supreme Court has declared such cards “inherently unreliable” — no more secret ballot.

When confronted by union organizers, workers would have to vote publically for or against the union by either signing a card or not. And most employees know that if they don’t sign and the union is installed, they will, as “scabs,” be marked men and women on the union-dominated shop floor.

Though there have been outcries against this attack on individual voting rights, another feature of EFCA that could do real damage to the economy has been less publicized. A brave worker can still say no to signing a union card, but if EFCA becomes law, firms whose employees become unionized must roll over to union demands in first contract negotiations.

EFCA would force the parties to submit to federal mediation if they cannot reach agreement in 90 days. If that fails, government appointed arbitrators would dictate the new labor contract. Knowing that the purpose of EFCA is to reward unions for supporting the political party to which they have been joined at the hip pocket for 80 years, these arbitrators will not be confused about their marching orders: give the unions what they want.

Such fiats will be binding for two years. There is no appeal. It matters not that arbitrators might lack knowledge of business operations, of the employer’s competitive position, or of the long term implications of their orders, e.g., cancelled expansion plans.

If passed, EFCA will thus be one more step toward nationalization of the U.S. economy, and the tab will be paid in higher consumer prices, higher unemployment, curtailed business investment, or all three.

More here



Hands up: Who has heard of Joseph McCarthy? All hands shoot up. Hands up again: Who has heard of Richard Ichord? All hands stay down. Yet both men did much the same thing: Endeavour to expose crypto-Communists in America's public life. And Ichord's House Un-American Activities Committee ran for much, much longer than Senator McCarthy's inquiry. So how come we hear so much of one man but hear virtually nothing of the other? Easy: McCarthy was a Republican. Ichord was a Democrat.

America's failed communist past: "Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America, established in Virginia in 1607, had an experience similar to the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Early years of starvation were followed by converting to a system of property rights and a free market, which brought abundance. Under collectivism, less than half of every shipload of settlers survived the first 12 months at Jamestown. Most of the work was done by only one-fifth of the men, to whom the socialist system gave the same rations as to the others. During the winter of 1609-10, called ‘The Starving Time,’ the population fell from 500 to 60. But when Jamestown converted to a free market, there was ‘plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure,’ wrote the colony secretary Ralph Hamor in 1614.”

Credit CARD Act penalizes thrift and entrepreneurship: "Today, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 goes into effect. While the law, passed last May, is being hailed as a boon for consumers, it's already causing a slew of unintended consequences. Congress should carefully consider how the CARD Act will harm consumers and entrepreneurs and revise the law’s flawed provisions. Furthermore, Congress should resist populist proposals that would further distort the credit card market, such as interest rate caps or price controls on payment card interchange fees. The CARD Act will make it harder for consumers to get credit just as policymakers are trying to get credit flowing. Ironically, the bill will result in higher interest rates for many cardholders, because it limits the ability of banks to properly price the risks associated with cardholders who make late payments."

The incredible, vanishing greenback : "The ruling elite in Washington is going to try to inflate its way out of its debt conundrum, attempting to pay off the government’s foreign creditors with greenbacks that lose value right before your eyes, like an ice cream cone melting on a hot summer day. The process is already well under way. If you could once buy a silver dollar for one greenback, but it now costs 15 greenbacks, then the dollar is now worth seven 1960 cents. If gold once cost $35 an ounce and it now costs $1,100 an ounce, than the greenback is now worth about three 1940 pennies.”

City to be barred from hiring the most competent firefighters? "The Supreme Court signaled yesterday that it may be willing to let a group of African-Americans sue Chicago for discrimination over a hiring test that weeded out black applicants to become firefighters. It is the second time in as many years the high court has tackled discrimination in testing within the firefighting ranks. In a landmark case last year, the Supreme Court in a 5-to-4 decision said New Haven violated white firefighters’ civil rights by throwing out an exam in which no African-Americans scored high enough to be promoted to lieutenant or captain. In yesterday’s case, the City of Chicago decided to use a test to weed out potential firefighter trainee applicants. Anyone who scored 64 or below was deemed not qualified. But the city set a second cutoff score of 89 points. Officials told applicants who scored below 89 but above 64 that although they passed the test, they probably would not be hired because of the large number of people who scored 89 or above. The majority of those in the top-scoring group were white; only 11 percent were black.” [If my house was on fire, I'd like the guys trying to save it to be REALLY smart]

We gain from trade with China: "To protectionists and Sinophobes, the news of China recently surpassing Germany to become the world’s largest exporter represents yet another nail in the coffin for manufacturing in ‘[insert Western country].’ But China’s exports include Apple’s ubiquitous iPods and countless other products designed in the West. More than a reflection of China’s growing economic might, this is testament to the erosion of economic, political, physical and technological barriers to production. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism as a viable model, together with containerised shipping, GPS, just-in-time supply, and other technological marvels, has spawned a global division of labour and production that defies traditional analysis — and trade accounting.”

The “stimulus” actually raised unemployment: "Since federal spending accounted for exactly zero of the only significant increase in GDP, how could such spending possibly have ‘created or saved’ 2 million jobs? The bill was launched last year amid grandiose promises of ’shovel ready’ make-work projects. In reality, as the CBO explains, ‘five programs accounted for more than 80% of the outlays from ARRA in 2009: Medicaid, unemployment compensation, Social Security … grants to state and local governments … and student aid.’ In other words, what was labeled a ’stimulus’ bill was actually a stimulus to government transfer payments — cash and benefits that are primarily rewards for not working, or at least not working too hard.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


23 February, 2010

The Australian Leftist government can say "jihad" and "terrorism". Why can't Obama?

Could Obama say ANY of the things below? Americans eat your heart out!

Prime Minister Rudd, above, is a committed Christian, and, unlike Mr. Obama, is not known to believe that the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset"

THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will today try to regain political momentum with the release of the Counter-Terrorism White Paper which warns of an increased threat from people born or raised in Australia who have become influenced by a "violent jihadist message". The paper, commissioned after the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, finds successes in fighting terrorism, such as the diminution of al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and other groups in South-East Asia, have been offset by the rise of movements in Yemen and Somalia.

Mr Rudd will accompany the launch by pledging to spend $69 million over the next four years for the introduction of biometric checks on visa applicants from the 10 top suspect countries. Anyone applying for a visa will have to present in person to be fingerprinted and photographed. The information will be used to prove the applicant's identity, in part by matching it against information held in the databases of other nations. Mr Rudd will not reveal the identity of the 10 countries until the measures in each are implemented over the next year....

The paper found terrorism had "emerged as a persistent and permanent feature of Australia's security environment". "The main threat to Australia's security comes from a global jihadist movement, including al-Qaeda and those inspired by a similar world view," it says.

The new white paper says the threat has evolved to incorporate one that is more home-grown in nature. "There has been an increase in the threat from people born or raised in Australia who have become influenced by the violent jihadist message," it says.

More here


Destruction of the world's money

The U.S. dollar and the British pound have lost value and now the Euro is way down too. Only minor currencies such as Swiss Francs and Australian dollars have kept their value. People with savings have already lost a lot with more to come -- all because most governments printed a heap of new money during the GFC

Derivative traders are signalling that the euro's slump to a nine-month low will continue even if European Union leaders bail out Greece. Short-term rates for borrowing in euros in the forwards market are the cheapest relative to loans in dollars since September. The 50 per cent collapse in that spread this month signals investors are betting the European Central Bank will keep its target interest rate at a record low, sacrificing euro strength to prevent deficit cutting by debt-laden economies in the region from stymieing growth.

"Investors have already started to think about the next likely phase of the present crisis, and it appears that all they are finding are new reasons to sell the euro," said David Woo, global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays Plc in London. "Aggressive fiscal tightening by Greece, Spain and Portugal are likely to plunge their economies back into recession. All else being equal, this calls for a looser monetary policy."

The shift underscores a turnabout in the two most-traded currencies. In the last three quarters of 2009, the euro outperformed the dollar relative to 15 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, with Deutsche Bank AG's euro index gaining 1 per cent and the IntercontinentalExchange Inc.'s Dollar Index down 9 per cent. Since Nov. 25, the dollar is up 8.3 per cent and has outdone all but four major currencies as the euro lost ground against them. The euro traded at $US1.3613 in New York, unchanged from Feb. 19. The currency is down 5 per cent against the U.S. currency this year.

More here


Worried Democrat governors turn on Obama

BARACK Obama has copped a political hiding from state governors in his party who believe he has failed to connect with voters and needs to rethink his strategy. At a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington yesterday, many Democrats said the US President had lost the communications battle with his Republican opponents over the past year. Worried about their future and their party's prospects in mid-term congressional elections in November, Democrat governors pointed the finger at the head of their party.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said the White House strategy needed to be better thought out after Republicans successfully tarnished last year's $US787 billion ($874bn) economic stimulus package to combat the recession. "Ironically, the best communicator in the history of political campaigning turned out, in his first year in office, not to communicate very well," Mr Rendell said. "They let the Republicans take the spin right from the beginning. The stimulus got beat up before one dollar was spent."

Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico and an Obama supporter, urged the President to quickly decide on the future of the healthcare legislation, which is stalled by the Republicans in the Senate, and then move on to jobs and the economy.

The Democrats' tough advice comes as Mr Obama tries to revive his health legislation by proposing a pared-back version at a bipartisan summit with party leaders later this week. Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell confirmed yesterday that his party would attend the summit, to be televised nationally. Mr Obama is expected to offer a trimmed-down proposal to overhaul US healthcare with limits on premium increases by the health insurance firms to help stop a costs blowout.

After a year of acrimony on the health reforms, Senator McConnell yesterday lashed out at the White House and signalled a rough year ahead in the lead-up to the mid-term congressional elections at which his party expects to win back many seats and possibly regain majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The White House hopes Mr Obama's oratory and debating skills will help win public support in the televised health summit. But Senator McConnell said: "The fundamental point I want to make is the arrogance of all this. You know, they are saying, `Ignore the wishes of the American people. We know more about this than you do, and we're going to jam it down your throats no matter what'."

Mr Obama sought support from both parties for his stimulus package, which has been revised upwards to $US864bn. Speaking to the governors, he said the economic crisis had forced urgency and extraordinary measures to "right the ship". While many Obama opponents have blasted big government spending, California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, praised the stimulus package as positive



Obama the philosopher king

President Obama is readying to unleash a variety of executive powers to circumvent Congress and push his agenda. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said that a review of mechanisms was under way to "get the job done across a front of issues." The president claims he has to resort to extraordinary methods because of partisan gridlock, but he has learned the wrong lessons from his failed freshman year in office. Mr. Obama's initiatives haven't stalled because of partisanship but because they are transparently bad for America.

It's odd that the president and his apologists blame partisanship for his legislative problems. Mr. Obama came into office with a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate majority, the largest since the Jimmy Carter era, and the most Democratic House members since the early 1990s. Those comfortable majorities should have meant smooth sailing for Mr. Obama's legislative agenda, and some of his early initiatives, such as the so-called stimulus package, passed fairly easily. Republicans were shunted aside unceremoniously and could not stop the liberal juggernaut.

The reason Mr. Obama began to run into problems had less to do with partisanship than with public opposition to his ideological agenda.

When the ambiguous "hope and change" theme was replaced with a series of hard-left policies, America balked. A Feb. 8 Gallup survey shows that Mr. Obama suffered 60 percent or worse disapproval ratings on his economic policies, health care proposals and budget deficit management. Resistance in Congress reflects the mood of the electorate, and the critical push-back comes from within the Democratic Party. Previously safe congressional seats are suddenly in play, and many members of Congress wonder if they will soon be joining the swelling ranks of the unemployed.

A prudent president would understand that his policies are the problem and move to the center to give moderates in his party room to breathe. Instead, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to advance his agenda by circumventing Congress, even though Democrats will bear the brunt of the blame in November.

Exploiting executive power is nothing new for Mr. Obama. He has appointed more executive-branch policy "czars" than any of his predecessors. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a liberal West Virginia Democrat, sent a letter to the White House in February 2009 expressing concern that a surfeit of czars can "threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances." But last fall, Mr. Obama pressured Democrats in the Senate to kill legislation that would have brought his czars under congressional oversight.

Mr. Obama claimed emergency powers to reshape two of the Big Three auto manufacturers. He has sought the authority to assume extraordinary powers to deal with cyberthreats and purported climate change. He has used executive orders to pursue pet causes, such as EO 13502, which effectively banned nonunion labor from federal construction projects, and EO 13509, which established the Soviet-sounding Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. Even Mr. Obama's liberal supporters have blanched at his claims of power regarding extraordinary rendition, surveillance, state secrets, signing statements and executive privilege.

Mr. Obama seems to have basic problems with democracy. He doesn't like it when people disagree with him; he resists compromise, and he seems to think he should be free to reshape the country to suit his vision. Those who challenge him are ignored, mocked or told to shut up.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama said, "Let me be perfectly clear: I have taught the Constitution, I understand the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution when I am president of the United States." As president, however, he seems increasingly to view himself as a philosopher king. If Mr. Obama seeks to exploit executive power to ram through policies the American people oppose, they will hold him and his party accountable. There will be a lot for his successor to undo in 2013.



Coverup! Obama Administration Denies Public Access to Fannie and Freddie Documents

Judicial Watch has been digging hard into the scandals behind the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their role in helping trigger the global financial crisis. A key component of this investigation involves the role political corruption played in the failure of adequate congressional oversight and the catastrophic collapse of these "government sponsored entities" in 2008. That's why we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama administration to get hold of documents related to Fannie and Freddie's campaign contributions over the last several election cycles.

We figure since American taxpayers are on the hook for trillions of dollars, potentially including $400 billion alone for Fannie and Freddie, we deserve to know how and why this financial collapse occurred and who in Washington, D.C. is responsible. Unfortunately the Obama administration disagrees. Just last month the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, responded to our FOIA lawsuit by telling us that all of the documents we seek are not "FOIA-able"!....

So there you have it. You and I are paying the tab for the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, but we are not allowed to ask any questions about why it happened. The Obama administration is saying, in effect, "None of your business."

This is an outrage! Obama administration officials and their lawyers can argue until they are blue in the face that Fannie and Freddie are not federal agencies. But their reasoning is straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

More here



Va. Episcopalians narrowly vote not to recognize gay marriage: "The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia hedged on recognizing same-sex unions Saturday, instead voting to form a committee to set standards for church-sanctioned blessings of such unions once they are approved by the entire 2-million-member Episcopal Church. About 346 delegates to the dioceses annual council meeting at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria narrowly voted -- by a show of hands -- to form the committee. It was a less radical choice for the 80,000-member Virginia diocese, the largest in the Episcopal Church. A substitute amendment suggesting the diocese allow openly gay clergy and same-sex blessings failed after a lengthy debate."

Lawmakers to press military on fate of homosexual ban: “Lawmakers this week will press the military’s top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ makes sense or would be too disruptive. The testimony from each of the service chiefs on Capitol Hill will be crucial to the debate in Congress on whether to repeal the 17-year-old law, which bans gays from serving openly in the military.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


22 February, 2010

The Avandia beatup

I would normally cover this on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog but as it seems to be part of a political war against the drug companies designed to shore up support for Obamacare, I am covering it here. It is a huge crock, as I will point out at the foot of the article below. Politicians faulting the super-cautious FDA on drug safety really is a laugh

A Senate report that revives concerns about a GlaxoSmithKline PLC diabetes drug's link to heart attacks is putting pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to make changes to its drug-safety program. People familiar with the situation say agency leaders held calls over the weekend to discuss how to address complaints from Sens. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who released a new report Saturday on the Glaxo drug, called Avandia.

The FDA is trying to assemble a timeline of what the FDA knew of risks associated with Avandia, these people say, and plans to call a meeting of an outside advisory committee in the next few months to look at recent information on the drug, which Glaxo reported as having global sales of £771 million ($1.2 billion) in 2009.

According to a two-year investigation by the Senate Finance Committee, Glaxo knew about data linking Avandia to elevated risk of cardiovascular events for several years, but played down the information and tried to suppress doctors who raised concerns. Starting in 1999, Glaxo executives complained to superiors about researchers who questioned Avandia's safety, the report says.

Glaxo rejected those conclusions. It said in a statement that the increased risk of heart attacks hasn't been proven and noted that the FDA "has ruled that Avandia remain available." The company says it never tried to suppress doctors' views but sought to correct what it considered misinformation.

Internal FDA reviews included in the Senate report show that in 2008, longtime FDA scientists David Graham and Kate Gelperin urged the FDA to get Avandia off the market. They analyzed data on side effects in dozens of Avandia studies, but their recommendations were rejected by FDA chiefs. The senators want to know why.

Avandia is still on the market, but it has a strong warning label about cardiac risks. Its sales dropped after a widely publicized study in May 2007 by the Cleveland Clinic's Steven Nissen that linked Avandia to a 43% greater risk for heart attack.


Below is a meta-analysis of the data upon which the FDA based its decision. The meta-analysis appeared in the prestigious "Journal of the American Medical Association"

Long-term Risk of Cardiovascular Events With Rosiglitazone: A Meta-analysis

By Sonal Singh et al.

Context: Recent reports of serious adverse events with rosiglitazone use have raised questions about whether the evidence of harm justifies its use for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Objective: To systematically review the long-term cardiovascular risks of rosiglitazone, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality.

Data Sources: We searched MEDLINE, the GlaxoSmithKline clinical trials register, the US Food and Drug Administration Web site, and product information sheets for randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses published in English through May 2007.

Study Selection: Studies were selected for inclusion if they were randomized controlled trials of rosiglitazone for prevention or treatment of type 2 diabetes, had at least 12 months of follow-up, and monitored cardiovascular adverse events and provided numerical data on all adverse events. Four studies were included after detailed screening of 140 trials for cardiovascular events.

Data Extraction: Relative risks (RRs) of myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality were estimated using a fixed-effects meta-analysis of 4 randomized controlled trials (n = 14 291, including 6421 receiving rosiglitazone and 7870 receiving control therapy, with a duration of follow-up of 1-4 years).

Results: Rosiglitazone significantly increased the risk of myocardial infarction (n = 94/6421 vs 83/7870; RR, 1.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.91; P = .02) and heart failure (n = 102/6421 vs 62/7870; RR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.52-2.88; P < .001) without a significant increase in risk of cardiovascular mortality (n = 59/6421 vs 72/7870; RR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.63-1.26; P = .53). There was no evidence of substantial heterogeneity among the trials for these end points (I2 = 0% for myocardial infarction, 18% for heart failure, and 0% for cardiovascular mortality).

Conclusion: Among patients with impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes, rosiglitazone use for at least 12 months is associated with a significantly increased risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure, without a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.

JAMA Vol. 298 No. 10, 1189-1195, September 12, 2007

In other words, a survey of the strongest data available showed that taking Avandia increased your risk of having a heart attack from 1.05% to 1.46%, an increase in risk of less than one half of one percent -- which is vanishingly trivial compared to the risks we take in most things we do. Given the large sample size, however, the result is statistically significant, if not significant in any other sense. If we were to reject such small risks as that we would have NO drugs on the market because all drugs have some adverse side-effects.

But here's the real kicker. Read the last clause in the abstract above. What it means in plain English is this: Although Avandia takers had a minutely greater risk of having heart attacks, the "extra" heart attacks DID NOT KILL THEM. Avandia takers were no more likely to die from a heart attack than anybody else! And THAT is the drug that is so evil that the Senate Democrats are making a huge fuss about it! It's just the usual search for evil in the world about them that IS Leftism. See the article immediately following this one.


Grassley is a Republican but he was an easy target to get sucked into this affair as he has in the past made something of a career of exposing researchers who had failed to declare payments received from drug companies. His interest is clearly in the possibility of corruption rather than in the science.


The Perpetual-Crisis Machine Of The Apocalyptic Left

The left is in crisis-overdrive. Imminent disaster is its rallying cry. The world will end, if we don’t appropriate billions, launch another massive government program, shower condoms on 6-year-olds, socialize another sector of the economy, cede more of our freedom to Washington, and venerate the polar bears.

Since at least the early 1960s, the left has been in a constant state of agitation, prophesying doom at every turn. Any who question its hysteria-mongering are labeled anti-science, a tool of corporate interests, insensitive or just plain Republican.

The refrain is always the same: Don’t question. Don’t examine the evidence too closely. Don’t debate the proposals. Whatever you do, don’t read the legislation before you vote. Just give us what we want, or civilization, as we know it, will cease to exist, millions will die horrible deaths – and it will be your fault.

Like its progenitor, Karl Marx, the left is always wrong – often hilariously so. On September 24, 2008, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (to speak of a Kennedy scion from the low end of the gene pool implies there’s another end), in a commentary for the Los Angeles Times, pointed to recent mild winters in the D.C. area (“anemic” he called them) as conclusive evidence of global warming.

Junior disclosed, “Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home … for lunch. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow of our back yard.” Yet, in the face of irrefutable evidence of lack of igloo-building, “Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy.” Kennedys know a lot about deceiving the American public.

Meanwhile, the blizzard from which Washingtonians just dug out surpassed the record snowfall of 1899. At one point, Dulles Airport reported that 72 inches had fallen. The response of the apocalyptic left? Well, we told you global warming will result in extreme weather conditions. You see, mild winters prove global warming – as do severe winters. Any questions?

Karl Marx was the original progressive doom-and-gloomer. In the mid-19th century, Marx (who never set foot in a factory or met a blue-collar worker) confidently predicted the “crisis of capitalism” – the rich would keep getting richer, while the proletariat would have children, until, on the verge of starvation, the latter would throw off their chains in a worldwide revolution.

Instead of poverty, the proletariat got collective bargaining, employer-paid health insurance, and comfortable pensions. Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your 401-k plans.

It wasn’t quite a straight line from “The Communist Manifesto” to Rachel Carson’s “The Silent Spring” (1962). The Al Gore of her day, Carson warned of environmental catastrophe from the widespread use of DDT to control the mosquitos that spread malaria. Considered the mother of the environmentalist movement, Carson was responsible for the 30-year ban on DDT, finally lifted by the World Health Organization in 2006. Her book claimed the compound caused cancer in humans and genetic damage to birds and beneficial insects – all based on anecdotal evidence and rats doing laps in vats of DDT.

In 1981, Rachel Carson got a commemorative U.S. postage stamp. Millions in the Third World – especially pregnant women and children – got early deaths from malaria, which DDT had largely eliminated by the mid-60s.

From “The Silent Sprint” to “An Inconvenient Truth" and beyond, it’s been a steady march of hysteria, manufactured statistics and speculation totally detached from reality. Stroll down memory lane and meet the ghosts of liberal crises past.

• The Homeless – The “homelessness crisis” suddenly appeared in the early ‘80s, conveniently, just as the left was looking for an emotional way to indict Reaganomics. Supposedly, millions of homeless wandered the streets of our cities, pushing shopping carts, sleeping on heating grates and mooching change. Shelters were filled to capacity. Rising unemployment, lack of affordable housing and the disappearance of the proverbial safety net were to blame, liberals charged. We were all just a few steps away from the streets, they told us.

Mitch Snyder, self-anointed advocate for pavement people (Martin Sheen played him in a made-for-T.V. Movie – “Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story”), informed an ever-credulous media that there were 3 million homeless, a statistic he later admitted making up. In a campus address, Snyder, who committed suicide in 1990, tearfully told us that in America, 45 homeless people die every second. That would mean 1.4 billion (four times the total U.S. population) expire annually, and then are resurrected to die again the following year.

P.J. O’Rourke once wrote that if you put all of the homeless in affordable housing, half are so crazy they’d jump out the windows and the other half would sell the plumbing for drugs or booze. According to one study, between 65% and 85% of the homeless are mentally ill, alcoholics, addicts, or a combination thereof.

We were all just a few cases of Thunderbird or a psychotic episode away from the streets.

• The AIDS Epidemic – Discovered about the same time as the homeless crisis, the dread contagion wasn’t a gay disease, we were assured – on the theory that, if it was, we wouldn’t care enough. Everyone was susceptible. If we didn’t spend billions pronto, AIDS would sweep the nation like wildfire.

“Now No One Is Safe From AIDS,” screeched the cover of Life magazine. It was worse than the Black Plague, a Joe Biden speech and daytime television combined. Then-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (who was co-opted by the AIDS lobby) forecast a “heterosexual AIDS explosion.” Oprah said that by 1990, 20% of all heterosexuals would be dead from AIDS. Clinton’s HHS Secretary Donna Shalala said AIDS may leave “nobody left.”

These projections were delusional, to put it mildly. According to The Centers for Disease Control, in 2007, 14,561 died from AIDS – not much of a mega-plague, when compared to 631,636 deaths from heart disease, 559,888 from cancer and 137,119 from stroke in the same year.

A 1988 New York Times story (“Researchers List Odds of Getting AIDS in Heterosexual Intercourse’) gave away the game. According to the paper, which never misses a chance to proselytize for the gay agenda, the chances of contracting AIDS from a single act of heterosexual intercourse – with an infected partner and without a condom -- were 1 in 500. No one was safe from AIDS – no one who was gay, bisexual or into sharing (needles).

• The National Epidemic of Hate Crimes – The late Sen. Edward Kennedy called hate crimes “domestic terrorism” – thereby suggesting that they were just as much a threat to our nation’s security as al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah and every jihad-preaching imam around the world. Neo-Nazis, Ku-Kluxers and freelance haters were roaming our streets looking for victims on which to inflict their vile animus. The alleged epidemic led to the passage last year of The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added “sexual orientation” to the category of protected classes.

Just how much of a hate-crimes crisis there is may be seen from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. (The FBI is required to compile statistics of so-called bias offenses.) According to the UCR, in 2007, there were 16,929 murders and over 855, 000 cases of aggravated assault in the United States. There were also a grand total of 7,624 hate crimes of all kinds – motivated by race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, whatever.

Of that number, 78% involved either intimidation (words alone), or simple assault (no serious injury occurred), which included pushing and shoving. In 2007, 9 murders were classified as hate crimes – which constituted .0005 % of total homicides. Your chances of being the victim of a hate crime – any hate crime – are comparable to being struck by lightening twice while bungee-jumping on Groundhog Day. For this, we abrogated the First Amendment’s Free Speech clause.

• Global Warming—To justify spending trillions of dollars, drastically altering our way of life and wrecking our economy with idiocies like Cap and Trade, in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore forecast that the sea level could rise by as much as 20 feet, due to melting polar ice caps. Even, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, run by the global-warming alarmists, was more modest – predicting that sea levels would rise 17 inches by 2100.

Besides his Oscar, Gore deserved a Nebula Award for science fiction writing. Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, a Swedish geologist and physicist who formerly headed the International Commission on Sea Level Change, says that, despite fluctuations, the sea level “has not risen in the past 50 years.” And if there is any change in this century, it will “not be more than 10 cm (4 inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10 cm.” The mainstream media would call Dr. Morner a “global-warming denier.”

Still, Gore’s forecast could come to pass. If the 1.4 billion homeless who die in America every year each had a burial at sea … .

• Over-population – The world was “overpopulated” in 1798, when Thomas Malthus wrote “Principles of Population” and planet earth contained less than a billion people. In his tract, Malthus predicted mass starvation in the coming century. Instead, we got the Industrial Revolution and the greatest expansion of material well-being in history.

The world was overpopulated in 1968, when there were 3.63 billion on earth and Paul Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb,” in which he predicted mass starvation in the 1970s – and thus joined the ranks of Malthus and Marx as a prophet of dumb. Today, the world’s population is 6.8 billion. It’s been said that you could fit everyone currently on earth into Texas, and they’d have 1,000 sq. feet of living space. If those quarters are too tight, you could send them all to Brazil, where they'd each have three acres.

If starvation and overcrowding won’t do the trick, how about climate change? Now, it’s argued that a growing population increases carbon fuel consumption, depletes the ozone layer and – aaaaarah! We’re all going to die! Thus, the left has one of its newest myths (global warming) driving one of its oldest myths (overpopulation).

• The Health Insurance Crisis – In his State of the Union address, Barack Obama warned, “By the time I’m finished speaking …. more Americans (45 a second?) will have lost their health insurance.” “Millions will lose it this year.” Plus, (you guessed it) we’re all just a job away from being one of the health insurance-less.

Obama and the Democrats are wedded to the figure 46 million for the number of uninsured in America. For a change, the stat comes from a reliable source, the U.S. Census Bureau. But this is a snapshot of a point in time. It does not mean that 46 million Americans are uninsured over the course of a year. It also doesn’t tell us why they’re uninsured. (Some are between jobs.)

The same data shows that 38% of the uninsured earn more than $50,000 a year and 9.1 million earn more than $75,000. They could afford health insurance. Many are young and healthy and willing to gamble the cost of insurance against the prospect of a serious illness. Another 14 million qualify for government programs that they’re not currently using. And almost 10 million aren’t U.S. citizens. Obama swears on a stack of Korans they’ll never get federally mandated health insurance.

The chronically uninsured are about 8 million, in a population of 305 million. For this we’re expected to turn the best health-care system in the world over to the politicians and bureaucrats who gave us sub-prime mortgages, $1,000 toilet seats and the U.S. Postal Service – and get rationing, death panels, and federally funded abortion in the process.

If they were honest, liberals would confess: “There’s a severe power crisis in this country. When it comes to power over your own life, you have too much and we have too little. Please help us to rectify this situation.”

Of course, that would get them nowhere. Hence, the left’s perpetual-crisis machine – apocalypse now. ”Unless you let us do something drastic right away, you could get AIDS, end up homeless, lose your health insurance, see your beachfront property under 20 feet of water, and watch as beach towels are airlifted to the Eskimos." Goebbels wouldn’t have the gall to concoct the lies they’ve been peddling for half a century.

But more than a power grab is involved. The left hates the middle-class, hates private property and hates limited, constitutional government. It wants to make us feel guilty for what we have. Whatever the crisis, ultimately, it’s our fault – it’s our greed, stupidity, callousness or bigotry that fuels the catastrophe.

In the movie “The Invention of Lying,” Ricky Gervais lives in a world where everyone tells the absolute truth. The protagonist becomes the first person to intentionally tell a lie. (Could the invention of liberals be far behind?) To see how much he can get away with, in one memorable scene, Gervais approaches a beautiful woman on the street and tells her, “If we don’t have sex right now, the world will end.” She responds, “Do we have time to go to a motel, or do we have to do it here?”

That's the way liberal crisis-mongers operate – Let us screw you, right now, or the world will end.



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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


21 February, 2010

Pick an Excuse, Any Excuse

Remember that great scene from the Oscar-robbed classic "The Blues Brothers"? Jake and Elwood (John Belushi and Dan Akroyd) are finally cornered by Jake's former fiancée (Carrie Fisher). Jake left her at the altar with 300 guests and the best Romanian caterers in the state waiting. "You betrayed me!" she exclaims. "No I didn't. Honest," Jake explains. "I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!" This is pretty much how Democrats sound these days. None of their problems are their fault.

For the first time, more than half of voters think President Obama doesn't deserve to be re-elected. Almost three out of four Americans believe that the stimulus was wasted.

Evan Bayh's retirement has triggered a bowel-stewing panic among Democrats. Bayh is from Indiana, one of the two crown jewels of Obama's "red-blue" victory (the other being Virginia). Even a month ago, the notion that Republicans could get within striking distance of taking back the Senate was considered absurd. Now, it's a live possibility.

Obama's defenders note that he is personally popular, which is at best debatable. But even if that were true, Obama's personal political capital is as non-transferable as an out-of-state check drawn in crayon. It's certainly useless in getting ObamaCare or cap-and-trade passed. And, so far, it hasn't helped Democrats in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts.

Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader and Obama's lead legislative Sherpa, is almost surely toast in his re-election bid. Richard Blumenthal, the popular Democratic candidate running for retiring Sen. Chris Dodd's seat in Connecticut says it's an "open question" whether he will even invite Obama to campaign for him. That's a vote of confidence.

Why is this happening? If you listen to the White House and its defenders in the press, the answer is simple: It's everyone else's fault. Well, that's not entirely right. The Obama administration admits one mistake -- and one mistake only. It didn't explain itself better. In both his State of the Union address and interviews, Obama insisted he got all the policies right. It's just that the reportedly greatest orator in the history of the republic couldn't quite make himself clear enough.

The good news is that he recognizes his mistakes and is going to try again. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told the Washington Post this week that "In 2010, the president will constantly be doing high-profile things to be the person driving the narrative."

The multiple trips to Copenhagen, the five-Sunday-shows-in-one-day marathon, the three joint session addresses to Congress in one year, the prime-time news conferences, the state dinner, the speech in Cairo: These don't add up to "constantly" doing "high-profile things"? I can't wait to hear what "high-profile" means. Explain health-care reform while parting the waters of the Potomac?

But even this explanation amounts to dodging blame. It's still code for "You stupid Americans, why can't you understand I'm right and you're wrong?"

That's certainly how Joe Klein, Obama's de facto press flack at Time magazine, sees things. In a piece titled "Too Dumb to Thrive," Klein argues that Americans are too stupid to understand how totally awesome the stimulus was. (Time's Peter Beinart makes a similar argument in a debate with me for Bloggingheads.tv.) What's funny about this is that if nearly two-thirds of Americans are idiots, that means roughly half of Obama's voters were idiots, too. His election was once the epitome of American wisdom. Now it seems he was elected despite the stupidity of his supporters.

Of course, the Obamaphiles switched to this argument only after months of pounding their spoons on their high chairs about the unfairness of Republican "obstructionism" in the Senate. The filibuster was once a bulwark against tyranny, according to Democrats trying to block George W. Bush's agenda. Now, it's proof that the American political system "sucks," according to Obama confidante and liberal super-wonk John Podesta, and evidence that America's system is arguably "worse" than totalitarian China's, according to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.

And they switched to that argument only after insisting that Bush was responsible for every evil under the sun. (Now, the White House brags about using Bush's anti-terror policies and insists it deserves the credit for success in Iraq.)

Coming soon: A terrible flood! Locusts! Anything and everything to avoid admitting their problems are their own fault.



Is Obama really 'brilliant'?

During his State of the Union address, with eight of the Supreme Court justices sitting right in front of him like clay pigeons, Barack Obama told the world that he would have to correct their mistake by bringing back McCain-Feingold. Well, why wouldn't he say such a stupid thing? After all, he's been wrong about everything else.

It's perfectly reasonable that Obama would oppose corporations donating money to political campaigns. Where do oil, coal and pharmaceutical companies get off thinking they should have the same right as the UAW, the SEIU, ACORN and George Soros to finance elections? For that matter, while whining about some corporations playing a role in the election process, I haven't heard Obama say boo about the role such corporations as NBC, CBS, ABC, the Washington Post or the New York Times have played in creating and burnishing his image.

But, then, who are regular, run-of-the-mill, taxpaying Americans to question Obama? He's brilliant, after all. It's not just liberals who say so, either. I keep hearing people like Bill O'Reilly saying so day after day. The problem is that I keep looking for signs of his brilliance, and looking and looking. It doesn't help that the O'Reillys of the world never point out any examples.

Still, if Obama is so brilliant, why does he parrot the words and thoughts of a bunch of schmucks like Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, Al Gore and Michael Moore? Why does he insist that the trouble with the Constitution and the civil-rights movement is that they didn't focus on the redistribution of wealth? Why would he hand over the federal budget to a couple of morons like Pelosi and Reid? And why on earth would he put Henry Waxman in charge of his energy program? A brilliant person wouldn't trust Waxman to bring baked beans to a picnic.

When someone decides to model a health-care plan after such dismal failures as England, Canada and Cuba, while exhuming the failed economic policies of FDR, why would anyone suggest he is anything but a left-wing ignoramus?

This is an American president, for heaven's sake, who has more in common with Noam Chomsky, Hugo Chavez and some Berkeley hippie than he has with Washington, Jefferson and Adams. Except that he is now 30 years older, Obama seems to think exactly the same way he was thinking back in college, when he was a pot-smoking idiot who sought out students who were self-professed revolutionaries and professors who were communists.

If we have come to a point where the ability to read scripted lines off a teleprompter is considered a sign of brilliance, no matter how fatuous the actual words may be, we are in even worse shape than I imagined.

In a movie I loved, "The Princess Bride," the villain, Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), keeps saying "Inconceivable!" each time something happens that he failed to anticipate, mainly because, in his arrogance, he underestimated his adversary. Finally, after he has said "Inconceivable!" once too often, one of his cohorts turns to him and says, "I don't think that word means what you think it does."

But I wouldn't want to leave liberals and some goofy conservatives entirely speechless when it comes to describing the president. So to fill the void, I'm happy to supply them with some options, such as stubborn, pompous, inflexible, dishonest, officious, partisan, unpatriotic, duplicitous, socialist, untrustworthy and dictatorial. Any of those words is far more fitting than brilliant, as are self-enamored, egotistical, narcissistic, long-winded and boring.

You want to know who I think is truly brilliant? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, that's who. His demeanor is pleasant, and his decisions are invariably sensible and well-considered. And that includes his most recent decision, which was to skip Obama's State of the Union harangue.



If Obama REALLY wanted to create jobs ....

He would cut the corporations tax (and enrage all his far-Left supporters -- but they're all now livid with him anyhow)

By Jon Hall

America has the second-highest corporate tax rate on Earth. Economists say that this puts America at a competitive disadvantage. So to spur growth and help get us out of the Great Recession, some have urged Congress to lower the corporate tax rate. But rather than cutting rates, why not suspend the Corporation Income Tax altogether? In the Age of Trillion-Dollar Deficits, what would that do to federal revenue?

The highest federal revenue from the corporate income tax for any fiscal year was $370B in 2007. By contrast, fiscal year 2009 saw total corporate income tax revenue fall to $138B, a drop of 62.7 percent. (All years cited herein are fiscal years. Data herein can be found in the OMB's latest Historical Tables, pages 31-33. Chart below.)

But 2007 was a rather good year, when total federal revenue hit the all-time record of $2.568 trillion; while 2009, an indisputably dismal year, saw total federal revenue slide to $2.104 trillion, an 18-percent decline. So the percentage decline in corporate income tax revenue was 3.48 times greater than the percentage decline in total revenue.

Looking at pages 32 and 33 (Table 2.2), we see the portion of total federal revenue taken up by the corporate income tax to be higher in years 2005 through 2007 than in any year since 1980. And from 1980 going back to 1934 (where the table starts), we see that the corporate income tax's portion of total revenue was always in the double digits and was above 20 percent from 1941 through 1967, even hitting 39.8 percent in 1943. In 1983, when America was rising out of a recession, corporate taxes accounted for 6.2 percent of total revenue, the lowest percentage on the chart. But the next-lowest (6.5 percent) was that of 2009, that indisputably dismal year.

From 1941 through 1961, the share of total revenue contributed by corporate taxes ranged between 20.3 and 39.8 percent and averaged 28.1 percent. But from 1980 to the present, it ranged between 6.2 and 14.7 percent, averaging 8.92 percent from 1981 through 1990 and 10.61 percent from 1991 through 2000.

So the trend for the last seventy years has been for corporate income taxes to take up less and less of total federal revenue. This is certainly true of the boom years in the 1980s and the '90s, which averaged a 9.76-percent share. In 2008, a fiscal year mostly in recession, the corporate tax's share of total revenue (12.1 percent) was higher than in any of the boom years under Reagan, Bush the elder, and Clinton.

Let's compare the corporate income tax with another source of federal revenue:

The Individual Income Tax has been the largest source of federal revenue since 1944, when it shot up to 45 percent of total revenue. This tax's share of total federal revenue has stayed in the forty- to fifty-percent range ever since (except for 1949 and 1950), and it reached its all-time high of 49.9 percent in 2001. In 2000, the first year total federal revenue topped $2 trillion, individual income taxes made up 49.6 percent of total revenue, while corporate income taxes made up only 10.2 percent.

If Congress were to suspend the corporate income tax to spur the economy, what would corporations do with their "windfall"? Would they just give themselves raises and bonuses? To prevent such a thing, Congress might put provisos on what companies could do with their profits, like insisting that they take on new hires. But how can a business add workers when the consumer isn't spending?

In the Age of Trillion-Dollar Deficits, the federal government can't afford to forgo any revenue. But some have proposed a "payroll tax holiday," which could deprive the feds of far more revenue than a corporation tax holiday. Revenue from the payroll tax has provided 30-40 percent of total fed revenue for decades.

So suspension of the corporate income tax seems to be a nonstarter. Besides, if a corporation doesn't have any profits, which is often the case in a recession, it won't be paying any taxes anyway. Suspension of certain targeted taxes for low-income earners might be feasible if Congress were to suspend its infernal spending.

If suspension of taxes isn't a good idea, then neither is a temporary cut in tax rates. The problem with a temporary tax rate cut is that when a recession is over and the rate is reset back to "normal," it puts a drag on the recovery. Tax rates should be set to rates that work during both recessions and booms. Temporary measures are an override of the free market. What Congress should do is set the corporate tax at competitive rates permanently. Scott A. Hodge of the Tax Foundation reports: "[O]ver the past two years, more than 50 nations -- including China, Great Britain and Germany -- have cut their corporate income taxes in order to maintain their global competitiveness. Many of these countries have pleasantly discovered that lower tax rates reduce the incentive for businesses and individuals to engage in income-shifting which means more taxable income stays in-country."

If America wants to be truly competitive, then her corporate tax rates should be no more than the average rates of other major industrial economies. If we want to be competitive with France, Germany, Canada, and the U.K., then this would mean a reduction in rates of 11.1 percentage points. Using static analysis, this would mean a loss of $15.3B for 2009, a mere rounding error for our profligate Congress.

Let's permanently lower corporate income tax rates and make America a more attractive place to do business.




Keystone Kops give up: After years hounding the unfortunate Dr. Hatfill, the FBI finally decide that a dead guy sent the anthrax letters in 2001.

Dems' Advantage Among Young People Slips: "According to Pew Research, young people's support for the Democrat Party took a beating during 2009: The Democratic advantage over the Republicans in party affiliation among young voters, including those who "lean" to a party, reached a whopping 62% to 30% margin in 2008. But by the end of 2009 this 32-point margin had shrunk to just 14 points: 54% Democrat, 40% Republican. While the Republican Party picked up support from Millennials during 2009, this age group continues to favor the Democratic Party more than do other generations. And the underlying political values of this new generation continue to be significantly more liberal than those of other generations on many measures."

Soldier's defense gets another $50,000 from Savage listeners: "Talk radio icon Michael Savage has put another $50,000 in a defense fund for a U.S. soldier who was jailed for shooting a terrorist in self-defense. According to the Radio Business Report, Savage yesterday confirmed on his radio show he sent the additional funding for the defense of Lt. Michael Behenna, the Army Ranger sentenced to jail for killing known al-Qaida operative Ali Mansur in Iraq. "I want you to understand that we do make a difference here on The Savage Nation. This is not just a show," the report said Savage announced about the money collected from listeners through the Savage Legal Defense Fund. "Even if you haven't sent him any money, even if you only e-mailed him or wrote him a letter it's giving him the hope that one day he will be freed."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


20 February, 2010

MSM denial over IRS bomber's Leftism

Gee, looks like angry people! Must be the Tea Party movement!

Before crashing his plane into an IRS office building, Joe Stack wrote and posted online a diatribe against insurance and drug companies, private health care, George W. Bush, and the Catholic Church. Subtract out the subtle hints at his planned terror act, and a similar rant could have appeared in some form on any of several left-wing message boards.

Despite this, it isn't just willfully blind posters on those same left-wing message boards that are trying to insinuate some connection between the Tea Party movement and this apparent tax-evader and suicide pilot, who railed against Congress for failing to pass health reform. A reader emails in a few examples from the mainstream media, including this gem from New York Magazine, whose author does not seem either to have read the manifesto very closely or to have attended any Tea Party rallies: "In fact, a lot of his rhetoric could have been taken directly from a handwritten sign at a tea party rally.”

Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post shoots from the same hip, and even goes out of his way to omit, without an ellipsis, Stack's attack on capitalism (and nod of approval to communism) at the end of his rant: “But after reading his 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we're hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement.”

Time Magazine settles for placing a reference link to another piece, The making of the Tea Party movement, in the middle of its coverage.

So the next time you see a Tea Party rally, try to spot as many anti-Christian supporters of health insurance reform who hate George W. Bush as you can. Send the photographs and videos to us at The Washington Examiner.

Seriously, though, you'd think educated, intelligent people would see the difference. Unless they don't want to see it.



Beware of "Comprehensive" Anything

Victor Davis Hanson below applies some classic conservative advice to present-day politics

Before envisioning dramatic change, the Roman emperor Augustus is said to have warned, "Make haste slowly." The reformer Augustus was eager for radical social transformation. But he also knew he had to deal with generations of Roman tradition and habit -- and thousands of entrenched special interests. President Obama should heed Augustus' advice before he plans any more doomed top-to-bottom change.

Take his stalled health-care reforms. Rather than trying to turn a largely private system all at once into a huge state-controlled and regulated industry at a time of historic deficits, he would have been better off advocating incremental changes. Tort reform, for example, would reduce frivolous lawsuits that drive up medical expenses. Or health insurers could be allowed to compete across state lines. Tax credits and grants could focus on the uninsured. The costs of such changes would have been marginal, the savings large.

Instead, a 1,000-plus-page health-care bill had so many regulations that not even its congressional authors could explain all the details or predict their effects. And so President Obama's massive overhaul looks like it will meet the same fate as Bill Clinton's doomed 1993 "comprehensive" effort to remake American health care.

Obama also promised a remake of the war on terror -- including changing even its name to "overseas contingency operations." He campaigned on ending military tribunals, renditions and the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The Patriot Act and Predator drones were supposed to be trimmed back. Candidate Obama wanted combat troops to leave Iraq in March 2008 and declared the surge there a failure.

That comprehensive "reset" strategy was also quietly dropped. Obama has instead continued almost all the old Bush anti-terrorism protocols. Despite campaign talk of quickly getting out of Iraq and criticizing our supposed terrorizing of civilians in Afghanistan, Obama follows most Bush policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Loud promises to close Guantanamo, investigate former CIA interrogators and try terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York so far have not happened -- and probably won't.

Unfazed by his health-care implosion, about-face on terrorism and falling polls, the president has promised Hispanic groups he will seek comprehensive immigration reform, and will probably support the Democratic-sponsored "Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act."

George Bush, of course, failed with massive immigration legislation in 2008. Bush wanted to address all at once every problem from closing the border and guest workers to amnesty and earned citizenship. Instead, far better would be a more modest effort to just close the border -- and worry about the other problems later. That could be done fairy easily through enforcing existing employer sanctions and finishing the border fence.

Once the influx of new arrivals is curtailed, the other contentious issues can be dealt with piecemeal. Without a million new arrivals each year -- while we argue and debate -- the size of the illegal community would shrink due to voluntary repatriation, deportations and greater assimilation (such as through marriage).

In fact, very few presidents succeed in "comprehensive" reform. President Bush -- pointing to his mandate after the 2004 victory over John Kerry -- vowed to change public Social Security into a semi-private enterprise. It was a radical Obama-like plan in reverse, in which younger workers could open their own private investment accounts. But just like Obama's effort to remake health care, the more Bush campaigned across the country for comprehensive Social Security reform, the more the public seemed to be opposed. Far easier would have been raising the retirement age by a year or two.

Why do such comprehensive efforts usually fail? Often existing policies are not all bad. Remaking them from the ground up has as much to do with politics and bragging rights about achieving "big change" as real need. Comprehensive reform also often involves new laws, more money and additional bureaucrats. Yet almost every problem facing America arises from too much federal spending and borrowing -- not too little government.

Finally, offering "comprehensive" reform usually means years of arguing and horse-trading among pressure groups to get anything done. By the time all the special interests are appeased or bought off, the resulting elephantine legislation typically looks nothing like what was intended.

In short, big-government medicine usually doesn't work on big-government sickness. If President Obama wants "comprehensive" change, it would be better simply not to spend any more money we don't have -- another lesson from Augustus, who put financial reform and budgetary sanity above everything else.



The Greek Lesson

By Victor Davis Hanson

No, I don’t mean the classical Greeks, but their present-day counterparts. Economists have given us all the usual diagnoses of what went wrong in a now bankrupt Greece — high taxes, tax cheating, too generous retirements, unsustainable entitlements, government corruption, and anemic demography.

Add to such socialism the natural foreign policy and collective expressions that always follow statism in the modern Western world — increased pacifism, utopian pretension, moral equivalence, cheap anti-Americanism — and we have the foreign policy expression of Greece (and much of the EU) of the last 30 years. (A citizen who believes by birthright that he is to be taken care of by the state always hates the state that can never do enough, in the fashion that the country who is taken care of militarily always hates its protector.)

In other words, Greece is the canary in the mine of the impending crack-up of the modern welfare state. It is a great gift to us all, this example. A year ago, the socialists, even as they were juggling and falsifying their books, were bragging that the Wall Street meltdown was a referendum — and capitalism was doomed. Now, the entire socialist dream is exposed and even the most ardent statist knows that there is no longer enough “others” to pay the tab.

The poor EU learned that the Greek siesta, the 10PM Athenian dinners, the state power company vans at the beaches in the workday afternoons, the kafenions full of 50-year-old men at 11AM, the angry students perpetually in the streets at each hinted reform, and the moonlighting telephone employees all came at the expense of far harder-working Scandinavian and German socialists, who apparently now realize a nice two weeks each year on Santorini or Crete aren’t worth billions of their own Euros in rescue bailouts.

Here in California we see the symptoms of the same Greek malady as we go from one budget shortfall to the next — dream-like borrowing, raising taxes, and furloughing, in lieu of the tough medicine of cutting government payrolls, changing pension payouts, and freezing the pay of state-workers until their compensation mirror images those in the private sector.

Postmodern Western society will soon witness a real showdown, analogous to the teenager who rebels and either accepts that he is still dependent on his parents and therefore subject to the rules of the house, or runs away and implodes in a sea of drugs and street-life.

In short, how will an entitled society react when the money runs out and it learns that it must change or wither away — and all the whining rhetoric about “social justice” and “a green future” and “spread the wealth” and “redistributive change” won’t bring another barrel of oil or bushel of wheat or Douglas fir 2” x 4”?

On the one hand, the money is vanishing. Income, state and federal, as well as payroll, taxes here in California may soon top 60% on top incomes (10% state, 15% plus payroll on most of one’s self-employed income, 39% federal). Add in property and sales taxes and we’ve reached the point where the lemon can no longer be squeezed without either more than the current 3,500 a week leaving the state, or going the Greek route of endemic cheating.

Where did all the wealth go? Modern Western society is in some sense becoming drone-like, its entitled sensitive citizens assuming ceremonial roles and attitudes about the very landscape they inherited from their industrious predecessors.

Here in California we idle farmland, though we have the water, expertise, and soil to produce far more food than we do. We put vast swaths of both land and sea off limits to gas and oil production, though we could produce far more petroleum and natural gas than we do. We snub nuclear power, though our population steadily increases and its desire for electronic appurtenance grows, not shrinks. We like “wilderness areas” (who doesn’t?) where we build no roads, harvest no timber, and build no dams. We strangle Silicon Valley with all sorts of labor and business regulations until it fabricates and outsources abroad. In other words, we are creating no real new sources of concrete wealth as we nuance the shrinking capital we inherited.

Yes, before we have the actor, the writer, the professor, the insurer, the investor, the regulator, and the politicians, we need the elemental among us to find or create material wealth. We, the sloganeering class, forgot that, and so subsidize our high living either on borrowed money or the prior productive investment of those now in the grave yards.

And the tab is coming due faster than we ever dreamed. All the soaring, teleprompted rhetoric, the Ivy-League credentials, and the social justice boilerplate will no more create wealth than ceremonial fifth-century AD consuls and robed bishops could fabricate the glory of Rome.

Why am I not too optimistic right now? Our President, who submitted the largest deficits in recent memory, and who is on track to nearly double the national debt in record time, continues to blame Bush — not just for Bush’s lamentable deficits, but for Obama’s own new unsustainable ones. I think his weird logic is: “Bush’s bad deficits made me trump them by a factor of four.” When the Commander-in-Chief expects the populace to believe that, or drops real unemployment figures and talks instead of theoretical jobs saved, or flip-flops on everything from evil Wall Street bankers now suddenly good, or bad nuclear power now vital, then we have about as much hope as we would have under Jimmy Carter.

More here


A good letter

On 23 August 2009, the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger published a letter to the editor from Dr. Roger Starner Jones, a physician who specializes in emergency medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. Jones' letter was published under the title "Why Pay for the Care of the Careless?" and read as follows:

During my last shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tatoos and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ring tone.

Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid.

She smokes a costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer.

And our president expects me to pay for this woman's health care? Our nation's health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture -- a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow.




Obama banned from Las Vegas: "The list of people banned from Las Vegas is a litany of dishonour. But among the swindlers, fixers and mobsters — many of their mugshots displayed on the Nevada Gaming Commission’s website under the heading Excluded, Wanted & Denied — is a new and rather unlikely name: that of Barack H. Obama, of Washington. “I want to assure you that when he comes [here], I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot,” growled Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas, before Air Force One swooped down over Sin City’s infamous “Strip” for a presidential visit that was expected to last less than 24 hours. Mr Goodman was not there to greet Mr Obama when he stepped on to the tarmac of McCarran International, having turned down an invitation from the White House. Nor was he expected to attend any of the President’s events — an astonishing rebuff by a lowly city mayor to a US leader. With Obama’s visit intended in large part to help the re-election chances of the deeply unpopular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — a man who opined with excruciating candour that the President’s victory in 2008 was a result of him being a “light-skinned African-American, with no Negro dialect” — the mayor’s snub was threatening to turn an already awkward situation into a full-blown political debacle... the 70-year-old mayor is livid about what he regards as Mr Obama’s repeated attacks on his beloved city, which has been hurt badly by the recession."

Obama finds a useful RINO: "The same day President Obama called for another $50 billion to $100 billion stimulus plan (and concomitant increase in the deficit), he also appointed the chairmen of his Deficit Reduction Commission. It says a lot about Washington that almost no one got the irony of those paired announcements. The two cochairmen will be Democrat Erskine Bowles, President Bill Clinton's former White House chief of staff, and Republican Alan Simpson, the former Wyoming Senator. Mr. Simpson was best known for being a thorn in the side of conservatives and supply-siders when he was in the Senate. "He is a tax increaser and he's anti-immigrant," says Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Larry Kudlow of CNBC's Kudlow Report is even more critical. "Simpson's to the left of Erskine Bowles," Mr. Kudlow scoffs. "This thing [the bipartisan deficit panel] needs to be blown up. It's an excuse to raise taxes -- when we need to be cutting tax rates."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


19 February, 2010

Mixed race can be a good thing

I gather that all references to mixed race are these days regarded as taboo. So when Obama referred to himself as a "mutt", you could almost hear the gasps. But blacks themselves take it very seriously. Among blacks, a lighter-skinned black tends to be more prestigious and more complacent about his skin color. So a brown black cruises, if that makes any sense.

Whites, on the other hand, are less sensitive to such differences. For political correctness purposes, all noticeably pigmented people are "black" and, as such, a privileged class who may not be criticized. Why the least competent segment of society is treated as a a privileged class is a question that I had better not address here.

But I want to say that being of mixed race is in fact a matter of some significance. I myself am of mixed race: Mostly English but with plenty of Irish and a bit of Scots. And that stands me in good stead. The English in me means that when I am in England I am quite reserved and hence qualify as "a nice quiet chap" -- which is a term of praise in England.

But when I am in Scotland the Celt comes out in me and the emotional, sentimental attitudes of the Scots are ones that I am entirely comfortable with. And even when I am back home in Australia, I do sometimes play sentimental Scottish music (is there any other kind?), which I greatly enjoy.

And I also have blood kin who are even more mixed than I am. My vivacious cousin twice removed -- Michelle -- is half Han Chinese and half Anglo and I am mightily impressed by her good qualities. She is still as yet in High School but she will go far. Her blue-eyed father is a very knowledgeable academic and a former Assembly of God minister so that helps.

So mixed race can be a good thing. American blacks are right. White racists will hate me for saying that but you can't win 'em all.

The Celtic sentimentalist in me, however, gives me a liking for the blue eyes that characterize all my close blood kin. But the fact that my tall blue-eyed son has a firm relationship with a lady who is half Han Chinese and half English will most probably mean that I will not have blue-eyed grandchildren. My son did however meet his lady when she was studying rocket science (I kid you not) so she is pretty smart. He is a mathematician and the Chinese are pre-eminent in mathematics so I am very pleased by the intellectual potential of any grandchildren that I might have. As an academic myself, I hold intellectual achievement in high regard. Iris pigmentation is a trivial matter if other things are good.

Mind you, genetics can sometimes spring surprises. Someone I see often and admire greatly is an Italian man with the usual Italian black hair and dark eyes. Yet he has recently fathered a gorgeous daughter who has blue eyes and RED hair -- two colorations that are recessive genetically. But he does have a blue-eyed, red-haired Anglo wife so that helps.

To forestall cynical comments, I might mention that Vincenzo does have a blue-eyed sister and that his mother is a Northerner. And there is a lot of Germanic blood among Northern Italians. Germans have been invading Italy for over 2,000 years -- since the days of the Roman republic, in fact. No wonder that Italians find Germans very alarming to this day.


Hate is a tool of big government

If eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, incessant distractions are the way that politicians take away our freedoms, in order to enhance their own power and longevity in office. Dire alarms and heady crusades are among the many distractions of our attention from the ever increasing ways that government finds to take away more of our money and more of our freedom.

Magicians have long known that distracting an audience is the key to creating the illusion of magic. It is also the key to political magic.

Alarms ranging from “overpopulation” to “global warming” and crusades ranging from “affordable housing” to “universal health care” have been among the distractions of political magicians. But few distractions have had such a long and impressive political track record as getting people to resent and, if necessary, hate other people.

The most politically effective totalitarian systems have gotten people to give up their own freedom in order to vent their resentment or hatred at other people— under Communism, the capitalists; under Nazis, the Jews.

Under extremist Islamic regimes today, hatred is directed at the infidels in general and the “great Satan,” the United States, in particular. There some people have been induced to give up not only their freedom but even their lives, in order to strike a blow against those they have been taught to hate.

We have not yet reached these levels of hostility, but those who are taking away our freedoms, bit by bit, on the installment plan, have been incessantly supplying us with people to resent.

One of the most audacious attempts to take away our freedom to live our lives as we see fit has been the so-called “health care reform” bills that were being rushed through Congress before either the public or the members of Congress themselves had a chance to discover all that was in it.

For this, we were taught to resent doctors, insurance companies and even people with “Cadillac health insurance plans,” who were to be singled out for special taxes. Meanwhile, our freedom to make our own medical decisions— on which life and death can depend— was to be quietly taken from us and transferred to our betters in Washington.

Only the recent Massachusetts election results have put that on hold.

Another dangerous power toward which we are moving, bit by bit, on the installment plan, is the power of politicians to tell people what their incomes can and cannot be. Here the resentment is being directed against “the rich.”

The distracting phrases here include “obscene” wealth and “unconscionable” profits. But, if we stop and think about it— which politicians don’t expect us to— what is obscene about wealth? Wouldn’t we consider it great if every human being on earth had a billion dollars and lived in a place that could rival the Taj Mahal?

Poverty is obscene. It is poverty that needs to be reduced—and increasing a country’s productivity has done that far more widely than redistributing income by targeting “the rich.”

You can see the agenda behind the rhetoric when profits are called “unconscionable” but taxes never are, even when taxes take more than half of what someone has earned, or add much more to the prices we have to pay than profits do.

The assumption that what A pays B is any business of C is an assumption that means a dangerous power being transferred to politicians to tell us all what incomes we can and cannot receive. It will not apply to everyone all at once. Like the income tax, which at first applied only to the truly rich, and then slowly but steadily moved down the income scale to hit the rest of us, the power to say what incomes people can be allowed to make will inevitably move down the income scale to make us all dependents and supplicants of politicians.

The phrase “public servants” is increasingly misleading. They are well on their way to becoming public masters— like aptly named White House “czars.” The more they can get us all to resent those they designate, the more they can distract us from their increasing control of our own lives— but only if we sell our freedom cheap. We can sell our birthright and not even get the mess of pottage.



Unbelievable: Obama Shifting NASA Mission from Moon to Muslims

President Obama recently announced he would be diverting funds away from NASA's plans to return to the moon, but failed to mention what his plans for the future of NASA might look like.

According to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, President Obama has asked NASA to "find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries," in a push to make the agency a tool of international diplomacy.

The Orlando Sentinel reports: In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners,” said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students. Specifically, he talked about connecting with countries that do not have an established space program and helping them conduct science missions. He mentioned new opportunities with Indonesia, including an educational program that examines global climate change."

Canceling the Constellation program already threatens to put the U.S. behind countries like China and Russia. When did Kennedy's once undeterred vision of American space exploration transform into Obama's plan for an international science "welfare" program? When did NASA become a tool of diplomacy and an extended arm of the EPA?



Bayh's Good-Bye: Here's the Real Reason

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., "shocked" President Barack Obama and his party by announcing his plan to retire from the Senate. Appearing on CBS' "The Early Show," Bayh explained: Washington suffers from acute partisanship. Washington doesn't work. It is broken.

How noble -- a principled position against "divisiveness." Let us honor a good man standing tall against the lack of "bipartisanship." Pass the barf bag.

When has Washington, D.C., not been "divisive" under a president pushing unpopular ideas -- whether the war in Iraq, the Senate "amnesty" bill, partial privatization of Social Security or Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve openly in the military?

Could it be that the "fed-up" senator feared losing re-election? Don't ask. CBS didn't. The possibility that Bayh faced a tough re-election wasn't even hinted at. But imagine Bayh, who explored a 2008 presidential bid, running for re-election while justifying to skeptical Hoosiers his votes for "stimulus," TARP, the auto bailouts and ObamaCare.

Here's the big underreported story: In a hypothetical race against undeclared candidate Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. -- according to a recent Rasmussen poll of likely voters -- Bayh was down 3 points. Against another possible opponent, former House Republican John Hostettler, he was only ahead by 3 points. Welcome to the new normal. No Democrat or squishy Republican is safe.

By a 2-1 margin, more people call themselves politically conservative than liberal. Self-identified "independents," who outnumber both the Dems and the Republicans, have turned against Obama with a vengeance. This center-right country now realizes it elected a left-winger for president. And voters don't like what they see or what he's doing.



GOP 'tsunami' predicted for exurban, South, mountain states

Former Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, the architect of previous Republican campaign successes, says outer-suburban voters eager to place a check on President Obama and Democrats are swinging back to the GOP and will power a Republican resurgence in New England, while aiding GOP "tsunamis" in Virginia, Colorado and Iowa.

Mr. Davis, the current president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of the party's more moderate lawmakers, told reporters Wednesday that the GOP has had its best-ever year of recruiting candidates for congressional elections, which has helped put so many seats into play.

He said Democrats are having a tough time reaching a balance of keeping regular voters happy while also appeasing the liberal voters who surged to the polls in the 2008 election. "Those are the problems Democrats have coming in. The surge voters right now, they're asleep. And the outer suburbs, the South, the mountain states, I think you can look for Republican tsunamis," Mr. Davis said. "You're going to have big years."

A sign of how bad Republican fortunes have been the past two elections is their ouster from New England, where the GOP no longer holds any House seats. But Mr. Davis said Republicans will capture seats there this year, including both New Hampshire districts.

On Wednesday, Mr. Davis' predecessor at the Main Street Partnership, former Rep. Charlie Bass, said he'll run to try to recapture the House seat from New Hampshire that he lost in 2006 to Rep. Paul W. Hodes. Mr. Hodes is vacating the seat to run for the Senate.




Catholic foster care cut in light of D.C. gay marriage laws: "The Archdiocese of Washington's decision to drop its foster care program is the first casualty of the District's pending same-sex marriage law that will obligate all outside contractors dealing with the city to recognize gay couples. Its decision, posted late Tuesday on the archdiocese's Web site, announced that the archdiocese had ended its 80-year-old program Feb. 1, the day the city's contract expired with Catholic Charities, the church's social services arm. "We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful," Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Ed Orzechowski said in a statement. "Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades. We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District." Catholic Charities' caseload of 43 children and 35 foster families was transferred, along with seven staffers, to the Bethesda, Md.-based National Center for Children and Families so as not to disrupt client care".

Economists told Britain's numbskull Leftists that their planned higher taxes would REDUCE tax revenue: "Gordon Brown’s launch of a Labour election campaign promising economic recovery was in jeopardy last night as a record slump in tax receipts fuelled fears that Britain could slip back into recession. Official figures showed that the Treasury borrowed another £4.3 billion last month. It is the first time since records began in 1993 that the nation has been in the red in January, traditionally the month when government coffers are swelled by big tax receipts. Economists, who had expected a surplus of about £2.8 billion, sounded renewed alarm, with some saying Britain’s deficit could exceed Greece’s." [The higher taxes haven't all kicked in yet but big businesses are already moving out in droves]

Are our “leaders” superior?: "When people talk about how market agents need to be regulated because, well, without it they could do bad things, it never fails to amaze me how narrow-minded is this line of reasoning. When human beings are fit for regulation by others, they are usually children and the others are their parents or guardians. So it has to do with who is an adult, who is not. Makes sense. But when it is about adult citizens allegedly requiring regulation by other adult citizens, it is simply baffling.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


18 February, 2010

How did religion evolve?

The article below is very limited. The authors rightly say that basic concepts of right and wrong have often previously been shown to be largely hardwired (inborn). They also rightly see that religion reinforces and refines moral and ethical ideas but does not cause them. So the authors only achieve a negative: They exclude morality and a need for co-operation as a reason for religious beliefs. The only positive conclusion they have to offer is the very vague statement that religion is a "byproduct of pre-existing cognitive functions". That tells us precisely nothing, it seems to me. So let me answer the question. I don't think it is hard at all. I would say that religious beliefs are a product of a very basic and distinctive human trait: A hunger to understand -- in particular, a hunger to understand the world about us. And supernatural beliefs answer questions that otherwise lack answers. Is that clearer than a "byproduct of pre-existing cognitive functions"?

Religion evolved as a byproduct of pre-existing mental capacities, and not because it fulfilled a specific function of its own -- though it can facilitate co-operation in society, a study concludes. The new study, published Feb. 8 in the research journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, takes a somewhat different track, exploring the link between morality and religion.

Some scholars claim that religion evolved as an adaptation to solve the problem of co-operation among genetically unrelated individuals, while others propose that religion emerged as a byproduct of pre-existing cognitive capacities," said study co-author Ilkka Pyysiainen of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in Finland.

Pyysiainen and a co-author, evolutionary psychologist Marc Hauser of Harvard University, reviewed the two competing theories using the principles of what they call experimental moral psychology. "Religion is linked to morality in different ways," said Hauser. "For some, there is no morality without religion, while others see religion as merely one way of expressing one's moral intuitions."

But past studies, the authors said, show that people of differing religion or no religion show similar moral judgments when asked to comment on unfamiliar moral dilemmas. That suggests intuitive judgments of right and wrong work independently of explicit religious commitments, the researchers argued. "This supports the theory that religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation for co-operation, but evolved as a separate byproduct of pre-existing cognitive functions that evolved from non-religious functions," said Pyysiainen.

"However, although it appears as if co-operation is made possible by mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion, religion can play a role in facilitating and stabilizing cooperation between groups." This might help to explain the complex association between morality and religion, the scientists added. "It seems that in many cultures religious concepts and beliefs have become the standard way of conceptual moral intuitions. Although, as we discuss in our paper, this link is not a necessary one, many people have become so accustomed to using it, that criticism targeted at religion is experienced as a fundamental threat to our moral existence," said Hauser.

SOURCE (Journal abstract follows)
The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product?

By Ilkka Pyysiainen and Marc Hauser

Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins and evolution of religion. One proposal views religion as an adaptation for co-operation, whereas an alternative proposal views religion as a by-product of evolved, non-religious, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between religion and morality in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in moral psychology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in religious background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their moral judgments for unfamiliar moral scenarios. These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the problem of cooperation.

Another choice Obama appointment

Rashad Hussain is the Obama administration’s newly appointed special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the thuggish international organization that is engaged in a full-scale campaign to intimidate Western governments into adopting hate speech codes that will effectively quash criticism of Islam – including jihad violence perpetrated in its name. Rashad Hussain is an apposite choice for this position, since several years ago he defended a notorious U.S.-based leader of a jihad terrorist group.

But someone doesn’t want you to know that, and made a clumsy attempt to cover it up. In 2004, Rashad Hussain, then a Yale law student, declared that the investigation and prosecution of University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian, who ultimately pled guilty to charges involving his activities as a leader of the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was a “politically motivated persecution” designed “to squash dissent.”

Journalist Patrick Goodenough of Cybercast News Service reports that Hussain’s remarks in support of Al-Arian were published in the jihad-enabling Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in November 2004. But now all that has gone down the memory hole. The Washington Report’s archived version of this November 2004 article lacks two paragraphs that were included in the original version: the ones quoting Rashad Hussain. Otherwise the article is unchanged.

The Washington Report editors, caught red-handed, decided to brazen it out, and blame their accusers – a tried-and-true tactic that is also frequently employed by jihadists in the West. They insist that there was no cover-up, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a venomous Islamophobe: according to Goodenough, “WRMEA news editor and executive director Delinda Hanley denied there was a ‘cover-up,’ and implied that anti-Muslim discrimination was behind the fact this was now being raised.”

Sure. It’s just “anti-Muslim discrimination” to be concerned about Rashad Hussain’s support for Al-Arian, a vicious suicide-bombing supporter who chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and clearly meant it. When two Islamic Jihad suicide bombers killed eighteen people in Israel in 1995, Al-Arian called them “two mujahidin martyred for the sake of God.”

But there was no cover-up! It was all a mistake, you see: according to the Washington Report now, Sami Al-Arian’s daughter, Laila Al-Arian, actually said the words that were attributed to Rashad Hussain. But this explanation doesn’t make sense, since the article was altered just to remove the quotes, not to change the name of the person quoted. Also, the author of the original story, Shereen Kandil, contradicts the Washington Report’s explanation, telling Goodenough: “When I worked as a reporter at WRMEA, I understood how important it was to quote the right person, and accurately. I have never mixed my sources and wouldn’t have quoted Rashad Hussain if it came from Laila al-Arian. If the editors from WRMEA felt they wanted to remove Rashad Hussain from the article, my assumption is that they did it for reasons other than what you’re saying. They never once contacted me about an ‘error’ they claim I made.’”

Whoever is covering up for Rashad Hussain should come clean. And in the process, Obama should reevaluate the wisdom of sending a man like Hussain, with the views that he holds, to an organization such as the OIC.



Rasmussen: Voters Think Democrats More Likely To Have A Plan for the Future

We see below that the voters accurately perceive the Left/Right difference: That it is Democrats who want great transformations for America whereas Conservatives want just cautious incremental change. The sadness is that that the GOP and the Donks are not differentiated more strongly in that way. Perhaps conservatives need to convey a stronger message about the desirability of NOT having grand plans for other people

The first President Bush called it “the vision thing,” and voters are more confident that the Democratic Party has it than do Republicans. They also see Democrats as more ideological than the GOP these days. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of voters believe that the Democratic Party has a plan for where it wants to take the nation. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree, and 24% aren’t sure. By comparison, 35% think the GOP has a plan for where it wants to take the nation, but slightly more voters (39%) think the Republican Party doesn’t have any such plan. Twenty-six percent (26%) are undecided.

Interestingly, 65% of Democratic voters say their party has a plan for the future, compared to 57% of Republicans who say the same of the GOP. Voters not affiliated with either party are more closely divided and tend to think neither party knows where it’s going.

It helps, of course, that Democrats control both the White House and Congress and therefore are setting the national agenda. But right now it appears voters see the Republicans more as the party of “no” than as a party with ideas for the future.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters describe the Democratic Party’s leadership as at least somewhat liberal. That includes 46% who say Democratic leaders are very liberal. Seventy-two percent (73%) now believe President Obama is a political liberal.

As for the leaders of the Republican Party, 61% of voters describe them as at least somewhat conservative, but that finding includes only 24% who say they are very conservative. Conservative is the most popular of five common political labels tested by Rasmussen Reports. Liberal is the least popular.

The Political Class sees the two parties a little differently. Seventy-six percent (76%) of the Political Class believes the Democratic Party has a plan for where it wants to take the nation, but Mainstream voters are almost evenly divided on the question. A plurality (48%) of the Political Class says the Republican Party does not have a plan for the nation’s future. Mainstream voters again have more mixed feelings: 40% think the GOP does have a plan for where it wants to guide the nation, but 31% don’t.

More here


Tehran on path to our destruction

The international community is standing by as Iran goes nuclear

STAND by for some bad news. No, I mean really bad news. The world is not going to apply crippling sanctions to Iran. Even if it did, Iran would not be deterred from developing nuclear weapons. The only way that Iran can be significantly delayed in its pursuit of nuclear weapons is through an Israeli air strike on its nuclear facilities.

I think the chances of an Israeli attack are somewhat less than 50-50. Even with an air strike, the likelihood is you would delay rather than prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons. Don't get me wrong, a delay is much better than no delay, but the balance of probabilities is that Iran will ultimately have a nuclear arsenal.

Even sanctions would only have an outside chance of working. But the world is not even going to try them. China, and to a lesser extent Russia, are going to make sure that doesn't happen. This is a tragedy far beyond Copenhagen, but like Copenhagen it illustrates the complete breakdown of the multilateral system.

The US could strike Iran's nuclear facilities far more effectively than Israel could, but to do so would be foreign to every instinct of the Obama administration. It would also be hugely risky. But the risks of not acting are even greater. Nonetheless, the portents are strong that the Obama administration will dither.

More than 12 months ago, just after his inauguration, Obama said: "If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us." Since then Obama has done everything an American president could possibly do to engage and entice Iran. He has made countless statements about the genius of Persian civilisation, the wonders of Islam as a religion, the sweetness of the Iranian people, the potential reasonableness of the Iranian government. And in response he has received contemptuous game playing from the Iranians. I come to my conclusion that Iran will ultimately get nuclear weapons with great reluctance, but it follows ineluctably from the facts. Consider the main players: Iran, the US, China, the UN, Russia, Israel. First Iran. There is really no doubt that Iran has a program designed to produce nuclear weapons.

Recently President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government announced that Iran had enriched uranium to 20 per cent and would build a slew of new nuclear fuel plants. This is a fundamental step along the road to nuclear weapons. It represents one of the critical technical hurdles....

Consider the US. The key argument against George W. Bush's intervention in Iraq is that it did not have UN approval. It is inconceivable Obama would get UN approval for a strike against Iran, so it is heroic, though not absolutely out of the question, to imagine him doing it. Instead the US is providing anti-missile defences to all the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, in the hope that this will balance their fear of Iran.

Israel just might strike, but my guess is the world will dither and wake up one brand new day to a Tehran that encompasses the possibility of the destruction of us all.

Much more here



It looks like American conservatives are taking a leaf out of Obama's book. A lot of them have recently got together to sign The Mount Vernon Statement, which is supposed to set out what conservatives stand for. It is VERY short on specifics. It reminds me of "hope and change"

Poll: Majority of Americans say Obama doesn’t deserve second term: "President Obama’s new jobs plan may include finding one, a new survey suggests. A majority of Americans think Obama should be a one-term president, the CNN / Opinion Research Corp. poll says, with 52% saying he is undeserving of a second term in office.”

Socialist bankruptcy in Greece: "How long have European socialists been telling us how successful European welfare-statism has been? The governments in Europe’s socialist countries, they tell us, take care of their people with pensions, social security, free health care and education, and job security. And everything, they say, is just hunky dory. But as we libertarians have been telling American socialists for decades, it’s just a matter of time before socialist systems start cracking apart, which of course has now occurred in Greece.”

Obama’s nuclear winter?: "If the president wants to go further in demonstrating his commitment to nuclear energy — and reduce the burden on the taxpayer should something go wrong — he should seek to wean the industry off its reliance on the state. The best way to do that is to streamline the permitting process further. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s new permitting process is a good first step in that it reduces the time from application to license issue down to just four years in ideal circumstances; by way of comparison, the United Kingdom’s Labour government has announced a new process whereby planning application and licensing together take just one and a half years.”

Bring back recourse in foreclosure plan: "A growing chorus of voices has recently been echoing the same refrain: the Obama foreclosure prevention plan has been a failure. This should be no surprise since the Obama plan, from its very beginnings, ignored the primary drivers of default: negative equity coupled with unemployment. But the solution being proffered — mortgage write-downs — is simply another dead-end. Forgiveness, either through bankruptcy courts or the Treasury, will encourage additional delinquencies, not less. The most direct way to reduce foreclosures is expecting those borrowers who can pay their mortgages to do so, regardless of the value of their homes. We need to bring back recourse, allowing lenders to seek repayment from all of a borrower’s assets, not just the collateral behind a loan.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


17 February, 2010

Obama faces mid-term humiliation after Senate exodus

President Barack Obama is facing humiliation in this year's mid-term elections after a wave of desertions by Democratic senators who have retreated from tough challenges for their seats from a resurgent Republican party.

There was speculation on Tuesday that the next to join an exodus ahead of the November elections could be Blanche Lincoln, who represents the conservative southern state of Arkansas and is behind every putative Republican challenger in opinon polls.

The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is meanwhile trailing all his potential Republican opponents in his state of Nevada, and even Mr Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois is expected to be close run.

The White House was rocked on Monday by the announcement by Evan Bayh, a popular, centrist senator from Indiana, who became the fifth senator to confirm he will not run for re-election. The latest speculation of more senators coming forward will only add to President Obama's woes and raise the prospect his party could lose its majority in Congress.

The emerging consensus in Washington is now that the Democrats have only a 50-50 chance of keeping control of the Senate, where they currently hold 59 out of the 100 seats, in what would be a stunning reversal of fortune after the party's clean sweep in 2008.

It has already lost the 60-strong majority that automatically overrode procedural blocks, after little known Republican Scott Brown last month captured a Massachusetts seat held by the late Edward Kennedy for 47 years.

Other Democrats are expected to withdraw from fray before deadlines fall for standing in the midterms, when 33 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats will be contested.

The ruling party's vulnerability was further underlined on Tuesday when Frank Lautenberg, the 86-year-old senator for New Jersey, collapsed at his home and was hospitalised for the treatment of an ulcer. News of his collapse served as a reminder of the frail health of other senators, such as Robert Byrd, at 92 the oldest and longest serving member of the Senate, and Arlen Specter, an 80-year-old cancer and brain tumour survivor who faces a gruelling re-election battle in Pennsylvania.

Mr Bayh blamed his departure on a deep disillusion with the partisan gridlock in the Senate that he said failed to put nation over party.

Other Democrats have simply lacked the stomach for the fight, amid public upset over job losses, spiraling federal deficits and spending, huge bonuses awarded to executives of bailed-out financial institutions and Washington's yearlong and so far fruitless pre-occupation with health care.

Senator Byron Dorgan has announced he will run again in North Dakota - where Democrats have yet to find a replacement candidate - while the party failed to recruit its top candidate in Delaware when Vice President Joe Biden's son Beau eschewed a run for the seat long held by his father.

Democrats have a 255-178 edge in the House of Representatives, but more retirements are expected among 49 Democrats from districts, mainly in the South, that supported Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008.

"It hasn't been a lot of fun for centrist Democrats," said John Feehery, a Republican strategist. "They get a lot of heat back in their states on spending and health care and you have to be a true believer in the president's agenda to stick this out and a lot of them are not true believers. To put your family through the stress of another campaign if you don't have the fire in your belly is a big deal."



Obama's addled national security advisor and his hatred of dissent

"Politics should never get in the way of national security," wrote John Brennan, the White House's shockingly political deputy national security advisor. His USA Today Op-Ed article last week set off a firestorm inside the Beltway by essentially accusing critics of administration policy of deliberately lying -- "misrepresenting the facts to score political points, instead of coming together to keep us safe" -- and aiding and abetting al-Qaeda: "Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda." ...

For the record, I basically agree with Brennan's critics. The Obama administration's explanations for how it's treated the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day bombing and how it dealt with the civilian trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other al-Qaeda terrorists have been incoherent and amateurish....

Let's assume Brennan's right about President Obama's critics -- that, for political reasons, they're distorting the facts of how the Christmas Day suspect was handled. Would that help al-Qaeda? That would depend on what direction the critics are pushing the administration, wouldn't it? In this case, critics are demanding more diligence and hawkishness against al-Qaeda. That helps our enemies?

And lying in itself isn't aid and comfort to the enemy. John F. Kennedy successfully misrepresented the facts about the "missile gap" in 1960, in a hawkish direction. But I'm not sure it helped the Soviets. I'm not defending lying -- and Brennan offers no good evidence on that score. I'm just trying to unpack his argument. As with his boss, it seems Brennan's real objection is to inconvenient criticism, and he's willing to use any rhetorical weapon near to hand to delegitimize it. That's why he suggests criticism is driven by partisanship. But, again, partisanship is one of the necessary antibodies of a healthy democracy.

No one likes partisan asininity, never mind dishonesty, but politics are supposed to be messy. In Federalist 51, James Madison famously wrote about how "ambition must be made to counteract ambition." That's what "playing politics" usually amounts to. Like the seeming chaos of the market, the hurly-burly of politics is how we sort things out. The result is often healthier than the process would suggest.

As the Washington Post's Fred Hiatt recently noted, partisanship defined the debate over port security during the Bush years. Democrats in Congress harped on the Bush "failure" to achieve the impossible goal of inspecting every cargo container. Now that Obama has adopted the Bush policy, the same voices are cheering. The hypocrisy might be annoying, but the Democrats' anti-Bush partisanship also called attention to an important issue. The real danger now is that Democrats will abdicate diligent oversight out of partisan loyalty, while Republicans will ignore the issue out of fear of seeming hypocritical.

Every White House is prone to group-think. So it's no wonder that this administration has the tendency to dismiss criticism as illegitimate, partisan and even dangerous. The Bush White House certainly dabbled in this sort of thing on the grounds that there was a war on. Democrats used to take great offense, which is why they insisted dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Brennan's tantrum reveals that that talking point is a dead letter.

But I'm less concerned about that than I am about Obama's faith in something called "post-partisan politics." Politics without partisanship isn't politics. And democracy without politics isn't democracy.



But he hearts Islamists

It's bad enough that John Brennan, President Obama's national security deputy, thinks Gitmo jihadi recidivism is "not that bad." But in his talk last week with Islamic law students at New York University, Brennan made even more reckless comments about our counterterrorism programs while pandering to one of the worst Muslim grievance-mongers and sharia peddlers in America.

During the question-and-answer session, Brennan welcomed a question from Omar Shahin. He identified himself as the head of the "North American Imams Federation." What he didn't mention was his role as the chief ringleader of the infamous flying imams. You remember them: They were the six Muslim clerics whose suspicious behavior -- provocatively shouting "Allahu Akbar!" before boarding the plane, fanning out in the cabin before take-off, refusing to sit in their assigned seats, requesting seat-belt extenders, which they placed on the floor -- led to their removal by a U.S. Airways crew in 2006...

Brennan didn't appear to know who Shahin was. Somebody around him should have briefed him. Shahin's involvement in Hamas-linked charities and radical Wahhabi "youth groups" has earned the Jordanian-born naturalized citizen increased FBI scrutiny over the years. Instead, Brennan treated him as just another innocent Muslim with "reasonable" concerns about the government. "We came to this country to enjoy freedom," Shahin began with faux, flag-waving emotion. "We feel that since September 11, we aren't enjoying these values anymore. . Also, we feel that there's a big lack of trust between Muslims' community and our government. . My question: Is there anything being done by our government to rebuild this trust?"

Instead of countering the narrative, exposing Shahin's true intentions and vigorously defending America's homeland security apparatus, Brennan dutifully genuflected to the gods of political correctness. Obama, he told the militant 9/11 inside-job theorist and jihad white-washer, is "determined to put America on a strong course."

No, not a "strong course" that includes national security profiling of Islamic radicals pretending they care about our country's best interests. By "strong course," Brennan assured Shahin, he meant a course toward assuaging the civil rights groups who have objected to every security program at airports, borders, train stations and visa offices for the past nine years.

Brennan told Shahin that the post-9/11 response of the Bush administration was a "reaction some people might say was over the top in some areas" (insert indignant grievance-monger nodding and mmm-hmming here), and that "in an overabundance of caution, (we) implemented a number of security measures and activities that upon reflection now we look back, after the heat of the battle has died down a bit, we say they were excessive, OK."

It gets worse: Brennan then went on to decry the "ignorant feelings" of Americans outraged at the jihadi attacks on American soil. And then he told Shahin and the audience of Muslim students that he "was very concerned after the attack in Fort Hood as well as the December 25 attack that all of sudden there were people who went back into this fearful position that lashed out not thinking through what was reasonable and appropriate."

The Fort Hood jihadist slaughtered 14 innocent soldiers and an unborn baby after an Army career of openly threatening the lives of our soldiers, and Brennan is wringing his hands about the rest of us "lashing out" over government incompetence. He believes our true sin is not in the systemic underreacting by the military, homeland security, intel and White House officials in charge, but in the "overreacting" of the American public. With clueless capitulationists like Brennan in charge of our safety, who needs enemies?



NJ governor offers Obama an example of fiscal courage

President Obama could learn a lot about fiscal responsibility from New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie. The governor is making hard choices to close a $2.2 billion state budget deficit by freezing spending and erasing surpluses to meet current needs. Mr. Christie is cutting money for schools, colleges, hospitals and the New Jersey Transit system - 375 line items total. He is removing noncitizens from the state health care system and canceling a jobs program that mainly created jobs for government bureaucrats. His cuts are intended to impose efficiency and accountability on government spending, concepts people generally do not associate with New Jersey politics.

Mr. Christie is taking withering fire for his efforts, which is a knee-jerk response to making hard choices, particularly when they affect government spending that some came to view as entitlements. But he is doing what he was elected to do. Mr. Christie's rationale is that, "We cannot spend money on everything we want." It's an approach refreshing in its simplicity and common sense. Contrast Mr. Christie's efforts with the orgy of self-indulgence Mr. Obama calls a budget bill. Mr. Obama seeks drastic and unnecessary increases in federal spending, resulting in projected trillion-plus-dollar deficits for at least five years and probably beyond.

On Feb. 2 in Nashua, N.H., Mr. Obama lectured the American people on fiscal responsibility. "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," he said. "You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage." However, his budget proposal is the most fiscally irresponsible in American history. It lavishes billions of dollars on unnecessary programs, pet projects and pork for cronies. There is no belt-tightening in his reckless budget; he does not believe in budget cuts. He's the guy who can't pay his mortgage but decides to buy a boat, a sports car and a home theater and then browbeats his unemployed neighbors about doing more to make ends meet.

Mr. Obama has proposed a number of gimmicks to make himself look more responsible, such as a freeze on discretionary spending. This will affect just a minuscule part of the budget and will begin freezing only after his spending spree has been put in place, guaranteeing long-term fiscal deficits.... The contrast to Mr. Christie's fiscally responsible approach could not be more vivid. When the governor announced his budget cuts, he said, "I am not happy, but I am not afraid to make these decisions, either." Mr. Obama could use some of Mr. Christie's grit.

More here



One more time: World War II did not bring us out of the Depression: "The misconception that World War II was a period of prosperity apparently comes from measurements such as the unemployment rate falling from an estimated range of somewhere between 9 and 15% in 1940, down to 1.2% in 1944. As Dr. Higgs points out, this is not surprising given that a total of 16 million people served in the military forces during the course of the war, and were thereby removed from the labor force. Meanwhile, industry shifted to producing vast amounts of materiel to be destroyed - planes, ships, guns, etc. If such production created prosperity, then building airplanes simply to crash them into the ocean would indeed be good economic policy. At the same time, consumer goods became largely unavailable and/or rationed, and standards of living remained quite low."

French warships for Russia: "Get ready for another Paris-Washington spat. France is close to its ambition of selling a powerful warship to Russia. We looked last October at French hopes that Moscow would order a Mistral [see pic above], a big 600-foot assault vessel that carries helicopters, tanks and troops. The deal seemed a little implausible, given that Nato states have never sold important weapons to Russia and the unease over Moscow's unfriendly behaviour towards its neighbours. Now, four months later, the sale looks imminent. And Russia wants not just one 500 million euro Mistral-class ship from the Saint Nazaire yard, but also three more to be built at their own shipyards."

Audit: Census Bureau blew millions on preparations: "The Census Bureau wasted millions of dollars in preparation for its 2010 population count, including thousands of temporary employees who picked up $300 checks without performing work and others who overbilled for travel costs. Federal investigators caution the excessive charges could multiply once the $15 billion headcount begins in earnest next month unless the agency imposes tighter spending controls, according to excerpts of a forthcoming audit obtained by The Associated Press."

WI: Atheist group sues to end ministers' tax breaks: "A nationwide atheist group is asking religious leaders to take Jesus' advice and render unto Caesar what is Caesar's - especially when it comes to taking the federal tax break on their housing. The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation says the housing exemption gives churches an unfair advantage because they can compensate their leaders with tax-free housing. Other nonprofits, such as the foundation, can't do that. So it's suing the federal government to outlaw the housing allowance. `We think the law is rotten at the core,' said co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. `It is not constitutional, it is not fair, and it is not necessary.'" [That churches are major providers of charitable services seems to be overlooked. I can't call to mind a single atheist charity]

Outnumbered men call the shots on campus sex: "In American colleges and universities, women now outnumber men by a ratio of nearly two-to-one and both the New York Times and USA Today ran recent articles about the damaging impact on campus social life. Since the more in-demand sex gets to make the rules, females give in more frequently to male demands for casual sex and multiple partners. The apparent increase in promiscuity connects directly to changing demographics. In the 1950's, men students greatly outnumbered female "co-eds" so the guys had to behave themselves if they wanted a chance to date desirable women. By the 1960's, increasing female enrollment negated the feminine advantage and campuses moved toward the quicker connections favored by most males. Now, with outnumbered men pursued by female classmates and therefore calling the shots, standards at many schools have reached new lows.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


16 February, 2010

PBS & NPR, America’s Pravda and Izvestia

By Tibor R. Machan

It is a feature of American culture that’s most upsetting though hardly anyone makes much of it at all. Indeed, I know several avid defenders of the free society who make regularly and eager appearances on National Public Radio and I have to confess that I myself have appeared on one or two Public Broadcast Service programs when allowed to make a pitch for a society that would have no such things, partly government funded TV or radio network.

When I first left Hungary, in 1953, and came to live in the West, I settled for a while in Munich where my father and stepmother worked for Radio Free Europe. This outfit was partly American government–CIA–funded, beaming programs into Eastern European, Soviet bloc countries and supposedly countering communists propaganda. But at heart the idea of the American government doing this turned out to be a paradox since what is wrong with communist countries is precisely that they place everything in society under state control, including broadcasting the news, educating the young, doing science, entertainment or athletics. That is just what is supposed to be so different between communism and capitalism; yet here was RFE doing just what the communists were doing, entrusting government with broadcasting. (I recall how eager I was at one point shortly after I came West to have the American government give massive funding to Olympic hopefuls so they would defeat Soviet athletes and show how much better American athletes can be than Soviet ones, not realizing for a good while how paradoxical this was–sports should not be the purview of government in a genuine free country.)

Yet, what we have had in America and many Western countries for decades on end is, you guessed it, virtually the same thing as they had in the Soviet Union and its colonies, namely, government run radio and TV, just like the two government published and managed “newspapers” in the USSR, Pravda and Izvestia, not to mention all their other media. Instead of showing a confidence in the institutions that emerge spontaneously in a free country, from the initiative of free men and women, Americans abandoned the principles of their system to mount a counter-offensive. Let’s defeat communism by becoming, well, partly communist! What a self-defeating policy that is.

These days a good example is PBS’s broadcast of Professor Michael Sandel’s lectures on justice from Harvard University. Sandel is smart and erudite but at heart a propagandist for a planned society, only in degrees different from what the most earnest of the Soviets had hoped for (but, of course, couldn’t bring off because of how it contradicts human nature). There is, of course, nothing objectionable about Harvard broadcasting Sandel’s lectures at its own expense but there is decidedly something wrong with Sandel getting even partial government funding for his partisan lectures. He is not a teacher who gives an fair and accurate representation of different ideas of justice but someone who subtly nudges his students and audience in a particular ideological direction.

Am I exaggerating in considering Sandel a propagandist, albeit a subtle one? Well, here is how he handled Aristotle’s political philosophy.

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle defended a fairly intrusive type of political system in which the government or state–although some dispute this interpretation–aimed at making people good. OK, this is a pretty standard rendition of Aristotle but in laying it out one needs to make note of the fact that it may well miss something vital about justice. This is that very likely no one can really make people good–that task needs to be everyone’s own (other than those crucial impeded). Human goodness is arguably something every individual has to bring about for himself or herself. Otherwise it is nothing but regimentation and what we get is perhaps good behavior but clearly not morally virtuous conduct. Aristotle, probably somewhat influenced by the experience of the extreme tyranny of the city state of Sparta, accepted the idea that people can be forced to be good. This is what the classical liberal ethos has corrected about ancient political philosophy–human beings need to choose and cannot be forced to be good!

Now Sandel gave no mention of this problem with Aristotle. He made it appear (by failing to discuss the point) that whereas Aristotle had a noble concern with human goodness, the more recent tendency in (especially American libertarian) political philosophy to restrict the power of government and leave citizens to their own resources when it comes to living a morally good life was inferior to it. But it isn’t. Classical liberals pay plenty of attention to human goodness but they realize it cannot be engineered! Communitarians and welfare state liberals to the contrary notwithstanding, people cannot be forced to be good! It is a distinctive element of human life that people’s goodness must be their own doing not that of behavior modifiers, brain-washers or the bureaucrats.

To make it appear that this approach to politics fails to promote human goodness is a distortion. That is why I call Sandel’s lectures propaganda. If they were fair-minded, by presenting this kind of critique of Aristotle and others who want to force us to be good, it would be educational. And by being put on PBS, a partly government funded TV network, the lectures come very close to resembling what the citizens of the Soviet Union and its colonies received from Pravda and Izvestia.



Is the Voice of America Pro-Iran?

More Leftist infiltration of the media

An internal struggle within the Voice of America (VOA) over its news coverage of Iran is spewing outside the agency as veteran staffers claim the channel tilts coverage in favor of the Tehran regime.

The divisions erupted in late January when VOA chiefs removed a popular TV anchorman from the flagship U.S. broadcast into Iran, after he and about 30 Persian-speaking broadcasters had a confrontational meeting with VOA Director Danforth Austin, Newsmax has learned.

The broadcasters, who work for VOA’s Persian service in Washington, D.C., challenged the editorial judgment of two senior managers because they banned stories about the violent crackdown on protesters in Tehran in recent months.

“What motivates us to be here is that we have the best interest of [VOA] at heart. . . at this crucial moment in history when Iran is front and center of U.S. foreign policy and the Iranian public are looking to VOA for top-notice journalism,” one of those present at the meeting told Austin.

VOA is a taxpayer-funded multimedia network with a $194 million budget that employs 1,300 people worldwide to “broadcast accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience,” according to its Web site. The Persian-language version of the VOA got special attention for its ability to do reach Iranians in the period after 9/11.

The broadcasters criticized Alex Belida, acting director of the Persian News Network (PNN), for “poor editorial judgment” and a lack of understanding of Iran and Iranian affairs. Belida does not speak or read Persian.

Much more HERE


Beyond bogus: 'International opinion'

United Nations reflects dictators' worldview

By Daniel Mandel

Last week, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was heckled relentlessly and interrupted vociferously by members of University of California at Irvine's Muslim Student Union. Such negation of civility, discourse and decorum, which was noisily and gleefully celebrated by still other members of this group, is often defended by solemn-sounding references to United Nations' resolutions.

This case was no exception. In a subsequent statement, the Muslim Student Union said it opposed having university departments sponsor a speaker representing a country that "is condemned by more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in the world combined" - which is, in fact, the case.

Those who use this type of argument rely on the halo effect of the United Nations, which is held, implicitly or explicitly, to embody "international opinion," a term that can be invoked with reverential awe to dignify a bad, dishonest argument. So let's tell the truth - the U.N. is not a democratic body. It represents governments, not societies, and it consists mainly of unrepresentative governments. The U.N. Human Rights Council cited by the university's Muslim Student Union is a case in point: Non-democratic African and Asian regimes exercise an unbreakable controlling majority of 26 of its 47 seats.

It is these dictatorships that set the council's agenda and determine its vote - and thus decide what constitutes "international opinion" as cited by the Muslim Student Union. Of what has that opinion consisted? That monstrous human rights abuses by the worst dictatorships need not be investigated or acted upon. This affords little surprise, as many of the worst abusers are themselves council members - Angola, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, to name four - and their standard operating procedure is to look out for each other.

Thus, Asian and African autocracies have acted in tandem to minimize scrutiny of nations such as Zimbabwe, a veritable human rights Enron. In its four-year existence, the council's controlling membership has eliminated investigations into the most serious human rights abuses in Belarus, Congo, Cuba, Liberia and Sudan. In that time, about 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in Sudan's Darfur region alone. Instead, "international opinion" busies itself with vilifying Israel at the behest of Arab and Muslim tyrannies.

In this, the council reflects the U.N. more widely, as the 22-member League of Arab States and the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference determine the Middle East agenda of the so-called Non-Aligned bloc, the largest one within the U.N. system. Non-Middle Eastern tyrannies receive reciprocal favors for their support of this agenda. Russia shields Iran from sanctions over its illegal nuclear weapons program, while China does the same for Sudan.

But none of this is new. Democracies became a minority within the U.N. system in the late 1950s and stayed that way. The democratic wave in Eastern Europe and South America that followed the Cold War proved ephemeral in some places - Vladimir Putin's Russia is one stark example among others - and in any case too small to alter this fact. "International opinion," in short, is whatever a consensus of tyrannies says it is.

It follows that whatever a majority of U.N. member states declare can, at best, only incidentally reflect what their societies think, if it does at all. And what most people think about other countries or foreign policy in any case may bear little relation to the facts.

Accordingly, even in democracies, most people have to do their own research beyond skimming the daily papers and television news to develop an informed opinion on any subject. For this, most lack time or inclination, if not both, though the Internet has somewhat attenuated the problem. As for inquiring minds in repressive states, where the media is government-controlled, the option to become informed about something simply may not exist.

This state of affairs obliges us to be guided by this golden rule: Disbelieve anyone who appeals to "international opinion" or its imagined embodiment in the consensus of this or that United Nations organ to burnish his argument. As for why democratic governments and societies continue the damaging practice of investing moral authority in "international opinion," that is a subject for serious study - and correction.




The TSA animals again: "Security officers at a US airport have come under fire for forcing a disabled boy to remove his leg braces and walk through a checkpoint. Four-year-old Ryan Thomas was flying from Philadelphia to Disney World in Orlando with his parents Bob and Leona when the incident occurred. At the time Ryan, born 16 weeks prematurely with malformed angles and low muscle tone in his legs, had only just begun to walk. His parents wheeled his stroller to the security checkpoint then broke it down and put it on the conveyor belt. They then walked Ryan through the metal detector. The alarm went off and the screener told them to take off the boy’s braces. “I told them he can't walk without them on his own,” Bob Thomas told the Philadelphia News. “I said this is overkill. He's 4 years old. I don't think he's a terrorist.” Security also demanded Ryan walk through on his own. Spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration Ann Davis said the boy should not have been told to remove his braces. Instead he should have been taken to a private screening area to be swabbed for traces of explosive materials. The family have received an apology".

Indonesia: Obama statue removed from park amid outcry: "Authorities removed a statue of Barack Obama from a park in the Indonesian capital due to a public backlash and moved it Monday to a nearby elementary school that the U.S. president attended as a child. The bronze statue, inspired by a childhood photograph of a 10-year-old Obama in shorts with a butterfly perched on an outstretched thumb, had been targeted by critics since it was erected in the Jakarta park last December.”

Troops: Strict war rules slow Afghan offensive: "Some American and Afghan troops say they’re fighting the latest offensive in Afghanistan with a handicap — strict rules that routinely force them to hold their fire. Although details of the new guidelines are classified to keep insurgents from reading them, U.S. troops say the Taliban are keenly aware of the restrictions.”

“Entitled” to a five-bedroom house: "Many of our ‘leaders’ want to make America more like Europe. When President Obama was in Europe, he praised the ’social safety net that exists in almost all of Europe that doesn’t exist in the United States.’ Vice president Joe Biden called paying higher taxes ‘patriotic.’ Europe does have a bigger ’social safety net.’ But the gain comes with pain: Europe’s higher taxes and bigger government lead to slower job growth and higher unemployment. Politicians always claim that the safety-net will be limited to ‘necessities for the truly needy,’ but such government programs always grow. An article in today’s UK Daily Mail illustrates how over time, welfare states begin to offer monstrous entitlements.”

Obama’s fall: "How the mighty have fallen! Only seven or eight months ago, President Obama and congressional Democrats were on their way to remaking America along liberal lines and positioning themselves for decades of political dominance. Their lopsided majorities in the House and Senate, plus the White House, gave them unassailable command of Washington. Today, they still have those majorities and the presidency, but they’re no longer in command. Their hopes of enacting the most ambitious agenda of liberal legislation since the days of FDR and the Depression are over. Now they’re reduced to stunts, tricks, and gambits usually associated with embattled presidents and minority parties.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


15 February, 2010


Didn't Acorn, the corrupt community organizer, get its federal funding yanked after its last scandal? Actually, no. Through municipal middlemen, it's poised to rake in another $4 billion. Where is the outrage?

You'd think a group implicated in dozens of electoral fraud cases, theft of funds and, most recently, helping criminals interested in bringing child prostitutes to the U.S. would have been ruled ineligible for federal aid long ago. But think again, because these aid rats are experts at survival.

FrontPage magazine reports that federal Judge Nina Gershon ruled that Acorn is eligible for the Obama administration's proposed $4 billion in Housing and Urban Development grants within the $3.83 trillion federal budget proposal for 2011. That cancels the ban Congress placed on Acorn funding late last year after at least five of the group's offices willingly aided undercover reporters posing as a pimp and prostitute to get federal funding for a brothel and cheat on their taxes.

Acorn's antics were revealed after a series of reports last September on the BigGovernment Web site. Faced with a firestorm of complaints, Congress had no choice but to pull funds for the group.

Many were surprised that Congressional Democrats backed Acorn's defunding. Usually, Acorn and the Democratic Party work hand in hand. Acorn supplies votes and election assistance to Democratic candidates, and the Democrats supply them with funding. Turns out, the fund-pulling was really just for show. Acorn is being allowed to make an end-run around the federal funding ban through the use of a middleman, the Washington Times reports.

The way it's done is through HUD Community Development Block Grants, which are given to cities and states to help boost development efforts. Instead of applying directly to the federal government for aid, a violation of Congress' ban, Gershon, a Clinton appointee, effectively ruled that Acorn can instead apply directly to cities and states. In short, this gaping loophole means the ban is off.

No organization that has broken the law so many times has any right to even indirect federal funding. The fact the feds never prosecuted them as they should have is what has created the opening for Acorn to put its snout in the public trough once again. It's time for Congress and HUD to get tough with these miscreants before they do any more damage to our system.



Tax competition

Tax, it is often argued, is one of the most influential issues when it comes to determining a country's competitiveness. Included amongst the many reasons for this, is that low taxes help attract a better skilled workforce, thus generating higher productivity.

The suggestion that lower tax has a positive effect on a country's attractiveness for highly educated people is about to be proven in Denmark. From the first of January this year Denmark has implemented tax reform securing lower income taxes and cutting the highest marginal tax rate by about 10 percent. The Danish government has done this to make Denmark more attractive to highly skilled people in a climate of sharpened international competition.

In Denmark highly skilled people can sign a three year contract giving them a tax discount for those three years. The most common scenario in the past has been that people come to Denmark, have their three years of tax discount and then move on to another country . However, The Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) can already now report that since the reforms it has become easier for Danish companies to convince foreign staff to sign contracts for longer periods than those three years.

This is a good thing for Denmark, but there is a cloud on the horizon. There is much uncertainty about the opposition’s plans regarding these tax reforms if they eventually come to power. The leader of one of the opposition parties (Social Democrats) has stated that she intends to roll back these tax cuts. This position induces uncertainty about the future and may have the effect of minimizing the effect of the tax cuts.

Tax is important in determining competitiveness. However certainty about the future is also important. The Danish Social Democrats should therefore take a close look at what their sister party in Britain have done to the business climate by introducing tax rises and set their policies accordingly. [After British tax increases, big companies are pulling out of Britain wholesale]



Russian Leaders Order the Privatization of Industry – Will Punish Bureaucrats Who Hamper Investment

This is a very encouraging sign. As Obama moves to to take control of large slices of the U.S. economy (health insurance; banks; automobiles), Russia is going in the opposite direction. Clearly, however, the Russian selloff is designed to shore up their budget at a time of financial difficulty -- rather than any new ideology. Many governments worldwide are doing the same

President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday ordered the Cabinet to sell off more government stakes in successful companies to private investors over the next two years. The Cabinet must submit proposals for increasing the number of “major … strategic companies that are attractive for investment” in its privatization plan by March 15, the Kremlin said on its web site.

The current plan, which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed in November, already seeks the sale of stakes in several strategic companies, such as shipper Sovkomflot. Medvedev has the responsibility of striking these companies off the list of strategic assets for the stakes to change hands. He hasn’t approved their exclusion as yet.

Medvedev’s order for a greater sale of key assets comes after he conferred with officials last week about ways to encourage investment — and as the government is facing a budget deficit for a second straight year.

Medvedev also instructed the Cabinet to come up with a proposal to punish more severely those bureaucrats that hamper investment, probably targeting those engaged in corruption. The Kremlin didn’t elaborate on the measure.



Rockefeller on Obama: Prez isn't 'believable'

Republican Rep. Joe Wilson created waves that left Washington rocking for weeks by shouting "You lie" to Barack Obama during the president's address to Congress last fall, and now a similar message has been delivered by a member of the president's own party.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., told an audience today the president is "beginning to be not believable to me." The comment was just the latest evidence of the dissension in the Democratic Party that prevented Obama from passing his health care proposal last year despite having a significant party majority in the U.S. House and a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate.

Rockefeller, a Democrat in a family of lifelong Republicans, was referring to Obama's proposed budget that would cut tax incentives to coal mining companies. The cut would hit West Virginia's coal industry hard, and Rockefeller's dissatisfaction was evident in the video posted on Real Clear Politics. Obama's budget proposal would kill $2.3 billion in coal tax breaks, Rockefeller pointed out. "He says 'I'm for clean coal,' and then he says it in his speeches, but he doesn't say it in here. And he doesn't say it in the minds of my own people. And he's beginning to be not believable to me," Rockefeller said.

Participants in a Real Clear Politics online forum said, essentially, it's about time:

* "You must have a pretty thick skull, Senator Rockefeller, if you're just now starting to notice."

* "Too late, the monster is out of the bag."

* "I believe BHO is not lying intentionally … He literally cannot tell the difference from the truth and a lie."

* "What he is saying, in other words, is 'YOU LIE!'"

* "Old Rocky may be an extreme liberal but he can still read the tea leaves and they are telling him that Obama has become toxic even for 'senators for life' like him."



The GOP's Best Friend

Commentator Steven Thomma remarks that Obama's opportunity to be a "transformative" president in the mold of Roosevelt or Reagan is fading fast.

He offers a number of reasons why the President's first-year agenda fell short, relying heavily on the assertion that the recession forced the President to devote time and energy to matters other than "big" things like health care (and notes that he mismanaged the health care process, as well).

But nowhere does Thomma hit at the real source of Obama's problem. The real issue for the President is that he made a faustian bargain -- allowing himself (in his own words) to "serve as a blank screen" on which people's own hopes and dreams could be projected. Throughout the campaign, he struck to happy generalities about unity and bipartisanship and hope and change (no wonder he was portrayed by Jib Jab as riding a unicorn amidst rainbows). He did it because he knew it was the only way to win. And the press let him get away with it.

No doubt, he'd have never become President if he'd announced that he was going to triple the national debt and promote a big-government takeover of health care, secured by a series of corrupt kickbacks. But as soon as he took office, that's what he did. He bet that he had the silver-tongued oratory to popularize even previously unpopular initiatives, and that economic conditions were going to frighten people into embracing Big Government.

He was wrong. And now, understandably, people who had been projecting their own hopes and dreams onto Obama -- from the left, right, and middle -- have been disappointed. And are very, very angry. Include among them most of the Democrat caucus.

Now, those on the right and in the center see him as a left-wing naif. Those on the left see him as an incompetent. Obama has been the Republicans' best friend.




New England: Poll shows signs of GOP resurgence: "In some of the most reliably Democratic states in the nation, well-known Democrats are suddenly vulnerable. And the GOP, counted out in the region not long ago, is eyeing a resurgence. Since the 2008 election, no Republicans represent the six New England states in the US House of Representatives. But a recent WMUR Granite State poll indicates that if the election were held now, the New Hampshire GOP would probably recapture both congressional seats lost to the Democrats four years ago and retain the Senate seat Judd Gregg is relinquishing.”

Don't bail out Greece: "Gerald Ford had the right idea. The year was 1975. New York City was in financial trouble. It had to borrow to pay its operating expenses. And lenders were getting tough. So Mayor Abe Beame turned to Washington, begging for a bailout. But America still had a vestigial sense of financial integrity back then. The Big Apple was lucky; America’s president told Beame to ‘drop dead.’ With no other option available, New York’s politicians had to do the right thing – they cut expenses and the city flourished.”

Government pay packages have room for big savings: "State and local governments face large budget deficits as revenues have stagnated and spending has remained high. To reduce deficits, large savings can be found in the generous compensation packages of the nation’s 20 million state and local workers. In 2008, wages and benefits of $1.1 trillion accounted for half of total state and local government spending. Public sector pay averaged $39.66 per hour in 2009, 45 percent higher than the private sector average. The public sector advantage was 34 percent in wages and 70 percent in benefits.”

Uncertainty: What progressives don’t understand: "Progressives want government involved in everything, if not running or owning, at least ‘helping.’ They don’t seem to think through the consequences. Until government owns everything (and that day’s nearer than it was a year ago), private decisions by privately owned businesses pretty much dictate our economic health. Here’s the rub. Washington has signaled its clear intention to intervene. Doubt it? Ask Wall Street, the car industry, the mortgage industry, the banking industry. We could go on (and we’re afraid we’ll have to). What effect does that have? … What investor, for that matter what company, what board of directors will risk a financial commitment when overnight the rules of the game can be changed on them? Would you put your personal fortune at such a risk, vulnerable to the whims of ideologues who want to ‘remake’ America? Neither would they. There’s no deal-killer quite like uncertainty.”

A Republican "Truther"?: "In an obvious ambush of Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina, Fox News commentator Glen Beck told Medina in a radio interview that he had received emails from listeners saying that she was a 9/11 truther, that is, a person who believes that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. Medina failed to specifically deny the charge, indicated that she didn’t have an opinion on the matter, stated that some good questions had been raised about the issue, and said that the American people had not seen all the evidence.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


14 February, 2010

Loss of culture

The Left has inflicted grievous damage on the transmission of our culture -- mainly via their control of education. The past for them is a bucket of ashes. Except that it isn't. It is an immense resource for all sorts of things. It is even a resource for fun and amusement.

Recently on this blog I used the expression, "Calloo, callah, callay". and I faintly hoped that at least one reader would say: Aha! I know where that comes from! But none did. I do hope that some did say so in their own minds even if they did not leave a comment or send an email. Because I was semi-quoting from one of the great fun pieces of English verse. See here.

Not to have learnt that at school -- as I did many years ago -- is in my view a serious deprivation.

Did anybody get my "bucket of ashes" allusion? I hope some did. If not, you have been robbed of your cultural past.


Intellectuals and Society

In 1980, during a debate for Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose series, Frances Fox Piven, of Cloward-Piven infamy, tried to lecture Thomas Sowell on race and economics. Her contention was that equality of opportunity had failed and what black people needed was a strong dose of socialism. “That’s why equality of results became an issue…for black people in the United States,” she said, “and they expressed their concern….”

“No, you expressed it, damn it!” Sowell shot back. “It’s what you choose to put in the mouths of black people.”

The moral of the story is that Thomas Sowell does not put much faith in Ph.D. degrees. Three decades later, at age seventy-nine, he once again pounces on armchair theorists and assorted ivory-tower types in his newest book, Intellectuals and Society. Sowell identifies his targets as “people whose occupations deal primarily with ideas.” In other words, ideas are the finished products of their labor. This category could include writers, philosophers, and the literature professor who thinks Hamlet is about a young man struggling with the horrors of capitalist society.

These intellectuals are different from others not only because of their interests, but because of their method of operation and the incentive structure that comes with it. Unlike carpenters, who produce tangible goods, or scientists, who produce theories that must be tested against results, the dealer in pure ideas is cut off from the normal feedback mechanisms that filter faulty notions out of the intellectual landscape. An auto mechanic who can’t fix transmissions is bound to go out of business, just as a civil engineer who designs a bridge that collapses is apt to suffer some problems with his career.

Not so with intellectuals. “Not only have intellectuals been insulated from material consequences, they have often enjoyed immunity from even a loss of reputation after having been demonstrably wrong.” Their insularity can also lead to dilettantism, as the intellectual is not constrained from wandering into fields completely outside his or her own. The pattern is clear: Chomsky the linguist becomes Chomsky the foreign-policy wonk. Michael Eric Dyson the minister becomes the expert on everything racial. Your anthropology professor becomes an expert on healthcare economics.

Though his main topic is focused, Sowell’s context is wide. He discusses economics, war, the law, the media, politics, and race. For decades, these subjects have been the canvases on which intellectuals have painted their grotesque portraits. Sowell documents not only the disastrous ideas themselves—straight out of the mouths of characters like John Dewey—but discusses why those ideas have failed so miserably.

Sowell is one of the greatest debunkers of our time, capable of laying waste to vast fields of demagoguery through slash-and-burn logic and empiricism. No one throws the wrench in the leftist chain quite like him. The most devastating chapter of the book is the one entitled “Intellectuals and Economics,” in which Sowell obliterates common claims about “income distribution,” poverty, and inequality. His bête noire is the person for whom evidence is merely optional filigree. (Who needs evidence when one is flying under the banner of “social justice”?) Bromides about the “widening gap” between rich and poor don’t consider that individuals are constantly moving between income brackets, as Sowell illustrates. Looking merely at statistical abstractions creates the illusion that “the rich” and “the poor” are merely static, immutable categories, rather than mere classifications through which many different people are constantly passing.

Intellectuals’ perverse desire to see some sort of “plan” imposed on society has made for a decidedly sordid history of their ilk. The Progressives of the early twentieth century, for instance, were bona fide racists, and the academic extension of their ideas was the eugenics movement. It comes as no surprise, then, that the revolutionary creeds of Italian Fascism and German National Socialism were especially intriguing to the intelligentsia, despite their being mislabeled today as “conservative” or “right wing” movements. Sowell reminds us that these ideologies were originally considered left wing by the intellectuals themselves. Lincoln Steffens, who glorified Soviet Communism, also reserved praise for Mussolini. Other radical socialists who shared his sentiments included British novelist H.G. Wells and American historian Charles Beard.

Still more saw the ultimate promise of collectivism in the Nazi movement. During the 1920s, W.E.B. Du Bois, prominent black historical figure and devoted communist, became so fascinated with Nazism that he decorated the magazine he edited with swastikas. This love affair was not a one-night stand, either. As late as 1936, Du Bois remarked that “Germany today is, next to Russia, the greatest exemplar of Marxian socialism in the world.”

The ease with which intellectuals migrate from one squalid “ism” to another has necessitated some revisionism on their part. It was only after the West fully realized the horrors of the Italian and German dictatorships that the intellectual Left disowned them in a massive act of historical face-saving. Writes Sowell: “The heterogeneity of those later lumped together as the right has allowed those on the left to dump into that grab-bag category many who espouse some version of the vision of the left, but whose other characteristics make them an embarrassment to be repudiated.”

If there’s any weakness with the book, it’s that Sowell is himself an intellectual, making it easy for left-wing bloggers to dismiss him even if they can’t refute the book’s arguments. There are differences, however, between this book and the putrid machinations of a Noam Chomsky or a Cornel West: Those intellectuals are so sure of their ideas they have no doubt they’d make the perfect blueprint for society. Sowell, on the contrary, has never advocated anything except leaving people alone. Also, part of intellectuals’ decidedly anti-intellectual strategy, as Sowell points out, is their inoculation against empirical evidence. That socialism killed millions in the twentieth century, and that quasi-socialist policies have wiped out inner cities in America, makes no difference to the tenured cultural studies professor.

Sowell, then, while being an intellectual according to his own definition, is in practice far more scientific and accountable. His awareness of human fallibility is straight out of Burke or Hayek. The absence of this quality in radicals is what makes today’s intellectual climate so uninviting. Sowell writes: “Because the vision of the anointed is a vision of themselves as well as a vision of the world, when they are defending that vision they are not simply defending a set of hypotheses about external events, they are in a sense defending their very souls—and the zeal and even ruthlessness with which they defend their vision are not surprising under these circumstances.”


My own comments on Leftist intellectuals are here -- JR


America on the Rise

For much of the past decade, "declinism" - the notion that America is heading toward a deadly denouement - has largely been a philosophy of the left. But more recently, particularly in the wake of Barack Obama's election, conservatives have begun joining the chorus, albeit singing a somewhat different variation on the same tune.

In a recent column in The Washington Post George Will illustrates this conservative change of heart. Looking over the next few decades Will sees an aging, obsolescent America in retreat to a young and aggressive China. "America's destiny is demographic, and therefore is inexorable and predictable," he suggests, pointing to predictions by Nobel Prize economist Robert Fogel that China's economy will be three times larger than that of the U.S. by 2040.

Will may be one of America's great columnists, but he - like his equally distinguished liberal counterpart Thomas Friedman - may be falling prey to a current fashion for sinophilia. It is a sign of the times that conservatives as well as liberals often underestimate the Middle Kingdom's problems - in addition to America's relative strengths.

Rarely mentioned in such analyses is China's own aging problem. The population of the People's Republic will be considerably older than the U.S.' by 2050. It also has far more boys than girls - a rather insidious problem. Among the younger generation there are already an estimated 24 million more men of marrying age than women. This is not going to end well - except perhaps for investors in prostitution and pornography.

In the longer term demographic trends actually place the U.S. in a relatively strong position. By the end of the first half of the 21st century, the American population aged 15 to 64 - essentially your economically active cohort - are projected to grow by 42%; China's will shrink by 10%. Comparisons with other competitors are even larger, with the E.U. shrinking by 25%, Korea by 30% and Japan by a remarkable 44%.

The Japanese experience best illustrates how wrong punditry can be. Back in the 1970s and 1980s it was commonplace for pundits - particularly on the left - to predict Japan's ascendance into world leadership. At the time distinguished commentators like George Lodge, Lester Thurow and Robert Reich all pointed to Europe and Japan as the nations slated to beat the U.S. on the economic battlefield. "Japan is replacing America as the world's strongest economic power," one prominent scholar told a Joint Economic Committee of Congress in 1986. "It is in everyone's interest that the transition goes smoothly."

This was not unusual or even shocking at the time. It followed a grand tradition of declinism that over the past 70 years has declared America ill-suited to compete with everyone from fascist Germany and Italy to the Soviet Union. By the mid-1950s a majority were convinced that we were losing the Cold War. In the 1980s Harvard's John Kenneth Galbraith thought the Soviet model successful enough that the two systems would eventually "converge."

We all know how that convergence worked out. Even the Chinese abandoned the Stalinist economic model so admired by many American intellectuals once Mao was safely a-moldering in his grave. Outside of the European and American academe, the only strong advocates of state socialism can be found in such economic basket cases as Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.

So given this history, why the current rise in declinism? Certainly it's a view many in the wider public share. Most Americans fear their children will not be able to live as well as they have. A plurality think China will be the world's most powerful country in 20 years.

To be sure there are some good reasons for pessimism. The huge deficits, high unemployment, our leakage of industry not only to China but other developing countries are all worrisome trends. Yet if the negative case is easier to make, it does not stand historical scrutiny.

Let's just go back to what we learned during the "Japan is taking over the world" phase during the 1970s and 1980s. At the time Dai Nippon's rapid economic expansion was considered inexorable. Yet history is not a straight-line project. Most countries go through phases of expansion and decline. The factors driving success often include a well-conceived economic strategy, an expanding workforce and a sense of national ,lan.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s Japan - like China today - possessed all those things. Its bureaucratic state had targeted key industries like automobiles and electronics, and its large, well-educated baby boom population was hitting the workforce. There was an unmistakable sense of pride in the country's rapid achievements after the devastation of the Second World War.

Yet even then, as the Economist's Bill Emmot noted in his 1989 book The Sun Also Sets, things were not so pretty once you looked a little closer. In the mid-1980s I traveled extensively in Japan and, with the help of a young Japanese-American scholar, Yoriko Kishimoto, interviewed demographers and economists who predicted Japan's eventual decline.

By then, the rapid drop in Japan's birthrate and its rapid aging was already clearly predictable. But even more persuasive were hours spent with the new generation of Japanese - the equivalent of America's Xers - who seemed alienated from the self-abnegating, work-obsessed culture of their parents. By the late 1980s it was clear that the shinjinrui ("the new race") seemed more interested in design, culture and just having fun than their forebears. They seemed destined not to become another generation of economic samurai.

At the time though, the very strategies so critical to Japan's growth - particularly a focus on high-end manufacturing - proved highly susceptible to competitors from lower-cost countries: first Taiwan, Korea and Singapore, and later China, Vietnam and more recently India. Like America and Britain before it, Japan exported its unique genius abroad. Now many companies, including American ones, have narrowed the technological gap with Japan.

Today Japan, like the E.U., lacks the youthful population needed to recover its mojo. It likely will emerge as a kind of mega-Switzerland, Sweden or Denmark - renowned for its safety and precision. Its workforce will have to be ultra-productive to finance the robots it will need to care for its vast elderly population.

Will China follow a similar trajectory in the next few decades? Countries infrequently follow precisely the same script as another. Japan was always hemmed in by its position as a small island country with very minimal resources. Its demographic crisis will make things worse. In contrast, China, for the next few decades, certainly won't suffer a shortage of economically productive workers

But it could face greater problems. The kind of low-wage manufacturing strategy that has generated China's success - as occurred with Japan - is already leading to a backlash across much of the world. China's very girth projects a more terrifying prospect than little Japan. At some point China will either have to locate much of its industrial base closer to its customers, as Japan has done, or lose its markets.

More important still are massive internal problems. Japan, for all its many imperfections, was and remains a stable, functioning democracy, open to the free flow of information. China is a fundamentally unstable autocracy, led from above, and one that seeks to control information - as evidenced in its conflict with Google - in an age where the free flow of information constitutes an essential part of economic progress.

China's social problems will be further exacerbated by a huge, largely ill-educated restive peasant class still living in poverty. Of course America too has many problems - with stunted upward mobility, the skill levels of its workforce, its fiscal situation. But the U.S., as the Japanese scholar Fuji Kamiya once noted, possesses sokojikara, a self-renewing capacity unmatched by any country.

As we enter the next few decades of the new millennium, I would bet on a more youthful, still resource-rich and democratic America to maintain its preeminence even in a world where economic power continues to shift from its historic home in Europe to Asia.




Amy Bishop, the socialist professor who shot and killed 3 UAH colleagues recently, had been a killer previously. She should have been in jail. Police released Bishop in 1986 after they received a call from district attorney William Delahunt, now Rep. Delahunt (D) of Massachusetts. She shot her brother 3 times in the stomach with a shotgun during an argument but the incident was written off as an accident. Nice to have corrupt friends in high places. Sad for the 3 dead professors, though. See here and here

Blue chip companies running from Leftist Britain's tax greed: "Half of Britain’s 30 largest companies have studied shifting their tax base offshore, with a handful saying they are actively considering a move, a survey by The Sunday Times has found. The findings underline the threat of an exodus that could cost the state billions of pounds. They come a week before a crucial meeting at the Treasury where reforms to the taxation of foreign profits — a bone of contention for multinationals based here — will be thrashed out. Of the top 30 companies in the FTSE 100 index, 15 said they were keeping their tax domicile status under review. Three — speaking on condition of anonymity — said they were actively considering a move. Some, such as Xstrata, the mining group, are already offshore, while others, like BAE Systems, the defence contractor, are unlikely to move because of their involvement in large government contracts."

Obama scrambling for a way out of terrorist trial dilemma: "The word is that Holder and Obama "never expected" the kind of pushback against holding a civilian trial for 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikk Mohammed. This is pretty clueless in and of itself. How tone deaf do you have to be in order to be caught unawares when such large majorities favor keeping KSM from using a civilian trial as a propaganda tool? So now, Obama is frantically looking for a way out - keeping the idea of a civilian trial open but moving the venue somewhere else. This is probably a dead end and there are even many Democrats who believe the president will cave on the issue and have KSM tried by a military tribunal. According to this article in the Washington Post by Anne Kornblut and Carrie Johnson, the president has "inserted himself" into the decision making process"

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


13 February, 2010

Mathematical ability in females

For around 100 years, IQ testing has consistently found that females have better verbal ability and males have better mathematical ability. But that is of course politically incorrect so Leftist researchers have been scratching around for an explanation of differences in mathematical achievement that does not involve innate ability. The latest such is below and it will no doubt be much quoted in future.

One glance at it shows that it disproves nothing. No one has ever claimed that ability is the only influence on achievement. Remember that funny old concept of "hard work"? All that the study below does is confirm that the power of example has an influence on achievement too -- which is hardly news either.
Female teachers' math anxiety affects girls' math achievement

By Sian L. Beilock et al.


People's fear and anxiety about doing math-over and above actual math ability-can be an impediment to their math achievement. We show that when the math-anxious individuals are female elementary school teachers, their math anxiety carries negative consequences for the math achievement of their female students. Early elementary school teachers in the United States are almost exclusively female (>90%), and we provide evidence that these female teachers' anxieties relate to girls' math achievement via girls' beliefs about who is good at math. First- and secondgrade female teachers completed measures of math anxiety. The math achievement of the students in these teachers' classrooms was also assessed. There was no relation between a teacher's math anxiety and her students' math achievement at the beginning of the school year. By the school year's end, however, the more anxious teachers were about math, the more likely girls (but not boys) were to endorse the commonly held stereotype that "boys are good at math, and girls are good at reading" and the lower these girls' math achievement. Indeed, by the end of the school year, girls who endorsed this stereotype had significantly worse math achievement than girls who did not and than boys overall. In early elementary school, where the teachers are almost all female, teachers' math anxiety carries consequences for girls' math achievement by influencing girls' beliefs about who is good at math.


Dear Mr. President: Why We Are Not Hiring

When an administration makes its hostility to business clear, reasonable businessmen pull down the shutters

Mr. President, did I really hear you say that businesses aren't hiring because they can't get bank loans? Are you kidding me? Please indulge me for a moment, and we can get to the actual reasons.

But first, I must add that every time you step up to the microphone -- for example, your impromptu presser on Tuesday -- the painful decision to shut down my business of eighteen years is validated by your words. And I should thank you for that. For the record, that decision was formalized on November 5, 2008. Check your calendar. Some fifteen months later, I can say that it was the best business decision I have ever made. With your hands on the levers of the government and the economy, I wanted to have as little at risk as possible.

Don't get me wrong -- it was a torturous and gut-wrenching decision that went against every fiber of my being. I had to betray deeply rooted entrepreneurial instincts and set some more mundane material goals. And while it might seem extreme, I think my mindset speaks to the real reason businesses are not hiring now.

So what is that mindset?

It's not complicated. I am neither a swooning David Brooks enamored of your pant crease nor a silver-spoon trust-fund baby like Christopher Buckley. I've simply had some twenty-five entrepreneurial ventures -- with a good number of strikeouts to be honest -- and real-world experience told me exactly who you are and exactly what the business climate under your rule would be like. And I was exactly right....

The fuel price domino nudged the subprime mortgage domino -- itself an outgrowth of liberal lending policies -- and we have all seen the unraveling of a financial system underpinned by real estate values. Those valuations were the basis for any number of derivatives and credit default swaps and so on. Putting the Wall Street talk aside, the net result to business of this massive wealth-destruction is that employees are more desperate for money, and customers are less willing to buy and slower to pay when they do.

This is the Main Street carnage of "unfettered government" on small business and families. It is the destructive fruit of environmental leftists, the Fannie-Freddie cronies in government, and other corrupt liberals and crony capitalists in positions of unmerited influence.

It crushes the bank account and the spirit of the entrepreneur -- and it is all caused by government incompetence from beltway bureaucrats with zero business experience...you know, like you and practically your entire administration.

I'll admit that the prospect of running a small business under a McCain administration with Reid and Pelosi running Congress was not all that enticing, either. But it was your election that inspired me to pull the plug. After all, I saw how your Illinois buddies refused to let Republic Window even close down on their own terms, so I figured I better get out before your government and some union figured out a way to prevent me from quitting a business that I dreamed up, financed, created, and built from scratch.

Things were getting bad enough with Bush and other Republicans unable or unwilling to fight the encroaching liberal governmental infestation of our lives, but the thought of having a president who believes in that infection -- who would champion it and push it -- just scared the hell out of me. It beat the entrepreneurial spirit out of me, too.

So I decided to sit the risk-reward world of business ownership out for a while. Like many, we are no longer willing to take all of the financial and legal risks and aggravation of owning and running a business...not with even higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation, and more emboldened bureaucrats on the horizon. People who have a dream to build a better life by taking risks and starting a business instinctively know when those principles are under attack.

And with you, Sir, in the White House, these principles are indeed under attack. Why this surprises anyone is a mystery to me. Jeremiah Wright hates these principles. So did Saul Alinsky. So do Van Jones and Bill Ayers and Andy Stern. I don't know any "structural feminists," but I bet they hate them too. And so do you. This is part of the America that you promised to "fundamentally transform."

I knew what that meant. I could sense the bulls-eye on my back. This is who you are. And since you clearly do not understand business at all, let me give you a short primer:

Any business idea, from the first day it is hatched, is nothing more than a series of cost-benefit analyses that the idea-holder either acts on or passes on. Sometimes the first decision is to forget the idea. Sometimes the first decision is to move ahead and invest some cash.

Perhaps a few million cost-benefit analyses later, you might have Microsoft or Home Depot or ESPN. Or you might have Bill's Plumbing or Johnson's Quality Homes or a café or an electrical wholesaler, and so on. And those businesses still operate on a constant stream of risk-reward decisions. In the business world, there is no neutral gear.

(There: Now you have more useful information than Jamie Gorelick or Franklin Raines got from Harvard.)

And when we have a president and ruling class who are clueless about and hostile towards business, the risk-reward equation shifts dramatically against further investment of time, talent, and capital. And that's where we are today.



Think Twice Before Opening Door to Census Worker

Can governments do ANYTHING right?

Despite reports last fall that the Census Bureau had severed ties with community-organizing group known as ACORN, Americans might want to think twice before opening their doors to canvassers for the 2010 Census after reading what I discovered this morning.

According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office Oct. 7, approximately 785 employees with disqualifying criminal records could still end up working for the Census Bureau this year. Excerpts (below) show the exact wording of the agency’s frightening information about the people who go door to door conducting interviews and collecting information for the 2010 Census:
The Bureau’s efforts to fingerprint employees, which was required as part of a criminal background check, did not proceed smoothly, in part because of training issues. As a result, over 35,000 temporary census workers — over a fifth of the address canvassing workforce — were hired despite the fact that their fingerprints could not be processed and they were not fully screened for employment eligibility.

…of the prints that could be processed, fingerprint results identified 1,800 temporary workers (1.1 percent of total hires) with criminal records that name check alone failed to identify. Of the 1,800 workers with criminal records, approximately 750 (42 percent) were terminated or were further reviewed because the Bureau determined their criminal records — which included crimes such as rape, manslaughter, and child abuse — disqualified them from census employment.

…we estimate that approximately 785 employees with unclassifiable prints could have disqualifying criminal records but still end up working for the Bureau.
In addition to the news about the criminal element aspect of the 2010 Census, the 2009 report contained an estimate of the total cost of the 2010 Census being some $3.4 billion higher than the estimate in a 2006 GAO report. Compared to ex-cons knocking at my door, I guess I can live with cost overruns.



Marvel Comics Apologizes for Capt. America's Tea Party Bashing

Comics now being used by Leftists to brainwash the young

Holy irony of ironies, Batman! The developers of some of the most patriotic cartoon heroes ever produced are now having to back down from bashing some of the most patriotic people in America today.
Since 1941, Captain America has been one of the most popular comic book characters around. The fictional super-patriot fought Nazis during World War II, took on those who burned the American flag during the Vietnam era, and raked in hundreds of millions of dollars for Marvel Comics along the way. Now, the appearance that he is taking on the Tea Party Movement in a storyline about investigating white supremacists has forced Marvel to apologize for the comic hero.
In recognizing their superhero faux pas, which was first noted by Todd Huston on Publius' Forum, Marvel first argued, then finally apologized, thus:
Where Mr. Houston [sic] is correct is in our accidently [sic] identifying in one of the held up signs, the group as being a part of the Tea Party instead of a generic protest group. That's something that we need to apologize for and own up to, because it's just one of those stupid mistakes that happened through a series of stupid incidents.
Stupid keeps coming back as the simplest, most accurate description of those too-clever-by-half elitists with their leftist agendas. It will take a lot more than a few hijacked superheroes to keep those "Teabaggers" down.

Comic books are produced by artists, writers and editors. This "mistake" was made through all three, and to explain it that way is stupid in and of itself.



The Economist Gets Tea Parties

While the American news media coverage of the Tea Party movement has been dominated by the likes of Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and David Shuster giggling like 11-year-olds over the word "tea-bagger," Britain's The Economist approached the Tea Party movement with real objectivity.

The US Media (including, as TMH notes, the comic book media) dutifully portrays the Tea Parties the way the Obamacrats want them portrayed... as eiher a dangerous collection of ignorant hillbillies and birthers riled up by a cabal of corporatists, talk radio hosts, and FoxNews. But The Economist, using the radical journalistic technique of attending tea party events and reporting objectively, reaches a rather different conclusion.
Even after a long weekend of speeches and workshops in Nashville, the precise composition, aims and ideology of this movement remain hard to pin down. That is because the tea-party is precisely what its supporters say it is: not an artificial "Astroturf" creation of the Republican Party, but a genuine grassroots movement, highly decentralised and composed of many people who have not participated in politics before. They have no agreed platform and no unified national organisation: the Tea Party Nation is itself only one of many tea-party organisations that have sprung up spontaneously around America. These people are learning their trade, honing their tactics and defining their politics as they go along.
Which sounds about right. The media went out of their way to portray the radical anti-Bush movement as regular folk, ignoring the ties to George Soros, ignoring the involvement of ultra-radical organizations like International ANSWER, and proving fawning, soft-focus interviews with shrieking deranged harridans like Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan. The only thing you can count on about the MSM is that they will portray every issue exactly 180 degrees from reality.




John Hawkins has put up what he thinks are "The Best Quotes From Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism". Well worth a read. Even better to buy the book, of course.

Dong sags: "Vietnam's devaluation will help shore up its currency system, but inflation and a big trade deficit mean the government has more work ahead—and that could include further devaluations and sharply higher interest rates.... Vietnamese residents have responded by hoarding dollars and gold out of fear the currency—the dong—will become even less valuable in the future. The State Bank of Vietnam on Thursday lowered by 3.4% the official value of the dong.

It's not Republicans who are blocking bipartisanship: "A bipartisan group of senators forged agreement on a jobs bill that drew the White House's blessing Thursday - but hours later Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scuttled the deal and replaced it with his own Democrat-written measure. Scrambling to show Democrats are taking action to lower the 9.7 percent unemployment rate, Mr. Reid said the bipartisan proposal strayed too far from job creation and into special-interest giveaways. "The message is so watered down, with people wanting other things in this big package that we're going to have to come back and finish [the jobs agenda later]," Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, told reporters. He said there is no reason for Republicans to oppose the smaller bill. But Republicans said it was an about-face for Mr. Reid and accused him of kicking bipartisanship to the curb despite his and President Obama's repeated calls for the parties to work together."

Poll finds most Americans are unhappy with government: "Two-thirds of Americans are "dissatisfied" or downright "angry" about the way the federal government is working, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. On average, the public estimates that 53 cents of every tax dollar they send to Washington is "wasted." Despite the disapproval of government, few Americans say they know much about the "tea party" movement, which emerged last year and attracted voters angry at a government they thought was spending recklessly and overstepping its constitutional powers. The opening is clear: Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade -- since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996 -- and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


12 February, 2010

Lashing Out Beats Accountability

Conservatives understand that liberals often demonize their opponents rather than debate the merits of the issues because the tactic works. But you have to wonder whether another reason they lash out is that they are angry that reality doesn't cooperate with their ideologically driven solutions and it's easier to blame others than to face up to the unpleasant truth of their failed ideas.

It's not just the tirades of liberal talk show host Ed Schultz, who said he would cheat to keep Scott Brown from winning his Senate election, or Chris Matthews, who said Republicans indoctrinate their members in the same way Cambodian communists re-educated their subjects, or the nasty outbursts of presidential adviser Rahm Emanuel.

I was also reminded of this, on a subtler level, when reading a Washington Post piece on David Plouffe, Barack Obama's presidential campaign manager, who recently returned to the Obama camp to quarterback the Democrats' election efforts in 2010 and beyond.

Plouffe said: "Politics is a comparative exercise. This isn't just a referendum on Democrats. ... It's a choice. ... Republicans right now are just sitting back and slinging arrows. We need to ... shine some light over their side of the fence."

Plouffe said he would remind voters that Democrats have spent two years trying to fix problems, whereas Republicans want to wheel a "Trojan horse" into Washington and spill out bankers and health insurance executives. Sure, why not vilify bankers and insurers when it helps your guy avoid accountability for his policies?

It's shamelessly Machiavellian of Democrats to accuse the GOP of going negative, when Democrats use Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" (e.g., "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it") as an instruction manual. But hey, they're out of fresh ideas, so what other choice do they have?

Notice how liberal Democrats frame almost any issue: stressing their supposedly good intentions and the Republicans' alleged lack of compassion to avoid a genuine debate and scrutiny of their policies. Consider:

On welfare, Democrats insist on ever-greater redistributionist programs with the ostensible goal of "ending" poverty. Nearly a half-century and $5 trillion since the war on poverty was initiated, we've barely made a dent in poverty. In fact, prior to the Republicans' Contract with America in 1994, we were losing ground in all relevant categories -- with black families, particularly black children, being the hardest hit.

Despite the evidence, Bill Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming into signing the welfare reform bill, for which, of course, he claimed full credit. But sadly, the manifest successes of the reforms -- which saw significant improvements in poverty and the rate of illegitimacy, especially among blacks -- didn't keep uber-liberal Barack Obama from rolling them back with a vengeance, something the public has barely noticed. These liberals cannot afford to allow success to stand, lest they be with fewer victims to exploit and conservatives to demonize.

On tax policy, the overwhelming successes of supply-side economics at improving the lots of all income groups without a loss in tax revenues didn't prevent liberals from falsely depicting the policies as sops for the rich and blaming them for the spending-induced deficits. More revealing was Obama's damning revelation that he favors capital gains tax increases as "a matter of fairness" despite admitting they result in decreases in revenue. Here he can't even credibly claim noble intentions. Instead of helping the poor, he's willing to hurt them, as long as everyone else is hurt, too. Class envy trumps results, which is really twisted when you think about it.

On education, liberals refuse to support school vouchers, the result being that many poor people, especially minorities, remain locked in inner-city schools without a key. Otherwise, liberals wouldn't be able to demand endless tax dollars for public education, which only they can "deliver."

On homosexual "marriage" and "don't ask, don't tell" policies for the military, liberals absurdly impugn conservatives as "homophobes" instead of addressing their valid interest in protecting traditional marriage as one of society's pillars and preserving the cohesiveness of the military unit, respectively.

On abortion, liberals refuse to consider mounting scientific evidence that the unborn are live human beings (as if further evidence were needed to confirm what we already know), because it forces them into moral accountability. Instead, they falsely declare the matter unknowable and, worse, try to co-opt the moral high ground as champions of women's rights while condemning their life-advocating opponents as bigots.

On man-made global warming, they cling to their flat-earth alarmism while refusing to discuss the evidence and accusing their opponents of willful blindness. Surreal on stilts!

On health care, they demand socialist solutions to achieve "universal coverage," when such solutions have failed everywhere they've been tried and will, studies show, leave millions uninsured. But they're still superior because they care. Or do they?



The Trouble With Elitist Theories

by Victor Davis Hanson

What's behind the Tea Party protests, low approval ratings for Congress, distrust of the media and unease with experts in the Obama administration? In short, a growing anger at the sermonizing and condescension by many of America's elites.

We see this specifically, for example, in the debate over global warming, which a year ago was accepted as gospel. The high profile of prestigious scientists, former public officials like Al Gore and Van Jones, and the Obama administration all made impending cap-and-trade legislation seem likely. Skeptics were derided as "deniers" and virtual know-nothings.

But then the assertion of manmade climate change met a perfect storm. First, several high academic priests of global warming were discredited. Leaked e-mails at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom revealed doctored evidence, personal vendettas and cover-ups among scientists.

More recently, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted it had relied on faulty information, leading it to make inflated claims on impending manmade warming disasters involving Himalayan glaciers.

These exposes dovetailed with a series of unconnected events that further undermined the climate-change diktat. Many of the most prominent green advocates either seemed hypocritical or downright crazy. Al Gore, for example, has earned much of his new fortune from his supposedly disinterested public service to the green cause, and yet habitually leaves a carbon footprint like few others on the planet.

The president's own "green jobs" official, Van Jones, it was revealed, had signed a "truther" petition stating that the U.S. government had planned 9/11. His credibility shot, Jones had to resign.

Then there was the uncooperative weather itself. Environmental grandees jetted into frigid Copenhagen to discuss planet warming. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., portions of a very cold East Coast have been blanketed with unprecedented snowfall levels -- at a time when the public is supposed to be concerned that temperatures are unseasonably warming.

Other conventional wisdom from supposed experts has also been questioned. Take the model of the European Union. After the September 2008 American financial panic, European diplomats and intellectuals lectured Americans on the evils of unfettered capitalism and the superiority of their statist model. The strong euro and steady expansion of the EU had convinced many that their soft socialism was the only way of the future.

But European prosperity was, in fact, heavily subsidized by decades of free protection by the U.S. military. Meanwhile, aristocratic bureaucrats in Brussels were increasingly not accountable to their skeptical continental constituents -- and seemed terrified of popular referenda from member states on the EU constitution.

And now? Several EU nations like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal face financial implosions -- brought on by unsustainable government spending, out-of-control pensions and endemic tax cheating. The euro is falling fast. Bondholders of European debt are jittery. Now, northwestern countries like Germany and France -- despite their own budget problems -- may have to bailout Greece. Yet, in 2009, the American binge of massive spending and borrowing, expansion of government, and new proposed taxes followed the model of the supposedly superior European system. But for all the massive new debt, unemployment here remains high and the economy still sluggish.

The Obama administration came into office also convinced of another theory popular among many intellectuals, lawyers and members of the media -- that the so-called "war on terror" had degenerated into a Bush administration overreaction to 9/11. Obama's anti-terrorism czar, John Brennan, lambasted the past anti-terrorism nomenclature and the methods of the very administration he used to work for. President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. Rendition, military tribunals and Predator drone attacks at one time or another were caricatured as unnecessary or counterproductive. Even the name "war on terror" was dropped for kindler, gentler euphemisms. "Outreach" and "reset" with the Islamic world became instead the talking points. Highly educated experts had to explain to those of us who are less sophisticated that the real dangers were Guantanamo Bay and the waterboarding of a few terrorist detainees rather than the need to detain and interrogate actual terrorists.

And now? After the mass murdering at Fort Hood, the Christmas Day bombing plot, the popular outrage over offering a civilian trial in New York to the architect of 9/11, and the snubbing of American outreach by a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, there's less reason than ever to accept a therapeutic approach to dealing with radical Islamic terrorism.

There is an unfocused but growing anger in the country -- and it should come as no surprise. Nobody likes to be lectured by those claiming superior wisdom but often lacking common sense about everything from out-of-control spending and predicting the weather to dealing with enemies who are trying to kill us all.




Democrats in worst shape in the last 50 years: "The metrics are pretty clear: Barack Obama got the highest percentage of the vote for a Democratic candidate for president since 1964 and now he has plunged his party into its weakest position in the polls since that time. For confirmation, look at the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls on the generic vote for Congress: 45% Republican and 42% Democratic. Rasmussen Reports, which interviews only those who pass a screen as likely voters, has it 44%-36% Republican, ABC/Washington Poll has it 45%-42% Republican, NPR’s bipartisan poll has it 44%-39% Republican and Gallup has a 45%-45% tie. Democracy Corps, a Democratic outfit which has earned respect for its results, has Democrats ahead 46%-41%.

Muslims can do no wrong in Sweden: "Sweden's unemployment agency has been found guilty of discrimination for expelling a Muslim man from a job training program because he refused to shake hands with a woman. A Stockholm court Monday ordered the Public Employment Service to pay 50,000 kronor ($6,700) in damages to an immigrant from Bosnia who lost his jobless benefits when he was kicked out of the program. Citing his faith, the man had refused to shake hands with a woman when he was interviewing for an internship. The agency said his behavior was part of the reason he didn't get the position, and decided to exclude him from the program. The court ruled that the man was discriminated against because of his religion. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed."

Animal tagging dead, authoritycrats stunned: "They were stunned. The gray, boring, unimaginative breed of faceless functionaries who inhabit the American enclave variously called Oz or Wonderland or Washington DC couldn’t believe what they had just heard. The US Department of Agriculture had tossed in the saddle blanket. The mandatory Grand Scheme to register every farm and ranch, to electronically tag every edible creature in America for the alleged purpose of ‘protecting consumers’ by tracking diseased animals, had died.”

The stupid British Left set to destroy more British jobs: "Unilever become the latest company to threaten to pull out of UK over rising taxes. The boss of Unilever has warned the company could be forced to move abroad if hit with further tax rises. The loss of the firm that makes PG Tips and Hellman's mayonnaise would be a major embarrassment for the Government and the biggest casualty to date. Unilever can trace its history in the UK back to the 1890s. A number of companies tired of constantly changing tax regimes and onerous regulations introduced under Labour have already moved abroad. And many business leaders have become increasingly infuriated with the Government for hitting hardest those British firms that make large slices of their profit overseas. The UK has one of the highest corporation tax rates in Europe, while the return to 17.5 per cent VAT will also deal a blow to firms. High-earners from April will be hit with Gordon Brown's 50p tax rate, a move which some critics have said will trigger an exodus of workers. Mr Polman said: 'We do have choices where we put research laboratories, choices for manufacturing facilities and choices where we put our senior management. In Ireland corporation tax is 12.5 per cent and the basic 2009 corporate federal rate of tax in Germany was 15 per cent."

Iran now a nuclear state: "As security forces clashed with his opponents, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was quoted on Thursday as saying his country had produced a first batch of uranium enriched to a level of 20 percent, taunting the West by declaring that if Tehran wanted to build a nuclear bomb, it would say so. Iran, he said, repeating an earlier assertion, was now “a nuclear state.” Mr. Ahmadinejad again denied that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons. “When we say we do not manufacture the bomb, we mean it, and we do not believe in manufacturing a bomb,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told the crowd, according to The Associated Press. But he added” “If we wanted to manufacture a bomb, we would announce it.” Western experts have already said that once Iran was able to enrich uranium to 20 percent it could theoretically move relatively quickly toward the manufacture of weapons-grade fuel, usually reckoned at 90 percent."

Breakaway Episcopalians get sympathy in England: "The Church of England threw a lifeline to a breakaway group of former Episcopalians on Wednesday, saying it "recognizes and affirms" the aim of the fledgling Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. After hours of wrangling and debate in London, the Church of England's General Synod signaled that it sympathized with conservatives who have left the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over radically different views on biblical authority, same-sex unions and the elections of two gay bishops. But the synod stopped short of doing what several African and other developing provinces have done -- formally recognize the 100,000-member ACNA, which was formed in June as a parallel Anglican body of 28 member dioceses with 742 parishes and 800 clergy."

Obama nominates yet another extremist: "The Senate is about to act on the nomination of militant leftist Dawn Johnsen to be the chief of the U.S. government’s elite legal team. But that post is a stepping-stone for top judicial offices, including the Supreme Court itself. That’s likely Barack Obama’s plans for Johnsen, and it’s why she must be stopped now. Ultra-liberal activist Dawn Johnsen, currently a professor at Indiana University School of Law, is President Obama’s nominee to be assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). As the OLC chief, Johnsen would shape the legal positions of the Obama administration on every issue. OLC is the elite legal team for the federal government, giving legal advice on every important issue to the attorney general, other department heads in the government, and to the president himself. That’s why the head of OLC is called “the attorney general’s lawyer.” The problem is that Johnsen is a radical."

Economists say many lost jobs won't return: "About a quarter of the 8.4 million jobs eliminated since the recession began in the US won't be coming back and will ultimately need to be replaced by other types of work in growing industries, according to economists in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey. While the job market is constantly shifting as some sectors fade and others expand, this recession threw that process into overdrive. Thousands of workers lost jobs as companies automated more tasks or moved whole assembly lines to places like China. As growth returns, so will job creation - just with a different emphasis in the mix of jobs being created. Economists in the survey are predicting a slow upswing for the economy as a whole. Respondents on average expect economic growth to settle at about 3 per cent in 2010, off sharply from the powerful 5.7 per cent seasonally adjusted annual growth rate in the fourth quarter." But with about 100,000 new jobs a month needed just to soak up new entrants to the work force, that pace of job creation will only slowly reduce the high unemployment rate."

Trial lawyers: Democrats’ other money machine: "Public-sector unions aren’t the only machine used by Democrats to recycle tax dollars for campaign funds. Trial lawyers also use government’s monopoly on the use of force to tax the public, profit handsomely, and recycle a portion of the funds to their political enablers.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


11 February, 2010

Seven Huge Flaws in the Way Liberals Think

1) Liberals believe they can change human nature. Sure, human beings can be shaped and molded to a certain extent. Any parent who has spanked a child can tell you that. However, most people care more about what they're having for lunch today than an earthquake that kills ten thousand people on the other side of the world. We're just built that way and no amount of sensitivity training, preschool classes, or Michael Moore documentaries is going to "fix" it.

2) Liberals believe we can talk everything out with our enemies. One of the weirder quirks of liberalism is their belief that many of our bitterest enemies have rational reasons for disliking us and that can easily be talked away if they realize we're good people. Hence, the common liberal refrain of, "Why do they hate us?" The reason this is a particularly odd belief is that liberals don't even believe this about conservatives in the United States. The average liberal thinks that if we're nice enough, we can reach an understanding with Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck can't be reasoned with.

3) Liberals don't have enough respect for our culture and traditions: To liberals, our cultural, economic, and political norms were formed by backwards troglodytes making arbitrary decisions based on superstition and racism. Unfortunately for them, as a general rule, that's not so and proceeding as if it is, will often lead to exactly the same difficulties that our ancestors already dealt with in times past. No matter how smart we are, as Thomas Sowell would say, our wisdom is often no match for the "distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before." Truly wise people are aware that there is a great deal that they do not know.

4) Liberalism is a fundamentally immoral political philosophy. Ironically, given all their talk about "shades of gray," liberals have a very Manichean view of the world. They consider their fellow travelers to be on the side of the angels, while the people who disagree with them are treated as evil. This leads to an "anything goes" mentality when dealing with their foes: ignoring the law via a "living constitution," politically based prosecutions, shouting down opposing speakers, and treating lying about their agenda or opponents to be moral. On the other hand, liberals will support other libs, no matter how corrupt, sleazy, or vile they are as long as they're politically useful to the left. See Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, John Murtha, and Robert Byrd for examples of that. In other words, as Margaret Thatcher has said of the Left, "For them, the end always seems to justify the means."

5) Liberals believe merely being liberal makes them good people. Liberals who're obsessed with money think they're compassionate because they give away other people's tax dollars. They believe they care more about the earth than other people, even as they fly around in private jets, because they babble on about global warming. They can be dumb as a rock, but believe they're smarter than most other people because they're liberals. In other words, in the minds of most liberals, liberalism is an all-purpose substitute for actual virtue instead of just another political philosophy.

6) Liberals have too much faith in government. Even most liberals would admit that government regularly fails the people. If you don't believe that, just ask them about the Bush Administration and they'll give you an earful. However, liberals tend to believe that with the right person in charge, government won't be so slow, stupid, inefficient, and badly run. Human history proves that they're wrong about that.

7) Liberals have minimal interest in whether the programs they support work or not. To most liberals, whether a government program betters people's lives is completely irrelevant to whether they'll support it. A program that doesn't work and costs billions, but sounds compassionate and helps Democrats politically is a huge success in the eyes of the Left. Once you understand that liberals think this way, their baffling support for programs that make no "common sense" is much easier to understand.



He’s a Yuppie: Why Obama can’t connect with the working class

By John B. Judis

I never thought I would be reproducing anything from TNR or John B. Judis but even a stopped clock is right twice a day and the analysis of Obama below seems spot-on to me. This may be one case where Judis's Marxist background has sharpened his perceptions. Marxists are obsessed by social class -- JR

Here is a fact: Barack Obama has trouble generating enthusiasm among white working class voters. That’s not because they are white. He would have had trouble winning support among black working class voters if they had been unable to identify with him because he was black. He has trouble with working class voters because he appears to them as coming from a different world, a different realm of experience, a different class, if you like. And that’s because he does.

I have recently read several stories about Obama that treat these difficulties as if they were paradoxical. The latest is from The Washington Post. “Despite his roots,” the article is headlined, “Obama struggles to show he’s connected to middle class.” And the story—which seems to use middle class, working class, and blue collar interchangeably—describes his supposedly non-elitist roots as follows: “He turned down high-paying jobs after graduating from Harvard Law School and became a community organizer, compelled by the experience of growing up with a single mother who sometimes lived on food stamps. He married a woman from a working-class family on the South Side of Chicago, and they rented a walk-up condominium in Hyde Park.”

The first thing to note about this description is that, like many accounts I have read of Obama’s life, it gets its facts wrong. He didn’t become a community organizer after graduating from Harvard Law School, but after graduating from Columbia. He left community organizing to attend Harvard Law School. After graduating from law school, he joined a prestigious Chicago law firm with offices just off Michigan Avenue. In 1991, he began teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He was chair of a Chicago branch of the Annenberg Foundation. Obama’s wife, who admittedly did grow up working-class, nevertheless graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School. And Hyde Park is a pricey upper-middle-class section of Chicago.

The second thing to note is something about class in America. By Marx’s definition, what we have in America, and in other developed capitalist countries, is a large, diversified working class that ranges from low-paid laborers and clerks to engineers and teachers, all of whom work for someone else, and cannot claim to own or control the means of production. But even if one accepts this account of the working class, there can be enormous social divisions between parts of it. Race and income are important, of course, but so is function, which separates people who perform routine or menial or manual tasks from people who produce ideas and complex services. College professors do not always make more money than electricians; but they live in a different world. In census terms, it is the world of professionals compared to that of operatives, laborers, clerical workers, and technicians.

Obama’s parents were professionals—his mother was an anthropology PhD and his father was a Harvard-trained economist. How much money they made was immaterial. His grandmother, who raised him in Hawaii, was a bank vice-president. He went to a fancy private school and to prestigious colleges (Occidental and Columbia) that turn out professionals and managers. He clearly was not obsessed with making money, but with performing a public service—yet that doesn’t distinguish him from other professionals or other Columbia graduates. It does distinguish him from a working- or middle-class American for whom being a civil rights lawyer or professor or politician is at best a passing fantasy.

It is admirable that Obama spent three years after graduating as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side, but many graduates of elite colleges spend several years after college doing something unusual, before returning to graduate school or settling into a profession. Some travel around the world; some join the Peace Corps; some try to write novels. In the days of Theodore Roosevelt or George H.W. Bush, some became cowboys or oil wildcatters. It’s a tradition that goes back over a century. It’s called “sowing your wild oats.” Afterwards, they usually return to more sober and sedate occupations appropriate to their social background and education. That’s what Obama did. As I wrote of his community organizing period, he became weary of the life of the community organizer. He doubted he was accomplishing much, and decided to go to law school. He didn’t choose to go to Kent College of Law or John Marshall Law School—schools where he could have retained his ties with working class Chicago—but to Harvard Law School.

Once out of law school, Obama lived and worked over the next decade in a grey area between the very upper reaches of professional America and the country’s managers, owners, and rulers. He didn’t just have access to more money and live differently from ordinary Americans; he possessed power and authority that they didn’t have. He was of a different world, even if as a politician he would occasionally visit theirs.

There is no paradox, therefore, in Obama’s distance from white working class voters. What would be unusual is if he were able to echo their concerns in a deeply moving rather than in a somewhat mechanical way. Yes, there have been some gifted politicians of an upper class or professional background who have been able to do so. Some, like Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, or Ronald Reagan, could draw upon their working class childhoods; others, like Franklin Roosevelt or Edward Kennedy, could evince a kind of upper-class paternalism. This made them great politicians. It didn’t necessarily make them great men or great Americans. Barack Obama is, by any fair measure, a great American, and he could turn out to be a great president. But he is not yet a great politician. He has not been able to transcend the political limits of his own social background. And that has been one of his problems as he attempts to extricate America from the mess he inherited.



Obama begs GOP to accept some Democrat policies

Why should they? Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing

President Obama made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing, taking several questions from reporters. President Obama declared today that “a sense of purpose that transcends petty politics” must be forged by Democrats and Republicans to create more jobs, reduce the deficit and find at least some common ground on health care. “We can’t afford grandstanding at the expense of actually getting something done,” Mr. Obama said as he made a surprise appearance at the daily White House briefing for the media only hours after he convened his first monthly bipartisan meeting he called for in the State of the Union address.

The president praised Republican leaders for coming to the White House on a snowy day in Washington. He said the meeting went so well that Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, were “out doing snow angels together on the South Lawn.”

But his laughter gave way to a forceful message, saying that bipartisanship was a two-way street and neither side – including Democrats – could get their way. He said there needed to be at least some cooperation, but he offered no specific path for the legislative way forward. “Bipartisan can’t be that I agree to all the things that they believe in or want and they agree to none of the things that I want,” Mr. Obama said.

The president took several questions from behind the lectern in the White House briefing room, the first time he has appeared before reporters in a formal setting in months. The appearance by Mr. Obama had the effect of giving him the final word after the bipartisan meeting of lawmakers a few hours earlier.

It was the latest effort in a revised White House approach for the president to appear more transparent and more bipartisan in the second year of his term. He touched upon health care, saying that he would be willing to consider tort reform [But the Democrat Congresscritters won't. They need the lawyers' huge campaign contributions] in the overall debate on expanding coverage and bringing down the costs of health care, but he said Republicans needed to consider some of the Democratic ideas. “Bipartisanship cannot mean simply that Democrats give up everything that they believe in,” Mr. Obama said. He added, “That’s not how it works in any other realm of life. That’s certainly not how it works in my marriage with Michelle. There’s got to be some give and take.”

The president said he looked forward to the bipartisan health care session on Feb. 25, an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to sit down together – in a televised session – and share ideas on health care. He said he would be willing to start from scratch [A big backdown. But he had to do so or the Republicans would have boycotted the meeting], but only if the goals of the legislation remained the same.

Mr. Obama said the meeting should be a serious discussion, which ultimately included cracking down on insurance industry practices, lowering health are costs and expanding access to coverage. “My hope is this doesn’t end up being political theater,” Mr. Obama said. He added, “We have an obligation, both parties, to tackle this issue in a serious way.”




The Left is instinctively authoritarian: "The left would much rather rule than govern. It is certainly easier. And it tends to agree more with their authoritarian bent. Governing is a messy and hard business in which they must listen and react to constituents. It means they actually are servants to the public. On the other hand, ruling means the elite choose what the constituency should live with since it is believed by them that the elite know best what that should be. Those they represent exist only to justify the presence of their rulers. The only difference between our left wing and that which founded the USSR is ours haven’t ever had the chance to effect the change those in Soviet Russia did. To this point, our system has mostly prevented it.”

The Obama Administration is vindicating Bush antiterror policy: "Dick Cheney is not the most popular of politicians, but when he offered a harsh assessment of the Obama Administration's approach to terrorism last May, his criticism stung— so much that the President gave a speech the same day that was widely seen as a direct response. Though neither man would admit it, eight months later political and security realities are forcing Mr. Obama's antiterror policies ever-closer to the former Vice President's.... Meanwhile, one of Scott Brown's most potent campaign themes in Massachusetts was his line that "Some people believe our Constitution exists to grant rights to terrorists who want to harm us. I disagree." Mr. Brown even endorsed waterboarding. As long as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were responsible for keeping Americans safe, Democrats could pander to the U.S. and European left's anti-antiterror views at little political cost. But now that they are responsible, American voters are able to see what the left really has in mind, and they are saying loud and clear that they prefer the Cheney method."

The McConnell Plan: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t claim to have developed an economic stimulus plan of his own. But he does favor a cluster of proposals that, when packaged together, are a simple, sensible program for rejuvenating the economy. I take the liberty of dubbing it the McConnell Plan (without asking the Republican leader’s approval). If enacted, the plan would do a great deal more to boost the economy and increase employment than the ‘jobs bill’ that President Obama and congressional Democrats are cooking up.”

Proposed 45-Percent Death Tax Will Increase Unemployment: "Some Americans have declared 2010 the “best year to die.” Due to the temporary expiration of the estate tax or death tax, all individuals that pass away this year are guaranteed that their loved ones will receive their inheritance in full. Those that pass away are not forced to leave their mourning family with the burden of paying exorbitant taxes on their belongings. Yet, in Obama’s 2011 proposed fiscal budget he plans on reinstating the 45-percent death tax with a $3.5 million exemption. According to the Heritage Foundation, the 2011 proposed 45-percent death tax would disproportionally affect family farms and businesses: Family-owned businesses are often asset-rich but cash-poor. They have equipment, real estate, and inventory that makes them appear valuable on paper. But they have comparatively little cash on hand. When a family member dies, the death tax is an enormous burden on them. Many have to sell their assets, or in some cases the entire business, to pay the tax. Or they must divert the precious cash flow they need to grow the business over many years to pay the tab."

TSA finds study of Arabic suspicious: "A US rights group is suing law enforcement officials and airport security agents in Philadelphia on behalf of a student whom they allegedly "abusively" questioned and handcuffed because he was carrying Arabic flashcards. The complaint alleges Nicholas George, 22, was "detained, abusively interrogated, handcuffed and jailed... because he passed through an airport screening checkpoint with Arabic-English flashcards and a book critical of American foreign policy." The book was "Rogue Nation: American unilateralism and the failure of good intentions" by Clyde Prestowitz. George, who is originally from Pennsylvania, was traveling from Philadelphia back to his university in California where he is in the final year of a "double-major" in physics and Middle Eastern studies, the complaint says. George was allegedly detained by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners at the airport and "abusively interrogated for 15 minutes by a TSA supervisor," who asked him questions about the attacks of September 11, 2001, says the complaint. After that, George says he was handcuffed and taken to the airport police station where he was held in a cell for four hours. He was released after being interviewed by two FBI agents."

Could the Donks lose Obama's old Senate seat too?: "Rasmussen Reports came out with the first public post-Illinois primary poll on Thursday morning. ' Interesting finding in Rasmussen poll: While GOP nominee Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) is ahead of state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias by six points, there is a gender gap: Kirk leads among male voters "but trails his Democratic rival by 13 points among female voters." Rasmussen findings: "Republican Mark Kirk holds a modest 46% to 40% lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in the race for the Illinois Senate following Tuesday's party primaries. "In December, Giannoulias was up by three points over Kirk. In October, the two men were tied at 41% each. In mid-August, Kirk held a modest 41% to 38% lead over Giannoulias."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


10 February, 2010

Note to EYE ON BRITAIN readers

I have been trying to find a Wordpress template (theme) for that blog which I like -- without much success. A couple of themes that I rather liked looked good in Firefox but were a mess using IE8 or Google Chrome! Amazing. The Wordpress people must use Firefox only. I have now reverted to what I think is the most legible theme and will stick with that for the foreseeable future. It's pretty plain but at least it seems to be fine regardless of which browser you use.

For users of non-Windows operating systems (such as the various versions of Linux), however, it's a different ball-game. If Linux users have any difficulty, they should probably try different browsers until they find one that works (or maybe use Debian instead of Fedora etc.).


Wrong Reagan

An excellent post borrowed from Dan Collins below. Supporters of the teleprompter kid criticize someone who does NOT need a teleprompter! What gall!

If you’re in the mood for more sneering liberal contumely directed at Sarah Palin, you could hardly do better than to check out Pam Geller’s appearance on Joy Behar’s show, talking about Palin’s crib notes. Ron Reagan, Jr. keeps on repeating the mantra, “my father,” while projecting the worst of liberal condescension. Let’s just say that he entirely lacks the common touch that was one of the most endearing traits of Sr.

The Younger’s only point is that Palin is an empty-headed poseur. Yes, it’s true that that’s exactly how liberals represented his dad—the empty-suited actor with the jelly beans—but the difference is that, as everybody knows, that was a false representation. That many of the same people who levelled the accusation that Reagan was an intellectual lightweight are now levelling the same accusations against Palin makes no difference. He is as certain as those people were (though they are willing to admit that they were wrong now, although it doesn’t impeach their judgment), just as John Cole was certain that his former beliefs were correct, and just as certain that they are correct now. Humility is not easily learned by the self-worshipful.

It’s true that Palin disparaged Obama’s reliance on TOTUS, referring to a “telegenic guy with a TelePrompTer” in her speech at the Tea Party Convention. It’s also true that Reagan often used the device. Nobody these days seems to refer to Obama as a Great Communicator, though. There’s a considerable difference, I think, between several cribbed prompts written on one’s hand, and entire speeches recited off of an electronic screen. We’ve seen on several occasions to our embarrassment what happens when Obama’s elocutionary crutch fails him, and it reminds me a little of Max Headroom. Certainly Reagan was learned in the Founding Fathers’ writings (Lincoln wasn’t one, Mika) and in American history generally; can one truly say that of Obama? Is it likely that Obama’s letters to all and sundry will find their way into a considerable tome after he’s gone? Reagan had the habit of writing. It clarifies thoughts, it makes one regard one’s audiences. Would Reagan have gone on about a nameless woman who wished to be buried (even though cremated) in one of his t-shirts (the one who, contrary to the narrative, did after all have health insurance, though it had a very high deductible)? I don’t think so. He had none of Obama’s tone deafness (the ears, they mock!). Liberals (mirabile dictu!) now compare Obama’s use of the device to Reagan’s, conveniently forgetting how they abused the latter.

Reagan wanted to get government off of our backs. He was a master at going over the heads of intermediaries to speak directly to the American people to make his points. We liked that, because it assumed our intelligence. The contrast with the way health care reform has been conducted could not be more striking. We are told that we are too dense to understand the provisions of mooted health care reform policy, much less how the whole thing would operate in the aggregate. We are told that there’s no point in questioning whether even our Congresscritters have read it: it’s so complicated that we’d, they’d merely come away confused—better to rely on the talking points. Any program that’s so complicated that it’s incomprehensible perhaps should not be enacted.

Reagan famously said that it wasn’t that liberals don’t know anything, it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so. Included among those things is the conceit that they’re smarter. Joy Behar? Katie Couric? I don’t think so.

SOURCE. More on the Democrat sneers here.


ACLU-Think Applied to Terrorists

This morning, in hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee, several Administration leaders defended the idea of giving the would-be Christmas bomber the same rights as ordinary Americans in a criminal trial. This thinking, which mirrors the ideas of the ACLU, offers several ways that tens of thousands of Americans may get killed in future terrorist attacks.

Some of the facts for this article, but none of the legal conclusions, come from an article on UPI.com on 3 February, 2010. The heads of services who testified as a panel before the Senate Intelligence Committee were led by Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA.

On the day of the failed attack, the FBI questioned the suspect for "fifty minutes" until "the suspect had surgery for leg burns." FBI Director Robert Mueller claimed that the suspect "stopped talking" after the surgery so his agents "gave him his Miranda rights." That meant he was assigned a lawyer, whose first advice was for him to clam up, which he did.

The Administration is now crowing that the suspect is "talking again" after FBI agents went to Nairobi and "talked to his family." The idea that this is a substitute for competent interrogation from the beginning is absurd. The number of terrorists who have honorable families who will get them to come clean in order to spare their lives can probably be counted on the thumbs of one hand.

However, the most absurd comment in the hearing, in answer to a question from a Democrat member of the Committee, was this:

Q. Why did you Mirandize the suspect?

A. Because we wanted his testimony to be admissible in a later, criminal court case against the suspect.

I did not have my TiVo running when this exchange took place, so I cannot cite the precise Administration official who said this. Ultimately, this legal policy was probably set by Attorney General Eric Holder, since his office oversees legal policy for all parts of the Administration, and directly oversees the FBI.

Turning terrorists in war into ordinary criminals is a stated purpose of the ACLU. That thinking now permeates the Obama Administration. It puts at risk American military and civilians, at home and abroad, because of intelligence not obtained in the investigation, and in intelligence betrayed and charges dropped in the subsequent circus trials. In simple terms, it means the policy of this Administration is, "we will make a fatal mistake now, to prepare for another fatal mistake in a few months."



Republicans not so dumb

Leftists have been calling conservatives stupid since the 19th century but it has always been just another hollow Leftist assertion that tells more about their own large egos than anything else -- JR

A new Pew Research Center study provides evidence that Republican voters are smarter about current affairs, issues and news:

Republicans, on average, answered one more question correctly than Democrats (5.9 vs. 4.9 correct). These differences are partly a reflection of the demographics of the two groups; Republicans tend to be older, well educated and male, which are characteristics associated with political and economic knowledge. Still, even when these factors are held constant, Republicans do somewhat better than Democrats on the knowledge quiz.

Among the largest gaps comes over knowledge of who leads the U.S. Senate. About half (48%) of Republicans are able to identify Reid as the current majority leader, while only a third of Democrats can name their own party’s Senate leader. More Republicans can name Reid (48%) than Steele (37%), the RNC chairman.

The one question in the survey in which Democrats slightly outperform Republicans is about the number of women now serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. Close to six-in-ten Democrats (58%) know that more than one woman serves on the high court, compared with 50% of Republicans. Though the Democratic Party is made up of more women than men, this finding does not appear driven mostly by gender. Republican men and women are about equally likely to answer this question correctly (about half each), while solid majorities of both Democratic men (60%) and women (57%) get this question right.

More HERE. For an extended discussion of IQ and ideology, see here



Bush billboard 'rather clever': "Former US President George W. Bush has returned on a Minnesota billboard funded by some people who aren't happy with the way things are going in Washington. The billboard's tagline: "Miss me yet?" Beverly Master, office manager of Schubert and Hoey Outdoor Advertising in Minneapolis, said the message was purchased by a group of small business owners and people from the Twin Cities area "who just felt like Washington was against them". They want to remain anonymous. Ms Master said the billboard went up at the end of December overlooking Interstate 35 in Wyoming and is scheduled to stay up until at least the end of February. She said her company, which owns the billboard, has not done any others like it. Wyoming Mayor Sheldon Anderson called the billboard "rather clever" but said he doesn't know who's behind it."

Obama's rating plunges underwater for first time in new poll as just 44% give him their approval: "President Obama's job approval rating has taken another dive, putting him underwater for the first time in the latest Marist poll. Just 44% of the country approve of the work Obama is doing, while 47% don't like what they see. The tough reviews come as Americans still find the commander in chief likable, with 50% rating him favorably, and 44% viewing him negatively. And they still blame former President George W. Bush for the dismal economy. Only 29% of voters say the poor economy is Obama's fault; 62% agree that Bush left the problem on Obama's desk. Still, people think Obama's policies are not change they can believe in. Forty-seven percent of voters say Obama has not lived up to their expectations, with just 42% saying he has. A narrow plurality - 38% - think Obama's change has been bad, and 37% think it's been good.

Fudging jobless statistics: "Last week's new unemployment numbers were bittersweet. At the same time the Bureau of Labor Statistics was declaring that the unemployment rate had declined slightly, to 9.7 percent, the government also was announcing that the economy had lost about 824,000 more jobs during the recession from April 2008 to March 2009 than Americans previously had been told. If this sounds like bureaucratic doublespeak, it is. The government doesn't really know the exact number of people with or without jobs. The number reported each month is based on surveys, and surveys often can have methodology issues. As it turns out, the surveys estimating the number of people with jobs reported over the past couple of years suffered from some really big problems. That's where government falsely claiming 824,000 more jobs than actually existed comes into play. Unfortunately, those adjustments have so far been made only through March 2009, and there are strong reasons to believe the survey data since then also need to be adjusted downward."

Another choice New York Democrat: "New York Governor David Paterson, who got the job after his predecessor resigned in a prostitution scandal, is fighting unconfirmed rumours and news reports of womanising and drug use. The rumours about Paterson's personal conduct have been circulating in the state capital of Albany - and sometimes appearing online and in newspaper reports - at a crucial moment in the Democratic governor's career. His popularity has fallen precipitously, but he has vowed to run for re-election in November despite lack of support from Washington Democrats. Paterson, New York's first black governor, has cited as fabricated a January 30 New York Post report that he was caught by state police in the governor's mansion cavorting with a woman other than his wife. He said on Monday that he has not been involved sexually with another woman since he and his wife separated temporarily more than a decade ago, reiterating an admission he made upon taking office 23 months ago. The Post has said it stands by its story."

Russia Is Toast: "The concept of BRICs nations (Brazil, Russia, India China) as an investment theme has been a mind-blowing success, both for the investors who initially followed the idea when it was created in 2001, and for the man who created it -- Goldman Sach's Jim O'Neill. But let's face it, there's clearly always been an oddball in the grouping -- Russia. Maybe things looked a lot different back in 2001, but today, it's clear that Russia isn't the BRIC we hoped it could be. The population is literally dying off, the country's political development is going backwards, and in the end any success we've seen from the nation has been nothing more than Russia riding the wave of high energy prices".

PIGS go bankrupt: "They are called the PIGS — Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain. What they have in common is that all are facing deficits and debts that could bring on national defaults and break up the European Union. What brought the PIGS to the edge of the abyss? All are neo-socialist states that provide welfare for poor people, generous unemployment, universal health care, early retirement and comfortable pensions. Most consume 40 percent to 50 percent of their gross domestic product annually, a crushing burden on the private sector.” [See also here]

Bertha Lewis Quits: Thanks, James O'Keefe!: "Acorn CEO Bertha Lewis quietly resigned as state co-chair of the Working Families Party, a few months after James O'Keefe led the undercover sting operation against her non-profit. From New York's City Hall News: Lewis was a founding co-chair of the Party. According to Working Families spokesman Dan Levitan, Lewis stopped serving as co-chair “about a year ago,” though many people familiar with the Party were unaware of that change and Lewis was identified as a current co-chair in an interview on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show as recently as September. The change in leadership comes as the Working Families Party and many of its endorsed candidates are providing extensive email and other documentation in response to December subpoenas from the United States Attorney’s office in New York. Lawyers are also preparing to return to Staten Island Supreme Court on Feb. 23 for the lawsuit being brought against the WFP’s company, Data & Field Services, and the campaign of now-Council Member Debi Rose by Randy Mastro on behalf of five Republican-connected residents of her Staten Island district."

GOP blocks Obama labor board nominee: "Senate Republicans have succeeded in blocking President Obama’s choice of a union lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board. The 52-33 vote to move forward with the nomination of Craig Becker fell short of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP filibuster.”

Bureaucratic attack on obesity -- what a laugh!: "In the Oval Office this morning, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in conjunction with his wife’s launch of a nationwide campaign to tackle childhood obesity, what he called the ‘most urgent’ health issue facing the country. … The memorandum creates a 90-day plan creating a task-force to provide ‘optimal coordination’ between private sector companies, not-for-profits, agencies within the government and other organizations to address the problem of childhood obesity.”

Some fatal Muslim arrogance: "Mohammed Afchal was only moments from his destination when the car in which he was riding mounted the kerb and hit a power pole. He was killed instantly. Mohamed, 15, was a short distance from Chester Hill High, where he was a student, when the white Holden Commodore driven by his friend Abdul Zreika, 15, came off Gurney Road just after 3pm yesterday. Police said the car failed to negotiate a bend in the road, hit the kerb, then smashed into the pole. Abdul, who was initially trapped in the wreck, was taken to Liverpool Hospital, where he remained in a critical condition this morning. At 15, he was too young to hold a learner's licence. "When you're unlicensed you shouldn't be driving, no matter what the situation is," Abdul's older sister, who did not wish to be named, said. The 15-year-old took the Commodore, his mother's car, without their parents' knowledge, the 24-year-old said."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


9 February, 2010

The New Discrimination

In favour of unionists

The election of a president of mixed race was supposed to mark an end to discrimination in America. Instead it has ushered in a new era of blatant discrimination. The very first piece of legislation enacted by the Obama administration was supposed to create or save 4 million jobs and prevent unemployment from going above 8% if enacted. Instead, the Stimulus Bill provided funding for existing government programs and many state programs for two years.

The real intent of this bill was to prevent the loss of unionized public sector jobs that make up 50% of all union workers and virtually all of SEIU's workers. Even the 10% of the bill that was supposed to repair roads and bridges contained provisions to limit the jobs to only union workers. Consequently, the unemployment rate has risen above 10%, despite the passage of the 787 billion Stimulus Bill.

The next action taken by the Obama administration was the government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. This bailout violated bankruptcy laws which provide secured creditors with the first right to the company's assets. Instead the secured creditors got 29% of their investment while the United Auto Workers (UAW) got 78% of their investment and partial ownership of the company.

The hourly wages and benefits at Chrysler are $75.85 and at GM $73.25. If the cost of current retiree benefits cost is included, the hourly wage and benefit cost at GM would increase by another $31.00 per hour. When one compares these costs to the hourly wage and benefit cost at Honda of $42.95 and of all U.S. manufacturing jobs of $25.50, is there any doubt that the bailout of GM and Chrysler was a waste of taxpayer money on woefully non-competitive companies. The auto bailout plan was simply a way to skirt the bankruptcy laws to preserve UAW wages at the expense of the secured creditors and the American taxpayers.

However, the most blatant example of discrimination is in the healthcare bill. After a closed door meeting with labor union officials, Obama, Pelosi and Reed decided to exempt public and private sector union healthcare plans from the 40% tax on Cadillac plans. Why should organized labor that makes up less than 15% of the workforce receive their high value healthcare untaxed while the rest of the population that receive high value healthcare pay a 40% tax. This act of discrimination will cost taxpayers 60 billion dollars if the healthcare bill is enacted.

The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law for all citizens, yet the Obama administration has discriminated against 85% of working Americans to reward his allies in SEIU, their surrogates ACORN and other organized labor groups that helped him become elected.



Recession chugs on, except in government

White House apologists were quick to point to the unemployment rate decline from 10 percent to 9.7 percent as evidence that the recovery is gathering momentum and that President Obama's policies -- especially his $787 billion economic stimulus bill Congress approved last February -- are "working." But the back story behind the figures provides cold comfort.

First, the drop to 9.7 percent unemployment does not reflect the creation of new jobs that normally accompanies an economic recovery. The number of new jobs is actually declining. Total nonfarm payroll employment, for example, dipped by an additional 20,000 positions after a December decline of 150,000 positions. The unemployment rate the day Obama took office last year stood at 7.6 percent and 134.6 million people had jobs. When he signed the economic stimulus, Obama promised the bill would bolster the economy sufficiently to keep unemployment below 8.0 percent. But the unemployment rate has exceeded 8.0 percent since last fall, and total employment stands at only 129.5 million. The stimulus has been a bust.

Second, anybody who thinks the job situation is going to improve dramatically in coming months is not paying attention to what's going on behind the unemployment rate.The Hudson Institute's Diana Furchtgott-Roth notes that "This is a better employment report than last month's report, yet the economy is still not creating jobs. The percent of the unemployed who are out of work for 27 weeks or more exceeded 41%, an all-time high. This is unacceptable and shows that Congress and the President need to focus on job creation, rather than on expanding government, because the tax increases and borrowing used to expand government reduce overall job creation and create uncertainty." Furchtgott-Roth further notes that "the labor force participation rate is the lowest since mid-1985." This means that fewer Americans are in the labor force.

Third, among the few sectors of the economy showing net employment growth over the past year is the federal government. The federal civil service is rapidly expanding as Obama increases the size of government, with 33,000 new positions being added in January alone. Only 9,000 of those new slots were for temporary census jobs. In other words, what we are seeing is good times for the public sector and the growing prospect of a continuing and perhaps even deepening recession for everybody else.



Memo to Arianna: Stop being silly

By: Hugh Hewitt

Yesterday's joint appearance with Arianna Huffington on CNN's "Reliable Sources," hosted by the estimable Howard Kurtz, gave me a chance to tell Arianna in person what most people think about her crusade against the Fox News Channel: It is silly. Her focus on a word here and a phrase there is silly. The warning that Glenn Beck or others are "inciting" the public and that this is dangerous is silly.

The program also gave me the opportunity to say on television what I often say on radio: If I had it in my power, I'd give Keith Olbermann a 24/7 cable channel because he does more good for the center-right than almost anyone in America. His wild-eyed craziness combined with obvious lack of knowledge about so many things make him an advertisement for conservatism, and I really hope he survives his ratings plummet. He's the perfect example of a prompter-dependant sports announcer-turned-political commentator who digs a hole for the Left every night. Long may he broadcast.

But what I really enjoyed saying the most was the obvious: The Beltway-Manhattan media elite still cannot figure out Fox for the same reason they can't figure out Rush or Sarah Palin. They are elitists who long ago lost touch with the center of American opinion and who have no way of finding their way back again because they continue to staff up with a lethal (for ratings) combination of privileged execs, liberal-to-left-wing writers and producers, and know-nothing teleprompter readers.

What Roger Ailes has figured out that results in the cable ratings domination by Beck, "Special Report," Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren is not string theory. It begins with respect for the audience as opposed to contempt, and then adds in good humor and balance. The "Special Report" panel is the best panel in the business because it always has at least one smart and well-read lefty on it. Hannity's Great American Panel is the same.

Rarely if ever will you find a Fox anchor using the term "tea bagger" because to do so is to insult the millions of activists involved in the past year of town halls, demonstrations and debates, but also those who know them and beyond that those who are interested in what they have to say.

And you will find Fox covering the president's stumbles and the stories about the administration's rising tide of failure. The MSM has an enormous double standard -- imagine if Palin had mispronounced the word corpsman twice in her address Saturday night or her interview with Chris Wallace on Sunday morning -- and that double standard first astonishes and then offends.

The refusal to cover comprehensively the president's year of serial pratfalls and his risible reflex to blame Bush confirmed for a vast segment of the American audience that the MSM remains just as in the tank for President Obama as it was for candidate Obama. When the networks cease to be infomercials for the president, they might win over some of Fox's broad and growing audience.

There is no reason why MSMBC and CNN have to lag so far behind Fox. The audience is up for grabs every single night in America. There is no "brand loyalty" in the world of cable news. But to compete, you have to at least try to be fair and balanced. Or you at least have to be talented and smart.



Obama thinks small (for once)

Before his speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday, President Obama visited a small technology company in Nashua called ARC Energy. During his talk, he promoted ARC Energy as an example of the kind of innovation he wants taxpayers to subsidize with what he called "seed money" in the form of federal "green jobs" funding. We need to do it, he said, so we can get ahead of the Chinese.

Probably few in the audience knew what the people who founded ARC Energy only two years ago know: ARC received no federal startup money. Dr. Kedar Gupta and his wife founded the company with their own money, the same way Dr. Gupta co-founded GT Solar, the world's largest maker of photovoltaic cells, in the 1990s.

Obama presented a narrative that was fundamentally false - namely that, without federal "seed money," our technology sector won't advance quickly enough to beat the Chinese. But guess where ARC Energy sells many of its products? China.

That sleight of hand was typical of Obama's speech. The main point of his presentation was to tout his plan to pump $30 billion into small banks for the stated purpose of providing them with enough money to lend to small businesses. But that cannot possibly be the real goal of the program, for several reasons.

First, community banks are not short of cash for lending. According to Stephen Wilson, the chairman-elect of the American Bankers Association, they aren't lending because federal bank regulators have forced them to tighten their standards. "Obama is calling us `fat cats' and telling us to be lending more, and then he sends his bank examiners and regulators to stifle our lending," Wilson told the Cincinnati Enquirer last month. If Obama wanted to free up cash for small businesses, he could have his regulators back off and let small banks lend.

Second, if Obama were really interested in freeing up more money for lending, why is he proposing to tax large banks? Wells Fargo, one of the large banks Obama wants to punish with a new tax, is the largest small-business lender in America. It expects to loan $16 billion to small businesses this year. Bank of America projects a similar figure.

Those two banks alone would lend about as much (more, if the economy improves) to small businesses this year as the $30 billion Obama wants to spread among smaller banks. But rather than make it easier for them to lend, Obama is making it harder by proposing to tax them simply for being large and by having his regulators restrict their ability to take risks. By encouraging banks to build up larger cash reserves, Washington is reducing the amount of money available for lending.

Clearly, Obama's interest is not in freeing up money for small businesses. The only explanation for his behavior - taxing the largest banks and distributing money to smaller ones - is that he wants to use the power of the state to shift assets (and, thus, power) from large banks to smaller ones.

This is purely an ideological crusade. Obama believes that large banks are generally a bad thing, and small ones are generally a good thing. So, he's taking from the large and giving to the small. It's economic idiocy, but in his mind it's a morally just cause.

What Obama did in New Hampshire is the same as he has done for the past year, and on the campaign trail before that. He presented a fa‡ade of an argument to justify actions Americans would not possibly support were he to state their real motives. It's exactly how he tried to sell health care reform (it's vital to economic recovery!), his massive transfer of wealth from private producers to government employee unions (it's shovel-ready stimulus!), and his cap-and-trade bill (it will create green jobs!).

If we take any lesson from his New Hampshire "town hall" event (it wasn't a town hall meeting), it is that we must ignore what the president says his proposals are intended to do and scrutinize what they actually do. More often than not, we will find that they simply transfer wealth and power from people and groups Obama dislikes to those he favors.




Liberal Icon Attacks Obama Over Israel: "Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief and former owner of the liberal magazine The New Republic and a staunch supporter of Barak Obama in 2008, has written a column sharply critical of the president over Israeli aid to Haiti. On Jan. 15, Obama commented that in addition to U.S. aid to Haiti, assistance had come from "Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others." He declined to mention Israel. In a column headlined "Maybe I'm Getting Paranoid . . . About Obama," Peretz wrote: "The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. "The Israeli field hospital was the only one on the ground that could perform real surgery, which it did literally hundreds of times . . . "So didn't Obama notice? For God's sake, everybody noticed the deep Israeli involvement."

Big pay for parasites: "The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data. Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months - and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted. Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time - in pay and hiring - during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector. The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available. When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000."

Biden Senate seat looks shaky: "The Democrats' future in the U.S. Senate looks even gloomier following Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. "Beau" Biden's announcement on January 25 that he would not run for the seat vacated by his father, Vice President Joseph R. "Joe" Biden, Jr. Democrats at the national level, unnerved by a recent series of Republican victories in special elections, had looked to the younger Biden as their best hope for keeping both of the First State's Senate seats in Democratic hands. The refusal of the vice president's son to run for Senate in the nation's second-smallest state says a lot about the current political climate."

Another extremist adviser for Obama: "President Obama has picked to advise him on military actions inside the U.S. the Missouri governor whose state "Information Analysis Center" last year linked conservative organizations to domestic terrorism and said law enforcement officers should watch for suspicious individuals who may have bumper stickers from Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin. Missouri Gov. Jeremiah Nixon, a Democrat, is being joined on the Obama's special advisory panel by the governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, and Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's replacement when she moved to Washington. They are among Obama's nominations for the 10 positions on Obama's new "Council of Governors" that he will use for advice on "military activities in the United States."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


8 February, 2010

Is China a paper tiger?

An email from the optimistic Ray Kraft [rskraft1@gmail.com] below. Mao used to call America a paper tiger, meaning that it looked strong but was not

Even the Chicom government has calculated and published its estimate that circa 2015 the number of workers in China will enter a period of permanent decline in both absolute and proportionate numbers, while the number of retireds in China will enter an indefinite period of increase in both absolute and proportionate numbers. I.e., the Graying of China begins, in about five years.

At that point, the long-term economic decline of China begins, and because of 30 years of its one-child policy - it would take generations of 2+ children per family to reverse the trends - this in a society in which one-child per family is now the social / cultural norm, and which faces an imminent and indefinite era of economic decline.

My expectation is that within a few years after the decline begins - circa 2020-2030 - the Chinese empire will begin to unravel, if it hasn't begun before then. It was cobbled together after WWII from a vast array of provinces and cultures, and is as fragile as the old Soviet Union was, and could disappear as quickly. It is held together now by prosperity and force, but as prosperity declines, force will become inadequate to keep it together.

If America avoids suicide, America will emerge within a generation as an even more dominant geopolitical and economic power as:

1. China slowly self destructs.

2. Russia, with a population declining by 1/2% per year, also slowly unravels.

3. The EU, cobbled together from a couple of dozen different economies artificually slaved to a single currency, drifts more or less aimlessly in the Sargasso Sea of political incoherence.

4. The Middle East has peaked, and if America has sense enough to move toward energy independence with nuclear and other sources (note that Obama has proposed $56 billion in new loan guarantees for nuclear power plants in his new budget), the decline of Islamic Middle East will be as inexorable as that of China and Russia.

If America manages at least to Muddle Through, at best to Flourish and Prosper, America's destiny will be to become the next "Roman Empire." It's our's to lose. The biggest threat is that America will not understand and grasp this destiny, and will fail to understand and accept the responsibility ("noblesse oblige") that goes with it. i.e., the destiny and fate of Civilization now lies in America's hands, even if we don't know it. And we need to look to the Athenian Democracy and the Roman Empire for lessons learned.

Ray Kraft was responding to a Jack Wheeler article of 5th. which also said that China was in a weak position. Excerpt:

The myth that the Chicoms magically turned their economy around on an instant dime - one minute double-digit GDP growth via the US gorging on their exports, the next minute the exports fall off a cliff as we stop buying yet they still have double-digit GDP growth via a hocus-pocus stimulation of their domestic economy - is a myth few big-time investors believe in now.

And finally, folks are figuring out that of all China's bubbles - make-believe growth, stocks, real estate - the biggest of all is its gigantic pile of "dead money" - those $2.4 trillion of our alleged dollars.

How many countless times have you heard some pundit bemoan how much we "owe" China? Yep, sure was stupid of us. We got all this stuff - as in real physical products we actually use in our lives - and they got all this paper, all these imaginary things called "T-bills" and such, and please explain how they cash them in.

Finally, bankers are figuring it out. "There's nowhere for China's reserves to go," is the latest buzz in London's City. "How do they unload them without taking a trillion dollar haircut?" And with the whiff, the merest whiff of the US defaulting on its debt, the Chicoms are running scared and retrenching. Their attempted stimulus of their economy has run out of steam - any more would be like pushing on a string.

So they've pulled back on buying up the world's commodities, which is why everything from copper to oil to soybeans is down - which is why, e.g., Brazil's Bovespa index is down thousands of points as China isn't buying its beans and iron ore.



Sarah Palin is miles ahead of every other politician in America

Watching Sarah Palin's speech to the Tea Party National Convention last night in Nashville on PJTV, it was clear that she has a rapport and comfort with the Tea Partiers that is unmatched among politicians at the national level. While I suspect that mine is a minority view among the leadership of conservative activism and journalism (and I am often reminded in a jocular sort of way that my view of Palin is a minority among my colleagues at The Examiner and The Weekly Standard), I believe Palin is miles ahead of every other national figure in understanding where the country has been in the last year and what the Tea Party movement means about the future course of American politics.

That doesn't mean I think Palin is or even should be a candidate for president or any other elective office in 2012 or any other time. What it does mean is I believe Palin has a unique insight into the state of things and is moving systematically and intelligently in concert with that insight. Where that leads, nobody, including Palin, likely knows at this point.

That I am not alone in seeing Palin in such terms is demonstrated by, of all places, The New York Times where reporter Mark Liebovich wrote:
"Her growing cast of advisers and support system could be working in the service of any number of goals: a presidential run, a de facto role as the leader of the Tea Party movement, a lucrative career as a roving media entity — or all of the above. Ms. Palin represents a new breed of unelected public figures operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before.

"Whether she ever runs for anything else, Ms. Palin has already achieved a status that has become an end in itself: access to an electronic bully pulpit, a staff to guide her, an enormous income and none of the bother or accountability of having to govern or campaign for office.

“'Few public figures not in office have leveraged the nexus between media and political positioning as Sarah Palin has,' said the Washington lawyer Robert Barnett (who negotiated, among other things, Ms. Palin’s lucrative deal with Fox News, an arrangement with the Washington Speaker’s Bureau that pays her a reported $100,000 a pop, and a deal with Harper Collins to write her memoir, 'Going Rogue,' which has already earned her upward of eight figures)."
Liebovich thus demonstrated, as University of Wisconsin law professor and contrarian blogger Ann Althouse mused, how Palin has gone from "blithering idiot" to "devious genius" in barely more than a year:
"What I love about all this is the extreme contrast to the way Palin was mocked when she resigned as Governor of Alaska. I, myself, did not think it was stupid, because I pictured her doing something like what she is actually doing, but I certainly remember the derision. Her political career was over. She was 'toast.'

"A big difference between what I pictured and what she's doing is that she's staying in Alaska. I thought she needed to get out of Alaska (in order to run for President). It's innovative the way she's staying in Alaska. As a blogger, operating from my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin, I love that she's working through Facebook and staying rooted in Wasila, Alaska. Fox News is building a TV studio in her house in Wasila. That's so not toast."
During her 40-minute Nashville speech, Palin repeatedly struck rhetorical gold by assailing Washington politicians for talking down to the American people, as when she branded the exploding national debt a form of "generational theft" and proclaimed that "many of us have had enough."

Similarly, she zeroed in on President Obama's policy of treating terrorists like the Christmas Bomber who tried to blow up a Northwest Air plane carrying nearly 300 passengers and crew members with a bomb sewn into his underwear on the same legal basis as an accused liquor store robber, saying "treating this like a mere law enforcement matter places our country at great risk because that's not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this. They know we're at war, and to win that war we need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern."

Palin understands the frustration felt by millions of Americans, including legions of independents and moderates, watching as Washington leaders careen down a path of expanding federal power and the skyrocketing spending, taxation, regulation and debt that inevitably accompanies that expansion, even as public opinion surveys document growing oppposition to such a course.

Washington is embarked on a fundamentally anti-democratic course that undermines public confidence and government credibility, the two most essential elements of a regime's legitimacy, and alienates voters across the political spectrum. Most people don't articulate it in such terms but, as political philosopher Willmoore Kendall (himself a product of Oklahoma populism)often said of Middle Americans, they "feel it in their bones," and they are repelled by it.

Palin also demonstrated an understanding that the Tea Party movement must be independent of both major political parties, which share the blame for the country's current morass, in order to be credible. She encouraged her Nashville audience "against allowing this movement to be defined by any one leader or any one politician. The tea party movement is not a top-down operation. It's a ground-up call to action ... it's bigger than any king or queen of the tea party, and it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter." Thus she encouraged the Tea Partiers to remember that they "have both parties running scared" and that their movement is "fresh, young and agile."

While watching Palin last night, I was reminded of something I wrote in The Examiner the day after the 2008 election: "Palin connects with real people as one of them because she is. She has that rare gift of speaking with candor and grace in the common manner."

Palin is not the first conservative politician to display such a gift. With his eight extraordinary years in the White House behind us, it is sometimes difficult to remember that strident voices from the same quarters who today mock and deride Palin did much the same thing to Ronald Reagan. He was old, he was an actor, he was simple-minded. And, just as Reagan was consistently under-estimated by his opponents in the years before the White House, Palin appears to be blessed with opponents in both parties who accord her a similar lack of respect.

They say God looks after drunks and the United States of America. Maybe that's why Palin's speech last night opened with this tribute: "I am so proud to be American. Happy birthday Ronald Reagan."



Leftist "Salon" Article Accusing James O'Keefe of Racist Motives Challenged

Kevin Martin of the black leadership group Project 21 and Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research are questioning the accuracy of an article in the left-wing online magazine Salon which implies that independent filmmaker James O'Keefe is a racist.

The article, "James O'Keefe's Race Problem," by Max Blumenthal, cites O'Keefe's attendance at a "Race and Conservatism" panel in 2006 as evidence that, as Blumenthal put it, O'Keefe's "short but storied career has been defined by a series of political stunts shot through with racial resentment."

Black conservative Kevin Martin, one of several panelists at the event, disagrees. In fact, Martin says, O'Keefe approached him after the event and expressed support for Martin's positions, which are certainly not racist:

"As a panelist at the Robert Taft Club 'Race and Conservatism' event in 2006, I had the chance to personally meet James O'Keefe after the event ended. He voiced personal support for me and my positions. He also repudiated the radical elements in the room that night.

"Marcus Epstein invited me - a black conservative - to a discussion on race issues, not O'Keefe. What transpired was a spirited debate against radical elements of which I and other conservatives were clearly opposed. At no time did I feel intimidated, nor was I ever treated poorly by my hosts. The Blumenthal story is long on accusation and short on facts.

"The left is attempting to label O'Keefe as a racist, but this probably has nothing to do with his ideas or associations now or then. I believe it is only because he recently exposed the radicalism of ACORN and the illegal advice its workers chose to give out. By labeling O'Keefe a racist, they likely seek to change the public view of O'Keefe's work from one of exposing corruption and law-breaking to one of a white conservative going after a group empowering the poor and minorities."

Blumenthal's article in Salon also says the following about Project 21: "A speaker from the right-wing black front group Project 21, founded by white conservative David Almasi to shill for corporate clients and provide cover for conservative politicians, was added at the last minute."

In response, Amy Ridenour, CEO of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsors Project 21, said:

"I can't imagine where Max Blumenthal got his information, unless he made it up. Project 21 was founded in 1992 as a way to introduce black conservatives to the news media during policy discussions sparked by the Rodney King riots (as Project 21's website clearly states at www.nationalcenter.org/P21History.html), not to support any politicians. David Almasi did not found it -- in fact, he worked elsewhere until five years later -- and his role now is to book interviews for Project 21 members in response to media inquiries and to manage support staff in such tasks as sending op-eds and press statements by Project 21 members to the press, something he does in addition to his main professional duties as executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Project 21 is actually chaired by Mychal Massie, and its sole full-time employee is Deneen Borelli, both of whom are black.

"Max Blumenthal's notion that Project 21 has 'corporate clients' is silly, as Project 21 is non-profit. It's expenses are met by the non-profit National Center for Public Policy Research, which has never had corporate clients and which receives less than one half of one percent of its overall revenue from corporate contributions, and from individual Project 21 members, who often undertake travel and activities at their own personal expense. I'm told neither Max Blumenthal nor anyone from Salon contacted the Project 21 office or Kevin Martin when researching or fact-checking this story, and it shows."




Bayh a tough sell in Indiana: "If you want more evidence of how deep Democratic losses may be in the fall midterm elections, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh's suddenly shaky bid for a third term is Exhibit A. A few months ago, Mr. Bayh was considered a shoo-in for re-election in the Hoosier state. Now election handicappers have moved him from "safe" to endangered. Within hours of former Sen. Dan Coats' announcement Wednesday that he is considering challenging Mr. Bayh, the dynamics of the race changed dramatically. The conservative Republican's "likely entry into the Indiana Senate race puts another seat into play," said election forecaster Stuart Rothenberg. "Move from Currently Safe to Narrow Advantage for the Incumbent Party," he wrote. However, the senator's "narrow advantage" may be precarious, according to recent polls that show growing disapproval of the two-term senator, who once had presidential ambitions. Despite Mr. Bayh's once carefully cultivated image as a party moderate, he has lurched left under the rhetorical spell of the Obama presidency and the pressures of the Senate's liberal Democratic caucus. He voted for the $2.5 trillion Obamacare bill despite strong opposition back home, where polls showed 60 percent opposition."

Tancredo ruffles feathers: "Former congressman Tom Tancredo took heat Friday for remarks at the national Tea Party convention that critics viewed as calling for a return to Jim Crow laws. But Tancredo said he wasn’t targeting a specific group when he suggested in Nashville there should be a ‘civics-literacy’ test before someone could vote. ‘People who could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House,’ Tancredo said in his opening-day speech Thursday. ‘His name is Barack Hussein Obama.’” [Universal suffrage is a relatively recent idea. Might it not need some fine tuning? Requiring literacy should not be too onerous]

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


7 February, 2010

Islamic radicalism blamed on "conservatism"

The stupid definition of conservatism as "opposition to change" is still something of a reality-defying mantra among Leftists -- despite conservatives often being major agents of change -- from Benjamin Disraeli to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. And if George Bush's movement of American power into two countries of the Middle East is not a major policy change, I would like to know what would be. It is Obama who hasn't changed that, for all his talk of change.

The idea of conservatives being opponents of change is quite laughable, in fact. Every single conservative that I have ever met has got a HEAP of things he would like to see changed in the society about him. Conservatives are opponents of the brainless ideas of Leftism but that is far from being opponents of change -- much though Leftists might like to think otherwise.

But, in terms of the stupid Leftist definition, it does make some slight sense to describe Islamic fundamentalists as "conservative" -- though one could argue much more reasonably that Islamists are in fact reactionaries: Far from opposing change they want the major change of a sudden and violent return to 7th century ways.

However you look at it, however, the violent authoritarianism advocated by Islamists has NOTHING in common with the individual liberty orientation of American conservatives. So it is just Leftist propaganda to claim some basic similarity between American Christian conservatives and Islamists. But calling Christian conservatives "Taleban" is in fact a fairly common Leftist form of abuse -- dare I call it "hate speech"?

This is all brought to mind by the following academic journal article:
Arch.europ.sociol., L, 2 (2009), pp. 201-230.

Why are there so many Engineers among Islamic Radicals?

By Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog


This article demonstrates that among violent Islamists engineers with a degree, individuals with an engineering education are three to four times more frequent than we would expect given the share of engineers among university students in Islamic countries.We then test a number of hypotheses to account for this phenomenon. We argue that a combination of two factors - engineers' relative deprivation in the Islamic world and mindset - is the most plausible explanation.

It turns out that the "mindset" they identify is religious conservatism. In a summary of the article we read: "Statistical analysis of poll data on US faculty shows that the odds of being both religious and conservative are seven times greater for engineers relative to the odds of a social scientist. Engineering as a degree might also be more attractive to individuals seeking cognitive “closure” and clear cut answers – a disposition that has been empirically linked to conservative political attitudes."

So they explicitly conflate American conservatism with the mindset that drives Jihadists. They also incidentally accept the junk-science claim that conservatives have a rigid cognitive style.

I am not going to comment on any of that right now. I already have a large historically-based paper on what is central to Anglo-Saxon conservatism here and I have a large number of academic journal articles on the claim that conservatives are mentally rigid oversimplifiers here.

But what I have said so far is criticism and there is an old axiom that bad science is driven out only by better science. So I am going to propose what I think is a better explanation of the phenomenon in question. I think it is all "cognitive dissonance"

It seems to me that engineers get intimately involved in a world of great rationality and logic. You can't afford to let ideology dictate your design of a bridge, for instance, or the bridge might fall down. Christians are used to living in both worlds: The secular world about them and their private religious beliefs. But Muslims are not. The engineer's mental world is quite opposed to the intense religiosity and scant regard for rationality that permeates the Muslim world. So the Muslim engineer is put into a situation of great conflict. He is thrown into a mental world that runs counter to all his religious assumptions and ways of thought. And sometimes he relieves the pressure of that -- in psychologist's terms he "reduces his cognitive dissonance" -- by reasserting his Muslim identity in an explosive or extremist way. The violence of his reaction is a testimony to how great has been the dissonance and mental conflict he has been subjected to in an engineering environment


Obama's Actions don't match his Words

Daily, it dawns on ever more Americans that the man in the White House is not the one they thought they met when he waltzed onto the stage and stole their hearts at recent Democratic National Conventions. At that time, Obama intoxicated the masses eager for hope and change with his punch of smooth oratory, soaring rhetoric and promises galore. Now he's left Americans high and dry. Barack Obama's hypocrisy is bubbling to the surface and his well built facade is crackling and crumbling.

Pledges to clean up government and ban lobbyists evidently only applied to lobbyists of his choosing. His pledge to bring transparency to healthcare dealings and televise them on CSPAN, actually boiled down to an hour on CSPAN with hours on end conducted behind closed doors. How about promising to usher in bipartisanship and closing Guantanamo Bay? With honesty that matches John Edwards', a year later, Guantanamo Bay is still open and bipartisanship is a thing of the past. Signs of the American people's Obama-hangover are evidenced by his poll numbers and the repudiation of his policies as seen in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia.

Despite Obama promising to usher in a new era of politics, in practice he behaves like a Chicago Machine politician. In true mob fashion, he's exacted retribution from moderate Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak by eliminating the $1 million funding for the B. J. Stupak scholarship that supports aspiring Olympians at Northern Michigan University. It's named after Stupak's son, who tragically died as a teenager. Obama's message is clear: Stop being a thorn in my side by insisting that Obamacare not fund abortions. And you other congressmen better watch out and not step out of line either, or you'll be next. This is the modus operandi of his controversial chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. As Obama told Rep. Peter DeFazio in true mobster form, "Don't think we are not keeping score, brother."

Obama's most recent bit of political chicanery is his proposed "spending freeze." He knows that this empty promise will have the net effect of increasing the government over time. Obama likes to claim he inherited record deficits from Bush. The only problem with this assertion; Obama's party controlled Congress the last two years of the Bush administration and then-Senator Obama supported the bank bailout which is the single largest aspect of the Bush deficit legacy. Obama fails to take credit for his massive economic stimulus, and other bailout programs that ran up the deficit in his first year in office. He proposes to "freeze" federal spending at 24 percent of GDP through fiscal year 2020. This is opposed to the historic average of government spending hovering around 20.5 percent of GDP. So while Obama claims that the deficit is temporary and he's "losing sleep over it": Americans beware. He wants to freeze spending all right, but freeze it at a higher level than ever before.

His doublespeak continues. When lecturing Republicans on bipartisanship, he means: Abandon your principles and vote for my policies, no matter how liberal. He claims Republicans need to stop rehashing disproven talking points, yet when it comes to rehashing talking points, Obama is the master. He does it on an almost daily basis. Obama lied in the State of the Union about a Supreme Court decision, claiming it eliminated 100 years of precedent and would allow foreign businesses to contribute influence to American political campaigns. And without batting an eyelash, Obama deceitfully claims that "our healthcare plan does not fund abortions."

Obama's lie that he is not an ideologue does not match with reality. When running for office, Obama positioned himself as the most liberal of the candidates on healthcare and on the Iraq war. Currently, he is running the most leftist administration in American history. The Federal Government payroll will balloon to a record high of 2.15 million employees in 2010. His administration is ramming a radical agenda of bigger government with no end in sight. Sen. Judd Gregg, the same Senator who nearly gave up his seat to work in the Obama administration before he realized that Obama was all talk, calls Obama's colossal budget an "unsustainable disaster."

If that doesn't make him an ideologue, we don't know what does.

Obama speaks about all the right things. The problem is, and continues to be, his radical actions. Our only hope is that Americans will watch what he does, and not be deceived by what he says.




Palin to tea party: It's revolution time: "Sarah Palin declared "America is ready for another revolution" and repeatedly assailed President Barack Obama on Saturday before adoring "tea party" activists, a seemingly natural constituency should she run for president. "This movement is about the people," the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee said as the crowd roared. "Government is supposed to be working for the people." Noting Democrats' recent electoral losses just a year after Obama was elected on promises of hope and change, she asked: "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?" Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations as Palin gave the keynote address at the first national convention of the "tea party" coalition, an anti-establishment, grass-roots network motivated by anger over the growth of government, budget-busting spending and Obama's policies. Filled with Palin's trademark folksy jokes, the speech amounted to a 45-minute pep talk for the coalition and promotion of its principles."

Budget Buster Express: "Members of Congress must feel a bit shortchanged by the amount of playtime they received during childhood. Their ongoing fascination with one of the world's most expensive model-train sets, Amtrak, otherwise defies explanation. Politicians continue to treat the heavily subsidized operation more like a prized toy than a solid business operation. The time has come to stop shoveling money into this runaway choo-choo. Congress allocated nearly $10 billion to shore up Amtrak over the next five years, plus $1.3 billion in "stimulus" funding intended to make up for decades of deferred maintenance. Even these sizable amounts fall short of the rail giant's claimed need for $20 billion to clear a backlog of essential projects. Proudly wearing the conductor's hat, Congress is having too much fun to worry about numbers. Legislators routinely reject the most common-sense of reforms"

Uganda Rejects Obama’s Pro-Homosexual “Change”: "Ugandan Christian minister Martin Ssempa has issued a strong rebuttal to President Obama's criticism of his country for considering passage of a law to discourage and punish certain homosexual practices. "Sodomy is neither the change we want nor can believe in," says Ssempa, who runs the Family Policy and Human Rights Center in Uganda. Ssempa, a major player in the country's successful anti-AIDS program, says that Obama has an "obsession with the spread of sodomy in Africa," in contrast to the efforts of the George W. Bush Administration to help Uganda resist the dangerous sexual practices which facilitate the spread of the deadly disease. The Ugandan anti-AIDS program has emphasized abstinence and monogamy."

“Unintended consequences”: A feature, not a bug: "It’s misleading, in my opinion, to refer to the ‘unintended consequences’ of legislation. Most of the powers government exercises, and the bread and butter of its functionaries, are probably ‘unintended consequences’ of legislation. Despite the role that industry lobbyists play in drafting legislation, there are still probably a considerable number of idealistic Congresscritters and legislators who actually intend the legislation they churn out to achieve its publicly stated aims. These people may be statists, but they’re sincere; when they pass ‘A Bill to Do X,’ it’s because they want to do x. The problem is, such people are useful idiots for the interests that really benefit from the legislation. And from the standpoint of the latter, the ‘unintended consequences’ are the whole damn point of it. Functionally, unintended consequences are what legislation is really all about.”

More French saying 'oui' to McDonald's: "Would you like a steak au poivre sandwich and some deluxe potatoes, followed by a lemon macaroon and a cappuccino? Welcome to McDonald's, French version. And the French are lovin' it. They've increased spending each year on McDonald's to the point that France is now the U.S. chain's second-biggest market, even in the midst of a global recession. In perhaps the ultimate cultural inversion, McDonald's in the U.S. is taking some notes from the French franchises' recipe for success. McDonald's sales in France amounted to 3.6 billion euros ($5 billion) in 2009, according to numbers released in late January. That was an 8.5 percent increase over the 2008 figure, which was 11.2 percent higher than the previous year. For 2009, McDonald's France marked the sixth consecutive year that sales increased at a more rapid rate than any of the chain's other European subsidiaries."

Mirandize bin Laden?: "At the end of a Senate hearing yesterday, Dennis Blair -- Obama’s Director of National Intelligence -- refused to answer a very simple question. Now, the DNI -- like most people who live behind the walls that protect our nation’s secrets -- is not going to answer a lot of questions. But this question was simple, and didn’t require complex decisions on divulging secrets. Blair was asked whether, if we now caught Usama bin Laden, should the terrorist boss be read his “Miranda” rights. And Blair declined to answer. This, at the end of a hearing at which Blair and other Obama anti-terror “experts” stated clearly that another attempted terrorist attack on the United States is likely within the next few months. This is how far we’ve come. On 9-11, Usama bin Laden’s soldiers committed an act of terrorism illegal under the Law of War. This war crime took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. Since then, we’ve gone to war in Afghanistan because -- if you will recall -- the Taliban regime that then ruled Afghanistan refused to turn bin Laden over to us when Bush gave them the choice between surrendering the terrorist and war. And now UBL -- who has no right to draw another breath, far less a right to an attorney before we waterboard everything he ever knew out of him -- is, according to the DNI, someone who may be treated as if he were a Beverly Hills purse snatcher."

The New Jersey folly: "Too many of those pain-in-the-neck productive people living in your state, making everyone else look bad? Want to get rid of them? Let the Garden State show you how it's done through the tax code. At one time in the not-too-distant past, New Jersey was by some measures the wealthiest state in the country. No more. Wealth is fleeing at an alarming rate. Between 2004 and 2008, more than $70 billion in wealth headed for the exit, according to a new study by Boston College's Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. Worse, it's not being replaced. Though more people moved into the state than moved out during the period of the study, the net worth of the people who fled was, at $618,300, 70% higher. Those who left also tended to be better educated, more entrepreneurial and more professional. The problem isn't New Jersey's cold winters. The productive are leaving for states where the economic climate is more favorable. Increases in levies on income, sales, property and millionaires have all contributed to the exodus".

Repeal rent control, and sow salt where it once stood : "It is no news that free market economists would oppose rent control, root and branch. It is, however, a bit ‘man bites doggish’ that even economists with sterling left wing credentials would oppose it too, and just about as bitterly. … Why? It is because this law, which supposedly helps impoverished tenants, actually does no such thing. Indeed, its effects are just about 180 degrees off, in the opposite direction.”

Fire the parasites: "Newly seated Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has triggered a firestorm by having the audacity to go on ABC's "This Week" and suggest: "We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts." Public employee union bosses, of course, exploded in anger. Public employees swooned and reached for the smelling salts (as opposed to their usual fare of bon-bons and Sominex). And Barack Obama reportedly performed a séance in hopes of raising Ted Kennedy from the dead. But, the fact is: Scott Brown was right – as far as he went. And he should have gone much further. We don't simply need to put a freeze on federal hires and raises. We need to fire federal employees."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


6 February, 2010


Today is the Gipper's birthday. If only we still had him with us

Feb. 6, is the 99th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. Although it has been 21 years since President Reagan completed his second term and left the White House, he still remains a figure of great interest to many Americans, including a large number of young people who were not even born during the time he was president.

New books come out about Reagan every year. The more research that is done about him, the greater the appreciation of what he accomplished and of him as a person. During 2008 Reagan was the president whose name was most mentioned in the debates of both parties, as an example of an effective leader the candidates wished to follow. Since he left office, Ronald Reagan has been the standard to which subsequent presidents have been compared. In numerous polls Reagan has been selected as one of the outstanding presidents in the history of the country

More here


Obama's 2011 Budget Tax Hikes Contradict Focus on Job Creation

President Obama has said his number one goal for 2010 is to create jobs, but the abundance of tax increases in his recently released 2011 budget contradict this objective. Higher taxes on businesses, upper-income taxpayers, and fossil fuels; an increased death tax; and new taxes to pay for health care would destroy jobs and slow economic recovery. Congress should reject these higher taxes and the rest of its business-killing agenda to speed economic growth and encourage job creation.

President Obama's 2011 budget calls for $2 trillion in higher taxes over 10 years--after accounting for the $154 billion in tax cuts called for in the budget. This would be a $17,000 tax increase for every American household during that span. This figure does not include possible revenue from the cap-and-trade legislation currently before Congress.

The budget claims additional tax cuts, such as the Making Work Pay credit for 2011 and 2012, the research and experimentation credit, and bonus depreciation for certain assets. Each of these provisions is an extension of current policy and should not count as an additional tax cut. The tax increases proposed in the budget break down into six broad categories:

1. Higher Taxes on Businesses. The higher taxes on businesses include the recently proposed "bank tax" that is supposed to recapture the money lent to big banks as part of the TARP program--even though most of the banks hit by the tax have already paid back the funds they received.[2] The Obama budget would also repeal the "last in, first out" method of inventory accounting that allows businesses to deduct their more costly inventory from income first. This would increase taxes for many businesses.

The most damaging tax increase on businesses, however, would be the higher levies on businesses operating internationally. The budget would restrict their ability to deduct interest expenses associated with foreign income until the business recognizes it in the U.S. The budget would also make it more difficult for businesses operating internationally to claim a credit for taxes paid in foreign countries, increasing the likelihood of double taxation.

The U.S. is the only country in the world that taxes the overseas income of its businesses. All other countries tax only income earned within their borders. To help level the playing field, the tax code allows businesses with foreign income to pay tax only when businesses bring the income back to the U.S. This tax credit prevents them from paying tax on income already taxed by other countries.

Changing these provisions will substantially increase taxes on U.S. businesses that operate overseas and, in doing so, hurt job creation at home. Higher taxes will further encourage these businesses to keep their income earned abroad in those foreign countries and invest it there. They will move jobs they would have created in the U.S. to other countries. Not only will this reduce employment in the U.S., it will depress wages for existing workers.

Going after businesses that operate internationally is a backward method of job creation that is akin to trade protectionism.[3] The U.S. already has the second highest corporate income tax in the world, trailing only Japan.[4] Implementing these provisions would only further reduce America's international competitiveness and discourage businesses from opening new ventures in the U.S.

2. Higher Taxes on Upper-Income Earners. President Obama's 2011 budget would allow the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire for families making over $250,000 a year and raise their top two marginal tax rates from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively. The budget would also limit the amount these families could deduct from their income and reduce their personal exemptions. President Obama also proposes raising the tax rates on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent for taxpayers with incomes over $250,000 a year.

Each of these provisions would hurt economic growth and lead to slower job and wage growth. Higher income taxes on high-earners would decrease investment, which would lead to fewer new businesses opening and dissuade existing businesses from expanding operations. Higher taxes on dividends and capital gains would drive the cost of capital higher, which would compound the problem.

President Obama would also hammer taxpayers that move income offshore with higher taxes. To the extent these taxpayers are engaging in illegal activity, they should be prosecuted. But most of the taxpayers that move their income offshore do so legally because of high capital taxes in the U.S. The answer to this problem is not to make the U.S. even less inviting for capital investment but to reduce capital taxes to keep that money here so it can support domestic job creation.

3. Death Tax Increase. The dreaded estate tax, better known as the "death tax," expired on January 1. This was the result of a decade-long policy that reduced the tax and finally repealed it for 2010. But due to budgeting quirks, the tax comes back to life in 2011. The Obama budget stealthily increases it by assuming in its baseline that Congress will vote to continue the death tax at 2009 levels (45 percent rate and $3.5 million exemption) starting in 2011 and beyond. If Congress continues the tax, it would be a tax increase, and the budget should explicitly count it as such.

The budget would also increas taxes on family farms and businesses. When the death tax was active, family farms and business could discount asset values to account for the fact that it is difficult to sell them in order to pay the death tax. The Obama Administration would disallow this discount and force families to pay the death tax on the full value of the assets, even though there would be no new cash generated to pay the tax. The budget would also make it more difficult for family-owned businesses to protect their business from the death tax as it grows. Repealing the death tax permanently would create 170,000 to 250,000 jobs each year.

4. Higher Energy Taxes. The budget increases taxes on oil, gas, and coal companies by repealing several tax credits available to these businesses.

These energy companies would undoubtedly pass these tax increases on to customers in the form of higher prices, which will increase costs across the entire economy. And higher taxes on energy would act as yet another deterrent to job creation, since they increase the cost of doing business, which includes hiring new workers and retaining existing ones.

5. Health Care Taxes. The budget creates an allowance for revenue raised due to health care reform. Since a final bill is not complete, it is not possible to know what specific taxes would pay for health care reform if it passes Congress.

The taxes included in the separate House and Senate bills--and a variety of other taxes proposed but not included in either bill--are the best guide available to which taxes could do the job.[7] Each of these taxes would have their own punitive effect on the economy and each would hinder job creation in its own way.

6. Other Taxes. The budget includes several other tax increases, including taxing carried interest as regular income, closing the tax gap through stricter enforcement, more taxes on businesses, and making the unemployment insurance surtax permanent.

President Obama has said repeatedly that job creation is his number one priority in 2010. But if Congress passes the tax hikes included in the budget into law, countless jobs will be destroyed.

Congress should pass on these tax hikes and drop the anti-business legislation it is currently considering. Legislation such as health care reform, cap and trade, card check, and other regulations are plaguing businesses with uncertainty that is preventing them from expanding, taking on new risk, and adding new workers. Unfortunately, all the new taxes proposed in President Obama's budget will only add to their worries.



Liberal Economic Illiteracy

When it comes to economic policy, there's stupid, breathtakingly stupid — and liberalism. Thursday, in another mind-numbing display of ideology-driven stupidity, Senate Democrats passed new budget rules only a liberal could believe will make it harder to run up the deficit: they will make it as difficult as possible to extend the current tax cuts, or enact new ones.

This is precisely what happens to people suffused with an ideologically-inflamed sense of superiority. They truly believe that both common sense — and historical evidence — are irrelevant considerations with respect to economics. For example, it doesn't matter one iota that there have been three major tax cuts initiated by three different presidents since the 1960s — and every one of them resulted in increased revenue flowing into federal coffers. It doesn't even matter that the largest one was passed, not by a Republican president, but by Democrat John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Here's what one of the American left's most cherished icons had to say about the subject: "Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased-not a reduced-flow of revenues to the federal government."

Anyone seriously believe JFK wouldn't be drummed out of the current Democrat party for spouting such "heresy?"

Liberals would like the public to believe they can't make a connection this simple: Americans who have more of their own money to spend actually spend it. This produces more economic activity. More economic activity produces greater amounts of taxable income. Greater amounts of taxable income produce greater amounts of revenue for the government. Greater amounts of revenue for the government more than offset revenue lost from the original tax cuts. Game, set, match.

What a lot of Americans don't know is that liberals can indeed make the connection, but they resist it for one simple reason: more private sector success equals less need for government. Less need for government equals less power for big-government liberals. Less power for big-government liberals with monstrous, "we know what's better for you than you do" egos equals an unacceptable trade off. Game, set, match — and screw the country.

In other words, this is a naked power grab courtesy of a Democratically-controlled Congress which has spent every dime we've sent them — plus trillions more in deficit spending. Liberals love to characterize such insanity as "taking care of the little guy" or instituting "social justice."

Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. Ten percent of America is unemployed and these hacks actually think that makes it the perfect time to take even more of our hard-earned wages — or in the case of far too many Americans, our savings — and spend it on whatever suits their fancy.

Even more infuriatingly, the left's media lapdogs will tout this unconscionable heist as "Democrats getting serious about fiscal responsibility."

I've said it before to liberals and I'll say it again: keep it up, comrades. Keep it up until even the deepest Kool-aid drinkers recoil in disgust. Keep it up until those with no memory of the Carter years learn their own historical lessons firsthand. Experience is by far the best teacher, and when Americans get tired of experiencing high unemployment, exploding deficits and ever-greater losses of economic and personal freedom, you'll all be tossed under the bus. It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of egotistical ideologues.




Dodgy jobs data: "The US economy lost 20,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate fell, according to official data that offered mixed signals about prospects for a sustainable recovery. The Labor Department report, seen as one of the best indicators of economic momentum, puzzled analysts since the two surveys used offered a vastly different picture of the labour market. The report released overnight showed the jobless rate eased to 9.7 per cent from 10.0 per cent in December, based on a household survey that appeared to contradict the payrolls data, but reflected in part discouraged workers leaving the labour force. The nonfarm payrolls data fell short of expectations for a gain of 15,000 jobs that would have been a clear sign of a turnaround in the troubled labour market... The divergent paths for payrolls and unemployment stem from the use of two separate surveys that often provide conflicting results. The payrolls figures, often seen as a more reliable indicator of hiring, comes from a survey of 140,000 businesses, while the jobless rate is calculated from a survey of 60,000 households." [General population surveys are easier to "fiddle"]

Social security is finally broke: "Don't look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system. A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits. Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation's biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing -- in other words, a taxpayer bailout.... years earlier than projected, Social Security is adding to the government's borrowing needs... this year's Social Security cash shortfall is a watershed event. Until this year, Social Security was a problem for the future. Now it's a problem for the present.

How to Make a Weak Economy Worse: "You get the feeling President Obama is girding for battle with the financial sector. In last week's State of the Union address, he promised to regulate the industry. On Jan. 21, he was blunter, warning that he would not let companies that enjoyed "soaring profits and obscene bonuses" block his financial reforms. "If these folks want a fight," he said, "it's a fight I'm ready to have." This declaration of war echoes that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1936, late in his campaign for a second presidential term, FDR spoke of the challenges of "business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking." Wall Streeters and businessmen hated him, he said, adding that "I welcome their hatred." Mr. Obama might want to stick to a moderate approach. FDR's war against business played to the crowd, but it hurt the economy. While monetary policies impeded recovery in the late 1930s, it was the administration's assault on companies and capital that ensured the Depression's duration.... The attacks started with taxes. In 1935, well before the "hatred" speech, FDR led Congress in passaging a law that replaced a flat rate on corporate income with a graduated rate—itself a penalty on larger firms....Even John Maynard Keynes chided FDR for his attitude about businessmen: "It is a mistake to think they are more immoral than politicians." Among themselves, the New Dealers acknowledged failure. FDR's second Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, eventually determined that the problem was lack of what he labeled "business confidence."

Denmark shows the way: "Danish special forces have stormed a Slovenian cargo ship which had been captured by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, freeing the 25 crew members, a spokesman for the EU's anti-piracy naval force says. "It's the first time that an assault of this nature has taken place,'' John Harbour, spokesman for the European Union Naval Force (NAVFOR) said today. The operation took place around 1100 GMT yesterday (10pm yesterday AEDT) soon after the pirates seized the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship Ariella. The ship's crew had managed to send out a distress signal which the international coalition forces patrolling the waters off Somalia intercepted. A plane from the EU anti-piracy force flew to the spot and called on a Danish NATO ship in the area to intervene with its special forces. That was made possible after the whole ship's crew managed to lock themselves into a room on board, the spokesman said."

Afghanistan situation no longer deteriorating says Stanley McChrystal: "The American commander who warned in September of "failure" in Afghanistan has said that the situation there is no longer deteriorating and President Barack Obama's troop surge has set the stage for "real progress" in 2010. Speaking in Istanbul before the anticipated offensive against the Taliban-held town of Marja in southern Helmand, Gen Stanley McChrystal gave a strikingly upbeat assessment of the situation in the country he said last year was in danger of slipping into Islamist hands. The Marja offensive is widely viewed as the first major test of Gen McChrystal's counter-insurgency doctrine... Gen McChrystal conceded that it was "unconventional" to announce the Marja offensive beforehand because it gave the Taliban the opportunity to flee, bury bombs and fortify. The aim, however, was to send a message to insurgents that "it's about to change" and to Afghans that the writ of their government was about to be extended. "If they want to fight, then obviously that will have to be an outcome. But if they don't want to fight, that's fine, too, if they want to integrate into the government. "The biggest thing is in convincing the Afghan people. This is all a war of perceptions."

Dutch must help Iran with nukes: "Students from Iran can take nuclear courses in the Netherlands after all. A judge in The Hague ruled yesterday that the government is not allowed to exclude them. The judge ruled that the Iranians were discriminated against by the exclusion regulation. This regulation, introduced based on a UN resolution by Education Minister Ronald Plasterk and Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, will now have to be scrapped. A group of Iranian Dutch were opposing the sanction measure excluding students from Iran from certain Master's courses and studies at certain locations, including the nuclear installations in Petten and Borssele. Verhagen had not yet commented on the verdict yesterday. The measure was intended to prevent Iranian students from being able to collect information that could help with the making or spread of nuclear weapons. In the past, nuclear secrets came into the hands of a number of countries via an Iranian nuclear physicist who took them with him from Dutch uranium processing company Urenco."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


5 February, 2010


I suppose I am dreaming but I have this crazy idea that as a much-published psychometrician, I should be permitted to convey what I know about IQ research. IQ research is part of psychometrics. I will of course be accused of being a "racist" for telling what I know but to hell with that: truth comes first for me. If telling the truth makes you a racist, that sounds like praise for racism to me.

I reproduce below some excerpts from the latest academic paper on the subject. I first give the abstract and then an excerpt from the body of the article. Readers who want to look at the full article will find the link at the bottom, as is my usual practice. The excerpt from the body of the article first gives the misleading claims of Nisbett in Nisbett's own words and is followed by a recounting of what Nisbett has left out or misrepresented.

The Open Psychology Journal, 2010, 3, 9-35

Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett's Intelligence and How to Get It

By J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur R. Jensen


We provide a detailed review of data from psychology, genetics, and neuroscience in a point-counterpoint format to enable readers to identify the merits and demerits of each side of the debate over whether the culture-only (0% genetic- 100% environmental) or nature + nurture model (50% genetic-50% environmental) best explains mean ethnic group differences in intelligence test scores: Jewish (mean IQ = 113), East Asian (106), White (100), Hispanic (90), South Asian (87), African American (85), and sub-Saharan African (70). We juxtapose Richard Nisbett's position, expressed in his book Intelligence and How to Get It, with our own, to examine his thesis that cultural factors alone are sufficient to explain the differences and that the nature + nurture model we have presented over the last 40 years is unnecessary. We review the evidence in 14 topics of contention: (1) data to be explained; (2) malleability of IQ test scores; (3) cultureloaded versus g-loaded tests; (4) stereotype threat, caste, and "X" factors; (5) reaction-time measures; (6) within-race heritability; (7) between-race heritability; (8) sub-Saharan African IQ scores; (9) race differences in brain size; (10) sex differences in brain size; (11) trans-racial adoption studies; (12) racial admixture studies; (13) regression to the mean effects; and (14) human origins research and life-history traits. We conclude that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life history traits, East Asians average higher than do Europeans who average higher than South Asians, African Americans, or sub-Saharan Africans. The group differences are between 50 and 80% heritable.



James Flynn discovered that in the developed world as a whole, IQ scores increased markedly over the last 50 years. This suggests that the 15-point IQ difference between Blacks and Whites will gradually disappear over time. Indeed, Black IQ today is superior to White IQ in 1950! Dickens and Flynn [24] showed the Black-White IQ gap narrowed by 5.5 points between 1972 and 2002. They documented a drop from 15 to 9.5 points on a combination of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), the Stanford- Binet, and the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). It is hard to overestimate the importance of a gap reduction of this magnitude. It reduces the ratio of Whites to Blacks with an IQ of 130 (the level needed to be a highly successful professional) from 18 to 1 to only 6 to 1. Even including the several additional tests that Rushton and Jensen [25] said were wrongly omitted, the median Black IQ gain is still 4.5 points, which is not very different from the 5.5 point estimate given by Dickens and Flynn.

The Black-White difference shrank comparably on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Long- Term Trend tests. These have been given every few years since the early 1970s by the U.S. Department of Education to a random sample of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-olds. For children born as early as 1954, the Black-White difference in reading and math averaged a full 1.2 SDs. For the most recent cohorts the gap is between .60 and .90 SDs-a very large reduction. It is interesting to note that if we convert the NAEP gains to IQ-type scales with a mean of 100 and SD of 15, and average the gains in math and reading across all age groups, we obtain a 5.4 point reduction in the Black-White education gap during the period for which Dickens and Flynn [24] found a 5.5 point reduction in the IQ gap.

Rushton and Jensen:

In fact, there is very little evidence of any significant narrowing of the Black-White IQ gap. Rushton and Jensen [25] disputed Dickens and Flynn's [24] claim that Blacks gained 5.5 points by showing that Dickens and Flynn excluded several tests and then "projected" forward by multiplying a small gain from their highly select group of tests by more years than were available for most of the data. Dickens and Flynn excluded the Wonderlic Personnel Test, which showed a gain of only 2.4 points for Blacks between 1970 and 2001; the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC), which showed a loss of 1 IQ point for Blacks between 1983 and 2004; the Woodcock-Johnson test, which showed a zero gain for Blacks; and the Differential Ability Scale, which showed a gain of only 1.83 points for Blacks between 1972 and 1986.

Moreover, even the test data they did present did not directly support their conclusion. Simple arithmetic, rather than a multiplied projection, yielded a mean gain for Blacks of 3.4 points (23%), not the 5.5 points claimed (37%). Including the aforementioned tests reduced the gain from 3.4 to 2.1 points (14%).

Nisbett does not explain how he arrived at an overall Black gain of 4.5 IQ points (30%) after including the four small (or negative) gain tests. Simple arithmetic applied to all eight tests yielded a mean gain for Blacks of only 2.1 points (14%).

Other researchers have also failed to find a significant narrowing of the Black-White gap over the 30 years covered by Dickens and Flynn (i.e., from 1972 to 2002). For example, Murray [26, 27] concluded there was "no narrowing" in two independent studies. In the first, he found no narrowing in either verbal IQ or achievement test scores for children born to women in the 1979 sample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. In the second, he found no narrowing for 6- to 65-year-olds in the Woodcock-Johnson standardizations of those born in the last half of the 1960s and early 1970s.

When Roth et al. [9] confirmed the 1.1 SD difference in a sample of 6,246,729 corporate, military, and higher education testees, they also addressed the question of whether the differences were decreasing. They concluded that any reduction was "either small, potentially a function of sampling error.or nonexistent for highly g loaded instruments" [9, p. 323, our italics].

Nisbett seems also to have exaggerated a select sampling of NAEP scores to emphasize gains. Gottfredson [28, 29] found that from the 1970s to the 1990s, the Black-White difference on school achievement tests only narrowed from 1.07 to 0.89 SDs. Even this 20% reduction (not the 35% claimed by Nisbett) had: (a) occurred by the 1980s and no longer continued; and (b) was compatible with a heritability of 80% for IQ.

However, the differences in results between Nisbett and Gottfredson are partly due to the NAEP scores coming in two distinct varieties. Nisbett reported on the NAEP Long Term Trend Assessment test, which measures student performance in Reading and Mathematics every four years or so and has remained relatively unchanged since its first administration. Gottfredson analyzed the Main NAEP Assessment test, which is given every two years and includes other subjects such as Science, Geography, and History, with test items modified every few years to reflect changing school curricula.

In any case, when gains do occur, they may be due to increased familiarity with test material and "teaching the test" rather than to genuine improvement in learning (see Section 8.1).



Obama ditching soft approach towards China?

By Dr John Lee

If 2009 was the year of treating China with kid gloves, 2010 is likely to be much more tumultuous with President Barack Obama gearing up to prove that he has the mettle to defend American interests as well as the charm that swept him into power.

Last year, Obama’s foreign policy advisors conceded that China responded to the President’s softly, softly approach with disrespect and ‘kicked him in the teeth’ over and over again, most notably at the Copenhagen Summit. With poll numbers sagging and no foreign policy achievements to speak of, he is trying to avoid being compared to previous failed Presidents such as the one-term Jimmy Carter – also a Nobel Peace Prize winner – who was seen as cerebral but naïve and weak.

Indeed, it the first month of 2010, Obama has publicly defended Google in the company’s spat with China, approved an arms package for Taiwan that includes a few unexpected military ‘extras,’ and announced his intention to meet the Dalai Lama – something that was postponed in 2009 to appease Chinese sensitivities when the Dalai Lama visited the United States. America has done more in January to stand up to and enrage China than during the whole of 2009.

Ultimately, Washington wants China to be part of the solution rather than problem on global issues: to be a ‘responsible stakeholder.’ When China fails to behave like one – which is often the case – it creates additional headaches for an America burdened by global responsibilities. From Beijing’s point of view, the ‘responsible stakeholder’ approach is cleverly designed to inhibit and restrain China’s rise and to preserve American advantages in the bilateral relationship and within the global order. The implication: US-China tension is structural.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated February 5. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


Dumbama just hasn't got a clue

Today President Obama told Senate Democrats that they had faced "enormous procedural obstacles that are unprecedented.." "You had to cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and 1960s combined. That's 20 years of obstruction jammed into just one."

This is astonishing. A filibuster is the successful use of 41 or more votes to prevent the closing of debate. There wasn't a single filibuster in 2009. Not one.

The president will say anything to advance a narrative that makes him a victim of obstruction. It is clear that 2010 will be spent pivoting from his 2009 mantra of Bush's fault to his campaign year blasts at the "do nothing Republicans."



The Great Peasant Revolt of 2010

"I am not an ideologue," protested President Obama at a gathering with Republican House members last week. Perhaps, but he does have a tenacious commitment to a set of political convictions. Compare his 2010 State of the Union to his first address to Congress a year earlier. The consistency is remarkable. In 2009, after passing a $787 billion (now $862 billion) stimulus package, the largest spending bill in galactic history, he unveiled a manifesto for fundamentally restructuring the commanding heights of American society -- health care, education and energy.

A year later, after stunning Democratic setbacks in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Obama gave a stay-the-course State of the Union address (a) pledging not to walk away from health care reform, (b) seeking to turn college education increasingly into a federal entitlement, and (c) asking again for cap-and-trade energy legislation. Plus, of course, another stimulus package, this time renamed a "jobs bill."

This being a democracy, don't the Democrats see that clinging to this agenda will march them over a cliff? Don't they understand Massachusetts? Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly.

Liberal expressions of disdain for the intelligence and emotional maturity of the electorate have been, post-Massachusetts, remarkably unguarded. New York Times columnist Charles Blow chided Obama for not understanding the necessity of speaking "in the plain words of plain folks," because the people are "suspicious of complexity." Counseled Blow: "The next time he gives a speech, someone should tap him on the ankle and say, 'Mr. President, we're down here.'" A Time magazine blogger was even more blunt about the ankle-dwelling mob, explaining that we are "a nation of dodos" that is "too dumb to thrive."

Obama joined the parade in the State of the Union address when, with supercilious modesty, he chided himself "for not explaining it (health care) more clearly to the American people." The subject, he noted, was "complex." The subject, it might also be noted, was one to which the master of complexity had devoted 29 speeches. Perhaps he did not speak slowly enough.

Then there are the emotional deficiencies of the masses. Nearly every Democratic apologist lamented the people's anger and anxiety, a free-floating agitation that prevented them from appreciating the beneficence of the social agenda the Democrats are so determined to foist upon them.

That brings us to Part 2 of the liberal conceit: Liberals act in the public interest, while conservatives think only of power, elections, self-aggrandizement and self-interest.

More here



Biden swears in Brown as newest US Senator: "Republican Scott Brown has become the junior senator from Massachusetts today after being sworn in a week earlier than expected on the Senate floor. Brown, 50, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden more than two weeks after his upset victory in the Jan. 19 special election shook up the political landscape in Washington by giving Republicans the 41 votes they need to block controversial bills.”

Hypocrite Obama hits tactic he himself used as a senator: "President Obama blasted Senate Republicans Wednesday for using "holds," a Senate tactic that delays consideration of nominees - even though as a senator he used the technique to block several of President George W. Bush's appointments. Mr. Obama complained that Republican objections have created "a huge backlog of folks who are unanimously viewed as well qualified" but who get held up because a single senator is trying to force the administration's hand on an issue. He said that's the case with Martha Johnson, his nominee to head the General Services Administration. "Let's have a fight about real stuff. Don't hold this woman hostage. If you have an objection about my health care policies, then let's debate the health care policies. But don't suddenly end up having a GSA administrator who is stuck in limbo somewhere because you don't like something else that we're doing," he said. But that's exactly what Mr. Obama did in two instances when, as a senator, he blocked all Environmental Protection Agency nominees in late 2005 to try to force release of new rules on lead paint and, a year later, blocked a Federal Aviation Administration nominee to try to force the FAA to decide whether Midwest wind farms would interfere with radar."

Job losses from Great Recession about to get worse: "Job losses during the Great Recession have been huge and they’re about to get bigger. When the Labor Department releases the January unemployment report Friday, it will also update its estimate of jobs lost in the year that ended in March 2009. The number is expected to rise by roughly 800,000, raising the number of jobs shed during the recession to around 8 million.”

Air marshals say service roiled with cronyism, chaos: "Despite calls from President Obama to beef up the program designed to provide security aboard U.S. flights, the Federal Air Marshal Service is in disarray, a CNN investigation has found. In more than a dozen interviews across the country, air marshals said the agency is rife with cronyism; age, gender and racial discrimination; and attempts by managers to make the agency appear more efficient than it is by padding numbers.”

Zogby poll: Ethnic and religious profiling OK: "Majorities of U.S. adults favor both ethnic and religious profiling and full-body scans at airports as measures to prevent terror attacks; and 69% say they are comfortable sacrificing some privacy for security. These are among the findings of a Zogby Interactive survey of 2,003 U.S. adults conducted from Jan. 15-18, 2010. This survey has a margin of error of +/-2.2%, with larger margins for sub-groups. The survey also found that 51% expect a major terror attack in the next year, and 25% plan to fly less frequently in order to lower their risk of being a terror victim. Seventy-five percent agreed that there is too much political correctness in discussion of terrorism."

Illinois primary voting numbers look good for Republicans: "Illinois held the nation’s first non-special primary election this year, and almost all the results are in. The big story for national politics is the race for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat, now held by the inimitable Roland Burris. And the news is very good for Republicans. North Shore suburban Congressman Mark Kirk won the Republican primary with 57% of the vote to 19% for conservative Patrick Hughes, while the Democratic race was much closer. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, long well ahead in the polls, won 39% to 34% for former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman. Giannoulias has been running mostly ahead of or even with Kirk in public polls, but there’s reason to believe he is beatable. He is young and articulate, but his family-owned bank, Broadway Bank, has made some loans to unsavory individuals, including convicted fraudster Tony Rezko. Kirk, in contrast, is a clean-as-a-whistle representative of the affluent North Shore suburbs, historically very Republican but in recent years trending Democratic on cultural issues; Kirk managed to win reelection by a 53%-47% margin in 2008 even as Barack Obama was carrying his district 61%-38% and his Democratic opponent was spending $3.5 million."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


4 February, 2010

Democrat ostriches?

A chilling spectacle just took place before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked, "What is the likelihood of another terrorist-attempted attack on the U.S. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low?"

And one by one, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller all agreed an attack was "certain."

But log onto the Department of Homeland Security's Web site and all seems fairly calm. The first news item listed says, "Secretary Napolitano Announces More than $23 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Fire Station Construction Grants." And three of the other four news items on the main page tout the ways the department's $56.3 billion fiscal year 2011 budget request would be spent.

You have to look for the fine print and click a couple of times to find out the nation's terror alert condition ? yellow or "elevated," like during most of the time since 9/11.

But if an attack is "certain" as the U.S. intelligence community tells us (but only after being asked by a senator), then shouldn't there be a bit more urgency than this?

Far from scrambling to stave off sure and impending disaster, this administration is bragging that its ill-advised policies haven't yet done harm.

We shouldn't be releasing anyone in our custody who could end up returning to terrorist activities, but White House counterterrorism chief John O. Brennan was touting "significant improvements to the detainee review process" for Gitmo prisoners in a Monday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Even if the recidivism rate is zero among the dozens of POWs that have been released, as Brennan reports, we saw on Christmas Day that it only takes one terrorist to kill hundreds. This is exactly what would have happened over the skies near Detroit had a little luck and a lot of guts from passengers not been on our side.

The administration boasts that Undiebomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is now "cooperating" ? as if they didn't blow the chance for a treasure trove of lifesaving information from him about al-Qaida's structure and future plots by reading him his Miranda rights, getting him a lawyer, and allowing him to clam up less than an hour after being detained.

The president's answer to legitimate unease about homeland security is to ask the concerned to "put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough."

Last April, the president visited CIA headquarters to boost morale. "Speaking before some of the very intelligence officers he had publicly accused of complicity in torture," as Bush White House chief speechwriter Marc Thiessen writes in his new book defending the CIA's enhanced interrogation, "Courting Disaster," President Obama admitted to them that under his new policies, "you've got a harder job."

"The president has, by his own admission, forced the CIA to operate with one hand tied behind its back" -- Obama's own analogy -- and "made the agency's job of protecting us from terror harder," adds Thiessen.

At the risk of being accused of a schoolyard taunt, does the certainty of another attack have anything to do with one of America's hands being tied?



Obama Attacks Churches, Charities and Home Values

These are policies that President Obama has advocated in the past, so we shouldn't be surprised to see them in his 2011 budget. Still, it's hard not to be a little shocked. The budget says, at page 40:
Reduce the Itemized Deduction Write-off for Families with Incomes over $250,000.

Currently, if a middle-class family donates a dollar to its favorite charity or spends a dollar on mortgage interest, it gets a 15-cent tax deduction, but a millionaire who does the same enjoys a deduction that is more than twice as generous.
That's because the "millionaire" pays income taxes that are more than twice as high. It isn't "generous" for the government to refrain from taking all of your money. The document continues:
By reducing this disparity and returning the high-income deduction to the same rates that were in place at the end of the Reagan Administration, we will raise $291 billion over the next decade.
This is, of course, Orwellian. The "disparity" is in fact a disparity in tax rates--higher income people pay much more. And the reference to the Reagan administration must have been intended as a cruel joke on taxpayers. The "high-income deduction" will be the same as during the Reagan administration, but the high-income marginal tax rate won't be, so now the deduction will apply to only half the contribution.

It's easy to understand the Obama administration's purpose with regard to churches and private charities, which it regards as competitors of the government. It wants to damage or destroy them by making contributions more expensive. But what about the mortgage interest deduction? The administration purports to be concerned about the decline in home prices that triggered the economic crisis of 2008-2009. But severely reducing the mortgage interest deduction will inevitably depress home prices. And not just the prices of expensive homes, either; as those prices fall, the values of less-expensive houses will decline as well. Is this really what the administration wants? It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama administration simply doesn't care about America's economy.



When a Trend Cannot Continue, It Stops

Dick McDonald

Margaret Thatcher said it best: “The trouble with socialism is that it runs out of other people’s money.” And so it has come to pass in 21st century America – we have been presented with a Federal budget for the fiscal year 2011 that spends $1.6 trillion more than anticipated tax receipts and projects doing the same for the next 10 years. David Sanger's current New York Times article points out this grim reality.

Seventy-five years of social engineering has already left the American taxpayer with $119 trillion of debt. Taxpayers know politicians have legislated them into a corner and believe there are no present solutions other than returning the conservatives to power and hope they can stop the bleeding and start to reduce the deficit and debt. There is no time to waste in applying an economic tourniquet to the body politic – projections indicate that this $119 trillion debt grows at the rate of $8 trillion a year.

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. Liberals have decided to turn on the populist propaganda and spend the country into economic chaos in an identical way government did in 1936. That strategy threw the country into a deep depression within a deep depression. What is being promoted today can also be deemed to be equally “insane.”

Fortunately, too many Americans – especially those that don’t pay taxes – don’t have jobs. This trend cannot continue. Trends that cannot continue will stop. The question is, how will conservatives stop the bleeding? Our Founders provided the answer. If we could just believe what so many politicians always promise but repeatedly ignore – a return to a smaller government.

There is only one way to seriously shrink the size of government – and that is to privatize entitlements. By letting people invest in the American economy the 15.3 percent of their working life income now confiscated as payroll taxes will not only cut the size of government in half but revive our economy by infusing over $100 billion a month of new capital into the markets.

Politicians purposely ignore “privatization” because it takes money away from their political control and returns it to the control of every American citizen. Politicians and their propaganda ministry keep privatization off the negotiating table and deceive the American people into believing that raising taxes and cutting benefits are the sole methods to solve the dilemma that has created a $119 trillion debt. It isn’t. Privatization was recommend by FDR himself in the 1940s. He wanted the taxes invested in annuities by 1965 for the benefit of individual taxpayers.

Privatization is the solution and we need to pursue it – otherwise we are heading for the problems described in Sanger's New York Times article. The privatization plan contained in RUA is the greatest wealth producing proposal every advanced in a civilized society and is based on free market capitalist principles. Read all about it – you will like it.

Consider the idea that these new deficits and debts leave no room for these new spending proposals, but the individuals who proposed them knew this in January 2009, yet still pursued an agenda that can only be deemed as one to destroy the American capitalist system and its way of life. Unfortunately, we are running out of money.



More new taxes, more new spending

Can someone explain how this is change?

Over the next decade, President Obama plans on increasing taxes by $1.4 trillion, offset by his planned $300 billion in tax cuts. But his spending splurge will increase so much that Mr. Obama will add $5.1 trillion to the national debt over the next five years and $8.5 trillion over 10 years. This will be on top of the $1.4 trillion deficit we ran last year. At the end of these 10 years, the publicly held national debt will nearly double to $18 trillion.

Even Mr. Obama's own estimates put all the other tax-and-spend liberals to shame. And Mr. Obama hasn't even gotten his massive, costly takeover of the health care system and his even more costly cap-and-tax proposal. It is not as if Americans couldn't survive with a smaller amount of government spending - eight years ago, the budget was about half as big as Mr. Obama's proposal.

Next year, despite Mr. Obama's frequent campaign promises not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, people currently in the 10 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 36 percent personal income tax rates will all face higher tax rates. This is not the first time that Mr. Obama has broken or tried to break this promise, but higher marginal income tax rates will completely obliterate yet another Obama promise.

Yet, with all these new taxes, this coming year's deficit is likely to run to $1.6 trillion, a new record that would surpass the massive record $1.4 trillion set just last year. If you add last year's deficit to what Mr. Obama would like to see happen over the next decade, that $10.1 trillion debt will bankrupt the country. For a family of four, that debt would equal $134,700. Americans need to ask themselves what they could have done for themselves with that much money. How many new firms could have opened and how many more productive jobs would there be in the private sector if the government weren't taking up all these resources?

During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Obama attacked the George W. Bush administration during the third presidential debate: "But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments." But Mr. Bush's deficits, even including the relatively high deficits generated largely by a Congress completely controlled by Democrats, averaged well less than $400 billion per year.

Even by the year 2020, Mr. Obama's own estimates indicate that the annual budget deficit will be $1 trillion. If we were living beyond our means when Sen. Obama was running for president, we're now living beyond our means and our children's means and our grandchildren's means and ...




Sen.-elect Scott Brown may be sworn in Thursday: “Sen.-elect Scott Brown, the Republican who won last month’s upset victory in Massachusetts, appears likely to be sworn in tomorrow — a week earlier than originally anticipated. A spokesman for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement that the governor will certify the results of the Jan. 19 special election tomorrow and a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Brown could take his seat as early as tomorrow afternoon.”

GOP's Senate prospects on the rise: "The long-shot bid by Republicans to retake control of the Senate is suddenly in play, as the prospect of high-profile Republican candidates entering the fray has pushed the GOP even or ahead in polling for 10 races. The potential candidacies of former Republican Govs. George E. Pataki in New York and Tommy G. Thompson in Wisconsin are improving the polling fortunes of the party as it pursues seats long in the hands of Democrats, while the anti-government "tea party" movement has provided momentum to Republican challengers in states such as Florida, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. "If the election were held today, the Republicans could come close to winning back the Senate, if not actually win it," said pollster John Zogby."

Obama's foot in mouth disease strikes again: "A careless remark by President Barack Obama about Las Vegas has triggered a furious backlash from Nevada’s cash-strapped gambling city and a key Democratic ally fighting a tough re-election battle in the state. Speaking about the economy at an event in New Hampshire, Mr Obama told Americans: “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. “You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritise. You make tough choices.” The economy of the world’s most famous gambling and entertainment destination is heavily dependent on tourism and Las Vegans were already incensed by a comment from Mr Obama last year that companies should not use federal bail out money for trips to the city. Tourism and casino officials said the comment hurt the city after companies cancelled meetings in Las Vegas and re-arranged them elsewhere. Mr Obama’s latest remark about Las Vegas prompted a swift and angry retort from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who has an uphill battle to win re-election in Nevada"

Media covering for scared Democrats in Illinois: "Lech Walesa, a Nobel Laureate and former leader of the Solidarity trade union in Poland, which helped topple 50 years of Soviet occupation there and end the Cold War, went to Chicago, Ill., last week to endorse a conservative Republican in the gubernatorial primary race but the local media largely ignored him. This near-blackout by the media occurred despite the fact that 1 million people of Polish nationality live in Chicago, making it the city with the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw, Poland, and despite the fact that Walesa himself was the first post-Soviet president of Poland (from 1990 to 1995)."

Iran sends rocket with animal menagerie into space: "Iran announced Wednesday it launched a menagerie of animals — including a mouse, two turtles and worms — into space on a research rocket, a feat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said showed Iran could defeat the West in the battle of technology. Ahmadinejad also unveiled the model of a light booster rocket that is being built and three new, Iranian-built satellites, touted as the latest achievements in the country’s ambitious space program.”

Busted budgets: States desperate for new taxes: "So what will happen if California and Colorado and New York and every other state with fiscal afflictions get the increases they want? History tells us that in a year or so they will each spend 150% of their new taxes, face yet another fiscal emergency, and go looking for more things to tax. Giving more tax money to politicians is like giving a shot of Jose Cuervo to a stumbling blind slobbering drunk. They could tax everything in the country with a pulse and never have enough money.”

New British tax comes a cropper: "I was live on CNBC when the 50 percent top tax rate was announced. Asked for an immediate reaction, I predicted emphatically that the new would raise less money, not more. Now The Times reports that the Treasury has ’significantly reduced’ (as Lord Myners puts it) its estimate of the revenue to be yielded. The increase, which publicly broke Labour’s solemn manifesto pledge not to raise tax rates, has led people to shelter income.”

Will America help the persecuted Copts of Egypt?: "The violent persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt is becoming harder for the free world to ignore. This is true thanks to thousands of Copts who recently expressed their decades of frustration and anguish in street protests across the globe. One moving example took place in West Los Angeles, Calif., last month. With American flags in hand, over a thousand Copts peacefully demonstrated. One boy simply said, ‘It is very dangerous in Egypt that is why we need America to help us.’”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


3 February, 2010

Obama's Philosophically Fascist State of the Union Address

by Ben Shapiro

There sure is something different about President Obama. Usually, the State of the Union address is a laundry list of proposals spiced with sycophantic applause and dipped in an admixture of boredom and bravado. It is rarely a statement of basic philosophy. Not for President Obama.

President Obama's State of the Union address was the greatest American rhetorical embrace of fascist trope since the days of Woodrow Wilson. I am not suggesting Obama is a Nazi; he isn't. I am not suggesting that he is a jackbooted thug; he isn't (even if we could be forgiven for mistaking Rahm Emanuel for one).

President Obama is, however, a man who embodies all the personal characteristics of a fascist leader, right down to the arrogant chin-up head tilt he utilizes when waiting for applause. He sees democracy as a filthy process that can be cured only by the centralized power of bureaucrats. He sees his presidency as a Hegelian synthesis marking the end of political conflict. He sees himself as embodiment of the collective will. No president should speak in these terms -- not in a representative republic. Obama does it habitually.

It would be pointless to discuss at length the dictatorial, demagogic nature of much of Obama's address -- the attacks on the banking system; the unprecedented personal assault on the Supreme Court justices; the dictatorial demands ("I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay"); the scornful looks and high-handed put-downs directed at his political opponents. It would be even more pointless to discuss the incomprehensible stupidity of Obama's policy proposals. (Export more of our goods? Why didn't anyone else think of that?)

It is worth examining, however, the deeper philosophy evident from Obama's address. From the outset, his speech was an ode to himself. He opened, bizarrely, by comparing this moment in history to past American crises: "when the Union was turned back at Bull Run …" He suggested that "America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people." This, of course, is unmitigated, self-serving rubbish -- 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War because we didn't move forward as one nation. But that is irrelevant to Obama -- in his mind, today's crisis is just like the Civil War. He is a modern-day Lincoln, and those who oppose him are benighted rebels. What's more, only his powerful leadership can lead us through.

Then it was on to his critique of American politics. It should be noted at the outset that American politics is designed to produce gridlock. The governmental structure was carefully calibrated to thwart grand, ambitious programs like Obama's socialist remolding of America; the founders deliberately shackled government by pitting interest against interest. Obama does not accept that, and so he despises the American system of republicanism. He acknowledged that political debate is deeply entrenched: "These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they've been taking place for over 200 years. They're the very essence of democracy." Then he dismissed the very essence of democracy in a single stroke: "But we still need to govern."

Obama's alternative is government as a single blunt instrument wielded by him. "What the American people hope -- what they deserve -- is for us … to overcome the numbing weight of our politics … it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength." This is 100 percent wrong. The American government is designed to be limited precisely so that the individual decency and strength of Americans can be unleashed. The government does not embody us -- it serves us.

But in Obama's mind, it is not even the government that embodies us -- it is Obama himself who encapsulates our hopes, dreams and spirit. "What keeps me going -- what keeps me fighting," he blathered, as though we were all deeply interested in the state of his psyche, "is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on."

After noting several Americans in whom the spirit of America lives, Obama turned to the camera in maudlin fashion and noted, "It lives on in you." (Note: quoting the Broadway version of "The Lion King" is heavy-handed theatrics.) Then he capped his sickening papal benediction with this note: "We don't quit. I don't quit."

We are not he. The American spirit is not the Obama spirit. America is not defined by our collective desire to bring about political utopia through abdication of representative democracy to a body of "wise pragmatists." America is defined by Americans -- individuals fighting to support their families, to preserve their values and their freedoms. And that Americanism stands in direct opposition not only to the Obama agenda, but also to Obama's vision of himself.



A Reuters journalist who will be looking for a new job soon

Sometimes, the truth hurts. In the case of an article they published yesterday at 4:04 p.m. Eastern, it appears Reuters editors were afraid writer Terri Cullen’s adventure into truthful journalism might hurt their news agency’s relationship with President Barack Obama — so they pulled it.

Published under the headline, Backdoor taxes hit middle class, the article opened by describing the Obama Administration’s plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as relying “heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.” Four hours and three minutes after it hit the wire, the story was “withdrawn” with a promise that “A replacement story will run alter in the week.”

Why did Reuters pull the story? Business Insider cited a Reuters rep as saying the piece was withdrawn “due to significant errors of fact” and “should not have gone out.” I think it was the language used in the article that prompted Reuters to pull it. In particular, it was a series of phrases shown below that, combined with the one mentioned above, must have made the hair stand up on the back of Rahm Emanuel’s neck:

“…effectively a tax hike by stealth.”

“middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.”

Perhaps the largest contributing factor to the article being yanked is a list of tax break provisions popular among middle-class families that Obama might allow to expire:

* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;

* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;

* The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;

* Individuals who don’t itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;

* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.

The last line of the story was, perhaps, the proverbial “nail in the coffin” for the Reuter’s piece:


SOURCE (See the original for links)



The false gospel of liberalism: "How can liberalism — an egregiously false and destructive worldview — be so wildly popular? Granted, some oddballs are attracted to an idea because it’s false and destructive, but most liberals are basically normal people. How can tens of millions of regular Joes and Janes be so enthusiastic about legitimizing homosexuality, killing unborn babies and flooding America with unassimilable and hostile foreigners? A partial answer is that Americans are surrounded from cradle to grave by liberal indoctrination.”

High-speed rail: Fast track to the poorhouse: "It must be a sickness. Perhaps the superb doctors at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., can give President Barack Obama something to cure his delusional state. On Thursday, a day after a State of the Union address in which St. Barack made silly promises such as a spending freeze that might save $250 billion if maintained for 10 years, he handed out $8 billion for a high-speed rail project that will be a further drain on our already fragile economy.”

Millions of US passengers fly on unsafe planes: "US airlines permitted at least 65,000 flights with millions of passengers on planes that were not fit for takeoff over the past six years. USA Today reported today after a six-month investigation that flights were allowed to take off after problems ranging from damaged rudders to faulty engines were subject to substandard repairs by unaccredited mechanics or simply went unreported or unchecked. Passengers would have been unaware of any problem with their plane, and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is not always notified of issues by airlines, said the newspaper. Over the time period investigated, the FAA levied $US28.2 million ($32 million) in fines and fees against US airlines who had violated safety standards, but reports indicate the airlines often continued to fly faulty plans after paying the fine."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


2 February, 2010


My internet connection (cable) has been "down" since midday to my blogging today is much disrupted. Some blogs are up as usual while others have reduced or absent posts. It's the obnoxious Telstra/Bigpond again. Their's is the only cable that passes my door so I have to put up with their contempt for their customers. If their service gets any worse I may add a wireless connection via another provider. I am posting this at a friend's place.


Money DOES make you happy

Or so a large recent survey seems to show

Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the U.S.A.

By Andrew J. Oswald and Stephen Wu

A huge research literature, across the behavioral and social sciences, uses information on individuals’ subjective well-being. These are responses to questions—asked by survey interviewers or medical personnel—such as, "How happy do you feel on a scale from 1 to 4?" Yet there is little scientific evidence that such data are meaningful. This study examines a 2005–2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System random sample of 1.3 million U.S. citizens. Life satisfaction in each U.S. state is measured. Across America, people’s answers trace out the same pattern of quality of life as previously estimated, from solely nonsubjective data, in one branch of economics (so-called "compensating differentials" neoclassical theory, originally from Adam Smith). There is a state-by-state match (r = 0.6, P < 0.001) between subjective and objective well-being. This result has some potential to help to unify disciplines.

Science 29 January 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5965, pp. 576 - 579
More detail here. The study actually shows that people are happier if they live in more pleasant places but more pleasant places are of course in general more expensive so money buys you happiness by giving you better location choices.

One would think that location choice was only a small factor in the many things that can affect one's happiness but the authors report a remarkably high correlation of .6 between happiness and the "amenity" of where you live. The correlation is however an "ecological" one (involving grouped data) in statistical terms and such correlations are often inordinately high so can be generalized from only weakly.


Richard Nisbett’s Leftist account of IQ is as crooked as one would expect

I had several shots at Nisbett's nonsense last year (e.g. here) so it is good to see a demolition of his claims from someone at the cutting edge of IQ research -- Professor J. Philippe Rushton (below)

In his book, Intelligence and How to Get It, Richard E. Nisbett, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan, asserts that cultural factors alone are sufficient to explain all the race differences to be observed in IQ and educational achievement.

Nisbett [Email] criticizes the nature + nurture model Arthur Jensen and I presented in 2005 in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. . [Thirty Years Of Research On Race Differences In Cognitive Ability (PDF)] Nisbett claims the heritability of IQ is lower than assumed, that Blacks have substantially narrowed the gap on Whites, that any remaining differences can be eliminated through educational and social intervention, and that any assertion of a mean IQ of 70 for sub-Saharan Africans is “desperately wrong”.

The dust jacket blurb puts Nisbett’s book in the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure of Man (1981, 1996). What is striking, however, is how much ground the egalitarians have given since Gould’s effort to debunk race, genetics, and IQ.

Nisbett concedes that general intelligence exists, that IQ tests predict success at both school and work, that scores are influenced by genes, and that in White populations, genes contribute to social class differences. He even accepts that IQ is related to brain size and that “Blacks are sometimes found to have smaller brains than Whites”. Gould must be spinning in his grave!

Such is the state of expert opinion today that Nisbett simply had to make these concessions lest his book be disqualified as serious scholarship. But while he admits that genes play a role in accounting for within-group differences, he still maintains they play no significant part in between-group differences.

Nisbett acknowledges that measured group differences exist: Jewish (mean IQ = 113), East Asian (107), White (100), South Asian (87), Hispanic (87), African American (85), and sub-Saharan African (70), although he erroneously claims that South Asians score as highly as East Asians. But Nisbett asserts that family pressure for success leads East Asians and Jews to high levels of achievement, while low expectations and a lack of opportunity lead Hispanics and Blacks to much lower levels of achievement.

Jensen and I have provided a long point-counterpoint review of Nisbett’s book in The Open Psychology Journal. [Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett’s Intelligence and How to Get It(PDF)] We found much that was admirable and informative in it, such as the cost-benefit survey of the literature on educational interventions and what can be done to increase school performance. But, sadly, we concluded it was mainly a work of advocacy, not scholarship.

Nisbett misrepresents much of the available information using highly selective reviews of the literature. Especially egregious are his many errors of omission. For example, while complaining of unrepresentative samples in a 1991 review paper by Richard Lynn, Nisbett side-stepped the very much larger compilation of data in Lynn and Vanhanen’s 2006 book. Nisbett completely ignores the adoption studies of East Asians, as well as those on brain size showing a genetic contribution to their high achievement.

According to Nisbett, Blacks closed the IQ gap by 5.5 points (35%) between 1970 and 1992. At the same time, Blacks narrowed the gap in educational achievement by a commensurate 35%. Nisbett argues that educational interventions such as the Milwaukee project, the Abecedarian project, and the Infant Health and Development Program, imply the gap could be eliminated altogether.

Contra Nisbett, however, Jensen and I found that IQ differences between Blacks and Whites have been steady for nearly 100 years, at between 15 and 20 points (about 1.1 standard deviations). After re-analyzing the data on which Nisbett relied, we found that the most optimistic assessment of the Black IQ gain was 2.1 points (14%). Using a wider array of tests, we found no narrowing at all. [See The Black-White Test Score Gap and the New Math Results By Charles Murray, AEI blog, October 15, 2009]

Nor has there been much (if any) narrowing on tests of educational achievement. Furthermore, the most powerful intervention strategies result, at best, in moving people from the 16th to the 25th percentile at the cost of millions of dollars per person.

Nisbett reviews several adoption studies to demonstrate the power of environmental intervention on IQ. He claims that poor children adopted into wealthier homes made huge gains—between 12 and 18 points. But he omitted to mention the finding that by late adolescence, these effects have dissipated.

Nisbett’s tendency to omit crucial information is particularly apparent in his discussion of the well-known Minnesota Trans-Racial Adoption Study in which White, Mixed-Race, and Black children were raised by upper-middle-class White parents in Minnesota. This was the largest study of its kind ever undertaken, and the only one with a longitudinal follow-up component, testing the same children at 7 years (in 1975) and 17 years (in 1986).

Nisbett describes how adopted White children averaged an IQ of 112 at age 7, but he omits that on follow-up at age 17, the IQ of these White children had fallen to 106. He did note that the Black children on follow-up had dropped from a mean IQ of 97 to one of 89—which he attributes to the psychological disturbance and “identity problems” they suffered from being raised by Whites!

Compounding his sins of omission, Nisbett neglects to mention three trans-racial adoption studies of East Asian children. In contrast to the Black children, the East Asian children adopted by White parents, despite being malnourished at birth, grew to excel in both intelligence (mean IQ = 108) and educational achievement......

Our conclusion: Predictions that the Black-White IQ gap will narrow are acts of blind faith. A much stronger dose of skepticism is required than Nisbett manifested in regard to the power of educational and social interventions.

Much more HERE (See the original for links)


Less Economic Freedom = Fewer Jobs for Americans

What does America’s declining economic freedom mean for you? It means that America will create fewer jobs. And that means that Americans will be poorer, as well as less free. A statement last week by Graham Mackay, the head of SAB Miller, one of the world’s largest brewers (they make, among many other beers, Miller Lite), explains how and why this will happen.

In 1999, SAB Miller moved its headquarters to London, attracted, Mackay said, by “the liberal and predictable tax regime.” But since the mid-2000s, the UK has been losing economic freedom. In fact, in 2010, the UK fell out of the top ten for the first time, just as the U.S. dropped into the ranks of the ‘mostly free’ in the Index of Economic Freedom. The UK’s ranking has now declined for four consecutive years, and the level of economic freedom in Britain is now as low as it has been since the Index began to measure it in 1995.

As a result, Mackay pointed out, the conditions that drew SAB Miller to Britain no longer exist:
Today the tax system is not predictable and there have been numerous increases, particularly when it comes to personal taxation. This means that as a global company we are no longer able to attract our best global talent to the UK. Why would someone move from Hong Kong where the marginal tax rate is 15 per cent and come to the UK where it is closer to 52 per cent. Taxation was a key part of our decision to locate a new global procurement business not in the UK but in Zug in Switzerland.
That single decision lost Britain 400 jobs. And SAB Miller is not the only company to flee the increasingly unfree economy of Britain. The damage goes far beyond the banking and financial sector: firms such as Vodafone, the cellular provider, have also departed.

And where have they gone? SAB Miller is worried about drawing talent to Britain (ranked eleventh in the Index) from Hong Kong (ranked first) and instead set up its new business in Switzerland (ranked sixth). Vodafone went in part to Ireland (ranked fifth). This is a competitive world, and businesses have choices. If the U.S. continues to fall behind in economic freedom, some businesses – as the example in Britain of SAB Miller shows – will make a rational decision to move elsewhere, and others will have less money to pay workers because they will be giving more to the taxman.

In his State of the Union address, the President stated that “And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it’s time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the United States of America.”

But they’re not “our jobs” by eternal right. They are jobs created by private enterprise, within the context of the burdens imposed by the federal government. And as those burdens get heavier, the number of jobs on offer in this country shrinks. If the President is serious about job creation, he will address the real threat to it: the policies of his administration, and of past ones, that reduced the willingness of companies to invest and their ability to grow by restricting our economic freedom.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 February, 2010

A constitutional lawyer (guess who?) who doesn't know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence

The media constantly overlook that this guy is a DUMMY

In last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama said: "We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal...."

Um, wrong founding document, Mr. President. It is in our Declaration of Independence that we read: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

Remember when we were force-fed by many in the media articles about the storied legal career of Barack Obama? The first black President of Harvard Law Review (who never wrote a signed legal opinion; nor released his transcripts) and the teacher of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. He was our last best hope to restore respect for the Constitution in the Oval Office.

If George Bush or any Republican had made the same mistake can you imagine the media firestorm? I still recall that the New York Times ran a series of photos on the front-page when George Bush tried to open the wrong door while he was on a diplomatic visit to China. This is leagues above that simple faux pas.

I recall a New York Times article portrayed Obama's years as a constitutional teacher at the University of Chicago Law School that may relate to his problems understanding the basic principles of our founding documents. The article noted he avoided legal discussions with fellow teachers: "The Chicago law faculty is full of intellectually fiery friendships that burn across ideological lines. Three times a week, professors do combat over lunch at a special round table in the university's faculty club, and they share and defend their research in workshop discussions. Mr. Obama rarely attended"

Now maybe we know why. He just has no idea how the Constitution works. And a President pledges to the best of his ability "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Of course, he also misread the Supreme Court decision on campaign speech. He has a long history of misunderstanding basic principles of law.

More HERE (See the original for links)


The Public is Not Buying the Spending “Freeze”

During his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about a proposed spending freeze (underwhelming, as it is) and how such action can save money and get us out of debt. Well, the good news is that no one is buying it. Virtually no one believes that the spending freeze will do anything to have an impact on the deficit.

According to Rasmussen Reports, only 9% of the population think that the proposed spending freeze will have a big impact on the deficit. Forty-two percent believe that it will have no impact. However, there is a majority in support of a spending freeze, but there is a slightly larger majority in favor of reduced spending in government — a message that the Obama administration clearly is not getting. Obama is giong to grow the deficit by $13 trillion over the next ten years while having a freeze of $447 billion with only 15 billion to be saved.

Although it sounds like a large number (and 447 billion is certainly nothing to sneeze at), it is only a very small portion of federal spending. As we stated in our reaction to the State of the Union Address, it is only about 1/8 of all spending. They would not freeze all of government spending, just those that won’t “create” jobs. Aside from the obvious problem that the government cannot create jobs, it would cut costs from programs like the Judiciary, but others such as the Department of Education would see increased spending.

So with all of President Obama’s campaigning during the State of the Union address for his spending freeze, the public seems largely unimpressed. The Obama Administration needs to start realizing that the public is not buying their failed policies, and they should look in a new direction. We have a few good ideas here at Heritage.



Why Obama's Proposals Are Close to Worthless

The incoherent State of the Union address this week only reinforced what is becoming painfully obvious to any observer--President Obama's proposals are more confusing than clarifying, they pretend to do something big but don't achieve it, and they seem desperately out of touch with the average American.

How else can one explain that following his involvement in the campaign, he helped lose a Senate seat in Massachusetts that had belonged to his party since before his own birth? "But," you may argue, "the State of the Union was last week, what about his accomplishment since?"

Ok. I'll take the bait. Let's just deal with the past 24 hours. On the road in Florida, and in conference with Republican congressional representatives, the President still could not come up with coherent, sound ideas for resolving unemployment, or re-reforming a health care proposal that few in the nation like--on the left or right. In the conference with House Republicans he even went so far as to reassert his oft repeated lie that the GOP had not put forward any ideas in the Health Care debate. Understandably Mike Pence, Dr. Tom Price, and Paul Ryan all seemed to strenuously object and attempted to hold Obama's feet to the fire. Obama literally bristled on camera while being held to such open accountability before the watching television eye....

Then there's the proposed "freeze on spending" that the White House revealed more details concerning. Twenty billion is all they plan to address. Twenty billion? Twenty billion? Tarp was $350 billion x 2. Stimulus was $800 billion on paper. And the proposed budget Obama asked for topped out at $3 trillion. Don't get me wrong--I'd be thankful for a liberal to ever admit they will curb any amount of spending, but Obama's macho bravado on being fiscally sound doesn't resonate with his policies.

Thus is the state of things with Barack Obama. 400 speeches didn't "explain health care enough" to the American people, and spending freezes that begin in 2011 and consist of roughly 00.58% are supposed to be like a wave of the magic wand and cause people to fall back into their wonder-lust with the man who speaks hope and change.

But wasn't that kind of indicative of what we ended up getting all of Obama's first year? He was willing to ignore the increasing unemployment while the rates ballooned to over double what they were on average under Bush, but moved heaven and earth to get the himself overseas to campaign for the city of Chicago to score the Olympics.

He knew that 1 in 10 Americans are without jobs, and 1 in 5 families don't make enough to pay their bills with the work they have, but played more rounds of golf in his first year than Bush did in all eight.

He pushed the domestic "criminal" trials of hardened terrorist animals upon the city that suffered the most on 9/11, but held 9 cabinet level meetings to decide to follow through on his own plans to try to win in Afghanistan. He accepted the Nobel prize for peace... for doing nothing... and then sent 30,000 troops to attempt a strategy that military leaders said would work best with 80,000.

And best of all at the State of the Union, he claimed that the science is settled on "climate change" when the world had seen its fraud exposed, and even this weekend has had more evidence of the manipulation of that fraud come to light, but he pushed for the job killing, tax implementing cap and trade bill anyway.

From purely a strategic perspective, Obama has failed even himself. There is nothing for him to fall back on. It's all on his shoulders. His lies, as reported by... CNN. His plans, as he states them for himself. His terms, because he refuses to offer the other side a place at the table to discuss. President Obama is utterly out of touch with real people. And his worthless policy priorities demonstrate that better than any opposing strategist could ever devise.



The Era of Laissez-Faire?

One of the established memes about the financial crisis is that it demonstrates the failure of unfettered capitalism, the dog-eat-dog, laissez-faire environment that prevailed in the West over the last few decades, all driven by the ideology of “free-market fundamentalism.” This seems to be a truism among most of the Commentariat. Of course, as pointed out repeatedly on this blog, the truth is virtually the opposite: there was never any “deregulation,” the Bush Administration spent public money like a drunken sailor, and government continued to expand as it always does. But a picture is worth a thousand words, so try these on for size. (US data)

One response I sometimes hear is “Sure, there are more regulations and more government spending, but the set of things that should be regulated and the amount of government spending the economy needs are growing even faster!” This is essentially the Krugman-DeLong view about the stimulus: it just wasn’t big enough. Or they say that financial markets were “deregulated,” de facto, because the number of regulations and regulators increased more slowly than the number of new financial instruments and new markets. I wonder, though: are these falsifiable propositions? No matter how big the government is, if there are any problems, it’s always because the government isn’t big enough!

More charts HERE



White House: US government deficit to hit all-time high: "As President Obama prepares to unveil his $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins Oct. 1, the White House is projecting the current fiscal year will end with a $1.6 trillion deficit, congressional sources confirmed to Fox News. Next year’s budget will have a nearly $1.3 trillion debt, according to those sources, dropping to just over half that — $700 billion in fiscal year 2013 — before jumping back up to $1 trillion in 2020, the furthest out that budgeters will predict. A $1.6 trillion deficit would represent more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product, but the White House says over the next 10 years, the average deficit will represent only 4.5 percent of GDP annually.”

No sanctions for “waterboarding” lawyers: "Bush administration lawyers whose secret memos approved waterboarding of terrorism suspects will not face sanctions, U.S. officials said. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded John Yoo and Jay Bybee used poor judgment but will not be referred for disciplinary action, a legal source who was not publicly identified told The Washington Post in a story published Sunday.”

Tough fight set for homosexuals in the military: "President Obama's pledge to lift the military's ban on openly gay service members this year seems at best headed for extremely close votes in the House and Senate, according to Congress watchers. The president's proposal needs 218 votes in the House. A bill to repeal the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell" has fewer than 190 co-sponsors. What's more, a number of Democrats representing conservative districts, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri, are set to buck the president and vote against repeal. In the Senate, senators who support the ban could filibuster the 2011 defense authorization bill if it contains a repeal, giving opponents of the ban an uphill task of gathering 60 votes."

CBO chief warns of long, slow recovery: "The director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had little but bad news on the economy for Congress. The pace of the U.S. economic recovery will be "slow in the next few years," and the unemployment rate will average 10 percent through the end of fiscal 2011, while the annual budget deficit will likely remain above $1 trillion, CBO chief Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday. The CBO chief told the congressional panel that he expected economic growth in fiscal 2010, which ends Sept. 30, will be just 1.6 percent, and the unemployment rate will average 10.2 percent. The outlook for fiscal 2011 is not much better, he warned, saying that growth in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) will barely accelerate to 1.8 percent and the unemployment rate barely budge, averaging 9.8 percent for the year. Mr. Elmendorf, citing another in the string of forecasts that his well-respected nonpartisan office had developed, also warned that annual budget deficits are likely to top $1 trillion for this year and next and remain at stratospheric levels for years. The resulting public debt will make up a huge share of the overall economy and remain a constant threat to economic growth for the foreseeable future."

Palin’s PAC raised $2.1 million in 2009: "Sarah Palin raised $2.1 million through her political action committee in 2009, POLITICO has learned, putting the former Alaska governor’s take on par with those of her potential 2012 Republican presidential primary contenders. Palin took in $1.4 million of her total in the last 6 months of the year, after she resigned as governor on July 3. Heading into 2010, SarahPAC, had $900,000 in the bank after contributing $64,600 to dozens of candidates and beefing up its staff from just a handful of operatives.”

Obama has more in common with Fascism than Communism: "If we don’t get the analysis right, we won’t get the response right. Despite what some popular right-wing talk-show hosts claim, Obama is not pushing Marxism, revolutionary or otherwise. The threat is not from socialism in the sense of State ownership of the means of production, much less a proletarian uprising. Rather, he’s pushing good old American progressive-corporate elitism, or corporatism. (Some would simply call it capitalism.) It is anti-free market, but not anti-business.”

The Obama Boondoggle Express: "President Obama is taking his 8 billion State of the Union job-creation stimulus bucks on the road. Railroad, that is. Specifically, he wants to build high-speed rail in 13 major corridors across the country, including a 220-mile-per-hour bullet train in California and a pokey 168 mph Tampa to Orland run in Florida. In case you think this politically motivated bank-busting grandiose ‘vision thing’ is a swell idea, here are a few libertarian-eye-view reasons why it isn’t..... It won't create any new jobs; it will merely create different jobs. The money from profits that millions of business operators would have used to expand their businesses, thereby creating new jobs and hiring more employees, will instead be siphoned off by politicians"

Don’t blame Proposition Thirteen: "The real reason there is a budget crisis is because those in government are unwilling to control their spending. The situation in California is identical to a person who continuously lives beyond his means and then blames his employer for not giving him enough money once the credit card bill is due. If an individual makes that argument, the absurdity of the claim is readily apparent. But when a government official makes that claim, for some reason people actually take it seriously.”

Why has Hollywood forsaken conservatives?: "I don’t know what my butcher’s political beliefs are, and I don’t want to know. I pay him for his services and we are both happy. I want the same arrangement with my entertainers. If my butcher constantly mocked my values, I’d soon take my business elsewhere. Yet Hollywood regularly mocks conservative values. … The entertainment industry’s depictions of various characters and values add up to one message: Conservatives are bad for our country. What does that teach our children about respecting the right to hold dissenting opinions?”

Crisis of the government party: "Obama’s dilemma, evident in his State of the Union, is that the progressives, who were indispensable to his victories over Hillary, now feel betrayed, especially with apparent abandonment of health insurance reform, while conservative Democrats and independents, who were indispensable in giving Obama his November victory, are angry and alienated and disposed to vote Republican to stop what they see as America’s plunge into socialism. The non-negotiable demands of these two essential elements of Obama’s coalition are in irreconcilable conflict.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among well-informed people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists hate success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state - capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn't lived that life.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931-2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsea ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsea but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here