Friday, July 31, 2009

Do warm climates shrink your brain?

The latest scientific findings on the evolution of the brain below. In my usual totally "incorrect" way, I am going to point out that modern-day data confirm the hypothesis too. Africa is a generally warm place and African heads tend to be noticeably smaller. Some of the East Africans (Sudanese etc.) that I see around Brisbane could almost be classified as microcephalic. And, as the article below implies and as modern research confirms, there is a connection between brain size and general intellectual ability. Now that I have pointed out the connection, I think we will see the research finding below vanish from sight

It is one of the biggest mysteries in human evolution. Why did we humans evolve such big brains, making us the unrivalled rulers of the world? Some 2.5 million years ago, our ancestors' brains expanded from a mere 600 cubic centimetres to about a litre. Two new studies suggest it is no fluke that this brain boom coincided with the onset of an ice age. Cooler heads, it seems, allowed ancient human brains to let off steam and grow.

For all its advantages, the modern human brain is a huge energy glutton, accounting for nearly half of our resting metabolic rate. About a decade ago, biologists David Schwartzman and George Middendorf of Howard University in Washington DC hypothesised that our modern brain could not have evolved until the Quaternary ice age started, about 2.5 million years ago. They reckoned such a large brain would have generated heat faster than it could dissipate it in the warmer climate of earlier times, but they lacked evidence to back their hypothesis.

Now hints of that evidence are beginning to emerge. Climate researcher Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, modelled present-day temperature, humidity and wind conditions around the world using an Earth-systems computer model. He used these factors to predict the maximum rate at which a modern human brain can lose heat in different regions. He found that, even today, the ability to dissipate heat should restrict the activity of people in many tropical regions (Climatic Change, vol 95, p 405).

If keeping cool is a problem now, Kleidon says, it would have been even more challenging - perhaps too challenging - 2 or 3 million years ago when temperatures were a few degrees warmer than today and air-conditioning units were harder to come by.

A new study by Schwartzman and Middendorf suggests that a small drop in global temperatures may have made a big difference. The pair used basic equations of heat loss to estimate how fast the small-brained Homo habilis would have been able to cool off. Assuming overheating limited the size of H. habilis's brain, they then calculated what drop in air temperature would have been needed for Homo erectus to be able to support its bigger brain (see diagram). They found that a drop in air temperature of just 1.5 °C would have done the trick (Climatic Change, vol 95, p 439).

Given the timescales involved, it may be near-impossible to match definitively the onset of an ice age with speciation, but a 1.5 °C drop is consistent with the cooling climate of the time, says Middendorf.

"In principle, I'm receptive to the hypothesis," says Dean Falk, a palaeoanthropologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, "but I need the data." She says that if measurements showed that people living in tropical countries today have smaller brains relative to their body size than people in temperate climates, this would go against expectation and lend support to Kleidon's model.

Being able to cool bigger brains can only be part of the story, however. It would have lifted the brakes on expansion, says psychologist David Geary at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but there has to be something driving the increase.

Over the years, researchers have come up with three broad reasons why bigger brains might have been advantageous: to give their owners the ability to cope with changing climates by exploiting technologies such as shelter, fire and clothing; to deal with the cognitive demands of hunting and gathering; or to help people outsmart their neighbours.

To help narrow this down, Geary collected data from 175 fossil hominin skulls, from 1.9 million to 10,000 years old. Then he looked to see whether brain size was best correlated with climatic variability - a crude measure of biodiversity which could indicate the complexity of hunting and gathering - or the human population size at the time, which could reflect the complexity of social interactions.

Geary's analysis found that population size was the best predictor of brain size, suggesting that our ancestors' need to outcompete their neighbours in order to survive may have been the strongest driver of brain growth (Human Nature, vol 20, p 67).

The case is far from closed - Geary's study does not demonstrate cause and effect, for one thing - but the picture beginning to emerge suggests that an ice age set the stage for a socially driven brain boom. And from that time on, it was the brainiacs who stole the show.



The iron law of bureaucratic expansion

An excerpt from the recently reprinted article on "Parkinson's Law"

It would be interesting to follow the further progress by which the 8,118 Admiralty staff of 1935 came to number 33,788 by 1954. But the staff of the Colonial Office affords a better field of study during a period of Imperial decline. The relevant statistics are set down below. Before showing what the rate of increase is, we must observe that the extent of this department's responsibilities was far from constant during these twenty years. The colonial territories were not much altered in area or population between 1935 and 1939. They were considerably diminished by 1943, certain areas being in enemy hands. They were increased again in 1947, but have since then shrunk steadily from year to year as successive colonies achieve self-government.

It would be rational, prior to the discovery of Parkinson's Law, to suppose that these changes in the scope of Empire would be reflected in the size of its central administration. But a glance at the figures shows that the staff totals represent automatic stages in an inevitable increase. And this increase, while related to that observed in other departments, has nothing to do with the size—or even the existence—of the Empire. What are the percentages of increase? We must ignore, for this purpose, the rapid increase in staff which accompanied the diminution of responsibility during World War II. We should note rather the peacetime rates of increase; over 5.24 per cent between 1935 and 1939, and 6.55 per cent between 1947 and 1954. This gives an average increase of 5.89 per cent each year, a percentage markedly similar to that already found in the Admiralty staff increase between 1914 and 1928.

Further and detailed statistical analysis of departmental staffs would be inappropriate in such an article as this. It is hoped, however, to reach a tentative conclusion regarding the time likely to elapse between a given official's first appointment and the later appointment of his two or more assistants. Dealing with the problem of pure staff accumulation, all the researches so far completed point to an average increase of about 5¾ per cent per year.

Much more HERE


Liberals Support Crime, Not Punishment

The New Duranty Times devoted nearly an entire Sunday op-ed page to l'affaire Henri-Louis Gates and Barack Hussein Soetoro's reprehensible grandstanding. They chose to feature the thoughts of Professor Glenn Loury, an economist on the faculty of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Professor Loury devoted 1500 words to his basic conclusion:
I believe we should be pursuing far-reaching reforms in our criminal justice system. We should invest more in helping the troubled people — our fellow citizens — caught in the law enforcement web to find a constructive role in society, and less in punishing them for punishment’s sake.

Notice the way he describes robbers, rapists, murderers, dope dealers, burglars, carjackers, thieves, and wife-batterers:
troubled people caught in the law enforcement web

As if the police, the courts, and the community were predatory spiders catching innocent flies.

Of course, the opposite of what Professor Loury imagines is in fact the case. Criminals are not innocent victims of the law enforcement system, they are willful predators, who prey on the weak and the innocent in order to satisfy their own desires. And the purpose of incarcerating them is not punishment for punishment's sake, the purpose of incarceration is not punishment at all -- its purpose is simply to keep them off the street so that their innocent victims can have some respite time from their depredations.

Professor Loury, of course, is a racialist. His major concern with the administration of criminal justice in the United States is that it appears to affect his own race more than he thinks it should:
Another inescapable fact is that most of those incarcerated are black and Hispanic men. (They constitute approximately two-thirds of those being held in state prisons and municipal jails.)

And in typical antinomian fashion, this Gramscian apologist for murderers, rapists, and doppe dealers thinks that imprisonment causes the crimes for which the imprisoned are incarcerated:
Overrepresentation of blacks among lawbreakers is the result as much as it is the cause of our overrepresentation among the imprisoned — a fact about which the conventional racial narrative has too little to say. Nevertheless, this is a principal source of the tension in interactions between the police and black men like me.

And what were Professor Loury's interactions with the police? He describes them:
Readers should know that I have had my own run-ins with the law. Twenty-two years ago a former girlfriend accused me of assault. While the charges were dropped, I had to endure the indignity of being “processed” by the police and judged in the press. Later that year, I was caught in possession of a controlled substance, spent the night in jail, and was required to enroll in a drug treatment program for my sins. My interest in the issues of race and law enforcement reflects more than academic curiosity.

Readers should also realize that in neither of those two episodes, including one that involved a "controlled substance," was Professor Loury incarcerated. And the "controlled substance" was (according to a contemporaneous article in the New Duranty Times) marijuana and cocaine. He just can't bring himself to name it in the Times, because to do so would give the lie to his claim that we need to go about "ratcheting down the federal penalties for low-level drug trafficking." Yet he still has the audacity to claim that:
We should seriously consider that many of our sentences are too long — “three strikes” laws may be good politics, but they are an irrational abomination as policy. We should definitely consider decriminalizing most drug use. We need to reinvent parole.

On the contrary, my dear Professor. "Reinventing" parole and shortening sentences will do nothing but increase the population of criminals in the community, and the crimes they commit will worsen the plague. "Three strikes" laws are designed to take incorrigible criminals off the streets, and prevent them from committing more crimes.

What I find particularly offensive about Professor Loury's advocacy on behalf of rapists, murderers, carjackers, thieves, and dope dealers is that most of the victims of the criminals whose cause he champions are in fact members of the same black community that Professor Loury claims to be supporting. The victims murdered by the black murderers who are let off the hook by black urban juries are overwhelmingly other black men. It is the black community in which, as Professor Loury phrases it, "drug trafficking and gang activity are important parts of the social economy of the inner city."

Professor Loury should spend a few minutes to consider that the black criminals whose careers he would facilitate are not in fact victims of the criminal justice system, but victimizers of their own community. Unfortunately, the inner city black communities have come to tolerate a level of lawlessness which the hard-working, church-going, family-raising black men and women who migrated from the deep South would never have allowed.

And there you have the problem in a nutshell. The black family survived slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, World Wars I & II, and the Depression. But the black family could not survive the liberal wrecking ball of the Great Society programs that facilitated illegitimacy and idleness. A once proud community of men and women whose seemingly infinite capacity for backbreaking work made them sought-after by industrial employers in the Northern cities, has been reduced to dependency by liberal politicians who created a socialistic plantation where docile, reliable Democratic voters were used to perpetuate their own helplessness. And reduced to a condition of tolerating the crime and mayhem that is tearing it apart.

Such is the America that socialistic liberals wish for us all.




Is there any better way to boost the cosmetic surgery business in Mexico?: "The Democrats are still scrounging to figure out more ways to tax the tar out of Americans in order to fund their government healthcare scheme. The latest idea they are said to be considering is a 10% excise tax on cosmetic surgery .. face-lifts, tummy tucks, hair transplants, etc. It would use the tax code as a means of enforcement. Not only would procedures prohibited under Section 213 of the tax code not be deductible, but they would be subject to a new tax. Well .. here we go again. This is more of the same from the Democrats - go after those evil, disgusting high-achieving rich people by taxing the stuff that they do with their money. That ought to bring them down to size. The middle class isn't out there getting face lifts ... so they won't complain about the new tax. I told you yesterday that sooner or later the Democrats will find a way to tax pretty much anything that high-achievers can do by virtue of their higher earnings. That will include special taxes on nicer homes, better cars and more exciting vacations. Think I'm kidding? Just wait ... and you have a chance to put more of these dangerous people in office next year, go for it."

China/Taiwan relations improving: "The leaders of China and Taiwan have communicated directly with each other for the first time in the 60 years since Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with the remnants of his army. The outreach followed Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou being elected president of the Kuomintang (Nationalists) on Sunday, with 92.5 per cent of the 300,000 votes cast -- although the turnout was low at 58 per cent of party members. It enabled China's President, Hu Jintao, to send a message to Mr Ma from one party leader to another, rather than having to acknowledge that Mr Ma also holds the leading role in the government of a state whose sovereignty Beijing does not recognise. This news was acclaimed in China, leading the country's main 7pm China Central TV news bulletin, which is relayed throughout the country. The latest warming of relations marks another historic step of the rapid thawing which has taken place since Mr Ma replaced Chen Shui-bian as president 14 months ago. Since then, direct communications have been established by air, sea and post, and Chinese businesses have been permitted to begin investing in Taiwan, and Chinese tourists to visit the island state. The countries have also advanced, to October, talks towards a form of free trade agreement similar to that between China and Hong Kong. [Now that China and Taiwan are both doing well economically, China can afford to recognize Taiwan without losing face]

TX: Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation: “A new state law will allow police to arrest people who don’t leave town under mandatory evacuation orders. As it stands, officials cannot compel people to evacuate, only warn that those who stay behind won’t have any emergency services at their disposal. The new law gives county judges and mayors the power to authorize use of ‘reasonable force’ to remove people from the area. The law, passed this year, takes effect Sept. 1, in the heart of hurricane season in Texas. It also applies to other disasters, such as fires or floods.”

Obituary: The Episcopal Church in the United States (1789-2009) Cause of Death: Suicide: "The Episcopal Church in the United States took another major step toward ensuring its own demise last week, by adopting a resolution endorsing the ordination of homosexuals as clergy and bishops. The resolution was widely interpreted as abandoning a moratorium on the ordination of homosexual bishops that was adopted after the furor surrounding the appointment of Gene Robinson, a homosexual man, as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Several branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly the more conservative churches in Africa, rejected the decision to elevate Robinson. In the U.S., a number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have already left the Episcopal Church altogether, and they recently organized as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)... Most observers believe that this year’s resolution may be the last straw that results in a complete rupture of relationships between the Episcopal Church and most other worldwide Anglicans... In addition to a break with worldwide Anglicans, the Episcopal Church action is likely to lead to further erosion here in the United States as well. News about the release of the American Religious Identification Survey earlier this year focused on the 10% drop since 1990 in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians (from 86% to 76%), without noting that almost all of the decline occurred in the 1990’s. But they also failed to highlight that the biggest drop in Christian self-identification has come among the more liberal “mainline” Protestant bodies—such as the Episcopal Church, which dropped from 3.5 million adherents in 2001 to only 2.4 million in 2008."

Spinning has been stimulated anyway: " How much are politicians straining to convince people that the government is stimulating the economy? In Oregon, where lawmakers are spending $176 million to supplement the federal stimulus, Democrats are taking credit for a remarkable feat: creating 3,236 new jobs in the program's first three months. But those jobs lasted on average only 35 hours, or about one work week. After that, those workers were effectively back unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis of state spending and hiring data. By the state's accounting, a job is a job, whether it lasts three hours, three days, three months, or a lifetime. "Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," said Oregon's Senate president, Peter Courtney. With the economy in tatters and unemployment rising, Oregon's inventive math underscores the urgency for politicians across the country to show that spending programs designed to stimulate the economy are working — even if that means stretching the facts. At the federal level, President Barack Obama has said the federal stimulus has created 150,000 jobs, a number based on a misused formula and which is so murky it can't be verified."


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Amusing: Google have yet again blocked any new posts to my GREENIE WATCH blog -- as they say it is a possible spam blog. I wonder how long it will take them to unblock it and let me start posting there again this time? The format and general contents of the blog have been the same for years so one can only wonder at what forces were at work in this action. I imagine that the Warmists have been busily "flagging" it. Censorship of contrary views is a large part of their modus operandi. They can't stand the simple facts that I regularly put up there.


Wow! The latest from Pat Condell

He has always been Mr Straight-talk but his attack on the Islam-appeasing Left below outdoes all his previous efforts

After that I almost feel that I should say no more today. He has said it all. But I WILL go on.


Bully Boys: A Brief History of White House Thuggery

by Michelle Malkin

Six months into the Obama administration, it should now be clear to all Americans: Hope and Change came to the White House wrapped in brass knuckles. Ask the Congressional Budget Office. Last week, President Obama spilled the beans on the "Today Show" that he had met with CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf -- just as the number crunchers were casting ruinous doubt on White House cost-saving claims. Yes, question the timing.

The CBO is supposed to be a neutral scorekeeper -- not a water boy for the White House. But when the meeting failed to stop the CBO from issuing more analysis undercutting the health care savings claims, Obama's budget director Peter Orszag played the heavy. Orszag warned the CBO in a public letter that it risked feeding the perception that it was "exaggerating costs and underestimating savings." Message: Leave the number fudging to the boss. Capiche?

Obama issued an even more explicit order to unleash the hounds on Blue Dog Democrats during his health care press conference. "Keep up the heat" translated into Organizing for America/Democratic National Committee attack ads on moderate Democrats who have revolted against Obamacare's high costs and expansive government powers over medical decisions. Looks like there won't be a health care beer summit anytime soon.

The CBO and the Blue Dogs got off easy compared to inspectors general targeted by Team Obama goons. Former AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin was slimed as mentally incompetent ("confused" and "disoriented") after blowing the whistle on several cases of community service tax fraud, including the case of Obama crony Kevin Johnson. Johnson is the NBA star turned Sacramento mayor who ran a federally funded nonprofit group employing AmeriCorps volunteers, who were exploited to perform campaign work for Johnson and to provide personal services (car washes, errands) to Johnson and his staff.

Walpin filed suit last week to get his job back -- and to defend the integrity and independence of inspectors general system-wide. But he faces hardball tactics from both the West Wing and the East Wing, where first lady Michelle Obama has been intimately involved in personnel decisions at AmeriCorps, according to youth service program insiders.

At the Environmental Protection Agency, top Obama officials muzzled veteran researcher Alan Carlin, who dared to question the conventional wisdom on global warming. The economist with a physics degree was trashed as a non-scientist know-nothing.

Obama Treasury officials forced banks to take TARP bailout money they didn't want and obstructed banks that wanted to pay back TARP money from doing so. The administration strong-armed Chrysler creditors and Chrysler dealers using politicized tactics that united both House Democrats and Republicans, who passed an amendment last week reversing Obama on the closure of nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships and more than 2,000 GM dealerships.

At the Justice Department, Obama lawyers are now blocking a House inquiry into the suspicious decision to dismiss default judgments against radical New Black Panther Party activists who intimidated voters and poll workers on Election Day in Philadelphia. The DOJ is preventing Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., from meeting with the trial team in the case. Wolf has been pressing for answers on what communications Attorney General Eric Holder and his deputies conducted with third-party interest groups and other political appointees about the case. So far: radio silence.

In the mafia culture, bully boys depend on a code of silence and allegiance -- omerta -- not only among their brethren, but also from the victims. The victims of Obama thugocracy are no longer cooperating. Perhaps it won't be long until some of the enforcers start to sing, too.



Disaster in the Making?

by Thomas Sowell

After many a disappointment with someone, and especially after a disaster, we may be able to look back at numerous clues that should have warned us that the person we trusted did not deserve our trust. When that person is the President of the United States, the potential for disaster is virtually unlimited.

Many people are rightly worried about what this administration's reckless spending will do to the economy in our time and to our children and grandchildren, to whom a staggering national debt will be passed on. But if the worst that Barack Obama does is ruin the economy, I will breathe a sigh of relief.

He is heading this country toward disaster on many fronts, including a nuclear Iran, which has every prospect of being an irretrievable disaster of almost unimaginable magnitude. We cannot put that genie back in the bottle-- and neither can generations yet unborn. They may yet curse us all for leaving them hostages to nuclear terror.

Conceivably, Israel can spare us that fate by taking out the Iranian nuclear facilities, instead of relying on Obama's ability to talk the Iranians out of going nuclear.

What the Israelis cannot spare us, however, are our own internal problems, of which the current flap over President Obama's injecting himself into a local police issue is just a small sign of a very big danger.

Nothing has torn more countries apart from inside like racial and ethnic polarization. Just this year, a decades-long civil war, filled with unspeakable atrocities, has finally ended in Sri Lanka. The painful irony is that, when the British colony of Ceylon became the independent nation of Sri Lanka in 1948, its people were considered to be a shining example for the world of good relations between a majority (the Sinhalese) and a minority (the Tamils). That all changed when politicians decided to "solve" the "problem" that the Tamil minority was much more economically successful than the Sinhalese majority. Group identity politics led to group preferences and quotas that escalated into polarization, mob violence and ultimately civil war.

Group identity politics has poisoned many other countries, including at various times Kenya, Czechoslovakia, Fiji, Guyana, Canada, Nigeria, India, and Rwanda. In some countries the polarization has gone as far as mass expulsions or civil war.

The desire of many Americans for a "post-racial" society is well-founded, though the belief that Barack Obama would move in that direction was extremely ill-advised, given the history of his actions and associations.

This is a president on a mission to remake American society in every aspect, by whatever means are necessary and available. That requires taking all kinds of decisions out of the hands of ordinary Americans and transferring them to Washington elites-- and ultimately the number one elite, Barack Obama himself.

Like so many before him who have ruined countries around the world, Obama has a greatly inflated idea of his own capabilities and the prospects of what can be accomplished by rhetoric or even by political power. Often this has been accompanied by an ignorance of history, including the history of how many people before him have tried similar things with disastrous results.

During a recent TV interview, when President Obama was asked about the prospects of victory in Afghanistan, he replied that it would not be victory like in World War II, with "Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur." In reality, it was more than a year after Japanese officials surrendered on the battleship Missouri before Hirohito met General Douglas MacArthur for the first time.

This is not the first betrayal of his ignorance by Obama, nor the first overlooked by the media. Moreover, ignorance by itself is not nearly as bad as charging full steam ahead, pretending to know. Barack Obama is doing that on a lot of issues, not just history or a local police incident in Massachusetts.

While the mainstream media in America will never call him on this, these repeated demonstrations of his amateurism and immaturity will not go unnoticed by this country's enemies around the world. And it is the American people who will pay the price




Read here some of the hate-mail Michelle Malkin gets from the Left gets BECAUSE she is Asian. Leftist tolerance and anti-racism are just more of their shallow pretences.

Big government in New Jersey: "Big Government is why New Jersey created only 6,800 private sector jobs from 2000 to 2007—while public sector jobs grew by more than 55,800. Big Government is the reason New Jersey ranks as the worst of 50 states on the Small Business Survival Index. And Big Government is a leading reason New Jersey has a “corruption problem” that an FBI agent at Friday’s press conference characterized as “one of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation.”

Iran deadline reassures Israel: "The US has set a deadline of September for Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program and allow international inspectors into the Islamic state. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday during talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington's efforts to convince Iran to allow inspections of its atomic sites were "not open-ended". Mr Gates told Mr Netanyahu that the US and Israel saw "eye to eye" on the Iranian nuclear threat. The September ultimatum is significant, as President Barack Obama has previously referred to "the end of the year" as the deadline for Iran to open its facilities for inspection. In return, Mr Netanyahu said Israel would utilise "all available means" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons -- an apparent reference to an airstrike, which Israel insists is an option. The exchange came before Mr Netanyahu and US special envoy George Mitchell last night held a three-hour meeting to discuss Washington's desire for a resumption of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials. The meeting appeared not to resolve any issues, with both men afterwards reluctant to go into details."

Ayatollahs feeling the pressure: "Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered a jail holding protesters detained after last month's election to close, as reports said at least three demonstrators had died in custody in recent days. The secretary of Iran's National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, said Ayatollah Khamenei yesterday ordered "the closure of a detention centre which was not up to required standards". Iranian judicial officials say about 300 protesters arrested during the demonstrations that followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hotly disputed re-election are still being detained. The head of Tehran prisons, Sohrab Soleimani, denied that two protesters, Mohsen Ruholamini and Mohammad Kamrani, had died because of beatings in prison, but said they had been struck down by meningitis. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said that if Mr Ruholamini had "died of meningitis, then how come his teeth were broken"? Reports yesterday said there was concern even among Iran's ruling elite that detained protesters were being mistreated by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which had taken an ever larger role in Iranian affairs since protests over last month's disputed presidential election triggered a massive crackdown. Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, an Islamic conservative, called for the detainees to be freed to prevent any rights violations. Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, ordered that the fate of the prisoners be decided within a week."

Problem with new Air France speed sensors too: "An Air France flight from Rome to Paris earlier this month briefly lost its speed readings due to faulty sensors, pilots said yesterday, in the latest safety scare involving speed sensors. Several problems with speed sensors, or pitot tubes, made by Thales have been reported since 2008, and investigators are looking to see if they played a role in last month's fatal crash of an Air France plane. A spokesman for France's SNPL national pilot union, Erick Derivry, said the union would ask Air France to see whether the latest incident was similar to those previously reported. If it was, the union would ask the airline to replace its Thales sensors on its Airbus fleet with models manufactured by Goodrich. [An American firm. How humiliating!] Air France replaced an earlier Thales model on its planes with a more recent version following the June crash of one of its Airbus A330s. All 228 people aboard died when the Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight crashed into the sea. But the latest incident on July 13 occurred with a new model, the company said."

MA: Medical leaders wary of healthcare overhaul’s cost: “If you want to know how the proposed overhaul of the US healthcare system may play out nationally, talk to top executives at the biggest medical and life sciences companies in Massachusetts. As the heads of leading hospitals, insurers, and biotechnology companies, they have dealt with the complexities of near-universal healthcare since 2006, when Massachusetts became the first state to mandate insurance coverage. That gives them a unique perspective on the national effort to overhaul healthcare. As the debate in Washington heats up, local executives warn that two goals of the Obama administration — expanding insurance coverage and controlling spending — may prove incompatible. And as Massachusetts strains to deal with the increasing costs of its successful healthcare program, they raise questions about who will pay for the projected $1 trillion cost on the federal level.” [See more on this on my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog]

Iran stays silent on US offer of dialogue: “The U.S. is hearing only silence from Iran on its offers of dialogue. Iran’s leaders, who initially seemed to welcome engagement, are turning inward to deal with the post-election crisis. If Iran’s rulers mention the West at all these days, it’s to tell Iranians the U.S. and its allies are behind the turmoil. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his hard-line allies have repeatedly blasted the West, saying it is trying to topple clerical rule by fueling the opposition protests that erupted in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential election.”

An utterly disgraceful British bureaucracy: "The Ministry of Defence faced mounting public anger yesterday as it tried to cut the compensation awarded to a soldier who is fighting in Afghanistan after recovering from a gunshot wound that left him with one leg shorter than the other. Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, also wants to reduce the payout to a Marine who fractured his right thigh while on a training exercise. The case at the Court of Appeal could prevent hundreds of servicemen and women from receiving larger compensation packages for their injuries. If the MoD fails in its appeal, it could lead to the rewriting of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, a tariff listing sums to be awarded for different types of injury. Critics have accused the MoD of failing in its duty of care towards soldiers."


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some history the Left would like you to forget

The fraternal coming together of two socialist armies

After Stalin and Hitler had carved up Poland between them, there was a joint parade of the Soviet and Nazi armies in the city of Brest on 23 September, 1939. On the right in the picture is German Major General Heinz Guderian and Soviet Brigadier Semyon Krivoshein. The German is the better-dressed one, of course.


A Post-Racial President?

by Thomas Sowell

Many people hoped that the election of a black President of the United States would mark our entering a "post-racial" era, when we could finally put some ugly aspects of our history behind us. That is quite understandable. But it takes two to tango. Those of us who want to see racism on its way out need to realize that others benefit greatly from crying racism. They benefit politically, financially, and socially.

Barack Obama has been allied with such people for decades. He found it expedient to appeal to a wider electorate as a post-racial candidate, just as he has found it expedient to say a lot of other popular things-- about campaign finance, about transparency in government, about not rushing legislation through Congress without having it first posted on the Internet long enough to be studied-- all of which turned to be the direct opposite of what he actually did after getting elected.

Those who were shocked at President Obama's cheap shot at the Cambridge police for being "stupid" in arresting Henry Louis Gates must have been among those who let their wishes prevail over the obvious implications of Obama's 20 years of association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who can believe that Obama did not understand what the racist rants of Jeremiah Wright meant can believe anything.

With race-- as with campaign finance, transparency and the rest-- Barack Obama knows what the public wants to hear and that is what he has said. But his policies as president have been the opposite of his rhetoric, with race as with other issues. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama pushed the "racial profiling" issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was racial profiling when in fact the cop was investigating a report received from a neighbor that someone seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge.

For those who are interested in facts-- and these obviously do not include President Obama-- there has been a serious study of racial profiling in a book titled "Are Cops Racist?" by Heather Mac Donald. Her analysis of the data shows how this issue has long been distorted beyond recognition by politics.

The racial profiling issue is a great vote-getter. And if it polarizes the society, that is a price that politicians are willing to pay in order to get votes. Academics who run black studies departments, as Professor Henry Louis Gates does, likewise have a vested interest in racial paranoia. For "community organizers" as well, racial resentments are a stock in trade. President Obama's background as a community organizer has received far too little attention, though it should have been a high-alert warning that this was no post-racial figure.

What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose. To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.

Not only Barack Obama's past, but his present, tell the same story. His appointment of an attorney general who called America "a nation of cowards" for not dialoguing about race was a foretaste of what to expect from Eric Holder. The way Attorney General Holder has refused to prosecute young black thugs who gathered at a voting site with menacing clubs, in blatant violation of federal laws against intimidating voters, speaks louder than any words from him or his president.

President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court is, like Obama himself, someone with a background of years of affiliation with an organization dedicated to promoting racial resentments and a sense of racial entitlement. An 18th century philosopher said, "When I speak I put on a mask. When I act I am forced to take it off." Barack Obama's mask slipped for a moment last week but he quickly recovered, with the help of the media. But we should never forget what we saw.



Rep. Conyers (D-MI): "What good is reading the bill?"

Congressman John Conyers (D-Naturally-MI) has finally committed the “unforgiveable sin.” In his own smarmy, dismissive manner, he has told the truth about how he and his elitist colleagues really feel about actually reading the bills with which they saddle the country-bumpkin American people. “What good is reading the bill,” the oily career politician ventured at a recent National Press Club luncheon, “if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?” Well, the answer to that question is really two-fold.

First, when you are a semi-literate shyster who has made your living being a race pimp for the past 40 years, there’s really very little sense in your reading the bills at all. To begin with, you wouldn’t understand them unless the monosyllabic words were written in big block letters with multi-colored crayolas. And, besides, all you really need to know is how much is earmarked for race-baiting set-asides.

Second, when you are busy committing and abetting fraud on a routine basis, it’s hard to take time out from your crowded schedule for trifling matters like fulfilling your constitutional duties.

After all, you are the man who repeatedly violated House ethics rules by directing staffers to work on local and state campaigns, and babysit and chauffeur your children. You are the man who allowed a former top aide convicted of fraud to obtain a fake passport through your office, and then flee to Ghana. And, of course, you are the man who stands accused of helping your jailbird wife attempt to defraud the Environmental Protection Agency.

Doesn’t really leave much time for reading 1,000-page pieces of bothersome legislation, does it? Much easier just to vote Yes, nationalize the entire medical industry, and stick the taxpayers with tens of billions of dollars a year for bogus healthcare treatment. But, then, that is the sinful, shameful nature of Washington politics as usual, isn’t it?



Blue Dogs: All Bark, No Bite

The Democrats’ self-styled fiscal conservatives don’t have a voting record to match their rhetoric

The Blue Dog Democrats could make or break health-care reform. That’s both good news and bad. It’s good news because the Blue Dog coalition, formed in 1995, currently lists 52 Democrats in the House of Representatives and boasts of being “fiscally conservative.” To emphasize their point, the Blue Dogs post the national debt (more than $11 trillion)—and the share every American has in that debt ($36,683)—on their Web site.

The Blue Dogs have even growled recently that the House’s health-care reform legislation is too expensive. It raises taxes too much and doesn’t do enough to slow the growth in health-care spending. But do the Blue Dogs really belong in the fiscal conservative pack? They talk like fiscal conservatives but vote like liberal Democrats. So far this year, the House has seen at least four major spending bills. Here’s how the Blue Dogs voted:

* The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (Schip). One of the first things the Democratic leadership wanted the newly inaugurated President Obama to sign was a huge expansion of Schip. Democrats have been trying to pass the expansion for over a year, with some bipartisan support. President George W. Bush vetoed the legislation twice, and Congress sustained his veto both times by a hair.

Schip was created for low-income uninsured children not eligible for Medicaid. Under the old bill, children whose family incomes were 200% of the federal poverty level were covered. With the new bill, Democrats increased funding to cover children whose family incomes are up to 300% of the federal poverty level—or $66,000 a year for a family of four. The Bush administration and most conservatives thought it should remain at 200%. Did the Blue Dogs agree? Only two voted against the expansion.

* The $787 billion stimulus. The next major spending package was Mr. Obama’s stimulus bill. Not one House Republican voted for the bill. The Blue Dogs? Only 10 of 52 voted against it.

* President Obama’s 2010 federal budget. In April, Congress took a vote on the president’s $3.5 trillion budget for 2010—by far the biggest spending package in history. Again, not one House Republican voted for the bill, but only 14 Blue Dogs joined them in opposition.

* The cap-and-trade energy tax. In June, the House took an enormous step by pushing through the president’s cap-and-trade energy tax. The legislation will stifle economic growth by imposing huge new costs on every business and each American household. Eight House Republicans voted for the bill. Twenty-nine Blue Dogs voted against the legislation.

Had those eight House Republicans voted with their party, it’s not clear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have let that many Blue Dogs break with the Democrats. It is also unclear how many Blue Dogs voted against the bill because of their self-proclaimed fiscal conservatism. Blue Dogs from energy-producing states, for instance, may have been looking out for local interests.

So the question is how many expensive government expansions can a group of congressmen vote for and still claim to be fiscally conservative? Only one Blue Dog, Bobby Bright of Alabama, voted against all four bills. And only four Blue Dogs voted against as many as three of the bills.

Republicans have long called themselves fiscal conservatives. But after their spending spree in the first six years of the Bush administration, they are widely perceived to have tarnished their brand. Are the Blue Dogs tarnishing their brand, too? If 80% of them voted for the stimulus bill and nearly 75% voted for the 2010 federal budget, can the group rightfully claim to be fiscally conservative?

The health-care bill will be the final test. The House legislation will cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years, including around $550 billion to $600 billion in new taxes. That doesn’t count the employer mandate that will force employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty.

If all House Republicans oppose the bill, which seems likely, the Blue Dogs have enough votes to make or break health care in the House. Blue Dog Mike Ross of Arkansas says the bill can’t pass the House. He’s right, but only if 40 Blue Dogs or other Democrats vote against the bill.

The Democratic leadership and the president will put enormous pressure on the Blue Dogs to support the legislation. Now we’ll see if the Blue Dogs have bite to go along with their bark.




HI: State health director reaffirms Obama’s birth certificate: “In an attempt to quash persistent rumors that President Obama was not born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, Hawaii’s health director reiterated this afternoon that she has personally seen Obama’s birth certificate in the Health Department’s archives. ‘I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai’i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago …’ On Oct. 31, Fukino originally tried to put an end to the belief among so-called ‘birthers’ that Obama was not born in the United States and thus was ineligible to run for the office of president.” [Well why will Obama not let anyone see it?]

Fighting healthcare & the politics of fear: “In crisis marketing, the GOP, moderate Democrats and anyone else who has doubts about this healthcare plan can’t simply say ‘no’ since it is obvious healthcare does need repair. They have to acknowledge something has to be done. What is happening with healthcare? Why does it seem that if we don’t go along with the White House’s agenda we’re heading into the abyss? This is the same thing that happened with bank bailouts and is still happening with global warming. This is what I would call a crisis marketing tactic, a CMT. With CMT, the momentum for change is created by suggesting that the alternative to change — even radical change — is simply too dire to contemplate.”

The real unemployment rate hits a 68 year high: “Although you have to dig into the statistics to know it, unemployment in the United States is now worse than at any time since the end of the Great Depression. … The official unemployment rate hit 9.4% in May — already as high as the peak unemployment rates in all but the 1982 recession, the worst since World War II. And topping the 1982 recession’s peak rate of 10.8% is now distinctly possible. The current downturn has pushed up unemployment rates by more than any previous postwar recession.”

Storm insurance irresponsibly cheap: “Texas is a model of fiscal stability compared with most other states — with one glaring exception. Texas is one hurricane away from bankrupting its state-run wind insurance pool. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, Texas’ insurance market of last resort for coastal property owners who don’t have private insurance, is living on borrowed time and borrowed money. Coastal insurance rates are priced below market and below the risk posed by coastal properties.”

How governments run things: “Yes, we know the argument, if only those wise people who had learned how to steal the most votes were put in charge of running everything then we’d all be gambolling in flowered meadows and life for all would be immeasurably better. This argument works right up until we look at what actually happens when the politicians manage to run something. Like, say, the monopoly off track bookie in New York State.”

Wrong big picture, dangerous fine print : “President Obama has of late been spending much of his energy arguing that it is absolutely urgent that both chambers of Congress pass a bill this summer so that a final bill will get to his desk by October. Why? Why, because ‘the time is now.’ And the status quo is unacceptable. And we’ve never been this close before. Never mind that in the bills as now written, nothing would actually happen for more than three years. Indeed, no uninsured American would get health insurance under the Democratic bills until 2013 at the earliest. In fact, the CBO has estimated that the number of uninsured Americans will increase in 2011 and 2012, before the bills’ major provisions go into effect. And of course 2013 is safely after the next presidential election, just in case anyone’s keeping track. This is about political momentum. The administration and Democratic leaders in Congress understand that the more people learn about what these bills would actually do to American health care, the less the public will like them.”


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A small reflection on science education

As I mentioned on my personal blog, my son was recently awarded the degree of Bachelor of Science with first-class honours in mathematics. I of course attended the graduation ceremony, which was for science graduates only. Such ceremonies are in general rather tedious, though we did have one good speech and some excellent music. So I amused myself while I was sitting there by speculating on the ethnicity of each graduand as he or she came forward. I was considerably assisted in that by my interest in onomastics. Names tell you a lot. The University of Queensland has a good international standing so the one undisputable fact was that the graduands came from all corners of the globe, Africa excepted. Though there was, I think, one African there. So what was the dominant ethnicity of those graduating with bachelor's degrees? Were they white Anglo/Celts like my son and myself? Far from it. The days of WASP domination of anything are now long gone and white Anglo/Celts were far from a majority among those graduating. The most prominent ethnicity was far and away Han Chinese -- comprising about 50% of the graduands, at a rough estimate.

So the 21st century will definitely be the century of China. That the sort of people who invented modern science are no longer much interested in it does bespeak decadence to me. Fortunately the population of Australia is at the present about 10% East Asian so they will help keep us afloat long after we would otherwise have sunken into drug and alcohol fueled decay. My son won't be "The last of the Mohicans" but he will be one of the few. (The Mohicans didn't die out anyway pace James Fenimore Cooper)


Some good thoughts on police matters from Casey Lartigue -- a light-skinned black man

His basic point is that politeness pays

The black president of the United States stupidly commented on the arrest of a black Harvard professor in his own home by a white police officer. Some random thoughts and memories:

* I'm sure most people are still trying to figure out who Prof. Gates is. As G.K. Chesterton once wrote: "Journalism consists largely in saying 'Lord Jones is dead' to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive."

* Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Gates' arrest was "every black man's nightmare." Perhaps. But having a criminal in my house is even more of a nightmare. Also, having the president of the United States talk off the cuff about me about something he doesn't know is pretty bad. And getting shot by a cop after I escalated a situation would also be worse than getting arrested.

Anyway, I have had my own dealings with the police over the years:

* Back when I was a college student many many moons ago, one of my brothers and I got stopped by police in Brookline, MA. I remember it clearly: we were returning from a meeting with other students. Less than an hour later we were waiting for a police officer to get a description of armed suspects. We were let go without incident after the officer heard on his radio that they were looking for two dark-skinned blacks. The cop even waved to us a few minutes later when he saw us. I wrote about it in the Harvard Crimson, generating several angry calls from other black Harvard students. I remember one woman in particular was distressed by the article, telling me repeatedly that my article "wasn't helpful."

* Shortly after my family arrived in Massachusetts back in 1985, one day we stopped at a bookstore so my father could check on a book. We were parked on the street....a few minutes later, a cop walked up to the car, talking to my mother... The cop said that someone had called 911 reporting that some black people were parked in front of the bank. As I recall, he said it was his duty to check it out, that he would say he had, and that was the end of it. I suppose we could have gone Gates-crazy on him, saying we had every right to be parked there, etc., that as black people we shouldn't be questioned about where we park legally (or not, I really don't recall that).

* I wrote a few years ago about helping to stop a white guy from beating up his white girlfriend or wife. I remember at one moment hoping the police would show up so they could do their duty...but also being scared to death they would show up at another moment as we (five, maybe six black men) were manhandling that one skinny white guy with his white girlfriend bruised, beaten and crying a short distance away. We would have been shot on sight, then asked questions if we had survived. What bothered us the most that night is that the cop initially treated us like we had done something wrong and the folks at the hotel weren't much better.

* Parenthetically, a Washington Post columnist (inaccurately) wrote about the rescue in front of the Mayflower Hotel a short time later. Every time I've been part of an organization or activity that has been written about in the newspaper I've wondered how they could get so many facts wrong. As Erwin Knol wrote: "Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge."

* A few years ago I had to rush home when the alarm system went off at my home in Centreville, VA. As I approached my home, I called the police and ADT (the alarm system) to let them know I was almost home and would be going inside to check on the alarm...I didn't want to get shot while I was turning off the alarm in my home... I really should not have had to call to make sure I would not get shot in my own home, I know. But I did call. I'm more concerned with my safety than I am with making a political or public policy point.

* Two days before I left America earlier this month I was pulled over by a cop in Falls Church, VA. I had gone through a stop-sign trap leading off the main road onto a service road. I guess I should have gone Gates-crazy on him. But it wasn't a good situation for me. Driving a rental. Didn't have the rental car info. I asked for a warning, told him I was leaving the country soon. The cop issued me a warning, wished me well.

* One night when I was out with some other members of the Harvard Crimson, one top editor (who is now somewhat prominent) had a bright idea that we should trash the Harvard Lampoon. Which we did. Very long story kept short, we got caught by some members of the Lampoon. The Cambridge police were called (every Harvard student, regardless of race, prefers dealing with the Harvard rather than Cambridge police), we argued in front of the cops for an hour or so before the business manager of the Crimson agreed to pay for the damages. The cops let us all go after a short lecture.

* I still take my cue from Richard Pryor when it comes to cops..."I'M REACHING INTO MY POCKET FOR MY LICENSE. BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE NO MUTHAFUCKING ACCIDENT."



Obama dangerously wishy-washy on Afghanistan

In the dark days of May 1940, Winston Churchill famously outlined the task before the British people: "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terrors, victory however long and hard the road may be — for without victory there is no survival."

Contrast that with what the president told ABC News last Thursday: "I'm always worried about using the word victory, because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur."

If the goal of the U.S. in Afghanistan isn't victory, what is the purpose of the blood, toil, tears and sweat of our forces? What is the meaning of the struggle and suffering of their families? According to Vince Lombardi, "If you can accept losing, you can't win."

Now, in fairness to our president, he doesn't seem to be saying that losing is an option. He noted in the same interview that "when you have a nonstate actor, a shadowy operation like al-Qaida, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States." Going on, he said the U.S. "will continue to contract the ability of al-Qaida to operate," which the president called "absolutely critical." We agree.

But we are at something of a crossroads in Afghanistan. The toil, tears, sweat — and especially blood — have increased of late. As a result, public displeasure is on the rise in Britain, Canada and Germany, which with their tens of thousands of troops are taking part in the U.S.-led coalition — the kind of coalition, by the way, that liberal Democrats consider absolutely vital before fighting wars against terror states. Our allies could eventually pull out. So at a time like this, the job of the president is to remind them, and the American people, that we are in a world war against a network of evildoers.

Barely two months into this administration, the Pentagon was sent a memo announcing that we were no longer engaged in a global war on terror; this was not a "long war" the American people were faced with. No, the endeavor U.S. servicemen and women were being asked to spill their blood for would from now on be called an "overseas contingency operation." How's that to stir your patriotism?

Imagine the message that al-Qaida, the mullahcracy in Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea take from these choices of language. The U.S. doesn't consider "victory" to be its goal in Afghanistan; the U.S. no longer believes it is engaged in a "war" against the Islamists who killed thousands of Americans on American soil in 2001.

Apparently, "winning" a "war" is passe to our 21st century way of thinking. Using an "overseas contingency operation" to "contract the ability" of "nonstate actors" is the enlightened phrasing. Was the same mind-set behind the president's decision last week to second-guess police officers without knowing the facts? The "good guys vs. bad guys" mentality just isn't nuanced enough.

The truth is that eschewing plain language in favor of this kind of muddled babble sends a message of weakness to our enemies around the world. And it downplays what is at stake at a time when the American people and our allies are in dire need of some unvarnished, old-fashioned, Churchillian truth telling.




Obama's accidental gift on race: "Less than a month after being confirmed as the nation's attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr. called out the American people as "essentially a nation of cowards" for refusing to talk openly about race. So, thank you, professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and President Obama, for starting the long-awaited national discussion on black and white identity - while averting our attention from the cockamamie scheme to nationalize health care. And kudos to the professor and the president for choosing Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department as the representative of the Caucasian-American side of this difficult and much-needed historic debate. Sgt. Crowley waged a swift and effective public relations campaign that quashed the racism meme that Mr. Gates was recklessly pushing. Of course, the attorney general is essentially right in his assessment. Much of America is petrified to bring up race, especially in public forums - the media, in particular. But for exactly the opposite reasons Mr. Holder, the Obama administration and the brain trust of modern liberalism assert. Americans, especially nonblacks, are deeply fearful that the dynamic is predicated on an un-American premise: presumed guilt. Innocence, under the extra-constitutional reign of political correctness, liberalism's brand of soft Shariah law, must be proved ex post facto. Think not? Ask the Duke lacrosse team... The mainstream media choose to flaunt story lines that make white America appear guilty of continued institutional racism, while black racism against whites is ignored. Sgt. Crowley, a proud and defiant public professional, played the moment perfectly and stopped his own assassination by media. Talk about a postmodern hero... Now that the facts of the case show that his friend the professor was the man doing the racial profiling, the president wants to end the discussion. Now we see what the attorney general meant when he spoke of cowards."

Indian moon mission succeeds: "While the world has been gripped by nostalgia for the Apollo 11 landing - the culmination of the first manned mission to the moon, which took place 40 years ago this week - India has quietly been completing its own lunar mission. The sub-continental nation launched its voyage to the stars on October 22 last year, becoming the fifth to do so, after the USA, Russia, China and Japan. On November 14 its unmanned probe landed and began sending back signals to Earth via satellite. The Indian space rocket is called Chandrayaan-1, which means “moon craft” in Sanskrit, and is currently in lunar orbit, taking 3D lunar images as part of its two-year mission to find out more about the moon’s geological, mineral and chemical composition."

India launches nuclear sub : “India formally unveiled its first home-built nuclear submarine on Sunday, joining a select band of five nations that have the capability to build the sophisticated weapons system. As the country’s electronic news media waxed jingoistic about the development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed that New Delhi had no aggressive designs nor meant to threaten anyone. India, he said, merely sought ‘an external environment in its region and beyond that was conducive for its peaceful development and the protection of its value systems.’ Only the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China have the capability to launch nuclear weapons from submarines. Sunday’s launch also moves India closer to the nuclear triad, or the capability to deliver nuclear weapons from platforms based on land, air and sea.”

In defense of organ-legging : “Writing in the New York Post, Brian Kates and William Sherman build on a Brooklyn rabbi’s arrest on ‘organ trafficking’ charges to bemoan the fact that American patients wait three years for a kidney, ‘driv[ing] many to the underground market,’ where they may pay in excess of $100,000 to a ‘broker’ to procure the organ for them. This procurement process may involve bringing a poor donor from the Third World to the US, or require the patient to travel in the other direction. What the authors don’t mention is why it takes three years for a transplant patient to get a kidney in the United States. And that reason is? If you guessed ‘government,’ you guessed right.” [See also Sally Satel on this]

Affirmative actions and related collectivisms: "For collectivists individuals don’t matter, groups do. For some it is the entire human race that is of sole concern, for others it is members of a given race or nation or ethnic or some other smaller group. Collectivists have an explicit doctrine about this, no one need to be guessing. Individuals are figments of our social imagination. They exist no more than do cells in our bodies exist as independent, sovereign entities. Sovereignty, the right of self-government, belongs only to the group. You and I and the rest of individuals are parts or elements, just as ants are in an ant colony or bees in a bee hive. The colony or the hive matters. This is why collectivists always fret about society or community. For them these are not what people individually choose to be part of, no way. These are what all ‘individuals’ literally belong to.”

Myth #1 Health Care Costs Are Soaring: "No, they are not. The amount we spend on health care has indeed risen, in absolute terms, after inflation, and as a percentage of our incomes and GDP. That does not mean costs are soaring. You cannot judge the “cost” of something by simply what you spend. You must also judge what you get. I’m reasonably certain the cost of 1950s level health care has dropped in real terms over the last 60 years (and you can probably have a barber from the year 1500 bleed you for almost nothing nowadays). Of course, with 1950s health care, lots of things will kill you that 2009 health care would prevent. Also, your quality of life, in many instances, would be far worse, but you will have a little bit more change in your pocket as the price will be lower. Want to take the deal? Health care today is a combination of stuff that has existed for a while and a set of entirely new things that look like (and really are) miracles from the lens of even a few years ago. We spend more on health care because it’s better. Say it with me again, slowly—this is a good thing, not a bad thing. . . ."

Bureaucracy drives up health care plan's costs: "The health care reform plan proposed by House Democrats would create at least a dozen new federal programs, boards and task forces, contributing to the proposal's hefty price tag that has drawn criticism from Congress' official scorekeeper. Democrats say the bureaucratic infrastructure is necessary to administer the expansion of health care benefits to the tens of millions of uninsured Americans while creating more competition for private insurers to drive down out-of-control costs. The health care reform bill, which is expected to cost roughly $1 trillion over 10 years, would create a public health insurance plan and a health insurance "exchange," a clearinghouse where consumers will be able to shop for public or private coverage. The programs will require a massive undertaking by the federal government that analysts say likely will take years to fully implement. Much of the concern on Capitol Hill, both among Senate Democrats and Blue Dog Democrats in the House, centers on the proposals' cost. In its preliminary review of the House's version, the Congressional Budget Office said the bill would raise the federal deficit by $239 billion over 10 years. The figure has been disputed by Democrats, who say the CBO can't fully judge the bill's cost-cutting measures. But the office's top official made headlines when he said neither the House nor Senate bills addressed the costs of health care, the primary reason President Obama has taken on the politically dangerous endeavor." [See more on this on my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog]

New Mexican truck rules a defeat for unions: "A plan containing guidelines on getting Mexican trucks back on U.S. highways has gone through bureaucratic review, the first step toward ending Mexican tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of U.S. goods. Implementing the plan would quell growing dissent among U.S. businesses that are hurt by Mexico's tariffs and that continue to besiege Washington with claims that doing nothing will result in job losses. The tariffs were imposed as retaliation for legislation enacted in March that took Mexican trucks off American highways, despite the North American Free Trade Agreement's program to let them into the United States.

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


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama's support for an offensive black racist has dented him

After Jeremiah Wright, I suppose he thought he could get away with it. But he is President now and needs to live up to his own hype. He is failing. And the controversy is still sizzling. The article below is one of two on the subject in the current issue of "The Times" of London. I was going to write no more on this subject but since it is still sizzling I think I should record some of that sizzle

They are calling it bar-stool diplomacy – a novel attempt by President Barack Obama to cool a heated racial controversy by inviting the offended parties to settle their differences over a beer at the White House. Yet the president’s efforts to limit the fallout from a row over the arrest last week of Henry Louis Gates Jr, a black Harvard professor, may serve to extend a furore that has shaken the White House and raised questions about Obama’s vaunted leadership skills.

The row showed no sign of diminishing yesterday as Massachusetts media pressed for the release of police tapes that could shed new light on the angry exchanges between Gates and Sergeant James Crowley, a white officer who arrived at the professor’s Cambridge home to investigate a report of a break-in.

The incident led to a rare breakdown of Obama’s previously impressive political judgment. Having spent much of the past two years steering clear of racial controversy and nurturing an image of so-called “postracial” conciliation, the president plunged unexpectedly into the Gates affair. He declared on Wednesday, when it was still far from clear what had happened, that the Massachusetts police had “acted stupidly” by arresting Gates, whom Obama described as a personal friend.

By Friday evening, Obama was back-pedalling furiously and his invitation to Gates and Crowley to join him for a beer was interpreted as an acknowledgment by the president that he had spoken too hastily in “maligning” the police. “I could have calibrated those words differently,” he said. Yet the move also ensured that a story he desperately wants to go away will continue to overshadow his domestic political agenda. No beer-drinkers are likely to make as many headlines as the president, the professor and the policeman. Gates said yesterday that he would accept the invitation and would meet Crowley.

Within hours of Obama’s televised press conference on Wednesday night it was clear the Gates incident did not exactly fit the shameful mould of thuggish white cop picking on an innocent black man.... The fact that Gates was hauled away from his own home despite having provided proof that he lived there fuelled the complaints of “racial profiling” – supposed police discrimination against blacks.

It then emerged that Crowley, 42, knew a great deal about police treatment of black suspects – he had been hand-picked by his African-American chief of police to teach a local academy course on avoiding discrimination.

Obama’s discomfort increased when Sergeant Leon Lashley, a black Cambridge officer who was at the scene, said he supported Crowley’s actions “100%”. Lashley added: “I was there. He did nothing wrong. There’s nothing rogue about him. He was doing his job.”

As police unions around the country took umbrage at Obama’s “stupid” remark, it was not just white conservatives who were happy to bash the president. Bill Cosby, the black entertainer who has criticised African-Americans for a “victim” mentality, said he was “shocked” by the president’s willingness to jump into the dispute. “If I’m president of the United States . . . I’m keeping my mouth shut,” added Cosby.

Crowley told a local radio station: “I think he’s way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts.”

By Friday evening, Obama was back in character as the smooth and charming diplomat as he joked about Crowley’s problems with overwhelming media attention. “He wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn,” the president said. “I informed him that I can’t get the press off my lawn.”

Behind the humour lay an awkward reality for Obama. His approval ratings have been slipping steadily as Americans worry about his interventionist policies. In a Rasmussen poll released on Friday, he fell below 50% for the first time, and an ugly argument about race is not going to help him recover.



Is Henry Gates a crook who had good reason to fear the police?

Just an excerpt from a much bigger story below

Henry Louis Gates, Jr controls a tax-exempt, non-profit charity, Inkwell Foundation, Inc, that managed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct support in one year, yet only gave out $27,500 in grants, the bulk of which went to Gates' employees and Harvard colleagues. Also, as recently as September 2008, the Boston Globe reported that Gates' charity was not in compliance with the law for failing to register the proper paperwork, despite the charity existing since 2005. The charge at the time was that it was "bogus," as you'll see below. In fact, the state Attorney General's office told the Globe the charity was likely either inactive, or dissolved. Yet, documents below show the charity is healthy, wealthy and active.

Is it possible that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was acting strange when law enforcement showed up at his door because he didn't want the story below to come out? It may take a tax lawyer to answer that question, but based on this research, it can't be ruled out. We know the press has questioned Gates about the charity in the past and gotten no response.

Acting on a tip and with an item at Instapundit in mind (much more at this link), I was curious when Joseph Culligan of Web of Deception emailed with a tip as to the home's ownership. It seems Harvard does own the home in which Gates lives. But it's also the address for his charity, see below.

Third, Harvard sent someone from the University maintenance department over to secure Gates’ house and/or fix the broken lock on his front door. How many people have an employer who’ll send maintenance staff over to fix up or watch over their house?

Scroll all the way to the bottom at this link for the actual documents, including the real estate information. Gates uses Harvard (12 Quincy St.) as his home address on the charity paperwork, as opposed to the same one as his charity, which is where he actually lives and was at when the recent police incident took place. It would seem to be incorrect. A wiki has this Inkwell below as it's center item and reports that a Globe reporter has accused it of being a "bogus" charity.

More HERE (See the original for links)


Community Organizer-in-Chief

Voters in last November's election never really got a clear sense of just what candidate Barack Obama did during his years as a "community organizer." The phrase carries with it some vague suggestion of volunteers working selflessly to represent the downtrodden, the powerless in the community, as they seek to climb out from under the yoke of domineering and exploitative authority. Wikipedia gives us some sense of that notion:

"Unlike other forms of more consensual "community building," community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless."

An Internet search for a definition of community organizing turned up someone named Mike Miller at something described as the Organize Training Center. Mr. Miller's take on community organizing comes extraordinarily close to the principles that Barak Obama, former community organizer, is applying to his role as the nation's new president. There is a remarkable carry-over from his earlier role to his present one:

Organizing does two central things to seek to rectify the problem of power imbalance—it builds a permanent base of people power so that dominant financial and institutional power can be challenged and held accountable to values of greater social, environmental and economic justice . . .

When viewed in this context, many of the Obama policies that defy logic begin to make perfect sense, even proposals and programs that on their face appear to be in perfect conflict with the common good—as well as common sense.

Some of these would, of course, include: degrading our health care system down to Canadian and British standards; turning on the money spigot in the form of an ill-conceived "stimulus" that will neither create jobs nor improve the economy; follow the forever-futile policy of trying to spend our way out of a recession; nationalizing bankrupt car companies on behalf of union interests, thereby preserving failed business models to the tune of tens of billions of dollars; supporting the despicable "card check" legislation that will foster retribution and, inevitably, violence against workers who would be deprived of the secret ballot; raising taxes to astronomical levels—on individuals, corporations, small businesses—in the teeth of a severe recession, a course that risks turning a crisis into a catastrophe; and touring the globe while busily ingratiating himself with every two-bit despot, dictator, and enemy of democracy he can find by repeatedly apologizing for America's past failings and transgressions.

I could go on but it would be pointless. Each of these policies, as well as others, is incompatible with even the barest degree of fiscal responsibility, job creation, personal liberty, and America's stature on the international stage. They stand as a perfect contrary indicator to traditional American values like individual choice and freedom from an intrusive government that stands in the way as an obstacle to individual achievement and its rewards. One can only conclude that since each and every one of them are so wrong-headed and patently antithetical to the well-being of the nation, there must be another agenda at work having nothing to do with setting the country on the road to recovery.

Another policy I failed to mention perhaps can give us some insight into the true agenda at work here. Part of the president's tax proposal provides euphemistically-dubbed "tax credits" to the roughly 60% of the populace that does not actually pay income taxes. This would create the perverse situation in which having no obligation to pay anything under the tax code becomes a profitable enterprise, leaving the non-payer with a net gain. The source of these credits, of course, is the 40% that enjoys no such immunity under the tax code.

Now we know what candidate Obama meant when he told Joe the Plumber that as good Americans we should "share the wealth." What he really meant was that government should act as an intermediary through which wealth is simply redistributed. Thus, a campaign comment that many interpreted to signify the candidate's belief that all Americans should share in the opportunity to achieve prosperity really had a darker meaning: that government's proper role is to expropriate by fiat the assets of one group of Americans and transfer them to a different group.

Go back for a moment and re-read the quotations on the function of the community organizer and it becomes evident that Mr. Obama is still acting in that role. He is working to build a "community" in which the influence of the "powerful" is diminished and that of the "powerless" is enhanced. "Solutions" like wealth redistribution and lowest-common-denominator health care serve to achieve that outcome. Hence the "dominant"—corporations, financial institutions, rich people—should be challenged and held accountable to values of greater social, environmental and economic justice. Scrutinized in that context, then, policies that don't meet the standards of rationality when viewed through the prism of their purported purpose—such as economic measures designed to address economic problems—take on new meaning as vehicles aimed at "fixing" what Mr. Obama thinks is the real problem with the country—the problem of power imbalance.

Perhaps Americans will in time despair of their flirtation with social and economic collectivism. If they do, however, this administration's legacy will not be simply that it pursued policies that the country eventually rejected. It will be remembered instead for its most egregious act—exploiting and exacerbating a genuine national crisis in the interests of pursuing a radical social and economic agenda.

Perhaps more than any of its 43 predecessors, the Obama administration provides a perfect illustration of Ronald Reagan's observation that government is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem.



Ignoramus in chief?

This week President Obama has caught a lot of flack for stating "I don't know all the facts", but then proceeding to provide unwarranted and inflammatory conjecture anyhow. Although that statement was concerned with a very specific incident, one might argue that this is a phrase that he might want to utter before speaking on major policy topics like economics and health care. For it seems that like many who emerge from liberal academic echo chambers, he is chock full of intellect, but lamentably short on actual knowledge.

The President has thus far admitted his ignorance as to what was specifically contained in the House health care but urged its rapid passage in order to do great things such as save the planet and not ruin the upcoming Congressional vacation. And Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard calls Obama the "Know-Nothing-in-Chief" for his seeming total void of knowledge free-market economic theories:
There's no evidence Obama has even a sketchy grasp of economics. Is President Obama an economic illiterate? Harsh as that sounds, there's growing evidence he understands little about economics and even less about economic growth or job creation. Yet, as we saw at last week's presidential press conference, he's undeterred from holding forth, with seeming confidence, on economic issues.

Obama professes to believe in free market economics. But no one expects his policies to reflect the unfettered capitalism of a Milton Friedman. That's too much to ask. Demonstrating a passing acquaintance with free market ideas and how they might be used to fight the recession--that's not too much to ask. But the president talks as if free market solutions are nonexistent...

Getting back to the topic of health care, fairly intelligent and experienced men state that the President doesn't even do a good job faking that he knows what he is talking about.

Glenn Reynolds speaking on the Hugh Hewitt show said "Obama is an idiot when he talks about medical things...", as well as saying some of the President's prescriptions doled out when taking on the subject are like "...prescribing a laxative for lung cancer. This guy is making health care policy, and he's clueless."

On the same show, Charles Krauthammer (a former board certified doctor) said this:
"The real problem with Obama is he’s extremely intelligent, but he’s even more arrogant. And he trusts his own intelligence to get him through anything, even with a lack of knowledge. And it is amazingly arrogant. He’s standing up there, and he’s saying that there are doctors out there who will rip out a kid’s tonsils in order to make some money, without even knowing what are the indications for a tonsillectomy, and what’s not. He sort of made it up as he went along. You’re right. He operates on what he thinks he only needs, a minimal level of knowledge..."

Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the President, his ignorance of a range of ideas on major policy issues may well be the undoing of his proposals. Much of this is due to the repeated public display of this ignorance in his self-induced hyper-exposure. If he were to keep from the spotlight, and only appear when escorted by a phalanx of teleprompters, he could limit the damage. But it may already have been done. But perhaps he is willing to sacrifice these things on the altars of vanity and narcissism.

Unfortunately it would not be a surprise if President Obama had spent all those years in academe becoming an intellectual, rather than a learned man.

Post above recycled from Charlie Foxtrot


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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)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama's non-apology

President Barack Obama backed down on Friday from a statement that police had "acted stupidly" in arresting a black scholar in a racially charged case that was rapidly becoming a distraction for Obama. The president made a surprise appearance in the White House press briefing room shortly after he spoke by phone to Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sgt. James Crowley, who had arrested Henry Louis Gates, a prominent scholar of African-American studies at Harvard, last week.

"Because this has been ratcheting up and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I wanted to make clear in my choice of words I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically," Obama said. "And I could have calibrated those words differently." Crowley suggested Obama invite him and Gates, to the White House for a peace-making beer, and a plan was in the works to do so, Obama said. Obama later called Gates, had a positive discussion, told him about his phone call with Crowley and invited him to join Crowley at the White House in the near future, the White House said.

Obama said he hoped the event would end up being a "teachable moment, where all of us instead of pumping up the volume spend a little more time listening to each other" and improve race relations "instead of flinging accusations." "Lord knows we need it right now -- because over the last two days as we've discussed this issue, I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody has been paying much attention to health care," he said.

At a news conference on Wednesday night, Obama weighed in on the case, saying the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police had "acted stupidly." Obama pointed out that blacks and members of other minority groups tend to be stopped more frequently by U.S. police officers than whites. Until Friday, Obama and the White House had defended Obama's remarks. The police union stoked tensions further, firing back at Obama. "President Obama said that the actions of the Cambridge Police Department were stupid and linked the event to a history of racial profiling in America," Sgt. Dennis O'Connor, president of the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Association, said at a news conference in Cambridge. "The facts of this case suggest that the president used the right adjective but directed it at the wrong party," he said.

With the incident threatening to escalate, Obama chose to engage in some damage control. He did not say he had apologized to Crowley, but his words were regretful. Obama said his impression of Crowley was that he was an "outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation. And I told him that."... Obama said he continued to believe that there was an overreaction in arresting Gates and that he also believed that Gates "probably overreacted as well."


The following video has been suggested as the new Obama model for the Cambridge police force


Obama, Gates and Crowley

Obama has chosen to attach his own credibility to this matter so I think I can reasonably put up two further comments on it:

I heard on the radio this morning that there were nine break-ins in Gates's Cambridge neighborhood in the first quarter of 2009 alone. Officer James Crowley had good reason to believe that this might have been another. There might even have been a break-in attempt at Gates's house during the time he was away, as Gates himself indicates in an interview. (Why is there so much crime in the neighborhood around Harvard?)

It is clear from reading the police report that Gates behaved boorishly and belligerently from the first moment he saw the white policeman. Officer Crowley, perplexed at Gates's behavior, called into headquarters that he was in the house with what appeared to be the resident, but that the resident was behaving in an excited manner that surprised and confused him. And Gates initially refused to present identification, but then did. He continued yelling at Crowley and calling him a racist throughout the incident. It is almost as if Gates was determined to foment the incident into something he could use later. If there is any racism here, it is Gates's automatic antagonism toward a white policeman.

The police report contains a supplemental narrative by a second policeman on the scene, Officer Carlos Figueroa, who completely corroborates Crowley's account and adds the detail that Gates was actually shouting to the gathering of about seven people outside the house who had been attracted by the ruckus, "this is what happens to black men in America," almost as if he were trying to incite them. It is this ongoing disruptive behavior, which continued after Crowley warned him to stop, that prompted his arrest.

The policemen could not be making all this up. The details in Crowley's and Figueroa's reports about Gates's arrogance and claims of privilege and so on .... all that is not something the policemen could just fabricate. In addition, there were a number of witnesses who saw a lot of what happened and can corroborate it. Here is some of Figueroa's account:
"As I stepped in [into Gates's house], I heard Sgt. Crowley ask for the gentleman's information which he stated "NO I WILL NOT!" The gentleman was shouting out to the Sgt. that the Sgt. was a racist and yelled that "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN America!" As the Sgt. was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted "You don't know who your messing with!"

I stepped out to the gather the information from the reporting person, WHALEN, LUCIA. Ms. Whalen stated to me that she saw a man wedging his shoulder into the front door as to pry the door open. As I returned to the residence, a group of onlookers were now on scene. The Sgt., along with the gentleman, were now on the porch of __ Ware Street and again he was shouting, now to the onlookers (about seven), "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA!". The gentleman refused to listen to as to why the Cambridge Police were there. While on the porch, the gentleman refused to be cooperative and continued shouting that the Sgt. is racist police officer.

Gates also said that he couldn't have been yelling because he had a throat problem, but witnesses heard him yelling, and there is a photo in which he is clearly yelling. He is either not telling the truth or blinded to his own faults.

Now we have the president of the United States adding fuel to the fire without, by his own admission, even knowing the facts \emdash two astronomically high-status blacks piling on an ordinary white policeman doing his job. Perhaps Gates deliberately made an incident out of this because he fears white-liberal guilt has been declining since the election of Obama. Perhaps he hopes to re-ignite those feelings (without which he feels discomfort at all the unearned privileges of his life). Certainly there is something odd about his practically instantaneous pronouncements that he is going to use his arrest to preach about racism and make documentaries about racial profiling and so forth. And his interview ends with his mocking any thought of a "post-racial" America and rehearsing some of the sorry statistics about black men in prison, as if they had anything to do with his own shameful and uncontrolled behavior.

Gates's own account appears to be unreliable. He remarks in his interview that the 911 call said that two big black men were trying to break in and he called that "the worst racial profiling I've ever heard of in my life," and he laughs about it because he is only 5'7''. Now, the police report doesn't mention two big black men, just two black males with backpacks. But if the word "big" was spoken during the 911, it might well have been by the citizen who called in the report, not the policemen. Yet Gates is trying to maintain that he is grateful for the neighborly vigilance of the woman who called 911, and that it's only the police he despises.



And one last comment on the Gates/Crowley episode

DailyKenn has a lot of links on this matter and, like me, is not afraid to call something how he sees it. Below is his own succinct comment on the Gates matter, a comment in which I suspect much truth, despite certain linguistic improprieties:
Prof. Gates; why uppity Negroes are uppity

Short answer: to compensate for feelings of inferiority . . .

When Sergeant James M. Crowley stepped up to Henry Louis Gates Jr.\rquote s home last week, he was met with a seemingly arrogant, obnoxious and ungrateful black man.

Gates' "loud and tumultuous behavior" toward officer Crowley is not unique. Blacks often display irrational arrogance when interacting with whites. The question is: Why?

The answer: While some blacks possess a choleric temperament and innately display belligerent behavior, others manufacture arrogance as a means to compensate for feelings of inferiority.

On the surface it appears that such behavior is anti-white racist hatred. In reality, the subject isn't displaying hatred for the "victim's" whiteness but is displaying hatred for himself for being black.

In the Gates episode it is apparent that racial profiling occurred twice. Both occasions were on the part of Prof. Gates, not Officer Crowley. Gates' belligerent behavior revealed racial profiling of a white officer. It also displayed racial profiling of himself.

Gates' attitude served another purpose: It got him off the hook as charges against him were dropped.



Obama has a history with the Cambridge police Dept.: "According to the Somerville Times in 2007, as a Harvard Law School student, Obama got 17 parking tickets during 1989-1991 from the Cambridge Police Department that he left unpaid until just weeks before he announced his bid for the presidency. "In other words, as a practicing lawyer in Chicago, he allowed these tickets and penalties to remain unpaid; as an Illinois state senator he allowed these tickets and fines to remain unpaid; and as a United States senator he allowed these almost-two-decade-old signs of his disdain for the law to remain unpaid," commented John LeBoutillier on The Washington Post said two years ago that the tickets included parking without a proper permit and parking in a bus stop. The Associated Press reported in 2007 that Obama's "healthy stack" of parking tickets was finally paid, including late fees, "two weeks before he officially launched his presidential campaign."

You can’t print production and prosperity: “It’s hard to imagine that the monetary policy talk can get any nuttier, but we’ve likely only just begun. After all, despite the Federal Reserve growing its balance sheet by 140 percent and dropping rates essentially to zero, the bankruptcies just keep on coming. Ex-Fed governor Wayne Angell told Larry Kudlow’s CNBC audience, ‘monetary policy always works!’ Although Angell does stipulate that it takes time before the tromping on the monetary gas pedal will spin the economic tires and spray the prosperity gravel.”

Another taxpayer donation to GM and the auto workers union: "Welcome to the General Motors bailout, part three—or is it four, or five? It’s hard to keep up, but this week the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation took over the pension liabilities of Delphi, the auto-parts spinoff of GM that has been working its way through Chapter 11 since 2005. As with the previous taxpayer rescues, this one includes a special favor for the United Auto Workers. Under the agreement, the PBGC will assume some $6.2 billion in pension liabilities from Delphi, including both hourly and salaried employees. That’s the second biggest pension bailout in PBGC history, and it takes billions of liabilities off the books for GM. As Delphi’s former parent, GM had agreed to take responsibility for billions of dollars of Delphi’s pension obligations to its hourly employees."

NJ: Five pols, others arrested in corruption case : “An investigation into the sale of black-market kidneys and fake Gucci handbags evolved into a sweeping probe of political corruption in New Jersey, ensnaring more than 40 people Thursday, including three mayors, two state lawmakers and several rabbis. Even for a state with a rich history of graft, the scale of wrongdoing alleged was breathtaking. An FBI official called corruption ‘a cancer that is destroying the core values of this state.’”

How robot drones revolutionized the face of warfare : “Barely an hour’s drive from the casinos of Las Vegas, a group of unassuming buildings have become as important as the trenches were to WWI. The big difference? Today’s warriors are fighting without getting in harm’s way, using drones to attack targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Major Morgan Andrews is one such combatant. He kisses his wife goodbye, drives to Creech, a tiny desert air force base in Nevada, and within minutes could be killing insurgents on the other side of the world.”

Dems to seniors: Drop dead : “As Erick Erickson points out: ‘I think, given that the member of Congress who drafted H.R. 3200 read and take seriously people like Klien, Yglesias, and Singer, we should be very troubled by Section 1233 of H.R. 3200. The section, titled ‘Advanced Care Planning Consultation’ requires senior citizens to meet at least every 5 years with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss dying with dignity.’ … Forget all the kind rhetoric about ‘dignity.’ Let’s call it what it is: Geriatric Euthanasia. And let’s be very clear about why we want the old people to die: We’ve sucked all the economic productivity we’re going to get out of them, and it’s more convenient to kill them than it is to assume the financial burden of their care. You can pretty it up with all the flowery language you want, but at the end of the day, it comes down to, ‘You cost too much to keep alive. Just die.’”

Older people are more than “food for worms”: “Such is the strength of cultural miserabilism today that even the most smile-inducing good news stories can swiftly be turned into doom-laden tales about the terrible future humanity faces. This week, a report published by the US Census Bureau revealed something properly startling: some time in the next 10 years the global population of over-65s will outnumber the global population of under-fives for the first time ever. Such a monumental demographic change is a consequence of decades of development and scientific advance, which have allowed people to live longer, healthier, wealthier lives, and to live — in the real meaning of that word: to travel, to have new experiences, to chill out — even after they stop working. Yet rather than being treated as good news, as evidence of the leaps forward made by mankind, the US Census Bureau’s prediction was treated at best as ‘worrying news’, and at worst as ‘bad news.’”

Irony: China reversing one-child policy: "China has taken the first step towards ending its controversial one-child policy by encouraging urban couples in Shanghai to have two children. The easing of restrictions comes in response to concern about economic problems caused by the country's ageing population. Shanghai is actively promoting the two-child policy as China tries to defuse a demographic time bomb caused by a shortage of young workers after 30 years of tough population growth restrictions. The policy shift in the large coastal city marks the first time since 1979 that officials have actively encouraged parents to have more children. If they are both single children themselves, husbands and wives in Shanghai are allowed to have two children. While they have technically been allowed to do so before, the couples are now the target of a city-wide campaign to persuade them to make use of their extra allowance. They will receive home visits and leaflets to promote the benefits of a second child. The city government is worried about the rapidly rising number of elderly people and the resulting burden and drag on the Chinese economy."

Anti-Americanism -- The last acceptable bigotry : “The more intense the statism, the more intense the hatred of America. Those seeking to extort more funding for the CBC, or yet another social services bureaucracy, need only point to America as a horribly atavistic, though still barely civilized society. A victim of too much freedom, usually expressed through the euphemisms of Wall Street, Big Business and the Gun Lobby. Like the biker in a 1950s PSA, the Canadian Left points to America as what Canada might become if it strays from the true path. America the villain, if not exactly the Great Satan, is a necessary prop to Canadian statists.”

Britain's Labour Party loses another by-election: "British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party has suffered another embarrassing by-election defeat. It was the first poll triggered by a recent scandal over politicians’ expenses. Labour was pushed into second place by the main opposition Conservatives in the Norwich North constituency in eastern England. The Conservatives overturned Labour's majority of 5549 at the last election in 2005 to take the seat by more than 7000 votes. The sitting lawmaker, Ian Gibson, quit last month after revelations that he claimed nearly £80,000 ($162,000) in second-home expenses on a London flat which he later sold cheaply to his daughter. Mr Brown admitted it was “clearly a disappointing result” but said voters were disenchanted with all main parties in the wake of the expenses furore. Although it comes as little surprise, the defeat shows Mr Brown's government facing a struggle to beat David Cameron's Conservatives -- who are well ahead in opinion polls -- at a general election which must be held within a year. Mr Cameron said the Tory victory showed people had “had enough” of Mr Brown and “want change in our country”. Chloe Smith, the victorious Conservative candidate, is only 27 years old and will be the youngest politicians in the House of Commons. She will take her seat when parliament returns in October from its summer recess, which started this week."

British Fuel scheme “failing the poorest”: “A scheme aimed at improving households’ fuel efficiency and cutting fuel poverty is ‘failing the poorest and most vulnerable,’ MPs have said. Nearly a fifth of the funding for the multi-million pound Warm Front scheme was going to households that were already energy efficient. And £15m was spent on measures that did little to pull households out of fuel poverty, the committee of MPs said.The government is aiming to end fuel poverty in England by 2016.”


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home While Black

by Larry Elder (who is black)

Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, retained a lawyer. Why? He claims cops in Cambridge, Mass., racially profiled him. Here's what happened.

Gates, "one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars," writes The Boston Globe, was arrested about 1 p.m. at his home near Harvard Square by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. "The incident," says the Globe, "raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling."

"Friends of Gates," writes the Globe, "said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver's license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours." The Globe posted redacted arrest reports on its Web site. But for reasons unknown, the Globe removed them less than a day later.

The Cambridge Chronicle, however, still posts the reports on its Web site. The Chronicle's article also mentions a few things the Globe omitted -- including that "during the incident, Gates accused Cambridge police officers of racism."

The Chronicle writes: "A witness had called police when she saw a black man, apparently Gates, wedging his shoulder into the door, trying to gain entry, according to the arrest report. ...

"In the arrest report, police said Gates initially refused to step onto his porch when approached by (Cambridge Police Sgt. James) Crowley. He then allegedly opened his door and shouted, 'Why, because I'm a black man in America?'

"As Crowley continued to question Gates, the Harvard professor allegedly told him, 'You don't know who you're messing with.' When Crowley asked to speak with him outside, Gates allegedly said, 'Ya, I'll speak with your momma outside.'"

Crowley says he responded to a call of a possible break-in by a woman on the sidewalk, who said she'd seen a black male "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry." Crowley reported he "could see an older black male standing in the foyer." He continued: "As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as Gates, I asked if he would step out onto the porch and speak with me. He replied 'no, I will not.' He then demanded to know who I was. I told him that I was 'Sgt. Crowley from the Cambridge Police' and that I was 'investigating a report of a break in progress' at the residence. While I was making this statement, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed 'why, because I'm a black man in America?' I then asked Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While yelling, he told me that it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer."

Crowley's report, as well as that of another responding officer, describe Gates yelling repeated accusations of racism while asserting that the officer "had no idea who (he) was 'messing' with" and that the officer "had not heard the last of it."

After initially refusing to produce any identification confirming his residence, Gates finally supplied a Harvard ID. By that time, a crowd of officers and passers-by was outside. In front of the house and "in view of the public," Crowley states he twice warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. But Gates' yelling and "tumultuous behavior" continued, causing "surprise and alarm" in the citizenry outside. Crowley then placed Gates under arrest.

Crowley "asked Gates if he would like an officer to take possession of his house key and secure his front door, which he left wide open." Gates said "the door was unsecurable due to a previous break attempt at the residence." (Emphasis added.)

OK, the cops overreacted. Cops' training involves dealing with verbally abusive citizens. They could have walked away, written a report and allowed the prosecutor to determine whether to file charges. But Gates overreacted, too.

Last week, about 2 p.m., while driving a nice car, I got stopped by a police officer about a block from my home in Los Angeles. The officer asked for license and registration. "Yes, sir," I said, handing him my license. Before I could retrieve the registration, he said, "Mr. Elder, do you still live at this address?" I said I did. He said: "OK. I stopped you because you rolled through a stop sign. Two pedestrians saw you, and they gestured to me, as if saying, 'Are you going to do something about that?' So I felt I had to stop you. I'm not looking for area residents. I'm looking for people who don't live here who might be committing crimes. You're fine."

I did roll through the stop sign. He could have ticketed me. Rather, he responded to my politeness with politeness. Besides, don't we want a proactive police department that, within the law, doesn't just react to crime but also tries to prevent it?

Cops routinely deal with conflict, angry citizens and quite often the worst of the worst -- while going to work every day willing to take a bullet for someone they don't even know. Even Henry You-Don't-Know-Who-You're-Messing-With Gates should understand that. Cops are human beings, too.



Colorblind test failed

It’s Henry Gates who plays race card

‘I said, are you doing this because I’m a black man in America? Are you doing this because you’re a white police officer and I am a black man?” - Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounting a conversation with his arresting officer in Cambridge.

So what if the cop had been black? What if Sgt. James Crowley happened to be one of Cambridge’s 41 black police officers rather than bearing as he does the affliction of whiteness? If a black police sergeant responded to the call of a possible breaking and entering, and asked Gates for some form of identification, what would have happened then?

Gates would have been just as tired after his trip to China - an excuse his defenders use to explain his arrogance and rudeness. And if having a cop show up at your door and ask about your identity is, as Gates claims, intrusive or insulting, it would have been just as intrusive from a black cop as a white one.

The context would have been identical as well: Nine daytime, front-door break-ins reported in the neighborhood in the first quarter of 2009; Gates’ own door damaged by a previous, possible break-in attempt, according to the police report.cw0

Imagine all the facts and all the circumstances identical, but a black police officer instead of a white one. What would have been different? Everything. The tired professor would have found the strength to hand over his ID without significant objection. The officer would have gone on his way. No angry shouts, no (alleged) “yo mama” comments, no screams so loud they attracted the neighbors, or embarrassing photos of a raging Skip Gates on the front of the Herald.

All changed, not because of a different cop, but a different Professor Gates. The Gates who greeted Crowley was a racist. And I know, because the professor said so himself. By his own admission, Gates didn’t just blame the incident on the fact that he is “a black man.” He also added the accusatory question, “Are you doing this because you’re a white police officer?”

Review every account of the Gates arrest, including Gates’ self-serving interviews, and it’s hard to find an action of Crowley’s that can be characterized as inherently racist.

Yes, it’s possible that the arrest itself was a racist act. But it’s also possible that it wasn’t. It may have been a righteous arrest, or the action of an annoyed, flustered cop. Or Crowley may be a power-mad jerk with a badge. All possibilities.

But the only motive for Gates’ behavior, by his own admission, is the cop’s skin color and Gates’ race-based assumptions about him. Once again, the “white cop” charge comes from Gates’ own words, not the police report. And not just white cops, but white witnesses, too. According to an eyewitness quoted in the Herald yesterday, when police asked him for ID, Gates started yelling, “I’m a Harvard professor . . . You believe white women over black men.”

Not that Gates is without compassion. “Crowley should beg my forgiveness,” he told one reporter. “If I decided he was sincere,” Gates assured us, “I would forgive him.” Don’t you just love a rich guy who summers on the Vineyard asking a working-class cop to “beg”? How perfectly Cambridge. Gates’ race-obsessed heart may not be in the right place, but his house certainly is.


It seems clear to me from the two reports above that Larry Elder is a pleasant, polite guy and Henry Gates is neither. That is the whole difference behind what the two men experienced. But the race-obsessed American Left cannot allow that, of course. I also had some postings yesterday on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH about the matter -- JR



Barely six months into his presidency, Barack Obama seems to be driving south into that political speed trap known as Carter Country: a sad-sack landscape in which every major initiative meets not just with failure but with scorn from political allies and foes alike. According to a July 13 CBS News poll, the once-unassailable president's approval rating now stands at 57 percent, down 11 points from April. Half of Americans think the recession will last an additional two years or more, 52 percent think Obama is trying to "accomplish too much," and 57 percent think the country is on the "wrong track."

From a lousy cap-and-trade bill awaiting death in the Senate to a health-care reform agenda already weak in the knees to the failure of the stimulus to deliver promised jobs and economic activity, what once looked like a hope-tastic juggernaut is showing all the horsepower of a Chevy Cobalt. "Give it to me!" the president egged on a Michigan audience last week, pledging to "solve problems" and not "gripe" about the economic hand he was dealt.

Despite such bravura, Obama must be furtively reviewing the history of recent Democratic administrations for some kind of road map out of his post-100-days ditch.

So far, he seems to be skipping the chapter on Bill Clinton and his generally free-market economic policies and instead flipping back to the themes and comportment of Jimmy Carter. Like the 39th president, Obama has inherited an awful economy, dizzying budget deficits and a geopolitical situation as promising as Kim Jong Il's health. Like Carter, Obama is smart, moralistic and enamored of alternative energy schemes that were nonstarters back when America's best-known peanut farmer was installing solar panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Like Carter, Obama faces as much effective opposition from his own party's left wing as he does from an ardent but diminished GOP.

And perhaps most important, as with Carter, his specific policies are genuinely unpopular. The auto bailout -- which, incidentally, is illegal, springing as it has from a fund specifically earmarked for financial institutions -- has been reviled from the get-go, with opposition consistently polling north of 60 percent. Majorities have said no to bank bailouts and to cap and trade if it would make electricity significantly more expensive.

According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, more than 80 percent are concerned that health-care reform will increase costs or diminish the quality of care. Even as two House committees passed a reform bill last week, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the proposal "significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs" and dramatically raises the cost "curve." This sort of voter and expert feedback can't be comforting to the president.

As writers who inveighed against last year's GOP candidate and called George W. Bush's presidency a "disaster," we're equal-opportunity critics. As taxpayers with children and hence some small, almost certainly unrecoverable stake in this country's future (not to mention that of General Motors, Chrysler and AIG), we write with skin in the game and the fear that our current leader will indeed start busting out the 1970s cardigans… continue reading here.




Obama hold on records raises hypocrisy charge: "After lampooning the Bush administration for secrecy, President Obama used the same legal arguments as his predecessor to block the release of logs showing which industry executives met with the White House to help formulate his health care policy. The new administration abruptly reversed course Wednesday evening after being accused of hypocrisy and released a list of more than a dozen meeting attendees. Among the more than dozen executives identified as weighing in with presidential advisers on health care during February were Richard Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association; Billy Tauzin, the former congressman who heads the drug lobby PhRMA; Angela Braly, chief executive of WellPoint Inc.; and Jay Gellert, chief executive of Health Net Inc. The episode turned the tables on Mr. Obama, who during the 2008 presidential campaign accused Vice President Dick Cheney of unnecessary secrecy in refusing to identify which energy executives weighed in on energy policy early in the Bush years and who criticized his primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, of doing the same thing during the 1993-94 health care debate."

Obama health-care claims disputed: "Even as President Obama delivered a prime-time sales pitch for his embattled health care reform plan Wednesday, basic facts about coverage, cost and who foots the bills remain in dispute and many of the president's favorite talking points are challenged not only by Republicans but also by independent fact-checkers. For example, Mr. Obama promises that people who are happy with their current health insurance can keep it. That's a claim contradicted by, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center. The group found that while the government would not require people to change their health insurance, proposals by Senate Democrats would result in some people losing health care benefits from employers, either because it would become too expensive or because workers would be able to get a better deal elsewhere. Such inconsistencies between the rhetoric and the reality cloud much of the health care debate as Mr. Obama retools some of his claims to fend off criticism and adjusts positions he staked out on the campaign trail. [See also many posts on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE about this]

In defence of hedge funds: “Douglas Shaw of Black Rock spoke at a Civitas lunch this week on the topic ‘In Defence of Hedge Funds.’ Good luck to him. The industry is about to be overrun by an EU army of new regulations, which will knock any innovatory stuffing out of them. As investment businesses evolve and grow in the US, Switzerland, the Middle East and Asia, the stunted European hedge funds will look more and more like the evolutionary throwbacks of the Galapagos. I don’t know why hedge funds don’t spend about a thousand times more on PR, because they have a positive story to tell.”

Rasmussen. Just 25% Now Say Stimulus Has Helped The Economy, 31% Say it Hurt: "Confidence in the $787-billion economic stimulus plan proposed by President Obama and passed by Congress in February continues to fall. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 25% of U.S. voters now say the stimulus plan has helped the economy. That’s a six-point drop from a month ago. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the stimulus actually hurt the economy, little changed from a month ago. However, this is the first poll showing that more voters believe the plan hurt rather than helped. A plurality (36%) says the plan has had no impact. Just after Congress passed the plan, 34% said it would help the economy, 32% that it would hurt and 26% predicted no impact."


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, July 24, 2009

Amazon attacked for deleting George Orwell

Two books bad ... Amazon deleted 1984 and Animal Farm from its electronic book reader, the Kindle. Outraged customers lose texts they bought. Is this a warning of what our future holds? I am now feeling rather glad that, like most academics, I have a substantial library of REAL books. There are many books printed hundreds of years ago that are still readable. How long will material stored on today's magnetic and optical media remain available and readable? Will we one day need to go to a government-run museum just to read a CD? I have a little story to tell in that connection which I will put at the foot of the news item below:
Online retailer Amazon has been forced to fend off accusations of Big Brother-like behaviour after it erased two George Orwell books from customers' electronic book readers. In an Orwellian move, copies of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were mysteriously wiped from customer's Kindle devices.

The Kindle is an electronic book reader that lets users download and read texts from Amazon's online catalogue. Online complaints compared Amazon's move to a book shop breaking in to a customer's house to steal back purchased books. One student lost all of the notes he had made while reading one of the books.

The texts were uploaded by a publisher who did not have reproduction rights, Amazon told technology news website CNet, and so they were deleted. "We removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers," a spokesman said. "We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances." [But will anybody ever trust them again?]


My story: I recently decided to convert my old Windows computer into a DOS machine -- as a sort of museum for all the old DOS software we used to use a dozen or more years ago. In particular I wanted to create a collection of all the old DOS games that the kids used to play and which they enjoyed so much.

But as soon as I tried, I failed. I had set up DOS machines often in the past so I expected no trouble but this time I failed. I just could not get DOS to boot from the hard drive. Fortunately, my stepson is both himself a computer retailer and also the son of a computer retailer so he remembered a rare switch (/mbr) to the old FDISK command that solved the problem.

But I then found that a lot of my old floppy disks had become corrupt over time so it was important to get the CD drive accessible from DOS as soon as possible. And that was easier said than done. After a couple of hours of hunting around and head-scratching, I finally found a driver file that worked and also figured out the syntax of how to set it up (with driver in CONFIG.SYS and CD command in AUTOEXEC.BAT).

But then there was the problem of getting the sound to work. Modern motherboards have the sound onboard and DOS cannot access that. Fortunately, however, I had an old Soundblaster card left over from a project of a few years ago and we found a slot on the motherboard that would take it. But we have no DOS drivers for it so, at the time of writing, the sound is not yet working. My stepson is however fairly confident that he will be able to find the files we need. But would he be able to find them in (say) 10 years' time?

So the moral of the story is obvious. Stuff that is stored on the routine technology of today can become almost inaccessible in as little as 10 years' time. It makes you think. Technological change does create some risk of wiping out our past.


Lawmakers Express Outrage at ‘Potential’ $23.7-Trillion Liability Bank Bailout Law Could Impose on Taxpayers

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) called it a “brave new world.” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) called it “one fraud after another.” Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) said the corporate bailout was being run as a “don’t ask, don’t tell program,” and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made biblical references. A bipartisan group of lawmakers were mystified Tuesday at how what began as the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) could potentially reach a liability of $23.7 trillion for U.S. taxpayers--compared to the U.S. gross domestic product of $14 trillion.

Neil Barofsky, special inspector general of the TARP program, testified Tuesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the same day his office’s TARP quarterly report was released, which showed the potential escalating cost of the program. “Your report really demonstrates that we have entered into a very, very scary territory, a brave new world where Washington decides what happens on Wall Street and Main Street, and hopefully sometime in the future, we can find a way to have an exit strategy,” Bilbray said.

Barofsky was sure to state that the $23.7 trillion figure was “the total potential government support,” a worst case scenario of sorts under the current structure. “The speculation is if every one of these programs is fully subscribed to, that is the total commitment of guarantees,” Barofsky told the panel. Rep. Dan Burton (R-In.) remarked, “If even half of that is correct, we’ve got a big problem.”

Barofsky stressed that the amount currently outstanding is closer to $3 trillion. Of the original $700 billion in TARP funds approved by Congress and President George W. Bush, $643.1 billion have been allotted to 12 different programs, while a total of $441 billion has been spent. The actual bulk comes from loan programs through the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). “But when you add up all of the different programs, including the ones that are paid back, including ones that may have been cancelled, including collateral programs, the total amount of support, which is what we are trying to capture is, does total $23.7 trillion,” Barofsky said.

Documents obtained by showed that the $23.7 trillion covers total estimated exposure of the government in dealing with the financial crisis and specifically some 50 “initiatives or programs” created by myriad federal agencies in dealing with the crisis, reported The New York Post. However, Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams called the figure “inflated” and said the estimate “does not provide a useful framework for evaluating the potential cost of these programs,” the Associated Press reported.

Issa, the committee’s ranking Republican, said the $23.7 trillion figure was “about 30 times what you would have if you gave away $1 million a year from the birth of Christ until today--just for somebody to try to figure out if that’s true or not.”



Destructive Social "Justice"

There is more than a bit of nastiness in this liberal-progressive urge to smash what others have built and to drag people down to their level.

The Democrat/Socialist Party's plan to nationalize healthcare exemplifies the essence of social justice: an invidious urge to destroy what exists and a faith that social harmony depends upon making everyone equally miserable.

Liberal-progressives estimate that 46 million people, 15% of the population, lack health insurance. In order to provide them insurance, liberal-progressives intend to force each of us to forgo any vestige of individuality and to accept a prison-like regimentation of our healthcare.

When Hillary Clinton was working in 1993 to impose socialized medicine upon us, the Washington Monthly, one of the purest strains of socialism within the liberal-progressive, mainstream media, editorialized forthrightly that a fundamental aim and benefit of Hillary Care would be forcing business leaders to sit for hours in crowded doctors' waiting rooms to receive medical care. There is more than a bit of nastiness in this liberal-progressive urge to smash what others have built and to drag people down to their level.

Why stop at health care? If Lyndon Johnson's equality-in-fact is the aim, the best way to attain it is to put everyone in prison. Everyone then would have tasks assigned by the political state's intellectual czars, along with identical clothing, housing, bedding, food, and drink.

As history shows us, that is the end point toward which all liberal-progressive governments proceed. Most people will not willingly give up what they have worked for all their lives to attain. Force of law, and ultimately of arms, is required to take from some to give to others. Some governments, the United States among them, have not yet traveled too far along that path, but all have the shining example of the Soviet Union to guide them.




There is an amusing takedown of that puffed-up toad known as Andrew Sullivan here.

Hillary accepts Iranian nuclear status: "The US would extend its “defence umbrella” across the Middle East to defend its allies against a nuclear-armed Iran, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, said yesterday. Mrs Clinton’s comments provoked an anxious reaction from the Israeli Government. Israel’s Minister for Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Dan Meridor, bristled at the implication that Iran’s nuclear status might be regarded as a strategic reality to be offset by other defence capabilities. “I was not thrilled to hear the American statement that they will protect their allies with a nuclear umbrella, as if they have already come to terms with a nuclear Iran,” he told Israeli army radio. “I think that’s a mistake.” Mrs Clinton, speaking at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in Thailand, said that acquiring nuclear weapons would not make Iran more secure. “We will still hold the door open but we also have made it clear that we’ll take actions, as I’ve said time and time again, crippling action, working to upgrade the defence of our partners in the region,” she said. “We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment . . . that if the US extends a defence umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon.”

Pakistan objects to expanded US combat plans in Afghanistan: “Pakistan is objecting to expanded U.S. combat operations in neighboring Afghanistan, creating new fissures with Washington as thousands of new U.S. forces are arriving in the region. Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan, Pakistani intelligence officials said.” [The Paks shouldn't worry. Predator drones will get the Talibs in Pak territory too]

Obama: US on track for 2011 Iraq pullout: “President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States will stick to its schedule and remove all its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 even though there will be ‘tough days ahead.’ Standing in the Rose Garden alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Obama said the two nations were in the midst of a ‘full transition’ that would be based on mutual interest and respect.”

Obama's FDA thugs consider ways to short-circuit electronic cigarettes : "“The Food and Drug Administration, recently granted the authority to regulate tobacco as a drug, is taking aim at electronic cigarettes — battery-powered cigarette look-alikes that deliver nicotine and produce a puff of odorless vapor. Tests show that e-cigarettes contain ‘known carcinogens and toxic chemicals,’ including diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, officials announced Wednesday during a teleconference. The FDA notes that the products have no warning labels.”

Obama is delaying the economic recovery: "Don’t believe the Obama Administration rhetoric about how this economy has just turned out to be so difficult and they are doing the best they can. While the economy is still getting worse, the truth is the recovery is long overdue. The National Bureau of Economic Research dates this recession as starting some time during December, 2007. The longest recession since World War II was 16 months, with the average being 10 months. The current recession has now lasted 19 months. By this reckoning, we should have had a normal cyclical recovery at least 3 months ago.”

Green Baptists preach salvation by breaking car windows: “Who could possibly claim that buying up drivable used cars at prices far in excess of their market value, for the express purpose of destroying them, will be beneficial for the economy or the planet? You guessed it: a combination of economy-saving politicians and earth-saving green activists are peddling the wonders of a new government program popularly known as ‘Cash for Clunkers.’ The Consumer Assistance Recycle and Save Act of 2009 has the two ostensible goals of jump-starting the stalled automobile industry and combating global warming (or climate change, or whatever they’re calling it these days) by replacing old, gas-guzzling smog machines with new, more fuel-efficient, cleaner cars.”

Have government deficits “saved the world?”: “Last week, I wrote about the crudeness of so-called Keynesian economic theory in which one assumes that all assets and capital ‘investment’ are ‘homogeneous’ in character, which means that their only contribution to the economy is from the money that is spent in their creation and continued operation. This view contrasts with the Austrian paradigm, which emphasizes the structure of production within an economy and the unsustainability of capital that is malinvested during a boom. Unfortunately, too many people in high places are prone to believe what on its face is unbelievable: running huge federal deficits somehow is a good thing for the economy.”

Walking away when you can pay: "Some of the promises our government has made in the last few months about ‘helping people keep their homes’ may actually worsen the housing crisis. New proposals ignore the real danger associated with ’strategic default,’ when homeowners decide to stop paying their mortgage, even though they have enough money to make payments. The Obama administration is working to lower monthly mortgage payments, but as a recent study conducted at the University of Chicago points out, it is not necessarily high payments but negative equity in homes that drives default.”


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Punishing consumers to 'protect' them

Democrats have a control issue. They passed a national energy tax to help control what types of cars we can drive. Democrats announced a plan that allows the government to control what doctors we can see and when we can see them. Now, Democrats want to create a new government bureaucracy to control which -- if any -- credit cards, mortgages and consumer loans we are allowed to receive. Yes, there's a troubling trend.

Conservatives, however, are poised to fight for consumer protection and to ensure that decisions that belong in the hands of America's families and small businesses are not dictated instead by Washington.

HR 3126 would create a new bureaucracy run by five unelected individuals appointed by the president. The ironically named Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) would have the power to strip from consumers their freedom of choice and restrict their credit opportunities in the midst of a financial recession -- all in the name of "consumer protection." Positively Orwellian.

Representing one of the great assaults on consumer rights (not to mention transfers of power from Congress to the executive branch), this agency would possess sweeping powers to ban or modify any home mortgage, credit card, personal loan or other "consumer financial product" it subjectively deems to be "unfair" or "abusive." If the mortgage that would allow you to be a homeowner is deemed "unfair," you'd better find another one. If the credit card you choose for your family is "abusive," you might find yourself paying cash.

Proponents say this agency will work like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which they credit for ensuring our toasters don't blow up. The parallel doesn't work. No one wants a toaster that blows up, and whether it does is largely out of our control. Many Americans, however, may want an adjustable rate mortgage because they could not otherwise become homeowners. If we act responsibly, whether the mortgage blows up on us is largely within our control.

The CFPA will further harm consumers by stifling innovation. It is doubtful how many financial firms will choose to invest in research, development and consumer testing on new products, only to discover later the CFPA deems them to be "unfair" and thus unlawful. Had the CFPA existed 25 years ago, we would probably have no ATMs, frequent-flyer miles or debit cards. Functionally, a new federal bureaucracy will now be in charge of research, development and product approval for almost all new consumer-financial products.

Another byproduct will be less competitive markets. Smaller and regional firms cannot afford the legal and regulatory burden of CFPA. Contraction in community financial institutions will accelerate when they lose their ability to customize their products and compete with the large financial institutions.

Small businesses, the job engine of America, will be hurt by this proposal, too. Although the plan proposes to restrict only "consumer financial products," according to the Federal Reserve, 77 percent of all small businesses use credit cards to help finance their businesses. An erosion of risk-based pricing and CFPA credit customization will naturally exacerbate a credit contraction already under way and kill jobs....

Let's protect consumers from force and fraud, let's empower them with effective and factual disclosure, and let's give them opportunities to enjoy the benefits of product innovations like automated teller machines and online banking. But let's not constrict - under the guise of safety - their credit opportunities at a time when they need that the most.



Outmaneuvering Obama: Russia's Crafty Weapons "Cuts"

In chess, a player will sometimes sacrifice some pawns as part of a grand strategy to compromise an opponent’s defenses. Pawns are relatively unimportant pieces, so it’s a good way to get something for virtually nothing. Russia’s leaders are, apparently, skilled chess players.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama visited Moscow and signed a preliminary agreement aimed at getting both countries to reduce their nuclear and conventional weapons systems. But the Russians are playing a clever game. The “cuts” they propose wouldn’t actually affect their defenses at all.

Obama has promised that the U.S. will reduce its number of strategic force launchers --the systems that deliver both nuclear and conventional weapons -- to between 500 and 1,100 (the U.S. is permitted 1,600 launchers under a current treaty). Moscow matched that commitment, but that’s not saying much, since the number of Russian weapons is going to plummet with or without a treaty.

“By 2017-2018 Russia will likely have fewer than half of the approximately 680 operational launchers it has today,” arms control expert Keith Payne recently testified before Congress. “With a gross domestic product less than that of California, Russia is confronting the dilemma of how to maintain parity with the U.S. while retiring its many aged strategic forces.” One way, of course, is to sacrifice some pawns -- the non-existent or inoperable weapons -- to take out vital American weapons. In short, the Russians agreed to “cut” weapons they were going to have to retire anyway.



Arnie enforces spending cuts

No signs of a cutback to the bureaucracy, though

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, struck an eleventh-hour deal with political leaders yesterday that saved the Golden State from bankruptcy — but the budget he announced contained some of the most painful and swingeing cuts in its history. After weeks of negotiations, in which the state of California had been issuing IOUs to thousands of contractors and small businesses, Mr Schwarzenegger emerged with legislative leaders to say that a deal had been reached to close the state’s $26 billion (£15 billion) shortfall.

Cuts to services and the reduction in the size of California’s government were profound. The higher education system, including the University of California, will be hit by nearly $3 billion in cuts. The state-run school system, already burdened by large class sizes, loses $6 billion and thousands of teachers and staff. Thousands of pensioners and children lose access to healthcare.

The entire state workforce, except firefighters and the California Highway Patrol, have already been ordered to take three days off a month without pay — a 14 per cent wage cut. Some state buildings will be sold and some state parks will be closed.

Mr Schwarzenegger also succeeded with a proposal to expand oil drilling off the southern California coast, generating about $1.8 billion over time. The plan, opposed by environmentalists, would be California’s first new offshore oil project in more than 40 years.

His greatest victory was standing firm and warding off tax increases, something that Democrats had demanded. Another large chunk of the budget shortfall will be paid for by borrowing money from the state’s local governments — its counties and cities — which has enraged many local politicians.



Brookes News Update

Larry Summers and Obama are taking the US economy down the road of economic ruin: Larry Summers economic advice will cause great damage to the US economy. His economic thinking is justifying Obama's destructive spending and borrowing program as well as a massive increase in taxation. One can only wonder at how Summers acquired the reputation of being a brilliant economist
America's recession: learning the wrong lesson from the Great Depression: The arguments being used by the Obama administration to justify giganatic borrowing, spending and tax increases are based on fallacious economic thinking and a complete misreading of the Great Depression. But Obama's program is not really motivated by a desire to rescue the American economy but a fanatical desire to massively and permanently expand government no matter how much it will damage American living standards
Supermarkets are once again under attack by capitalist-hating leftists: Supermarkets are once again under attack by capitalist-hating leftists. These political parasites hate supermarkets because they have been successful in cutting costs and prices and in officering an unprecedented and ever-growing range of goods to the masses. For this reason they have to be destroyed
Israeli soldiers speak out against false allegations: Israeli soldiers speak out against leftwing propaganda that smears them as sadistic killers
No tears for them in Argentina: In the 1990s, a center-right Peronista, President Carlos Menem, attempted to reverse Peronismo with free-market reforms while still claiming Peron's mantle. Tragically, those reforms did not go far enough and were tainted by corruption, too much public spending and a rigid monetary system that collapsed in 2001. It is time to try again and to get it right once and for all
Welcome back, Jimmy Carter: Obama is using Carter's playbook. Defense is again being gutted with programs like the F-22 Raptor being tossed aside and Reagan's SDI missile shield being gutted. Allies are treated with contempt while America's enemies are given every consideration. Energy is going to be strangled and inflation is set to rocket along with more unemployment. The misery index is coming back with a vengeance
Congress, if you won't read Waxman-Markey (aka American Clean Energy and Security Act ) before voting, at least read this: Thirty-five crucial reasons not to vote for the Waxman-Markey bill on carbon taxes. This bill is a direct attack on American living standards. It is thoroughly dishonest and utterly corrupt. It is means a massive increase in taxation and the destruction of American capital which will savage real wages. It is Waxman and Markey who deserve to be executed — not their vicious bil



Obama popularity lower than Bush's: "President Barack Obama's tumbling poll numbers have dipped below those of his predecessor George W. Bush at the same point in his White House tenure, according to a national poll. Mr Obama's approval rating is 55 per cent six months into his presidency, a USA Today/Gallup poll found. But 56 per cent of those polled approved of the job done by George W. Bush after six months, the daily reported. Mr Obama's handling of the economy appears to be key in his fading popularity, as Americans become more pessimistic about how long it will take the economic downturn to end. "His ratings have certainly come back down to Earth in a very short time period," Republican pollster Whit Ayres told the daily. By 49 per cent to 47 per cent, respondents said they disapprove of Mr Obama's handling of the economy, while they disapprove of his health care policy by 50 per cent to 44 per cent."

I don't always believe Amnesty but I believe this: "Human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia have soared as a result of counter-terrorism measures introduced since the 2001 attacks in the United States, Amnesty International said. The London-based rights organisation warned in a new report that under the guise of national security, thousands of people had been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy and others had been killed in "uncertain circumstances". There have long been human rights problems in the kingdom but Amnesty said the number of people being held arbitrarily, including both Saudi nationals and foreigners, "has risen from hundreds to thousands since 2001". "These unjust anti-terrorism measures have made an already dire human rights situation worse," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program. Amnesty noted that in June 2007, the Saudi interior ministry reported that 9000 security suspects had been detained between 2003 and 2007 and that 3106 of these were still being held. Some of those held are prisoners of conscience, targeted for their criticism of Government policies, the report said. The majority are suspected of supporting Islamist groups that are opposed to Saudi Arabia's close links to the United States and have carried out a number of attacks targeting Westerners and others."

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement: “President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same. Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were ’surprised’ and ‘chagrined’ by Obama’s declaration in June that he doesn’t have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.”


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Study Concludes “Negroes Genetically Less Intelligent”

The following is a useful summary of some academic work done back in 2005. I have taken the summary from Democrat=Socialist who appears just to have discovered it. The academic journal in which the research review appeared is "Psychology, Public Policy, and Law" and the issue contents can be reviewed here. Academic journal articles on racial differences in IQ and related concepts do appear from time to time but the general public is usually not aware of them because academic articles are hard to read and journalists dare not touch the subject. There was a similar review of the findings in a 2004 issue (vol. 86 no. 1) of the American Psychological Association's most widely-circulated journal -- "The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology", which also got little airing among the general public. So summaries such as the one below are useful.

"Psychology, Public Policy, and Law" actually devoted a whole issue to the topic, taking two of the most eminent researchers in the field as its lead authors. Various "Replies" were also printed but were from well-known lightweights who work towards a conclusion rather than from the facts. One of those was Nisbett, about whom I have said rather a lot lately (e.g. here) and the other was Sternberg, who reduces himself to absurdity rather quickly -- as I show in my brief mention of his work here. By far the most comprehensive coverage of the topic is however Lynn's 2006 book, which I review here

A 60-page review of the scientific evidence, some based on state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain size, has concluded that race differences in average IQ are largely genetic.

The lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined 10 categories of research evidence from around the world to contrast “a hereditarian model (50% genetic-50% cultural) and a culture-only model (0% genetic-100% cultural).”

The paper, “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability,” by J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario and Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley, appeared with a positive commentary by Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware, three critical ones (by Robert Sternberg of Yale University, Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan, and Lisa Suzuki & Joshua Aronson of New York University), and the authors’ reply.

“Neither the existence nor the size of race differences in IQ are a matter of dispute, only their cause,” write the authors. The Black-White difference has been found consistently from the time of the massive World War I Army testing of 90 years ago to a massive study of over 6 million corporate, military, and higher-education test-takers in 2001.

“Race differences show up by 3 years of age, even after matching on maternal education and other variables,” said Rushton. “Therefore they cannot be due to poor education since this has not yet begun to exert an effect. That’s why Jensen and I looked at the genetic hypothesis in detail. We examined 10 categories of evidence.”

1. The Worldwide Pattern of IQ Scores. East Asians average higher on IQ tests than Whites, both in the U. S. and in Asia, even though IQ tests were developed for use in the Euro-American culture. Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; for Whites, about 100; and for Blacks about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Race Differences are Most Pronounced on Tests that Best Measure the General Intelligence Factor (g). Black-White differences, for example, are larger on the Backward Digit Span test than on the less g loaded Forward Digit Span test.

3. The Gene-Environment Architecture of IQ is the Same in all Races, and Race Differences are Most Pronounced on More Heritable Abilities. Studies of Black, White, and East Asian twins, for example, show the heritability of IQ is 50% or higher in all races.

4. Brain Size Differences. Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) find a correlation of brain size with IQ of about 0.40. Larger brains contain more neurons and synapses and process information faster. Race differences in brain size are present at birth. By adulthood, East Asians average 1 cubic inch more cranial capacity than Whites who average 5 cubic inches more than Blacks.

5. Trans-Racial Adoption Studies. Race differences in IQ remain following adoption by White middle class parents. East Asians grow to average higher IQs than Whites while Blacks score lower. The Minnesota Trans-Racial Adoption Study followed children to age 17 and found race differences were even greater than at age 7: White children, 106; Mixed-Race children, 99; and Black children, 89.

6. Racial Admixture Studies. Black children with lighter skin, for example, average higher IQ scores. In South Africa, the IQ of the mixed-race “Colored” population averages 85, intermediate to the African 70 and White 100.

7. IQ Scores of Blacks and Whites Regress toward the Averages of Their Race. Parents pass on only some exceptional genes to offspring so parents with very high IQs tend to have more average children. Black and White children with parents of IQ 115 move to different averages–Blacks toward 85 and Whites to 100.

8. Race Differences in Other “Life-History” Traits. East Asians and Blacks consistently fall at two ends of a continuum with Whites intermediate on 60 measures of maturation, personality, reproduction, and social organization. For example, Black children sit, crawl, walk, and put on their clothes earlier than Whites or East Asians.

9. Race Differences and the Out-of-Africa theory of Human Origins. East Asian-White-Black differences fit the theory that modern humans arose in Africa about 100,000 years ago and expanded northward. During prolonged winters there was evolutionary selection for higher IQ created by problems of raising children, gathering and storing food, gaining shelter, and making clothes.

10. Do Culture-Only Theories Explain the Data? Culture-only theories do not explain the highly consistent pattern of race differences in IQ, especially the East Asian data. No interventions such as ending segregation, introducing school busing, or “Head Start” programs have reduced the gaps as culture-only theory would predict.

In their article, Rushton and Jensen also address some of the policy issues that stem from their conclusions. Their main recommendation is that people be treated as individuals, not as members of groups. They emphasized that their paper pertains only to average differences. They also called for the need to accurately inform the public about the true nature of individual and group differences, genetics and evolutionary biology.

Rushton and Jensen are well-known for research on racial differences in intelligence. Jensen hypothesized a genetic basis for Black-White IQ differences in his 1969 Harvard Educational Review article. His later books Bias in Mental Tests (1980) and The g Factor (1998), as well as Rushton’s (1995) Race, Evolution, and Behavior, show that tests are not biased against English speaking minorities and that Black-White-East Asian differences in brain size and IQ belong in an evolutionary framework.


Americans Are Beginning to Understand the Left

There is only one good thing about the Obama administration's attempts to nationalize most health care and to begin to control Americans' energy consumption through cap-and-trade: clarity about the left. These attempts are enabling more and more Americans to understand the thinking and therefore the danger of the left.

The left has its first president -- with the possible exception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- and for the first time controls the Democratic Party and both houses of Congress. In the name of compassion for the sick and the poor and in the name of preventing worldwide environmental catastrophe, it is attempting to remake America. In so doing some principles of the left are becoming clearer to more Americans:

Principle One: The left, as distinct from traditional liberals, is not, and has never been, interested in creating wealth. The left is no more interested in creating wealth than Christians are in creating Muslims or Muslims in creating Christians. The left is interested in redistributing wealth, not creating it. The left spends the wealth that private enterprise and entrepreneurial risk-taking individuals create.

The left does not perceive that poverty is the human norm and therefore asks, "Why is there poverty?" instead of asking the economic question that matters: Why is there wealth? And the obvious result of the left's disinterest in why wealth is created is that the left does not know how to create it.

Principle Two: The reason the left asks why there is poverty instead of why there is wealth is that the left's preoccupying ideal is equality -- not economic growth. And those who are preoccupied with equality are more troubled by wealth than by poverty. Ask almost anyone on the left -- not a liberal, but a leftist like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- which society they consider more desirable, a society in which all its members were equally lower middle class or one in which some were poor, most were middle class, and some were rich (i.e., America today). And whatever they say, in their hearts, the further left they are the more they would prefer the egalitarian society.

Principle Three: The left everywhere seeks to make as big and powerful a state as possible. It does so because only the state can redistribute society's wealth. And because only a strong and powerful state can impose values on society. The idea of small government, the American ideal since its inception, is the antithesis of the left's ideal.

The cap-and-trade bill's control of American energy and the "ObamaCare" takeover of American health care will mean an unprecedented expansion of the state. Added to increased taxes and the individual becomes less and less significant as the state looms ever larger. Americans will be left to decide little more than what they do with vacation time -- just as Western Europeans do. Other questions are largely left to the state.

Principle Four: The left imposes its values on others whenever possible and to the extent possible. That is why virtually every totalitarian regime in the 20th century was left-wing. Inherent to all left-wing thought is a totalitarian temptation. People on the left know that not only are their values morally superior to conservative values, but that they themselves are morally superior to conservatives. Thus, for example, the former head of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, could say in all seriousness, “In contradistinction to the Republicans, we don't think children ought to go to bed hungry at night.”

Therefore, the morally superior have the right, indeed the duty, to impose their values on the rest of us: what light bulbs we use, what cars we drive, what we may ask a prospective employee, how we may discipline our children, and, of course, how much of our earnings we may keep.

It is dishonest to argue that the right wants to impose its values to anywhere near the extent the left does. This can be demonstrated to a fifth-grader: Who wants more power -- those who want to govern a big state or those who want to govern a small state?

The president of the United States and the much of the Democratic Party embody these left-wing principals. Right now, America's only hope of staying American rather than becoming European lies in making these principals as clear as possible to as many Americans as possible. The left is so giddy with power right now, we actually have a chance.




Gates: Army to get 22,000 more troops : “Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Monday that the size of the Army is being increased temporarily by 22,000 soldiers to help meet the needs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other missions around the world. This is the second time since 2007 that the military has determined it doesn’t have a large enough force. Gates had already increased the size of the Army and Marine Corps shortly after taking the Pentagon job.”

US, India agree on nuclear and defense deals: “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton paved a path to expanding relations with India during her three-day visit there. … But it was another announcement that, even more than the others, demonstrated the Obama administration’s designation of India as a crucial partner for the United States in the 21st century. On Nov. 24, Secretary Clinton said, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be President Obama’s guest in a White House state visit, making Mr. Singh the first foreign leader to make that level of visit under the new American leader. … But it should not surprise the Obama administration if the attention to India and Singh causes problems with another crucial US partner in the region: Pakistan.”

Gates argues against additional F-22s : "“Saying he ‘didn’t molt from a hawk into a dove on Jan. 20, 2009,’ Defense Secretary Robert Gates sharply criticized Congress for trying to push more F-22 fighter jets into the Pentagon budget than he and President Barack Obama say the country needs. ‘If we can’t get this right, what on Earth can we get right?’ Gates said in a speech last week to the Economic Club of Chicago.” [He's right. Who are they going to be used against? Osama bin Laden?]

Obama Steers Left on Honduras: "When Hugo Chávez makes a personal appeal to Washington for help, as he did 11 days ago, it raises serious questions about the signals that President Barack Obama is sending to the hemisphere's most dangerous dictator. At issue is Mr. Chávez's determination to restore deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya to power through multilateral pressure. His phone call to a State Department official showed that his campaign was not going well and that he thought he could get U.S. help. This is not good news for the region. The Venezuelan may feel that his aims have enough support from the U.S. and the Organization of American States (OAS) that he would be justified in forcing Mr. Zelaya on Honduras by supporting a violent overthrow of the current government. That he has reason to harbor such a view is yet another sign that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. In the three weeks since the Honduran Congress moved to defend the country's constitution by relieving Mr. Zelaya of his presidential duties, it has become clear that his arrest was both lawful and a necessary precaution against violence. Mr. Zelaya was trying to use mob rule to undermine Honduras's institutions in much the same way that Mr. Chávez has done in Venezuela."

Regulators are in the pocket of Wall St: " The low-slung cubicles wrap around the ninth floor of a building three blocks from Wall Street, each manned by a young staffer staring at flashing numbers on a flat-screen computer monitor and working the phones to gather the latest chatter from financial markets around the world. It could be any investment bank or hedge fund. Instead, it is the markets group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has been on the front lines of the government's response to the financial crisis. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department officials make the major decisions, but the New York Fed executes them. The information gathered there provides crucial insights into the financial world for top policymakers. But the bank is so close to Wall Street -- physically, culturally and intellectually -- that some economic experts worry that the New York Fed puts the interests of the financial industry ahead of those of ordinary Americans. "The New York Fed sticks out as being not just very, very close to Wall Street, but to the most powerful people on Wall Street," said Simon Johnson, an economist at MIT. "I worry that they pay too much deference to the expertise and presumed wisdom of a sector that screwed up massively." Even some former insiders at the Fed say the bank does not pay enough attention to the fundamental flaws in the country's financial system or to the risks associated with bailing out financial firms"

Why No Evangelical Justice?: "When Republicans were warned not to give Sonia Sotomayor the drubbing Democrats gave Robert Bork and Sam Alito -- lest they be perceived as sexist and racist by women and Hispanics -- the threat was credible, for it underscored a new reality in American politics. The Supreme Court, far from being the last redoubt of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant in America, reflects the collapse of that WASP establishment, and a rising racial, ethnic and gender consciousness and solidarity. Consider. In 45 years, no Democratic president has put a single white Protestant or Catholic man or woman on the court."

Public healthcare already in action: "Speaking of the government letting people die, here's a story from Fox News last year about a 53-year-old cancer patient in Lane County, Oregon who wanted Oregon's public health plan to help him pay for chemotherapy. Nothing doing, said Oregon, as the man's cancer was such that chemotherapy stood less than a 95 percent chance of guaranteeing the man would live an additional five years. Two years or 4 years 11 months of life was not worth the cost of chemo to Oregon. But don't think Oregon's government-run health plan lacked sympathy. It sent the man a letter offering to foot the bill for physician-assisted suicide. And no, the letter was not a mistake. It was official policy."

Obama's anti-Israel agenda: "President Barack Obama last Monday met for the first time with leaders of selected Jewish organizations and leaks from the meeting now make one thing very clear. The only free country in the Middle East no longer has a friend in the leader of the free world. Obama is the most hostile sitting American president in the history of the state of Israel. This was the very first meeting with Jewish community's leaders. Earlier requests for an audience with major Jewish organizations had reportedly been ignored. Six months after taking office the president finally got around to issuing an invitation to stop the bleeding. Increasing numbers of Jews even among the overwhelming number who voted for Obama ¬ have been voicing serious concern about his real agenda.... There is no doubt that the pressure on Israel from the Obama administration is going to get a lot worse, as the President told the group "there is a narrow window of opportunity for advancing the peace process." Everyone understood the threat. The narrow window is Obama's self-defined political ambitions bearing no relationship to the realities of the Middle East ¬or the welfare of either Israel or the United States."

CNN fires bigoted reporter: "TVNewser has learned CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen's contract will not be renewed and she will be leaving the network. Roesgen, you'll recall, was criticized for her coverage at the tax day tea parties in April, when she said the event she was covering in Chicago was, "anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right-wing, conservative network Fox." Roesgen took a break for a few weeks after that reporting and returned to the air in May covering the Drew Peterson arrest. Most recently, she covered Michael Jackson's death from Los Angeles. Roesgen joined CNN in 2005. When TVNewser asked whether Roesgen's comments at the Chicago tea party rally had anything to do with her not being renewed, a CNN spokesperson said, "I can't comment on personnel matters." [CNN got a lot of protests about her]


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Measuring inequality

It's almost impossible to open a newspaper these days without being reminded that inequality has grown in recent decades. The reactions to the stated rise do vary, that is true: from it being an unfortunate side effect of growth or globalisation in general to proof positive that we'll all be murdered in our beds when the rabble realise how badly they're being treated.

Will Wilkinson at Cato has a paper out which covers much of the extended conversation and I think's he's right in that inequality simply hasn't grown as much as some say: "To put if more breezily, if cheap stuff gets better faster than expensive stuff, the gap between cheap and expensive stuff narrows, which in turn narrows the gap in the quality of life between rich and poor."

There's a great deal to this: as he says, there's a difference between an expensive car and a cheap one but that gap is as nothing to the one between having a car and using Shank's Pony. Or between an expensive fridge, a cheap one and none.

It's very definitely true that income inequality has risen in recent decades: but much much harder to insist that consumption inequality has done. As an example, there are certainly differences in diet between the rich and the poor in the UK: but it's only in the last 50 years or so that all, of whatever station in life, are financially able to eat a full and balanced diet. We no longer have the height inequality we did (reflecting again nutrition, where the rich were substantially taller than the poor), nor the health care inequality and while education is rightly a bone of contention we've certainly advanced from the medieval idea that only the male rich or the clergy might be literate or numerate.

What makes this oversight from certain on the left so puzzling is that they are exactly the people who have been telling us for years that there is much more to life than simply grabbing for the filthy lucre. That health, enjoyment, leisure are also important, perhaps more so than money. Anyone with an adult and rounded view of life would have to agree with that sentiment, that there's more to it all than simply pilng up the pounds. Which makes it all the more puzzling that there is so much vituperation over inequality rising in that most trivial of things, mere cash, while all the other historically extant inequalites have been shrinking.



Obama is a hollow shell compared to the Gipper

By Ron Miller

I have been critical of President Obama's overseas pronouncements apologizing for America, equating our failings to some of the world's most egregious offenses against humanity, and excusing the atrocities of terrorists and dictators as byproducts of America's sins in world affairs.

If he's trying to curry favor in the international community with his equivocation and expressions of shame, he's naive. If he truly believes what he's saying, then I am appalled at his contempt for the nation that elected him to the most powerful position in the world.

His recent statements in Moscow disavowing America's pivotal role in ending the Cold War frustrated me because while he was organizing communities and pursuing his law degree, I was engaged in helping my country fight that war.

I was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 1992. I reviewed and analyzed our most sensitive intelligence information and briefed senior commanders on the militaristic and murderous actions of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

When Ronald Reagan went against the advice of the State Department and his advisors and declared the Soviet Union "an evil empire," he was condemned by many but I cheered his words because they rang with the authority and clarity of truth. And I wasn't the only one.

Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident and human rights activist, was in a Soviet gulag serving 13 years of forced labor when Ronald Reagan uttered those words. While the voices of appeasement in the United States and the West cried out against the provocative words of our "cowboy" President, the reaction in the gulag was markedly different:
"It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell's Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.

"It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin's "Great October Bolshevik Revolution" and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution--Reagan's Revolution.

"We were all in and out of punishment cells so often--me more than most--that we developed our own tapping language to communicate with each other between the walls. A secret code. We had to develop new communication methods to pass on this great, impossible news. We even used the toilets to tap on."

When Sharansky was asked if Ronald Reagan was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said simply, "yes." He went on to say:
"Ronald Reagan had both moral clarity and courage. He had the moral clarity to understand the truth, and the courage both to speak the truth and to do what needed to be done to support it. There was more to Reagan than rhetoric...

"Reagan's great strength was his optimistic faith in freedom and that every human being deserved freedom and that this freedom is a force that can liberate and empower and enrich and ennoble...

"Thanks to Ronald Reagan, to the legacy he leaves behind, we now know that totalitarianism can be beaten and that freedom can come to anyone who wants it."

Powerful words from a man who experienced the evil of the Soviet Union personally and understood the impact of Ronald Reagan's words and deeds in bringing an end to the regime that murdered over 53 million men, women and children beginning with the barbarism of Vladimir Lenin in 1917.

Maybe it's more important to President Obama to be "a fellow citizen of the world" as he proclaimed in Berlin during the campaign.

As Newt Gingrich says, however, "I am not a citizen of the world; I am a citizen of the United States of America." Despite her struggles and failures, America has never stopped striving toward a more perfect union. I have always been proud of my country, and I ask our President to give her the credit she deserves for tearing down that wall



Destroying Jobs in Order to Save Them

Obama's corporate tax "reforms" make a bad situation worse

President Barack Obama is very insistent on the need to “save American jobs.” The spending and the Buy American provisions of his massive stimulus package, approved by Congress in February, were meant to “create or save” millions of U.S. jobs. “Saving jobs” was also the stated goal of his recent pledge to eliminate tax advantages for companies that do business overseas. But instead of saving American jobs, Obama’s new corporate tax is apt to worsen what is already the highest unemployment since 1983 and make America’s companies even less competitive in the global marketplace.

Last spring, partly in response to the anti-bailout tea parties that were sweeping through the country on and around the April 15 tax deadline, the president announced that he plans to simplify the tax code. That sounds like a worthwhile goal, but it turns out that forObama, simplification means taxing previously untaxed income.

For instance, the proposal targets what executives consider to be a lifesaving feature of an otherwise depressing corporate tax code: permission to indefinitely defer paying U.S. taxes on income earned overseas. According to the Obama administration, this practice keeps $700 billion or more of American corporate earnings in overseas accounts, beyond the taxman’s reach.

The president also wants to overhaul what he describes as a “much-abused” set of tax regulations known as the “check-the-box” rules. These regulations give companies some latitude in deciding where their subsidiaries will be taxed and make it easier for multinationals to transfer money between countries. The result, which Obama frowns upon, is that many companies have placed their offshore subsidiaries in low-tax countries.

While he’s at it, the president wants to restrict tax credits that the U.S. grants companies to offset taxes they pay to foreign governments.

Until now, Obama said when unveiling his plan in May, we’ve suffered under “a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York.” This notion is wrong in several ways.

It is a mistake to assume that U.S. domestic firms and U.S. multinationals are primary competitors, engaged in a zero-sum struggle. In fact, the true competitors of U.S-based firms with international operations are mainly foreign-based companies. And in that competition, the existing U.S. corporate tax code puts American firms at a clear disadvantage—one for which the alleged tax loopholes were intended to compensate.

The U.S. corporate tax rate is simply too high. When you add state corporate taxes to the 35 percent federal rate, you arrive at a whopping 40 percent average corporate tax burden, the second highest among the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Economists are in broad agreement that cutting the corporate rate is a national priority. In a 2002 study, American Enterprise Institute economists Kevin Hassett and Eric Engen argued that the most efficient corporate tax rate is zero. The mobility of capital income means that even a small amount of tax introduces large distortions into an economy as capital flies away to a lower tax environment. More interesting, if counterintuitive, is the fact that because of capital mobility the people who stand to benefit most from a corporate tax cut are workers. In a 2006 study, the economist William C. Randolph of the Congressional Budget Office concluded that “domestic labor bears slightly more than 70 percent of the burden” imposed by corporate taxes.




It's now been 40 years since Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo Kopechne to her death. Jeff Jacoby describes the infamous behaviour that Kennedy got away with. Powerline also has some good comments. The People's Cube also has some relevant cartoons -- for those with strong stomachs.

Analysis: States hit hardest get least $timulus: "The stimulus bill ‘includes help for those hardest hit by our economic crisis,’ President Obama promised when he signed the bill into law on Feb. 17. ‘As a whole, this plan will help poor and working Americans.’ But has analyzed data tracking how the stimulus money is being given out across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and it has found a perverse pattern: the states hardest hit by the recession received the least money. States with higher bankruptcy, foreclosure and unemployment rates got less money. And higher income states received more.”

The myth that women do not perpetrate “domestic violence” : "Am I the only one who is disturbed by the double-standard that permeates the media coverage of Steve McNair’s shooting death? On July 4 the former NFL star was killed by girlfriend Sahel Kazemi. McNair was shot as he lay asleep on his couch, first in the left temple, twice in the chest, and finally in his right temple. So why are the news media stubbornly refusing to put the words ‘Steve McNair’ and ‘domestic violence’ in the same sentence? And where are all the hand-wringers who reflexively shriek we need to break the shroud of silence that surrounds partner abuse?”

Bibi flatly rejects US demand to halt housing project: "Jerusalem is the "unified capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people, and sovereignty over it is indisputable," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday, responding to an American demand to put an end to a housing project to be built in east Jerusalem. "Hundreds of apartments in the west of the city were purchased by Arabs and we didn't get involved. There is no prohibition against Arab residents buying apartments in the west of the city and there is no prohibition barring the city's Jewish residents from buying or building in the east of the city," Netanyahu added at the weekly cabinet meeting. "That is the policy of an open city that is not divided. "We cannot accept the notion that Jews will not have the right to buy apartments specifically in Jerusalem. I can only imagine what would happen if they were forbidden from purchasing apartments in New York or London; there would be an international outcry. This has always been Israel's policy and this is the policy of the current government," the prime minister added. Netanyahu's remarks came after Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren was summoned to the US State Department over the week-end and was told that the Obama administration wanted Israel to put an end to construction work at the site of the historic Shepherd's Hotel in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah."

Europe Thumps U.S., Again. First lower taxes, now freer trade: "On present trends, most of Europe will soon have lower income tax rates than most of America. And now the European Union is stealing another competitive march on Washington, this time on a free trade deal with the world's 13th largest economy, fast-growing South Korea. Last week Brussels and Seoul finished the outline of a new trade agreement, and the two sides will now write up the technical language to codify it. As for the pending U.S.-Korea trade agreement, Congress has done . . . nothing. South Korea has made negotiating trade deals a centerpiece of its foreign and economic policy. The U.S. FTA, signed in 2007 but still not ratified, is one example. Negotiations are planned or under way with a long list of countries, including India, Canada and Australia. On the EU side, the Commission is vigorously defending the pact against domestic critics, including the European auto industry. EU approval isn't a sure thing, but Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is aiming to finish it by December. Compare that to the U.S., where the FTA with Korea is bogged down in Big Labor politics".

I guess I'm missing something but we see here that the Obama regime is paying over a million dollars for 2lb of ham. Defence contractors eat your heart out! (H/T Charlie Foxtrot)


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Winners Win

by Rich Tucker

Nice to see someone else unwinding Gladwell's popular but simplistic formulas below. I have had a few shots at the Gladwell fantasies myself -- e.g here

Fortune, it is said, favors the bold. And best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell is certainly bold. In his latest chart-topper, “Outliers,” Gladwell sets out to change our perception of success by showing that we must “appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”

Throughout the book, Gladwell does an entertaining job of peeling back the onion. Bill Gates is a success not simply because he’s smart, Gladwell writes, he’s a success because of when and where he was born, because he had access to an early version of a computer. Because companies in his area needed help programming their mainframes. And on and on and on.

Gladwell digs into the lives of successful people and shows how someone’s life can be changed by when they’re born, by what their parents do for a living, even by the culture they’re raised in. But what’s surprising is that he omits the most important factor: The negative effect of government on people’s lives.

For example, he writes about the importance of being born at the “right” time, and shows that hockey and soccer players born early in the year have big advantages. Fair enough. Then he lists the 75 richest people in human history, and adds that almost a fifth come from “a single generation in a single country,” all born in the United States in the 1830s.

These men came of age “when all the rules by which the traditional economy had functioned were broken and remade,” Gladwell writes. And that’s true. But they were also the last generation to come of age when they were allowed to keep all the money they earned. Congress passed an income tax in the 1890s, and an amendment to the Constitution in 1913 made income taxes a permanent feature of the landscape.

As conservatives have long understood, the heavier you tax something, the less you get of it. Our nation decided to tax economic success, so we shouldn’t be surprised that we’ve produced fewer successful people than we once did.

He also writes about the success of Silicon Valley in its early days, noting that computer programming “was a wide-open field in which all participants were judged solely on their talent and their accomplishments.” That was true in 1976, of course, but not as much today. In the late 1990s the government sued Microsoft for antitrust violations, and today’s Silicon Valley companies hire plenty of lobbyists who attempt to use the power of the federal government to swat down other companies.

Gladwell also takes on the American educational system without zeroing in on the true culprits. Summer vacation, he writes, “is considered a permanent and inviolate feature of school life” even though he cites a study showing it harms lower-income children. “The only problem with school, for the kids who aren’t achieving, is that there isn’t enough of it,” he writes.

Well, the Japanese school year runs 243 days. The South Korean school year lasts 220 days. Why can’t the U.S. expand its 180-day school year to match the Asian tigers? Because American schools are run by the government, and the government is swayed by the lobbying efforts of teacher’s unions.

Most parents would love a longer school year; my children certainly get bored in mid-August. But unions exist to limit the amount their members are forced to work, and teacher’s unions would never approve of adding weeks to the school year.

The interesting thing is that the United States is itself an outlier. The book “The Size of Nations” points out that of the 10 richest countries, only one has a large population. The U.S., now with some 300 million people, is miles ahead of Switzerland, the next largest with a mere 7 million. It’s a lot easier for nations (the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom) to break up than for them to remain united and succeed.

In the past our federal government mostly stayed out of the way, allowing the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Gateses to build huge companies and deliver products and services that benefit all of us. But over the decades it’s become more intrusive through higher taxes and regulations. Year by year it’s eroding the traditional advantages of being an American.

“To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success,” Gladwell writes, “with a society that provides opportunities for all.”

Very true, but we’re going in the wrong direction. The government is buying and propping up failing companies, instead of encouraging innovation. It dominates the housing market, the financial market and the insurance market. It aims to annex health care and subject Americans to European-level taxation.

Soon fortune won’t favor the bold, it’ll favor those with the best lobbyists. Maybe that changing landscape should be the topic of Malcolm Gladwell’s next expose.



Destroying America's financial capital

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Florence, Genoa, and Venice were the financial capitals of the Western world. When they declined, financial leadership shifted to Amsterdam, then to London, and finally to New York, whose supremacy went unchallenged from 1945 until the end of the twentieth century. In the new millennium, however, it is showing cracks. A decade ago, companies fought for the privilege of being listed on the New York exchanges, but interest has dropped significantly since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000. The credit crisis has only made things worse. Will the city be able to retain its title as the world's finance king? What will Wall Street look like in 2015?

Geography alone guarantees that New York will remain one of the world's financial leaders. A globalized economy spanning 24 time zones offers room for at least three major financial centers. With one center likely in Europe or the Middle East and a second in East Asia, New York would be the natural third pillar in a hemisphere that offers little competition for the job.

If we look beyond the Americas to the broader world, however, New York's enduring supremacy is not a foregone conclusion. Besides the power of inertia--people like to trade where others trade, so they trade in New York--the city has benefited from three comparative advantages in the past: a sophisticated and well-trained workforce, reliable but not intrusive regulations, and (at least since Ronald Reagan's presidency) a favorable tax and political environment. All these advantages have shrunk, if not vanished.

New York's skills advantage eroded long before the 2008 crisis. Thanks to its early deregulation of brokers' commissions in 1974, New York took the lead in the quality and reliability of trade. Global companies came to the city to be traded and judged by New York's analysts. But during the 1990s, most European stock exchanges caught on. Their tardiness allowed them to adopt the most recent trading technology easily, and they moved faster and more decisively into electronic trading, creating markets that were at least as liquid as the traditional exchanges. Most of the daily trading in cross-listed companies--companies traded on both the traditional and electronic exchanges--moved back to the country of origin, eliminating one of New York's advantages.

Over the last 20 years, American business schools also helped close the knowledge gap between New York and the rest of the world by admitting more students from abroad, to the point that over 30 percent of the schools' populations were foreign-born. Most of these students chose to return to their home countries after they finished school, bringing new ideas and techniques with them. The financial crisis has only accelerated this process. Restrictions against hiring foreign workers imposed by the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) ensure that a larger flow of talented people will head back to their native countries, further reducing the skills gap between America and the rest of the world.

New York's competitive advantage has also eroded on the regulatory front. For financial markets to work properly, the regulatory regime must strike a delicate balance between preventing fraud and abuse, on the one hand, and jeopardizing the freedom to innovate, on the other. For many years, the United States appeared to have achieved this balance. No longer. From Enron and WorldCom to Bernie Madoff and the subprime meltdown, the Securities and Exchange Commission's reputation as an effective enforcer is in tatters. Once, foreign companies were happy to list in New York because subjecting themselves to American regulators signaled to investors that they were transparent companies with reliable accounts. But what's the certification value of being listed on a New York exchange if the New York policers don't detect fraud? Meanwhile, the restrictions imposed ex post facto on TARP recipients, Congress's confiscatory tax on executive bonuses, and contemplated populist financial! reforms have made clear that regulators will heavily interfere with private business. In fact, from both a political and a regulatory perspective, the United States of the future will look like a continental European country. That's not an environment conducive to financial innovation.

Finally, the crisis will have major effects on New York's competitive edge in the tax area. Despite New York City's and New York State's heavy taxes, the federal government's low top tax rate and favorable treatment of hedge-fund income long made New York an attractive place for financiers to live and work. Prospective tax increases (at both the federal and state levels) and the likely closing of tax loopholes will make New York very unattractive, especially for resident aliens who can avoid higher taxes by moving abroad. New York's main consolation is that the United Kingdom's fiscal deficits will prevent the British from competing too aggressively on the tax front. But new financial centers, such as Singapore or Dubai--or even old ones, like Zurich--could become a real threat.

One might argue that New York maintained its world dominance during the high-tax years of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, so higher taxes can't hurt more. But the delocalization of trade brought about by technology and the Internet has made global competition much more intense than it used to be. Bermuda, the capital of reinsurance, could easily become the capital of the hedge-fund industry as well.

The biggest threat of all to the Big Apple's financial supremacy, however, comes from Washington. The Founding Fathers wisely decided that the nation's political capital should be separate from its financial capital (in both senses of the word). Now this splendid segregation has ended. If the outcome of the Chrysler bankruptcy is any indication, Washington is willing to flex its muscle in financial decisions, altering the substance of contracts freely agreed to by private parties. In so doing, the national government has undermined the certainty of the rule of law, which was the American capital market's strongest asset.

Unfortunately, since Washington is the source of the problem, New York City can do little by itself to defend its position. Perhaps the city's best bet is to offer favorable tax treatment to the financial industry--but to do that, it had better first put its finances in order.




Rasmussen: 80% Say Wall Street, Not Taxpayers, Benefited More From Bailout - As Goldman Sachs Announces Record Profit: "Eighty percent (80%) of Americans now say Wall Street benefited more from the bailout of the financial industry than the average U.S. taxpayer. Only eight percent (8%) of adults say the taxpayer benefited more, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. This marks a notable increase in skepticism from October when 63% saw Wall Street as the chief beneficiary as the first bailout of the financial industry was working its way through Congress. In February when the Obama administration announced another bank bailout plan, 67% said Wall Street would benefit more than taxpayers. Goldman Sachs, one of the Wall Street recipients of a bailout, repaid that money in June. The firm, which also has benefited from cheap government financing, is now reporting a record profit for the last quarter and has announced plans for billions in employee bonuses."

From a time when the Episcopal church was still Christian: "On Sunday July 20, 1969 the first people landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were in the lunar lander which touched down at 3:17 Eastern Standard Time. Buzz Aldrin had with him the Reserved Sacrament... Later he wrote: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’ …Eagle’s metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.” NASA kept this secret for two decades. The memoirs of Buzz Aldrin and the Tom Hanks’s Emmy- winning HBO mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon (1998), made people aware of this act of Christian worship 235,000 miles from Earth."

Obama's hatred of small businesses on display: "The White House on Wednesday blasted growing, bipartisan congressional efforts to aid closed auto dealers but stopped short of threatening a veto. An amendment to put dealers back in business survived a challenge in the House Rules Committee on Tuesday and is to be voted on as part of the financial services appropriations bill this week. The Obama administration said reversing dealer closings would set a "dangerous precedent, potentially raising legal concerns, to intervene into a closed judicial bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of one particular group at this point." The statement is consistent with the administration's position during the bankruptcies of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, in which the automakers shed more than 3,000 dealerships. Nonetheless, battle lines are being drawn as a number of high-ranking congressional Democrats back a measure opposed by a president of their own party." [Obama likes big businesses only -- ones he can more easily control]

Seattle boondoggle finally operational: "Thousands of people enjoyed free rides Saturday on the first day of service for Seattle's new light rail line. After more than four decades of political wrangling and financial struggles that ran transit rail plans for Seattle off the tracks, trains are finally running. Sound Transit officials estimated more than 30,500 riders had used the new light rail line as of Saturday afternoon. A soccer game and a popular food festival were expected to add to those numbers as the day progressed. The agency offered free rides Saturday, and will do so again on Sunday for the opening weekend of the new line... A dozen two-car trains ran at 7 1/2-minute intervals. Two more trains were in reserve, along with seven other rail cars that also could be used."

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


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Marginalizing Sarah Palin

by Bill O'Reilly

About a month ago, in this space, I told you The New York Times had rigged a poll about Americans wanting to pay higher taxes to fund government-run health care. The Times poll said 57 percent were willing to pay more tax and 37 percent were not willing to do so. But what the Times did not tell its readers was that 48 percent of those polled voted for Barack Obama. Only 25 percent supported John McCain. Of course the poll results would skew left.

Now we have another media deceit. The most recent edition of Newsweek magazine includes a nasty hatchet job on Sarah Palin by a guy named Rick Perlstein. The piece is presented as hard news -- not an opinion column -- and basically says that the governor is a moron who is supported by dimwitted conservatives at odds with smart Republicans. Perlstein also submits that I and other Fox News people lead the dumb GOP folks.

Anyone reading the story would think that a Newsweek correspondent put it together -- the magazine has a staff of trained journalists to do its reporting and analysis. But Perlstein is not a Newsweek correspondent and is identified only as an author at the end of the piece. Strange.

But it gets even stranger. Turns out that Perlstein is a far-left zealot who blogs for a liberal site called "Campaign for America's Future." He lists one of his "interests" as "conservative failure." In 2007, Perlstein wrote: "I've just become a proud Fox (News) attacker. Now, you can, too. It's not a boycott. It's simply calling advertisers and informing them what Fox says. Fox can't survive that."

So Newsweek hired a far-left loon to do a hit piece on Palin, conservatives and Fox News, and did not inform its readers of his dedicated point of view. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham basically tried to disguise an ideological attack as news coverage.

Newsweek magazine is in dire financial trouble and is seeking to survive by cultivating a liberal, urban audience. There is nothing wrong with that as long as the editors are upfront about it. But this sneaky media stuff is harming America, and it must be unmasked.

With Barack Obama in the White House, the country is facing profound change. America is already on the verge of bankruptcy, and federal intrusion into private business, health care and the environment is unprecedented. The far left aims to create a huge federal apparatus that will promote income redistribution and "social justice." They also see a major opportunity to knock out Judeo-Christian traditions, replacing them with a secular philosophy.

In order to accomplish this, leftwing media are marginalizing people like Palin who oppose the strategy. Under the guise of hard news reporting, the media are pushing rank propaganda on the citizenry. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, successfully developed this tactic in the 1930s. Americans need to wake up and smell the corruption. If crazy ideologues have infiltrated the news business, we need to know about it. And now you do.



Krugman gets something right

Sometimes the distinguished economist emerges from within the Leftist ideologue -- see below

The American economy remains in dire straits, with one worker in six unemployed or underemployed. Yet Goldman Sachs just reported record quarterly profits — and it’s preparing to hand out huge bonuses, comparable to what it was paying before the crisis. What does this contrast tell us? First, it tells us that Goldman is very good at what it does. Unfortunately, what it does is bad for America.

Second, it shows that Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.

Third, it shows that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis, and, in fact, has made another crisis more likely.

Let’s start by talking about how Goldman makes money. Over the past generation — ever since the banking deregulation of the Reagan years — the U.S. economy has been “financialized.” The business of moving money around, of slicing, dicing and repackaging financial claims, has soared in importance compared with the actual production of useful stuff. The sector officially labeled “securities, commodity contracts and investments” has grown especially fast, from only 0.3 percent of G.D.P. in the late 1970s to 1.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2007.

Such growth would be fine if financialization really delivered on its promises — if financial firms made money by directing capital to its most productive uses, by developing innovative ways to spread and reduce risk. But can anyone, at this point, make those claims with a straight face? Financial firms, we now know, directed vast quantities of capital into the construction of unsellable houses and empty shopping malls. They increased risk rather than reducing it, and concentrated risk rather than spreading it. In effect, the industry was selling dangerous patent medicine to gullible consumers.

Goldman’s role in the financialization of America was similar to that of other players, except for one thing: Goldman didn’t believe its own hype. Other banks invested heavily in the same toxic waste they were selling to the public at large. Goldman, famously, made a lot of money selling securities backed by subprime mortgages — then made a lot more money by selling mortgage-backed securities short, just before their value crashed. All of this was perfectly legal, but the net effect was that Goldman made profits by playing the rest of us for suckers.

And Wall Streeters have every incentive to keep playing that kind of game. The huge bonuses Goldman will soon hand out show that financial-industry highfliers are still operating under a system of heads they win, tails other people lose. If you’re a banker, and you generate big short-term profits, you get lavishly rewarded — and you don’t have to give the money back if and when those profits turn out to have been a mirage. You have every reason, then, to steer investors into taking risks they don’t understand.

And the events of the past year have skewed those incentives even more, by putting taxpayers as well as investors on the hook if things go wrong. I won’t try to parse the competing claims about how much direct benefit Goldman received from recent financial bailouts, especially the government’s assumption of A.I.G.’s liabilities. What’s clear is that Wall Street in general, Goldman very much included, benefited hugely from the government’s provision of a financial backstop — an assurance that it will rescue major financial players whenever things go wrong.

You can argue that such rescues are necessary if we’re to avoid a replay of the Great Depression. In fact, I agree. But the result is that the financial system’s liabilities are now backed by an implicit government guarantee.

Now the last time there was a comparable expansion of the financial safety net, the creation of federal deposit insurance in the 1930s, it was accompanied by much tighter regulation, to ensure that banks didn’t abuse their privileges. This time, new regulations are still in the drawing-board stage — and the finance lobby is already fighting against even the most basic protections for consumers.

If these lobbying efforts succeed, we’ll have set the stage for an even bigger financial disaster a few years down the road. The next crisis could look something like the savings-and-loan mess of the 1980s, in which deregulated banks gambled with, or in some cases stole, taxpayers’ money — except that it would involve the financial industry as a whole.

The bottom line is that Goldman’s blowout quarter is good news for Goldman and the people who work there. It’s good news for financial superstars in general, whose paychecks are rapidly climbing back to pre-crisis levels. But it’s bad news for almost everyone else.



Consequences of the Liberals' Death Wish

by Emmett Tyrrell

Witnessing the current attempt by liberal Democrats in Congress to investigate CIA officers and possibly prosecute them for a covert initiative allegedly undertaken in time of war (a war that still is going on) inspires a happy thought. Perhaps these liberals have a death wish. The American people do not want another 9/11 attack on our shores. They approve of operations against al-Qaida, covert or otherwise. If the liberals continue in their harassment of the CIA for its efforts to protect American national security, for a certitude the electorate will turn these liberals out. Sayonara, my liberal friends!

If the liberals' death wish only extends to themselves, they have my full support. Yet it is conceivable that their death wish extends to the country itself. They rarely have anything very complimentary to say about their homeland. President Barack Obama talks about the United States as though it were a failed state. Liberals in general talk about the United States as though it were the provenance of slavery, bigotry, male chauvinism and -- oh, yes -- cowboy diplomacy. The only favorable thing about America that I have heard from the liberals recently is that America was the birthplace of Michael Jackson. In Congress, they observed a moment of silence to commemorate his assuming room temperature.

The liberals' present furor over the CIA's covert operations against al-Qaida suggests that they harbor a death wish not only for themselves but also for the whole country. Nations at war are not supposed to divulge military or intelligence operations. Often they keep them confidential for generations. British historian David Reynolds, in his superb book about Winston Churchill's World War II memoirs, tells us that both Churchill and the Labour government kept state secrets hidden from the British public and from the world years after the war had ended. Reynolds relates in "In Command of History" how Churchill's famous Nobel Prize-winning memoirs abound with evasions and inaccuracies, for instance, Churchill's silence about cracking the Nazi code (Enigma) and Churchill's true assessments of Dwight Eisenhower and Josef Stalin. Had Churchill been forthright on those matters, the Labour government might never have allowed the volumes to be published.

Today's liberals in Congress are demanding the investigation and threatening the prosecution of intelligence officers who are rumored to have undertaken a secret initiative to assassinate al-Qaida leaders. The initiative supposedly was authorized by President George W. Bush immediately after 9/11. It is not clear whether the initiative ever got beyond the planning stages. Reportedly, it envisaged sending hit teams into al-Qaida territory to do what our Predator and Reaper drones are doing now: kill our enemies. Naturally, much about the initiative is shrouded in secrecy. Yet by charging that Congress should have been informed of the initiative, liberals are making a colossal fuss. They claim that the diabolical Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to keep Congress in the dark and that the initiative was illegal. They want the whole shocking scheme out in the open. Doubtless, al-Qaida does, too.

There are serious consequences to this sort of harassment of intelligence operations. Over at the CIA, there are professionals today who are fearful that they may be forced to hire lawyers soon to defend them against the politicians' investigations. Uncertain as to whether the Obama administration will protect them, they are distracted and hunkering down. Ongoing operations are being affected.

Right now, very reliable sources tell me that the CIA is aware of the presence of al-Qaida leaders in Somalia and possibly Yemen. The terrorists have moved operations there from Pakistan, but the CIA is reluctant to take action against these brutes out of fear that they will not be supported by the government and may be exposed on Capitol Hill.

Such are the consequences of our liberals' death wish. As I say, I do not mind them imperiling their own existence. But when they imperil our intelligence community's ability to prevent another 9/11, it is no joke.




An excellent meditation on the meaning of Romans chapter 13, where Christians are required to submit to secular authorities.

Fired inspector general files lawsuit: "The inspector general President Obama fired last month filed a lawsuit Friday to get his job back, claiming the firing was politically motivated and broke a 2008 law governing how watchdogs can be dismissed. Gerald Walpin, inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, was removed June 10. In a letter telling Congress of his decision, Mr. Obama said he no longer had confidence in Mr. Walpin, but did not elaborate. Mr. Walpin says he was fired because he targeted an Obama supporter, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, in a successful investigation that resulted in Mr. Johnson and an academy on which he formerly served as executive director repaying half the $847,000 it received in government grants. He also said in its haste to dump him, the administration never interviewed him or any of his staff - an omission Mr. Walpin said in his lawsuit violates a 2008 law meant to protect government watchdogs."

A small reprieve. Cardcheck is dead: "Organized labor is nearing a deal to salvage legislation that could aid the union movement, but it had to drop "card check" -- a key component of the original bill that would allow workers to form a union by signing cards instead of holding a secret ballot vote. While giving up on card check is a setback for organized labor, a reworked bill would still offer a major overhaul of labor laws to help unions sign up more members. The bill calls for binding arbitration within 120 days if a new union and management can't agree on a first contract and stiffens penalties on businesses that threaten or intimidate workers trying to form a union... Businesses groups that have spent millions on ads and lobbying campaigns railing against card check say its removal would not change their position. While card check has dominated the debate, business leaders say they were always more concerned about binding arbitration."

Taxpayer-subsidized automobiles coming: "On June 1, GM Vice President for Global Manufacturing Gary Cowger announced as part of the company's bankruptcy filing that it would close the Orion facility in its drive to become a "leaner, stronger and more flexible" company. Though still a relatively modern facility making midsize Chevy Malibu and Pontiac G6 sedans, Orion's once 5,000-strong labor force had shriveled to 1,200 as the recession ravaged sales and the company planned to eliminate its Pontiac brand and consolidate Malibu production at a Kansas City facility. But a few weeks later, the company reversed course. GM now says it will retool Orion to make compact, gas-sipping cars. The change of heart says a lot about how GM's new owners -- the federal government owns 60% of the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) owns 17% -- are making considerations other than profitability a top priority for the auto maker.... However, there is one way to make building small cars in America pay off -- through government subsidies."

Germany believes Iran could have nuclear bomb within 6 months: "Iran is capable of assembling an atomic bomb within six months, German intelligence analysts told the German weekly newsmagazine Stern. "If they want to, they will be able to set off a uranium bomb within six months," an analyst with Germany's intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), told the magazine. German intelligence officials told Stern believe Iran has "mastered" every stage of uranium enrichment and that they have activated enough centrifuges to produce sufficient quantities of weapons-grade uranium for at least one atomic bomb. "Nobody would have thought this possible some years ago," an intelligence official told Stern."


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hitler's propaganda

I am reproducing the article from the WSJ in full below because it is generally accurate as far as it goes. I was slightly amused by the comment that the exhibition the author is reviewing doesn't say much about the reactions of the German people. Since Hitler was virtually worshipped by many Germans that is of course a tactful omission. The "variety of positive appeals" that Hitler used are also far from fully detailed. That socialism was one of them could not of course be mentioned. I and many historians agree, however that "the German populace was ultimately more indifferent to the fate of European Jews than rabidly interested in their destruction". Hitler's view of the Jews was fairly incidental to his overall appeal to Germans. After all, practically everyone was antisemitic to some degree in those days. Even the man who eventually declared war on Hitler -- Neville Chamberlain -- had some antisemitic views.

The statement below that the Nazis could never "win a majority in free elections" is misleading, however. In elections where there are more than two major parties, winning an outright majority of the vote is rare for anyone. Mrs Thatcher, for instance, once had large parliamentary majorities in Britain but she never went anywhere near getting a majority of the popular vote. Britain's centrist Liberal party siphons off too many voters from both Right and Left for ANY British party to have much chance of gaining an absolute majority. So Hitler's electoral achievements were actually quite good in the context of the Germany of his day. He led the party with the largest number of votes and that normally entitles a party to govern in Europe (and also in Canada, for that matter)

There is quite a good slideshow of Nazi political posters attached to the article -- though it helps if you understand German. I reproduce below one Nazi poster that I had not seen before. It is fairly crass so was probably not very effective. I reproduce some of what were probably the more effective ones here. My own much fuller account of Hitler's motives and modus operandi is here

After the fatal shooting last month of a security guard by a white supremacist, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s entrance was garlanded by a makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and condolence notes. The memorial has since been cleared away, but a visit to “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda,” on the reverberations of hate speech, still packs an extra charge.

“State of Deception”—a special exhibition rich in content but somewhat cramped in design—follows the Nazi propaganda effort from its inception through its dismantling after World War II. With photo murals crowded with labels, vintage newsreels captioned with American newspaper headlines and oral-history interviews, the show raises questions about the links between propaganda and action. It offers insight into Nazi planning and aims. And it explores, in a fragmentary way, the German public’s response to Nazi efforts at manipulation.

Vicious caricatures of Jews, both foreshadowing and facilitating the Holocaust, are the most familiar detritus of Hitler’s propaganda machine. But “State of Deception” reminds us that the Nazis also employed a variety of positive appeals to rally support for dictatorship and European conquest.

Details and images nuance our picture of the times. One of the show’s first images, for example, is a 1932 campaign poster with Hitler’s face floating eerily against a black background, a design that evokes celebrity portraiture. The poster is book-ended later in the show by a postwar, red-on-black, anti-Nazi poster depicting Nazism as a skeletal death’s head—an apparent reference to both mass murder and the insignia of SS concentration-camp guards.

Hitler drew inspiration from effective World War I propaganda denouncing the Germans as barbaric “Huns.” One World War I poster—featuring an apelike figure, representing Germany, carrying a lovely maiden—was appropriated by a September 1939 Nazi poster to remind Germans of “the old hatred.” The regime would later argue that rumors about the gassing of Jews were akin to the fabricated tales of German atrocities during World War I.

The Nazi message first resonated in the 1920s and early 1930s against a backdrop of the Weimar Republic’s economic and social disarray. Even then, the Nazis, while preaching national unity, targeted appeals to different constituencies. Posters urged women to “save the German family” from unemployment and asked students to become “the Führer’s propagandists.” Anti-Semitic screeds were ratcheted up or down, depending on the audience.

“State of Deception” offers enticing glimpses of the regime’s myth-making apparatus. A painting by Hermann Otto Hoyer is suggestively titled “In the Beginning Was the Word” and shows Hitler enthralling a group of converts during the 1920s. Another, by Hubert Lanzinger, depicts Hitler as a medieval knight on horseback and carrying a swastika flag.

A series of black-and-white photographs by official photographer Heinrich Hoffman captures Hitler rehearsing the dramatic poses and gestures that would become his oratorical trademark. Later, we can watch a clip of Hitler rousing a crowd with an emotional fervor that no longer seems spontaneous.

Once Hitler attained the chancellorship in 1933, he made the party’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, minister of the Orwellian-sounding Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. “Enlightenment,” of course, meant book-burnings and increasingly tight Nazi control over all forms of communication and entertainment. Goebbels, we learn, sought to supplement ideological appeals with mass entertainment designed to cement the new German community.

The seductions of Nazi ritual had a certain allure even for Jewish children. Peter Feigl, who greeted Hitler jubilantly with the rest of the Austrian population during the 1938 Anschluss, was dismayed that he couldn’t participate in Hitler Youth groups, with their compelling martial music and uniforms. “All this is fascinating and hypnotizing for a young kid,” he explains in a video clip from a 1995 interview.

The exhibition doesn’t chart German reaction to Nazi propaganda in any detail, but it does argue that not every initiative was equally successful. The nasty anti-Semitic stereotypes of the 1940 pseudodocumentary “The Eternal Jew”—likening Jews to vermin—attracted few viewers. By contrast, Veit Harlan’s 1940 feature film, “The Jew Süss,” a portrait of a corrupt 18th-century Jewish court financier, was a huge hit—thanks, we’re told, to its strong storytelling and production values.

The Nazi propaganda machine even extended into the Jewish ghettos and concentration camps. Scenes from “The Führer Gives the Jews a Town,” shot at the Theresienstadt ghetto and transit camp near Prague, feature seemingly happy, well-fed Jewish children—shortly before their transport to Auschwitz.

The now-infamous 1944 documentary, never distributed, capitalized on the ghetto’s beautification for an earlier visit by the International and Danish Red Cross. Their reports demonstrated that the Nazis could bamboozle even a foreign audience. The exhibition offers excerpts of an astonishing 1979 interview, conducted by the French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, in which International Red Cross representative Maurice Rossel appears to blame Theresienstadt’s “prominent” Jewish residents for helping to foster the delusion of normality.

“State of Deception” adopts the view that, on the whole, the German populace was ultimately more indifferent to the fate of European Jews than rabidly interested in their destruction. It also stresses the limitations of Nazi propaganda, which could neither win the Nazis a majority in free elections nor prevent their eventual defeat.

After the war, Allied forces tried to root out the physical residue of Nazism, from street signs to school books, and try some of its surviving propagandists for crimes against humanity.

In Germany today, advocating Nazi ideology is illegal. But in the U.S. and elsewhere, balancing free speech with the desire to silence partisans of hate crimes and genocide remains a vital and troubling concern. The exhibition ends, appropriately, with this dilemma clarified but not entirely resolved.



The Threat of Totalitarianism


It may sound like I am exaggerating or over-dramatizing the situation, but I think that we have a repetition of Hitler's policy to get total power developing in the United States. Obama's massive expansion of the federal government will destroy the United States as a world power, make us even more dependent on our enemies, and will ruin a great part of the present population and their descendants.

I believe his real purpose is not to get the United States out of the financial mess but to set the stage for a total takeover. The liberals controlling Congress are helping him in that task.

I lived through the Nazi nightmare and my family paid dearly. My elder brother fell in Russia and my father perished in a Soviet concentration camp without having committed any crime.

The rest of the family was expelled from our home in East Germany and we came as refugees to West Germany. Everything I write or lecture about is based on my personal experiences in Nazi Germany. There is nothing theoretical about my description about what happens when a nation throws God out of government and society. I don't want my children and grandchildren to go through the same.

My writing is part of my restitution for the crimes of a godless government, of the evil of which I was a part. My restitution includes a commitment to the state of Israel and the God-given rights of the Jewish people.

Afraid Of Government

During the Nazi years people were afraid of their government. Everybody spoke practically two languages-one in public and one with close friends. Since the Gestapo always tried to find out from children what their parents were thinking, my parents like all other parents had to be careful about what they said in our presence. My father listened to the Swiss broadcasts of Beromünster late at night so that we wouldn't notice. To listen to foreign news was a crime and could lead to death.

I noticed now that here in America many people are also afraid of their government and guns sales are on the rise. Thomas Jefferson stated: when the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, then there is liberty. I hope that the new tea-party movement is successful in frightening the Washington establishment.

Something is very wrong in America and this nation is moving in the wrong direction. We are getting close to Nazi reality.

Threat To A Free Press

I am especially concerned about the dangers of a government-takeover of the media. Hitler didn't need to do that because the Nazis already controlled the media-newspapers, radio and the film industry.

We were told in the Hitler Youth and in school that we could pray and sing hymns at home or in our church as much as we liked. But the rules for the German society would come from the National Socialist Party and nobody else. They, like the Soviets, had realized that a moral authority above the government in the form of God would be a threat to their power grab.

The ACLU has taken up this Nazi philosophy and applied it successfully to American society. The ousting of God from our schools is far advanced and our youth are exposed to immoral and godless indoctrination instead of learning American history, our Constitution, and the concepts of our founding fathers. Our government establishment has been watching this development for decades without doing anything about it. Our enemies don't need suicide bombers to bring us down. We commit national suicide ourselves by watching the destruction of the moral and historical basis of our society.

When the Nazis took over power on January 30, 1933, they immediately set up a parallel party structure to the administration to watch over the action of the civil servants. They were responsible to Hitler. Obama has taken a similar approach and has already at the time of this writing appointed 16 czars, part of an unconstitutional governmental apparatus. It seems that their task is to watch over and interfere in the private sector. However, they report only to Obama, bypassing the Congress.

The first Hitler government had only two members of the National Socialist German Workers Party, one being the minister of interior who was in charge of the police. Obama has some Republicans in his government and he acts like a military hawk in Afghanistan. These moves are designed to fool the opposition until total power is established.

Much more HERE



Revenge. Army reservist terminated from civilian job after questioning Obama eligibility: The Department of Defense has allegedly compelled a private employer to fire a U.S. Army Reserve major from his civilian job after he had his military deployment orders revoked for arguing he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his eligibility for office. According to the CEO of Simtech Inc., a private company contracted by the Defense Security Services, an agency of the Department of Defense, the federal government has compelled the termination of Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook. Cook's attorney, Orly Taitz, wrote in her blog that Simtech CEO Larry Grice said he would try to find another position within the company for Cook, but nothing is currently available. The Department of Defense does contracting in the general field of information technology/systems integration, at which Cook, a senior systems engineer and architect, was employed until taking a military leave of absence on July 10 in preparation for his deployment to Afghanistan.

Death penalty questions for Sotomayor: “The death penalty has received little attention in the Sotomayor debate. However, when a massive 707,000 homicides in 36 years (one every 27 minutes) result in 1,136 executions (0.16%), capital punishment has been all but abolished (42-43). What remains is a costly, agonizing farce, dragging out cases for decades (48). With no end in sight to intolerable homicides, and the U.S. Supreme Court having played a major role in this fiasco, the following questions (drawn from actual cases) will have continuing relevance in illustrating the danger of confirming activist justices who abuse their power and the public’s trust.”

Pentagon considers adding 30,000 to Army: “The Pentagon is considering a plan to add 30,000 soldiers to the Army to bolster a force depleted by a growing number of troops who are wounded, stressed or for other reasons cannot deploy with their units. Struggling to wage wars on two fronts, the Army says it needs a temporary increase in order to fill vacancies in units heading to the battlefront.”

Test of Russian ballistic missile fails: “Russia’s latest test of its advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava has failed, with the missile self-destructing, the Defense Ministry said Thursday — another setback for the nation’s efforts to upgrade its aging arsenal. The failure was the seventh in 11 test launches for the Bulava, and could have consequences for Russia’s top missile designers and missile force commanders.”

Maine: Frugal before it was fashionable: “Across the country, masses of worried consumers are taking lessons in getting by with less, turning to websites like and, and signing up for classes in car care and cooking. But in Maine, where Yankee thrift has been a way of life for generations, and the unofficial motto is the proverb ‘use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,’ the notion of a ‘new’ frugality is met with blank stares. … Across much of this sprawling, rural state, the art of living cheap is hard-wired into the regional DNA, a skill proudly passed down through the generations. Here, where hardened farmers and fishermen have been long battered by economic squalls, and incomes have lagged well behind the rest of New England, bargain-hunting and bartering are practices widely embraced.”

Too many bailouts, not too few: “Capitalism is a profit and loss system. The profits encourage risk-taking. The losses encourage prudence. For decades, government policy and action have discouraged prudence by bailing out or taking over virtually every significant financial institution that has acted recklessly. Five years ago, well before the crisis, Gary Stern and Ron Feldman of the Minneapolis [F]ed, wrote ‘Too Big to Fail,’ arguing that the continual rescue of debt holders and creditors was creating systemic risk in the financial system. They pointed out the crucial role that debt holders and creditors play in monitoring and restraining risky investments on the part of financial institutions. By consistently bailing out creditors, the power of that restraint was being destroyed.”

Dealing with Britain's debt: “Currently, the public sector is swelling far beyond its means. The UK is forecast to suffer a budget deficit of £170 billion later this year. This equates to every man, woman and child being in nearly £3,000 of debt. Every year, our government pays £200 billion to public sector employees and this is not sustainable. The problem with this is that the increasing deficit needs to be funded somehow. There are several ways that this can be done. One way would be to increase taxes; however an increase in tax rates reduces incentives and is therefore likely to have the adverse effect of reducing tax revenues. Alternatively, ‘quantative easing’ (glorified printing money) could be used to pay off debt. But this is highly inflationary, as resources are no less scarce, so it would reduce the value of our currency, thus making the UK less attractive for investors. Surely the best way to deal with the deficit is to reduce government spending.”

The Zimbabwe-ification of South Africa? : “‘The road ends here,’ reads a makeshift sign in the middle of the highway connecting Bulawayo with South Africa. For many miles, the once busy commercial artery between Zimbabwe’s second largest town and its main market has simply ceased to exist. Motorists have to wind their way on an improvised gravel path through the open bush. All along the route, they can observe once productive farms lying abandoned and once productive farm workers scavenging for food. The dilapidated state of infrastructure and widespread poverty are the results of the destruction of property rights and the rule of law by the government of Zimbabwe. Yet South Africa’s new Minister of Land Reform and Rural Development, Gugile Nkwinti, clearly has not been to Zimbabwe in recent years. Speaking in parliament late last month, he announced that the ANC government would scrap its current ‘willing buyer willing seller’ land redistribution policy, which allows the government to acquire land only at a market price and only with the consent of the land owner, and replace it with ‘less costly, alternative methods of land acquisition.’”


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, July 17, 2009


Well! What Sonia Sotomayor said in answers to Senator Kyl during her confirmation hearing could not be better from a conservative and constitutional point of view. She rejected "empathy" as a factor in verdicts and said that judges just apply the written law before them rather than making it all up as they go along. Refreshing! Taranto has the relevant excerpts. So she can talk the talk but will she walk the walk?

I note that elsewhere in his postings, Taranto pisses all over the idea that Obama is not qualified to be President by virtue of his having been born in Kenya -- with his birth only registered in Hawaii, as Hawaiian law allowed. Taranto is not alone in his views. Many other conservatives say likewise. I think that the reason for avoiding the question is that discovery of Obama's ineligibility would be enormously disruptive. It would invalidate his election and everything he has done since. The outcome could well be not dissimilar to what has just happened in Honduras and America needs peace at home more than it needs Joe Biden as President.

If we were judging Obama's behaviour in the way court cases are judged, however, his constant battles to prevent production of his full birth certificate would be circumstantial evidence that he is guilty as charged. Reliapundit has some pertinent comments on the matter too.


Small-business lender CIT denied bailout

Obama is in bed with BIG business -- but most jobs are created by small business

A top source of loans for small businesses faces the likelihood of bankruptcy after the Treasury and Federal Reserve on Wednesday rejected calls for a bailout. CIT Group, which provides nearly 1 million small businesses the credit they need to get by from day to day, announced that several days of discussions with regulators failed to produce agreement on further assistance after a $2.3 billion cash infusion for the company last winter.

Trading in CIT shares was halted on the New York Stock Exchange in advance of the announcement, which increases the likelihood that the lender will fall into bankruptcy after suffering for months from the bankruptcy of Eddie Bauer and other clients.

The company has been unable to raise money in financial markets all year and had pleaded with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to approve its application for a guarantee on its debt offerings like the government provided to most banks during the credit crisis. But the FDIC, worried about the company's junk credit ratings and exposing taxpayers to the risk of an impending bankruptcy, refused to budge.

The FDIC, seeking to draw a line in the sand to discourage further bailouts, maintained that while CIT is crucial for some small businesses with shaky credit ratings, it does not play a massive or indispensable role in the financial system and should be allowed to fail. Banks and other lenders could step in to fill the void.

But the company's important role helping keep small companies afloat got a more sympathetic hearing from members of Congress and some officials at the Treasury and Fed. The two agencies have set up several programs to spur lending to small businesses but they have not had much success.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, helped spur rumors early Wednesday that a rescue of CIT was imminent, telling reporters that he spoke with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner "and I understand they're working hard to try to come up with something responsible to try to prevent the failure" of the company. "I think there would be a great deal of harm to the overall economy" if CIT is allowed to fail, he said.

Rumors multiplied that the Treasury and the Fed would try to cobble together a package of short-term loans to help keep CIT afloat while it restructured to avoid bankruptcy. The Fed last winter approved CIT's bid to become a bank holding company so it could have access to Fed lending facilities, and CIT sought to build on that relationship.

Many observers thought that the White House would be sensitive to the political criticism that would result if it abandoned a small-business lender after rescuing big companies like Citigroup, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC from bankruptcy. But the Treasury and Fed in the end sided with the FDIC in determining that the outlook for CIT was too shaky to merit another rescue.



CHANGE Only an Imbecile Could Love

By Dick McDonald

Barack Obama , may his tribe decrease, awoke one night from his Kenyan peace and lo and behold he saw this land of milk and honey populated with inexperienced and uninformed citizens. So he mounted his Comrades and rode to their rescue to bring change, change and more change. So after 5 months in office and 3 years of promises this is the change he has brought to Washington.

1. He promised to save 3 or 4 million jobs – we have lost 3.5 million jobs since January.
2. He promised to hold unemployment to 8% - it is at 9.5% and skyrocketing
3. The Government’s tax receipts from corporations are down 55%
4. The Government’s tax receipts from individuals are down 27%
5. Obama passed a stimulus bill that has no chance of stimulating the economy.
6. Announced plan to tax job creators and kill old people to pay for a universal health plan no one wants
7. The deficit hit a record $1 trillion on July 14, 2009 on its way to a record $2 trillion by year end
8. The number of under-employed is at 20% and rising
9. Business is reeling from being told they will bear more of the tax burden and have reduced staff
10. Cap and Trade will add billions to the cost of all products sold in America – it will hurt the poor
11. New emission standards will add billions to transportation cost for everything
12. He has incurred more debt in 5 months than all the presidents before him (combined)
13. He has favored wealth re-distribution over job creation and economic growth
14. He bowed to a Saudi King and runs down America wherever he goes
15. He has taken sides favoring Islamic Palestinians over the Israelis
16. He funds a Gestapo-like mob of ACORN brown shirts intimidating everyone
17. He voted against strict constructionists for SCOTUS
18. He is anti-gun and for post-birth abortions
19. He attended a black separatist church for twenty years and never heard the sermon
20. He has taken over General Motors and bankrupted little old ladies that invested in their bonds
21. He gave an equity interest in General Motors to an unsecured UAW debtor as a political payoff
22. He doesn’t hold his hand over his heart for the pledge of allegiance
23. He probably is a Kenyan-born citizen of Indonesia
24. His only solutions are to tax the rich directly or the poor indirectly
25. Gives Miranda Rights to the enemy on the battlefield
26. Wants to stop the CIA from killing enemy leaders during a war
27. Hires 30 Czars to run the country without vetting by Congress
28. He is an anti-capitalist that favors a socialist big government
29. He is against increasing domestic oil drilling in ANWR and offshore
30. He is against building nuclear plants
31. Believes in the fantasy of global warming
32. His stimulus funds have all gone to save constituent’s jobs not create new ones
33. Everything is on the table to solve an insolvent Social Security except the privatization that solves it
34. His ethanol addiction has caused corn shortages that precipitated starvation in the Third World
35. Uses Democrat-controlled media and academe to silence critics

Received direct from the author. For the products of a modern education, the opening comments are a mocking allusion to Abou ben Adhem



2010: “Next year’s elections are going to produce a political earthquake. That is because we currently suffer the most left-wing government in our nation’s history. After just 6 months in office, the flower children that rule Washington in overwhelming numbers are already smashing through all records regarding federal taxes, spending, deficits, and debt. Obama and his ultra-left Democrats adopted a so-called stimulus bill raising spending a trillion dollars that never had a prayer of actually creating jobs and promoting long-term economic growth, because it was based entirely on old-fashioned, brain dead, proven to fail, Keynesian economics. Though we would have to double federal taxes to finance the entitlement promises we have already made, the ruling Washington Democrats completely ignore that and focus instead on adopting yet another entitlement — national health insurance — that would be the biggest of all.”

US foreclosures hit record 1.5 million in first half of 2009: “U.S. foreclosure filings hit a record in the first half, a sign that job losses and falling property prices deepened the housing recession, according to RealtyTrac Inc. More than 1.5 million properties received a default or auction notice or were seized by banks in the six months through June, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a statement. That’s a 15 percent increase from the year earlier. One in 84 U.S. households received a filing.”

Real ID Act faces repeal after outcry from Napolitano, states: “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is asking Congress to repeal a post-Sept. 11, 2001, law that was meant to enhance the security of driver’s licenses but has elicited the wrath of governors nationwide who say it is too costly. The Real ID Act, which was passed in 2005 but doesn’t begin to go into effect until the end of the year, was the brainchild of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Menomonee Falls who then served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Appearing Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Napolitano warned that millions of travelers could face increased security screening at airports next year unless Congress acts soon because few states are on track to comply with the law. She wants lawmakers to pass a new measure known as Pass ID that would increase driver’s license security but give states more leeway on how to implement the changes.”

Honduras: Government reinstates curfew, citing threats : “Honduras’ interim government has reinstated a curfew, citing threats by groups looking to provoke disturbances. The announcement of the midnight to 5:00 a.m. curfew comes on the same day that interim President Roberto Micheletti accused unspecified groups of planning an armed rebellion and handing out guns.”

Iran: Mousavi plans new political front: “Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi plans to unveil a new political grouping which will keep up a protest campaign against last month’s disputed presidential election, an aide said on Wednesday. ‘The establishment of this front is on Mir Hossein Mousavi’s agenda and we will soon announce its establishment,’ Alireza Beheshti was quoted as saying in the reformist newspaper Sarmayeh. Mousavi, a former prime minister who lost the June 12 presidential election to hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has defied the regime by continuing to protest against what he charges was a rigged poll.”

Iraqis to US military: Stay on your base: “Two weeks after U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraq’s major cities, amid sporadic outbreaks of violence countrywide, Iraqi authorities aren’t asking American forces for help. Although U.S. troops are ‘just a radio call away,’ in Baghdad and five other major urban areas, it appears the Iraqis haven’t asked even once. In Baghdad, the Iraqis also won’t allow U.S. forces on the street, except for supply convoys. The failure to trigger the ‘Onstar option’ suggests that the government of Iraq and its military think they can deal with the car bombings, homemade bombs and attacks with silencer-equipped handguns that have plagued parts of the country in recent days.”

Some Twitter staff accounts reportedly hacked : “A hacker believed to have struck celebrity Twitter accounts previously has reportedly broken into accounts of the microblogging service’s workers including co-founder Evan Williams. Data swiped from Twitter employees was shown on a French website on Tuesday and TechCrunch technology news website quoted Williams confirming the hacks in an email. Information lifted from hacked accounts was said to include resumes, salary figures, credit card numbers, message exchanges with celebrities, and a roster of employees as well as their food preferences. Also uncovered were floor plans for the firm’s new offices in San Francisco as well as mention of a possible reality television show based on Twitter. The hacker, identified by the name ‘Hacker Croll,’ claimed to be able to get into Amazon, PayPal, and other accounts belonging to Williams and other Twitter employees.”

Has Ahmadinejad lost his global following? : “For 30 years, Iran has cast itself as a leader of resistance to Israeli and Western policies, and few of its leaders have done as much for that image as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Under Mr. Ahmadinejad, Iran’s ‘resistance’ brand has gone global, challenging Western hegemony in the name of defending the globally downtrodden and winning allies from Lebanon to Venezuela while drawing harsh criticism from the United States. But analysts say Iran’s resistance image has been challenged by Ahmadinejad’s controversial June 12 reelection, after which hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the street to protest what they say is a fradulent vote.”

Granny get your gun: "Crime is generally a young person’s game, but that hasn’t stopped an ever-growing number of older Americans from breaking the law. Following a decline through most of the ’90s, over the past 10 years arrest rates for those over 50 have shot up 85 percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Experts predict that these numbers will continue to climb well into the next decade, as 35 million baby boomers expand America’s graying population from 16 to nearly 25 percent. Is America on the precipice of a geriatric crime wave?”

Can the economy recover?: “There is no economy left to recover. The US manufacturing economy was lost to offshoring and free trade ideology. It was replaced by a mythical ‘New Economy.’ The ‘New Economy’ was based on services. Its artificial life was fed by the Federal Reserve’s artificially low interest rates, which produced a real estate bubble, and by ‘free market’ financial deregulation, which unleashed financial gangsters to new heights of debt leverage and fraudulent financial products. The real economy was traded away for a make-believe economy. When the make-believe economy collapsed, Americans’ wealth in their real estate, pensions, and savings collapsed dramatically while their jobs disappeared.” [An excessively negative view but there is something in what he says]


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Most interesting

A U.S. army officer, Major Cook, rejected his deployment to Afghanistan on the grounds that Obama was not born in the USA and hence ineligible to be Commander in Chief. He was ready to go to court over it. Rather than go to court, the army backed down and cancelled his deployment order. See the backdown here. Obama is clearly desperate to avoid this matter going to court, and the affair is receiving a fair bit of press coverage. Is this the beginning of the end? The lengths that Obama has gone to in order to avoid producing his original birth certificate are quite extraordinary.


America's travesty of democracy

Lawmakes who don't read what they vote for

by Jeff Jacoby

SAY, DID YOU HEAR THE ONE about the congressman who was asked to do his job? Talk about funny -- this'll crack you up! Well, maybe it won't. But Steny Hoyer thought it was hilarious.

Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, is the majority leader in the US House of Representatives. At a news conference last week, he was talking about the health-care overhaul now being drafted on Capitol Hill, and a reporter asked whether he would support a pledge committing members of Congress to read the bill before voting on it, and to make the full text of the legislation available to the public online for 72 hours before the vote takes place.

That, reported CNSNews, gave Hoyer the giggles:

The majority leader "found the idea of the pledge humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. 'I'm laughing because . . . I don't know how long this bill is going to be, but it's going to be a very long bill,' he said."

Then came one of those classic Washington gaffes that Michael Kinsley famously defined as "when a politician tells the truth." Hoyer conceded that if lawmakers had to carefully study the bill ahead of time, they'd never vote for it. "If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes," he said.

Hoyer's words can be given two interpretations, both of which are probably accurate: One is that the health-care "reform" will be such a noisome mess that anyone who really digs into its details will be more likely to oppose it. The second is that so few members of Congress will bother to read the bill that if reading it became a prerequisite for voting on it, almost no one would qualify. Either way, the majority leader was declaring it more important for Congress to pass the bill than to understand it.

"Transparency" is a popular buzzword in good-government circles, and politicians are forever promising more of it. On his first day in the White House, for example, President Obama vowed to make his administration "the most open and transparent in history." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has boasted of the "great openness and transparency" that her leadership has brought to Congress.

But as Hoyer's mirth suggests, when it comes to the legislative process, transparency is a joke. Congress frequently votes on huge and complex bills that few if any members of the House or Senate have read through. They couldn't read them even if they wanted to, since it is not unusual for legislation to be put to a vote just hours after the text is made available to lawmakers. Congress passed the gigantic, $787 billion "stimulus" bill in February -- the largest spending bill in history -- after having had only 13 hours to master its 1,100 pages. A 300-page amendment was added to Waxman-Markey, the mammoth cap-and-trade energy bill, at 3 A.M. on the day the bill was taken up by the House. And that wasn't the worst of it, as law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University noted in National Review Online:

"When Waxman-Markey finally hit the floor, there was no actual bill. Not one single copy of the full legislation that would, hours later, be subject to a final vote was available to members of the House. The text made available to some members of Congress still had "placeholders" -- blank provisions to be filled in by subsequent language. . . . Even the House Clerk's office lacked a complete copy of the legislation, and was forced to place a copy of the 1,200-page draft side by side with the 300-page amendments."

Ramming legislation through Congress so quickly that neither lawmakers nor voters have time to read and digest it is a bipartisan crime; Republicans have been as guilty of it as Democrats. The 341-page Patriot Act, to mention just one notorious example, was introduced in the Republican-controlled House on Oct. 23, 2001, brought to a vote on Oct. 24, adopted by the Democratic-controlled Senate on Oct. 25, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on Oct. 26.

Such efficiency is no virtue when it comes to lawmaking, which is why every member of Congress should be pressed to sign the pledge Hoyer was asked about. It is sponsored by a grassroots conservative group, Let Freedom Ring, and is readily accessible online. Equally worthy of support is, which is backed by a coalition of liberal organizations. Still another push comes from the libertarian group Downsize DC, which urges Congress to pass its proposed Read The Bills Act.

Senators and representatives who vote on bills they haven't read and don't understand betray their constituents' trust. It is no answer to say that Congress would get much less done if every member took the time to read every bill. Fewer and shorter laws more carefully thought through would be a vast improvement over today's massive bills, which are assembled in the dark and enacted in haste. Steny Hoyer chortles at the thought of asking members of Congress to do their job properly. It's up to voters to wipe the grin off his face.



Kabuki and Sonia Sotomayor

by Jeff Jacoby

THE NOMINATION of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court has generated controversy, but its outcome is not in doubt. "Unless you have a complete meltdown, you will be confirmed," South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told the nominee when the Judiciary Committee hearings opened on Monday. It would be hard to find anyone who disagrees.

This week's hearings, then, are all that stand between Sotomayor and one of the most consequential jobs in American life. As a Supreme Court justice, she will be shaping national policy for years, perhaps decades, to come. Long after the president who nominated her has left the White House, Sotomayor will likely still be on the bench, wielding an influence on matters ranging from property rights to labor law to free speech to criminal procedure. With the other justices, she will exercise powers nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, yet by now accepted as the high court's prerogatives: to strike down state and federal laws, to bind other branches of government, to constitutionalize new rights, to have the last word on the meaning of terms like "due process of law" and "establishment of religion" -- and to do it all without being accountable to the American people or any elected official.

Before the Senate consents to investing Sotomayor with such sweeping authority, shouldn't it get some idea of how she would use it? As a matter of due diligence, don't senators have an obligation to learn Sotomayor's views on the legal and constitutional issues of the day? The stakes could hardly be greater, after all, or the public interest more intense. Would-be senators and presidents lay out their positions on current controversies, often in intricate detail. Shouldn't a Supreme Court nominee, who will never again have to submit to public scrutiny, be expected to share her thinking on important judicial and political questions? How else can the Senate, or the voters it represents, decide whether she belongs on the court?

Yet Sotomayor, like previous Supreme Court nominees, intends to tell the Judiciary Committee as little as possible about her views and intentions. In her testimony yesterday, she refused to express an opinion on contentious issues. "I come to every case with an open mind," she insisted. "Every case is new for me."

That isn't true, and everyone knows it -- just as everyone knew it when John Roberts and Samuel Alito were the nominees taking the "judicial Fifth" and politely declining to give straightforward answers when asked about their stands on key subjects. When Roberts was before the committee in 2005, then-Senator Joseph Biden voiced his frustration at "this kabuki dance we have in these hearings here," in which senators ask pointed questions and nominees give ultra-cautious replies, sidestepping any discussion of the convictions they would bring to the court.

Am I suggesting that nominees should telegraph how they would vote in any pending or probable case? Of course not. Should they make commitments to uphold or overrule specific previous Supreme Court decisions? No. But neither should they be allowed to turn the confirmation process into a grave and windy nullity on the grounds that that is what judicial impartiality requires.

The Supreme Court itself has said that such "impartiality" is illusory. "It is virtually impossible to find a judge who does not have preconceptions about the law," the court declared in a 2002 case. "Indeed, even if it were possible to select judges who did not have preconceived views on legal issues, it would hardly be desirable to do so."

Instead of artfully dodging them, Supreme Court nominees should be required to discuss those preconceptions, and to give substantive answers when asked about their legal worldview or their analysis of constitutional issues. In the Wall Street Journal the other day, Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett suggested some questions: "Does the Second Amendment protect an individual right to arms? . . . Does the Ninth Amendment protect judicially enforceable unenumerated rights? Does the Necessary and Proper Clause delegate unlimited discretion to Congress? Where in the text of the Constitution is the so-called Spending Power (by which Congress claims the power to spend tax revenue on anything it wants) and does it have any enforceable limits?"

It is the Senate's responsibility to check and balance the vast clout of the Supreme Court, and it abdicates that responsibility when confirmation hearings become merely an elaborate ritual for rubber-stamping judicial nominees. Too much is riding on every nomination not to demand serious answers to serious questions. Kabuki has its place, and it isn't a Judiciary Committee hearing room.




Sotomayor disavows 'wise Latina' remark: "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor retreated from her praise of the "wise Latina," endorsed a privacy right to abortion in the Constitution and insisted she was not opposed to gun ownership during a day of questioning on a string of hot-button issues before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. In her first extended public exchanges since President Obama nominated her in May, Judge Sotomayor said her widely cited 2001 remark that a "wise Latina woman" would tend to make better judgments than a white man was a "failed rhetorical flourish that fell flat" - and not, as critics charge, evidence of racism. "The context of the words I said has created a misunderstanding," said Judge Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and the third woman nominated to the high court. "I want to state upfront, unequivocally, I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judgment. I do believe that every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge," she said. Republicans appeared unconvinced."

A second stimulus package? Yikes! : “Investors understand that increased government spending diverts valuable resources away from the private sector and ends up imposing even more demoralizing taxes on labor and capital. A major study of 18 large economies by Alberto Alesina of Harvard and three colleagues appeared in the 2002 American Economic Review. This paper, ‘Fiscal Policy, Profits and Investment’ found that the surest way to make economies boom can be through deep cuts in government spending — the exact opposite of the ‘fiscal stimulus’ snake oil.”

Banks winning at expense of taxpayers : “Banks surged and stocks followed yesterday, mostly on the heels of high expectations for trading firm Goldman Sachs, which really is more of a hedge fund than a real bank. Last Thursday, I said banks are my favorite stock market sector. So I got it right one time in a row. With a steep upward Treasury curve, even a banker can make money borrowing at near-zero and lending at much higher rates.”

California nightmare: “California has so degraded itself into a laughably leftist socialist commie-think nightmare that it has, as all socialist commie-think countries always do, finally bankrupted itself. As Margaret Thatcher, erstwhile UK prime minister, once said, ‘The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.’ Hahaha! Exactly! And now California has run out of money! Exactly! Now, to demonstrate their complete worthlessness as thinking, rational beings, California has decided that it will not cut expenses overmuch, but will pay for things not with money, but with IOUs! Hahaha! IOUs! Hahahaha! There is Something Beyond Surreal (SMS) about all this.”

Schwarzenegger TV spot warns of hard line on California budget: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has hit the airwaves with a television commercial underscoring he is in no mood to compromise in talks on the state budget. The Republican governor said in the 60-second spot that he would not sign a budget that plugs a $US26.3 billion deficit if it includes higher taxes and excludes changes in state government he has said will prevent welfare fraud. "And I will not sign a budget that pushes our financial problems down the road, because the road stops here," Mr Schwarzenegger said in the commercial, which aired amid growing concerns on Wall Street about the state's finances, especially its cash account. The state government started its fiscal year on July 1, and without a balanced budget agreement it is quickly burning through its cash. That has forced finance officials, grappling with declining revenues because of the recession and rising unemployment, to issue IOUs in order to conserve cash, promising payment to taxpayers owed refunds and vendors owed money for goods and services for only the second time since the Great Depression. Mr Schwarzenegger's TV commercial came amid hope in the state capital of Sacramento that budget talks are nearing a successful conclusion after fits and starts in recent weeks. The governor and top legislators of the state's Democrat-led Legislature have essentially agreed they will balance the state's books with deep spending cuts."

Heavy reading -- but as relevant as ever: “Imagine a novel of more than a thousand pages, published half a century ago. The author doesn’t have a talk-radio show and has been dead for 27 years. As for the storyline, it is beyond dated … The prose itself is a disconcerting mixture of philosophy, industrial policy, and bodice-ripping … In short, you would think Atlas Shrugged might be long forgotten. Instead, Ayn Rand’s novel is remembered more than ever. This year the book is selling at a faster rate than last year. Last year, sales were about 200,000, higher than any year before that, including 1957, when the book was published. Atlas Shrugged is becoming a political ‘Harry Potter’ because Rand shone a spotlight on a problem that still exists: Not pre-1989 Soviet communism, but 2009-style state capitalism. Rand depicted government and companies colluding in the name of economic rescue at the expense of the entrepreneur. That entrepreneur is like the titan Atlas who carries the rest of the world on his shoulders — until he doesn’t.

Should Americans be humble? : "“After president Obama traveled abroad recently it became clear that he wanted to present himself and, indirectly, America as a nation, differently from how he believed President George W. Bush did this. In particular, Mr. Bush was generally seen by his critics as more of an ‘ugly American,’ following the character of the novel by that name, written half a century ago by Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer (who exemplified the sort of American who tended to be insensitive to the rest of the world’s population, their customs and languages, etc.). Mr. Obama seems to want to change this by appearing to be less arrogant, swagger less than Mr. Bush. Instead Mr. Obama wants to be friends with virtually everyone, even those who have no interest it being friends with America and Americans, including him.”

The Left’s dismissal of individual rights: "For those of us who have escaped Draconian tyrannies and reached America, for a long time it may be difficult to adjust to the fact that American Leftists are every bit the fascists that some claim they are. As Susan Sontag said, ‘Communism is successful fascism.’ A little inspection of modern American liberalism will also bring this to light — just consider that it was Woodrow Wilson and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. who had no patience with opponents of various public policies governments forged during their time and sent those opposed to them to prison. (It was Warren Harding, that negligible right-winger, who eventually set these dissidents free!) Today the Left’s fascistic tendencies are still quite evident, although there is often a kind of sophistication about them (e. g., via the doctrine of Communitarianism). Anyone who reads The New York Review of Books can testify to this. No matter what public policy issues is being discussed in its pages, The Review always treats the wealth of the nation as collectively owned, rejecting that quintessentially American idea of the right to private property. No, everything belongs to us all and government is to allocate the resources in line with how the elite deems proper.”

Addiction is a choice : “I read a book recently called, ‘Addiction is a Choice,’ by Jeffrey Schaler. He suggests that addiction is not a disease, and that people actually choose to use drugs. He points to the fact that although people might have a genetic predisposition to becoming addicted, some people also have a genetic predisposition to blue eyes, and having blue eyes is certainly not a disease. Schaler says that no one has been able to find a cause of the addiction disease in autopsies or medical exams. He says that one of the only treatments for the disease of addiction is therapy in the form of talking to someone. The success rate for this treatment is not much different from those who stop using drugs on their own.”

Fishy politics may harm US consumers: “The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial today on one US industry’s latest attempt to secure some protection against foreign imports, which just may spark a trade war with an important target for American exports. This time, it’s the farmed fish industry, and the imports in question are catfish from Vietnam. ”

UK: Ireland passport proposal shelved: “The government has climbed down over plans to make people show passports for travel between Britain and Ireland. There are currently no passport controls for Irish and UK citizens travelling in the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the two islandsImmigration Minister Phil Woolas had said controls should be in place to tighten security. But the House of Lords voted to remove the clause during the passage of a borders bill.”


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Personal Inequity

by Thomas Sowell

Sometimes, when I hear about "disparities" and "inequities," I think of a disparity that applied directly to me-- the disparity in basketball ability between myself and Michael Jordan. When I was in school, I was so awful in basketball that the class coach wouldn't even let me try out for softball, at which I was actually pretty good.

I was more than forty years old before I ever got the ball through the basket. It wasn't during a game. The basket was in my brother's backyard and I was just shooting-- unopposed-- from practically right under the basket. The only pressure on me was that my little nephew was watching. After making that one basket, I never took a basketball in my hands again. I retired at my peak.

Think about it: Michael Jordan made millions of dollars because of having a talent that was totally denied to me. Through no fault of my own, I had to spend years studying economics, in order to make a living. Economics is not nearly as much fun as basketball and doesn't pay nearly as much money either. We are talking inequity big time.

Most discussions of "disparities" and "inequities" are a prelude to coming up with some "solution" that the government can impose, winning politicians some votes in the process. How could the disparity between Michael Jordan and me be solved? We could change the rules of basketball, in order to try to equalize the outcomes. Michael Jordan could be required to make all his two-point shots from beyond the three-point line, with five players opposing him and no one on his side. A three-point shot could require him to stand under the basket on the opposite side of the court and shoot from there. Meanwhile, I could make two-point shots from a spot half the distance from the foul line to the basket, and of course without any other players on the court to distract me. Any shots I might make from back at the foul line would count as three-pointers.

Even under these conditions, you would be better off betting your money on Michael Jordan. But, conceivably at least, we might change the rules some more to make the results come out less lopsided, in order to create "social justice."

The problem with trying to equalize is that you can usually only equalize downward. If the government were to spend some of its stimulus money trying to raise my basketball ability level to that of Michael Jordan, it would be an even bigger waste of money than most of the other things that Washington does.

So the only way to try to equalize that has any chance at all would be to try to bring Michael Jordan down to my level, whether by drastic rule changes or by making him play with one hand tied behind his back, or whatever. The problem with this approach, as with many other attempts at equalization, is that it undermines the very activity involved. Basketball would be a much less interesting game if it was played under rules designed to produce equality of outcomes. Attendance would fall off to the point where neither Michael Jordan nor anyone else could make a living playing the game.

The same principle applies elsewhere. If you are going to try to equalize the chances of women getting jobs as firefighters, for example, then you are going to have to lower the physical requirements of height, weight and upper body strength. That means that you are going to have more firefighters who are not capable of carrying an unconscious person out of a burning building. If you are going to have these lower physical requirements be the same for both women and men, that means that you are not only going to have women who are not capable of carrying someone out of a burning building, you are also going to have men who are likewise incapable of carrying someone to safety.

Most activities do not exist for the sake of equality. They exist to serve their own purposes-- and those purposes are undermined, sometimes fatally, when equality becomes the goal. Nor would a politician encouraging me to feel resentful toward Michael Jordan do any good. If I had such resentments, they would do me more harm than they would do Michael Jordan. They would make me feel bad-- and could make me miss seeing some great basketball.



Using children as weapons

Frank Rich, in a stupid column for the New York Times, can't resist throwing an elbow at a politician's child: "The essence of Palinism is emotional, not ideological. Yes, she is of the religious right, even if she winks literally and figuratively at her own daughter’s flagrant disregard of abstinence and marriage."

What a classless jerk. Other than having committed the unpardonable sin of being born Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol did nothing to warrant getting slammed in the pages of the New York Times. What's important is that the family respects life. And lives by those values. But he's too poisoned by libtardism and bitterness to see that. These ratf*cks have a pathological obsession with Palin vaginas.

The game is evident. The libtard media has driven Palin from office by targeting her daughters.... or think they have. They will stop at nothing to use Bristol Palin and her child to attempt to discredit Sarah and drive a wedge between her and Christian voters. It won't work, though. Christians don't condemn premarital sex nearly so much as they 1.) value the sanctity of life, and 2.) Hate the judgementalism and venom coming from people like Frank Rich.

The libtard media is nothing but a pack of rabid hounds. In another time and place, they would probably be Red Army soldiers lined up to gang-rape German girls. God, I hope she runs for President next time round. I can't say I'll vote for her over the other conservative nominees. I recognize her shortcomings as a candidate. But it might be worth voting for her just to give these bastards conniption fits.



Predators and Civilians

An intelligence report shows how effective drone attacks are

Several Taliban training camps in the Pakistan hinterland were hit last week by missiles fired from American unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, reportedly killing some 20 terrorists. Remarkably, some people think these strikes are a bad idea.

To get a sense of what U.S. drone strikes have accomplished in the past two years, recall the political furor that followed a July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which found that al Qaeda had "protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland [i.e., U.S.] attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership. . . . As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment." The media declared we were losing the war.

Less than a year later, then-CIA director Michael Hayden offered a far more upbeat assessment to the Washington Post.

What changed? At least part of the answer is that the U.S. went from carrying out only a handful of drone attacks in 2007 to more than 30 in 2008. According to U.S. intelligence, among the "high-value targets" killed in these new strikes were al Qaeda spokesman Abu Layth al-Libi, weapons expert Abu Sulayman al Jazairi, chemical and biological expert Abu Khabab al-Masri, commander and logistician Abu Wafa al-Saudi, al Qaeda "Emir" Abu al-Hasan al Rimi, and, in November, Rashid Rauf. Rauf, who had escaped from a Pakistan jail the previous year, was a coordinator of the summer 2007 plot to blow up passenger planes over the Atlantic.

Is the world better off with these people dead? We think so. Then again, Lord Bingham, until recently Britain's senior law lord, has recently said UAV strikes may be "beyond the pale" and potentially on a par with cluster bombs and landmines. Australian counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen says "the Predator [drone] strikes have an entirely negative effect on Pakistani stability." He adds, "We should be cutting strikes back pretty substantially."

In both cases, the argument against drones rests on the belief that the attacks cause wide-scale casualties among noncombatants, thereby embittering local populations and losing hearts and minds. If you glean your information from wire reports -- which depend on stringers who are rarely eyewitnesses -- the argument seems almost plausible.

Yet anyone familiar with Predator technology knows how misleading those reports can be. Unlike fighter jets or cruise missiles, Predators can loiter over their targets for more than 20 hours, take photos in which men, women and children can be clearly distinguished (burqas can be visible from 20,000 feet) and deliver laser-guided munitions with low explosive yields. This minimizes the risks of the "collateral damage" that often comes from 500-pound bombs. Far from being "beyond the pale," drones have made war-fighting more humane.

A U.S. intelligence summary we've seen corrects the record of various media reports claiming high casualties from the Predator strikes. For example, on April 1 the BBC reported that "a missile fired by a suspected U.S. drone has killed at least 10 people in Pakistan." But the intelligence report says that half that number were killed, among them Abdullah Hamas al-Filistini, a top al Qaeda trainer, and that no women and children were present.

In each of the strikes in 2009 that are described by the intelligence summary, the report says no women or children were killed. Moreover, we know of planned drone attacks that were aborted when Predator cameras spied their presence. And an April 19 strike on a compound in South Waziristan did destroy a truck loaded with what the report estimates were more explosives than the truck that took out Islamabad's Marriott Hotel last September. That Islamabad attack killed 54 people and injured more than 260 others, mostly Pakistan civilians but also Americans.

Critics of the drone strikes ought to ask whether, based on this information, the April 19 strike was worth the bad publicity. We'd say yes. We'd also say that the Obama Administration -- which, to its credit, has stepped up the use of Predators -- should make public the kind of information we've seen. We understand there will always be issues concerning sources and methods. But critics of the drone attacks, especially Pakistani critics, have become increasingly vocal in their opposition. They deserve to know about the terrorist calamities they've been spared thanks to these unmanned flights over their territory.

We're delighted to see that Pakistan's military is finally taking the fight to the Taliban and al Qaeda after ill-conceived truces that were a source of the country's recent instability. When Pakistan's government can exercise sovereignty over all its territory, there will be no need for Predator strikes. In the meantime, unmanned bombs away.




Promises, Promises. Sotomayor vows 'fidelity to the law': "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor vowed "fidelity to the law" and said she has not advocated for policy since becoming a judge 17 years ago, gently addressing critics on the first day of Senate hearings that produced no fireworks, and even the prospect of Republican support. Judge Sotomayor, whos been mainly silent since becoming first Hispanic nominated to the high court, used her brief opening statement to address Republican questions about her impartiality and charges that she would legislate from the bench. "In the past month, many senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law," Judge Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The task of a judge is not to make the law - it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents"

Obama’s empathy test: “In discharging their constitutional duty to provide advice and, if they deem appropriate, give consent to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Senators should examine the critical importance the president attaches to empathy as a judicial virtue and to Judge Sotomayor’s claim to be well-endowed with it. They will find that the president and the judge have exaggerated empathy’s significance, understated its ambiguities, and obscured fundamental judicial virtues.”

Gun rights leaders join in opposition to Sotomayor confirmation: “Several of the nation’s leading gun rights activists, including the heads of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Second Amendment Foundation, today joined to oppose the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. ‘It is extremely important that a Supreme Court justice understand and appreciate the origin and meaning of the Second Amendment, a constitutional guarantee permanently enshrined in the Bill of Rights,’ said a letter from the group, which was hand-delivered to every member of the U.S. Senate.”

Obama is emulating Japan's huge policy failure in dealing with economic crisis: The scenario was eerily familiar. A long real estate bubble that had expanded extra rapidly for the previous five years suddenly burst, and asset prices came crashing back down to earth. Banks and financial institutions were left holding piles of worthless paper, and the economy soon headed south. The national government responded to the crisis by encouraging more lending and spending previously unfathomable amounts of money on public works projects in an effort to stimulate consumer spending and restart growth. But that stimulus did not save the Japanese economy in the 1990s; far from it. The ensuing period came to be known as the Lost Decade, characterized by multiple recessions, an annual average growth rate of less than 1 percent, and a two-decade decline in stock prices and corporate profits.

The average length of unemployment is higher than it's been since government began tracking the data in 1948: "The recent unemployment numbers have undermined confidence that we might be nearing the bottom of the recession. What we can see on the surface is disconcerting enough, but the inside numbers are just as bad. The Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary estimate for job losses for June is 467,000, which means 7.2 million people have lost their jobs since the start of the recession. The cumulative job losses over the last six months have been greater than for any other half year period since World War II, including the military demobilization after the war. The job losses are also now equal to the net job gains over the previous nine years, making this the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all job growth from the previous expansion".

The Obama Democrats pick income redistribution over job creation and economic growth: "Jason Furman owes an apology to Michael Boskin, the Stanford economist who wrote a year ago on these pages that Barack Obama would raise American income tax rates nearly to 60%. Mr. Furman, then in the Obama campaign and now at the White House, claimed this was wrong and that Democrats would merely raise taxes back to their Clinton-era level. House Democrats are now proving that Mr. Boskin had it right, and before it's over even he may have underestimated how high taxes will go. In the middle of a recession and with rising unemployment, Democrats have been letting it leak that they want to raise U.S. tax rates higher than they've been in nearly 30 years in order to finance government health care. Every detail isn't known, but late last week Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel disclosed that his draft bill would impose a "surtax" on individuals with adjusted gross income of more than $280,000 a year. This would hit job creators especially hard because more than six of every 10 who earn that much are small business owners"

Banking doesn’t need further regulation in US: “The decision to write or reject a loan should lie with the lender, who should carefully consider the qualifications of the borrower. Many smaller community banks have come through the credit and housing crises relatively unscathed due to their more conservative model when writing loans (’Bay State bankers wary of reform plan,’ July 8). Unfortunately, even these successful banks are coming under greater scrutiny from banking regulators. If banks were being fraudulent, then they can and should be prosecuted under existing laws.”

Obama showed "willful disregard of political oppression" by leftist dictators: "Obama has demanded that Honduras allow its anti-American would-be dictator, Mel Zelaya, to return to power, arguing that President Zelaya’s removal by the Honduras Supreme Court, with the backing of his country’s Congress and military, was “undemocratic” because the now-unpopular Zelaya was once elected. He has ignored the many legal and foreign-affairs commentators who have pointed out that Zelaya’s removal was a legal response to Zelaya’s flouting of the constitution, and not a “coup,”... But Obama has shown no interest at all in criticizing the human rights violations, violent repression, and anti-democratic behavior of Venezuela’s anti-American strongman, as even the liberal Washington Post, which has not endorsed a Republican for president since 1952, noted today in an editorial by Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jackson Diehl, “Double Standards on Latin America.” The Washington Post’s Diehl notes Obama’s “willful disregard of political oppression” by anti-American regimes in places like Venezuela, and the fact that his Administration “for months refused to publicly” criticize human-rights abuses in Venezuela."

Iran on the brink : “When an authoritarian regime approaches its final crisis, as a rule its dissolution follows two steps. Before its collapse, a mysterious rupture takes place. All of a sudden people know that the game is over, and then they are no longer afraid. It is not only that the regime loses its legitimacy, but that its own exercise of power is perceived as an impotent panic reaction. We all know the classic scene from cartoons. The cat reaches a precipice, but continues walking, unaware that there is no ground under its feet. It falls only when it looks down and notices the abyss. When a regime loses its authority, it is like a cat above the precipice: In order to fall, it only has to be reminded to look down.”


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Clarence Thomas: The courage of his convictions

Justice Clarence Thomas has now served on the Supreme Court for 18 years, longer than most of the other 109 men and women who have sat on that high bench. Yet he remains an enigma to many. In the court’s open hearings he sits mute while most of his colleagues pepper counsel with questions. Yet he can be seen trading quips with his seatmate, Justice Stephen Breyer — a hint of the gregarious Clarence Thomas whose close friends describe him as a man with a wide-ranging intellect and gutsy sense of humor that takes flight in what they call “The Laugh.”.....

At first Thomas was dismissed as a clone of Justice Antonin Scalia. But today even liberal analysts of the court concede that he has set his own course. His opinions show an original and consistent approach to the law, and their distinctive prose — disciplined and graceful, but not flashy — indicates they are not the products of his law clerks but of the justice himself.

Two themes that run through his years on the court are illustrated by two of his opinions announced in the last full week of the court’s term last month. One of them was a dissent from the court’s 8-1 decision on the Voting Rights Act, Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. The other was his opinion for the court in a 5-4 decision on maritime law, Atlantic Sounding Co. v. Townsend.

The first theme is that, as in Northwest Austin, Thomas has been willing to stand alone, or nearly alone, even against his natural allies. Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion, with concurrences by seven other justices, raised serious doubts about the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires Justice Department approval for changes in election laws in states that had low voter turnout in elections from 1964 to 1972. Thomas zeroed in on the issue the court sidestepped and argued that the law was unconstitutional. This was consistent with his view back in 1994 that almost all Voting Rights Act cases had been wrongly decided — and with his general willingness to overturn previous high court decisions he regards as wrong.

But it’s not fair to charge, as some critics have, that Thomas ignores past discrimination against blacks. His dissent paints a vivid picture of white Southerners’ “concerted acts of violence, terror and subterfuge to keep minorities from voting” from the 1870s to the 1960s, and endorses the court’s upholding the original provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

At the same time, he has objected to racial preferences in government contracting because they “stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority,” and in a 1995 case, he wrote, “It never ceases to amaze me that the courts are so willing to assume that anything that is predominantly black must be inferior.”

In the Atlantic Sounding case, he agreed with the four justices generally labeled liberal that an injured seaman may sue for punitive damages for “failure to pay maintenance and cure” — an admiralty law term. Thomas had similarly agreed with the liberals on the meaning of the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines. As in that earlier case, Thomas’ opinion went far back in history, citing English and American cases decided in 1676 and 1784 and interpreting the Jones Act of 1920.

Thomas’ willingness to write lonely opinions and to be guided by history has sometimes helped to change the law. For example, his 1997 concurring opinion setting out recent legal scholarship on the Second Amendment right to bear arms laid the groundwork for the court’s 2008 decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban. In setting his own course in case after case, Thomas has also done more than his detractors understand to change the course of the law.

The likely confirmation of Sotomayor and the possibility of future Obama appointments could change the balance on a court that has been closely divided on many major cases. But that seems unlikely to change the thrust of Thomas’ jurisprudence. He may write more dissenting opinions and fewer concurrences, but his insistence on going his own way may if anything become more pronounced. At the same time, his tendency to go back to first principles and to re-examine the origins of the law may prove, over time, persuasive and influential in ways surprising to both his critics and admirers — just as he has surprised both in his first 18 years on the court.



Sotomayor's Selective Empathy

She's not empathetic at all. She's just an arrogant racist

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is wrongly being sold by Team Obama as an "empathetic nominee." This adjective is shown a farce when one examines her record in two noteworthy cases involving Jeffrey Deskovic and Frank Ricci. In these instances, she acted callous and indifferent to the injustice and suffering of these men.

As a 17-year-old young man, Deskovic was convicted for the murder and rape of a classmate despite a negative DNA test. He ended up serving 16 years in prison before he was ultimately exonerated after additional DNA evidence proved another man was guilty. A good portion of his life was taken away by a justice system with Sotomayor playing judge.

Despite Deskovic serving 10 years in prison, Sotomayor refused to hear two of his valid appeals. These appeals were based on DNA evidence and coerced testimony. A county clerk gave his attorney inaccurate information and his attorney filed the appeal petition four days late. The court refused to hear this appeal, so the lawyer appealed the decision before Sotomayor's court, arguing that the error was the fault of the clerk; therefore, the case ought to be heard given Deskovic's innocence. Sotomayor ruled against hearing Deskovic's appeal, effectively sentencing an innocent man to six more years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

“Despite Sotomayor’s rhetoric, her ruling in my case showed a callous disregard for the real-life implications of her rulings,” Deskovic says. “She opted for procedure over fairness and finality of conviction over accuracy. Many of the victims of wrongful convictions serving long sentences had exhausted their appeals long before they were exonerated. In how many of those cases did Sotomayor vote to refuse to even consider evidence of innocence?” Even though Sotomayor displayed a callous indifference to the suffering of this innocent man, Obama wants people to ignore this case and confirm her immediately because she is a “wise Hispanic Woman.”

Another case showing her lack of empathy and poor judgment is the Frank Ricci firefighter case. Frank Ricci is a Connecticut firefighter with dyslexia who studied many difficult and challenging hours, due to his disability, to pass a written test. Along with the passing of the test came a promotion but Ricci’s aspirations for advancement quickly vanished as he watched the city throw his results away because no minorities passed the test and they didn’t want to get sued for discrimination. Sotomayor and her court agreed with the city and were willing to punish a white firefighter who succeeds just because minority candidates did not perform well on the test.

By allowing this discrimination and racism, Sotomayor proves herself to be anything but empathetic.



The Seinfeld Hearings

How Senators could, but probably won't, make the Sotomayor confirmation a show about something

If you suspect this week's Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor will be, like "Seinfeld," a show about nothing, you are probably right. To understand why, we need to revisit an era that remade how lawyers and the public think about law, and especially the Constitution.

In the 1930s, academics developed a philosophy they called "legal realism" to undercut judicial resistance to "progressive" statutes such as laws restricting the hours a baker or a woman could work. Legal realism elevated just results over the rule of law. It saw analysis of "the law" as an after-the-fact rationalization that allowed reactionary judges to conceal their empathy for the oppressed. Because legal realists believed judges inevitably made law when they ruled, they thought judges should decide cases with progressive ends in mind.

At the same time, and somewhat inconsistently, realist progressives also condemned judges who declared progressive federal and state laws to be unconstitutional as judicial activists who were thwarting the will of the people. Never mind that the Supreme Court was only tepidly enforcing the original meaning of the Constitution and was upholding the vast majority of enlightened regulations. Any interference of the will of the people was deemed to be undemocratic.

Today we live in a legal world in which many progressives and conservatives share the legal realists' preoccupation with results. So justices must be chosen who will reach the politically correct results or opposed because they will reach the wrong results. Judicial confirmation hearings are thereby turned into a game of gotcha, with questioners trying to trip up the other side's nominees, and nominees quite properly refusing to reveal the only thing their inquisitors truly care about: how they would rule in particular cases that are likely to come before the Court.

But postures must be assumed and questions must be asked. So senators and nominees opine about two empty concepts. The first is "stare decisis" or precedent: Will the nominee follow the hallowed case of U.S. v. Whatchamacallit or not?

Of course, the legal realists detested precedent, which in their time stood in the way of their progressive agenda. Nothing has really changed. Both sides only want to respect the precedents that lead to the results they like. No one thinks justices should follow every precedent, so the crucial issue is picking and choosing which to follow and which to ignore. But how? Well, by the results, of course.

Now, when it comes to the meaning of the Constitution, I agree that precedent should not bind the Supreme Court. The written Constitution remains fixed, regardless of whether past decisions have gotten its meaning wrong. I am grateful that the Supreme Court reversed Plessy v. Ferguson -- the 1896 case that gave us "separate but equal" and an unconstitutional system of racial apartheid. Unfortunately, neither Democratic nor Republican senators will decry the post-New Deal rulings that transformed our constitutional order from what Princeton professor Stephen Macedo has called "islands of [government] powers in a sea of rights" to "islands of rights in a sea of [government] powers." Unless they can explain how we know which precedents to follow and which to reverse -- apart from liking the results -- all pontificating about "stare decisis" is really about nothing.

The second empty issue to be discussed is the bugaboo of "judicial activism" and its conjoined twin, "judicial restraint," which today's judicial conservatives have inherited from New Deal progressives. But what exactly is "activism"? Is it activism when any popularly enacted law is held unconstitutional? Neither Democrats or Republicans truly believe this, however, since they want judges to strike down laws as unconstitutional when doing so leads to the ["]right result["] (but not when it doesn't). So judicial activism means thwarting the "will of the people" when critics agree with the people, while they complain about the "tyranny of the majority" when they disagree.

We can do better.

Supreme Court confirmation hearings do not have to be about either results or nothing. They could be about clauses, not cases. Instead of asking nominees how they would decide particular cases, ask them to explain what they think the various clauses of the Constitution mean. Does the Second Amendment protect an individual right to arms? What was the original meaning of the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment? (Hint: It included an individual right to arms.) Does the 14th Amendment "incorporate" the Bill of Rights and, if so, how and why? Does the Ninth Amendment protect judicially enforceable unenumerated rights? Does the Necessary and Proper Clause delegate unlimited discretion to Congress? Where in the text of the Constitution is the so-called Spending Power (by which Congress claims the power to spend tax revenue on anything it wants) and does it have any enforceable limits?

Don't ask how the meaning of these clauses should be applied in particular circumstances. Just ask about the meaning itself and how it should be ascertained. Do nominees think they are bound by the original public meaning of the text? Even those who deny this still typically claim that original meaning is a "factor" or starting point. If so, what other factors do they think a justice should rely on to "interpret" the meaning of the text? Even asking whether "We the People" in the U.S. Constitution originally included blacks and slaves -- as abolitionists like Lysander Spooner and Frederick Douglass contended, or not as Chief Justice Roger Taney claimed in Dred Scott v. Sandford -- will tell us much about a nominee's approach to constitutional interpretation. Given that this is hardly a case that will come before them, on what grounds could nominees refuse to answer such questions?

Of course, inquiring into clauses not cases would require senators to know something about the original meaning of the Constitution. Do they? It would be interesting to hear what Sen. Al Franken thinks about such matters, but no more so than any other member of the Judiciary Committee. Such a hearing would not only be entertaining, it would be informative and educational. After all, it would be about the meaning of the Constitution, which is to say it would be about something.




Sotomayor faces easy route to confirmation: "The Supreme Court confirmation prospects of Judge Sonia Sotomayor appeared good Sunday as one Democratic senator said he expects her to receive more votes than the hefty majority for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Republicans indicated they don't expect a filibuster. The Senate Judiciary Committee starts at 10 a.m. Monday the confirmation hearing of Judge Sotomayor to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter. Judge Sotomayor, a member of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has met with 89 senators. "She has wowed people," Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "She is going to be approved by a large margin." Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said he doubts Judge Sotomayor will have a fate similar to another Hispanic nominee to the federal bench, Miguel Estrada, whose confirmation was filibustered by Democrats seven times. "We're not going to filibuster Judge Sotomayor like the Democrats did Miguel Estrada, who would have been on the Supreme Court, I would have predicted, if he had not been filibustered and denied an up-or-down vote," Mr. Cornyn said on "Fox News Sunday." "I think she'll have an up-or-down vote."

Out of Alaska: “Palin has a devoted following. No Republican politician energizes GOP crowds as much as she does. When I saw her speak at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Indiana, in April, Palin was practically mobbed by well-wishers and autograph seekers. The conservative movement is rudderless, and social conservatives in particular would like a powerful spokesman for their cause. The social issues may not have played much of a role during Palin’s governorship, but once she is free from office she can emphasize them as much as she likes. One lesson from Barack Obama’s candidacy is that a politician should seize his (or her) moment. Elite opinion, remember, thought that Barack Obama wasn’t ready to run for president in 2008. He should sit back, the argument went. Gain seasoning. Master a few issues. Wait for his turn. But Obama understood that when you do that, you end up being Joe Biden. Obama understood that once the spotlight is on you, it’s foolish to let it pass on to someone else. He ignored the naysayers. He launched his campaign. Now he lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Mandating Unemployment. Congress prepares to kill more jobs: "Here's some economic logic to ponder. The unemployment rate in June for American teenagers was 24%, for black teens it was 38%, and even White House economists are predicting more job losses. So how about raising the cost of that teenage labor? Sorry to say, but that's precisely what will happen on July 24, when the minimum wage will increase to $7.25 an hour from $6.55. The national wage floor will have increased 41% since the three-step hike was approved by the Democratic Congress in May 2007. Then the economy was humming, with an overall jobless rate of 4.5% and many entry-level jobs paying more than the minimum. That's a hard case to make now, with a 9.5% national jobless rate and thousands of employers facing razor-thin profit margins.There's been a long and spirited debate among economists about who gets hurt and who benefits when the minimum wage rises. But in a 2006 National Bureau of Economic Research paper, economists David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Bank reviewed the voluminous literature over the past 30 years and came to two almost universally acknowledged conclusions. First, "a sizable majority of the studies give a relatively consistent (though not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects." Second, "studies that focus on the least-skilled groups [i.e., teens, and welfare moms] provide relatively overwhelming evidence of stronger disemployment effects."

Socialized medicine will stifle innovation: "The normal critique of socialized medicine is to point out that people have to wait a long time for . . . treatments in places like Britain. And that's certainly a valid critique . . . . The key point, though, is that these treatments didn't just come out of the blue. They were developed by drug companies and device makers who thought they had a good market for things that would make people feel better. But under a national healthcare plan, the "market" will consist of whatever the bureaucrats are willing to buy. That means treatment for politically stylish diseases will get some money, but otherwise the main concern will be cost-control. More treatments, to bureaucrats, mean more costs . . . . It's ironic that the same Democrats who were pushing the medical prospects for stem-cell research during the last election are now pushing a program that will make such progress far less likely."


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, July 13, 2009

Palin plans to stay in politics

Brushing aside the criticisms of pundits and politicos, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she plans to jump immediately back into the national political fray — stumping for conservative issues and even Democrats — after she prematurely vacates her elected post at month's end.

The former Republican vice-presidential nominee and heroine to much of the GOP's base said in an interview she views the electorate as embattled and fatigued by nonstop partisanship, and she is eager to campaign for Republicans, independents and even Democrats who share her values on limited government, strong defense and "energy independence."

"I will go around the country on behalf of candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label or affiliation," she said over lunch in her downtown office, 40 miles from her now-famous hometown of Wasilla — population 7,000 — where she began her political career.

"People are so tired of the partisan stuff — even my own son is not a Republican," said Mrs. Palin, who stunned the political world earlier this month with her decision to step down as governor July 26 with 18 months left in her term.

Both her son, Track, 20, an enlisted soldier serving in Iraq, and her husband, Todd, are registered as "nonpartisan" in Alaska.

Mrs. Palin, who vaulted to national prominence when Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, chose her as his running mate last August, left the door open for a future presidential bid.

But she shot down speculation among Republicans that she might challenge incumbent Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the party's nomination to the Senate next year, and she blamed her resignation as governor on the nasty, hardball tactics that last year's presidential campaign brought to her state.

"I'm not ruling out anything - it is the way I have lived my life from the youngest age," she said. "Let me peek out there and see if there's an open door somewhere. And if there's even a little crack of light, I'll hope to plow through it."



Bush Deserves More Credit on Iran


Defying their regime once more, Iranians have renewed their protests in the streets of Tehran. Last month, when the protests began, the New York Times ran a story hinting that Iran's demonstrators may have been inspired by an "Obama factor." The article suggested that President Barack Obama's diplomatic outreach, unlike his predecessor's approach, emboldened Iranians to rise up against their regime, demanding it repair relations with America and the world.

The Times reporter drew a stark contrast between the presidency of George W. Bush and that of Mr. Obama. According to the article, "Iran's regime was able to coalesce support by uniting the country against a common enemy: President Bush, who called Iran a pillar of the 'axis of evil.'" Alarmed by Mr. Bush's hostility, Iranians "swallowed their criticism of [their] hard-line regime and united against the common enemy."

Setting aside the article's claims about an "Obama effect," its characterization of the Bush years is unfair and misleading. As someone who served in Mr. Bush's White House, I can attest that the administration's Iran policy was far from perfect. The Islamic Republic's ongoing nuclear program is proof enough of the policy's serious shortcomings. Yet, in light of recent events, it seems apparent that Mr. Bush got some important things concerning Iran right.

First, some facts. Mr. Bush delivered his infamous "axis of evil" speech in January 2002. On several occasions thereafter he followed up with statements harshly attacking the legitimacy of the Iranian regime. He repeatedly distinguished between the people of Iran and their "unelected rulers."

Did Mr. Bush's confrontational posture really lead Iranians to rally behind the regime? Hardly. In November 2002 and again in June 2003, student-led protests rocked Tehran and other Iranian cities, as the New York Times itself acknowledged at the time. In both cases, demonstrators' demands included sweeping democratic reforms. During the 2002 clashes (which dragged on for weeks), the Times reported that protesters had been "boldly critical of the government, including the supreme religious leader [Ali Khamenei], who is normally beyond criticism." The protestors called for the "secularization of the religious system" -- an end to clerical rule.

Similarly, in June 2003, protesters rapidly focused on the need for fundamental change. A manifesto signed by hundreds of intellectuals and clerics declared that Ayatollah Khamenei's claims to absolute power were "a clear heresy towards God and a clear affront to human dignity." The BBC reported that chants of "Death to Khamenei" were heard at the rallies. More than 4,000 people were arrested before the demonstrations were suppressed.

The reality is that large-scale anti-regime protests erupted on multiple occasions throughout Mr. Bush's first term -- the very moment when his Iran policy was most aggressive. The suggestion that Iranians "swallowed their criticism" of the Islamic regime in an anti-American response to Mr. Bush's tough stance is simply not borne out by the facts.

The current crisis in Iran undermines another conventional wisdom about Mr. Bush's Iran policy. Many believe that his policy was grounded in ideology rather than realism. But Mr. Bush's assessment of Iran has so far proven much more accurate than Mr. Obama's. In his eagerness to draw Iran's rulers into negotiations, Mr. Obama has gone to great lengths to signal his acceptance of the Islamic Republic's legitimacy and permanence. In stark contrast, Mr. Bush always understood that large swaths of Iranian society do not consider their regime to be legitimate. They detest it and yearn for freedom and democracy. Mr. Bush knew that regime change was not the crazed fantasy of a small cabal of American neoconservatives. It was the deepest desire of tens of millions of Iranians.

Iran's recent turmoil also sheds light on Mr. Bush's conviction about pressuring the Iranian regime. Critics warned that Mr. Bush's attempt to isolate Iran diplomatically, sanction it economically, and threaten it militarily would trigger a nationalist backlash against Washington. But Mr. Bush believed that such efforts were essential. They would alert the Iranian people, as well as Iran's elites, to the disastrous consequences of the Islamic Republic's policies.

Today, Iran's burgeoning opposition is clearly angered by the country's dismal economy, ashamed of its status as an international pariah, and alarmed by the growing danger of military conflict. Opposition members will not accept the regime's efforts to scapegoat the U.S. Instead, their fury has been directed inward at the brutality, economic mismanagement, and outrageous behavior of the Islamic regime.

As Mr. Obama reassesses his Iran policy in the wake of the Iranian protests, he could do worse than to incorporate at least a few pointers from Mr. Bush's playbook. That would mean an adjusted Iran strategy that sees the Iranian people as allies of the Free World, not the Islamic Republic. It would also mean spending less time trying to reassure Iran's despotic rulers of the U.S.'s benign intentions. Mr. Obama should instead spend more time on using his enormous international popularity to further mobilize the world against Iran's tyrants.



Putting Liberals on the Couch

by Burt Prelutsky

Being a conservative, I naturally spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to psychoanalyze left-wingers, trying to figure out what makes them tick. God knows I’m not bragging. It is, after all, time I could otherwise devote to alphabetizing my canned goods or trying to make contact with Harry Houdini, but I know from the large number of emails I receive that I’m not alone. The lunacy on the left is enough to turn a lot of us into little Sigmund Freuds.

For instance, why is it that lefties are so puzzled or pretend to be so puzzled that conservatives who are in favor of capital punishment are opposed to abortions -- particularly the 60,000 late-term abortions performed by the late unrepentant serial killer, George Tiller? Even a left-winger should be able to tell the difference between executing a cold-blooded murderer and sucking the brain out of an innocent little human being.

I’m wondering when the Mafia will officially ask for a government subsidy. Yes, I know it’s a criminal organization, but so is ACORN, which faces indictments for voter fraud in several states, and yet Obama and his Democratic cronies are funneling them millions of dollars.

Perhaps if liberals were merely wrong on all the issues, it would be easier to forgive them. But it’s their arrogance and self-righteous attitude that puts them beyond the pale. How often have we heard them claim that they’re being deprived of their right to free speech when what they’re actually complaining about isn’t censorship, but merely that a clear-thinking conservative has refuted some of their inane hogwash? Only liberals actually believe that if you disagree with them, you’re trampling on the 1st Amendment. For good measure, many of them -- including a number of pettifoggers in Congress -- are on an unholy mission to bring back the totalitarian device known as the Fairness Doctrine.

Speaking of fairness, I have come to see that Fox News is something like our own version of Radio Free Europe, getting the truth to those of us behind the Obama Curtain. What is ironic about the way that liberals carry on about TV Free America is that Fox has a large number of liberals on the payroll, including Greta Van Susteren, Bob Beckel, Geraldo Rivera, Alan Colmes, Chris Wallace, Juan Williams, Kirsten Powers and a few others, whereas CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times and the Washington Post, collectively, have only one non-liberal on salary and that’s John Stossel, who doesn’t even identify himself as a conservative, but as a libertarian.

A question nobody has ever answered to my satisfaction is how it’s possible that media people such as David Corn, Eleanor Clift and Ellis Henican, who do nothing but parrot the same insipid DNC talking points as Charles Rangel, Barbara Boxer and Patrick Leahy, are able to make a decent living without at least having to run for office and win an election.

I’m not an expert on body language, but my attention has been called to the fact that when he was on the phone with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama was photographed with his feet on the desk in the Oval Office, and when he took his photo op tour of Auschwitz with Elie Wiesel, he had his hands in his pockets. Yet in the august presence of King Abdullah, he bowed respectfully.

Finally, we were told that the world’s leaders were going to cooperate with Barack Hussein Obama in a way they never had with his predecessor. Well, so far, they’ve all refused his invitation to send troops to Afghanistan and, just in case he didn’t get the message, they’ve all refused to take 241 Muslim terrorists off his hands.

Now, we have Newsweek’s managing editor, Evan Thomas, grandson of the former grand Poo Bah of the Socialist Party, Norman Thomas, telling us with a straight face that Obama is greater than God. It appears, however, that the world’s leaders don’t even think he’s greater than George W. Bush.



Higher Taxes, Anyone?

by George Will

Economic policy, which became startling when Washington began buying automobile companies, has become surreal now that disappointment with the results of the second stimulus is stirring talk about the need for a ... second stimulus. Elsewhere, it requires centuries to bleach mankind's memory; in Washington, 17 months suffice: In February 2008, President George W. Bush and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who normally were at daggers drawn, agreed that a $168 billion stimulus -- this was Stimulus I -- would be the "booster shot" the economy needed. Unemployment then was 4.8 percent.

In January, the administration, shiny as a new dime and bursting with brains, said that unless another stimulus -- Stimulus II wound up involving $787 billion -- was passed immediately, unemployment, which then was 7.6 percent, would reach 9 percent by 2010. But halfway through 2009, the rate is 9.5. For the first time since the now 16-nation Eurozone was established in 1999, the unemployment rate in America is as high as it is in that region, which Americans once considered a cautionary lesson in the wages of sin, understood as excessive taxation and regulation.

"Everyone guessed wrong" about the economy's weakness, says the vice president, explaining why Stimulus II has not yielded anticipated benefits. Joe Biden is beguiling when unfiltered by calculation, as he often is and as he was when he spoke about guessing ("Meet the Press," June 14) and how everyone "misread" the economy ("This Week," July 5). To be fair, economics is a science of single instances, which means it is hardly a science. And it is least like one when we most crave certainty from it -- when there is a huge and unprecedented event and educated guessing is the best anyone can do.

But before embarking on Stimulus III, note that only about 10 percent of Stimulus II has yet been injected into the economy in 2009. This is not the administration's fault, the administration's defenders say, because government is cumbersome, sluggish and inefficient. But this sunburst of insight comes as the administration toils to enlarge governmental control of health care, energy, finance, education, etc. The administration guesses that these government projects will do better than the Postal Service (its second-quarter loss, $1.9 billion, was 68 percent of its losses for all of 2008) and the government's railroad (Amtrak has had 38 money-losing years and this year's losses are on pace to set a record).

Let's guess: Will a person or institution looking for a place to invest $1 billion seek opportunities in the United States, where policy decisions are deliberately increasing taxes, debt, regulations and the cost of energy, and soon will increase the cost of borrowing and hiring? Or will the investor look at, say, India. It is the least urbanized major country -- 70 percent of Indians live in rural areas, 50 percent on farms -- so the modernizing and productivity-enhancing movement from the countryside to the city is in its infancy. This nation of 1.2 billion people has a savings rate of 25 percent to 30 percent, and fewer than 20 million credit cards. Which nation, India or the United States, is apt to have the higher economic growth over the next decade?

Yet while government diminishes America's comparative advantages, liberals are clamoring for ... higher taxes. Partly because of changes endorsed by presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, approximately 60 percent of taxpayers now pay either no income tax (43 percent) or less than 5 percent of their income. Because one cannot raise significant money by that tax without nicking the middle class, or without bringing millions of people back onto the income tax rolls, attention is turning to a value-added tax.

A VAT is levied at every stage of production. Like the cap-and-trade regime being constructed, a VAT is a liberal politician's delight: It taxes everything, but opaquely.

Before he became an economic adviser in the Obama White House, where wit can be dangerous, Larry Summers said: Liberals oppose a VAT because it is regressive and conservatives oppose it because it is a money machine, but a VAT might come when liberals realize it is a money machine and conservatives realize it is regressive.

At the June 29 White House briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked, with reference to health care legislation, if the president's pledge not to raise taxes on couples making less than $250,000 is "still active." Gibbs answered: "We are going to let the process work its way through." What is your guess?




Rush to vaccinate in Britain: "The NHS is preparing to vaccinate the entire population against swine flu after the disease claimed the life of its first healthy British patient. A new vaccine is expected to arrive in Britain in the next few weeks and could be fast-tracked through regulatory approval in five days. Regulators at the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) said the fast-tracked procedure has involved clinical trials of a “mock-up” vaccine similar to the one that will be used for the biggest mass vaccination programme in generations. It will be introduced into the general population while regulators continue to carry out simultaneous clinical trials. The first patients in the queue for the jab - being supplied to the UK by GSK and Baxter Healthcare - may understandably be a little nervous at any possible side effects. A mass vaccination campaign against swine flu in America was halted in the 1970s after some people suffered Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system. However, regulators said fast-tracking would not be at the expense of patient safety. “The vaccines are authorised with a detailed risk management plan,” the EMEA said. “There is quite a body of evidence regarding safety on the trials of the mock-up, and the actual vaccine could be assessed in five days.” The UK government has ordered enough vaccine to cover the entire population."

More British bungling: "New vehicles purchased to protect British troops in Afghanistan have already been rejected as unsafe by the US military. The vehicles failed basic 'survivability' tests, which showed soldiers would be left vulnerable to roadside bombs, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. But although the Pentagon rejected them, the Ministry of Defence has ordered 262 to replace the controversial Snatch Land Rovers. In contrast, the Americans have now ordered a more robust model - at half the £600,000 cost of the vehicle the British have dubbed the 'Husky'. The disclosure, at the end of the blackest week for British forces in Afghanistan, came as Gordon Brown responded to growing anger over the death toll by promising to improve troops' equipment.

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


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, July 12, 2009


The Iranian Community of New York Metropolitan Area, in a show of unity with all Iranian compatriots across the Globe, will hold a political rally and demonstration in support of the young freedom fighters across Iranian cities in the struggle against the evil forces of the Islamic Regime. Please join us to show our unity and support to the United Nation and the World.

Time : Sunday July 12, 2009 – from 2oo to 5oo pm.

Place : DAG Hammerskjold Plaza,corner of First ave.and 47th Street, New york,NY

Looking forward to see you. The Iranian Society for Freedom, Peace and Justice

(Via Astute bloggers)


Obama's Science Czar Wrote Book Advocating "Planetary Regime" Which Would Require Mass Sterilizations, Forced Abortions

This is the scariest book report you will ever read. Zombie has once again truly done his homework.

These are the ideas of John Holdren, Obama's newly appointed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, i.e., Science Czar. In a book he co-authored in 1977, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, he wrote that:

• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;

• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;

• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise [which would seriously jack with Cloward-Piven];

• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.

There's so much more. It's hard to take in all the evil.


SCOTUS judge and Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg has similar ideas. Prewar socialism is back it seems. Hitler got his eugenic ideas from the mainstream socialists of his day


Obama's Climate of Fear

And why America's economic long night will continue -- as it did under FDR for similar reasons

Recently I had a long lunch with an old friend. He sits on the board of one of the largest and most successful publicly traded regional banks in America. He got his seat when that regional bank acquired the very successful community bank he built from the ground up. I will not name him or this bank, but I will pass on a few things he said to me.

He said, “Our bank’s leadership team and others I know at the local or regional level feel paralyzed and intimidated by the climate of fear created by the Obama administration. We believe we are targets of a very deliberate conspiracy.

“The new and proposed regulations will remove every competitive advantage of the community bank, and make every bank identical, forced to operate exactly as does Bank of America,” he explained. “Then, absent competitive opportunity, all of the independent banks will be greatly de-valued and handicapped. They’ll be vulnerable and easily rolled up into the handful of remaining giants … the small bank’s wealth made into fresh food for the insatiable hunger of the big banks’ deficits and losses. This is, I and others believe, the next step in Obama’s plan to take total control of the financial system and money supply, a requirement of dictatorship. “

What is most significant about these statements is the person making them. This is not some freak like the fellow Mel Gibson portrayed in the movie “Conspiracy Theory.”. He’s not somebody stockpiling food in a cabin hidden away in the woods, to escape to when anarchy erupts. Not anybody you would expect to hear express such thoughts. And he’s not a lone voice.

Another friend is the CEO of a mid-sized company that had been on an impressive trajectory of growth for the past three years but is now stalled. He and his advisers have reversed their viewpoint in the last few months. They are eager to sell the company if possible now rather than later. Why? They believe Obama is deliberately, systematically destroying the economy as a whole and is specifically targeting small business for extinction – because it’s too difficult to exercise dictatorial control over millions of small enterprises.

This fellow has begun the process of acquiring dual citizenship and hopes to cash out and leave the country. He said that he can only envision a growing, worsening, toxic climate of fear here – again that term – and he prefers to be away from it.

Well, liberal fruitcakes have always talked about leaving the country if a president they reviled got elected (Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon come to mind). You expect such empty-headed, empty threats from them, as you would from those on the extreme right about Obama. But if you knew this CEO, who made me swear not to mention him by name if writing about this, you would never in a million years expect to hear these thoughts from him.

A couple of weeks ago I talked to the director of marketing for a leading private aviation company, which offers fractional jet ownership, pre-paid membership packages of private jet flight, and concierge-organized private jet travel. In her 15+ years in the industry, she said, she’d never encountered as many people who would not buy and travel in this manner because they were afraid of being seen and judged harshly. Many even feared having their companies singled out for reprisal by the government. She said, “I’m doing business in a climate of fear, almost clandestinely, as if engaged in espionage rather than commerce.” She too asked not to be identified.

This is an untold story. The mainstream media would mostly refuse to report on it. But even if they wanted to, these business leaders and countless others like them would refuse to publicly talk about their views. Because they are afraid.

From free enterprise to fearful enterprise. From ambition, initiative and investment, to hoarding and inaction and exit. This the only thing Obama has actually stimulated: a climate of fear.



Why We'll Leave L.A.: The business climate is worse than the air quality

The destructive results of a dominant Green/Left vividly displayed

If New Yorkers fantasize that doing business here in Los Angeles would be less of a headache, forget about it. This city is fast becoming a job-killing machine. It's no accident the unemployment rate is a frightening 11.4% and climbing. I never could have imagined that, after living here for more than three decades, I would be filing a lawsuit against my beloved Los Angeles and making plans for my company, Creators Syndicate, to move elsewhere. But we have no choice. The city's bureaucrats rival Stalin's apparatchiks in issuing decrees, rescinding them, and then punishing citizens for having followed them in the first place.

I founded Creators Syndicate in 1987, and we have represented hundreds of important writers, syndicating their columns to newspapers and Web sites around the world. The most famous include Hillary Clinton, who, like Eleanor Roosevelt, wrote a syndicated column when she was first lady. Another star was the advice columnist Ann Landers, once described by "The World Almanac" as "the most influential woman in America." Other Creators columnists include Bill O'Reilly, Susan Estrich, Thomas Sowell, Roland Martin and Michelle Malkin -- plus Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonists and your favorite comic strips.

From the beginning, we've been headquartered in Los Angeles. But 15 years ago we had a dispute with the city over our business tax classification. The city argued that we should be in an "occupations and professions" classification that has an extremely high tax rate, while we fought for a "wholesale and retail" classification with a much lower rate. The city forced us to invest a small fortune in legal fees over two years, but we felt it was worth it in order to establish the correct classification once and for all.

After enduring a series of bureaucratic hearings, we anxiously awaited a ruling to find out what our tax rate would be. Everything was at stake. We had already decided that if we lost, we would move. You can imagine how relieved we were on July 1, 1994, when the ruling was issued. We won, and firmly planted our roots in the City of Angels and proceeded to build our business.

Everything was fine until the city started running out of money in 2007. Suddenly, the city announced that it was going to ignore its own ruling and reclassify us in the higher tax category. Even more incredible is the fact that the new classification was to be imposed retroactively to 2004 with interest and penalties. No explanation was given for the new classification, or for the city's decision to ignore its 1994 ruling.

Their official position is that the city is not bound by past rulings -- only taxpayers are. This is why we have been forced to file a lawsuit. We will let the courts decide whether it is legal for adverse rulings to apply only to taxpayers and not to the city.

We work with hundreds of outside agents, consultants, independent contractors and support services -- many of whom pay taxes to the city of Los Angeles. This spurs a job-creating ripple effect on the city's economy. Yet I suspect many companies like ours already have quietly left town in the face of the city's taxes and regulations. This would help explain the erosion of jobs. Regardless of the outcome of our case, the arbitrary and capricious behavior of some bureaucrats is creating a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. If we win in court, the taxpayers of Los Angeles will have lost because all those tax dollars will have been wasted on needless litigation.

If we lose in court, the remaining taxpayers in Los Angeles will have lost because their burden will continue to swell as yet another business moves its jobs -- and taxpayers -- to another city. As long as City Hall operates like a banana republic, why is anyone surprised that jobs have left the city in droves and Los Angeles is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy?




Black Muslim gang boss jailed for torturing French Jew to death: "The leader of a group that called itself a "gang of barbarians" was sentenced to life imprisonment by a French court for kidnapping and torturing a young Jewish man for more than three weeks before leaving him to die. The gang abducted 23-year-old Ilan Halimi in 2006, unsuccessfully tried to extort a ransom for their captive, tortured him until he was close to death and then left him near a train station. He died shortly after he was found. The case shocked France and turned a spotlight on anti-Semitic violence in the poor, multi-ethnic suburbs around many big French cities. Amid tight courtroom security, Youssouf Fofana, the gang's leader, who admitted killing Mr Halimi, was sentenced to life imprisonment, the maximum penalty under French law, with a minimum period in jail of 22 years. Twenty-four other gang members were handed sentences ranging from six months suspended to 18 years in prison. Two were acquitted. Aside from the horrific details of the murder itself, the case attracted wide attention because of what it seemed to suggest about racial tensions and anti-Semitism in France. Many in the Jewish community say that anti-Semitic aggression among French youths of Arab and African origin has been on the rise in recent years... Among the 26 other defendants were young men accused of taking part in the abduction and guarding of the captive, and a girl who is alleged to have lured Mr Halimi into the Paris suburb of Sceaux where he was kidnapped."

Hot air? We won't wait for Iran to build nuke, says Barack Obama: "US President Barack Obama has cranked up pressure on Iran, saying world leaders are "appalled" at post-poll violence and will not stand idly by while Iran builds a nuclear weapon. Welcoming a rare consensus on Iran among the globe's most powerful nations at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, Mr Obama said he hopes Tehran will recognise that "world opinion is very clear". The G8 joint declaration expressed "serious concern" over post-election violence in Iran but called for a negotiated resolution to the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program, giving it until September's G20 summit. "And that's been always our premise, is that we provide that door," said Mr Obama. "But we also say we're not going to just wait indefinitely and allow for the development of the nuclear weapon, the breach of international treaties, and wake up one day and find ourselves in a much worse situation and unable to act. "If Iran chooses not to walk through that door, then you have on record the G8 to begin with, but I think potentially a lot of other countries that are going to say, we need to take further steps."

Obama to African leaders: Time for 'responsibility': President Obama on Friday said African countries cannot blame colonialism for problems caused by corruption and their own bad governance as he embarked on his first trip as president to sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Obama also announced that he has secured a commitment from major countries to spend $20 billion on food security aid, or $5 billion more than expected from world leaders meeting in Italy this week. But he said rather than simple assistance, this money will be managed "to help people become self-sufficient, provide for their families and lift their standards of living." "We do not view this assistance as an end in itself. We believe that the purpose of aid must be to create the conditions where it's no longer needed," he said."

Former Gitmo Inmate Leading Fight Against U.S. in Helmand: "As U.S. forces are pushing ahead with the massive Operation Khanjar in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand, Mullah Zakir is leading the Taliban fight against them. Mullah Zakir, also known as Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, surrendered in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan in 2001, and was transferred to Gitmo in 2006. He was released in late 2007 to Afghan custody. Now as the United States is pushing ahead with the massive Operation Khanjar in the southern province of Afghanistan, Zakir is coordinating the Taliban fighters. Some 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan forces have faced some resistance as they sweep across the province, reclaiming control of districts where Zakir and his comrades were running a shadow government. Zakir was released from Afghan custody around 2008, according to the New York Post. He re-established connections with high-level Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan after his second release. Zakir quickly became a charismatic leader, helping establish an "accountability commission" to track spending and monitor activities of Taliban leaders in the districts where they held power and were running a shadow government, according to the Post."

Pre-Eminence Lost: Is Wall St. Still No. 1?: "In the 15th and 16th centuries, Florence, Genoa and Venice were the financial capitals of the Western world. When they declined, financial leadership shifted to Amsterdam, then to London, and finally to New York, whose supremacy went unchallenged from 1945 until the end of the 20th century. In the new millennium, however, it is showing cracks. A decade ago, companies fought for the privilege of being listed on the New York exchanges. But interest has dropped significantly since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000. The credit crisis has only made things worse. Will the city be able to retain its title as the world's finance king? What will Wall Street look like in 2015?"

Obamas's red-hot printing press has shaken confidence in the dollar: "Dai Bingguo, who is standing in for the Chinese president Hu Jintao at the G8 meetings, raised questions over the dominant role of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The discussion, which took place between the leaders of five emerging economies and the G8 industrialised nations, including Barack Obama, caused concern among western leaders. "We should have a better system for reserve currency issuance and regulation, so that we can maintain relative stability of major reserve currencies exchange rates and promote a diversified and rational international reserve currency system,” said Mr Dai, according to the Chinese foreign ministry. China has made a series of attacks on the dollar in recent months, and went as far as to question Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, about the trustworthiness of the currency on her visit to China earlier this year."


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why isn’t America hiring?

On July 1st we saw the release of two piece of important employment data: the Challenger, Gray & Christmas monthly survey of lay-offs and the Monster Employment Index which measures on-line want ads. The latter is an improvement over traditional want ads which were showing declines due to loss of market share to the web rather than actual job opening declines. Just because companies were not recruiting by printing their ads on dead trees doesn't mean they were not hiring. But even in the world of friction-free job recruiting, they are indeed not hiring. The index showed only one up month out of the last eight, and even now with the economic picture improving, job recruiting is still dropping. Why?

It's not as though these jobs are being decimated by lay-offs. Yes, there was a lay off peak last Fall and another bigger one in January, but since then lay-offs have dropped every month so far. In January there were roughly a quarter million jobs eliminated according to this survey. Last month there were less than seventy five thousand. You have to go back to Spring of 2008 to find levels that low.

So we're not firing many people, but we're not hiring either. Why? This is especially confusing given the political mood in Washington during the past two years which has been far more focused on job creation (or savings) than on general economic growth. The stimuli plans were supposed to be job plans. The auto/bank bailouts cum nationalizations were supposed to be about saving jobs, not 'Wall Street'. So given two record breaking stimuli within two years, why isn't America hiring?

America isn't hiring precisely because of government policy. Small business owners, who are usually the first into and the first out of the job pool, are standing by the fence and watching. They are paralyzed by regulatory uncertainty. If they hire someone who ends up doing poorly, will they be able to fire that person? Will they have to pay their health care bills after they've been terminated? If so, for how long? Who will pay for all these stimulus checks? If it will turn out to be small business, why would they hire instead of keeping costs low to prepare for the big tax bill? Where will the market move? Are you in the right business or are your clients in a politically disfavored industry? Are your clients in health care (being nationalized), autos (already nationalized), banking (somewhat nationalized) or any energy production process which uses carbon (pulverized)? Until you know, you don't grow, and until you grow your market, you don't grow your payroll.

Jobs aren't languishing despite the government's best efforts. They're languishing because of them.



The stimulus that didn't stimulate: The Excuses Begin

Democrats are in a bit of a jam on the stimulus, as many reporters have noticed: “Democrats are all over the map on the stimulus and the possibility of a sequel, and it’s not hard to see why: When it comes to a second stimulus, they may be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.” But there is nothing they would have done differently, right? That phrase may prove to be this administration’s “Mission Accomplished” banner.

The current excuse — that somehow the administration didn’t understand how severe the crisis was — isn’t going over so well. In fact, it’s so easily disproved by rolling back the tapes of all the gloom-and-doom talk that permeated the president’s remarks in the early days of his term, that his critics are having a field day. House Minority Leader John Boehner, for example, isn’t buying any excuses:

I found it … interesting over the last couple of days to hear Vice President Biden and the president mention the fact that they didn’t realize how difficult an economic circumstance we were in. . . Now this is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I’ve been in Congress. I’ve sat in meetings in the White House with the vice president and the president. There’s not one person that sat in those rooms that didn’t understand how serious our economic crisis was.

Well he does have a point; the president kept calling it the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The simple truth is the stimulus was ill-conceived and poorly executed. Sooner or later, the president and his advisers will need to acknowledge that deferring to Nancy Pelosi to devise a grab-bag of goodies for liberal interest groups wasn’t smart politics or smart policy.



Federal Government Was Culprit in Housing and Economic Crisis, Says Congressional Report

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the chief culprits in the housing crisis because they encouraged people who could not afford payments to borrow money, according to a congressional report released Tuesday. The claims in the report have long been advanced by conservatives, who argue that the Community Reinvestment Act and other federal programs fed the housing bubble that burst in 2007 and led to the economic downfall in 2008.

But the report explains in detail how Fannie and Freddie -- government sponsored enterprises (GSE) that were not subject to the same oversight as other publicly traded firms -- “privatized their profits but socialized their risks.” “In the short run, this government intervention was successful in its stated goal – raising the national homeownership rate,” says the report, the result of an investigation launched last fall by Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “However, the ultimate effect was to create a mortgage tsunami that wrought devastation on the American people and economy,” says the report. “While government intervention was not the sole cause of the financial crisis, its role was significant and has received too little attention.”

The report talks about the Clinton administration’s National Homeownership Strategy, citing President Clinton’s directive to “lift America’s homeownership rate to an all-time high by the end of the century.” The Clinton strategy further said that Freddie and Fannie should reduce down-payment requirements and, according to the report, “called for increased use of ‘flexible underwriting criteria,’ which it said could be achieved in concert with ‘liberalized affordable housing underwriting criteria.’”

“That is the perfect smoking gun that tells how Barney Frank [D-Mass.], the Clinton administration and others would do it in those days,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, said Tuesday in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. “The seeds of the meltdown began with the well-intentioned goal that everyone have a home even if they can’t afford it,” he said. “It led to one of the biggest ponzi schemes ever.” .....

The report also talks about how the two GSEs became a powerful lobby. Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson opened up “partnership offices” in congressional districts, hired relatives of members of Congress, and GSE employees contributed $15 million to federal campaigns from 1998 to 2008. Throughout that time, all attempted reforms in Congress were blocked....

The report cites Frank’s accusations that to blame Fannie and Freddie is to blame only the lender and not the borrower. “This misses the mark entirely. In fact, responsibility for the erosion of mortgage lending standards, which began with government affordable housing policy, rests squarely on the policy makers who advocated these ill-conceived policies in the first place,” the report says. “Borrowers quite naturally responded to the incentives they were given, irrespective of their socioeconomic status, and risky lending spread to the wider mortgage market.”




The case for doing nothing: “The first thing to note about the financial crisis is that the federal government never had any business intervening in the personal decision of whether you want to own a home. There is no rational economic argument, or any argument I know of, that says the market of buying and selling homes is imperfect in some way, requiring government action. Construction firms have plenty of incentive to build homes and sell them. People who have the wherewithal have plenty of incentive to buy homes if they so choose. For the government to intrude into homeownership was an off-budget, nontransparent, backdoor attempt at redistributing income. And when the policy became a way of transferring income to people who couldn’t afford those homes, it was doomed to failure.”

75 years of housing fascism : “On June 28, 1934, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the National Housing Act (NHA) of 1934. Hugh Potter, president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB) called it ‘the most fundamental legislation … ever enacted affecting real estate and home ownership.’ While federal intervention in housing had begun in 1932 under the supposedly laissez-faire Hoover, Potter’s assessment was correct in the sense that the act broke new ground in terms of the range of public-private collaboration — and the unintended destructive consequences of such.”

Washington needs to help businesses for a change: “Are the stock market and economy taking turns for the worse? Do we really need a new stimulus plan from Washington? Let’s begin by rolling back the clock to last Thursday’s June jobs report. It was not a good report. Stocks have fallen over 4 percent since then. And here’s one reason why: plunging wages. Private hours worked continue to free-fall. Hourly wages have flattened. It was a nasty report. Job losses are still substantial. It’s a powerful and nasty combination. While I am an optimist by nature, this does worry me. It suggests a later, and weaker, economic recovery. So here’s a novel thought for all the geniuses down in Washington. Help businesses for a change.”

Canada: US soldier denied asylum : “The first woman soldier to flee the U.S. military for Canada to avoid the Iraq war on Wednesday appealed the findings of a report that led to her deportation order. Lawyers for Kimberly Rivera argued a Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration report did not adequately measure the potential risks the war resister could face if she were returned to the U.S. before a Canadian court ordered her to be deported earlier this year. Rivera’s lawyer, Alyssa Manning, argued in Canada’s federal court that her client would more likely face a court martial and jail time instead of an administrative discharge because of her political opposition to the war.”

Why sacrifice? : “I just don’t know what exactly President Obama means when he says ‘We must all expect to sacrifice during these times’ or the equivalent. Never mind why we must do this — does he want to enact laws that force us all to sacrifice? Is that his job? But, as I said, never mind such tiny details. What exactly does the president consider a sacrifice? Does reducing our standard of living amount to a sacrifice?”

British Labour isn’t working : "The latest figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions show a telling but frightening story as to the societal damage New Labour have inflicted upon Britain. According to the data, over a million people have been on constant state benefits since 1997 whilst another 1.9 million have been on benefits for over seven years. These results are not as surprising once New Labour’s welfare policies have been inspected. Although they claim to support the most vulnerable in society they seem to have penalised them at every opportunity. State benefits are set at a level where it is more beneficial for an individual to remain on them rather than seek employment.”


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, July 10, 2009


There is a new article out in the NYT on the research of Russell Fazio, work which I mentioned late last year under the same heading as that which I have used above. Fazio studies college students who are unlucky enough to be assigned a roommate of a different race -- in the bright-eyed but now hoary hope that living with a black will make you like blacks more. The theory (generally called the "contact hypothesis") goes back to the 1940s and I summarize most of the early research on it here. As I think most readers would expect, the facts give little support to the theory. The theory is based on the view that blacks are just the same as whites, only browner -- and if you believe that you will believe anything.

Needless to say, Fazio finds what many others before him have found -- that most whites thrown together with blacks very rapidly want out. Those who do stick it out, however, seem to have more positive attitudes towards blacks at the end of the experience. In the usual logically-deprived reasoning that seems to pervade the sciences that I know something about (psychology, sociology, medicine and climate science) Fazio just assumes he knows what is the cause of that improvement. One of the first things you learn in Statistics 101 (I used to teach introductory statistics at university level) is that "correlation does not prove causation" -- but an awful lot of scientists seem not to have done a statistics course. Fazio somehow seems to think the improved attitudes observed in some students confirms his "contact hypothesis". But what does it really prove? It COULD prove that it is only when blacks "act white" that whites can live with them and that those whites who live with such blacks are relieved to find that such blacks do exist. Much more likely, however, is that the whites who stick it out are more politically correct and know what to say when Fazio questions them. Students are very good at giving their professors the answers that their professors want. That's how most of them get their degrees.

So if anyone thinks that Fazio has found anything useful towards improving race relations, all I can say is I admire your optimism but not your reasoning power. I was amused, however, by the finding that living with Asians tended to make you dislike Asians. Given Asian superiority in all sorts of academically relevant ways, I don't find that surprising at all! And it does in fact reinforce the most usual finding from "contact hypothesis" research: That getting to know other races makes you like them LESS.

I was amused also by this sentence from one of the other researchers quoted: “Just having diversity in classrooms doesn’t do anything to increase interracial friendships”. That does rather undermine the whole rationale of having "diversity" on campus, it seems to me!


The Internet's Effect on Intellectual Conservatives

Below is an excerpt from a new blog that should be fairly congenial to most readers of this blog. The blog is called OneStDv, a reference that students of IQ will understand immediately. A caution, however: Have a look at the brief glossary at the top of his side column before you read at any length in his blog. He uses some abbreviations that are customary only in his own field of discourse

In my experience, there are generally two groups of conservatives: the traditional and the intellectual. The traditional sect is typified by Bible belt, blue-collar whites who support social conservative values, religion, and a strong sense of American pride. The intellectual sort is typified by individuals like Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and George Will. He's a libertarian in the social sphere, though he does support many traditional aspects of culture because, simply, they work. He champions limited government, merit-based economy, and a fortified national defense. (I classify myself as this.)

The former group came to public prominence due to Jerry Fallwell's Moral Majority coup in the early 1980's. This ascendancy did not represent a cultural shift amongst this political bloc. Rather, it reflected the already present social values entrenched in these geographic regions. Voicing politically incorrect opinions concerning black crime rate, feminism, welfare, and nationalistic pride is considered mundane amongst these voters. Yet, when one resides in suburbia, the domain of middle and upper class whites, these opinions are considered at best, improper, and at worst, abhorrent.

As a result, suburbia produces a large portion of ideological drones, individuals who assume liberal politics is the default position of the enlightened and sophisticated. Not only are they exposed to little dissent from the PC agenda, but any contrary opinions are rarely voiced due to social ostracism. Until recently, the conservative suburbanite or elite academic had no forum in which to vent his conservative opposition. He was surrounded by conforming, high intelligence liberals, espousing almost identical positions on the controversial issues.

But recently, this conservative has found a proper outlet for his frustration and his unwillingness to accept the polite doctrine. His potential intellectual and political peers no longer reside in just his geographic vicinity. The Internet, alongside endless amounts of porn and frivolous viral content, serves as a meeting place for the token, intellectual conservative unable to find common ground with his liberal acquaintances or overtly religious peers. Conservative websites and forums, especially those in my "Related Blogs" section, attract a large scope of visitors, many of whom are the product of middle-class, educated parents.



Minimum-wage folly

by Jeff Jacoby

AS IF THE RECESSION hasn't been rough enough on those near the bottom of the economic food chain, fresh bad news is on the way. Beginning July 24, the federal government will be making it more difficult for employers to hire low- and unskilled American workers. Thanks to an ill-advised law enacted with bipartisan support in 2007, the cost of providing an entry-level job to individuals with few skills or minimal experience will be going up by more than 10 percent. Those who cannot find a job paying at least $7.25 an hour will not be permitted to work.

Welcome to the latest chapter of America's minimum-wage folly.

This will mark the third time in recent years that Washington has forced up the cost of employing low-skilled workers. Last July the minimum hourly wage was increased from $5.85 to $6.55; the July before that, from $5.15 to $5.85. By the end of this month, in other words, the lowest rung on the employment ladder will be nearly 41 percent higher than it was just two years ago. Needless to say, that will put it beyond the reach of many marginal workers, leaving them without work.

Those who press for a higher minimum wage often claim that making entry-level jobs more expensive won't reduce the number of entry-level jobs. Were the government to compel a 41 percent increase in the price of gasoline or movie tickets or steel, every rational observer would expect a drop in the demand for gasoline, movie tickets, or steel. Yet when it comes to the minimum wage, politicians and journalists somehow persuade themselves that making workers more expensive won't reduce the demand for workers. Senator Edward Kennedy, for example, blithely asserts: "History clearly shows that raising the minimum wage has not had any negative impact on jobs." Activist Holly Sklar, campaigning for a $10 minimum wage, likewise insists that "raising the minimum wage does not increase unemployment in good times or bad."

But that's exactly what it does. Artificial price floors -- mandatory minimum prices set higher than what the market will bear -- generate surpluses. Minimum-wage laws are no exception. The price floor imposed by the government on the supply of low-skilled labor results in a labor surplus, which is just another way of saying higher unemployment. How much higher? Economists Joseph Sabia of American University and Richard Burkhauser of Cornell estimate that the minimum-wage hikes of the past two years will wipe out more than 390,000 jobs. According to David Neumark of the University of California at Irvine, an expert on labor force economics, the minimum-wage jump scheduled for this month "will lead to the loss of an additional 300,000 jobs among teens and young adults."

It is bad enough that Congress and the president would deliberately price so many workers out of the market. What is worse is that they claim to be helping the poor when they do so. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama backed a minimum-wage of $9.50 an hour because, his website explained, he "believes that people who work full time should not live in poverty." But if helping the poor is the goal, making it harder for them to get that crucial first job -- the one that may not pay much at first, but that gives new workers their first foothold in the job market -- is not the way to achieve it.

Politicians cannot cure poverty by raising the cost of entry-level employment any more than they can do so by waving a magic wand. After all, if aiding the needy were as easy as setting a compulsory minimum wage, why not set it at $20 an hour -- or better yet, $120 an hour -- and really help them out?

The laws of supply and demand are not optional. They weren't enacted by Congress and Congress cannot override them. Of course a higher minimum wage may benefit some low-skilled workers. But there are innumerable others whom it harms: Those who lose their jobs or can't get hired in the first place because the higher rate is more than their labor is worth. Those whose employers compensate for the wage increase by cutting employees' hours. Those whose jobs are outsourced to a market with lower labor costs.

Minimum-wage laws don't make low- and unskilled Americans more productive, more experienced, or more desirable. They merely make them more expensive -- and more likely, as a consequence, to be unemployed.



BrookesNews Update

Is the Fed predicting economic stagnation for the US? : Unemployment is still rising, business investment is plunging, manufacturing is still contracting, construction is still shed labour as are services. Obama's economic policy is in a shambles. His solution to every economic problem is always more taxes and more government control. But what is really happening to the US economy?
Obama's economic failure lessons from the Great Depression: Obama's failure to tackle the recession is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day. His childish mantra of blaming Bush for every lousy economic statistic that emerges no longer washes with the great majority of Americans. Nevertheless, it is necessary to confront the economics myths of the Great Depression that are being used to justify has massive expansion of government
Why Obama's massive energy bill will wreck the US economy : The costs of the Obama scheme are massive and cumulative. If fully implemented they would wreck the economy and savage living standards. His policy is not a 'jobs bill' but an attack on jobs
Global warming crisis yet another flagrant con: The Waxman=Markey bill is based on outrageous lies and will be an economic disaster. If the congressional, administration and activist conspirators behind this deceit were in the private sector — peddling bogus drugs, rather than bogus science — they'd be jailed for fraud
Honduras and congressional Banana Democrats: There was a coup in Hondura, but it wasn't committed by the US or the Honduran court. It was committed by the leftwing Zelaya. He brazenly defied the law, and Hondurans overwhelmingly supported his removal (a pro-Zelaya rally Monday drew a mere 200 acolytes). Yet Obama stood with Chavez and Castro, calling Zelaya's lawful removal 'a coup'
When they are paying my salary, then I'll worry: Our society has gone, just a few short years ago from being inundated with daily stories of Michael Jackson's 'sleepovers' in his bed with very young friends to all of Hollywood speaking about the great loss that the nation is suffering because of this 'great' man?
The Obama teleprompter lies about Obamacare : These are scary times and if you're over the age of 55, be very scared. If you're chronically ill with diabetes or high blood pressure or multiple sclerosis, etc., your future won't be very bright under Obamacare where federal government and bureaucratic pencil-pushers will decide how long we should live? If we are not entirely convinced of this possibility, do we really want to find out the answer the hard way?
Demands are only growing bigger for a shrinking base of taxpayers: "Washington's champion spenders — from Obama on down — appear to suffer from a delusional psychosis about money. They believe that federal spending is a healing balm. It has magical powers. If applied often enough in large enough quantities, it will cure everything. They also seem to think the money belongs to them and not the taxpayers from whom it was extracted
I'm With Sarah Palin! : America's strength has always come from 'we the people', not 'we the politicians.' It is time for all Americans to remember that and quit relying on government and/or politicians for solutions. Just as Sarah Palin has


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Honduras Outraged by Obama-Chavez Alliance

(The sign says: "Honduras is an example to the world: we do not have oil or dollars. But we have balls")

I continue to receive messages from Honduran citizens upset at the international media for their distorted coverage of the situation in the Central American country. The people support the ouster of Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, who is considered a puppet of Venezuelan Communist ruler Hugo Chavez. They are mystified that an American president would want to return this Chavez puppet to power in Honduras.

One Honduran wrote: "The recent action taken by our Congress is highly supported by several organizations in support of peace and democracy: the State General Attorney, the Supreme Court, the Armed Forces, the private organizations and especially many young people. Mr. Zelaya broke the law on several occasions even after the Supreme Court stated that it was illegal. He had no respect for our laws and our Constitution.

"It's not a new fact to the international media what are Chavez intentions over Central and South America. And we in Honduras don't want that. We don't want to go back to socialism or communism. We still believe very strongly in our democracy and very strongly in our freedom...We should be an example to Central American countries as well as South American countries who have not yet been influenced by Chavez.

"May God bless our small but courageous country. And I hope the international media investigate very deeply. Send your people here and interview people from Congress and Supreme Court. Thank you again for reading our side of the story. We want a democracy, peace, freedom, and a president who doesn't believe he is above the law.

"Many people don't know where Honduras is, but after this, they shall remember that Honduras said no to socialism and communism.



Dumbing down the naval academy

Bruce Fleming, a tenured professor of English at the Naval Academy, is accusing his school of "dumbing down the Naval Academy" and "dumbing down the officer corps" through the use of an admissions policy that favors minority candidates. Fleming's claim appears to have merit.

According to the Washington Post, the Academy has proclaimed as a top priority the building of a student body that reflects the racial madeup of the Navy and of the nation. Consistent with this goal, its newly admitted group of plebes includes 435 minority group members in a class of 1,230. This is the most racially diverse class in the academy's 164-year history.

While the Academy claims that these numbers have been attained "with no loss of scholarship," that claim is inconsistent with the data. According to Fleming, 22 percent of this year's plebes scored less than 600 on the math SAT. Last year, only 12 percent of the plebes failed to hit 600.

Against this evidence, the Naval Academy can boast that 76 percent of the class of 2013 came from the top 20 percent of their high school classes, the same proportion as a decade ago. But the test score data are more probative than the class rank data. For if, as appears, the Academy is now filling its ranks with top students from high schools with lower achieving students than before, the Academy is, indeed, being dumbed down, as Professor Fleming says.

Oh well, it's only our nation's security that's at stake.



Putin on Bush and Obama

Putin Praises Bush

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised the hospitality and openness of U.S. former President George W. Bush in a telegramme sent hours before meeting his successor Barack Obama.

"During the last years we have been working on strengthening Russia-U.S. cooperation. Although there were differences between our countries, I always valued your openness and sincerity," Putin said, congratulating Bush on his 63rd birthday on July 6.

"With special warmth I recall your hospitality in the Crawford ranch and your family estate in Kennebunkport," Putin wrote, referring to their 2007 meeting at the Bush family vacation home when the two leaders went fishing and ate lobster.

Putin rebukes Obama

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday rejected U.S. President Barack Obama's charge that he was mired in Cold War thinking, setting the scene for a stormy first meeting at a Moscow summit next week.

In a pre-trip interview, the U.S. leader told the Associated Press that Putin needed to "understand that the Cold War approach to U.S.-Russian relationship is outdated" and that Putin had "one foot in the old ways of doing business."

Putin -- who once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the century" -- hit back, saying Russians were standing firmly on both feet.




Strange "Rightists" in Sweden these days: Yesterday the main Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (News of Helsinki) writes about Sweden's awakening to Leftist violence. In the article there are interviewed both a researcher of the Swedish secret police (Säpo) and the minister of immigration (with a non-Swedish name) Nyamko Sabuni. The police representative first says that the extreme left is JUST AS violent in their actions as the extreme "right". The minister goes ahead and ADMITS that both the media and the politicians have tolerated the violence of the Leftists due to "historic facts" and labelled the acts as "the riots of the youth". The most visible proof of this willful misunderstanding is the picture attached to the news. The text below the picture states: "The Swedish extreme right usually demonstrates its power on the Swedish National day June the sixth". At you can see in the picture, the "extreme right" members wear the abbreviation NSF on their shirts, which is short for "National Socialist Front". What kind of right wing supporters would carry the word "Socialism" in the name of their group? It's Hitler all over again: Only "Rightist" from the viewpoint of Marxism/Leninism.

Obama: US has “absolutely not” okayed Israeli strike on Iran : “President Obama, issuing an unusual clarification of his vice president’s words, said Tuesday that his administration had ‘absolutely not’ given its blessing for an Israeli attack on Iran. Obama said that although Israel had the right to defend itself, U.S. officials had emphasized the need to avoid ‘major conflict in the Middle East.’ Vice President Joe Biden created a stir Sunday by suggesting the U.S. would stand aside if Israel wanted to attack.”

Great! Ward "Eichmann" Churchill loses bid to reclaim job : “A judge refused Tuesday to reinstate a University of Colorado professor who was fired on plagiarism charges after he likened some Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims to a Nazi leader. If it stands, the ruling means Ward Churchill cannot return to the classroom even though he won a lawsuit in April arguing that his firing was politically motivated. … A jury ruled Churchill shouldn’t have been fired, but the decision on whether to reinstate him was left up to the judge, Larry J. Naves of Denver District Court. Naves ruled Tuesday that the decision by the university’s governing Board of Regents ‘occurred with sufficient procedural protections.’ He also noted that jurors awarded Churchill only $1 in damages. He said the low figure meant that the jury concluded Churchill did not incur any damages.”

US lurching towards “debt explosion”: “The US economy is lurching towards crisis with long-term interest rates on course to double, crippling the country’s ability to pay its debts and potentially plunging it into another recession, according to a study by the US’s own central bank. In a 2003 paper, Thomas Laubach, the US Federal Reserve’s senior economist, calculated the impact on long-term interest rates of rising fiscal deficits and soaring national debt. Applying his assumptions to the recent spike in the US fiscal deficit and national debt, long-term interests rates will double from their current 3.5pc. The impact would be devastating by making it punitively expensive to finance national borrowings and leading to what Tim Congdon, founder of Lombard Street Research, called a “debt explosion”.

The triumph of crony capitalism: “First President Bush, then President Obama poured billions into General Motors and Chrysler to keep the companies alive but barely breathing. That was just for starters. Next came Obama’s creation of an Auto Task Force to oversee the auto companies. To head the task force, the president picked Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in automaking but lots in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats. GM and Chrysler were quickly restructured, mostly to the benefit of the United Auto Workers, the union which spent millions in 2008 to elect Obama and Democrats. The UAW now owns 17.5 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler — quite a return on an investment of zero dollars. Obama said all parties should ’sacrifice,’ but only bondholders did. They got a fraction of what they were legally entitled to receive. UAW retirees, in contrast, got a gift of $9.5 billion at GM and $14.2 billion at Chrysler. There’s an epilogue. Delphi, the auto parts manufacturer once owned by GM and still its biggest supplier, has been in bankruptcy for four years. To acquire its assets and run the company, Delphi and Obama’s Auto Task Force picked an affiliate of the private equity firm Platinum Equity. There was no auction or competitive bidding, though Platinum stands to make millions in the deal. Why Platinum? The UAW favored it, sources said. There’s a name for all this: crony capitalism.”

Christian car repair in Missouri: "American motorists afraid that repairing the family car might break their budget are increasingly turning to Christian repair garages that offer honesty and charity as well as mechanical expertise. Christian Brothers Automotive, founded in Texas in the early 1980s, has just opened its 59th franchise in the recession-hit suburbs of St Louis, Missouri as part of its plans to have 120 outlets across the United States. Most are currently based in the South’s Bible Belt but the company is now expanding north. Nearly 80 per cent of Americans describe themselves as Christians so the company’s philosophy of ministering to its customers and treating them like family while fixing only what needs to be fixed is turning out to be good business during the recession."

Activists left and right spotlight a broken federal government: “Millions of Americans perceive that the federal government is broken and might not be fixable. They view centralized power as heavy-handed, intrusive — and yet useless when it’s called upon for help, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Right or wrong, like them or not, state sovereignty activists say, ‘We have a solution.’ Their solution is radical local activism to restore power to citizens at the state level. They aim to make state laws that counteract federal ones. They hope to preserve local or regional cultures against homogenization. They’re all aiming for their idea of freedom — although often their concepts of freedom are diverse, to say the least. Watch them: They may be the vanguard of a much larger movement of frustrated citizens who feel helpless to achieve their aims at the federal level but who aren’t willing to accept the status quo.”

Federal web sites knocked out by cyber-attack : “A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime …. The Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week, according to officials inside and outside the government. Some of the sites were still experiencing problems Tuesday evening. Cyber attacks on South Korea government and private sites also may be linked. … U.S. officials refused to publicly discuss any details of the cyber attack, and would only generally acknowledge that it occurred. It was not clear whether other government sites also were attacked.”

Royalties deal lets Internet radio play on: “An agreement has been reached to help ensure the future of internet radio by warding off potentially devastating copyright-royalty rate hikes. The deal is between SoundExchange, a nonprofit royalty collection and distribution organization associated with the Recording Industry Association of America, and three small internet-radio webcasters: radioIO, Digitally Imported, and AccuRadio.”

East Germany: Homesick for dictatorship : “Glorification of the German Democratic Republic is on the rise two decades after the Berlin Wall fell. Young people and the better off are among those rebuffing criticism of East Germany as an ‘illegitimate state.’ In a new poll, more than half of former eastern Germans defend the GDR. … Today, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 57 percent, or an absolute majority, of eastern Germans defend the former East Germany. ‘The GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there,’ say 49 percent of those polled. Eight percent of eastern Germans flatly oppose all criticism of their former home and agree with the statement: ‘The GDR had, for the most part, good sides. Life there was happier and better than in reunified Germany today.’” [Young people draped in the East German flag above]

The tough job of bossing us around: “White House officials are so busy wielding vast government power that they barely have time to see their kids! That’s the gist of a New York Times human-interest piece, that portrays Obama administration apparatchiks as overburdened by the demands of their ambitious agenda, to the point that their home lives are somewhat neglected. Let me suggest that the bunch of them should punch out and let the policy wish-list gather a bit of dust. It’s OK; we’ll survive.”

UK: Kindness not enough to cut the queues : “Cheers all round as the Human Tissues Authority announce that the number of people donating kidneys to strangers has increased by 50 per cent. The only problem, alas, is that the increase is from ten people to fifteen. And three of those have yet to undergo surgery. In a country where 7,000 people are in need of a kidney, an increase of two donors is hardly a cause for celebration. Fortunately there is a long-ignored solution: compensating organ donors.”

I have put up a fair bit up on my Paralipomena blog recently, for what it is worth.


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It takes b*tches to tear down a lady

By Andrew Breitbart

What a shock that Maureen Dowd devoted her New York Times column Sunday to attack Sarah Palin. It did not so much criticize Alaska's governor for prematurely stepping down from her official duties as to finish off what sister snipers Katie Couric and Tina Fey began last fall: The assassination of Sarah Palin - by media.

For those who didn't pay attention, Mrs. Palin's unexpected stratospheric rise as a national political figure threatened the media's preordained presidency of Barack Obama.

In light of how the Obama machine took down Hillary Clinton, which unsettled many feminists who believed 2008 was their time, many who saw sexism at play - the destruction of an ascendant Republican female icon was an urgent imperative for the Democratic Party. In conjunction with the laws of political correctness as perfected by the Democratic Media Complex, it would take prominent women to take down an unlikely and unexpected conservative feminist symbol that threatened to steal away Mrs. Clinton's votes from the Chosen One.

While the vanquished then-senator from New York conspicuously removed herself from this task - going so far as praising Sen. John McCain's running mate as "a very composed and effective debater" - a trio of media partisans, each with a unique skill set, rose to the task of tearing down Sarah Palin.

Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey - Obama's Angels (featuring Joy Behar in the role of "Bosley") - used a potent mix of mockery, snobbery and vitriol to undermine Mrs. Palin's feminist bona fides. They are what my wife calls "pad throwers," an allusion to the shower room scene in the Stephen King film "Carrie," in which the popular girls throw sanitary napkins and tampons at the film's namesake. Simply put, they are bullies. And female bullies - "Mean Girls" as Miss Fey's film calls them - are the cruelest kind.

Primarily motivated by a desire to keep abortion "safe, legal and rare," female liberals in the media have carte blanche to do and say anything. But since Mrs. Palin, a mother of five including a boy who was known to have Down syndrome before he was born, is a potent symbol of the pro-life movement, she is considered an enemy of the sisterhood.

Miss Dowd's attempted takedown of Mrs. Palin is less skillful surgery than it is name calling using fun noun and adjective pairings. Think "Mad Libs." And, that's exactly what Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey are. Once the ladies did their job, liberal men like Jon Stewart and David Letterman had the cover to join the hate campaign.

While Mrs. Palin is at ease with her gender, as well as her place in the workplace and at home, Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey convey a base insecurity in their feminine skin. Their rage is fueled by liberalism's false feminist dogma and they take it out on a woman who chose not to join their angry sorority.

The governor of Alaska's compelling narrative - athlete, beauty queen, wife, mother, hunter, successful politician - shows adherents of narrow leftist dogma that, perhaps, women really can have it all. Most importantly: freedom of thought. In calling Alaska's governor "Caribou Barbie," Miss Dowd used beauty as a weapon to diminish Mrs. Palin's achievements. A man would be reprimanded for this, but Miss Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning pad thrower and is licensed for such vindictive pettiness.

"Caribou," of course, is a stab at Mrs. Palin's backwater, Red State ways, attacks on which an Upper Westside liberal snob can never get enough. Miss Dowd goes on to ridicule "Sarah's country-music melodramas." This is her barely veiled attempt to call Mrs. Palin "white trash." And this has been the loathsome subtext of all media criticism of the Palins. They even went after their children. Mercilessly. And Mrs. Palin during the Letterman saga finally cried, "Enough!"

Exposed in the relentless Palin attacks is not just political bias, but unmitigated class bias. The American mainstream media in its current free-fall is begging for more comeuppance when it continues to berate the values and lifestyles of the folks in flyover country who in simpler times used to be considered valued customers.

While "empathy" and "tolerance" may be liberalism's highest values, Miss Dowd offers her conservative victims none. They are caricatured, demeaned and dehumanized. They are to be mocked and ridiculed to the point where the other students point and laugh. The MoDo template is so simple and repetitive it could be written into a software program.

Perhaps resigning from her first term in office may hurt Mrs. Palin's attempts to run for higher office. Even I, a Palin supporter, now have qualms about her seeking higher office. But politics is not the most important way to influence our country, and reinforce conservatism's relevancy in the current global disorder. Media is. Sarah Palin may best serve her country by entering the media fray. In the pursuit of taking her down, Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey have created the person who burns the liberal media prom down.



Honduras and Chile

I want to start with a good intoduction to my topic from Taranto. Taranto has a strong albeit subtle (dare I say Jewish?) sense of humor so, although I love his closing line, it is not the point of what I want to say:
"The Central American nation of Honduras continues its defense of the rule of law in the face of an assault by the Organization of American states, the Associated Press reports from the capital, Tegucigalpa:
Honduras' interim government closed its main airport to all flights on Monday after blocking the runway to prevent the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Clashes with his supporters caused the first death in a week of protests. . . . Honduras' new government has vowed to arrest Zelaya for 18 alleged criminal acts including treason and failing to implement more than 80 laws approved by Congress since he took office in 2006. Zelaya also refused to comply with a Supreme Court ruling against his planned referendum on whether to hold an assembly to consider changing the constitution.

Bizarrely, President Obama has sided with the OAS and the scofflaw ex-president. A Bloomberg report from last week quotes a Honduran Supreme Court justice, Rosalinda Cruz, explaining the situation:
"The only thing the armed forces did was carry out an arrest order," Cruz, 55, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Tegucigalpa. "There's no doubt he was preparing his own coup by conspiring to shut down the congress and courts."

Why won't Obama listen? Does he have something against wise Latina women?

What I want to point out is that the situation in Honduras is a very close re-run of what happened in Chile in 1973. A far-Leftist President was defying the law of the land and the military responded to a plea from the Parliament to remove him. The outcome of that was in the end very good for Chile -- which is now a prosperous and stable democracy -- so I have some hopes that Honduras will benefit similarly. Honduras would be lucky to have a military leader as wise and as principled as Augusto Pinochet, however. Incidentally, Pinochet was an appointee of the man he deposed, Salvador Allende. Allende appointed him because Pinochet was known as non-political. He responded when his country called, however. You will read none of that in the press, of course.


Obama regime cheapens one of America's highest honours

We read:
President Obama on Wednesday signed a measure awarding the 300 surviving Women Airforce Service Pilots from World War II the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed by both chambers of Congress bestows one of the nation's highest civilian honors on the group known as WASPs more than 60 years after they were the first women to fly U.S. military aircraft.

"The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country's call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since," Obama said in a statement. "Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve."

The Women Airforce Service Pilots was formed in 1942 to create a corps of female pilots able to fill all types of flying jobs at home, freeing male military pilots to travel to the war front. The 1,100 members had to pay their own way to Texas for months of rigorous training.

Once assigned to military bases, they did everything from participating in ground-to-air anti-aircraft practice; to towing targets for air-to-air gunnery practice with live ammunition; to flying drones; to conducting night exercises; to testing repaired aircraft before they were used in cadet training; to serving as instructors and transporting cargo and male pilots to embarkation points.


I entirely support recognition of their service at home while men were sent into the war zone but did their service justify such an extremely high honour? If it did, all the pilots who went abroad should also get it. As far as I can see, fewer than 300 congressional gold medals have previously been given since George Washington received the first. In the period following WWII only 8 army men received gold medals, all generals. This affair just shows what contempt Democrats have for military values and distinguished service.

The fact that Republicans also voted for this measure just shows that they too are under the thumb of political correctness



How's the stimulus working for you so far?: "Well now. Our economy is really lunging forward, isn’t it? What a ride! Are you holding on? We’re billions of dollars further in debt (trillions?) and the economy is still stagnant. TARP, the stimulus bill, massive debts our children and grandchildren will have to pay .. and what has this all brought us? Banks aren’t lending, businesses aren’t hiring – let along expanding – and consumers aren’t buying. Oh, to be sure, the malls are crowded. Turn up the thermostats and see how long that lasts. Those aren’t shoppers, they’re just your neighbors trying to stay cool while watching the latest absurd teen fashion and freak shows".

Lessons from the Fourth of July : “The true revolutionary aspect of the Fourth of July was not the military battles that the English colonists waged against the British Empire. Instead, it was the notion that was expressed in the Declaration of Independence: man’s rights do not come from government but rather from nature and God. Throughout history, people have been taught to believe that their government is the source of their rights. The consequence of that mindset is logical — people express gratitude to their public officials for their freedom.”

Fuel standards are killing GM: "General Motors can survive bankruptcy far more easily than it can survive President Barack Obama’s ambitious fuel economy standards, which mandate that all new new vehicles average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The actual Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) results will depend on the mixture of fuel-thrifty and fuel-thirsty vehicles consumers choose to buy from each manufacturer — not on what producers hope to sell. That means only those companies most successful in selling the smallest cars with the smallest engines will, in the future, be allowed to sell the more profitable larger pickups and SUVs and more powerful luxury and sports cars.”

Markets need freedom to fail: “President Obama has announced his ’sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system.’ We can debate endlessly whether the Constitution authorizes any president to ‘overhaul’ the financial system. But I want to focus on a different matter: whether any president, with all his advisers, is capable of overseeing something as complex as the financial system. My answer is no, and it is ominous that a bright guy like Obama doesn’t know this. He thinks he must regulate the system because it is so complicated and important. In fact, those are the reasons why he cannot regulate it, and should not try.”

Goldman Sachs angry at 'vampire squid' description: "If only financial journalists would dish out more insults as good as a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, business columns might suddenly seem so much more interesting. Alas, the world must turn to its music magazine writers, such as Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, for the really colourful stuff when it comes to describing financial titans such as Goldman Sachs. Mr Taibbi... used the flashy phrase when he took it to the Wall Street giant in a recent edition of "Rolling Stone". But much more shocking than Mr Taibbi's well-crafted paragraphs about Goldman Sachs engineering every great market event since the Great Depression, and running the US Government, was the reaction by the normally tight-lipped firm. Instead of ignoring an article that accused it of rigging the booms in internet stocks, oil prices and mortgage-backed bonds.... Goldman went running to Wall Street's favourite tabloid, the New York Post, to defend itself. "(Mr Taibbi's) story is an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories," a furious Goldman spokesman, Lucas Van Praag, emailed the Post." [The rest of the article points out that Taibbi has a lot of facts on his side -- which may explain the reaction]


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 or here or here


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)


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

WOW! Iran clerics declare election invalid and condemn crackdown

Iran’s biggest group of clerics has declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election to be illegitimate and condemned the subsequent crackdown. The statement by the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom is an act of defiance against the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has made clear he will tolerate no further challenges to Mr Ahmadinejad’s “victory” over Mir Hossein Mousavi.

“It’s a clerical mutiny,” said one Iranian analyst. “This is the first time ever you have all these big clerics openly challenging the leader’s decision.” Another, in Tehran, said: “We are seeing the birth of a new political front.” Professor Ali Ansari, head of Iranian Studies at St Andrews University, said: “It’s highly significant. It shows this is nowhere near resolved.”

The association’s statement also shows how deeply the political establishment is divided, and the extent to which the Supreme Leader now derives his power from military might, not moral authority. It makes it much harder for the regime to arrest Mr Mousavi and other opposition leaders. At the weekend a top aide to Mr Khamenei demanded that Mr Mousavi and other opponents be tried for “terrible crimes”, and the elite Revolutionary Guards accused them of “trying to overthrow the Islamic establishment”.

The association did not support a candidate in the election, but has now lined up firmly behind Mr Mousavi. In a rebuke to the regime it declared on its website: “Candidates’ complaints and strong evidence of vote-rigging were ignored . . . Peaceful protests by Iranians were violently oppressed . . . Dozens of Iranians were killed and hundreds were illegally arrested . . . The outcome is invalid.”

It called on other clerics to speak out, demanded the release of all those arrested in the past three weeks, and directly challenged the authority of the Guardian Council, a body of 12 senior clerics that has openly backed Mr Ahmadinejad and his patron, Mr Khamenei. “How can one accept the legitimacy of the election just because the Guardian Council says so?,” it asked.

On Wednesday, a day after the Guardian Council said that the election result was final, Mr Mousavi talked of forming a new political grouping to fight an illegitimate government. With the popular former president Mohammad Khatami and Medhi Karoubi, another defeated candidate, challenging the Government’s legitimacy, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, another former president, pointedly meeting the families of those killed in street demonstrations, that coalition is beginning to take shape.



A Femi-Leftist who defends Sarah Palin

The woman below seems to lack the hate that suffuses Leftists -- so finds herself emotionally lost in that company. She is a genuine feminist instead of a Leftist hater masquerading as an advocate for women

Sarah Palin’s surprise resignation has brought out the crazy again, and reading through the blogs I’m reminded of how much pure bullshit has been said and believed about her and continues to be said and believed. I’m reminded of how so many feminists seem possessed of a wholly irrational hatred for this woman. Why?

This isn’t going to be the kind of post where I sketch out a pattern and then give you The Key To Understanding It All. This is going to be more like a stream-of-consciousness tiptoe through the violets of my reclusive thought processes. I’ve been puzzling over this stuff since last August. One reason I’ve written as many posts as I have about Palin is because I’m so baffled by the reaction to her. I can’t figure it out. It’s like quantum entanglement or dark energy: I make myself sick trying to understand it and worry that I’ll die before I get it sorted. (I know: Xanax.)

Of course, the first answer you’ll get if you ask feminists why they hate Sarah Palin is that “it’s because she ____” — and then fill in the blank with the lie of choice: made rape victims pay for their own kits, is against contraception or sex ed, believes in abstinence-only, thinks the dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago, doesn’t believe in global warming, doesn’t believe in evolution, is stupid and can’t read, etc., etc., etc., etc.

But none of those things is true. None of them. Which brings me to my first puzzlement: why don’t people bother to find out what Sarah Palin really believes? I don’t mean people as in the usual sexist freaks; I mean feminists.

Sarah Palin is only the second woman in the history of this country to run on a major party’s presidential ticket. That alone makes her, to me, a fascinating figure worthy of serious investigation. When McCain announced Palin as his choice for VP, I immediately tried to find out as much about her as I could. I wanted to know who she was, what she believed, what her politics were. It never occurred to me that this interest would make me in any way unusual among feminists, but apparently it did. Apparently most feminists — at least the ones online — are content to just take the word of the frat boys at DailyKos or the psycho-sexists at Huffington Post. That amazes me. Aren’t you even interested in who she really is? I want to ask. She’s only the second woman on a presidential ticket in our whole fricking history!

But even weirder is what happens when you try to replace the myths with the truth. If you explain, “no, she didn’t charge rape victims,” your feminist interlocutor will come back with something else: “she’s abstinence-only!” No, you say, she’s not; and then the person comes back with, “she’s a creationist!” and so on. “She’s an uneducated moron!” Actually, Sarah Palin is not dumb at all, and based on her interviews and comments, I’d say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

But after you’ve had a few of these myth-dispelling conversations, you start to realize that it doesn’t matter. These people don’t hate Palin because of the lies; the lies exist to justify the hate. That’s why they keep reaching and reaching for something else, until they finally get to “she winked on TV!” (And by the way: I’ve been winked at my whole life by my grandmother, aunts, and great-aunts. Who knew it was such a despicable act?)

The only thing Palin is commonly accused of that is actually true is her anti-abortion stance, though, as I’ve pointed out several times, her political position is that “the will of the people” should decide the law. She has also expressed sympathy for women choosing abortion and has said that she is totally opposed to any woman ever being criminalized for it. I’m not pretending she’s anything other than what she is (an adamant “pro-lifer”), but I am trying to be as clear and honest as I can be about her actual stance.

The fact is, that stance alone is not enough to explain the kind of frenzied hatred and feminist repudiation that Palin has attracted. Notice the example of Hugo Schwyzer, who, as I pointed out in my comment at IBTP, is allowed to call himself a feminist and even cross-post at RH Reality Check — while Sarah Palin is endlessly ridiculed and reviled for having the same beliefs. Notice, too, that the Republican Party (and even the Democratic Party) is full of other “pro-life” politicians, none of whom have ever been crucified and slandered Palin-style.

Speaking of slander, that brings me to my next big puzzlement: what is it with the feminists who just freely make shit up about Palin? The lies had to start somewhere, and they didn’t all hatch in the bowels of the Obama campaign (though a bunch of them did). Some of them were incubated by feminists, particularly the ones about Palin being an anti-sex “purity queen,” the kind of batshit Christian who believes in Purity Balls and abstinence pledges and is opposed to sex ed. None of that is true.

When I first started investigating Palin, I was very relieved to discover that she’s not nearly as nutty as she might be, given that she’s a Christian. I was pleased to learn that she’s not one of those fundies who thinks wives have to submit or that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs. She’s not into that whacked-out purity or abstinence-only stuff. That’s good. It’s good that she’s not a nutjob. So…why aren’t other feminists also happy that she’s not a nutjob? Why do they, in fact, spread lies to make her seem worse than she is?

Are people simply confused about the differences between Christians? Do they think all Christians are alike? I doubt it. I’m no godbag and I personally wish that Christianity would evaporate from the face of the earth, but I still recognize that not all Christians are alike. I think most other people do, too. I think most people in this country understand that Tennessee snake handlers don’t go to Catholic mass, and that the Quiverfull people are not the same as the Episcopalians. Being a Christian, even a conservative Christian, doesn’t automatically mean you’re a young earth creationist in a calico dress with a purity ring on your finger.

Besides, I know for a fact that the feminists spreading the lies about Palin knew they were spreading lies. Not to tell tales out of school, but: they knew. They were supplied with the correct information, and they chose to lie anyway. Why?

Was it just about electing Obama? Were feminists simply willing to commit any slander necessary to elect the Chosen One? That’s a likely explanation, but here again: we’re talking about feminists. Feminists doing this — slandering a woman, and doing so in unmistakably sexist terms. After all, caricaturing Palin as a purity queen (Bible Spice, Sexy Puritan) is just the flip side of caricaturing her as a porn queen. As I’ve said before, it’s like the NAACP sponsoring a lynching. The mind boggles.

Even more mind-boggling are the attacks that don’t even bother with false claims about policy or beliefs, but just go straight for free-floating misogynistic rage. Ridiculing her hair, clothes, makeup, voice, body, womb. “Sarah Palin is a c*nt” — good one! Calling her a bimbo — good one! Calling her a f*cking whore — good one! Fantasizing about her being gang-raped — good one! And all this from feminists. Forget the NAACP sponsoring a lynching; this is like the NAACP ripping off their masks to reveal that they’ve been replaced by white supremacist pod people.

Think back to the reactions to Sarah Palin’s speech at the convention. Remember the gal at Jezebel whose head throbbed with hate blood as she listened to Palin speak? The one who said she wanted to “murk that c*nt”? What the hell is that? I cannot figure it out. I look and look, and it’s like trying to see someone else’s hallucination. No matter how hard I squint, I can’t see whatever it is they’re looking at. What is so horrifying?

My own reaction to Palin’s convention speech was the polar opposite. I can honestly say that, aside from Nixon’s resignation speech, Sarah Palin’s address at the convention is the only Republican speech I have ever enjoyed. Or even been much interested in. I don’t agree with Republicans on politics — not by a long shot — but as a person, I found Palin charming in a Harry Truman, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Erin Brockovich kind of way. How could you not? Especially after the goons had spent the previous weekend in a misogyny fest of lurid speculation and grotesque sexual insults about her and her family. I was proud of her for her courage, as well as for her personal accomplishments as a working-class regular person who went into politics and succeeded.

Her speech also delivered some welcome punctures to the national gasbag known as Obama. And that’s another thing: it has not escaped my attention that many of the things Palin is accused of, falsely, are actually true of Obama. This is a guy who, as a U.S. senator from Illinois, didn’t even know which Senate committees he was on or which states bordered his own. (And don’t even get me started on Joe “The Talking Donkey” Biden, who thinks FDR was president during the stock market crash and that people watched TV in those days.) I’m not saying Obama’s a moron, but he’s sure as hell no genius. People say Sarah Palin rambles; excuse me, but have you actually heard Obama speak extemporaneously? As for being a diva, surely we all remember the Possomus sign and the special embroidered pillow on the Obama campaign plane. The fact is, Obama is an intellectually mediocre narcissist with a thin resume who’s lost without a teleprompter and whose entire campaign had all the substance and gravity of a Pepsi commercial. Yet people say Sarah Palin is a fluffy bunny diva.

So: are we back to Obama after all? Is this a transference thing? Are people subconsciously frustrated by the fact that Obama is an empty suit, and are they transferring that rage to Palin? As you see, I don’t have the answers.

Awhile ago I came up with what I think is the most plausible explanation yet when I said: "Sarah Palin is the Designated Hate Receptacle for self-described feminists. They know they’re not supposed to hate other women, but they do anyway because their feminism is not quite as strong as their patriarchal brainwashing. Sarah Palin is the culture’s designated Hate Receptacle."

I’m not entirely satisfied with that, but it’s the best I can come up with. If we add to that the subconscious Obama resentment-transference, perhaps on a kind of sliding rheostat thing, we may be getting close to a solution.

What’s alarming is that the need for a female Hate Receptacle exists, even with feminists. But that would explain why Palin haters are so reluctant to give up hating her. It would explain why they’re so resistant to the truth. They don’t want to find out that the lies are lies; they don’t want to be disabused. They need a hate receptacle, and so they need Palin to be the sum of all things they fear. I guess.



We need a lot more of this

From Gov. Palin's legal counsel:

To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as “fact” that Governor Palin resigned because she is “under federal investigation” for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those “responsible for the abuse of that right.” Alaska Constitution Art. I, Sec. 5. These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any regard for the truth, and is actionable.

And note this:

A day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resigned, a federal official in her home state dismissed one potential explanation for her sudden and unexpected resignation: a rumored FBI investigation into the former Wasilla mayor on public corruption charges. Despite rumors of a looming controversy after the Republican governor's surprise announcement Friday that she would leave office this month, some of them published in the blogosphere, the FBI's Alaska spokesman said the bureau had no investigation into Palin for her activities as governor, as mayor or in any other capacity.

"There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we're investigating her or getting ready to indict her," Special Agent Eric Gonzalez said in a phone interview Saturday. "It's just not true." He added that there was "no wiggle room" in his comments for any kind of inquiry.




The Fascists are back in Mexico: "The ruling National Action Party (PAN) of Mexico admitted defeat in the country’s legislative elections. … Sunday’s balloting gave the opposition centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) 40 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent gained by President Felipe Calderon’s PAN, according to an exit poll made public by the Televisa network. The leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) was running third with about 15 percent of the vote, the survey showed. The trend was largely borne out by partial official returns.”

Bulgaria: Socialist coalition loses to center-right party: “Mayor Boyko Borisov of Sofia, a burly former black-belt bodyguard with a penchant for tough talk, cigars and leather jackets, led his center-right opposition party to a larger-than-expected election victory on Sunday over Bulgaria’s governing Socialist-led coalition, which was weakened by a severely deteriorating economy and voter fatigue with chronic corruption. With nearly two-thirds of the vote counted on Sunday night, Mr. Borisov’s party, the Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria, had 42 percent of the vote, while the Socialist-led coalition had 18 percent, less than had been anticipated. Mr. Borisov will probably be the next prime minister, if negotiations to form a coalition government are successful. Mr. Borisov’s party has become the leading political force in the country, campaigning on promises of change and bringing accountability to government.”

Faith re-emerges in the Church of England: "A hardline Anglican group launched today could cause a “disastrous” split in the Church of England, an evangelical bishop has warned. The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is opposed to the ordination of gay clergy, blessings for gay marriage or civil partnership, and the consecration of women bishops. The new fellowship will today publish letters from the Queen, supreme governor of the Church of England, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, acknowledging its launch. Its founders claim it is nothing more than an “orthodox” movement intended to bring about reform and renewal from within. They claim it bears comparison with Anglican agencies such as the Church Mission Society. Archbishops of conservative Anglican provinces from around the world, including the Nigerian primate Dr Peter Akinola, have sent messages of support. Dr Graham Kings, consecrated last month as Bishop of Sherborne and founder of the moderate evangelical grouping Fulcrum, said the new fellowship represented a structure that would allow its founders to “split” from the Church of England.... Significantly, Dr Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the newly founded province that is claiming to be the authentic Anglican Church in the US but is awaiting recognition from the Archbishop of Canterbury, will give a keynote address to today’s meeting."

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


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 or here or here


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)


Monday, July 6, 2009

There Are No Permanent Majorities In America

Permanent Majorities are Almost Non-existent in American History. If a party attains “permanent majority” status, we would expect that party to dominate both Houses of Congress and the Presidency for an extended period of time, perhaps twenty to thirty years.

But such periods of dominance are rare. Consider the following chart. It measures Republican strength in the White House and House of Representatives by averaging the party’s percentage of the popular vote in the most recent Presidential election with the party’s percentage of seats won in the most recent House of Representatives election. It begins with the formation of the modern Republican party and continues to the present day. Senate seats are ignored for two reasons: (1) Senators were not elected by popular vote until the early 1900s (the exact date varies by state); and (2) only 1/3 of the Senate (give or take a seat) is up at any given time, so including Senate membership would necessarily serve as an artificial dampener on the partisan swings in the country (both toward Republicans and Democrats).

Notice how noisy the chart is. If there were stable, permanent majorities being formed at any time, we would expect to see long periods of time where Republicans are consistently well above the 50% threshold or consistently well below the 50% threshold. But the longest unbroken period of time we ever see for partisan control of Washington is the time of Republican dominance from just before the Civil War to just before Reconstruction ends. Of course, when most of your political opponents consider themselves a part of a different country and/or are not allowed to vote, it is easy to build a massive majority.

Even if we dampen the effect of outliers somewhat by charting a 3-year rolling average, we still see quite a bit of movement, which is inconsistent with permanent majorities:

Instead of a permanent Democratic majority from 1932-1968, and a Republican majority from 1968-2008, what we see is this: Republicans get whacked after the depression, but the American public quickly pulls them back to parity. Then the recession of 1958 hits, and Republicans get knocked down again. The American people pull them back to parity, then the Watergate scandal hits. The American people pull the Republicans back to parity, then the recession of 1990 hits. All of this is consistent with minority status driven by events and Republicans either holding the Presidency at inopportune moments or being incompetent, depending on your viewpoint.

Much more HERE


Spendthrift Sunbelt States

Arizona, Florida, and Nevada have run through the riches of their boom and are starting to look more like cash-strapped New York.

If states were airlines, New York and California would be Delta and United. Even when competently managed, they must shoulder the institutional inheritance of decades of other people’s decisions, good and bad. They must bear the heavy cost of legions of retired government workers. And they carry billions of dollars of debt that backs expensive, complex infrastructure.

Over the last few decades, when New Yorkers and Californians tired of paying high taxes to fund big government, they tended to migrate to what we might call the JetBlue states: Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. In those three low-tax refuges, the construction industry swelled to build houses for the new residents. And the construction workers themselves needed houses, providing jobs for still more construction workers. All the new people needed new places to shop, as well as new doctors, dentists, and restaurants. The local financial industry also grew and grew, filling office parks with the folks who did the back-office work for all the mortgages that New York bankers were eagerly approving. The result: double-digit population growth.

But during the boom times, elected officials in Arizona, Florida, and Nevada took a page out of the old states’ playbook, driving up spending at an unsustainable pace. Now that the growth of the low-tax states has hit a wall, shattering revenues, they face a tough choice: they can raise taxes to fund permanently higher costs, or they can aggressively cut spending. So far, it’s proving surprisingly easy for them to choose Option One, taking a small step toward transforming themselves into the high-tax states that so many of their own residents have fled.



Can California Be Sold On Ebay's Former Leader?

California's campaigns introduce candidates not only to the state's voters but to its immensity. In Bakersfield, Meg Whitman, 52, the former CEO of eBay who is campaigning for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination, learned about carrots.

In 1968, the Grimm brothers were selling vegetables at a roadside stand in Anaheim. They moved to Bakersfield and today Grimmway Farms and one rival provide 80 percent of the nation's carrots, partly because the brothers figured out how to make the vegetables pleasingly uniform in shape.

Who knew? Whitman didn't, and the story, which she tells enthusiastically and at length, delights her because it confirms her conviction that California "was built by intellectual capital," and not just the Hollywood and Silicon Valley sort.

California's cascading crises prefigure America's future unless Washington reverses the growth of government subservient to organized labor. The state cannot pay its bills, poorly educates its young, and its taxation punishes whatever success that its suffocating regulatory regime does not prevent.

Whitman, a Roman candle of facts and ideas, insists, "We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem of epic proportions." Twenty-five percent of California's revenues come from income taxes paid by the 144,000 richest taxpayers, so "if one of them leaves, it's a really bad thing." Lots have left. Some never really arrive. Pierre Omidyar, after founding eBay in San Jose, resided in Nevada, which has no income tax.

Whitman says 50 percent of California's spending on education, grades K through 12, goes into overhead, not classrooms, compared to 20 percent in, for example, Connecticut. The public education lobby likes it that way, but because California elementary school students rank 46th among the states in math, 48th in reading, 49th in science, it is, Whitman says tersely, hard for defenders of the status quo to "hide behind the results."




Zero money down, not subprime loans, led to the mortgage meltdown: "What is really behind the mushrooming rate of mortgage foreclosures since 2007? The evidence from a huge national database containing millions of individual loans strongly suggests that the single most important factor is whether the homeowner has negative equity in a house -- that is, the balance of the mortgage is greater than the value of the house. This means that most government policies being discussed to remedy woes in the housing market are misdirected. Many policy makers and ordinary people blame the rise of foreclosures squarely on subprime mortgage lenders who presumably misled borrowers into taking out complex loans at low initial interest rates. Those hapless individuals were then supposedly unable to make the higher monthly payments when their mortgage rates reset upwards. But the focus on subprimes ignores the widely available industry facts (reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association) that 51% of all foreclosed homes had prime loans, not subprime, and that the foreclosure rate for prime loans grew by 488% compared to a growth rate of 200% for subprime foreclosures."

Feds OK seizure of extremist assets: “The Obama administration on Thursday authorized the seizure of assets belonging to an extremist organization in Iraq and an Iranian backer of insurgents, saying both are responsible for deadly attacks in Iraq. The Treasury Department is targeting Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and the Iraq-based group Kata’ib Hizballah for committing, directing or supporting acts of violence in Iraq against U.S. and Iraqi forces.”

FL: Supreme Court says Crist can’t reject judge nominees: “The Florida Supreme Court says Gov. Charlie Crist can’t reject an all-white list of appeals court nominees, even though he wants to appoint someone who will make the judiciary more diverse. The justices unanimously ruled Thursday that the Florida Constitution leaves Crist no choice but to pick one of the six white candidates submitted by a judicial nominating commission.”

How to encourage software piracy: "Adobe Systems is facing massive customer service delays worldwide, with some phone calls taking 40 minutes to answer. The company apologised for the inconvenience but said it would take at least a month to fully rectify the situation. One local customer told The Australian he faced registration difficulties last week after purchasing the Adobe Student package at $529. Like all vendors, Adobe requires student status to be validated. The company takes three days to process student software registrations as it is a manual exercise. After the wait time, the customer still hadn't received a registration key. He was finally told that other people had been waiting for over a week for theirs. When contacted, Adobe admitted its customer care division for consumer clients had been hurt by a change in vendors. Unfortunately there's been an extended wait time for student registrations and phone calls," Mr Frazer said. Adobe exceeded the three-day target for student registrations but customers trying to contact the company via telephone fared far worse. Mr Frazer said some calls took more than half an hour to answer while other callers hit a brick wall. "We had some customers waiting for about 40 minutes and some calls couldn't get through," the Singapore-based executive said." [People who have honestly paid a lot of money for something they could have got from a pirate source should not be subjected to this]

Another charming Muslim: "Music star Cheb Mami has been sentenced to five years in jail for trying to make a former lover undergo a forced abortion, despite pleading for forgiveness at his trial near Paris. Wearing a white shirt, the star, whose real name is Mohamed Khelifati, showed no emotion as the verdict was read out, before being escorted from the courtroom in Bobigny, outside Paris, and remanded in custody. The victim, a 43-year-old photographer whose name was withheld, was sequestered and drugged in Mami's villa in Algiers in the summer of 2005 after revealing she was pregnant with his child. Two women and a man then tried to carry out an abortion on her. Returning to France, the woman learned her pregnancy had not been terminated and went on to have the child - a girl - now three years old. "They insulted me. They threw me on the mattress and tore off my pants....I was given three shots with needles, one woman pressed against my stomach and the other put her hand in my vagina and started scraping," she told the court. The victim was not present to hear the verdict but her lawyer, Marie Dose, said her client was "relieved to see that the court understood the violence she was subjected to," and hoped her young daughter "can forgive her father". During his testimony, Mami broke down in tears and pleaded for the woman's forgiveness, admitting he made a "serious mistake" but saying he did not love her and felt "trapped" when she told him she was pregnant. "I was ashamed to have an illegitimate child. A child should be born from a union. I didn't want this child," said the singer."

Consumers likely to find increased bank costs: "An array of government-created insurance agencies — which have long charged bargain-rate premiums to banks, credit unions, and brokerages — are seeking to make up for massive shortfalls in their insurance funds by raising fees and premiums, many of which are likely to be passed on to consumers. The billions of dollars in new fees are the result of decisions by Congress and the agencies to allow the insurance funds and premiums to be capped at levels that proved far too low, according to Jeffrey R. Brown, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the issue. ‘This is what happens when you put the government in charge of an insurance program,’ Brown said. ‘Politically, they don’t run them the way the need to be run.’”

Life, liberty, and property are inseparable: “Life, liberty, and property were the central, inalienable rights that formed the foundation of the great experiment in self government called the United States of America. The founders of our country never broke apart this sacred triumvirate, because each one of these rights is inextricably bound to the other. No one of these three can exist without the other. Moreover, when all three are secured, it is almost impossible for injustice to exist. Wherever one does find injustice, one invariably finds a violation of one of these three basic rights at its root.”

Wal-Mart tired of abuse so joins the corrupt system: “The Wall Street Journal explains Wal-Mart’s motivation in benign-sounding terms: ‘Wal-Mart — which provides insurance to employees’ — ‘wants to level the playing field with companies that don’t.’ This is a sugary way of saying that Wal-Mart wishes to use the aggressive controls of the state to force firms smaller than it to provide what they may or may not have the resources to provide. Those firms that are unable to continue operating under the state’s new regulations will, of course, be forced to go out of business (unless they’re able to procure bailouts — this is also problematic), thus leaving less firms with whom Wal-Mart will need to compete. This is bad not only for workers but also for consumers. We shouldn’t really be surprised by Wal-Mart’s recent move. As Mr. Lew Rockwell reported in 2005, Wal-Mart called for an increase to the minimum wage so as to impose a higher cost on smaller competitors.”

Why I’m lucky to be an American: "“It is true that genuine scarcity can exist in some regions afflicted by drought or other natural disaster. Scarcity can affect individuals through random crime, disease, or accident. For the most part, however, scarcity is created by governments. That is true of the United States government. Government policy created and prolonged the Great Depression. It caused stagflation in the 1970’s. It is behind the current depression. Nevertheless, I feel fortunate to be an American. For it is the American experience which proves that scarcity need not exist.”


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 or here or here


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)


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rally for the people of Iran a week from now

If you live in NYC or thereabouts, Sunday 7/12 from 2 PM -5PM there will be a big anti-regime rally in front of the UN headquarters. Many Iranians are expected to attend but all are welcome.


Sarah Palin hints at White House bid by quitting as governor of Alaska

The blogs are overflowing with comments on the Palin announcement but no-one really knows where it is leading. The following article from the "Times" of London probably represents mainstream thinking at the moment, however

Sarah Palin set off a storm of speculation about an imminent White House bid when she said yesterday that she was stepping down as governor of Alaska. Americans were stunned by the surprise announcement, made from her home in Wasilla, Alaska, on the eve of Independence Day celebrations.

There has been intense speculation in recent weeks that Mrs Palin was considering running for the Republican nomination in 2012, bolstered by heavy hints she dropped earlier this week in the guise of an interview about jogging. Few expected her not to see out her first term as governor where, despite her polarising effect, she was seen as a shoo-in for re-election.

Mrs Palin’s announcement that she will stand down on July 25, handing the reins to the state’s Lieutenant Governor, had some commentators questioning whether another scandal surrounding herself and her family was about to break, after the 2008 campaign revelations about the pregnancy of her teenage daughter and an embarrassing ethics investigation into allegations she sacked a state official over a family feud.

The first investigation by the state legislature into the scandal — popularly known as Troopergate — found her guilty of breaching ethics, prompting Mrs Palin to order a second investigation by a special counsel which cleared her of wrongdoing.

The resignation also sparked a flurry of speculation that she might seek a Senate seat in 2010 as a prelude to a White House run in 2012. Critics branded it a high-risk strategy for a future in public life, inviting criticism that she is not capable of finishing the job she started. Mrs Palin has a reputation for doing things her way and refusing to take advice of more experienced political operatives.

Much of the criticism that dogged her during her vice-presidential campaign in November centred on her parochialism and lack of national and international experience — something she might seek to improve on a national stage. In a pointed reference to her recently expanded international experience, she said that her decision had been bolstered by a trip to visit American troops serving in Kosovo, and to the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where wounded servicemen and women from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.

Her announcement came days after the publication of a damning Vanity Fair profile in which McCain campaign workers turned on her, blaming her “narcissistic personality disorder” for sinking the campaign. Todd Purdum, the author, described Mrs Palin’s public life as “an unholy amalgam between Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure”, a cult Nineties comedy about Alaska and mocked her for once saying: “Believe me, Alaska is a microcosm of America.” “Believe me, it is not,” he wrote.

Her voice shaking Mrs Palin told journalists that she was stepping down for the good of Alaskans, expressing her anger at the battering the state has taken in the press as a by-product of her governorship. “I’m not going to put Alaskans through that,” she said. “That’s not what’s best for Alaskans. She addedthat she believed she could be more effective “outside government”. She later corrected her remarks to “outside the governor’s office”, leaving the door back to public life ajar.

Mrs Palin has courted so much attention on the national stage of late — leading parades and appearing on national talk shows — that she has attracted criticism in her home state for failing to serve their needs. The former Alaskan governor, Wally Hickel, Mrs Palin’s mentor, broke with his protegee over what he saw as her over-arching personal ambition. “When Governor Palin was elected in 2006 we believed she would put Alaska first. But once elected, she put Sarah first,” he said in a statement last month. “Because of her national ambitions she is promoting an agenda that will allow outside corporations to dominate Alaska’s resources, including our energy and the jobs it provides.”

Mrs Palin said her decision had been made with the encouragement of her family. “Much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults,” she said, a reference to her youngest child who suffers from Down’s syndrome.



Why the Left hate Sarah Palin

By Jim Geraghty

Tuesday night on Hugh's program, we discussed the Vanity Fair article about Sarah Palin and why, eight months after the election, Palin still arouses such fury amongst liberals and so many rank-and-file Democrats.

My first thought was that it tied heavily to her appearance. In liberals' minds, conservatives are supposed to look like the couple from the painting American Gothic: Dour and joyless, aged, spartan and frail. Political leaders aren't supposed to be young, really good-looking women, full of energy, smiles, and winks.

Hugh suggested it tied to the contrast between her lifestyle and her critics: "She is the embodiment of the anti-choice, the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made — as to going back home instead of moving to the west coast, having children, having a child with Down's, staying married to one man the whole time, choosing rural or suburban over urban and living a generally conservative lifestyle, working with her hands . . . That everything she is is the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are, so it's not just enough to say, 'I disagree with you,'; she has to be repudiated and crushed."

And now, I would submit a slight refining of that idea, that the seeming happiness of Palin's life is a 24-7 irritant because it challenges the way some liberals see the world.

Liberals believe that their ideas, philosophy, worldview, and policies liberate believers, and that the conservative equivalents limit people. Liberals see themselves as rejecting outdated beliefs and obsolete ideas, overturning established orders, and discarding traditions established by superstitious and ignorant forebears who weren't as enlightened as we are. Conservatives, in their minds, are runaway cultural superegos, always wagging their fingers about individual responsibility, dismissing excuses, reminding people that they can't always do what they want because of the consequences to themselves and to others.

Conservatism, they suspect, will leave you in a marriage that doesn't satisfy you, burden you with children you don't want, repress your passions, and trap you in a empty, boring, and unfulfilled life, with no hand of government able to help.

Today almost everyone faces some sort of challenge in balancing work and family; I don't know too many people who believe there are sufficient hours in a day. And then along comes this woman who's made all of these "conservative" choices and now has an amazing career, a supportive husband, a beautiful family, and great health and appearance, and she bears it all, including the inevitable hard times, with pluck and a smile, as far as we can tell. (For all we know, perhaps behind closed doors, Sarah Palin screams into a pillow when it all gets to be too much. But what we know about her suggests she relieves her stress by shooting moose.)

A short while back, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum suggested, only half-jokingly, that actress Angelina Jolie's "entire Oscar-winning, serial-adopting, Brad Pitt-snagging, plane-piloting, unattainably hot-looking existence makes women around the world feel hopelessly inadequate and therefore unhappy." Perhaps Sarah Palin is the Angelina Jolie of the political world.

In her opponents' minds, Palin's made all the wrong choices, and cannot, they insist, be very bright. Yet she's happy and successful. She is an anomaly that invalidates their worldview, and for that, they attempt to immiserate her — regardless of whether she wishes to run for national office again.


Carol Platt Liebau adds:

Governor Palin has been attacked with the kind of ferocity that few people in the public eye have ever experienced -- except, perhaps, for Justice Thomas and (to a lesser extent) Joe the Plumber. Why does the left reserve their most vicious derision for these three, and those like them? As I wrote last fall in a Townhall column:

Justice Thomas, Governor Palin and Joe the Plumber have one thing in common: Their lives make a mockery of the Democrat Party’s raison d’etre – its foundational assertion that minorities, women and “regular guys” can get a “fair shake” in America only through government action. What’s more, all three of them have made it clear that they don’t want the government’s “help.” For that apostasy, and for their sheer ingratitude – after all, aren’t the Democrats the ones who “care” about blacks, women and “working men”? – the left has tried to destroy them.



Ol' Stupid begins to notice things

Too bad for Barack Obama and the Democrats, but George W. Bush is the shrinking man of American politics, growing ever smaller on the far horizon. Merely invoking his name will soon no longer frighten women and horses.

The not-so-new president has treated his predecessor as his training wheels, invoking his presence every time (which is often) the ground trembles, a dog barks, the wind blows, the rain falls and he threatens to topple over. We were promised nirvana, or at least a lollipop, if only we could banish George W. and the inept and evil Republicans. Banish we did, and the messiah from the South Side of Chicago has been practicing miracle-working for five months. Alas, there's no sign of clearing skies.

Five months is not very long, of course, and it's unreasonable to expect nirvana so soon, but that's the nature of the impatient American public. Reason, like love, has nothing to do with it. With every nightfall, the news gets worse, or at least not any better, and growing numbers of Americans are beginning to doubt that he has all the answers he so confidently insisted he did. The public-opinion polls clearly show deteriorating public confidence in the confidence man. Worse than not having the answers is the growing suspicion that Mr. Obama and his wise men even understand the question.

The unemployment numbers, the closely watched benchmark by which presidents are judged, stood at 7.2 percent when Mr. Obama took his oath, and Thursday, it inched up to 9.5 percent. The average workweek subsided in June to 33 hours, lowest since the feds began keeping such records in 1964. Cutting hours and freezing pay has spread even to companies awash in profits, with managers, never wanting to waste a crisis and looking to an uncertain future, are taking advantage now, just in case. "We are in some very hard and severe economic times," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told an interviewer in the wake of the new bad news. "The president and I are both not happy. I do think the public needs to be patient. We know they are hurting."

The president is saying the things every president says when recession hits and panic and depression threaten. Some of the president's friends insist they see "tiny green shoots" on the landscape, promising prosperity soon. The president himself concedes the economy is in a hole and blames the man who preceded him. His predecessor's policies "have left us in a very deep hole," he says, "and digging our way out of it will take time, patience and some tough choices." The secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, likes the shovel-ready metaphor, too. "You know," she told a television interviewer the other day, "we are in just so many deep holes that everybody had better grab a shovel and start digging out."

What "somebody" should do is hide those shovels from "everybody." If you're in a hole, as any ditch digger could tell you, the only thing you can do with a shovel is dig yourself a little deeper into the hole. Not a good idea. A speechifyer such as Barack Obama is expected to be more careful with his metaphors (Hillary gets a pass), and the president's growing problem is that growing numbers of voters who imagined he was "the one" now think he's in that hole and over his head.

The Democrats diverted attention from shortcomings big and small for a decade of depression by hauling poor old Herbert Hoover out for frequent floggings, and Mr. Obama obviously thinks he can similarly use George W. Bush. But that was then and this is now; no president now can monopolize the microphone as FDR did, with his mastery of press and radio and equipped with a terrified and compliant Congress. Barack Obama once imagined he could make it so by saying it's so, but that only works for a little while. He's learning what presidents before him learned, that the job of president is harder than it looks.

As the effects of the stimulus, such as they are, begin a slow fade, the unemployment number, already the highest in 26 years, is projected to keep rising. Shrinking payrolls naturally restrain growth. A jobless recovery driven by federal spending may improve certain numbers, but "it's the economy, Stupid." Stupid, standing in the rain out there on the street will say, "Where are the jobs?" Stupid is not actually as stupid as presidents sometimes hope he is. He's not so stupid that he can't see who that is in the White House.



A roundup of commentary on the economy

The 'stimulus' promised a jobless peak of 8%; it's now 9.5%: "About the best we can say about yesterday's June jobs report is that employment is usually a lagging economic indicator. At least we hope it is, because the loss of 467,000 jobs for the month is one more sign that the economy still hasn't hit bottom despite months of epic fiscal and monetary reflation. The report is in many ways even uglier than the headline numbers. Average hours worked per week dropped to 33, the lowest level in at least 40 years. This means that millions of full-time workers are being downgraded to part-time, as businesses slash labor costs to remain above water. Because people are working less, wages have fallen by 0.3% this year. Factories are operating at only 65% capacity, while the overall jobless rate hit 9.5%. Throw in discouraged workers who want full-time work, and the labor underutilization rate climbed to 16.5%. The news is even worse for young people, with nearly one in four teenagers unemployed".

Today’s employment situation: “First of all, let’s compare the current situation with employment with what the Obama Administration told us would happen if we didn’t pass the stimulus package. As has been obvious for some time now the stimulus is not — as we repeatedly predicted — substantially impacting the employment situation. Instead, employment has risen by more than 3%.”

5% unemployment: Still a decade away?: “This could become the third time in a row that Americans struggle out of recession only to find themselves in a so-called ‘jobless recovery.’ The phrase became popular back in the early 1990s, when a frigid post-recession job market paved the way for Bill Clinton to defeat incumbent George H. W. Bush in the 1992 presidential election. Then the pattern was repeated after the 2001 recession, in a more pronounced way. Despite a disappointing monthly jobs report Thursday, the good news is that economists generally expect the US economy to start growing again later this year. But the report, showing 9.5 percent unemployment in June, served as a reminder that the current environment for US workers is unusually tough.”

Texas the model: "In a time when many states are experiencing fiscal crises and economic decline, one state stands out above all others as a success story: Texas. I recently heard Governor Tim Pawlenty say that during the year or so before job growth turned negative and the country as a whole was still adding payroll jobs, 53% of all of the jobs created in the U.S. were created in one state: Texas. No wonder that Texas' government is running a surplus and its economy remains strong despite trying times."

Obama's spending blitz worries Powell: "Colin Powell, one of President Obama's most prominent Republican supporters, expressed concern publicly for the first time Friday that the president's ambitious blitz of costly initiatives may be enlarging the size of government and the federal debt too much. "I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them," Mr. Powell said in an interview with CNN's John King. It was released by the network Friday. Mr. Powell, a retired U.S. Army general who rose to political prominence after a long and accomplished military career, said that health care reform and many of Mr. Obama's other initiatives are "important" to Americans. But, he said, "one of the cautions that has to be given to the president - and I've talked to some of his people about this - is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all."


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 or here or here


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)


Saturday, July 4, 2009


Peggy Noonan has a well-written reminder of the history behind Independence Day.


Duke's homosexual rape case elicits silence

A professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington says the outrage over a homosexual statutory rape case at Duke University is a deafening sound of silence.

Frank Lombard, associate director of Duke University's Center for Health Policy, has been accused of molesting his adopted five-year-old African-American son and offering him up for sex with strangers on the Internet. Lombard's homosexual partner, who resides in the same house with Lombard, was allegedly unaware of the activities.

Mike Adams is a professor at UNC-Wilmington and has written several pieces on the case. "The conduct that he was accused of engaging in, in front of a webcam with his five-year-old son, includes molestation," Adams explains. "There was oral sex that was involved, and other very unhealthy practices that are too grotesque for me to describe...."

In a 2006 rape case involving white lacrosse players from Duke who were accused of raping a black stripper, more than 80 university officials and professors signed a statement accusing the players of racism. The players were eventually found innocent of all charges.

Adams wonders where those professors are now in this new rape case at the university. "I expect to see a continued silence on this," he relates. "I don't expect them to ever speak out on the issue -- and I expect, as a result of that, Duke University to take a severe, severe hit in the court of public opinion."

If convicted, Lombard faces up to 20 years in prison.



Equality on Trial

by Thomas Sowell

For the fourth time in six cases, the Supreme Court of the United States has reversed a decision for which Judge Sonia Sotomayor voted on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. If this nominee were a white male, would this not raise questions about whether he should be elevated to a court that has found his previous decisions wrong two-thirds of the times when those decisions have been reviewed?

Is no one supposed to ask questions about qualifications, simply because this nominee is Hispanic and a woman? Have we become that mindless? Qualifications are not simply a question of how long you have been doing something, but how well you have done it. Judge Sotomayor has certainly been on the federal bench long enough, but is being reversed four out of six times a sign of a job well done? Would longevity be equated with qualifications anywhere else? Some sergeants have been in the army longer than some generals but nobody thinks that is a reason to make those sergeants generals.

Performance matters. And Judge Sotomayor's performance provides no reason for putting her on the Supreme Court. Although the case of the Connecticut firefighters is the latest and best-known of Judge Sotomayor's reversals by the Supreme Court, an even more revealing case was Didden v. Village of Port Chester, where the Supreme Court openly rebuked the unanimous three-judge panel that included Judge Sotomayor for "an evident denial of the most elementary forms of procedural due process."

Longevity is not the only false argument for putting Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court. Another is the argument that "elections have consequences," so that the fact that Barack Obama won last year's elections means that his choice for the Supreme Court should be confirmed. This is a political talking point rather than a serious argument.

Of course elections have consequences. But Senators were also elected, and the Constitution of the United States gives them both the right and the duty to say "yes" or "no" to any president's judicial nominees.

It is painfully appropriate that the case which finally took the Sotomayor nomination beyond the realm of personal biography is one where the key question is how far this country is going to go on the question of racial representation versus individual qualifications. Too much that Sonia Sotomayor has said and done over the years places her squarely in the camp of those supporting a racial spoils system instead of equal treatment for all. The organizations she has belonged to, as well as the statements she has made repeatedly -- not just an isolated slip of the tongue taken "out of context"-- as well as her dismissing the white firefighters' case that the Supreme Court heard and heeded, all point in the same direction.

Within living memory, there was a time when someone who was black could not get certain jobs, regardless of how high that individual's qualifications might be. It outraged the conscience of a nation and aroused people of various races and social backgrounds to rise up against it, sometimes at the risk of their lives. Many, if not most, thought that they were fighting for equal treatment for all. But, today, too many people seem to think it is just a question of whose ox is gored-- or for whom one has "empathy," which amounts to the same thing in practice.

Clever people say that none of this matters because Republican Senators don't have enough votes to stop this nominee from being confirmed. But that assumes that every Democrats will vote for her, regardless of what the public thinks. It also assumes that alerting the public doesn't matter, now or for the future.

The standards for judging the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor are not the standards of either the criminal law or the civil law. That is, nothing has to be proven against her "beyond a reasonable doubt" or even by "a preponderance of the evidence." Judge Sotomayor is not in any jeopardy that would entitle her to the benefit of the doubt. It is 300 million Americans and their posterity who are entitled to the benefit of the doubt when the enormous power of determining what their rights are is put into anyone's hands as a Supreme Court justice for life.



Taxes Or Growth?

The White House now refuses to rule out raising taxes on the middle class. Meanwhile, a top finance official in the previous Democratic White House suggests a tax hike is all but inevitable. Are we being set up? It sure looks that way. And if it happens, you can mark it down: The economy will slow to a crawl and may even relapse into a deep recession. This is a complete reversal of what was promised.

"In an economy like this," President Obama said at last summer's Democratic National Convention, "the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class." That, he said, included 95% of all families. He promised flat out that he wouldn't raise taxes on families with income of less than $250,000.

How times have changed. On Monday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, asked point-blank several times if the president's vow was still good, would say only that "we are going to let the process work its way through." "Process"? Middle class, watch out.

Actually, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on any class — lower, middle or upper. Tax hikes in a recession are plain crazy. They will inevitably crimp economic activity, slow retail sales, kill jobs and leave the government starved of revenues. A major study in 2007 looking at recent U.S. economic history found that when the government raises taxes by 1%, U.S. GDP falls by roughly 2% to 3%. As we've noted before, the only surprising thing about this study is its author: Christina Romer, President Obama's top economic adviser.

Is he still listening to her? The sweeping ambition of the White House's plans to expand government will require massive tax hikes. This is no longer in doubt, if it ever was. Just look at the tab run up so far — and some of the costs that we might soon have to pay. All told, we'll spend $13 trillion more than we'll take in through 2019. How will we pay for it all?

The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that U.S. taxes as a share of GDP would have to rise 49% by 2035 to pay for just the spending already budgeted. And these taxes will hit all Americans, not just the "rich." This is a recipe for economic disaster. "We'll have to raise taxes soon," wrote President Clinton's former deputy Treasury secretary, Roger Altman, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece this week that sounded suspiciously like a trial balloon for Democrats in Congress and the White House.

There's a far better answer to our economic ills. At the same time the U.S. is pondering economic suicide through massive tax hikes, other countries are learning not from Obamanomics but from Reaganomics: They're pondering tax cuts. Germany's Angela Merkel wants to cut taxes, despite her country's big deficit. "How can we ensure Germany emerges stronger once the crisis is over and the cards have been reshuffled in the world? The answer is we need growth," she said this week.

Even Hungary's socialist government says the same thing. It's pushing supply-side tax cuts in 2010 to stimulate its economy. Our guess is Germany and Hungary will show more life in the next year than the U.S., unless the U.S. wakes up.

Usually at this point in the business cycle, the U.S. is the locomotive that pulls the rest of the world out of its slump. This time, the world is looking to China to get the job done. In the U.S., the rest of the world sees only a growth-killing mix of higher taxes, soaring spending, surging debt, rising inflation and growing regulation.

We could reverse this. Instead of tax hikes, we need broad-based tax cuts for families and business. But we have to act right away. After all, why let a crisis go to waste?



Predicting economic collapse

It's usually a product of governments keeping interest rates artificially low

One such theory is the “Skyscraper Index.” Developed by economist Andrew Lawrence, states that when some of the tallest skyscrapers were being built, they were followed by a large economic collapse.

This may seem surprising, but the construction industry is highly correlated with the rate of interest. For example, the Federal Reserve creates a market boom with artificially loose money through low interest rates. When the interest rates adjust, businesses realize that they made a malinvestment in projects they shouldn’t have, thus causing a recession. The Federal Reserve then does it all over again to “recover” from the recession, starting the cycle all over again. This is also known as the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT).

The construction of skyscrapers is a long-term investment requiring a lot of capital, and when interest rates are low, business owners find it most attractive to get loans to buy long-term investments. This is a perfect recipe for a “Skyscraper Index.”

The evidence for the most part is clear. For example, Economist Mark Thornton finds that the index correctly predicted the Great Depression. The 40 Wall Tower, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building were all planned and begun production right before the Great Depression.

Now, the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has put the current economic recession to the “Skyscraper Test” and found that 2008 was one of the most successful years in skyscraper construction. The tallest ten buildings constructed during that year were 31 meters above the previous highest average, which includes the Shanghai World Center and the Almas Tower.

Of course, the evidence is not perfect and this doesn’t this mean that economists and investors should always look at skyscraper construction to predict recessions. As this would turn the index into a self-fulfilling prophecy much like what is believed to have happened to the “January Effect,” which begun as a stock market predictor and has now become widespread knowledge making it worthless.

What should be learned from this is that the Federal Reserve’s policy of loose credit and low interest rates causes businesses to shift into long-term investments, as the low interest rate is supposed to be a signal of increased savings by the populace. Savings is another way of saying “delayed consumption” and businesses want to prepare for this.

But since the Federal Reserve falsifies savings, it causes business owners to malinvest. Now, this does not necessarily mean that the skyscraper is necessarily a malinvestments. What it means is that artificially loose credit makes skyscrapers more attractive for capital owners who, because of the low interest rate, seek higher returns on their money. And they then build when they should be sitting on their shovels.

The “Skyscraper Index” is a step in the right direction proving that the Austrian Business Cycle Theory is accurate, which will rightly put the blame on the government and Federal Reserve for many of history’s recessions.

In short, the “Skyscraper Index” actually does more than just predict market behavior, it portends what happens when government regulators usurp free market prerogatives. As experience has taught as time and again, when that occurs, all the economists laid end to end can’t keep America’s financial edifice erect.




For some time now, I have enabled comments on all my blogs. With one exception, I specify that all comments must pass "moderation" by me before they appear. And I do get comments from Leftists which I normally delete rather than publish. They are generally just too unintelligent to be worth publishing: Mostly abuse and baseless assertions with no attention to evidence at all.

Such comments do however serve to illustrate the inspissated darkness and ignorance of the Leftist mind so I am wondering if I should pass them all for publication -- just for their evidentiary value. They certainly establish clearly what dismal souls Leftists are.


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 or here or here


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)


Friday, July 3, 2009

Was "Ricci" really a victory?

Or was it a "no win" for employers? It may mean that there is no test at all for the competence of your local firefighters. Too bad if your building burns down because the firefighters don't know how to use their equipment properly or deal with the problem in the best way

In 2004, the City of New Haven, Connecticut, decided to throw out a job-related examination that would have qualified Frank Ricci and 17 other firefighters for promotions. Neither Ricci nor his cohorts, all eligible for promotion based on the exam results, were black. This greatly displeased the Reverend Boise Kimber, a local "community leader" who had threatened to incite race riots in the past. Given that Kimber reliably delivered a key bloc of votes to the city's longtime mayor, John DeStefano, it's hardly surprising that the mayor and his advisors immediately began working to have the test results set aside.

In Ricci v. DeStefano, its most anticipated decision of the term, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision recognizing that Ricci and his fellow firefighters were victims of race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (In so doing, the Court reversed an appeals court ruling joined by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee to replace retiring justice David Souter.) The Court rejected New Haven's claim that had it not invalidated the test, black firefighters would have had a valid lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act's "disparate-impact" provision, which holds employers at least presumptively liable any time the racial composition of employees hired or promoted differs markedly from the pool of applicants.

While the Supreme Court's decision won relief for the sympathetic Ricci--a dyslexic who sacrificed financially to spend extra time preparing for the exam--and the majority's reading of the Civil Rights Act and its amendments is probably correct, the case highlights the bankruptcy of modern American antidiscrimination law. The ruling effectively assures that employers, both public and private, will be sued for using any neutral employment test unless all races score more or less equally on the test. The employer is caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place: if it jettisons the test, it will be sued by plaintiffs like Ricci; if it uses the test, it will be sued by members of the underperforming racial group.

That the Court's opinion found that black firefighters would not have had a plausible case against New Haven offers employers little solace. In reaching its conclusion, the Court merely determined that there was not a "strong basis in evidence" for such a claim in this case. But before any court could make such a finding in a future case, the lawyers would have to build a factual record, since the law continues to presume that racial disparities in hiring result from discrimination. Thus, no employer that adopts an employment criterion that produces a disparate racial impact can avoid depositions, discovery, motions, and the host of onerous and expensive pretrial rituals endemic to modern litigation. Moreover, because any disputed facts would require a jury's resolution, most cases would be impossible for a judge to resolve without taking them to trial.

At root, the problem rests with disparate-impact law itself. There is little reason to think that all racial subgroups should be equally prepared for any job or promotion. Consider that white players constitute 40 percent of NCAA Division I basketball rosters, but only two of the 25 collegians drafted in last week's NBA draft. It would be preposterous to assume based on such numbers that NBA franchises' decisions were racially discriminatory. It would be even sillier to subject to judicial inquiry the various job-related skills tests the NBA imposed at the draft combines--including vertical leaps and shuttle runs--and ask whether alternative tests might be equally effective and less likely to exclude prospective white players. But such inquiries are very much what the antidiscrimination laws impose on employers in hosts of other contexts, including that of New Haven's firefighters' exam.

I am hardly qualified to know whether the New Haven Fire Department chose the best possible test for assessing prospective supervisors. But I can predict that rational employers will react to Ricci by dropping such exams whenever possible, in effect capitulating to the racial bean-counters. Such an outcome is disconcerting, at least for those who believe that firefighter supervisors should have some requisite body of knowledge before sending public servants into burning buildings.

To head off this undesirable result, Congress should undo its 1991 decision to codify the disparate-impact test into the Civil Rights Act. There are cases in which it makes sense for antidiscrimination law to look beyond an employer's intent. For example, strict seniority standards for promotion--even if adopted without discriminatory motive--are hard to defend when such seniority has itself been predicated upon an employer's past discrimination. But plenty of plausible rules would capture such cases apart from a lawsuit-provoking presumption that racial discrimination accounts for any racial imbalances. Ironically, while the disparate-impact rule requires courts to reject employer tests if any alternative might suffice, it fails to meet such a high standard itself. It won't happen in this Congress, but ultimately, let's hope that disparate impact finds itself in the dustbin of history.



America's Socialist Past

The perennial illusion

There seems to be a need in American society to have to relearn the same hard lessons over and over again, regardless of whether the results were seen on the other side of the planet or suffered through by our own people.

We're living in a country that elected a President that believes in redistributing wealth. He's mentioned this himself, from the "Joe the Plumber" incident[i] to his critique[ii] of the failures of the civil rights movement. Whether you call it Socialism, Communism, Marxism, or by its simpler name, theft, they are all part of the same economic system that destroys private property and puts everything in central control of the state.

The lesson we, and the rest of the world, seems to fail to learn is how socially and economically destructive this sort of system is. The problem is, these lessons don't have to be learned from studying the histories of far off lands, for we have numerous examples of collectivist/socialist experiments here at home.

In Jamestown, there was no welfare state. Originally meant to be a trading colony, too many of the original inhabitants were adventurers or people seeking to gain wealth through the export of things they could find in the new world. Preoccupied with their own ideas of fortune, they found that in the wilderness of what was North America their habit of avoiding physical labor meant life or death. It was here that John Smith proclaimed, "He who will not work will not eat."[iii] It worked...sort of. While success still eluded the colony, the mortality rate did go from 60 percent to 15 percent.

Imagine a politician on any level making Smith's proclamation today. Cities would burn. Of course, when Sir Thomas Dale arrived there in 1611, he saw "where the most company were, and the daily and usual workers, bowling in the streets."[iv] Apparently Smith's proclamation had only motivated the people enough to do the minimum. Sir Dale had to motivate the people to fix up their houses, plant corn, and secure the defenses of the fort.

Lord De La Warr, the first official governor of Jamestown, continued with the communal storehouse practice. This meant that no matter how hard one worked; everyone was entitled to food so nobody would (in theory) starve. It only prolonged the hardship. Seeking a way around this, the administrators began using the incentive approach (as opposed to Smith's harsh approach) and privatized land ownership. With tobacco finding a market back in Europe, the private property incentives mixed with trading allowed Jamestown to finally get over the hump and begin to prosper.[v]

The Pilgrims sought to live in a society that promoted "just and equal laws." Their first year saw the death of half of their population through disease, starvation, and malnutrition (again, thanks to communal farming). In a story that's getting more and more circulation in today's internet age (and thanks to Rush's yearly reading of the story of Thanksgiving), we learn that only when William Bradford instituted private property that people began to work harder and innovate more.[vi] Even women and children went out to the fields with their husbands, which meant more crops were planted and ultimately harvested. This led to more trade with the local tribes, earlier repayment of debt to the English sponsors, and overall prosperity of the colony.

Let's fast forward a bit.

The date is January 1, 1816, and a man named Robert Owen proposed a new type of model society. In his plans, each of these communities of 2,500 individuals would "be self-governing and hold its property in the common."[vii] So popular was Owen that when he reached America from Britain, President John Quincy Adams displayed one of Owen's architectural models for this ideal community. He established his community in Indiana, christening it New Haven in 1825. In New Haven, "not only work, but also recreation and meditation were communal and regimented."[viii] Everything was collectivized, including "cooking, child care, and other domestic work."[ix] Ironically, at least by today's "Liberal" standards, it was women that were relegated to these chores. The community lasted two years.

The term "socialism" was actually coined by Owen's followers around the time New Haven failed.

Eighteen other communities were established on the Owen collectivized model across the United States. Modern Times, the name of the community established on Long Island, was the last to fail. This was in 1863.

Charles Fourier, a French social theorist, came up with the solution to the problems associated with collectivized living: It should be done on a smaller scale. He calculated that 1,620 was the ideal population and that they should live on 6,000 acres. These were called phalanxes. In the 1840's, a man named Charles Brisbane decided to implement this idea, ultimately establishing 28 of them. All failed within 12 years.[x]

In 1804, George Rapp and six hundred of his followers came to America. They set up a community in Pennsylvania called Harmony where communal farming was practiced, but they were expecting the second coming and left for Indiana in 1814 before it could be deemed a success or failure. While in Indiana, they established another community and named it (again) Harmony, but sold it ten years later to Robert Owen (who set up New Harmony there) and moved back to Pennsylvania. These people began the petroleum industry in Pennsylvania (a move to capitalism), but eventually died out due to their celibacy and lack of recruits.[xi]

In 1841, Humphrey Noyes started the "Perfectionists", and wrote a book on his theories titled Bible Communism in 1848. Noyes took collectivism to the next level; not only was all property communal, but so were spouses. The term for this was "complex marriage" and in practice it meant, "all the men in the Perfectionist community considered themselves husbands to all the women, and each woman the wife of every man."[xii] Before coitus, and even conception, people had to have consent granted by the whole community. Economically, and with a hint of irony, they flourished by building and marketing animal traps. However, this particular communist experiment ended when they established a joint-stock company called Oneida Community, Ltd.

In showing what a great social and economic model Communism is, Harrison Berry likened it to slavery by stating in a that "a Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave consumes more than the master...and is far happier, because although the concern may fail, he is always sure of support."[xiii]

George Fitzhugh, an influence on Berry, actually argued that slave labor was preferable because the slaves were ultimately free. It was property owners and free laborers that were the slaves. He advocated that taking decision-making out of the hands of individuals made the African slaves better off than free whites and claimed that not only all blacks, but most whites too, should be slaves.[xiv] His theory was ultimately squashed with the support and ratification of the 13th and 14th Amendments, which not only freed the slaves but also established they had constitutionally protected private property rights.

These few examples, and there are more out there, show how American culture even before the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression, depending on your location) tried communal living and centrally planned economic models. Despite the good intentions of the people involved, they always fail because of the inherent flaws in Socialism. Unfortunately, given the reach of the federal government and current make-up of the executive and legislative branches, we are set to learn this lesson the hard way. Again.




Misplaced faith: “Those of us viewing the world with knowledge of Austrian Economics are watching the inevitable result of allowing politicians to print money without limit. The dramatically more popular Keynesian theorists who dominate government economic posts spew lots of comforting words that continue to prove wrong. Yet those of us trying to get friends and family to prepare for economic collapse are greeted with patient, ‘They have a lot of smart guys who know what they are doing.’ I know the discussion is over and am saddened by the tragic three assumptions embedded in their sense of security: that the manipulators are honest, knowledgeable and that they have our best interests at heart.”

Swiss banks shun American investors : "Swiss banks are shutting the accounts of Americans as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service accelerates the hunt for tax dodgers. UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, the country’s biggest banks, have told Americans to move their money into specially created units registered in the U.S., or lose their accounts. Smaller private banks such as Geneva-based Mirabaud & Cie. are closing all accounts held by U.S. taxpayers. While the banks declined to say how many people are affected, more than 5 million Americans live abroad, including about 30,000 in Switzerland, according to estimates from American Citizens Abroad in Geneva. Swiss banks must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission to provide services for those customers.” [British banks are closing the accounts of Americans too. The Federal paperwork required makes it too burdensome to have American customers]

Nice to have friends in high places: "Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's staff contacted federal regulators last fall to ask about the bailout application of an ailing Hawaii bank that he had helped to establish and where he has invested the bulk of his personal wealth. The bank, Central Pacific Financial, was an unlikely candidate for a program designed by the Treasury Department to bolster healthy banks. The firm's losses were depleting its capital reserves. Its primary regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., already had decided that it didn't meet the criteria for receiving a favorable recommendation and had forwarded the application to a council that reviewed marginal cases, according to agency documents. Two weeks after the inquiry from Inouye's office, Central Pacific announced that the Treasury would inject $135 million."

Crooked ACORN to be investigated: "The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the multi-level activist organization for which President Obama worked and which now is entangled in charges of voter fraud in multiple jurisdictions across the U.S., appears to be in the bull's-eye of investigators. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a judge hearing a voter fraud case against an ACORN employee has suggested investigators pursue the conglomerate itself, obtaining a promise that it will be done. The exchange came in the courtroom of Senior District Judge Richard Zoller. The Tribune-Review report today said the judge told Allegheny County Detective Robert F. Keenan, "Somebody has to go after ACORN. … It's happening all over the country. All you have to do is turn on the television." Keenan responded, "We will." The local investigation into members of ACORN and their allegedly illegal voter registration actions last year remains "open and active," a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. told the newspaper. "There is quite a bit of activity aimed at determining if anyone else should be charged," said Mike Manko."

Inflation deception: "I usually have a get “prepared” to visit John Williams at his famous site so that I am “feeling no pain,” and this time I was happy I was, as his headline was “Inflation, Money Supply, GDP, Unemployment and the Dollar – Alternate Data Series”. As for inflation, his calculation of the Consumer Price Index “reflects the CPI as if it were calculated using the methodologies in place in 1980”, which I note is back when inflation was a measurement of the change in prices of things that you buy, and not, as it is now after the villainous Alan Greenspan and Michael Boskin came up with their ludicrous “hedonic” measurements of inflation with which to disguise it. Anyway, Mr. Williams’ honorable and time-honored methodology shows inflation in prices running about 6%, which is a horrendous rate, which is a big shock to those who have just swallowed the government’s estimate of CPI as being a negative 1.3% over the last year!

Bloodless instability: “Your average politician will often rail against ‘political instability’ and advocate policies to keep things ’stable,’ such as subsidies, bailouts, quotas, and other forms of protectionism. But while stability certainly sounds like something positive for the economy, Joseph Schumpeter argued very persuasively that it was the ‘creative destruction’ of capitalism that facilitated innovation, and further down the line, economic growth. Simply reframe the ’stability vs. instability’ dilemma as ’scleroticism vs. dynamism,’ and Schumpeter’s logic becomes all the more easy to grasp. But what of government? While dynamism in the economy is something to be desired, dynamism in sovereignty has some obvious drawbacks. One is that transitions between sovereigns are rarely bloodless, and dead bodies littered all over the streets are hardly a boon to commerce. Another is that in the process of any conflict, capital is bound to be destroyed, so the economy will be handicapped massively. But on this last point, the data simply doesn’t work out the way you might think.”


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 or here or here


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)


Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Obama doctrine

North Korea launches a missile and it takes Barack Obama and the UN five days to respond. Iran holds fraudulent elections, kills protesters and it takes weeks before Barack Obama can stand up and say that he is "concerned" about the situation.

Then the people of Honduras try to uphold their constitution and laws of the land from being trampled by a Chavez-wanna be ... and it takes Barack Obama one day to proclaim that this was not a legal coup.

Why the sudden decisiveness? Where were these strong opinions on foreign matters when Iranian authorities were trampling protestors and cutting off media access to the outside world? Where was this decisiveness when Kim Jong Ill decided that he was going to launch missiles toward Hawaii on the Fourth of July? Why ... NOW ... is Obama suddenly speaking out loudly

How about a little background. Are you really sure you know what has been going on in Honduras? Do you think that this was simply a coup? Let me give you a rough outline here, and then you can sit back and wonder just why PrezBO is in the weeds with Chavez and Castro on this one.



Vanity Fair and Sarah Palin

by: Carol Platt Liebau

There are only two reasons that come to mind why Todd Purdum might have written the nasty little hit piece on Sarah Palin for Vanity Fair:

(1) This is red meat to the coastal elites (and wannabees) to which the magazine panders.

(2) Liberals continue to be afraid of Palin as a potential candidate.

The piece only makes sense if the underlying motivation is #1. Otherwise, it's a strategic blunder of the first order. I've had some disagreements with Governor Palin in the past -- for example, the way she handled Bristol Palin's pregnancy.

But any lingering doubts or disagreements any Republican might have with the Governor become irrelevant when one reads the assemblage of snippy innuendo, predictable negative-insider-quotes and the elitist, snobbish tone of pretention that underpins the entire piece.

And there's reason to believe that it' s not just Republicans like me who feel this way. It will be interesting -- when or if Governor Palin once again becomes a legitimate target of the national political media -- to see the extent to which normal people understand that "elite media's" contempt and condescension for Palin is the same contempt and condescension such "journalists" feel for regular Americans like them.

P.S. Anyone note the irony in Purdum's breathless announcement that "what [Palin] wants the public to know about herself doesn’t always jibe with reality"? Hellooo -- ever heard of a Chicago pol named Barack Obama? More generally, for what politician does this banal observation not hold true?



Obama’s Racist Judge

Let's look at Judge Sotomayor again

Soon the Senate will take up the cause of President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court. In the news this week, one of her decisions that appeared before the current court was reversed. With Sotomayor in the news, then, it is time to look her over once again. It must be said, though, that any close scrutiny finds her wanting.

To begin with, it’s shocking that President Obma has nominated for a spot on the Supreme Court a judge whose decisions have been reversed or rejected in five out of the six times her cases appeared before that august body. Additionally and by her own admission, she was admitted to Princeton ahead of other law students as a result of affirmative action despite having lower grades. She once gleefully called herself a “perfect affirmative action baby,” even as her grades were “highly questionable.”
“My test scores were not comparable to that of my colleagues at Princeton or Yale,” Sotomayor once said on a discussion panel during an event sponsored by a non-profit law organization in the 1990s.

All that is bad enough. To be sure, high grades in law school are not in and of themselves any guarantee of an ideal Supreme Court Justice and should not stand as a final qualification at any rate. One must determine a candidate’s judicial mentality in order to find the most important benchmark by which to consider confirmation and it is that mentality that should serve to disqualify Sotomayor immediately. Her judicial philosophy is a far more disqualifying factor in her bid for the highest court of the land than her grades. Her views are racist, simply put. There is no way to construe them otherwise despite what her supporters’ spin may be.

Those most familiar with Sotomayor’s most publicized comment will recognize her infamous 32-word statement: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

Her supporters have said that this quote has been taken out of context and that read in context with the rest of the speech, this single sentence culled from the whole is easily misconstrued. But that is simply not the case. The New York Times helpfully published the entire speech and there is no way, when all is said and done, not to understand that Sotomayor is asserting in a straight forward manner that minorities — “Latinas” in particular — are better judges than white men. She further asserts that white men are less likely to have such experiences that will make them a good judge unless they are fortuitous enough to have reached “moments of enlightenment” that will put them on par with minorities.

Put plainly, she is saying “Latinas” make better judges simply by virtue of being Latinas. That is as perfect an example of racist sentiment as can be imagined.

The whole piece is shocking for its basic assumptions but, aside from the sentence quoted above that everyone is familiar with, the following paragraphs are revealing.
However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

I also hope that by raising the question today of what difference having more Latinos and Latinas on the bench will make will start your own evaluation. For people of color and women lawyers, what does and should being an ethnic minority mean in your lawyering? For men lawyers, what areas in your experiences and attitudes do you need to work on to make you capable of reaching those great moments of enlightenment which other men in different circumstances have been able to reach. For all of us, how do change the facts that in every task force study of gender and race bias in the courts, women and people of color, lawyers and judges alike, report in significantly higher percentages than white men that their gender and race has shaped their careers, from hiring, retention to promotion and that a statistically significant number of women and minority lawyers and judges, both alike, have experienced bias in the courtroom?

The first paragraph taken by itself seems almost sensible. Of course everyone’s experience might tend to interfere in how they perceive things. But taken with the second paragraph, one sees that Sotomayor is saying that only a “Latina’s” experience serves as the best basis for judicial perfection. The most stunning part nestled in this excerpt is when Sotomayor said that white men are less able to judge because of their “experiences” unless, she says, they make some supreme effort toward “enlightenment.”

I quote again from the second paragraph:
For men lawyers, what areas in your experiences and attitudes do you need to work on to make you capable of reaching those great moments of enlightenment which other men in different circumstances have been able to reach.

Her basic premise here is that white men are incapable of being inherently good judges unless they make that effort toward “enlightenment” like “other men… have been able to reach.” Yet, Latinas are simply in the perfect place to judge without having to reach for any such “enlightenment.” They just have it by virtue of being “Latinas” and by the very nature of their “experiences.”

How this cannot be understood as an assumption of racial superiority is beyond me. Maybe I’m just not “enlightened” enough to understand how a bald-faced assumption of racial superiority is not a racist sentiment?

So, this is the person that a President of the United States has proffered to take a seat on the nation’s highest court. A racist with low grades and a sense of entitlement that has been reversed or scolded in five out of the six cases of hers that have appeared before past Supreme Court sessions. It shouldn’t be so hard to vote no on such a candidate.




The Supreme Court nominee who can’t write: "Supreme Court opinions are words for the generations that can affect the lives and welfare of millions. No one doubts that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has a compelling life story. But more to the point, we need to inquire about her aptitude to draft thoughtfully-reasoned, well-crafted legal opinions. On this count, there is reason for worry. Sotomayor herself has admitted, ‘Writing remains a challenge for me even today … I am not a natural writer.’ Reporter Stephanie Mencimer has characterized Sotomayor’s legal opinions as ‘good punishment for law students who show up late for class.’ A cursory pass of Sotomayor’s writings reveals them to be clumsy to the point of being impenetrable.”

Reckoning with Ricci: “Today’s ruling clarifies that the mere fear of being sued will not justify an employer’s intentional discrimination unless there is a ’strong basis in evidence’ to believe the employer will be liable under disparate-impact discrimination principles. But it won’t make such lawsuits much less frequent or less prohibitively expensive. And for many of these suits, it won’t make resolution any easier. It may be straightforward enough when, as in Ricci, an employer appears to be citing disparate-impact concerns as a pretext to avoid provoking a powerful political constituency. But in other cases, the employer will not be acting pretextually — he will be motivated to take race-conscious remedial action because he fears, in good faith, being found liable.”

The Ricci ruling’s real message: "America’s unsettled debate over race has too often been conducted between judges writing alone in their chambers rather than in open forums by the public or their elected representatives. That was true again in a ruling on Monday by the Supreme Court that will set back the use of race in employment decisions. In a case known as Ricci, the justices revealed their heated arguments in separate opinions that went beyond mere legal precedent and the Constitution. … The days of using quotas to fix the effects of past discrimination are over. And more states are banning official use of race in hiring and school admissions. With the election of an African-American as president, the politics of race that is aimed at boosting diversity or widening benefits specifically for minorities now faces an uphill battle.”

Missouri neo-Nazis are Greenies -- just like the original Nazis: "The state's litter prevention program got an unusual ally last year: A neo-Nazi group adopted a half-mile section of highway in Springfield and picked up the trash. Lawmakers responded with an amendment to a large transportation bill that would rename that section of road after Abraham Joshua Heschel, a rabbi who narrowly escaped the Nazis in World War II and later marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr... The Springfield unit of the National Socialist Movement committed last year to clean up trash along the section of Highway 160 near the city limits in west Springfield. Two signs noting the group's membership in the Adopt-A-Highway program went up last October. Representatives of the National Socialist movement in Missouri did not immediately return calls seeking comment about the legislation Sunday. But a statement on the movement's Web site calls the renaming "a lame attempt to insult National Socialist pro-environment/green policies."

ABC: The Administration for Brain Control: “ABC Television, formerly known as the American Broadcasting Company, has undergone rebranding and will henceforth be called the Administration for Brain Control. This comes as a result of the network’s news department, having openly and explicitly jettisoned all pretense of objectivity and neutrality, decided to throw in with the Obama administration and voluntarily act as the Joseph Goebbels Memorial Ministry of Propaganda.”

Who Railroaded the Amtrak Inspector General?: "Watchdogs are an endangered species in the Age of Obama. The latest government ombudsman to get the muzzle: Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold. The longtime veteran employee was abruptly "retired" this month -- just as the government-subsidized rail service faces mounting complaints about its meddling in financial audits and probes. Question the timing? Hell, yes. On June 18, Weiderhold met with Amtrak officials to discuss the results of an independent report by the Washington, D.C., law firm Willkie, Farr and Gallagher. The 94-page report has been made publicly available through the office of whistleblower advocate Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. It concluded that the "independence and effectiveness" of the Amtrak inspector general's office "are being substantially impaired" by the agency's Law Department. Amtrak bosses have effectively gagged their budgetary watchdogs from communicating with Congress without pre-approval; required that all Amtrak documents be "pre-screened" (and in some cases redacted) before being turned over to the inspector general's office; and taken control of the inspector general's $5 million portion of federal stimulus spending. The transparent sacking comes just as Amtrak is awash in more than $1.3 billion in new federal stimulus money. It comes on the heels of the unceremonious dismissal of Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who dared to probe financial shenanigans by Obama cronies. And it comes on the heels of the stifling of veteran Environmental Protection Agency employee Alan Carlin, the researcher who dared to question the Obama administration's conventional wisdom on global warming."

Arabs failed to maintain crashed plane: "Officials said the plane crashed into rough seas in darkness, after disappearing from control tower radar screens. The A310 jet had aborted a landing attempt in the Comoros islands and was making a second attempt when it crashed. It was the second time in less than a month that an Airbus has crashed into the ocean. This time French authorities said the Yemeni carrier had been under surveillance and that the 19-year-old jet had been banned from French airspace. The flight left Paris on Monday for Marseille and Sanaa, where passengers switched to the older Airbus to continue to Djibouti and Moroni." [See also here]

British backdown on ID cards: "n a dramatic break with years of Labour policy, the new Home Secretary last night scrapped plans for compulsory ID cards. Alan Johnson said the scheme - which has already cost as much as £200million - would always remain voluntary. The project will now focus on persuading youngsters to pay £30 for a card so they can prove their age when trying to buy alcohol in pubs and bars.... Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, who has vowed to scrap the cards, said: 'This decision is symbolic of a Government in chaos. They have spent millions on the scheme so far - the Home Secretary thinks it has been a waste and wants to scrap it, but the Prime Minister won't let him. 'So we end up with an absurd fudge instead. This is no way to run the country.'... Controversially, everyone who wants a card or a biometric passport will still have their details stored on the huge national identity register database. Civil liberties groups argue this still amounts to a compulsory scheme, as anybody getting a passport from around 2011 will have no option but to sign up... Plans for compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals remain unchanged. [Since British officials regularly lose huge database files on trains etc., there was no confidence that ID information could be kept secure]


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 or here or here


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)


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peace Exists in the Middle East

Obama and the State Department are just ignorant, there is no other suitable word for it, polite or otherwise. They have not taken the time to go and visit what they negatively call "Settlements" and what I proudly call "Settlements". Same place, same set of facts, different perspective because they have not been to see it work.

A place where Jews, Arabs, Russians, Ethiopians, every religion, nationality, age and creed live, work, innovate and get along this is anyone¹s definition of Peace in the Middle East. Ownership of land and borders can come later, but talk about reality on the ground, and where it is happening.

This type of peace exists now in the Middle East it exists in lots of places within Israel, and it has always existed in areas that are labeled as "Settlements". From the very first settlement, before the creation of the state of Israel, Jews have always reached out to their Arab neighbors and successfully integrated them into their lives and celebrations. They have done and continue to do this out of innate hospitality, but also for selfish reasons; there are 22 Arab countries, each of them enormous both in geographical size and population, it was never Israel¹s intent to take them over or conquer them, but to live together with them in Peace.

How stupid do you need to be to believe Israel wants to conquer the whole of the Middle East for a Jewish Homeland? First of all there are not enough Jews in the whole world to populate it, and second of all, it is just a ridiculous premise.

The facts show that Israel shares it knowledge and natural resources with the world as well as its Arab neighbors, despite the political conflicts and war, and it is much greater giving than getting on Israel¹s part.

If you want Peace, get the Arabs to model some of what is going on in the settlements, on Arab lands, and then it won¹t matter who has sovereignty over it. Ariel is the newest University in Israel. It has 11,000 students, 500 are Arabs the number would be higher, but the Arabs are afraid their own families and friends will kill them if they are found to be studying at an Israeli institution. Ariel University is in the heart of the largest Settlement, it is a Settlement to be proud of, both the city and the University. Every University classroom has an Israeli Flag. Every student, including the Arab students must take a course in Jewish Heritage each semester.

There are no problems, all the student¹s cross the green line to come and study each day. This "Settlement" should be expanded, not stopped on threat of destruction. It is a MODEL OF PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

Just because the Arab PR machine coined the phrase "Settlements are an obstacle to Peace in the Middle East" does not make it true, it is just a case of tell a lie often enough and loud enough and people will believe it. Even the President and State Department of the U.S.A.

I am not asserting that there has never been a crazy person in a settlement, but I am yelling from the rooftops that there are thousands of individual stories of cooperation and living and caring together in the settlements than there are negative incidents. It is always, and I will state this again, it is ALWAYS the attacks by Arabs on the settlements, which create the negative press for the settlements, when these settlements are the victims in the attacks.

We have the model in Gaza of what happens when Settlements are disbanded. Even the Arabs, who lived and thrived there, did not pick up and continue a lucrative industry that would have made them and their children proud, instead, they destroyed it and so now remain poor and beholden to their extremists. They then compound this by assisting in the distribution of arms and ammunition to destroy the very Jewish people who were helping them feed and clothe their children before they forced them to leave.

I want to call on all Settlers to make yourselves known. Write about who you are and what you do and let the world see that you are kind, and creative; professionals, blue collar workers, what you do with your lives and your families. I know you help with sick, orphaned and troubled teens, I know you have interests as far reaching as classical music to obscure bohemian pottery and rock music, but let the world know, connect to people with the same hobbies, interests and dreams, and let them know you are proud to be Settlers and why you are proud you took a piece of land that the Arabs never believed would be anything but desert and you make it bloom and flourish each and every day.

Share your stories of Peace in the Middle East today, let everyone know about the Arabs that live and work among you happily and who given the choice would never chose to be a citizen of a Palestinian State, because there is no Peace in Arab communities or villages with anyone other than other Muslims.

What the stupid, blind, idiotic world is suggesting is not Peace in the Middle East, but an apartheid that will forever separate the Jews and the Arabs. Settlements should be applauded and looked up to as a model upon which to base Peace. Each and every person who went out and made a home for themselves in the areas won by Israel in 1967 when it was attacked on all fronts by its Arab neighbors, each and every person who took a risk in developing a home in these uncharted areas that were left barren and empty for so many years, each of you should be so proud of what you have achieved and accomplished and if you do not live there and do not know what those achievements and accomplishments are, then go and visit, go and look, and see the reality, not the empty words of those that do not want to live in peace and do not care if their children ever do. Be proud to be a settler, you have done wonderful things now share them with the world.



A nice shot at the NY Slimes

Today's New York Times reports on a point of disagreement between the U.S. administration and the Israeli government:
The Obama administration believes that in order to build a solid regional coalition to confront Iranian ambitions, West Bank settlement building needs to stop as a sign of Israeli willingness to accept a Palestinian state.

Such a demand is part of the "road map" agreed to by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, the so-called quartet, and signed by Israel. But the Israelis said they had unwritten agreements with the former Bush administration that defined the freeze more narrowly, as not building new settlements or expropriating more land.

Today's Times story leaves open the possibility that the Israelis are simply making this up. But the Times itself, on Aug. 21, 2004, confirmed that this was the understanding of U.S. officials as well:
The Bush administration, moving to lend political support to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at a time of political turmoil, has modified its policy and signaled approval of growth in at least some Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, American and Israeli officials say.
In the latest modification of American policy, the administration now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward to undeveloped parts of the West Bank, according to the officials.

Perhaps the Israelis made the mistake of believing what they read in the New York Times.



Black, white and Asian races do exist

That black, white and Asian races do exist has always been perfectly obvious but Leftists are always trying to deny it. They say it is "racist" even to mention it. A study of the DNA of many different populations has however now confirmed the obvious. And the researchers admit that the genetic differences can have notable effects. They also however make much of the fact that the differences occur in only a small percentage of our genes. Most genes are shared by all races. One does wonder why they think that is important. We also share around 98% of our genes with chimpanzees. Does that mean that the difference between humans and chimpanzees is unimportant?

Let me illustrate the importance of small genetic differences by a story about cricket. I know that most of my readers are American and will therefore likely know nothing about the world's most widely-followed bat-and-ball game -- but my story is a simple one so I don't think much will be lost in translation.

Australia's most famous cricketer is the recently deceased Don Bradman. What made him famous was that in his hands a cricket bat seemed to have a miraculous attraction to a cricket ball. No matter what they bowled down to him he could always swat it. As a result he would in some matches get as many as 400 runs, where 100 runs is normally considered a great achievement. Now the Don's eerie skill with a bat was obviously the result of a very rare confluence of genetic factors. If practice and training were what made Bradman great, we would have 10,000 Bradmans.

Now I am fairly sure that I share around 99.9% of my genes with Don Bradman -- but I can't hit a ball for nuts. So even very small genetic differences can make a huge difference in abilities etc. -- and not only in cricket -- JR

There is a simplicity and all-inclusiveness to the number three -- the triangle, the Holy Trinity, three peas in a pod. So it's perhaps not surprising that the Family of Man is divided that way, too.

All of Earth's people, according to a new analysis of the genomes of 53 populations, fall into just three genetic groups. They are the products of the first and most important journey our species made -- the walk out of Africa about 70,000 years ago by a small fraction of ancestral Homo sapiens.

One group is the African. It contains the descendants of the original humans who emerged in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. The second is the Eurasian, encompassing the natives of Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia (east to about Pakistan). The third is the East Asian, the inhabitants of Asia, Japan and Southeast Asia, and -- thanks to the Bering Land Bridge and island-hopping in the South Pacific -- of the Americas and Oceania as well.

The existence of this ancient divergence has long been known. What is new is a subtle but important insight into what happened on a genomic level as the human species spilled across the landscape, eventually occupying every habitable part of the planet.

People adapted to what they encountered the way all living organisms do: through natural selection. A small fraction of the mutations constantly creeping into our genes happened by chance to prove beneficial in the new circumstances outside the African homeland. Those included differences in climate, altitude, latitude, food availability, parasites, infectious diseases and lots of other things.

A person who carried, by chance, a helpful mutation was more likely to survive and procreate than someone without it. The person's offspring would then probably be endowed with the same beneficial mutation. Over thousands of generations, the new variant (what geneticists call the "derived allele") could go from being rare to being common as its carriers fared better than their brethren and contributed more descendants to the population.

Scientists have long known that regardless of ancestral home or ethnic group, everyone's genes are pretty much alike. We're all Homo sapiens. Everything else is pretty much details.

Recent research has produced a surprise, however. Population geneticists expected to find dramatic differences as they got a look at the full genomes -- about 25,000 genes -- of people of widely varying ethnic and geographic backgrounds. Specifically, they expected to find that many ethnic groups would have derived alleles that their members shared but that were uncommon or nonexistent in other groups. Each regional, ethnic group or latitude was thought to have a genomic "signature" -- the record of its recent evolution through natural selection.

But as analyses of genomes from dozens of distinct populations have rolled in -- French, Bantu, Palestinian, Yakut, Japanese -- that's not what scientists have found. Dramatic genome variation among populations turns out to be extremely rare.

Instead, it is "random genetic drift" that appears to be more important in sculpting our genes. Drift describes the chance loss of genetic variation that occurred not only in the out-of-Africa migration, but through all of human history as famine, climate change or war caused populations to crash and then recover.

Despite those calamities, it appears that all contemporary populations ended up largely the same, or only crudely distinguishable from one another, on the genome level.




SCOTUS reverses Sotomayor panel in Ricci case: “Officials in New Haven, Conn., illegally discriminated against white members of the city’s fire department when they refused to honor the results of a civil service exam after no African-Americans qualified for a promotion. The US Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday that the Connecticut city violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by using race as the key criterion in refusing to certify a group of white and Hispanic firefighters for promotion. City officials said they were afraid that if they promoted the white and Hispanic firefighters but no African-American firefighters, the city would be subject to a lawsuit by black firefighters. The high court disagreed.” [Other comments here and here]

Obama holds gay pride reception, vows to overturn “unjust laws”: "“President Obama honored Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month with a White House reception Monday where he likened the struggle for gay rights with the struggle of African-Americans for civil rights. With first lady Michelle Obama at his side, the president told the cheering crowd filling the East Room that his administration would work to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy regarding gays in the military.”

Flow of “stimulus” funds still only a trickle: “When the government enacted a $787 billion package of tax cuts and new spending this spring, there was much talk about how all that money would help pull the economy out of a deep recession. But readers are asking: Just how much of this money has been actually spent? Turns out the answer is not much. Confidence in the stimulus money is beginning to wane. People are still waiting for billions of dollars to reenergize the economy. How much of the stimulus money has actually been doled out as of this week?”

Political leanings drive car choice. Ideology correlates to U.S. vs. import: In the '80s, it was the politics of dancing. In the '90s, the politics of caring. Today, in bailout nation, we have the politics of driving. The Volvo-driving liberal and the redneck in a Chevy pickup are long-held stereotypes. But a map of car ownership - produced by R.L. Polk & Co. - overlaid on the electoral map reveals the surprising extent to which how we vote corresponds with what we drive. Blue-staters on each coast, from Los Angeles to Seattle and from Boston to the District, are the most likely to drive foreign cars. Domestic brands have their highest levels of market share in the mostly conservative interior of the country. In some blue states - where a Democrat has won at least three of the last four presidential contests - foreign cars have as much as 60 percent of the market, as measured by vehicle registrations. It is mostly in red states - Republican strongholds - where domestic cars have 74 percent of the market or more. This pattern holds in 36 states and the District".

America's Princess Di moment: "Good career move. The Hollywood assessment of the death of Elvis Presley 30 years ago eerily applies to Michael Jackson, too. Every great entertainer knows it's important to get off the stage before the hook. The death of Michael Jackson, with its unanswered questions and the exposure of the smarmy troupe of freeloaders, hangers-on and cockroaches crawling out of the dark places of his life, make this the perfect Hollywood tale of sex, money and sudden death. The media, including even newspapers that once could be counted on to put events in proper context, are throwing one long, drunken, inky bacchanalia, endlessly indulging round after round of trivia and manufactured sensation. P.T. Barnum lies green (with envy) in his grave. Oscar Levant's description of Hollywood -- "it's made of tinsel, but once you get beneath the tinsel, you'll find the real tinsel" -- is writ large, and we all live in Hollywood now. The death of Michael Jackson is our Princess Diana moment. Such vast outpourings of alligator tears and synthetic sincerity were once reserved for mourning presidents. In the age of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the small looms large."

Michael Jackson, Anti-Semite: "Allow me to refresh your memory. While much of the world mourns the untimely death of the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, it is worth recalling one of Mr. Jackson's more unfortunate qualities: he was an anti-Semite. In case you think I am making this up, allow me to refresh your memory. Back in November 2005, Jackson was caught on tape in a voicemail to one of his former business managers calling Jews "leeches". The tapes were played on ABC's Good Morning America program, and Jackson was heard saying, "They suck…they're like leeches. It's a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose." And in 1995, Jackson provoked a firestorm of protest when he released an album called HIStory containing a song entitled "They don't care about us" which had the following lyrics: "Jew me, sue me" and "Kick me, kike me". He subsequently promised to re-record the song and delete the offending lyrics. But then, in February 1996, Jackson nonetheless released a video of the song in which he had re-instated the brazenly anti-Semitic remarks.


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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)