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

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

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31 July, 2010

"Armed Citizen" update

There is an update over at Armed Citizen about their battles with copyright piranha "Righthaven". There are a couple of addresses given there for you to write to if you would like to help.

Note that although all the past content on "Armed Citizen" has been taken down, everything they have covered over the last few years was also covered on my GUN WATCH blog so is still available in the archives there. The difference between GUN WATCH and "Armed Citizen" is that my blog covers general gun news as well as reports of self-defense shootings by citizens.

Another difference is that, on GUN WATCH, I very rarely put up more than a short excerpt of a report -- which makes that blog an unlikely target for a copyright suit. "Armed Citizen", by contrast, reproduced whole articles at times.


The old "Jewish money" slur revived -- by a Democrat

The claim that "Jewish money" controls politics has long been a staple among the antisemitic fraternity. The fact that the bulk of Jewish political donations go to the Democrats makes that claim all the more risible. George Bush was a much better friend to Israel than Obama has been. And in the Yom Kippur surprise attack of 1973 it was Nixon who made sure that Israel was promptly sent what it needed to defend itself, even though Jewish voters had overwhelmingly opposed his election. Golda Meir describes Nixon in her autobiography as the best friend Israel ever had in the presidency

Mike Grimm, a G.O.P challenger to Democrat Mike McMahon's Congressional seat, took in over $200,000 in his last filing.

But in an effort to show that Grimm lacks support among voters in the district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, the McMahon campaign compiled a list of Jewish donors to Grimm and provided it to The Politicker.

The file, labeled "Grimm Jewish Money Q2," for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home....

Grimm recently went to a religious service led by Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a Kabbalahist who is known as a rabbi to the rich and famous. Several of his followers, including Haim Revah, whose company owns the Lipstick Building and Ilan Bracha of Prudential Douglas Elliman, donated to Grimm.

Reached by phone, Grimm, who is part-Italian, part-German, said he was proud of his Jewish support and said he was disturbed to hear that the McMahon campaign compiled a separate list of his Jewish donors.

"The fact that a U.S. Congressman would separate out any group by religion or even by ethnicity is nothing short of outrageous," he said. "This goes beyond politics."

More here


Deficits Up, Unemployment Up

Next year's budget deficit is projected by Mr. Obama's own analysts to be $1.4 trillion, up from $1.3 trillion projected in February. Over the next decade, under his own policies, the cumulative deficit would be $10 trillion. And the national debt would rise from $6 trillion in 2008 to $19 trillion in 2020.

These are Mr. Obama's numbers, not those of his Republican critics.

The deficit as a percent of GDP is projected at 10% in fiscal year 2010 and 9% next year, and is not forecast to fall below 3.5% until 2017, after President Obama's possible second term. Then, it rises again in 2019 and 2020.

This is far above levels seen earlier in the decade. The deficit as a percent of GDP stood at 9.9% in fiscal 2009, but before that the highest percentage this decade was 3.5% in 2004.

Government receipts are projected to be lower, not just in 2010 and 2011, but through 2017, because fewer Americans will be working. When fewer people work, the government collects less tax revenue.

Outlays are also projected to be lower, which should be good news. But a third of the savings over the next decade are attributed to Medicare, either through the new health care law, which mandates cuts in Medicare, or through savings in the current program.

These Medicare savings are a mirage. Congress has repeatedly overridden statutory Medicare cuts, the latest being cuts of 21% in physician reimbursement, due to take place on June 1. Instead, Congress voted a 2.2% increase. With an expanding elderly population, other planned cuts are equally unlikely.

OMB acknowledges that "the collapse of the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis have taken a significant toll on the economy, and many of the after-effects are likely to be felt for years to come." Yet the report forecasts real GDP growth to be 3.6% in 2011, in contrast to the forecast of the International Monetary Fund of 2.9% and the Congressional Budget Office forecast of 1.9%. GDP growth rates are projected to be above 4% for 2012 through 2014 and 3.6% in 2015.

This is a five-year average of 3.9%, a pace our economy has rarely met over the past 40 years. One exception was the five years from 1996 to 2000, not coincidentally, the last time the federal budget was balanced.

Such growth rates necessitate a falling unemployment rate and rising real incomes fuelling a decent recovery in consumer spending, along with a substantial boost from net trade over coming years. There are no signs yet that any of these are occurring.

In fact, administration economists project higher levels of unemployment, albeit slowly declining, than have been the case under prior expansions. Between 1996 and 2000, unemployment averaged 4.6%, and in 2003 to 2007, it averaged 5.2%. In contrast, the Mid-Session review predicts annual average unemployment to stay above 8% through 2012, falling below 6% only in 2015.

A boom in trade seems far from certain given Europe's precarious economic situation, with Spain due to follow Greece as the next bailout candidate and French and German taxpayers on the hook for the tab. Meanwhile, Congress has shown no signs of ratifying pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia, agreements that, if approved, would help to boost American exports.

The most serious issue facing Americans today is lack of employment opportunities and how to deal with growing spending and entitlement programs.

What is the path to economic prosperity? Many Democrats recommend raising taxes on upper-income taxpayers in order to shrink government deficits and rein in growth of the national debt. Many Republicans - and some Democrats - counter that these tax increases would slow economic growth by reducing incentives to work and invest.

For one sensible observation on tax increases and growth, look no further than a new paper published in June's American Economic Review, the flagship journal of the economics profession. It was written by Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer and her husband David Romer, both professors at the University of California (Berkeley).

Entitled "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," the paper distinguishes between the effects of tax changes arising from legislation and increases in effective tax rates that occur automatically, for instance as individuals move into higher tax brackets.

The Romers conclude that legislated tax changes had far more effect than had automatic tax increases. Looking at data from 1947 to 2007, and examining the legislative record behind the tax changes, they conclude "Our estimates suggest that a tax increase of 1% of GDP reduces output over the next three years by nearly 3%." A major reason is that higher taxes have a markedly negative effect on investment.

The Mid-Session Review, which underscores the worrisome economic and fiscal conditions that prevail, should be a warning that our current policies are unsustainable. As Mr. Obama, along with other Americans, awaits the July jobs numbers due out on August 6, he might want to glance at his CEA chair's latest paper.



Obama's ideology is very American -- sadly

In addition to the points below see my extensive summary of the evidence that American "Progressives" were the first Fascists of the 20th century

Reading the scholarly work of Woodrow Wilson is an educational experience. It is shocking to read the expressions of his disaffection for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. As R.J. Pestritto has demonstrated, the intellectual roots of modern liberalism lie in an assault on the ideas of natural rights and limited government. They eventuate in an administrative state and rule by supposed experts. Obamacare represents something like the full flowering of modern liberalism.

Wilson's expressions of disapproval are the precursor to Barack Obama's disdain for the Constitution and the Warren Court. Obama perfectly reflected Wilson's views in his 2001 comments on the civil rights movement and the Supreme Court. In the course of the famous radio interview Obama gave to WBEZ in Chicago, Obama observed that the Warren Court had not broken "free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties." To achieve "redistributive change," the limitations of the Constitution would have to be overcome by the Court or by Congress.

Franklin Roosevelt touted welfare state liberalism in the "second Bill of Rights" that he set forth to Congress in his 1944 State of the Union Address. "Necessitous men are not free men," Roosevelt asserted, and enumerated a new set of rights, among which were the right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation, the right of every family to a decent home, and the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

Implicitly arguing that the teaching of the Declaration had become obsolete, Roosevelt asserted: "In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed."

The economic "rights" asserted by Roosevelt in his second Bill of Rights differ and conflict with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are claims on the liberty of others. If I have a right to medical care, you must have a corresponding duty to supply it. If I have a right to a decent home, you must have a duty to provide it.

The argument for the welfare state belongs in the same family as "the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden."

Lincoln memorably derided the underlying principle as "the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it."

William Voegeli's Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State is one of the books of the year. George Will drew attention to Voegeli's book in his excellent column "The danger of a government with unlimited power." Michael Lind attacks Will and comes to the defense of liberalism. William Voegeli strikes back in "Why liberalism is dangerous." Voegeli has reignited a profoundly important argument that ultimately requires us to recover a basic understanding of limited constitutional government.




Israeli airstrike kills senior Hamas rocket maker: "Israeli warplanes fired missiles, killing a senior commander of the Hamas military wing and wounding 11 people in five targets hit across Gaza overnight, the group and the military said Saturday. The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to a powerful rocket fired from Gaza that hit the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon on Friday, causing damage but no injuries. Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers said their slain member was Issa Batran, 42, a commander of the groups' military wing in central Gaza and a senior rocket maker. The strikes hit a smuggling tunnel that runs under the Gaza-Egypt border used for smuggling weapons, the military said, as well as Batran's shack in central Gaza, which was likely used to make rockets, and a Hamas military training camp in Gaza City. However in Friday's attack, Ashkelon was hit by a military-grade Grad rocket that can travel longer distances and cause far more damage.

Waters plans US House trial to fight ethics charges: "Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., plans to go through a House trial to contest charges of misusing her office, NBC News confirmed Friday night. A House ethics subcommittee says Waters, 71, improperly intervened in 2008 with federal regulators to help get bailout funds for a bank that her husband owned stock in and on whose board he once served, said NBC and other media reports. Waters also once held stock in the bank.”

Growing pains : "Health care costs — and thus Medicare costs — are growing faster than GDP. Between 1998 and 2008, the rate of the program’s growth outpaced GDP by about 2.8 percent. That may not seem like much, but as long as that trend continues, it means that, every year, all else being equal, Medicare eats up a larger share of the budget. In the short term, that’s worrying. In the long term, it’s a huge problem. Somehow, all that excess growth will either have to be contained or paid for. That leaves policymakers with three basic options: Raise taxes, borrow more, or cut costs. But as Joseph Newhouse pointed out last week in Health Affairs, each presents significant difficulties.”

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

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


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


30 July, 2010


The electricity outage in my street was shorter than expected so I got the chance to update all my blogs today


Dishonest Democrat campaign tactics

Counsel for a Democrat Congresscritter:

The strategy is one you may remember from past campaigns. They call it the Great Smoke Blower. Jimmy Carter used it against Reagan in 1980. When things are objectively bad and you can't run on your record, you accuse the Republicans of extremism. Remember? In 1980, inflation was running at 14 percent. Interest rates were about 15 percent. American hostages were paraded on Iranian television. The economy was febrile.

What did they do? They accused Reagan of being a warmonger. They said he would divide north from south, white from black, union from management, and Christian from Jew. They said he would plunge the world into nuclear Armageddon. It was a reprise of the anti-Goldwater effort of 1964.

The newest ad from the DNC seeks to link the Republican Party with the tea party. Flashing faces on the screen, now Rand Paul, now Paul Ryan, now Sharron Angle, now John Boehner, all distinctions are blurred. Then they present the "Republican Tea Party Contract on America" with 10 items. These, they expect, will frighten the heck out of John Q. Public.

Item 1: "Repeal Health Insurance Reform." Item 2: "Privatize Social Security or Get Rid of It." Item 3: "End Medicare as it Presently Exists." Item 4: "Extend the Bush Tax Breaks for the Wealthy and Big Oil." Item 5: "Repeal Wall Street Reform." Item 6: "Protect Those Responsible for the Oil Spill." Item 7: "Abolish the Department of Education." Item 8: "Abolish the Department of Energy." Item 9: "Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency." Item 10: "Repeal the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators)."

Clever, right? Hey, why are you still weeping? Oh, I see. Rasmussen found that as recently as June, 58 percent of voters favor repealing the health care behemoth? So it wouldn't be scary if Republicans actually ran on that item.

Oh, and your opponent doesn't favor privatizing Social Security? Not even a little? Hasn't she ever said something like "We may have to consider changes to the retirement age?" because that can be demagogued as wanting to privatize Social Security. Well, you make a good point. The Republicans (to the dismay of philosophical conservatives and libertarians) have been embracing Social Security as Linus did his blanket, for many an election cycle. I guess, while we're at it, we might as well go ahead and concede that these same domesticated Republicans haven't exactly been carrying the banner for eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education (far less EPA!) for a really, really long time, though some wish they would.

There, there. Don't fret. What? Your opponent actually is in favor of repealing the "Wall Street Reform"? She says it will create 243 new regulations, just for starters, and that the federal government will now have the power to decide whether pretty much every business in America is taking too much risk. If a federal regulator decides you are making bad decisions, he can close down your shop. Besides, it completely sidestepped the biggest reason for the financial meltdown, Fannie and Freddie, because those were Democrats' sandboxes. Hmmm.

The unemployment rate in your district is 17 percent? Twenty-five percent among the young? The expiration of the Bush tax cuts will raise taxes for small-business owners, and this will make hiring even less likely? According to the Small Business Administration (another agency principled conservatives would happily kiss goodbye), small businesses were responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of net new jobs in the past decade. But now they're worried. They don't know how the new Financial Reform bill will affect them, and they've seen what the Massachusetts health reform did to business there so they're extremely nervous about the effects of the national health reform. They're getting by, but they're in no mood to hire.



The great warriors of old are still to be found among Americans

When someone who has earned the Medal of Honor enters a room, a hush follows, like waters opening. The stillness in his wake is palpable. Men are filled with more than admiration. The emotion is a mix of awe, envy and wonder. "Would I be capable of that?" each asks himself. Genteel ladies understand and hang back. Generals stand aside. "I'd sell my immortal soul for that medal," George S. Patton confessed.

Even politicians stop thinking of themselves. And the best of them are humbled. Harry Truman, a captain of artillery himself in the Great War, was heard to remark, "I would rather have the blue band of the Medal of Honor around my neck than be president."

Years ago, when the society of Medal of Honor recipients gathered here in Little Rock, the sensation was overpowering as each was called to the stage. Name, rank, branch of service, race, color, creed ... none of that mattered. Only their courage.

Freedom is much praised, but without courage, it is fleeting. As all know but too easily forget. Till the presence of someone wearing that blue band around his neck speaks that truth without a word being said. Or needing to be.

From the moment the country's highest honor is presented, the recipient is a marked man. He is different, and everyone knows it. He bears a great honor and an even greater burden. For all eyes are on him, and will be as long as he lives. And his story will be told long after he is gone. He no longer belongs to himself but to posterity. No wonder one recipient said it was harder to wear the medal than earn it.

Perhaps even more remarkable than his heroism was the grace with which Nick Bacon, a farm boy from near Caraway, Ark., wore that indelible honor. When you met him, he might ask only about your branch, unit, length of service and what he could do for you.

But you knew that behind the friendly, unassuming manner was a story as distinctive, and as essential to whatever remains of the West's civilization, as when the poet first sang of arms and the man.

There are fewer than a hundred Medal of Honor recipients still living, and now there is one less: Nick Bacon has died. At 64. Of the cancer he'd long fought. The state is in mourning. He'd earned the medal in Vietnam, taking command of one platoon after its leader was wounded, and of another when it, too, lost its leader, personally wiping out an enemy machine-gun nest as he led a counterattack that would save what remained of his unit and accomplish its mission. Talk about a trial by fire, and Nick Bacon met it with something above and beyond courage that endless day.

The formal words of the official citation, marching across the printed page as if in full review, tell of what he did one endless day in Vietnam:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Bacon distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Platoon, Company B, during an operation west of Tam Ky. When Company B came under fire from an enemy bunker line to the front, S/Sgt. Bacon quickly organized his men and led them forward in an assault. He advanced on a hostile bunker and destroyed it with grenades. As he did so, several fellow soldiers including the 1st Platoon leader, were struck by machine gun fire and fell wounded in an exposed position forward of the rest of the platoon. S/Sgt. Bacon immediately assumed command of the platoon and assaulted the hostile gun position, finally killing the enemy gun crew in a single-handed effort.

"When the 3d Platoon moved to S/Sgt. Bacon's location, its leader was also wounded. Without hesitation S/Sgt. Bacon took charge of the additional platoon and continued the fight. In the ensuing action he personally killed 4 more enemy soldiers and silenced an antitank weapon. Under his leadership and example, the members of both platoons accepted his authority without question. Continuing to ignore the intense hostile fire, he climbed up on the exposed deck of a tank and directed fire into the enemy position while several wounded men were evacuated.

"As a result of S/Sgt. Bacon's extraordinary efforts, his company was able to move forward, eliminate the enemy positions, and rescue the men trapped to the front. S/Sgt. Bacon's bravery at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army."

When pressed, Nick Bacon would tell the story of that day -- August 26, 1968 -- in his own way:

"I got my boot heel shot off, I got holes in my canteens, I got my rifle grip shot up. I got shrapnel holes in my camouflage covers, and bullets in my pot. A bullet creased the edge of it, tore the lining off."

Sergeant Bacon also got the Medal of Honor, presented at the White House in 1969, in addition to his other decorations, among them the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. After two tours in Vietnam (he tried for a third but was turned down) he would retire from active duty in 1984 with the rank of first sergeant.

First Sergeant Bacon, first in more ways than one, would go on to serve more than a decade as his state's director of Veterans Affairs. Anything and everything he could do for his old comrades-in-arms, and those to come, he did. He was not just the face of Veterans Affairs in Arkansas, but its embodiment.

Some men are tested by one single, exhilarating day lived at high pitch, others over the course of a lifetime of day-in, day-out service to others. Nick Bacon passed both tests, excelled at them, yet somehow remained just Nick Bacon, whom everyone loved.

In the end, what needs to be said, and isn't often enough, is simply: Thank you for your service.



NAACP blackmail?

Sorry for the pun

I was just intrigued or worried by a threatening letter that a Virginian boss of NAACP, a U.S. group promoting reverse racism, sent to James Webb, a Virginian Democratic senator who has opposed affirmative action - maybe more openly than his former G.O.P. opponent, George Allen.

A week ago, Webb wrote a WSJ op-ed, Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege, in which he was advocating the end of affirmative action programs.

The intimidating tone of the NAACP reply sucks. They want to meet him and they ask him whether there are any more rotten apples around him so that they could go after their necks, too. I think that beyond a certain threshold, such communication of organized groups with the politicians has to be viewed as blackmailing.




Time to stop listening to the Keynsian economic orthodoxy: "The truth can hurt. As I see it, the truth is that the Ph.D.s and Keynesian economists haven’t prevented our nation, and in fact the world, from falling into depression. They haven’t prevented massive unemployment. They haven’t prevented the boom/bust cycle from taking place. They haven’t stabilized the economy as they were supposed to. Indeed, they have caused these things. They have created the conditions that have made these things possible. They can point fingers all they want and make the claim that the economy is just too darn complicated, but that’s because they don’t want to look at themselves in the mirror and admit they were wrong.”

Boat saga hurt Kerry, but how much? "As political missteps go, Senator John F. Kerry’s yacht issues may ultimately be considered just a minor stumble. But in a state that has just elected a new US senator with the carefully crafted image of a pickup-driving, barn jacket-wearing common man, Kerry now seems likely to be perceived as ever more out of touch, political analysts said yesterday. And with the recession feeding a fire of anti-establishment indignation, the appearance that Kerry may have tried to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on a $7 million luxury yacht by docking it in Rhode Island could solidify a sense among voters that his life and concerns range far above their own. ‘It’s the definition of a self-inflicted wound,’ said Jeff Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University. ‘Politicians try to create a sense of empathy with rank-and-file voters, to show them that they can stand in their shoes. … John Kerry doesn’t seem to know where the shoe store is.’”

Rangel charged with 13 ethics violations: "A House panel accused Rep. Charles Rangel of New York Thursday of 13 ethics rules violations, placing his storied 40-year political career in jeopardy and guaranteeing Democrats an election-year headache. The violations were unveiled in a meeting that set the stage for a rare, full-blown trial that could take place as early as September. Rangel, a Democrat from Harlem, did not attend the meeting and has maintained he will be exonerated.”

Fixed retirement age to be scrapped in Britain: "The government has announced that the default retirement age will be phased out by October 2011. The default retirement age permitted employers to retire workers at the age without justification, and is an exception to United Kingdom labor law, which prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of age and forces them to provide justification for dismissing a worker. Personnel groups and those supportive of the elderly cheered the announcement, while business groups such as the Confederation of British Industry expressed concern about the law. There is merit in both reactions.”

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

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


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


29 July, 2010

The New Journalism

The consumer backlash against the House of Cronkite

Jonah Goldberg

‘The high standards and wise judgments of people like Walter Cronkite once acted as a national immune system, zapping scandal mongers and quashing wild rumors,” wrote former “green jobs czar” Van Jones in Sunday’s New York Times.

This may be one of the most unintentionally hilarious lines in recent memory. Jones, you may recall, left the White House when his background — not just as an alleged 9/11 truther but as a self-confessed Communist and revolutionary — became grist for the Fox News mill. Mainstream publications mostly ignored the controversy until after he was fired, and then focused on the fact that he directed an expletive at Republicans in a YouTube video.

Now Jones, with billets at Princeton and the Center for American Progress, casts himself as yet another victim, just like Shirley Sherrod, the Department of Agriculture employee fired after Andrew Breitbart released a misleadingly edited video of her. (Breitbart, a friend of mine, insists to me that he did not edit the video himself.)

You’ve just got to love a former member of STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement), a Mao-influenced organization with a professed “commitment to the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism,” giving Walter Cronkite — the dashboard saint of American bourgeois conformity — his due as the bulwark of decency. Yes, yes, Jones says he’s grown and is no longer the Red he was even a few years ago. But come on.

For generations, conservatives lamented the decline in standards. When Hollywood portrayed glandular instincts as the new moral compass of the secular age, conservatives waxed nostalgic over the lost decency of the “studio system.” When the education industry shelved the great books in favor of hugs, conservatives lamented the demise of the three R’s and the “closing of the American mind.” When the Left became enamored with a “riot ideology” that mistook lawlessness for political protest, conservatives invoked “law and order.” Name a front in the political and culture wars, and conservatives defended the authority of authority and the tradition of tradition, while liberals and leftists defended sticking it to the man.

But now that the legacy media is one of the last resources the Left still has at its disposal, even Comrade Jones isn’t immune to mossy nostalgia for Walter Cronkite (who, by the way, is easily one of the most overrated American icons).

And that’s the irony: The Left only believes in sticking it to the man when it isn’t the man. Teachers unions and tenured professors, now that they control their guilds, are darn-near reactionary in their white-knuckled grip on the status quo. Liberal legal scholars are a cargo cult to stare decisis, for the simple reason that the precedents are still on their side.

The essence of the culture war today is a battle over whose “gatekeepers” are legitimate and whose are not.

Nowhere is this more true than in the temples of journalism, where the high priests are barricading the doors with pews and candelabras to fend off the barbarians.

Among the liberal Brahmins of the legacy media, probity, standards, and restraint are the order of the day for inconvenient news. Feeding frenzies are reserved for the fun news (i.e., the news that reinforces liberal assumptions).

So, when the Climategate e-mails were released, the New York Times’s chief environmental correspondent refrained from posting private e-mails, a standard he would never have taken with internal e-mails from, say, BP. The leak of Valerie Plame’s identity: a shocking scandal that tore at the heart of the Bush administration. The leaking of vital state secrets: great journalism.

The house Cronkite built did many fine and noble things. It also locked out competing points of view, buried inconvenient bodies, spun the news with centrifugal force, and racked up a formidable list of Shirley Sherrods all its own. The New York Times whitewashed Stalin’s genocide. Cronkite misreported the significance of the Tet Offensive to say the Vietnam War was unwinnable. Dan Rather, Cronkite’s replacement, began his career falsely reporting that Dallas schoolchildren cheered JFK’s murder and ended it falsely reporting on forged National Guard memos. The Rodney King video was misleadingly edited; the Tailwind story was not true. And that’s only a snippet of the list.

The media environment today is dizzying not because of one revolution but two complementary ones. First there’s the churn of the Internet, from Wikileaks to wilding bloggers. But there’s also a second revolution that amounts to consumer backlash against the House of Cronkite. It has fueled the rise of Fox News and the new alternative media.

This pincer movement can be scary. But it’s progress.



Pelosi, Reid: Divorced From Reality

Leadership: A major poll just gave Congress a favorability rating of 11% — lowest in history. Never, it seems, have our representatives in Washington been so disconnected from the people they purport to serve.

The disconnect was most evident in separate comments made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a conference of the far-left group Netroots Nation last weekend in Las Vegas. Both weighed in on vital topics. Both revealed why they're so out of touch with reality.

Pelosi told the audience she adamantly opposes raising the retirement age for Social Security and said the Depression-era program shouldn't be cut to help reduce the deficit. "When you talk about reducing the deficit and Social Security, you're talking about apples and oranges," she said.

She has it exactly backward. The No. 1 problem facing this nation is the massive deficit we face over the next 75 years, due almost entirely to the expansion of Social Security and Medicare. The only way to address the deficit is to address entitlements.

Social Security and Medicare trustees estimated last year that the unfunded liability — that is, future expected deficits — of the two programs is $107 trillion, or 7 1/2 times the size of our entire economy. If not addressed immediately, these shortfalls will require a tripling of payroll taxes to 37% by 2054 from 12.4% today.

Governments as diverse as Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Great Britain face similar scary arithmetic and are already lengthening the amount of time workers have to work to get a public pension. They're making other cuts as well.

When the U.S. lags behind reform enacted even by the soft-socialist countries of Europe, it's a sign of how radical and beholden to special interests our Democrat-controlled government has become. To assert, as Pelosi has, that we don't need to alter Social Security in any way is the fiscal equivalent of joining the Flat Earth Society.

Meanwhile, the speaker had the chutzpah — or maybe it was twisted humor — to tell the Netroot folks that Democrats are "moving on all fronts to reduce the deficit."

"Moving on all fronts"? Last we saw — and it's hard to keep up — the U.S. this year is slated to have a deficit of $1.5 trillion, or 10% of GDP, and an additional $1.4 trillion, or 9.2% of GDP, next year. Anticipated deficits, all from Democratic policies, will add $10 trillion to $13 trillion to our national debt over the next decade.

Just Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office again warned that U.S. deficits are "unsustainable." Apparently, the free-spending Democrats don't think so.

In the recent debate over a $35 billion extension of jobless benefits, Republicans merely asked that the bill be paid for with cuts elsewhere — as the Democrats' own pay-go rules, passed earlier this year, require. Democrats refused. Instead, the GOP was slandered as racist and accused of hating poor Americans.

Reid's comments, made to the same Netroot group, were equally absurd — and no doubt offensive to voters.

After his party insisted during more than a year of debate over the health care overhaul that they did not want a single-payer public option, Reid gloated to the Netroot gathering: "We're going to have a public option. It's just a question of when."

As with Pelosi's comments, Reid's fly in the face of what's going on around the world. Europe, in particular, has been forced to face up to its debt problems, and countries there are actively attacking their governments' involvement in health care.

Take Britain, the country most often cited as a model for Obama-Care. The government-run National Health Service is going through massive cuts, and "some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed" to save money, according to Britain's Telegraph.

Meanwhile, the new conservative government is pushing the biggest reform of Britain's health care system since its 1948 founding, with a plan to decentralize the bureaucracy to the local level.

Nor does Reid, like Pelosi, get that Social Security is in a deep crisis. He called it "the most successful social program in the history of the world." Successful? A program that socks future generations with trillions in higher taxes and lower standards of living? A program that's already running in the red and whose unsustainable finances promise to push the U.S. to the verge of bankruptcy?

The arrogance of Reid's and Pelosi's remarks underscore the problems that the Democrats have with the electorate. They promised moderation and fiscal responsibility. Instead, we got a radical expansion of government power — with trillions of dollars in spending, thousands of pages of costly regulations, a government takeover of vast swaths of the private economy and deficits stretching into the future as far as our best forecasts can see.

The country has seen what arrogant, untrammeled rule looks like. And as the polls show, it doesn't care for it at all.



Obama Debt Commission will Call for Trillions in Tax Hikes

The Democrats are looking to get Republicans to endorse raising taxes. Some might be stupid enough. Remember George Bush senior and his lying lips

Obama debt commission member, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, launched a scary trial balloon on ABC News. Gregg suggested the debt commission will likely recommend a massive $26.7 trillion tax increase. Here are Gregg’s actual words:

“Everything has to be on the table – there’s no question about that… Erskine Bowles, one of the co-chairmen of the commission, has suggested a 75-25 split — 75 percent of the savings being in spending, and 25 percent in revenues… I think it’s likely that there will have to be a revenue component, but it should be significantly, dramatically — and a 3-1 ratio is pretty dramatic — dramatically less than the initiatives in the spending side of the ledger.”

According to an analysis by Americans for Tax Reform if Bowles wants $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes then the tax increases will be larger than anyone expects:

“Bowles and Gregg can only be talking about cutting $3 in promised Social Security and Medicare benefits in exchange for $1 in tax increases. In other words, 1/4 of the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare would be paid for with tax hikes. So how big is that? According to the 2009 Social Security and Medicare Actuaries’ Report, the long-run insolvency of the Social Security and Medicare systems is $106.8 trillion (with a “t”) over the infinite horizon. To close this gap with one-quarter tax hikes is, therefore, to raise taxes by $26.7 trillion. Of course, this number is undoubtedly higher since the Obama Administration is sitting on (read: hiding) the 2010 version of the report (it’s nearly six months overdue).”

On the heels of a huge tax increases included in the over-2000-page ObamaCare package, together with over-2000-page so-called “Financial Reform Package,” together with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, Obama’s economic policies have guaranteed a double-dip recession.

Strap on your safety belts, because the anemic economic recovery of 2010 is about to become a government-induced second recession or double-dip in 2011. This outcome is baked in the cake even before any tax increases from the Obama debt commission are enacted.

If they are so greedy as to also try — by passage of a climate control bill — increases in energy taxes then this second recession will likely lead to deflation and a collapse into a government-sponsored depression. The economy cannot afford more money being redirected from investments toward government spending.

Clearly from this evidence alone it is plain to see that Obama isn’t judging his success based on a record of economic growth, but instead he is pursuing a program of economic redistribution. The administration has no focus on expanding the economic pie; instead, they are concerned with devouring every piece of the pie.

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has been watching the Obama debt commission closely, and he concluded after hearing reports of Sen. Gregg’s comments:

“It’s been clear from the beginning that the purpose of this Commission was to put GOP fingerprints on a tax hike, likely a VAT… Gregg seems to be giving them all ten fingers… The true agenda of this commission has always been to hide the ball on a tax hike until after the November elections – hence the December reporting date. Gregg’s gaffe today tips their hand,”

Higher taxes are never the answer. With the economy so weak, Congress should be making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Taxes on capital formation and investment should be eliminated all together. America should be encouraging small business, individual investors and entrepreneurs to be taking risks to increase economic growth in the private sector. Instead, Obama and the socialists in Congress are embarked on a dangerous expedition to punish success. This will end badly.


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

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


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


28 July, 2010

Obama, Reagan and the economy

It’s easy to understand why President Barack Obama’s friends don’t want to acknowledge that July represents 17 months since Congress passed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill — the president’s signature measure to jump-start the economy and fight unemployment.

Obama says the economy is headed in the right direction; jobs are being created, not lost, and he is doing everything possible to revive the “worst economy since the Great Depression.” Most of the national press has been remarkably accepting of this narrative — even if the president has been vague, at best, about when we might finally see an uptick in economic growth and job creation.

But in another economic time, President Ronald Reagan’s economic recovery program took 17 months to take hold. It took from the time Congress passed his tax cuts, in August 1981, until the recession he inherited finally ended in January 1983.

Unemployment hit a high of 10.8 percent in December 1982. But then economic growth spiked, and the unemployment rate began a long, steady decline throughout the 1980s. It was obvious the program was working when people stopped calling it “Reaganomics.”

Tax cuts were a part of Reagan’s effort to cut the size and scope of government to fight economic stagnation. “Government is not the solution,” Reagan said in his remarkably clear inaugural address. “It is the problem.”

In addition to tax cuts, Reagan reduced domestic discretionary spending and streamlined regulations to make them less of a burden on businesses seeking to create jobs. He believed that government should give individuals and businesses the proper incentives to grow and expand and not inhibit the private sector with high taxes and cumbersome regulations.

Reagan faced obstacles that Obama did not. The House he had to work with was always controlled by Democrats. More ominously, inflation was running at double-digit rates, and it took nearly a year for the Federal Reserve to squeeze those pressures out of the system.

Regardless, in the end, Reagan’s program worked. The turnaround began 17 months later.

Fast-forward to today. The Obama administration says that government-directed investment, via huge spending increases, can revive the economy. It’s now stimulus plus 17. Is there a turnaround in sight?



Why all Obama's policy wonks can't save him or help America

Yes, the folks in the Administration may be smart, but they have no experience. Virtually none of them has ever participated in the free enterprise system creating income and jobs, so how – and why – would you expect them to create policies that would help entrepreneurs and small-business owners move the economy forward. They may be smart, they may be great at writing papers and drawing charts with arrows and symbols, but they are fairly low on wisdom. Wisdom comes from suffering experiences in life – not just living arcane social and economic theories.

A perfect example of this wisdom deficiency is the newest member of the administration, Donald Berwick, the man chosen to administer the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These two behemoth bureaucracies consume 4% of our gross domestic product, and that’s even before Obamacare vastly increases the amount of money running through their bureaucratic fingers. So one might think Dr. Berwick would have had some experience running a major medical operation or a similar entity. It turns out that his most significant position was as President of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). If you go to the IHI website, they self-describe the organization as “a small organization with a very big mission.” Not exactly the credentials most of us would consider when looking for someone to run an organization that dispenses hundreds of billions of dollars.

The important thing is Dr. Berwick has studied health care organizations and written heady papers and pontificated in speeches about how the health care system should be run. That should be good enough. Since that is the background of our President and almost all of his advisors, Dr. Berwick seems to be a natural choice.

The problem is that the left-wing rabble that comprises the Obama administration – having never done it themselves – have no understanding of how money is created other than by encouraging the federal reserve to print some more. They have no appreciation of what makes this country great, as described by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. She wrote

“To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money –and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man’s mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes by conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.”

The people running our country not only have never created a dollar’s worth of wealth, they appear to have a visceral disdain for those who do.

These government wonks repeatedly insist that federal intervention and control is the solution, but some of their own brethren have proven them wrong through an extensive study. Three Harvard Business School Professors, Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval and Chris Malloy, examined the effects of increased spending over 42 years when 232 Senators or Congressmen became committee chairs and funneled federal dollars to their states or districts.

The study shows that the jump in federal funds significantly decreases private sector expenditures for capital items, research and development, and employment. The government money just squeezes out private funds. They found that this happens as long as the chairman stays in place, and begins to reverse itself only when the chairmanship is lost. The recently deceased Robert Byrd is a prime example. He was famous for funneling a hugely disproportionate amount of federal funds to West Virginia for 50 years, but when was the last time you heard people rushing to set up businesses in West Virginia. Maybe now that Byrd is gone, there is hope for free enterprise in West Virginia.

Our current Administration is stacked with book-smart and degree-laden people. Unfortunately, they have very little wisdom, no personal experience creating wealth, and don’t realize that efforts such as the Stimulus Bill just deter private enterprise from reviving the economy as it has in past downturns. The solution will come when they wise up – which, admittedly, is highly unlikely – or when change is forced upon them by Republican majorities after November 3rd.



Iranian regime sets up brothels; recruits prostitutes

The Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.

To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us. Each of our sisters who signs up will be bound by a two year contract with the province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan and will be required to spend at least 25 days of each month temporarily married to those brothers who are on pilgrimage. The period of the contract will be considered as a part of the employment experience of the applicant. The period of each temporary marriage can be anywhere between 5 hours to 10 days. The prices are as follows:

* 5 hour temporary marriage – 50,000 Tomans ($50 US)
* One day temporary marriage – 75,000 Tomans ($75 US)
* Two day temporary marriage – 100,000 Tomans ($100 US)
* Three day temporary marriage – 150,000 Tomans ($150 US)
* Between 4 and 10 day temporary marriage – 300,000 Tomans ($300 US)

Our sisters who are virgins will receive a bonus of 100,000 Tomans ($100 US) for the removal of their hymen.

After the expiration of the two year contract, should our sisters still be under 35 years of age and should they be so inclined, they can be added to the waiting list of those who are seeking long-term temporary marriage.

The employed sisters are obligated to donate 5% of their earnings to the Shrine of Imam Reza. We ask that all the sisters who are interested in applying, to furnish two full-length photographs (fully hijabed and properly veiled), their academic diplomas, proof of their virginity and a certificate of good physical and psychological health which they can obtain through the health and human services of the township of their residence.

Attention: For sisters who are below 14 years of age, a written consent from their fathers or male guardian is required.



BrookesNews Update

The US economy is Obama's mess and Democrats are panicking : At the end of the day, something has to give. If Obama is not forced to change course the economic consequences for millions of Americans will be increasing severe. Although 'there is a great deal of ruin in a nation', as Adam Smith once observed, there is still a limit to what an economy can endure. Despite its size and power America is not an exception
Influential commentators urge the Fed to raise the pace of pumping : Contrary to Krugman and other mainstream economists neither the Fed nor the government's loose monetary and fiscal policies can cause an expansion in the pool of real savings. On the contrary loose policies only weaken the process of real wealth formation thereby weakening prospects for a sustained economic expansion
Will the Reserve's tight monetary policy drive the Australian economy off a cliff? : Our economic commentariat have no idea how tight monetary policy is. With the money supply shrinking, the housing market cooling, manufacturing slowing and retail prices stabilizing there is only one direction in which the economy can go
The Government's 'alternative energy' policies will be a disaster for the economy : Replacing centralised power generation with alternative energy would result in a colossal waste of land, labour and capital, massive increases in energy prices and savage cuts in living standards
Fidel Castro predicts nuclear war : It was Castro & Guevara's attempt to start a nuclear war that forced Kruschev to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba in 1962, not Kennedy. In fact, Jack Kennedy folded like a bad poker hand, giving Kruschev everything he asked for. And Democrat presidents have been folding ever since
Of course Obama's a socialist : Obama is a card-carrying member of the ruling class, and every act of this president aims to concentrate more power in the government or distribute favors to his supporters. America was not founded for this. The 600,000 did not die in the Civil War for this. The GIs did not crush Nazism and Communism for this. And that is why it shall not stand



Iran foresees a need for more cannon-fodder: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated a new policy on Tuesday to encourage population growth, dismissing Iran’s decades of family planning as ungodly and a Western import. The new government initiative will pay families for every new child and deposit money into the newborn’s bank account until they reach 18, effectively rolling back years of efforts to boost the economy by reducing the country’s runaway population growth.”

Inching towards free trade?: “Congress has passed legislation that temporarily reduces or suspends tariffs on 639 items, mostly components that American manufacturers use in their production processes. The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill comes up periodically. On Tuesday it passed the Senate without opposition or a recorded vote. The bill passed the House last week, and now goes to the president for his signature.”

Persecution of fundamentalist Mormons under challenge: "The Utah Supreme Court has reversed Warren Steed Jeffs’ two convictions on charges of rape as an accomplice and ordered a new trial, saying that instructions given to jurors were erroneous. Jeffs, the ‘prophet’ of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS, was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life after he was convicted in September 2007. He was accused of using his religious influence over his followers to coerce a 14-year-old girl into marrying her 19-year-old cousin.” [Sticking your dick up another guy's ass is hailed as "marriage" but Mormon ideas about marriage are a crime?]

Why are we discussing racism?: "Can anyone tell me why suddenly race is the hot topic of national discourse? According to Gallup polling of last week, the issues most on the minds of Americans are the economy and jobs followed by dissatisfaction with all aspects of government. I didn’t notice racism on the list anywhere. The NAACP says it was ’snookered’ by Fox News on the Shirley Sherrod story. I say we’ve all been snookered by the NAACP.”

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

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


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


27 July, 2010

Christians Speak Up and Holocaust Survivors Find their Voices

I know that Pastor Hagee is controversial but I think he is a great and good man who takes seriously what the Bible says. And from what I have seen there is great joy in his congregations -- so the blessings are already there -- JR

By Peggy Shapiro

They were both teenage Holocaust survivors who experienced the anti-Semitism of the church even before the Nazis entered their hometowns in Poland. The two eighty-three-year-old women, both named Mania, both short with carefully coiffed blond hair, were in the audience with over 4,000 Christian Zionists at the opening plenary of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit on July 20. Seven pastors spoke, and the two women listened with incredulity to words which defied everything they had ever experienced.

The ministers proclaimed that "Israel is not just a Jewish issue. It's a Christian issue. It's an American issue." The underlying tenet of CUFI is "I will bless those who bless you [Israel], And I will curse him who curses you [Israel], Genesis 12:3. John Hagee, founder of CUFI, reviewed the history of those who cursed Israel. "What you predict for Israel will be your destiny. Pharoah wanted to drown Jewish children, and he was drowned. Haman wanted to hang Jews and he was hung. It has taken us Christians 2,000 years to catch on... We will strive to be a blessing to Israel."

The audience, a cross section of America, included high school students, CUFI on Campus groups, senior citizens moving with the assistance of canes, families with children, African-American ministries, Hispanic churches, cowboy churches, urbanites, suburbanites, ranchers, scientists, bond brokers, travel agents and golfers. They were from all fifty states and as diverse as a group can get, yet they spoke with one voice and cheered wildly as the speakers reaffirmed the CUFI pledge that:

"The Jewish people have a right to live in their ancient land of Israel, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of this historic right.

There is no excuse for acts of terrorism against Israel and that Israel has the same right as every other nation to defend her citizens from such violent attacks.

Christian Zionists will "stand up, speak up and never shut up for Israel" until the attacks stop and Israelis are finally living in peace."

No one had stood up or spoken up for the Manias the last time Jews were on the precipice of death. Their non-Jewish neighbors turned their backs and closed their eyes. The world was silent when their homes were confiscated, when they were thrown out of schools because Jewish children were not to be educated, and when their families were starved, tormented, and sent off in cattle cars to their deaths in Auschwitz. Now sixty-five years after their liberation from concentration camps, the women heard words which calmed their souls.

Here were over 4,000 Christians, and behind these 4,000 were more than 400,000 members of CUFI offering themselves as allies to Jews and the State of Israel in the battle for survival. It was time to pick sides and these Christians were mobilizing on the Jewish side. On one side is Israel, a democracy with shared values for human life, freedom of religion, and the dignity of the individual. "On the other are the unsavory characters of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and the United Nations. The US must stand on the right side." Hagee was certain of the winning side:

"Egypt could not enslave Israel; European nations could not assimilate the Jews; dictators and thugs will not annihilate Israel. We are part of the covenant in a battle for the entire Earth... This time Jews do not have to stand alone."

One of the Manias, my mother, turned to me and said, "However long I was destined to live, I will now live ten years longer." The outspoken and genuine support throughout the three-day summit did more than apply a salve to deep wounds; it empowered these women to speak up as they had never done before. My mother, almost manic in her excitement, spoke to dozens and dozens of Summit participants, who listened to her story with compassion and gratitude. Everywhere we went in the giant convention center and later on Capital Hill, people greeted her by name.

It was the last morning of the Summit when she truly found her voice. My mother had never spoken to a Senator before. She certainly had never spoken up to a person in such a high office. When we met with our two senators, they were both very disappointing in their responses to our requests to ask the president to implement the Iran sanctions legislation that had passed the Senate unanimously.

One senator, who had actually co-sponsored the bill, never read it and thought is was a resolution asking for the UN to act. The other senator equivocated. When the short meeting ended and the legislators were ready to take photos with their constituents, my mother walked up to one senator. He asked her if she wanted a photo. "No, I want to speak to you." "Hmm. Well I am taking pictures." "I will wait." Wait she did.

She asked him about enforcing strong sanctions against Iran and he said he was against war. "I am against war. I was in a war, and I know what it means," She explained. "If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, they told us what they will do, and I believe them. They will kill Israelis and they will attack us. We won't be able to avoid war then." He was not able to placate her with gratuitous statements about his support of Israel. "Those are nice words. I want to know where you stand on issues that will determine the fate of Israel, the U.S. and the world."

The other Mania's silence was broken less publicly but even more profoundly. First about her silence. Three years ago, Mania went with my family on a first and last journey back to Poland. She was quiet for most of the trip, muttering only soto vocce disparaging remarks. We were walking through the remnants of the Birkenau death camp and passed a flimsy wooden barrack, which was intended for 52 horses and converted into housing for more than 500 inmates. "I was here," she said quietly. No one had known, not even her daughter the story she was about to tell.

In the summer of 1944, there were orders for the final liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto, where Mania, her parents, and her little sister had survived starvation and typhus. Knowing that the final days were near, her father had arranged for his family and several others to hide behind the false wall of what had once been his store. Two days before they were set to go into hiding, he was grabbed off the street and sent to Auschwitz.

Her mother was frantic with the choice forced upon her. The night that the others went into hiding, she fought with herself whether to join them or try to meet up with her husband, wherever he might be, and share whatever fate awaited him. There were no correct answers in this world turned upside down, so she held on to what she knew to be true-keep the family together. The next day, she and her two daughters were arrested and packed into a cattle car. When the car had its determined number of human cargo, the outside bolts slammed shut and the three set off in the dark.

Mania was seventeen when she arrived in Auschwitz after torturous days crammed in a cattle car with her mother and seven-year-old sister. The train doors opened to shouts, barks, clubs, screams and chaos. Her little sister was pushed to one line and she to another. Her mother faced another agonizing decision and only moments to make it. Which daughter would she accompany? She chose the younger. Mania was ignorant of what that decision meant as she was herded into the barracks. She sat on the barrack floor back-to-back with hundreds of other girls, with no room to stretch her legs, no food, no water, and no relief from an awful stench.

When the more seasoned inmates spoke about the ovens, Mania was horror struck to learn that her mother and sister were among the ashes. She did not scream. She couldn't. She had lost her voice. For three days, she sat starved and crushed on the floor and could not utter one word. (Language no longer served her.)

Since that day, she has remained a very quiet woman, speaking only when other options aren't available.

At the CUFI Summit, Mania was not able to articulate her reactions other than, "I can't believe it. I can't believe it." At the Wednesday evening Night to Honor Israel, she was stunned to hear a beautiful rendition of the Israeli national anthem and a medley of songs about Jerusalem, all in Hebrew and all accompanied by thousands of Israeli and US flags waving in a sea of people.

There she was, proudly, joyously standing and waving flags. When people started dancing, this woman who never dances, ran up and grabbed the hands of two strangers, and joined in. It was the end of a long day in blazing heat, but she was indefatigable.

We returned home on Thursday and met with the family for Shabbat dinner on Friday night. I was describing our experiences at the Summit when Mania interrupted me. It was the first time in the thirty years that I have known her that she has ever interrupted anyone to say anything.

Christians speaking up in support of Israel and the Jewish people allowed two Holocaust survivors to renew their hope in the world and find their own voices to shout to the world, "Am Yisroel Chai!" Long live the people of Israel.



A sneering Leftist says he wants to UNDERSTAND the Right! We Should Feel So Loved

Lefty blogger Kevin Drum comes out with a half-hearted attempt to explain that, no, he doesn't hate conservatives, he just doesn't understand them! And he oh so dearly wants to understand them, he's just having trouble getting his enlightened mind around the idea! How very nice of Mr. Drum:
On an intellectual level, I can sort of get this. If I were a conservative Christian I'd be unhappy with the increasing secularization of society and the 60s-era Supreme Court decisions that largely removed it from the public square. If I were a white guy stuck in a sucky job and heard stories of blacks being given preference in promotions and school placements, I'd be pissed. If I were socially traditional and my school district insisted on a curriculum that endorsed tolerance of gay lifestyles, I'd be horrified. If I only heard the Fox News version of Climategate, it would seem like truly terrifying proof of a massive global conspiracy and fraud.

Or, in other words, "If I were a racist sexist homophobic paranoid, I could totally understand conservatism. But I'm not any of those things, so I can't possibly understand why anyone would be a conservative!"

Say it with me now: the ideology of conservatism can completely and seamlessly be divorced from racism, sexism, whatever -ism the Left accuses us of, while still being intellectually coherent and logical. This is the worst kind of elitism.


That talk of a "sucky" job is typical Leftist contempt for the lives of ordinary people. I know many people in very ordinary work who are happy in that work. My late father was one -- and I'll vouch that he was a 10 times greater gentleman than Kevin Drum will ever be -- JR



Government-sponsored innovation (What a laugh!): “They all believe they have invented the next big thing, these engineers, MBAs, and scientists with ideas as lofty as the view from their perch on the 14th floor of a new high-rise on Boston’s waterfront. A bottle-top filter to solve the world’s drinking-water woes. A stiletto high heel that converts into a comfortable walking shoe. A wind turbine that uses helium to float up to 2,000 feet in the air to generate electricity in the steady breeze aloft. The creators are among 110 nascent entrepreneurs who have won free office space situated in what city planners are calling the Innovation District, a 1,000-acre swath of South Boston that encompasses much of the view from the 14th floor of One Marina Park Drive at Fan Pier, where entrepreneurial teams will work. The envisioned district stretches from Fort Point Channel to the Boston Marine Industrial Park, from the Seaport to the Convention Center.”

A free press means no subsidies: "‘The 10 most dangerous words in the English language,’ said Ronald Reagan in 1988, ‘are ‘Hi, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” But how dangerous could it be for the news industry to accept government help in the form of subsidies, tax credits, or other financial support? The rise of the Internet, as everyone knows, has been hell on traditional media outlets — especially newspapers and magazines, which have seen their circulation, advertising, and profits plummet as millions of readers have gone digital. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs, national and foreign bureaus have been shut, news coverage has dwindled, and the long-range forecast is for more of the same. To stop the bleeding and keep American journalism viable, some are suggesting a government lifeline in the form of enhanced public funding.”

Attracting businesses during the Great Recession: "The latest unemployment numbers show the nation remains in the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression. Economists are predicting a ‘double dip’ recession, meaning things may get worse before they get better. What can elected officials do to attract businesses during the Great Recession? The key lies in building a better business climate, the panoply of public policies that affect investment, business startups, and profitability. A good business climate encourages people to start new businesses, existing businesses to grow, and national and international businesses to invest in an area. A poor business climate does the opposite.”

Sweet for producers; sour for consumers: "For years, domestic sugar producers have profited from quotas limiting sugar imports, boosting prices to American users. While such protectionism indefensibly takes from American consumers for politically powerful sugar producers, it usually hides under the public radar. But the difference between American prices and world prices recently reached its highest level in over a decade, again raising it as an issue.”

Early returns on ObamaCare are disappointing: "Obamacare was conceived around three goals: (1) provide health insurance coverage for all Americans; (2) reduce insurance costs for individuals, businesses, and government; and (3) increase the quality of health care and the value received for each dollar of health care spending. Just over 100 days after the law was signed, the evidence shows it is failing on each and every one of those goals.”

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

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


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


26 July, 2010

The Media's co-ordinated attack on Sarah Palin

On Thursday, the Daily Caller published exchanges from a private forum called JournoList that showed how 400 top mainstream reporters and their activist buddies conspired in an attack against Palin the minute she entered the presidential race.

Wrote Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation: "This seems to me like an occasion when the nonofficial campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official (Obama) campaign shouldn't say — very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here (on JournoList) — scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia (sic) wing-nut a heartbeat away."

"What a joke," added Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer at the New Yorker and a senior analyst at CNN.

Ryan Donmoyer of Bloomberg News warned the forum bloggers that Palin's decision against aborting her baby with Down syndrome represented a threat to Obama because it was a "heartwarming" story. Politico's Ben Adler (now at Newsweek) said Palin should be criticized because campaigning would take her away from her baby.

Instead of calling Adler out on his 1970s-grade sexism, Human Rights Watch's then-chief of operations, Suzanne Nossel, suggested that McCain be called the sexist: "I think it is and can be spun as a profoundly sexist pick. Women should feel umbrage at the idea that their votes can be attracted just by putting a woman, any woman, on the ticket no matter her qualification or views."

"OK, let's get deadly serious, folks," wrote Ed Kilgore, managing editor of the Democratic Strategist. "Grating voice or not, 'inexperienced' or not, Sarah Palin's just been introduced to the country as a brave, above-party, oil-company-bashing, pork-hating maverick 'outsider.' What we can do is expose her ideology?"

And so it went — journalists from the Nation, Mother Jones, Time, Politico, Bloomberg cooking up approaches, arguments, "narratives" and templates to paint a false picture of the candidate.

There are so many things wrong with this, we hardly know where to start. Nominally competitors, these supposedly impartial media mavens colluded in a way that would put airline or insurance officials in the dock for anti-competitive practices. They engaged in activism instead of fact-finding and mixed incestuously with activists whom they also should have been covering impartially.

Worst of all, they deprived millions of Americans of the information they needed to size up this new face on the political scene and determine if she really was a candidate who represented their interests. That still remains to be done — and the country is poorer for it.



Too many laws, too many prisoners

Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little

THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.

Mr Norris was 65 years old at the time, and a collector of orchids. He eventually discovered that he was suspected of smuggling the flowers into America, an offence under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This came as a shock. He did indeed import flowers and sell them to other orchid-lovers. And it was true that his suppliers in Latin America were sometimes sloppy about their paperwork. In a shipment of many similar-looking plants, it was rare for each permit to match each orchid precisely.

In March 2004, five months after the raid, Mr Norris was indicted, handcuffed and thrown into a cell with a suspected murderer and two suspected drug-dealers. When told why he was there, “they thought it hilarious.” One asked: “What do you do with these things? Smoke ’em?”

Prosecutors described Mr Norris as the “kingpin” of an international smuggling ring. He was dumbfounded: his annual profits were never more than about $20,000. When prosecutors suggested that he should inform on other smugglers in return for a lighter sentence, he refused, insisting he knew nothing beyond hearsay.

He pleaded innocent. But an undercover federal agent had ordered some orchids from him, a few of which arrived without the correct papers. For this, he was charged with making a false statement to a government official, a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Since he had communicated with his suppliers, he was charged with conspiracy, which also carries a potential five-year term.

As his legal bills exploded, Mr Norris reluctantly changed his plea to guilty, though he still protests his innocence. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison. After some time, he was released while his appeal was heard, but then put back inside. His health suffered: he has Parkinson’s disease, which was not helped by the strain of imprisonment. For bringing some prescription sleeping pills into prison, he was put in solitary confinement for 71 days. The prison was so crowded, however, that even in solitary he had two room-mates.

Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.

The system has three big flaws, say criminologists. First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable. Many laws, especially federal ones, are so vaguely written that people cannot easily tell whether they have broken them.

In 1970 the proportion of Americans behind bars was below one in 400, compared with today’s one in 100. Since then, the voters, alarmed at a surge in violent crime, have demanded fiercer sentences. Politicians have obliged. New laws have removed from judges much of their discretion to set a sentence that takes full account of the circumstances of the offence. Since no politician wants to be tarred as soft on crime, such laws, mandating minimum sentences, are seldom softened. On the contrary, they tend to get harder.

Some criminals belong behind bars. When a habitual rapist is locked up, the streets are safer. But the same is not necessarily true of petty drug-dealers, whose incarceration creates a vacancy for someone else to fill, argues Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University. The number of drug offenders in federal and state lock-ups has increased 13-fold since 1980. Some are scary thugs; many are not....

Severe drug laws have unintended consequences. Less than half of American cancer patients receive adequate painkillers, according to the American Pain Foundation, another pressure-group. One reason is that doctors are terrified of being accused of drug-trafficking if they over-prescribe. In 2004 William Hurwitz, a doctor specialising in the control of pain, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for prescribing pills that a few patients then resold on the black market. Virginia’s board of medicine ruled that he had acted in good faith, but he still served nearly four years....

Much more HERE



Modern political prisoners in America: "When I was growing up, I learned in school that one of the reasons the United States of America was better than the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was because we didn’t hold political prisoners in our jails. That was something the bad, bad communists did. That was something that was done in communist countries to keep dissidents in line and to silence them. Such a thing could never be done in America. I don’t know if this is still taught in the schools, but if it is then I believe our children are being grossly misinformed. The United States of America has become the leading nation when it comes to jailing its citizens, and the vast majority of them have been jailed for non violent crimes. We are, in effect, being jailed by the political class for disobeying rules they have deigned necessary, not for actions that have harmed another human being or his property. Most of those jailed are, in effect, political prisoners.”

A law to prevent government bungling! (If only ...) "President Barack Obama will sign legislation today to limit erroneous payments by the government and announce a new goal of reducing improper payments by $50 billion before 2012, a White House official said. The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act will help limit improper payments to individuals, organizations and contractors, according to the administration official. The White House said that in 2009 a record of almost $110 billion was paid by the government to the wrong person, in the wrong amount or for the wrong reasons."

A Russian milestone: First black elected to office: "People in this Russian town used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare — an honest politician. Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia. In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, Sagbo’s election as one of Novozavidovo’s 10 municipal councilors is a milestone.”

US deficit heads toward record $1.47 trillion: "There is some good economic news. The red ink the US is swimming in is not as bad as projected in February. Yes, at $1.471 trillion, it’s still huge — 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — but an improvement of $84 billion from earlier estimates. But bad news still looms large. In the next fiscal year, according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit will be $150 billion more than earlier projections. It is expected to come in at $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP. The White House, which released the change in budget estimates, was careful not to overplay the changing numbers. ‘These are not substantial changes and nothing we want to make too big a deal about,’ said Peter Orszag, director of the OMB in a press call with reporters. ‘The economy remains weaker than we would like and the unemployment rate higher than we would like.’”

Battle over Bush tax cuts looms in Washington: "An epic fight is brewing over what Congress and President Obama should do about the expiring Bush tax cuts, with such substantial economic and political consequences that it could shape the fall elections and fiscal policy for years to come. Democratic leaders, including Obama, say they are intent on letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire as scheduled at the end of this year. But they have pledged to continue the lower tax rates for individuals earning less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000 — what Democrats call the middle class. Most Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for everyone, and some Democrats agree, saying it would be unwise to raise taxes on anyone while the economy remains weak. If no action is taken, taxes on income, dividends, capital gains, and estates would all rise.”

Liberal tax revolt game-changer?: "The liberal tax revolt, as the Wall Street Journal is calling it, is a very important topic — especially for investors and small-business entrepreneurs. And for new jobs. The so-called revolt is comprised of three Democratic senators: Kent Conrad, Evan Bayh, and Ben Nelson. They want to extend all the Bush tax cuts. That includes taxes on the wealthy, or the top personal tax rate, the investment taxes on capital gains and dividends, and the estate tax. So is this revolt a game-changer, or merely wishful thinking?”

Doctors fleeing faster from profession, Medicare: "The exodus of doctors from Medicare (and, likely, from private practice altogether) is accelerating. The signs are undeniable: A 2008 poll by an independent Medicare commission found that 28 percent of seniors had trouble finding a primary-care doctor, up from 24 percent the year before. In Texas, 38 percent of primary-care doctors will take new Medicare patients. The Mayo Clinic is opting out of Medicare in several locations because the low payment rates don’t allow the organization to provide the quality care its culture demands. One financial planner reported that well over half of his physician clients have asked him to restructure their finances so they can retire in 2013 — the year before the main provisions of the new health overhaul law take effect.”

Abolish the Agriculture Department: "Amidst the big dispute between liberals and conservatives over race in the Shirley Sherrod controversy, I’d like to make a libertarian point: Rather than give Sherrod her job back at the Department of Agriculture, let’s instead simply abolish the Agriculture Department, along with all the socialist programs that enable those welfare-state bureaucrats to dole out other people’s hard-earned money to farmers.”

Money dominates: "Financial panics are usually followed by sharp economic snap backs. The post-Panic of 2008 has failed to follow this typical ‘V-shaped’ economic recovery pattern. After almost two years, the U.S. economy remains mired in an anemic recovery, with a current 2.4% year-over-year rate of growth. This paltry growth rate doesn’t even reach the U.S.’s long-term trend rate, and is well below the sizzling growth rate we should be observing (6%-7.5%). The picture is much the same in Europe, where growth is even more anemic. The fiscalists have reached for their standard elixir — larger government deficits.”

Bureaucratic brownies: "The Pentagon’s brownie recipe is 26 pages long. Among the ingredients: water that conforms to the ‘National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (Copies are available from the Office of Drinking Water, Environmental Protection Agency, WH550D, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20460),’ eggs in compliance with ‘Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59),’ and baking soda ‘which meets the requirements of the Food Chemicals Codex.’”

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

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

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


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


25 July, 2010

It needs an all-out battle to stop the frauds who are destroying America

When will Republicans get it through their head that this in no longer a conflict of ideas played by gentlemen rules? The Obama/Pelosi/Reed triumvirate has already taken control of automotive, insurance, housing, healthcare, student loans, and finance industries. Soon they’ll take control of the energy and telecommunications industries. They’ve usurped state authority with unfunded mandates on an unprecedented level (heath care). They've wreaked state budgets with stimulus dollars that come with more strings than a marionette. And they even refuse to allow Arizona to take reasonable actions to protect itself against rampant illegal immigration. That giant sucking sound you hear is power being vacuumed up from all points on the compass to settle in Washington DC, so it can be ceremoniously transferred to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This cabal is intent on changing the country in a direction that will cause misery for generations of Americans. Socialism? No, I never feared that this administration would take us into a European-style socialist state. I believe that would be bad, especially for the people struggling to get a foothold on life, but it would not be the annihilation of everything I hold dear. No, my fear is closer to home, right here in this hemisphere. What they have in mind starts with crony capitalism and corrupt dealings between big government and big business. Once this is taken a few more steps, it's more properly called fascism—the government control of private enterprise and suppression of all opposition.

So, quit playing nice. These people are committed to winning, and they use Chicago-style tactics—rock you back on your heels, and then they embrace you in a warm hug. But make no mistake, as soon as they're done with you, they will viciously attack your character, beliefs, and faith until they destroy your will to fight. There are crucial battles ahead. You've lost a lot already, but the war is still raging. Open your eyes. Don't obsess on the current battle, and nip around the edges of their latest assault. Always remember the long string of double-crosses that have come before. See their intent for what it really is, not for what you hope it is. Your mantra must be to watch what they do, not what they say.

Here’s one piece of good news for you: The people have caught on. The bellicose accusations the administration throws at opponents are falling on deaf ears—at least out here in the real world.

Our salvation will only come when enough people stand with courage and yell NO! Instead of being intimidated, wear the Party of No badge with pride. Do not give in. Do not grant them legitimacy because they won the last election—they won under a false flag. The country did not vote for this, they voted for bipartisan, post-racial leadership that would extend wellbeing to more of our people while protecting the liberty of all.



Bernanke Says: Keep Bush Tax Cuts

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke favors the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, which would allow Obama to avoid implementing the biggest tax hike in history under his name.

The Obama, Reid and Pelosi power trip wants to raise taxes on "the rich," but fails to understand that those lumped into that category include small businesses, which employ over 70 percent of Americans. More taxes equals less money to pay more employees, resulting obviously in even higher unemployment.

The battle lines are clearly drawn. Obama, Reid and Pelosi on one side, Bernanke and small business on the other.



The failures of Obama and his Congressional poodles were inevitable

Most of the progressive criticism of the Obama Democrats seems to take-on one of either a couple different themes. First, there’s the theme that “Obama should have focused more on job creation” during his first two years in office, rather than spending so much time and energy on healthcare legislation. Progressive pundit Arianna Huffington has been sounding this alarm for at least the last nine months, recognizing before many others that, yes, even Barack Obama needs to preside over a flourishing economy if he’s going to retain any political clout.

The other theme of criticism among progressives is that “Obama hasn’t gone far enough.” His approach to “reforming” healthcare should have been to completely shut-down any private sector involvement in the healthcare industry and the medical profession, and to place it all under the auspices of government-run enterprise. Similarly, he should have put “big oil” in its place by now, and should have already legislated a reduction in petroleum consumption while “creating” a “green energy industry.”

Both of these lines of reasoning are fraught with naivety, and false assumptions. And they are both grounded in a enormous misunderstanding of basic economics, and human nature.

Consider the assumptions about economics, and human nature, entailed in these remarks from Paul Waldman, writing in the July 20th edition of the American Prospect: “It wasn't supposed to be this way. Remember when Barack Obama's presidency was going to wash over the capital like a cleansing tide, renewing both the government's ability to accomplish great things and restoring the people's faith in that ability? It seems so much longer than a year and a half ago…The broader frustration is with a system whose dysfunction and corruption seem worse than ever -- one that seems like it's designed to stop progressive change…”

Indeed, the corruption and dysfunction of the Obama Democrats are bringing so-called “progressive change” to a halt. But why would Waldman – and the progressives, generally – ever think that concentrating more and more economic resources into the hands of fewer and fewer people (this is what happens when government takes-over huge chunks of the private sector economy, as Obama has been doing) would NOT lead to more corruption?

Progressives lament the harshness and corruption of the private sector, capitalistic economy – insurance companies denying coverage or charge too much for their product are common grievances – yet they naively assume that as long as politicians and government bureaucrats control things, greedy and self-serving behaviors will disappear, and the “collective good” will reign supreme.

But there is no historical basis for this assumption. Indeed, most of the world’s roughly five-thousand years of history paint a brutal picture of government “rulers” and “ruling classes” of people, abusively lording their power over the poorer classes. This is to say that there is no one individual (not even President Obama), nor any one select group of people (like Congressional Democrats) that are so “moral” and “virtuous” that they will consistently set aside their own personal self-interests (self-interests like increasing their power and popularity), as a means of serving the collective good.

No, part of being human is to be self-interested, and the Obama Democrats have displayed in painful ways that they will do whatever they want with other people’s economic resources, so long as it makes them feel good.

This is why conservatives believe in the free-market economy. And not a free-market devoid of any and all forms of regulation (such economic systems only exist on paper). But rather, a free-market economy where market competition provides a check-and-balance to bad behavior.



DISCLOSE Act Assault on First Amendment Continues

For those of you who believe in bygone notions like free speech rights and the ability to criticize politicians when they do things like nationalize 1/5 of the U.S. economy, you better taken advantage of that while you can. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed for cloture on the DISCLOSE Act, S. 3628, which is intended to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and impose burdensome new disclosure requirements. The cloture vote will probably occur next Tuesday in a move that avoids committee hearings. If Reid can get 60 votes, then the Schumer/Van Hollen Sedition Act of 2010 will proceed to a vote. At that point, he will only need 51 senators who believe Congress has the ability to circumvent and restrict the First Amendment.

Senator Schumer also introduced a new version of S. 3628 yesterday which differs slightly from the version passed in the House, H.R. 5175. For example, it drops the ban on political speech introduced by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) by holders of oil drilling leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, which is a slight improvement over the House version. But the differential treatment between corporations and unions is still present in the new, refined, and “improved” bill, as are all of the other worst provisions of the original version.

The Center for Competitive Politics estimates that the ban on government contractors engaging in political speech will apply to over half of the fifty largest companies in the United States. The “NRA exemption” from the burdensome disclosure requirements remains in the bill as does the prohibition on speech of American companies with direct or indirect connections with foreign corporations (although unions and NGOs with foreign members are not affected). So companies owned 80% by Americans that are headquartered in the United States and whose employees are overwhelmingly American will not be able to engage in any political speech.

If this bill passes, it will become effective within thirty days, which will cause such confusion and chaos only two months before the fall congressional elections that many corporations, both profit and nonprofit, and incorporated associations, will no doubt stay out of the election and stay out of grassroots activity on other bills and issues being considered by Congress before November. But then, there is little doubt that deterring such activity that could lead to criticism of the positions and votes taken by incumbent senators and representatives is an intentional objective.

The Framers of our Bill of Rights are probably rolling over in their graves as they contemplate what may be about to happen in the United States Senate. If Daniel Webster asked “How stands the Union?’ as he did in the famous story by Stephen Vincent Benet in The Devil and Daniel Webster, it would be hard to give him the answer he would want. When members of the United States Congress believe they have the power to violate the First Amendment with impunity and censor the political speech of those who they believe should not be able to speak, then the Union no longer stands “rock-bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible.”



One Nation Under Arrest

If you did not know that you were supposed to affix a federally mandated sticker to your otherwise lawful UPS package, should you be arrested face down on the pavement by FBI agents training automatic weapons at you? Our hunch is that most reasonable Americans would respond with an emphatic ‘No!’ Today we are launching a series of posts based on case studies adapted from our new book, One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. The book includes stories of average Americans who have been arrested, prosecuted, convicted – and even imprisoned – despite the fact that they were doing their best to be respectable, law-abiding citizens. The UPS-sticker example is just one real world example we will be highlighting.

Heritage fellow Jack Park kicks off the series today. He relates how George Norris, a 67-year-old husband and grandfather, ended up spending almost two years in federal prison. Some of Norris’s paperwork for his home-based orchid business did not meet all of the technical requirements of an international treaty. None of his orchids were illegal to import, possess, or sell, but that did not stop the government from prosecuting and imprisoning him.

One Nation Under Arrest analyzes the causes of overcriminalization and offers solid proposals for reforming the law. To be solved, the problems of overcriminalization must be fully recognized and understood. Overcriminalization includes applying criminal penalties to activities that are socially and economically beneficial. Consider, for example, the obscure environmental laws that dictate what you can and cannot do in your own home even when they may not provide any clear environmental benefit.

Overcriminalization also includes creating offenses that are so vague and broad that they grant federal prosecutors a license to deem broad swaths of conduct “criminal.” The federal “honest services” fraud statute, for example, is so vague and far-reaching that even conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has written that prosecutors could use it to convict and imprison Americans who call in “sick” to attend a ballgame.

Increasingly over the past few decades, the U.S. Congress has been callously disregarding the limits the Constitution places on the federal government’s authority to criminalize otherwise innocent conduct and engaging in similarly improper criminalization. This has partially succeeded in warping Americans’ collective understanding of what should – and what should not – be the subject of federal criminal punishment.

But most Americans still have not surrendered their sound judgment that criminal punishment should be carefully limited. If you buy or sell personal shares of stock and are unaware that you are technically violating some obscure trading rule on corporate mergers and acquisitions that are conducted via tender offer (whatever that is), should you have to face the possibility of paying for your lack of knowledge by spending time in federal prison with murderers, child rapists, and drug traffickers? Anyone who has traded stock yet is not intimately familiar with the hundreds or thousands of relevant statutes, rules, and regulations would again probably say ‘No!’

Congress and state legislatures increasingly view the criminal law as the tool of choice to “solve” every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making appropriate use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives. Criminal law should be used to redress only that conduct which Americans rightly and reasonably determine is deserving of society’s greatest punishment and moral sanction. As had been the rule for centuries, no one should be punished as a criminal unless he committed a wrongful act knowing that it was illegal or wrongful – that is, unless he acted with criminal intent.

Like the stories in this Foundry series, One Nation Under Arrest highlights how criminal law and punishment today frequently transgress these boundaries and harm the innocent. If you want to know more about how overcriminalization endangers you and other honest, respectable Americans, keep checking in on this Foundry series and click below to order a copy of One Nation Under Arrest.


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

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


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


24 July, 2010

Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege

Jim Webb, a Democrat senator from Virginia, points out something that seems unknown to most of his party: That not all whites are the same

The NAACP believes the tea party is racist. The tea party believes the NAACP is racist. And Pat Buchanan got into trouble recently by pointing out that if Elena Kagan is confirmed to the Supreme Court, there will not be a single Protestant Justice, although Protestants make up half the U.S. population and dominated the court for generations.

Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future.

I have dedicated my political career to bringing fairness to America's economic system and to our work force, regardless of what people look like or where they may worship. Unfortunately, present-day diversity programs work against that notion, having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.

In an odd historical twist that all Americans see but few can understand, many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations. These programs have damaged racial harmony. And the more they have grown, the less they have actually helped African-Americans, the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action as it was originally conceived.

Lyndon Johnson's initial program for affirmative action was based on the 13th Amendment and on the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which authorized the federal government to take actions in order to eliminate "the badges of slavery." Affirmative action was designed to recognize the uniquely difficult journey of African-Americans. This policy was justifiable and understandable, even to those who came from white cultural groups that had also suffered in socio-economic terms from the Civil War and its aftermath.

The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed. But the extrapolation of this logic to all "people of color"—especially since 1965, when new immigration laws dramatically altered the demographic makeup of the U.S.—moved affirmative action away from remediation and toward discrimination, this time against whites. It has also lessened the focus on assisting African-Americans, who despite a veneer of successful people at the very top still experience high rates of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and family breakup.

Those who came to this country in recent decades from Asia, Latin America and Africa did not suffer discrimination from our government, and in fact have frequently been the beneficiaries of special government programs. The same cannot be said of many hard-working white Americans, including those whose roots in America go back more than 200 years.

Contrary to assumptions in the law, white America is hardly a monolith. And the journey of white American cultures is so diverse (yes) that one strains to find the logic that could lump them together for the purpose of public policy.

The clearest example of today's misguided policies comes from examining the history of the American South.

The old South was a three-tiered society, with blacks and hard-put whites both dominated by white elites who manipulated racial tensions in order to retain power. At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves. The eminent black historian John Hope Franklin wrote that "fully three-fourths of the white people in the South had neither slaves nor an immediate economic interest in the maintenance of slavery."

The Civil War devastated the South, in human and economic terms. And from post-Civil War Reconstruction to the beginning of World War II, the region was a ravaged place, affecting black and white alike.

In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt created a national commission to study what he termed "the long and ironic history of the despoiling of this truly American section." At that time, most industries in the South were owned by companies outside the region. Of the South's 1.8 million sharecroppers, 1.2 million were white (a mirror of the population, which was 71% white). The illiteracy rate was five times that of the North-Central states and more than twice that of New England and the Middle Atlantic (despite the waves of European immigrants then flowing to those regions). The total endowments of all the colleges and universities in the South were less than the endowments of Harvard and Yale alone. The average schoolchild in the South had $25 a year spent on his or her education, compared to $141 for children in New York.

Generations of such deficiencies do not disappear overnight, and they affect the momentum of a culture. In 1974, a National Opinion Research Center (NORC) study of white ethnic groups showed that white Baptists nationwide averaged only 10.7 years of education, a level almost identical to blacks' average of 10.6 years, and well below that of most other white groups. A recent NORC Social Survey of white adults born after World War II showed that in the years 1980-2000, only 18.4% of white Baptists and 21.8% of Irish Protestants—the principal ethnic group that settled the South—had obtained college degrees, compared to a national average of 30.1%, a Jewish average of 73.3%, and an average among those of Chinese and Indian descent of 61.9%.

Policy makers ignored such disparities within America's white cultures when, in advancing minority diversity programs, they treated whites as a fungible monolith. Also lost on these policy makers were the differences in economic and educational attainment among nonwhite cultures. Thus nonwhite groups received special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions, job promotions and lucrative government contracts.

Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end.

Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.



Obama and his minions have been doing their best to lose white America. They may succeed

First was the startling accusation by Attorney General Eric Holder, days after Barack Obama was inaugurated in a gusher of good feeling, that we are all "a nation of cowards" when it comes to facing issues of race. A real icebreaker for a national conversation.

Second was the instantaneous verdict of the president, when asked about the arrest of Harvard's Henry Louis Gates by Cambridge cop Sgt. James Crowley. With no knowledge of what happened, Obama blurted out that the cops had "acted stupidly." It took a White House beer summit to detoxify that one.

A third was the revelation that Obama's first Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the "wise Latina" herself, had gone to extremes to see that the case of Frank Ricci and the New Haven, Conn., firefighters never got to the Supreme Court. Ricci and co-defendants had been denied promotions they had won in competitive exams solely because they were white and no black firemen had done as well.

The fourth was the Justice Department's dropping of charges against members of the New Black Panther Party, whose intimidation of voters in Philadelphia had been captured on tape. When a department official resigned in protest and went to the Civil Rights Commission to accuse officials at Justice of ordering staff attorneys not to pursue such cases, that explosive charge, too, was ignored by Justice.

Came then the NAACP smear that the tea party was harboring racists, which Joe Biden explicitly rejected on national television on Sunday, before the Monday firestorm over Sherrod.

Now, whatever one's views on each of these episodes in which race played a role, white Americans are being forced to address them. And, surely, the White House understands this is bad news for Obama and the Democratic Party.

For though the black community remains solidly behind Obama and the white majority is shrinking toward minority status by 2042 or 2050, depending on which Census survey one uses, whites in America still outnumber blacks five to one. And if forced constantly to come down on one side or the other of a racial divide, most folks will wind up with their own.

In past elections, Democrats have raised race -- allegations that black churches were being torched in the South, that George W. Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill meant he was coldly indifferent to the dragging death of a handicapped black man -- to solidify and energize the minority vote. And, today, that vote remains solid behind Obama,

Where the erosion is taking place is in white America, among working- and middle-class folks who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries but took a chance with Obama in the fall. Now, every time some new incident erupts, these folks are being tarred.

Opposition to affirmative action is racist. Supporting the tea party gives aid and comfort to racists. Opposing health care puts you in league with folks who used racial slurs on Rep. John Lewis. To raise the issue of the New Black Panther Party is to play the race card.

One understand the bitterness of tea party folks who carry signs that read: "What difference does it make what this placard says. You'll call it racist anyway."



The Washington Post Finds Waste -- in Government!

Congratulations are due to the Washington Post. "Top Secret America," its in-depth, multi-part, two-year investigation into the vast network of government security agencies and private contractors is an eye-opener -- obvious Pulitzer bait.

Reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin have revealed a "hidden world, growing beyond control." Within this "alternate geography" of the United States, they found some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies at work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. Over 850,000 Americans have top-secret security clearances. They spend "a gusher of money" that has flowed since 9/11.

And -- this will blow your socks off -- the Post found that there is tremendous waste, duplication, and lack of accountability. Really? In a government program? "Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks."

Not only that, but they aren't careful about the way they spend taxpayer dollars. "With so much money to spend, managers do not always worry about whether they are spending it effectively. ' Someone says, let's do another study, and because no one shares information, everyone does their own study,' said Elena Mastors ... 'Everybody's just on a spending spree. We don't need all these people doing all this stuff.'"

The growth of counterterrorism spending since 9/11 has been sharp and dramatic. "With the quick infusion of money," write Priest and Arkin, "military and intelligence agencies multiplied. Twenty-four organizations were created by the end of 2001, including the Office of Homeland Security and the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Task Force. In 2002, 37 more were created to track weapons of mass destruction, collect threat tips and coordinate the new focus on counterterrorism. That was followed the next year by 36 new organizations; and 26 after that; and 31 more; and 32 more; and 20 or more each in 2007, 2008 and 2009." These analysts and agents produce an estimated 50,000 reports per year -- most of which are never read.

So yes, bravo to the Post. Truly. But why do they tend to notice government waste only when it applies to national security? The Post and other liberal organs have been quick to record how much the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (particularly Iraq) have cost taxpayers. But they seem much less curious about waste, duplication, and even fraud in other areas of government spending.




Ben Stein answers his critics: "I am guessing that the point that Mr. Crowe and his pals on the left were trying to make is that because I pointed out a truth about the unemployed I know is that I am hard hearted. This is painfully the opposite of the truth. I am 65 now, as Mr. Crowe thoughtfully pointed out (in the context of suggesting that I am either insane or demented, a very sophisticated way to begin an essay). The main reason I am not as well situated for retirement as I should be is that I support so many unemployed people — some of them writers. It is the bane of my wife’s existence that money she thinks should go to our savings goes out to help unemployed friends. My critics on the left are pretty free with words of sympathy. How many of them pay for the mortgage payments of their unemployed friends, as I do, would be an interesting thing to know.”

Suppose there were food insurance: "Suppose there were food insurance. Rather than everyone paying for food with their own money, people would pay a certain fee to their insurance company every month, and in return the insurance company would pay for all of its clients’ groceries. Sound like a good idea? Perhaps, but what do you suppose would happen if we had this kind of food insurance?”

AIDS experts: End war on drugs: "Some of the world’s top AIDS experts issued a radical manifesto this week at the 18th International AIDS Conference: They declared the war on drugs a 50-year-old failure and called for it to be abandoned.”

Memo portrays UN chief wanting control, secrecy: "A portrait of Ban Ki-moon as a secrecy-obsessed U.N. chief seeking to wrest control of internal investigations emerges from a blistering 50-page confidential memo by his former oversight chief. The unusual memo by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, describes Ban as more concerned with preventing news leaks than with releasing possible criminal evidence to prosecutors.”

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

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


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


23 July, 2010

Are antisemites mad?

Shrinkwrapped is a very thoughtful blog by a conservative-oriented psychoanalyst in New York. From recollection, the author is Jewish. It is a generally very good blog well worth reading for those of us who are particularly interested in the psychology of politics -- which is my field of academic research.

Recently, Glenn Reynolds linked to an article by Roddy Boyd ("Killing Jews For Fun and For Profit: The Continuing American Adventures of Arab Bank") documenting a court case against an Arab Bank which illustrates how even supposedly rational and reasonable institutions, once in thrall to antisemitism, end up behaving irrationally and self destructively. Shrinkwrapped has responded with an article titled "Anti-Semitism as Thought Disorder".

To be a little crass about it, Shrinkwrapped argues that antisemitism sends you mad. That argument is of course not a new one. There are several versions of it and "The authoritarian personality" version of 1950 is perhaps the best known.

It is however basically an "armchair" theory. As far as I can tell, the people putting it forward have little if any personal knowledge of actual antisemites. For some reason, however, I have always had the compulsion to test theory against reality -- which usually does nothing for my popularity. And much of my research career was devoted to testing inferences derived from "The authoritarian personality" theory.

Readers who know my skeptical stance on global warming and health science will not be surprised to hear that I regularly found inferences from the theory not to be supported by the data.

And one of the things I did was to apply the characteristic methodology of anthropology to an examination of antisemitism. Anthropologists have the view that you can never understand a group "from the outside" -- You have to join the group and become accepted into it before you will ever have any chance of understanding it. I did that with the neo-Nazi group in my city. In other words I got out of my armchair and had a close-up look at what I was talking about. My resultant observations were published in The Jewish Journal of Sociology.

And what I found was actually something extremely common -- perfectly normal sane people who had just got hold of a wrong theory -- not unlike most Global Warmists today and not unlike the hordes of grade school teachers who think that just looking at words without any mention of phonics is a good way for kids to learn to read.

All three theories -- Jewish evil, global warming and "look and learn" have been catastrophic in different ways and illustrate the importance of getting your theories right. They also, sadly, illustrate the reluctance of people to let go of a theory they have accepted when confronted with evidence that the theory concerned is wrong.

Scientists are in fact some of the worst people at that. They cling to the theories of their youth through thick and thin and it is only the arising of a younger generation of scientists with more open minds that allows scientific thinking to advance.

So I disagree with Shrinkwrapped in seeing antisemites as being in some way psychologically abnormal. I think they are all too normal in fact. And it is precisely their normality which makes me despair of changing their views.

So in the end I am more pessimistic about antisemites than Shrinkwrapped is. He seems to think that psychological "help" could change their views whereas I doubt that anything will change their views. Israel can kill the antisemites that surround it but it will not change their minds.


Shrinkwrapped has offered some polite comments on my post above. I am a bit amused by his heading. He uses the rare word "emended" -- which refers to minor textual corrections. But his post is much more extensive than that. In a nutshell, he says that antisemitism can drive a whole society mad even if all the individuals in it are sane.

That seems a stretch to me but I will think about it. I tend to agree with Margaret Thatcher's thoroughly conservative observation that there is no such thing as society, only individual people.


The Democrats' War on America's West

Michelle Malkin

"Why do they hate us?" It's a burning question on the minds of border-dwelling taxpayers, small-business owners, farmers, and Rocky Mountain oil and gas industry workers suffering under punitive Democrat policies. Eighteen months into the Barack Obama administration, the war on the American West is in full swing.

The first battlefront: immigration. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats rejected a GOP amendment banning the use of federal funds to participate in any litigation against the new Arizona immigration enforcement law.

"Our federal government should be doing its job to secure our borders rather than trying to bully and intimidate the people of Arizona," argued Republican amendment sponsor Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. "We should not be suing and really hassling the people of Arizona for doing what we should be doing here, and that's protecting the citizenry."

All but five Senate Democrats (Indiana's Evan Bayh took a pass and didn't vote) sided with the anti-Arizona Obama administration -- and against not only a majority of Arizonans, but a majority of Americans who support the state's effort to restore order on the chaotic southern border and protect American workers facing double-digit unemployment.

Several House Democrats have actively lobbied to boycott Arizona and crush its economy -- most notably, southern Arizona's own Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva, who urged civic, religious and political groups to take their convention dollars elsewhere.

"Do not do business with this state," Grijalva told open-borders zealots bent on punishing law-abiding citizens to "send a message."

For its part, the Obama Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has targeted Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio for more than a year over his strict enforcement policies against illegal alien criminals. The hell-bent Civil Rights Division is helmed by veteran illegal immigration advocate Thomas Perez, who has lobbied for driver's licenses, in-state tuition discounts and blanket amnesty for millions of border-jumpers, visa overstayers and deportation fugitives.

Arizona's neighbor to the north, Utah, is under fire by a different set of left-wing bureaucrats. When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar isn't busy destroying jobs through his radical offshore drilling moratorium, he's been blocking onshore development and wreaking havoc on the Beehive State's energy industry.

Last week, Salazar defended pulling 77 oil lease contracts granted in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. Salazar's inspector general concluded that there was no evidence of any rush to auction off the parcels -- as baselessly claimed by environmental groups and Salazar himself. In fact, the leases were granted only after seven full years of rigorous study and debate.

That makes two Salazar job-destroying bans based off bogus eco-claims. (Remember: Loathsome cowboy Salazar was behind the shameless doctoring of a scientific report to bolster the Obama administration's devastating offshore drilling ban.)

Uintah County, Utah, officials have sued the Interior Department over the rescinded leases, which have cost the state untold millions of dollars and countless jobs in a tough economy. Not to mention the court expenses, legal morass and regulatory uncertainty.

Other Western states are reeling as a result of the Democrats' eco-radicalism -- and the rest of America is paying a high price, too. Salazar was a leading opponent of oil shale development when he served in the U.S. Senate for Colorado.

There are an estimated 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming alone -- enough to potentially free us from Saudi oil dependence. Yet as Obama's interior secretary, Salazar has wielded his power to halt plans to lease oil shale rights in the West. In addition, Obama's Bureau of Land Management is dragging its feet on more than $100 million in unissued oil and gas leases in Wyoming. These resources remain untapped thanks to militant greenies who pay lip service to energy independence while blocking all practical means of achieving it.

At a partisan rally on Monday to crusade for endless unemployment insurance benefits extensions, President Obama lectured Republicans to "stop holding workers hostage to politics." Speak for yourself, pal.



BrookesNews Update

Obama's policies are a recipe for economic stagnation : Given present conditions there is no way that Obama's policies could restore full employment without cutting real wages. And surging inflation is the only means by which he can do that, assuming Americans would stand for it. Even if full employment was restored Obama's policies would suck the life out of the economy leaving the vast majority of Americans with little hope of bettering their lives
The Australian economy is slowing, not accelerating : The Australian economy is not as healthy as it looks. Last October UBS economists predicted that the Australian economy would start accelerating in the second half of 2010. I was highly dubious then and more so now. Before long I expect certain economists to be eating crow, even if it will be in private
Why capital gains taxes retard economic growth : Capital gains taxes erect a significant barrier to the movement of savings from old established companies to newer and more innovative enterprises. In fact, they become a tax on social mobility, as does a highly progressive income tax structure
Don't believe the MSM when it says Cuba's prisons are emptying : The corrupt media are at it again. This time major outlets are covering up for Castro's Gulag. Instead of reporting on his victims these lying leftwing hacks are praising this sadistic thug for releasing a handful of political prisoners
It's the savings that fuels economic growth - not government spending : Since early 2001 the US pool of funding has been subjected to the most vicious attack in the form of the aggressive lowering of interest rates. Yet despite all the monetary pumping and the aggressive lowering of interest rates the economy has continued to struggle
Hating Jews :Jews worldwide are again under attack. The Holocaust and 6 million slaughtered Jews have been forgotten. It now appears that history is on the way to repeating itself, aided and abetted by the world press
Where does oil really come from? It remains, however, only an article of faith that oil and natural gas are biological in origin; scientific proof is absent. Recently, information from the Gulf of Mexico has caused geologists to rethink the origins of these so-called fossil fuels



NYT not broke yet: "The New York Times Co. reported a slight increase in quarterly revenue overnight as double-digit growth in digital advertising helped offset a continued slide in print advertising. The Times Co., which owns The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune and other newspapers in addition to the flagship New York Times, said revenue rose 1.2 per cent in the second quarter to $US589.6 million ($660 million) over a year ago. Net profit declined to $US32 million from $US39 million a year earlier when the media giant posted a large tax benefit. "These positive results continued to build on the momentum of the past few quarters as the company was able to increase revenues and decrease operating costs," Times Co. president and chief executive Janet Robinson said. [Looks like it paid off to fire all those journalists]

A real Leftist conspiracy -- among journalists: "Journolist e-mails obtained by The Daily Caller reveal what anybody with two neurons to rub together already knew: Professional liberals don't like Republicans and do like Democrats. They can be awfully smug and condescending in their sense of intellectual and moral superiority. In 2008, participants shared talking points about how to shape coverage to help Obama. They tried to paint any negative coverage of Obama's racist and hateful pastor, Jeremiah Wright, as out of bounds. Journalists at such "objective" news organizations as Newsweek, Bloomberg, Time and The Economist joined conversations with open partisans about the best way to criticize Sarah Palin."

Deliberate lies by mainstream journalists: " What is surprising is the attempt by at least one high profile lefty to smear the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes and former Bush aide Karl Rove as "racist" Former New Republic scribbler Spencer Ackerman, who is now with Wired, proposed the manufacture of just to such an attack on Barnes and Bush to the JournoList's annointed when the Jeremiah Wright story exploded in 2008. Ackerman admitted on JournoList that he wasn't interested in whether Barnes or Rove were in fact rascist, just that the charge was useful at that moment in time."

US House panel charges Rangel with ethics misdeeds: "It looks like Rep. Charlie Rangel will finally get his day in court. A House panel said Thursday that its investigative subcommittee charged the Harlem Democrat with multiple ethics violations, and it will form an ‘adjudicatory subcommittee’ to weigh the matter. ‘I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media,’” Rangel said in a statement."

US cities at long last begin grasping the benefits of privatization: "Facing a budgetary shortfall of between $56 billion to $86 billion over the next two years, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Tamara Audi (’Cities Rent Police, Janitors to Save Cash’) documents efforts by municipalities across the nation to stanch red ink by outsourcing the ‘public’ services they no longer can afford to supply. It’s about time.”

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

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


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


22 July, 2010

The inimitable Pat Condell on the proposed NYC mosque


Obama Omits Jobs Killed or Thwarted from his Tally

Can you believe they’re still touting that silly metric? When I heard last week that the White House would be announcing the number of “jobs created or saved” as a result of the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, my first reaction was embarrassment.

Imagine how Christina Romer must feel. The chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors was dressed in a cheery, salmon-colored jacket, a complement to the upbeat news she had to deliver on July 14. The $787 billion stimulus enacted in February 2009, which subsequently grew to $862 billion, increased gross domestic product by 2.7 percent to 3.4 percent relative to where it would have been, and added anywhere from 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs compared with an ex-stimulus baseline.

“By this estimate, the Recovery Act has met the president’s goal of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs -- two quarters earlier than anticipated,” Romer said with a straight face. (More than 2.5 million non-farm jobs have been lost since ARRA was enacted in February 2009, all of them in the private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

How does the CEA arrive at these numbers? It uses two methods, Romer said. The first is a standard macroeconomic forecasting model that estimates the multiplier effect of fiscal policy. (The government’s spending is someone else’s income.) The second method is statistical, using previous relationships between GDP and employment to project future behavior.

Model Imperfection

These numbers might just as well have been pulled out of a hat. Recall that it was the same model and method the administration used in January 2009 to predict an unemployment rate of 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 with the enactment of the fiscal stimulus and 8.8 percent without. The unemployment rate now stands at 9.5 percent.

This same model convinced policy makers that the subprime crisis was contained, encouraged the rating companies to slap AAA ratings on collateralized garbage, and led banks to believe they had adequately managed their risks and reserved for potential losses.

Econometric models rely on the assumption that $1 of government spending generates more than $1 of GDP, the so-called multiplier effect. There is no allowance for the negative multiplier on the other side.

Sure the government can spend money and generate GDP growth in the short run: Government spending is a component of GDP!

What it giveth it taketh away from the private sector via taxation or borrowing. Every dollar the government spends is a dollar the private sector doesn’t spend, an investment it doesn’t make, a job it doesn’t create. This is what is unseen, as Frederic Bastiat explained in an 1850 essay.

Hiring Disincentives

“If the administration wants to take credit for ‘jobs created or saved,’ it should also accept responsibility for ’jobs destroyed or prevented,’” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business.

Ignoring the flaws in the stimulus for the moment, Congress raised the hurdle for hiring entry-level workers when it refused to delay the third step in a three-stage minimum wage increase last year. And the Department of Labor cracked down on unpaid internships, outlining six criteria that businesses had to satisfy in order to hire someone willing and able to work for nothing to get the experience.

For example, the employer must derive “no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Recession’s Advantage

At the White House briefing last week, Romer touted the leveraging of public investment with private funds, with $1 of Recovery Act funds partnering with $3 of outside spending. Romer said this public spending “saved or created 800,000 jobs” in the second quarter alone.

Once again, what would have happened in the absence of the government’s targeted intervention?

According to a June 2009 study by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, well over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 list, and almost half of the fastest growing companies in America, were started during a recession or bear market. Dunkelberg calls this phenomenon “negative push starts.” People might not be willing to quit their jobs, but if they get laid off during a recession and were thinking about starting a business, they might seize the day, he said.

“When people ask me when the best time to start a company is, I tell them the day before the recession ends,” Dunkelberg said. “They can do it on the cheap, and the next day you get cash flow." Model That!

What’s more, firms less than five years old are responsible for all of the net new jobs created in the U.S., the Kauffman study found. Job creation by start-ups is more stable, less sensitive to the business cycle.

So, if the goal is to create more jobs, and start-ups are the ones that create them, why is the Obama administration partnering up with existing firms?

“Job-creation policies aimed at luring larger, established employers will inevitably fail,” said Tim Kane, Kauffman Foundation senior fellow in research and policy and author of a follow-up study released this month.

Not to worry. The White House has a model that turns failure into success.



The scariest unemployment graph I’ve seen yet

The median duration of unemployment is higher today than any time in the last 50 years. That's an understatement. It is more than twice as high today than any time in the last 50 years.



Obama's Anti-Business Policies Are Our Economic Katrina

His gratuitous and overstated demonization of business is exactly the wrong approach

The growing divide and tension between the Obama administration and the business world is a cause for national concern. As Clive Crook wrote in the Financial Times, Obama is "a president under business attack." He is certainly under sharp criticism and for good reason: He has lost the confidence of much of the business community, whose worries over taxes, the dramatically increased costs of new regulation, and a general perception that the administration is hostile toward them and may take yet harsher steps, are holding back investment and growth. In the midst of a weak economy accompanied by levels of unemployment unprecedented since the Great Depression, it is critical that the government in Washington appreciate that confidence is an imperative if the business community is to invest, take risks with start-ups, and altogether get the economy going again to put the millions of unemployed back to productive work.
Click here to find out more!

This is what businessmen do when they are free to conduct business. For example, in the two decades of the 1980s and 1990s, the United States created 73 million new private sector jobs—while simultaneously losing some 44 million jobs in the process of adjusting its economy to international competition. That was a net gain of some 29 million jobs. A stunning 55 percent of the total workforce at the end of these two decades was in a new job, some two-thirds of them in industries that paid more than the average wage. By contrast, continental Europe, with a larger economy and workforce, created an estimated 4 million jobs in the same period, most of which were in the public sector (and the cost of which they are beginning to regret).

How could America achieve this? It is because of the get-up-and-go culture that reflects individualism, courageous entrepreneurialism, pragmatism, adaptability, and innovation. This adventurous spirit outlived the passing of the frontier and still inspires and nourishes millions, including our young and our newcomers. No other country has a population so habituated to self-help, self-improvement, and even self-renovation in a manner that carries over into business life.

The unique historical conditions of America encouraged a remarkable management culture. The anthropologist, Lionel Tiger, showed that the style of American corporate management was a response to the opportunities of a huge internal market, but also the obstacles presented by vast distances and diverse populations. We created a monetized market economy inspired by a belief in technology and scientific management, governed not by kinship and custom but by contracts freely agreed upon and law passed by assent.

Over the years, the transformation of American industry has been nothing short of phenomenal. U.S. companies replaced large, mass-produced consumer products with sophisticated goods derived from intellectual output and knowledge-based interests, the fastest-growing segment of the world's economy. Management was assisted by a level of labor flexibility that is the envy of both Europe and Asia. Europe struggles with the legacy of the steam age in the form of craft, union, and management demarcations that limit management's role. In Asia, management is often stifled by large, oligopolistic networks and government mandates.

American managers consistently led the world in investing in new technologies and providing high-tech training to exploit them. We were the first to realize the importance of computers and information technologies and invested massively in them, spending twice as much per capita on info-tech as Western European firms and more than six times the global average. In fact, U.S. companies are the major suppliers of the information age's silicon, brains, and sinews.

No other country has met the requirements of an emerging economic system that needed people to be mobile both physically and psychologically. No other country shares America's belief in numbers and statistics as a basis for rational decision-making. No other country invests so much in business training and the retraining of its people—on top of having the world's best graduate and undergraduate business schools. No other country forms as many small companies year after year that compete with flexibility, rapid response, openness, innovation, and the ability to attract the best people. And as new products and services are developed, American businesses' unique marketing and advertising skills establish their success at home and abroad. Our system, in which ideas freely percolate at all levels, is tantamount to a giant information-processing machine. It enhances our capacity to absorb, adapt, and manage ongoing revolutions in technology, information, and logistics, which are too dynamic and complex to be handled by a top-down system.

The energy in business is matched by a unique and remarkable world of finance capital that over decades has identified the multiple sources of entrepreneurial funding. For example, our IPO process provides capital to service a merit-based, diversified financial environment and to fund young talent, new ideas, and the risks associated with high-tech, high-growth, high-concept companies.




Poll: Faith in Social Security is tanking: "Middle Tennessee residents, struggling to put the recession behind them, worry they won’t have much of a future if they rely on Social Security benefits to finance their senior years. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that a majority of retirees expect their current benefits to be cut, a dramatic increase in the number holding that view. And a record six of 10 non-retirees predict Social Security won’t be able to pay them benefits when they stop working. ‘I’ll be working until I’m 70,’ said East Nashville resident Kenya Stevens. ‘I’m not counting on getting anything. I was raised to be self-sufficient, so even before there were problems with Social Security, I never looked forward to getting any benefits.’”

In support of speculation: "A recent World Development Movement report blames financial speculation and banks for increases in certain food prices and subsequently worsening world hunger. The report adamantly supports banking reform towards heavy regulation similar to the recent US Wall Street legislation. Prices of basic crops and food processing have indeed increased over the passed decade. The culprits however, are not speculators.”

Obamacare’s broken promises: "Does President Obama have any idea what’s in his own health-care reform law? Since he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a bit more than 100 days ago, the president has given a number of speeches and interviews in which he continues to say things that, well, just aren’t so.”

The boundless beneficence of Big Brother: "Officially, the Republicans do not oppose extending unemployment benefits yet again. Rather, they merely want to observe the rules Obama championed last fall. In other words, Democrats should pay for the spending by finding cuts elsewhere in the budget. What is ‘fiscally responsible’ when Obama is for it, is rank partisanship when he’s against it. But enough with the point scoring. I want to get back to Mr. Chukalas, a father of two and a diligent, decent man for all I know. Again, he says, ‘If your brother or your sister needed something, you wouldn’t say, ‘When are you going to pay me back?’’ I don’t know about the Chukalas clan, but in my family and my wife’s family, and in most families I know, asking, ‘When are you going to pay me back?’ isn’t so unimaginable."

Voters Overwhelming Oppose New Taxes on Oil and Natural Gas Industry: "Voters in 10 key states oppose higher taxes on America’s oil and natural gas industry by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll released today. Both the administration and some members of Congress have recently proposed billions of dollars in new taxes on the industry. “Voters know raising taxes on an industry that provides most of their energy and supports more than 9.2 million jobs would hurt them and damage the economy,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard."

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

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


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


21 July, 2010

Who is Barack Obama?

The comparison to Reagan may give Obama cheer, but it is not really apt. For even in Reagan's darkest days when, according to Gallup, six out of 10 Americans reported that they did not like the job he was doing, an astounding six in 10 nevertheless said they liked the man himself. He was, of course, phenomenally charming, authentic and schooled at countless soundstages in appearing that way. Just as important, the public had faith in the consistency of his principles, agree or not. This was the Reagan Paradox and it helped lift his presidency.

No one is accusing Obama of being likable. He is not unlikable, but he lacks Reagan's (or Bill Clinton's) warmth. What's more, his career has been brief. He led no movement, was spokesman for no ideology and campaigned like a Nike sneaker -- change instead of swoosh. He seems distant. No Irish jokes from him. For the average voter, he casts no shadow.

Reagan, by contrast, had been around forever. He was not defined solely by gauzy campaign ads but by countless speeches, two contentious and highly controversial terms as California governor and a previous race for the presidency. There was never a question about who Reagan was and what he stood for. Not so Obama. About all he shares with Reagan at this point are low ratings.

What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all. Voters lack faith in him making the right economic decisions because, as far as they're concerned, he hasn't. He went for health care reform, not jobs. He supported the public option, then he didn't. He's been cold to Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit. Americans know Obama's smart. But we still don't know him. Before Americans can give him credit for what he's done they have to know who he is. We're waiting.



Dealergate: Destroying Jobs on the basis of unproven government theories

Michelle Malkin

Everything you need to know about the nightmare of government-controlled businesses can be found in a damning new inspector general's report on Dealergate. The independent review of how and why the Obama administration forced Chrysler and General Motors to oversee mass closures of car dealerships across the country reveals grisly incompetence, fatal bureaucratic hubris and Big Labor cronyism. No wonder you won't hear much about the report's in-depth details in the so-called mainstream media.

But Neil Barofsky, the federal watchdog overseeing the bank-auto-insurance-all-purpose bailout fund, found that the White House auto industry task force and the Treasury Department "Auto Team" had no basis for ordering the expedited car dealership closure schedules. They relied on a single consulting firm's internal report recommending that the U.S. companies adopt foreign auto industry models to increase profits -- a recommendation hotly disputed by auto experts who questioned whether foreign practices could be applied to domestic American dealership networks.

Team Obama's government auto mechanics also ignored the economic impact of rushing those closures. According to Barofsky, they discounted counter-testimony from industry officials that "closing dealerships in an environment already disrupted by the recession could result in an even greater crisis in sales."

The inspector general also noted that "it is clear that tens of thousands of dealership jobs were immediately put in jeopardy as a result of the terminations by GM and Chrysler." After extensive investigation, the watchdog concluded that "the acceleration of dealership closings was not done with any explicit cost savings to the manufacturers in mind." Only after Capitol Hill critics -- both Republican and Democrat -- started questioning the Dealergate decisions did Obama's auto "experts" come up with market studies and estimated job loss data to assess the impact of their reckless, arbitrary orders.

In sum, the inspector general found: "(A)t a time when the country was experiencing the worst economic downturn in generations and the government was asking its taxpayers to support a $787 billion stimulus package designed primarily to preserve jobs, Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls -- all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions' broader economic impact."

This is no surprise, of course, considering the amount of actual business expertise among Obama's auto czars and key staff. That is: zero.



Stimulating Unemployment

If you can't create any jobs, pay people not to work

Presidents typically invite Americans to appear at Rose Garden press conferences to trumpet their policy successes, but yesterday we saw what may have been a first. President Obama introduced three Americans—an auto worker, a fitness center employee and a woman in real estate—who've been out of work so long they underscore the failure of his economic program. Where are his spinmeisters when he really needs them?

Sure, Mr. Obama's ostensible purpose was to lobby Congress for the eighth extension of jobless benefits since the recession began, to a record 99 weeks, or nearly two years. And he whacked Senate Republicans for blocking the extension, though Republicans are merely asking that the extension be offset by cuts in other federal spending.

But Mr. Obama was nonetheless obliged to concede that, 18 months after his $862 billion stimulus, there are still five job seekers for every job opening and that 2.5 million Americans will soon run out of unemployment benefits. What happens when the 99 weeks of benefits run out? Will the President demand that they be extended to three years, or four?

Only last week Vice President Joe Biden was hailing the stimulus for "saving or creating" three million jobs. This week the White House says we need even more stimulus, in the form of jobless checks, to make up for the jobs his original spending stimulus didn't create.

The one possibility the President and Congressional Democrats won't entertain is that their own spending and taxing and regulating and labor union favoritism have become the main hindrance to job creation. Since February 2009, the jobless rate has climbed to 9.5% from 8.1%, and private industry has shed two million jobs. The overall economy has been expanding for at least a year, but employers still don't seem confident enough to add new workers. The economists who sold us the stimulus say it's a mystery. But maybe employers are afraid to hire because they don't know what costs government will impose on them next....

Mr. Obama also claimed yesterday that he wants to cut taxes on small businesses. That's a good idea, but Mr. Obama's proposal to provide one-year temporary tax cuts, such as expensing of certain capital purchases, will be dwarfed by one of the largest tax increases on small- and medium-sized firms in history that is scheduled to hit on January 1. The increase in the capital gains tax will fall hardest on start ups and expanding businesses that need capital for growth. More than half of the "rich" who will pay higher income tax rates next year are small business owners and investors.

The President is right that "we've got a lot of work to do" to get Americans back to work and that the toll on families from high unemployment is considerable. There are few things in life more demoralizing than being unemployed for a lengthy period of time. But paying people not to work and adding $30 billion more to nearly $1.4 trillion of deficit spending is a dismal substitute for real economic growth and private job creation.



The destructive party

I just finished editing a book. It's called "Duped America," (dupedamerican.com is the website where it can be purchased) and it explains--in great detail--how Democrats and their media sycophants have deliberately misled the American public regarding some of the most important issues of our time.

What makes the book genuinely compelling is that its author, Richard Bernstein, is a former life-long, liberal Jewish Democrat who got his head snapped back by the atrocity of 9/11. As he watched the Twin Towers fall, he couldn't understand why Americans had never even heard of al Qaeda before that fateful day.

So he decided to do some research. Not with the original intent of writing a book, but simply to find out what's been going on in this country--without that information being filtered by Democrats and their usual mainstream media suspects. After eight years of exploration he discovered many things that both shocked and amazed him, but the most shocking was this: he realized the political party to whom he had given a lifetime of unquestioning allegiance no longer represented his interests. In fact, he discovered what a lot of Americans are discovering: not only do Democrats no longer represent the interests of the majority of Americans, they are working actively against them.

Mr. Bernstein has the facts, researched and footnoted.

Why did he write the book? For the same reason I write columns: American exceptionalism is far too valuable to be destroyed by a political party and a president who consider all countries "equally exceptional." And that's when Democrats aren't busy apologizing for our racism, imperialism, xenophobia and free enterprise. Or telling Americans wars are "lost" before they've even been fought, or "fixing" things for their cronies on Wall Street and in public sector unions. We write because we're sick of seeing our public schools turned into liberal indoctrination centers, or scientific thought being corrupted by political ideology. We write because we know appeasing terrorists and foes while we snub our allies is a fool's errand. We write to prevent an economic tsunami from engulfing us, not because one is inevitable, but because bankrupt ideologues are greasing the skids, instead of saving the country.

We write because America is a terrible thing to waste.

And yet here come Republicans, tooling along in third gear when it's clear as day it's pedal-to-the-metal time. When the country is "this" close to being turned into a socialist nightmare of big-government hacks doling out "social justice" to whomever they deem suitable. When Americans, up to their necks in fear for the future, need genuine inspiration--not tired election slogans they've heard a thousand times before.

Republicans, trust me when I tell you that your party's hour is at hand. A "strategy" of "vote for us because we suck less than Democrats" is an utter insult to the electorate. Refusing to make detailed policy statements because it might cut into your generic lead in the polls is too clever by half. If you can't defend freedom and limited government clearly and concisely, resign. If you can't forcefully attack the worst combination of a Congress and a White House in history, get the hell out of the way and make room for those of us who can.




Obama admin: Mandate is a tax after all: "Obama, in the Democratic primary, argued against the individual mandate. It was one of the key distinctions between himself and Clinton(It should be recalled that Obama, in the primary, ran ‘Harry and Louise’ ads against the Clinton Health Care plan). After he was elected, he immediately delegated the crafting of Health Care legislation to the congress, which immediately began fashioning something that resembled the Clinton plan, with mandates and all. When Obama was propagandizing the merits of the Health Care Reform Bill to the press, he bristled at suggestions that the mandate was a ‘tax.’ … Now that the individual mandate is being challenged in federal court by the attorney generals of various States, the Obama Admin has dispensed with the propaganda.”

Washington elites face reality gap on economy: "While private sector workers across the country are struggling with abnormally high unemployment rates, federal government employees in Washington are likely to be bewildered by the current economic downturn. In fact, a Politico article released today confirmed that about half of ‘Washington elites’ who live in the D.C. metro area and work in politics or policy fields claim that the country and the economy are headed in the right direction — compared to less than 25 percent of the general population.”

It’s time to shift spending to states: "Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, which currently equal about 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, will expand to more than 30 percent by 2085, according to recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. The national debt is estimated to jump from the current 60 percent of GDP to several times the GDP. The exact numbers depend on a range of assumptions. But under every plausible scenario, both debt and debt service explode under current policy. At some point, therefore, the economy is due to crash unless Washington reins in spending. One way to avoid this outcome would be to transfer entitlement programs to the states.”

Black racism embarrasses the White House -- for once: "The Obama administration quickly asked an African American official in the Agriculture Department to resign Monday after a conservative website showed an excerpt of a speech she had given in which she appeared to describe her unwillingness to help a white farmer. … the incident took place in 1986, when Ms. Sherrod was working for the farmer-aid organization’s Georgia field office. The organization was founded to help black farmers but ‘helped anyone who walked in the door,’ Mr. Paige said. Ms. Sherrod told CNN that ‘I know I didn’t do anything wrong’ and that the video excerpt did not represent the context of her remarks.”

Projection? Black racists accusing others of being racist: "The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution at its national convention Tuesday condemning the tea party movement for tolerating racism. Is that not the pot calling the kettle black? The NAACP has to be one of the most racist organizations on the planet and its attacks on the populist tea party movement make it a hypocritical one as well.”

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

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


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


20 July, 2010

Rescuing America from its present great danger: The danger from within

The mistake made by those who voted for Obama, thinking it would be different with him, is their belief that it would be different with him. A politician is a politician. You could change the color, the gender, even the party, and you are still left with a politician. That is not necessarily an evil thing. We must have politicians, I suppose, but like the metaphorical crazy aunt who is kept in the attic, a politician should be kept in his or her place, lest the house become chaotic.

The taxing and regulating has only just begun. The Obama people are not intrinsically evil. Like someone caught up in a cult, they sincerely believe in the fiction they are peddling: more taxes will produce a healthier economy; the record debt is not a problem; more regulation will result in banks and big businesses operating ethically and for the greater good of their customers and the country; nationalized health care will mean better care for the sick; unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage are fine; unenforced immigration laws are good because Democrats need to import votes and Republicans want cheap labor.

If America's wrong course is to be righted, Republicans and conservatives must offer something different from the last time they held power. That should begin with a history lesson. What did the founders and their constitutionalist descendants believe would produce the best results for a people united around certain commonly held principles? What was the result when those principles were applied (or not applied) in our national life and in individual lives?

The problem today is that fewer of those principles are commonly held, because they are not taught in public schools and universities, or reinforced by the media from which we get too much of our information and too little truth.

America is about opportunity, not guaranteed outcomes. If someone lacks opportunity, the goal should be to clear obstacles that block opportunity. Motivation is something else. No one can be taught motivation. That's up to each individual.

On taxes, there is plenty of evidence concerning how our economy responds when taxes are high and when they are low. Why are we allowing the politicians to seize ever-larger amounts of the money we make and misspend it as they do?

Republicans and conservatives are going to have to do more than argue their familiar ideological positions this November and again in two years. They must show their ideas work. To do this, they can adopt some of the Democrats' theatrics. Democrats love to parade legions of the aggrieved and deprived. Republicans should start their own parade, headed in the opposite direction. People who encountered difficult circumstances, but overcame them by practicing Republican and conservative principles, would populate a GOP parade.

Again, it is no shame to make a mistake. It is shameful to repeat it. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is dismantling the America we have known and loved and transforming it into something it has never been: a socialist state. If we let them do it, there will be no forgiveness, no excuse and no going back. And our shame will be an indelible stain for which future generations will judge us.



That charming TSA again

Like me, you’ve probably wondered where the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rustles up the gutless baboons it sics on passengers at its security theaters. Or perhaps you’ve speculated about just how low the IQ and morals must sink for a wannabe baboon to grunt, "Hmmm, think I’ll git me a job where I can stand around on the taxpayers’ dime, except for when I’m busy feeling ‘em up and rummagin’ their bags for money and drugs to ‘confiscate,’ heh-heh."

Here’s our answer: pizza boxes. The TSA is advertising for screeners on the boxes in which Washington DC’s pizzerias deliver their product. Though some might praise the agency for its sense of propriety – how fitting that it recruits for its cheesy make-work with a cheese-y pie! – I call it an offense against a beloved treat. Bread, garlicky sauce, melted mozzarella: does dinner come any more delicious than this? The fact that busybodies obsessed with our diet hyperventilate over this innocent pleasure only adds to its allure.

Meanwhile, grab a bucket: you’ll need it to catch your lunch after reading the ad. "A career where X-ray vision and federal benefits come standard," the headline shamelessly proclaims. The TSA’s strip-search machines traumatize victims (including its own employees), are carcinogenic, and do not detect explosives, yet Our Masters exploit the misery for their idea of a witticism. The copy below this insult gushes, "See yourself in a vital role for Homeland Security. Be part of a dynamic security team protecting airports and skies as you proudly secure your future." And hey, you also get to abuse crippled kids, amputees, the elderly, hard-working patriots carrying cash, folks feeling ill, and even those passengers who’ve followed your silly rules to the letter. Yo, Pistole: if the pizza boxes don’t pay off, maybe you can spring for the back cover of Sadists International.

Alas, the TSA’s public servants compensate with cowardliness what they lack in decency. No passenger is too innocuous or unlikely a threat to spook these goofballs. When one of them forced Danielle Shanese Smith, 25, into their smutty scanner at Charlotte-Douglas [NC] International Airport earlier this month, her involuntary strip-tease "indicated anomalies." So her assailant "asked if she had anything in her pockets." She responded, "’I have a bomb.’ … asked to repeat her statement in front of second officer, Smith did so … The officers requested a supervisor, who asked her again if she had anything in her pockets. Smith replied: ‘a bomb, cuz I am a (expletive) terrorist’…"

How many times have we all longed to similarly sass the TSA’s tormenters?

Of course, "officers found no explosive"; when do they ever? So they punished the lady by insisting she "had ‘an intense stare’ and ‘a non-joking demeanor’ that made theme [sic] believe her threat was credible..." Way to go, ma’am! Put the invertebrates in their place with a look!

Naturally, Ms. Smith’s hostility to the TSA’s wickedness has barred her from American aviation: she "is not allowed to fly commercially or enter an airport until her case is concluded." Would that we could say the same for the goons who searched her without a warrant. The Feds may even bankrupt and imprison her for her words: "The U.S. Attorney's Office said Smith, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine, five years in prison or both." Seems that while chucking the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, the TSA threw out the Eighth as well. For good measure, "airport police charged Smith with disorderly conduct."

Older men also inspire the TSA’s bullies to retaliate. Richard Bellows, a taxpayer from Carmel, IN, not only neglected to overlook the TSA’s sloth in Indianapolis International Airport, he dared complain about it. "Bellows was in line at about 6 a.m. Tuesday when he asked a Transportation Security Administration official why it was taking so long – especially when he could see five TSA scanners who appeared to be loafing." Uh-oh. Haven’t Our Masters made it crystal clear that uppity serfs annoy them? Our job is to cringe and obey, not imply that our time is valuable, our lives are our own, and the police-state had better stop hassling us.

Ergo, the TSA re-educated Mr. Bellows: its miffed minions barred him from his flight and almost convinced cops to arrest him. "…TSA behavioral detection officer Jamie Wilmot, at first said Bellows brushed him when he walked by [after he had complained] … But Wilmot later told behavioral detection supervisor Aaron Anderson and security manager Lisa Scott it felt more like a push than a shove." So Anderson, Scott, and "Airport Officer Michael Brite" – apparently summoned when Barney Fife-sorry, Jamie Wilmot barely survived the 63-year-old Mr. Bellows’ brush, push, or whatever – resorted to the TSA’s numerous, notorious surveillance cameras.

Our Rulers have squandered millions of our taxes on these gadgets. The unwary assume this demonstrates the TSA’s concern for our safety. Au contraire. The cameras are there to catch us, not protect us. For example, victims of the TSA’s robbery plead with it to review its videotape and confirm their tales of theft when the agency denies its lackeys’ criminality. Imagine their shock when told that the cameras didn’t film the felony because they are pointed at passengers – though no passenger anywhere has yet swiped a screener’s jewelry, drugs, or money, let alone his dignity and peace of mind.

Fortunately, the usual scenario reversed itself in Mr. Bellows’ case. "After watching replays of the brush/push from four different camera angles and doing a warrant check on Bellows, the officials decided that it [sic] was not threatening enough for an arrest." Ya think? "But they told Bellows he couldn't fly out Tuesday and would have to leave Wednesday. And when he came back he would be interviewed again, with further action still possible." That’ll teach him to speak his mind like a free man.

"We are committed to making each traveler's screening experience as pleasant and smooth as possible," the TSA prattles. "We are also committed to treating each traveler with dignity and respect…"

You better believe it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Tony Abbott staunch on Israel support

Australia is having a Federal election very soon. Tony Abbott is the conservative contender for Prime Minister. He is a practicing Catholic. When will the great majority of Jews snap out of their medieval stupor and recognize that Christians are now their friends, not their enemies

Tony Abbott yesterday accused Labor [Australia's major Leftist party] of weakening the bipartisanship on Israel. The Opposition Leader vowed a government led by him would never "overreact" to international incidents and said the Coalition's support for Israel was "unshakeable".

"Of course, the Israeli government from time to time makes mistakes -- what government doesn't from time to time make mistakes? -- but Australians should appreciate that a diminished Israel diminishes the West; it diminishes us," Mr Abbott said.

"I have to say it's a little disappointing, given the deep affinity between the Australian people and the Israeli people, that the current Australian government has somewhat weakened our long-standing bipartisanship on Israel."

Mr Abbott appeared to be referring to Labor's expulsion of the Mossad station chief in retaliation for the Israeli intelligence agency's use of counterfeit Australian passports in the Dubai assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January.

He said a Coalition government would never support a one-sided UN resolution against Israel.




'Econophysics' said to point the way to fair salaries in a free market

"A Purdue University researcher has used "econophysics" to show that under ideal circumstances free markets promote fair salaries for workers and do not support CEO compensation practices common today. The research presents a new perspective on 18th century economist Adam Smith's concept that an "invisible hand" drives a free market economy to a collective good.

"It is generally believed that the free market cares only about efficiency and not fairness. However, my theory shows that even though companies focus primarily on making profits and individuals are only looking out for themselves, the collective self-organizing free market dynamics, under ideal conditions, leads to fairness as an emergent property," said Venkat Venkatasubramanian, a professor of chemical engineering. "In reality, the self-correcting free market mechanisms have broken down for CEOs and other top executives in the market, but they seem to be working fine for the remaining 95 percent of employees."




I am pleased to say that I have just today acquired a large Gadsden flag which is now flying from the flagpole at the front of my house -- where I intend it to remain for the foreseeable future. I think the Gadsden flag is a good flag for libertarians as well as for tea-partiers, though those two groups probably do overlap to an extent anyway.

As far as I can see, the conservative blogosphere is just about 100% skeptical about global warming. So it was rather a surprise to read a rather dimwitted Canadian conservative arguing that global-warming skepticism is bad for the conservative cause. You can read his effusions and my reply to them on Greenie Watch.

Another stimulus boondoggle: "Dr. Christina Romer of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers claims that three dollar’s worth of personal income was generated by every federal dollar disbursed under 2009’s ‘American Recovery and Investment Act.’ Mr. Obama has been using that ‘result’ to convince naysayers that a second stimulus package is needed to lower an unemployment rate that has been hovering around nine percent since he moved into the White House. A government-spending ‘multiplier’ of three is beyond comprehension. As a matter of fact, recent work by Robert Barro suggests that during the Second World War, a $1 increase in government expenditures added less than $1 to U.S. GDP.”

Assessing over-assessment: "This should be obvious, but the reason governments can’t stop themselves from inflating real estate bubbles is that taxes based on the ‘assessed’ value of real estate are the lifeblood of most local governments. It’s always in the government’s interest to value real property as high as possible, even if the market thinks differently.”

Palin: Mosque an “unnecessary provocation”: "Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin opposes the construction of a Muslim-led facility that includes a ‘prayer space’ two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, calling it an ‘unnecessary provocation.’ Palin asked ‘peace-seeking Muslims’ and ‘Peaceful New Yorkers’ to reject the plan, saying the ‘catastrophic pain’ caused at the Twin Towers site ‘is too raw, too real,’ according to a post to her Twitter blog on Sunday. While the project received a nearly unanimous advisory vote in support from local community board representatives, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission must rule on the status of the building before demolition or construction can take place.”

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

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


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


19 July, 2010

Intellectuals and Human Nature

Mike Adams

Recently, several “intellectuals” convened to deal with a problem so serious it could not be tackled by just one college professor. The question was this: How can professors stop an epidemic of students missing their examinations without jeopardizing student grades by resorting to point deductions?

The problem was so serious that the handful of intellectuals who first noticed the problem – and noticed others noticing the problem – sent out a mass email inviting others to attend a “brown bag” luncheon to brainstorm. They were searching for “solutions”, which would stop short of actually punishing students for missing their examinations.

I certainly have no problem with professors getting together to find “solutions” to difficult “problems.” But I do have a “problem” with the way these professors were characterizing their “problem.”

A better description of their “problem” – one that better reflects its magnitude – would sound something like this: How can we retain the secular/progressive view of human nature, which is needed to justify secular/progressive policies, in light of a wealth of evidence to the contrary?

The thoughts of the professors responding to the mass email were enlightening. One complained that she wanted to give her students the benefit of the doubt, but they constantly pushed and tested her. The more she withheld punishment, the more prevalent the undesirable behavior.

Another observed that the more often she does nice things for students, the more often they take advantage of her. She seemed perplexed by the fact that rewarding a missed exam with another administration, thus giving the student more time to prepare, led to more missed exams.

The dilemma of the perplexed professors highlights the fundamental difference between the conservative and the progressive views of human motivation. The former suggests that you can sometimes threaten to do bad things to people and expect good things in return. The latter suggests that you can promise to do good things for people and expect good things in return.

In the 1960s, our government began to put the progressive view of human nature to the test. We launched a War on Poverty in an effort to build a Great Society. Soon, we began to see mountains of data refuting the secular/progressive view of human nature.

By the end of the first decade of our efforts to build a Great Society, crime in America had skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. The 1960s saw record increases in crime rates, which have yet to be broken.

Progressives thought that giving people welfare, food stamps, and huge increases in the minimum wage would all be nice favors, which would be returned in the form of greater citizen conformity. The fact that it didn’t work has done little to shake the foundations of progressive faith in human decency.

Since the failed effort to build a Great Society there have been repeated calls to build more prisons in order to clean up the mess progressives have created. But, for years, progressives have fought tooth and nail to prevent or slow the expansion of prisons.

The result, of course, has been an increase in homicides and gang-rapes in prison due to prison overcrowding. In short, the progressive view of human nature has produced more violence among both free and captive populations. More people are dying everywhere but the progressive vision of human decency is immortal. It cannot be slain by any wealth of empirical evidence.

More recently, we have seen the effects of progressive gun control policies. Like prisons, guns are reminders of human depravity, which the progressive cannot accept. And so the progressive seeks to ban guns. Nonetheless, in 2008, the Supreme Court lifted a ban on handguns in Washington D.C., which resulted in a 25% decrease in homicides the next year.

The D.C. homicide data speak volumes about human nature. The presence of guns is a threat, which helps many depraved individuals conform to the dictates of the law. Nonetheless, progressives still fight the very reforms that have helped preserve innocent lives. They do so because it is more important that they preserve their vision of human decency.

It isn’t surprising that progressives who cannot manage a classroom cannot also manage “society.” It would be better if the progressive would confine her decision to accommodate, rather than punish, irresponsibility to the classroom. But intellectuals rarely keep their ideas to themselves. They are obliged to impose them on “society.”

Replacing the Judeo-Christian view of human nature with the progressive view of human nature has proven to be a bad idea. And bad ideas have bad consequences for fallen human beings. But progressive hope for the secular transformation of human nature springs eternal.



America’s ruling class — and the perils of revolution

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors' "toxic assets" was the only alternative to the U.S. economy's "systemic collapse." In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets' nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term "political class" came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public's understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the "ruling class." And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several "stimulus" bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind.

Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government's agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. Sen. Orrin Hatch continued dreaming of being Ted Kennedy, while Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about "global warming" for the sake of getting on the right side of history. No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class's continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.

Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America's upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter.

The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and "bureaucrat" was a dirty word for all. So was "social engineering." Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday's upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.

Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters -- speaking the "in" language -- serves as a badge of identity.

Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America's ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners -- nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, "prayed to the same God." By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God "who created and doth sustain us," our ruling class prays to itself as "saviors of the planet" and improvers of humanity. Our classes' clash is over "whose country" America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark's Gospel: "if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand."

The Political Divide

Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg's tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences "undecided," "none of the above," or "tea party," these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate -- most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans.

This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class's prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans -- a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents -- lack a vehicle in electoral politics.

Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority's demand for representation will be filled. Whereas in 1968 Governor George Wallace's taunt "there ain't a dime's worth of difference" between the Republican and Democratic parties resonated with only 13.5 percent of the American people, in 1992 Ross Perot became a serious contender for the presidency (at one point he was favored by 39 percent of Americans vs. 31 percent for G.H.W. Bush and 25 percent for Clinton) simply by speaking ill of the ruling class.

Today, few speak well of the ruling class. Not only has it burgeoned in size and pretense, but it also has undertaken wars it has not won, presided over a declining economy and mushrooming debt, made life more expensive, raised taxes, and talked down to the American people. Americans' conviction that the ruling class is as hostile as it is incompetent has solidified. The polls tell us that only about a fifth of Americans trust the government to do the right thing. The rest expect that it will do more harm than good and are no longer afraid to say so.

While Europeans are accustomed to being ruled by presumed betters whom they distrust, the American people's realization of being ruled like Europeans shocked this country into well nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008. Machiavelli compares serious political diseases to the Aetolian fevers -- easy to treat early on while they are difficult to discern, but virtually untreatable by the time they become obvious.

Far from speculating how the political confrontation might develop between America's regime class -- relatively few people supported by no more than one-third of Americans -- and a country class comprising two-thirds of the country, our task here is to understand the divisions that underlie that confrontation's unpredictable future.




MA: Firms cancel health coverage: "The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead, a trend that, some analysts say, could eventually weigh heavily on the state’s already-stressed budget. Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly funded insurance for their employees.”

Stop me before I regulate again!: "I’m told that this morning the Senate will pass the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. 2,300 pages long. Nothing so complex ever makes life better for consumers. Mostly, it guarantees that you will not start a business without hiring specialists. … Yet politicians constantly create more rules. They think they know how to manage our lives better than we do. They are ignorant and arrogant. Much of this regulation drives entrepreneurs to say: ‘I won’t try. I won’t open a business. I won’t hire someone because I probably can’t fire him without getting into trouble. I better play it safe. I better not try anything new.’ This kills opportunity. But the regulation never stops. Last year the federal government added another 70,000 pages to the Federal Register. Our 535 Congressmen think they’re not doing their job if they’re not passing laws. And those are just federal lawmakers. There are even more state legislators.”

"Docfix" and the coming Obamacare deficits: "On a quiet Friday afternoon this summer, the central justification for President Obama’s health-care overhaul died a quiet death. On that day, a bipartisan coalition in Congress reversed the scheduled Medicare cuts to physician payments, ensuring that, over the next decade, the White House’s reforms will cost many billions more than advertised. After over a year of debate and lofty rhetoric, the reality is this: the president’s goal of ‘bending’ the health-care cost curve has unraveled in just a few months.”

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

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

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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)


18 July, 2010

The Immorality of the "Moral High Ground"

Throughout the War on Terror, liberals have been lecturing us on the virtue of holding on to the "Moral High Ground", which is their way of saying that we should forgo trying to defeat terrorists military, and instead show them up with our superior civil liberties. Yes Abdul, you may have a suitcase nuke, but if we catch you, we'll still pay for your legal defense. Torture our soldiers if you will, Mohammed, but see if you aren't impressed when we TIVO your favorite team's soccer matches for you in that horrible 19 million dollar hellhole of misery and degradation at Guantanamo Bay.

Of course Mohammed is never going to be very impressed by his free legal team, Halal cooking, volleyball courts and pro bono prosthetic legs, because Islamists don't derive their moral high ground from doing nice things for their enemies. They derive their moral high ground from getting up on a high place and tossing rocks or grenades down at their enemies. A Good Muslim is willing to kill for Islam. The Koran says so explicitly.

On the other hand liberals insist that only a Bad American is willing to kill for America. A Good American will believe that Islam is a religion of peace, even while he's having his head chopped off by Johnny Mujaheed. He will eschew any tacky American flags, in favor of Chomsky and Zinn essays that will enable him to understand what a rotten country he lives in, and why the terrorists chopping his head off might have a point. All this really means is that practicing the Moral High Ground is a good way to get beheaded and reading the works of mentally ill Communists is not a good survival strategy....

Their goal is to break Western civilization. Break it of its exceptionalism. Break it of any notion that it has any worthwhile accomplishments to its name. Break it of any idea that it has a right to exist. That is their real Moral High Ground. National and international suicide in favor of nobler and better Third World creeds that won't be as greedy or as industrially developed, and will build societies based on sharing and caring, and of course the obligatory head chopping. Nothing else matters.

Israel, which has its own hard-at-work left, has something similar called "Purity of Arms" which is Hebrew for the "Courageous Restraint" medal that General McChrystal was thinking of handing out to US soldiers in Afghanistan for not killing terrorists.

Purity of Arms is one of the best strategic advantages Israel has ever handed to the terrorists, because it gives the terrorists a free pass to carry out attacks behind civilians, while threatening soldiers with severe penalties if they fire without being 100 percent certain that they're about to be murdered if they don't.

The ongoing captivity of Gilad Shalit and the entire Second Lebanon War would probably never have happened, if the IDF weren't constantly trapped in the Purity of Arms madness, as soldiers in a war zone are forced to second-guess their own survival, because Jewish self-defense is bad for public relations.

Why does Israel have a terrorist problem, and not Jordan, which has the same Arab population that Israel does? It's not simply because Israel is mostly Jewish and Jordan is mostly Muslim, though that is a contributing factor. A primary focus of Islamists is to take over countries with majority Muslim populations in order to build the Caliphate.

The reason is because in 1970 when the terrorists began hijacking planes and declared that a part of Jordan belonged to them, King Hussein sent in the army. He didn't kill a mere 52 Palestinian Arab terrorists, as Israel did in Jenin. Or a mere 107 in Deir Yassin. Not even the 800 or so killed in fighting between Arabs in Sabra and Shatilla. No, according to Arafat, King Hussein's troops killed an estimated 25,000 Palestinian Arabs.

This wasn't some sort of unique event by Middle Eastern standards. When the Islamists tried to stage an uprising in Hama, Syrian troops killed somewhere between 20,000 to 40,000 people. When Arafat sided with Saddam during the Gulf War, Kuwait expelled 400,000 Palestinian Arabs. Why did they do it? Because by 1990, Kuwait had some 564,000 native Arabs, and some 450,000 Palestinian Arabs.

So the Kuwaitis began bombing Palestinian Arab neighborhoods, top officials boasted about "cleansing" Palestinian Arabs from Kuwait, and tanks and troops were sent into Palestinian Arab neighborhoods, setting up checkpoints, killing, imprisoning and torturing thousands. There were plenty of atrocities that got brief mentions in the media, before the Palestinian Arabs were gone from Kuwait, and everyone moved on.

Just to grasp the sheer scale of the double standard here, in the same year that the Bush Administration was pressuring Israel to negotiate with the PLO in the name of human rights, President H.W. Bush gave a blank check to the Kuwaiti royal family to do anything they wanted to the Palestinian Arabs in their country. He told the Kuwaiti ambassador, "The war wasn’t fought about democracy in Kuwait" and justified everything the royals were doing, saying, "I think we're expecting a little much if we're asking the people in Kuwait to take kindly to those that had spied on their countrymen that were left there, that had brutalized families there, and things of that nature." The Kuwaiti government newspaper Sawt Al Kuwait, featured Bush's comments under the headline, "We Would Be Asking a Lot, If We Asked Them to Show Mercy."

And that just about says it all. The same Western governments which think it's asking a lot to expect Muslims to show mercy, make those demands of Israel all the time. They make those demands of their own forces, while never expecting Muslims to show mercy.

There are no efforts to indict the Kuwaiti Royal Family or the Assad or Hussein clans for atrocities or war crimes. Bashar Assad is an honored visitor to the same UK, which calls in the Israeli ambassador every other weak, to preach to him about restraint. King Hussein remains widely popular. His wife Raina has a YouTube channel in which she talks about how important human rights are, and how awful the Israelis are to the same people that her hubby's regime rules over, and which his father massacred. The web isn't cluttered with piteous sites about the Black September massacres or the Kuwaiti ethnic cleansing of their Palestinian Arabs or the Syrian massacres at Hama. Aside from a few people who were directly affected by it, no one actually cares.

And who's to blame? The Moral High Ground is. Terrorist groups can only win, if you let them. Their entire strategy relies on drawing you into a conflict, on the understanding that you won't have the nerve to really crush them. If you do crush them, the conflict goes away. But if you try to be Mr. Nice Guy, the terrorists now have you hook, line and sinker. If you restrain yourself, you'll be involved in endless little fights, dying the death of a thousand cuts, until the terrorists and their international backers successfully replace you with a Pro-Appeasement government. And if you recognize the terrorists and make concessions to them, you'll be up to your neck in terror....

It is not moral to let your family be murdered, rather than harm the murderers. He who slays those who kill his loved ones, stands on the true moral high ground. The only true Moral High Ground that there is.



Obamacare reasoning falsified by Massachusetts reality

Massachusetts’ universal health care system passed in 2006 -- with "mandatory" insurance

Unfortunately, Mass-Care and its mandate haven’t stopped spiraling health care costs. From 2007 to 2009 in the Bay State, the median annual premium for family plans jumped 10% to $14,300 a year. For small business, the increase was 12%. What’s worse is, Massachusetts already had the highest health care costs in the nation before Mass-Care became law.

Nor does the counter-intuition stop there. The ObamaCare debate often has focused on the $43 billion in uncompensated care bills racked up in 2008 by those without insurance (a number that represents less than 2% of the $2.5 trillion Americans spend on health care annually).

These costs have been attributed mostly to avoidable ER visits made by the uninsured. Make insurance mandatory, goes the explanation, and the ER onslaught will end. Fast forward to last week’s Boston Globe newspaper.

“The number of people visiting hospital emergency rooms has climbed in Massachusetts, despite the enactment of nearly universal health insurance that some hoped would reduce expensive emergency department use,” the paper wrote July 4th. “According to state data … emergency room visits rose by 9 percent from 2004 to 2008, to about 3 million visits a year.”

Mandatory insurance, it turns out, is not the same as access to a primary care physician. So even with the mandate, doctors are still in short supply, ER overcrowding continues and costs keep rising. Call it one more unintended consequence in the world of insurance made mandatory, a world many of us who support the Health Care Freedom acts – which already have become law in five states – are trying to avoid.

Not that everything is uncertain with this new law: America, you can rest assured, is badly in need of a new cliché. Now the only things certain in life are death and taxes – and the need to buy an insurance policy.



He came, he saw, he spent

In the latest stop on his “Recovery Summer” tour, rock star President Barack Obama landed in Holland, Michigan Thursday, insulted its congressman, handed American stimulus dollars to a Korean corporation, and proclaimed Obamanomics a success even as Michigan has lost 94,000 jobs since his Recovery Act was enacted.

All in all, another day in the life of an increasingly unpopular president who seems to be living in an alternative universe.

That universe insists that government is the source of jobs, and so Obama was in Western Michigan to declare another victory in Washington’s mission to create a new green economy.

But the green economy looks like a lot of green for the well-connected. The president handed $150 million in stimulus money over to Korean CEO Peter Bahnsuk Kim of LG Chem. LG Chem is an $11 billion Korean conglomerate that hardly seems a candidate for the American Recovery Act. No wonder the program is so unpopular.

Accompanying Obama was Governor Jennifer Granholm - Obama praised her as “one of the best governors in America” even as she presides over the nation’s second highest unemployment rate – who has been complaining that Washington Republicans are denying her the $500 million in stimulus money she needs to plug Michigan’s Medicaid budget hole. So here she was in West Michigan celebrating $150 million for Corporate Korea. Huh?

Obama said his benevolence would create 300 jobs in Holland – but that’s $500,000 per job. At least it’s a bargain compared to the $ $1.25 million per job Obama spent on two solar companies in Arizona over the July 4 weekend.

West Michigan is suffering 12 percent unemployment yet President “Audacity of Hope” had the audacity to suggest that the stimulus “efforts we took we are no longer bleeding jobs." In fact, since his $1 trillion Recovery Act was passed a year ago, Michigan has lost nearly 100,000 jobs....



What Women Don't Want

"We don't like this fundamental transformation, and we're going to do something about it." With that line, in a savvy "Mama Grizzly" video recently posted on her Facebook page, Sarah Palin may have captured not only the political mood of much of the country, but also nailed why women seem prone to making tea and political hay this year.

It's not just Palin or even the scads of other attractive woman who are running for office as Republicans; this "year of conservative women" is manifesting itself in a big way in the Tea Party movement. The Sam Adams Alliance, which has done a series of surveys on people who identify themselves as Tea Partiers, reports that at least 45 percent of Tea Party leaders are women, some of whom never had a career outside the home but now feel the need to organize their communities. Quinnipiac similarly has found 44 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters to be women.

Sam Adams' Anne Sorock says that she's seen women "empowered through the Tea Parties." It's the kind of thing the women's movement would like if the women's movement weren't really more about liberal politics than representing females in America.

"Attitudes about risk may partially account for their prominence in the movement," John J. Pitney Jr., professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College, offers. "Many studies suggest that women tend to be more risk-averse than men ... A liberal administration is restructuring health care and running the federal debt up to the stratosphere -- which a lot of people regard as scary and risky."

Conway agrees: "It is easy to show how the past 18 months have been a radical departure from common sense and the solutions women tell pollsters they favor. Plus, Obama's priority list does not match their own. They rejected health care; he signed it into law. They say jobs and the economy should be the top focus; his actions have made things worse."

And, while conservative women or women in Republican politics are not a new phenomenon, what's especially remarkable right now is that outside parties are noticing this new feminine pull and are looking to center-right politics. These independent outsiders appear on the covers of magazines and are the subject of prime-time debates.

Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, believes that this is only a beginning and this "year of the conservative women" meme is a real potential growth opportunity for the Republican Party: "I think there is a genuine chance to change the face of the GOP and reach an entire generation of women. Palin was the booster rocket."


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

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


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


17 July, 2010

Death Panel Demands "Obesity" Info in Health Records

Once Obamacare kicks in, the Federal government will set rules as to who is "qualified" for medical procedures and who needs to make sure their will is in order.

The Feds will use your drinking habits, smoking, EXERCISE habits, age and more as determinants as to whether "expensive" medical procedures will be allowed. Life and death is not important, it is all "About the Benjamins" [big bucks].

Add to the list your weight--if you do not meet the government weight limits you might not get the cancer medicine to keep you alive, the heart surgery, the hip replacement; all might be out of the question.

Here is a question. Let us say you lose 50 pounds, then have a heart attack, how long will it take for that information to get from Corona, California to a high school graduate working for Dr. Berswick (the death loving doctor appointed by Obama to "cull" the herd), in the basement of a building in Kentucky, to decide if you get to live or die?

Now the kicker--this was NOT a part of the Obamacare bill, it was part of the STIMULUS bill.

"Section 3001 of the stimulus law says: "The National Coordinator shall, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies (including the National Institute of Standards and Technology), update the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan (developed as of June 3, 2008) to include specific objectives, milestones, and metrics with respect to the following: (i) The electronic exchange and use of health information and the enterprise integration of such information.(ii) The utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014."

Under this mandate in the stimulus law, Secretary Sebelius issued a regulation--developed by Dr. Blumenthal--that requires that all EHRs keep track of a persons Body Mass Index (BMI) score. Body Mass Index is a ratio between a persons weight and height, and is used to determine whether or not someone is overweight or obese. It is the preferred method of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for measuring obesity."

How totalitarian is this? Were I on Congress I would just vote no on everything--Obama is killing us--even when he is stealing money for special interests.

SOURCE. See also here


Obama is REALLY angry at the Jihadists now that they are killing blacks

He even says that they are racists, so it's serious stuff

In an interview earlier today with the South African Broadcasting Corporation to air in a few hours, President Obama disparaged al Qaeda and affiliated groups' willingness to kill Africans in a manner that White House aides say was an argument that the terrorist groups are racist.

Speaking about the Uganda bombings, the president said, "What you've seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains."

Earlier today a senior administration official said the Obama administration believes that Al Shabaab carried out the attack.

Explaining the president's comment, an administration official said Mr. Obama "references the fact that both U.S. intelligence and past al Qaeda actions make clear that al Qaeda -- and the groups like al Shabaab that they inspire -- do not value African life. The actions of al Qaeda and the groups that it has inspired show a willingness to sacrifice innocent African life to reach their targets."

This can be seen, the official said, in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, when hundreds of Africans were killed and thousands wounded.

"Additionally, U.S. intelligence has indicated that al Qaeda leadership specifically targets and recruits black Africans to become suicide bombers because they believe that poor economic and social conditions make them more susceptible to recruitment than Arabs," the official said. "Al Qaeda recruits have said that al Qaeda is racist against black members from West Africa because they are only used in lower level operations."

"In short," the official said, "al Qaeda is a racist organization that treats black Africans like cannon fodder and does not value human life."

The president also said in the interview that "it was so tragic and ironic to see an explosion like this take place when people in Africa were celebrating and watching the World Cup take place in South Africa. On the one hand, you have a vision of an Africa on the move, an Africa that is unified, an Africa that is modernizing and creating opportunities; and on the other hand, you've got a vision of al Qaeda and Al Shabaab that is about destruction and death.

"And I think it presents a pretty clear contrast in terms of the future that most Africans want for themselves and their children," Mr. Obama said. "And we need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to support those who want to build, as opposed to want to destroy."



Given Obama's plan to make NASA an organization for propping up Muslim egos, does this mean he plans to put a Muslim on Mars?

Mightn't be a bad idea, come to think of it, particularly if it is a one-way ticket

US President Barack Obama's plan to redirect astronauts to near-Earth asteroids and eventually to Mars has received a welcome boost. The Senate Commerce Committee yesterday unanimously approved a three-year spending plan for NASA to move more quickly to develop and operate a heavy-lift rocket. The panel also agreed to extend the life of the space shuttle program for a year.

Mr Obama's plan relies on commercial space development in the near future and puts off an immediate decision on a future heavy-lift rocket program that would carry astronauts to asteroids and beyond. "The goal was to preserve US leadership in space exploration and keep as much of the rocket industry talent as possible employed," said Senator Bill Nelson said.

The measure must next be considered by the full Senate and be incorporated in annual spending bills. The compromise came after several icons of the space program, including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, blasted Mr Obama's plan, saying it was a mistake to rely on the private sector to provide spacecraft in a timely fashion.

The plan would extend the space shuttle program, scheduled for termination, for at least another year, authorising an additional mission to the International Space Station. It extends the International Space Station to at least 2020. It maintains the $US19 billion ($21.5 billion) total funding for NASA in the 2011 fiscal year beginning October 1.

It provides an average of $US1 billion a year over the next six years to promote commercial space development, compared with the White House's original request for $US1.2 billion a year over five years.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the deal worked out with the senators "contains the critical elements necessary for achieving the president's vision for NASA".

Mr Obama told NASA workers at Cape Canaveral in April that he was committed to manned space flight and foresaw sending astronauts to an asteroid and onward to Mars in the coming decades.



Left-leaning AMA was suckered

During the health care reform debate, while ignoring the throngs of angry Americans who took to the streets all across the country to protest the looming passage of ObamaCare, the White House and its congressional allies were very attentive to the constituents they valued. Mindful of the mistakes that had doomed Hillarycare in 1993, they worked assiduously to co-opt health care industry "stakeholders." The American Medical Association was by far the most important target of this strategy. Its shrinking membership notwithstanding, the AMA was still seen as a force to be reckoned with inside the Beltway and continued to enjoy considerable public esteem. Thus, Obama and the Democrats badly wanted their flagship social program to benefit from the political and PR advantages that come with the AMA's stamp of approval.

This was fortuitous for the AMA. It had a big problem called the "sustainable growth rate formula" (SGR). Created by the "Balanced Budget Act of 1997," SGR was meant to slow the growth of Medicare spending by tying physician payment increases to the expansion of Gross Domestic Product. And, because the cost of providing medical care grows faster than GDP, this formula guaranteed annual payment cuts for doctors who treat Medicare patients. The AMA has pressured Congress to repeal SGR and replace it with a system that tracks medical cost inflation, but this "permanent fix" has never materialized. Congress has instead opted for a series of last-minute, short-term fixes. Meanwhile, the cumulative payment cuts mandated by SGR hang over the medical community like the Sword of Damocles.

Thus, the AMA saw the push for ObamaCare as an opportunity to get SGR deep-sixed once and for all. Instead of fighting them, as it did during the 1990s, the venerable physician association decided to climb into bed with the Democrats. In exchange for an implicit promise to finally enact the long-sought permanent fix, the President of the AMA became a high-profile cheerleader for "reform."

In the end, however, "the physicians' perspective" wasn't valued quite as highly as Dr. Rohack was led to believe. The permanent fix was conspicuously absent from the final health care bill signed by the President in March, and the ObamaCare cost estimates promulgated by the Democrats assumed that SGR will stay in place. Nonetheless, still clinging to sweet memories of White House tête-à-têtes, the credulous medico continued throughout April to rhapsodize about ObamaCare. Implausibly claiming that "reform" would improve competition, provide more choice in the insurance marketplace, and reduce administrative burdens, Rohack was determined to keep his smile in place as he stood waiting at the altar.

He was still waiting at the end of May. The House had passed a temporary fix, which the AMA pronounced inadequate, but the Senate refused to go along even with that half-measure. By June 1, when a 21 percent cut in the Medicare payment rate was due to take effect, Rohack finally understood that he and the AMA had been …ah ... had. And Hell hath no fury like a surgeon scorned. On June 3, the seething sawbones denounced the Senate's irresponsibility, accusing Reid & Co. of going on vacation while the nation's seniors and their physicians waited for relief. He went on to unsheathe what he evidently thought would be a deadly weapon: "Today, the AMA is unveiling a new multi-million dollar ad campaign encouraging the public to contact their Senators and tell them to get back to work and fix Medicare now."

The Democrats of "the world's greatest deliberative body" were, however, not impressed. When the Senate finally returned to work, it passed a temporary measure even less satisfactory to the AMA than the House bill -- a "doc fix" that put off the Medicare payment cuts for a mere six months. Then, adding insult to injury, Nancy Pelosi refused to allow a House vote on that measure until the Republicans agreed to support a "jobs bill" they had absolutely no interest in passing. The GOP gleefully pleaded with Pelosi not to throw them in that briar patch while the AMA's new President, Cecil Wilson, cried foul and began to rend his clothing. Meanwhile, calculating that Congress would eventually grant yet another of its last-minute reprieves, the bureaucrats at Medicare halted payments to all physicians.

At length, as Congress prepared to head home for recess, the Democrats tossed a pittance in the direction of the weeping Dr. Wilson and thanked the AMA for its trouble. The country's largest physician association had completely compromised its integrity and received virtually nothing in return. Rohack and his fellow quislings delivered their patients and colleagues into the hands of Washington's health care bureaucrats in exchange for yet another temporary reprieve from Medicare payment cuts. They whined about Beltway perfidy, but had little choice but to accept a short-term fix set to expire immediately following the midterm elections, when neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will have any incentive to cough up the $240 billion required for a permanent solution to the SGR mess.

Even worse, the once-feared physician lobby has revealed itself to be far weaker than most, including the organization's membership, realized. The people that matter inside the Beltway now openly wonder how much clout the AMA actually wields. Sadly, it didn't have to be this way. Dr. Rohack could have used his organization's influence to encourage genuine free market reform.



BrookesNews Update

Like every good Democrat Obama is incapable of learning his economic lessons: If the present trend continues then we can expect manufacturing to contract, overall production to shrink and unemployment to rise again before the November elections are called. The Democrats could then find themselves confronted by the electoral consequences of their own economic folly and the Fed's monetary mismanagement
Nancy Pelosi's economic idiocy and unemployment benefits : Nancy Pelosi's statement that unemployment payments stimulate growth and create jobs must rank as one of the most stupid statements ever made by a US politician. Nevertheless, it is based on one of the oldest fallacies in economics and one that needs to be constantly refuted
Obama's economic nightmare : Things have come to a sorry pass when millions of Americans can be so easily gulled by a political joke, the sort of man the English speaking peoples used to mock South Americans for electing. Just think Peron and what he did to the once very wealthy Argentina
Terrorist sympathisers hijack US Social Forum and spike reports on persecution of gays by Muslim states : As has happened so frequently in the history of anti-Semitism, hatred of Jews becomes a scapegoat and a smokescreen to avoid reality, personal failings, and real world problems. Sadly, like the "deshelved" Israeli products that the USSF hopes will rot on grocery store aisles, the USSF itself was dominated by the rotten stench of bigotry and ignorance
Market failure, the ABC and the economic illiteracy of the left : It isn't so-called market failure we have to fear but government failure and the economic ignorance of the media and the left
Six months to go until the largest tax hikes in United States history : In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011. For this gift Americans can thank President Obama and his fellow Democrats
The media leftist bigotry aids treason : The leftist media will defend mass murderers, treason, tyrants, sadists and all manner of political gangsters so long as they are socialists. To these treasonous ideologues it is not the crime that counts but who does it

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

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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)


16 July, 2010

Rules changing in favour of the GOP?

Jonah Goldberg

For nearly a century now, the rules have said that tough economic times make big government more popular. For more than 40 years it has been a rule that environmental disasters -- and scares over alleged ones -- help environmentalists push tighter regulations. According to the rules, Americans never want to let go of an entitlement once they have it. According to the rules, populism is a force for getting the government to do more, not less. According to the rules, Americans don't care about the deficit during a recession.

And yet none of these rules seem to be applying; at least not too strongly. Big government seems more unpopular today than ever. The Gulf oil spill should be a Gaiasend for environmentalists, and yet three quarters of the American people oppose Obama's drilling ban. Sixty percent of likely voters want their newly minted right to health care repealed. Unlike Europe, where protestors take to the streets to save their cushy perks and protect a large welfare state, the Tea Party protestors have been taking to the streets to trim back government.

But even on the continent the rules are changing. European governments have turned into deficit hawks to the point where the American president feels the need to lecture them on their stinginess.

Of course, he increasingly feels the same need here at home as our out-of-control debt is becoming a live issue, despite the fact that voters should be clamoring -- according to the rules -- for more taxpayer-funded jobs.

Barack Obama recently recruited Bill Clinton to stump for the Democrats as a surrogate because the former president is more popular than the current one. It's ironic because candidate Obama had once disparaged the Clinton presidency as not ambitious enough. Obama wanted to be a liberal Reagan who would reverse the rising conservative tide in American politics (just as he would reverse the rise of the oceans), not be the sort of president who accepted the tide and merely navigated its currents.

But is it really so outlandish to imagine that Bill Clinton, a creature spawned from politics like a golem from clay, had a better sense of political reality than the ivory tower intellectual currently occupying the White House? Clinton proclaimed the era of Big Government was over, and left office quite popular.

Barack Obama said, in effect, "Oh no it's not" and his presidency and his party are in freefall, despite an economic climate that, according to the rules, says he should be not only running the table but be popular for it.

As a conservative, I'm very reluctant to believe that the rules change easily or often. And there's no end of explanations for the political climate that would leave the rules intact. But it's just becoming harder and harder to shake the feeling that something bigger than politics as usual is at work.



Voting fraud is real and can make a difference

Senator Al Franken likely owes his Senate victory to felons. With a razor thin victory over Senator Norm Coleman in 2008 of just 312 votes, felons convicted of crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults may have given Democrats the filibuster proof sixtieth vote that allowed Obamacare to be passed. Americans have good reason to ask how this could happen. Consider this:

--A conservative watchdog group Minnesota Majority has gone through voting records reportedly finding that at least 341 convicted felons voted illegally in just two of Minnesota's 87 counties during the 2008 general election. Undoubtedly other felons voted illegally in other counties.

-- After culling through 500 initial allegations of felons illegally voting, the Ramsey County Attorney's Office told The Minneapolis Star Tribune Monday that they are seriously investigating about 180 cases. Another 28 felons have already been charged. Hennepin county, which includes Minneapolis, winnowed 451 initial cases down to 216 that they are still looking at. Some other felons have already been charged. Both the Ramsey and Hennepin county attorneys are Democrats.

Whether one believes that those two counties account for 341 or possibly well over 400 felons illegally voting, the 2008 Senate vote was so close and research finds that felons vote so overwhelmingly for Democrats that the odds are quite likely that felons from those two counties gave Al Franken the election.

Even if no other felons voted in any other county, 341 votes and 96 percent of felons voting for Democrats would have given Franken the election. In fact, more than 96 percent of felons probably vote for Democrats (see here).

How can so many felons break Minnesota's law and vote? The problem is that voter registration lists are a mess. States are mandated under Section 8 of the "Motor Voter" law to periodically purge voter rolls -- to remove dead people, felons, illegal voters and those who have moved out of state.

But many states, including Minnesota, have refused to check these rolls, making it easy for felons to vote and for other vote fraud to occur.

The Bush administration had tried to force states to address these concerns. In 2005, one-third of Missouri counties refused to purge voter roles, leaving more registered voters than voting age residents.

The Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan refused to enforce the federal law, and the Bush administration sued. Yet, in March 2009, the Obama administration dropped the case and it has not brought any others.

Worse, there is some evidence that the Obama administration doesn't want to stop voter fraud. J. Christian Adams, a former career Justice Department lawyer, told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights last week that Obama's Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes ordered Justice Department lawyers to drop all these cases. According to Adams, on November 30 last year Fernandes told 40 Justice Department lawyers: "We're not interested in those kind of cases. What do they have to do with helping increase minority access and turnout? We want to increase access to the ballot, not limit it."

For those who claim that vote fraud isn't a problem, Al Franken's election to the Senate demonstrates not only that vote fraud exists but also that it can alter elections and indeed the laws of the country.

Murderers, rapists, and robbers may not be the people we want providing the crucial votes that determine what America's laws should be.




Health insurance premiums to rocket: "The White House on Wednesday issued new rules requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for dozens of screenings, laboratory tests and other types of preventive care. The rules will eliminate co-payments, deductibles and other charges for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests; many cancer screenings; routine vaccinations; prenatal care; and regular wellness visits for infants and children. Other services that must be offered at no charge include counseling to help people stop smoking; screening and counseling for obesity; and tests for infection with the virus that causes AIDS."

Obamacare begins — in Idaho: "When the Regime sets prices, this is called ‘applied compassion.’ When producers organize to complain about price controls, and then freely decide not to offer their services at the artificially low price, this is called ‘a criminal conspiracy to fix prices.’ This is the central claim of the ‘consent decree’ inflicted, at gunpoint, on a group of Idaho orthopedic surgeons by the Obama Regime — with the eager collaboration of the Idaho State Attorney General. Under the terms of that extorted agreement, it would be tantamount to a criminal offense for a doctor to complain to his peers about regulatory actions that may drive accomplished medical specialists out of business.”

Dems Have Lost Voters' Policy Support: "The Democrats got an earful from voters over the long Fourth of July recess, reinforcing internal party polls showing they have lost the nation's support for their big spending, welfare-state agenda. The boiling point came last Tuesday in a closed-door party caucus meeting of House Democrats in the Capitol, where rank-and-file members vented their anger toward a White House that seemed to be doing nothing to defend them and their "walk the plank" votes on everything from a failed trillion-dollar stimulus, Obamacare and energy taxes to excessive financial regulation reform."

Majority math: "Ok, so I’m hearing a lot of noise from people on the right and libertarian side of the aisles that ‘the dems are going to lose everything this election and we can undo everything Obama has destroyed yaaaay!!!!’ Yeah … No. Not Gonna Happen.”

Obamaland pension meltdown update: "And so it was prophesied: Illinois is headed into a public-pension death spiral even sooner than predicted. The Land of Obama leads the way. The state of Illinois — broke, overleveraged, and still refusing to get its accounts in order — is up to something interesting: selling bonds to meet its pension obligations.”

Pathetic spies: "Some of the commentary on the Russian agents recently captured by the FBI has centered on the fact that Moscow was spying on the United States while President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev celebrated their nuclear and diplomatic partnership at Ray’s Hell Burger, or on the evolving focus of Russia’s intelligence services. But all of this misses the real point: how much the mediocrity of the spy ring reveals about the decadence of present-day Russia.”

How about a triple-dip recession: "The politicians think they have discovered the magic cure. It’s called quantitative easing, or just plain printing money, but it’s the same the world over. When the economy looks bad, create more of those greenbacks. Whip your interest rates down. Then suddenly, instead of being strapped for cash, everyone’s wallowing in the stuff, and the low interest rates make it cheap to borrow for that new home, that new machine or factory, and indeed just to go on a shopping trip. The trouble is that, before long, people begin to realise that this is all just funny money. As the spending boom goes on, shopkeepers, property sellers and equipment manufacturers all put up their prices, so the big spenders are no longer any better off. They’re just deeper in debt. So then you dip down again, and off we go.”

Wards of the state: "The best book on Obama’s America has already been written. The president has two more years in office, six if he’s lucky, but already we know enough about the contours of his mind, his governing instincts, to predict that the volume in question will not be bettered. This is a large claim for a book that never once mentions Obama or America or the gushing wells of oil and words that seem to be, so far, his chief gift to us. Written in 1912 by Hilaire Belloc, an Anglo-Frenchman whose true home was the Middle Ages, The Servile State is an unlikely vade mecum for 21st-century Washington. Yet men with French names have a way of understanding the inner life of this country.”

Shocking the bourgeoisie: "Marx invented a world-historical role for them, Flaubert set out to disconcert them, and Matthew Arnold denounced them as the ‘Philistine class.’ They were the perfect foil for wit, exuberance, and iconoclasm, and for a hundred years following The Communist Manifesto of 1848 they filled an evident dramatic need. For the bohemian artist the bourgeoisie were visible, shockable, and obviously bad. They justified art as no class before had justified it, by being the defenseless target of abuse and satire. For the last 50 years, however, the bourgeoisie have been slipping quietly away.”

Terrorist-loving Leftist lawyer gets 10 years: "Radical lawyer Lynn Stewart is to be sentenced to 10 years and a month in prison — a new penalty that could keep her behind bars until she turns 80, a judge said Thursday. Stewart, 70, wiped tears and her supporters in Manhattan Federal Court started sobbing as the judge made his annoucement ahead of the formal sentence expected later Thursday. The controversial civil rights attorney was convicted in 2005 of helping bomb plotter Omar Abdel Rahman pass messages from prison to his terror cohorts in Egypt.”

In defense of payday lenders and their customers: "Almost 40 years ago Walter Block wrote a fun little book called Defending the Undefendable. In it he explicated the libertarian arguments in defense of all sorts of people and practices that most observers would find objectionable: drug dealers, pimps, and the like. One such group he defended was loan sharks, who charge high interest rates, normally on short-term loans.”

FTC wants to eliminate competition with government courts: "Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission staff issued a report declaring the nation’s debt collection system ‘broken.’ The staff concluded this because ‘consumers are not adequately protected in either debt collection litigation or arbitration.’ The staff is particularly down on arbitration, which is understandable. Arbitration competes with government-run courts, and the last thing the FTC — the agency charged with protecting and promoting competition — would want is to promote competition for the resolution of consumer credit disputes.”

NBC, CBS Reject Anti-Ground Zero Mosque Ad: "CBS and NBC have refused to air a provocative ad from the confrontational, well-funded National Republican Trust PAC that calls on Americans to oppose the building of a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The ad — which has about 100,000 views on YouTube — intersperses some of the most horrifying images from the Sept. 11 attacks with the sounds of Muslim prayer and images of Muslim militants. It focuses on what’s become a divisive — and partisan — issue in New York state, the erection of a Muslim cultural center on Park Place, in the neighborhood near the fallen towers."

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

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


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


15 July, 2010

Hillary Supporters Shocked at Obama Tactics

Politics makes for strange bedfellows, all right. In light of appalling revelations of the fraud and intimidation Obamunists used to steal the Democrat nomination from Hillary, her own supporters — left high and dry by a mainstream media that is for all intents and purposes part of the Obama machine — are appealing to patriots to get their message out. From HillBuzz:

Here's filmmaker Gigi Gaston on Fox & Friends this morning, calling for an investigation into the fraud and voter intimidation Obama and his campaign engaged in back in 2008.

This is how Obama took the nomination from Hillary Clinton, and he used these same thug tactics in the general election to intimidate voters. He will be using the same playbook in 2012 as well, unless he and the DNC are stopped.

In this FOX clip, it's noted that Gaston is the granddaughter of a former Democrat governor … and she's now dedicated her life to exposing the DNC for the cesspool of corruption, fraud, and illegal activity that it is. That is the same boat all of us here are in as well: until 2008, we were all lifelong, unquestioning, party loyal Democrats who never in our lives dreamed our party would be responsible for thuggery like this.

The best way we can describe the feeling we have when we think about the DNC is to remember what the human characters on the TV show "V" felt like when they saw the masks ripped off the "Visitors", revealing them to be lizard people underneath. Even people who had been helping the Visitors, and trying to convince others that they were really here to "serve the human race" in the non-cook book sense were instantly transformed into Resistance fighters when they saw what really lurked behind those masks.

So it is for many lifelong Democrats out there, including such prominent names as Lynn Forester de Rothschild as well, who will never look at the DNC the same way again … not after its mask has been ripped off so spectacularly.

We need to find as many creative and engaging ways as possible to get conservatives and independents out there, who did not pay attention to the Democrat primaries in 2008, to know the story Gigi Gaston has told so well in We Will Not Be Silenced 2008.

It's the only way to stop the lizards at the DNC from doing all of this again in 2012.

Hillary Dems tacitly acknowledge that the establishment media isn't only vociferously partisan; it is sectarian. The DNC subsidiary known as the MSM decided the Manchurian Moonbat should be President. Otherwise, his minions' dirty tricks would have been plastered across the news from the beginning. This is why Shrillary supporters are counting on conservatives and independents to spread the word on Obama's Third World tactics.

Apparently even authoritarian collectivists advocate clean elections when dirty tricks leave them shafted. Here's where everyone but the most fanatical Obamunists can agree: Obama's tactics in the 2012 election, after he's had four years to load the system with ACORN/New Black Panther types, are going to create a stink that will make even his prototypes Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe wrinkle their noses in disgust. The dinosaur media will again be complicit.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Liberals analyze their Obama 'despair'

For many liberals, this is the summer of their discontent. Already disappointed with President Barack Obama’s ability to deliver on campaign promises, they now contemplate a slowing economic recovery and a good chance of Republican gains in November — two developments that could make enacting Obama’s agenda even more difficult.

Two recent essays framed the debate raging within the progressive community over why the promise of Obama’s candidacy has not lived up to their expectations — and how liberals should proceed in what they fear will be difficult months ahead.

In a 17,000-plus-word piece published in The Nation on Thursday, journalist Eric Alterman calls the Obama presidency “a big disappointment” for progressives and blames a broken system in Washington that he says allows the minority party to rule with impunity — and special interests and big money to dictate legislative policy.

“Face it,” he concludes, “the system is rigged, and it’s rigged against us.” His essay is subtitled: “Why a progressive presidency is impossible for now.”

But writing in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, editor Michael Tomasky counsels patience, arguing that American history has shown that change always takes time and continued effort against entrenched conservative opposition.

“The changes we want to see won’t happen in 18 months, or in two years, or four, or probably even eight,” he concludes in his article, “Against Despair.”

The essays suggest it is a time of reckoning for a liberal community whose relationship with Obama has had a series of ups and downs since the moment of hope and expectation when he claimed the presidency in Chicago’s Grant Park on Nov. 4, 2008.

“It’s not just really about Obama; it’s about the state of our country. Every day, you have a sense that people are wondering where this country is headed,” says Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation.

The elation of that night in 2008 quickly gave way to the realization that the No. 1 issue, the economy, and the ensuing fight over an $800 billion stimulus bill, would make Obama's agenda different from the one he had described in his campaign.

From the beginning, the stimulus bill was viewed as containing too many compromises in a futile attempt to garner Republican support. Economist and columnist Paul Krugman led the charge, arguing that the bill was not ambitious enough, containing too many tax cuts and not enough funding for infrastructure projects.

But the bill’s $800 billion price tag created a toxic environment for congressional Democrats when they began the long debate over health care, and many liberals viewed Obama’s compromises on the legislation as a betrayal. The low point may have been after the special election victory of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in January, when the possibility of any health care legislation seemed lost.

“It’s open season on Obama, whom so many hoped would lead us out of the neoliberal wilderness,” Firedoglake blogger Les Leopold declared not long afterward. “He once was a community organizer and ought to know how working people have suffered through a generation of tax breaks for the rich, Wall Street deregulation and unfair competition. When the economy crashed, he was in the perfect position to limit the unjustified pay levels on Wall Street.

“Instead, we got a multitrillion-dollar bailout for Wall Street, no health care reform, no serious financial reforms whatsoever, record unemployment and political gridlock that will be with us for years to come.”



Tax mad New York

And LeBron James is not the first to vote with his feet. Climate is not the only reason why the phonelines run hot between Boca Raton and NYC

A WEEK before LeBron James's announcement on ESPN that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat, the New York Post and Rush Limbaugh saw it coming -- and for reasons having nothing to do with sports.

"If LeBron James goes to the Miami Heat instead of the Knicks," the Post noted gloomily on July 1, "blame our dysfunctional lawmakers in Albany, who have saddled top-earning New Yorkers with the highest state and city income taxes in the nation, soon to be 12.85 percent on top of the IRS bite. There is no state income tax in Florida." Consequently, a five-year, $96 million contract (the estimated deal he could get in either city), would cost James $12.34 million in New York taxes, but nothing in Miami. "Quite a penalty for the privilege of working in Midtown."

On the radio that day, Limbaugh, an ex-New Yorker, amplified the point: "Here you have these poor schlubs that . . . own the Knicks and they're going to try to persuade LeBron James to move to New York to play for the Knicks and they gotta tell him, 'By the way, you're going to pay about 12 to 15, maybe $20 million more in taxes in New York than you would [in Florida].'" Limbaugh drolly asked his audience whether James should take the Knicks' offer "and pay the additional taxes to show his 'compassion,'" or sign with Miami and "use the additional money for his own economic stimulus."

Other armchair accountants raised the tax issue after James's announcement on July 8. The Miami Herald and CNBC pointed out that because Cleveland has a city income tax and Miami doesn't, even a Heat contract worth $29 million less than what the Cavs offered him would still leave James with $1 million more in take-home pay. The Wall Street Journal remarked that Cleveland should be used to high-income refugees fleeing its excessive tax rates, having seen half of its Fortune 500 companies -- and tens of thousands of taxpayers -- leave in recent years.

In sports as in most other enterprises, the more you tax something, the less of it you generally end up with it. World-class athletes are no more immune to financial incentives than world-class doctors, lawyers, or entrepreneurs.

On Monday, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the world record-holder in both the 100- and 200-meter dash, pulled out of next month's Diamond League track meet at the Crystal Palace in London. The reason: Britain's exorbitant tax laws, which would force Bolt to pay more in taxes than he would earn by winning the race. Lewis Hamilton, a British Formula One racing star, moved to Switzerland after his first season in 2007. He initially said he was seeking "to escape the public eye," commented the Wheels blog at NYTimes.com, "but there's no getting around the fact that Switzerland is also a tax haven."

The first boxing event at the new Yankee Stadium in June -- a fight between Miguel Cotti and Yuri Forman for the World Boxing Association's junior middleweight title -- attracted well over 20,000 spectators. But Yankees COO Lonn Trost conceded afterward that future fights of that caliber are unlikely, since the tax on a fighter's purse in New York is much higher for non-residents than it is elsewhere. That extinguishes any hope of a Yankee stadium superfight between champions Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. "We'd love to do [Mayweather-Pacquiao], but I believe both of them are non-residents," Trost told the New York Post, "and the tax could be as much as 13 percent on the purse, where the tax out in Vegas is zero. That's a big difference." It sure is.

Avoiding high taxes is not the only reason sports stars -- or anyone else -- move from one jurisdiction to another. Weather, family, education, love -- any of them may play a role. But it is no coincidence that far more people migrate from high-tax states (California, New York, Ohio) to low-tax states (Florida, New Hampshire, Texas) than the other way around. When tax rates bite, taxpayers and businesses are driven to escape -- or are deterred from coming in the first place. There's nothing inexplicable about the fact that people don't like paying high taxes and may change their lives to avoid them. The real mystery is why so many advocates of high taxes never seem to learn that lesson.



An interesting email from Sam Wells, one libertarian who is NOT reflexively "anti-war"

As the 2010 elections approach, the pro-Democrat Party propaganda machine is in high gear and left-wing agents of disinformation are being dispatched to confuse and mislead. Much of this activity has already been going on for years; it is just on a more intense level these days.

For example, regardless of the actual historic origins of the word "neoconservative" in America, the label "neocon" has come to be used as a smear term against conservative Jews -- i.e., those independent thinkers who have chosen to leave the Democrat Party reservation and vote Republican instead of doing what they are told to do by the old-guard left-wing leaders. According to exit polls, 77% of those who identified themselves as Jewish voted for Obama in 2008. The DNC wants to keep it that way, of course, but since Obama's election there has been an increasing wave of sentiment change within the Jewish community away from the Democrat Party and toward the Republican Party or in sympathy with the tea party activities. The label "neocon" is also used by "anti-war" posturers against anyone they perceive as disagreeing with them.

At the same time, those individualist libertarians and objectivists who have warned against the trap of ethnic identity syndrome (as exemplified by the Madoff swindle cases) are targeted by whispering campaigns as "antisemitic" or worse. Genuine self esteem comes from personal efforts toward achievement of laudable goals rather than identifying oneself with a racial collective or tribal group. It is important for libertarians and conservatives not to fall for these divisive tactics of the establishment Left.

This is certainly not to say that I agree with all those who define themselves as "neoconservatives"; not at all. I have often cautioned that many of even the true neoconservatives seem to cling to some liberal-left baggage from their pasts, especially in the area of economics or domestic policy. But I am more concerned about the possible influence of populistic ideological tangents on the pro-liberty American Right.

We need all the allies we can get, it seems to me. To the extent that the neoconservative agenda (a strong U.S. military preparedness and a pro-American foreign policy) is consistent with my own pro-freedom outlook tactically and strategically, I advocate welcoming those who are relatively new allies in the fight against leftism rather than denouncing them with smear labels borrowed from the left-wing propaganda mills.

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

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


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


14 July, 2010

The National Association for the Advancement of Coddled People

Michelle Malkin

Before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People decided to ride the anti-tea party wave back to political relevancy, its most recent activist crusade involved a silly space-themed Hallmark graduation card. Yes, the NAACP has been lost in space for quite some time now. And blaming whitey will no longer cut it.

In June, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP demanded that the greeting card be pulled because it used the term "black holes" (which the bionically equipped ears of the p.c. police insisted sounded like "black whores"). "It sounds like a group of children laughing and joking about blackness," one NAACP official complained.

It was a group of hipster cartoon characters chattering about the universe and galaxies and wide-open possibilities to new high school and college grads. Alas, this is what has become of the once-inspired drive against racial discrimination.

In just a few short decades, the stalwart strivers for equality have turned into coddled whiners for hypersensitivity. The NAACP is a laughingstock. The group no longer represents the best interests of oppressed minorities, but the thin-skinned whims of the black elite and the ravenous appetite of the Nanny State. Establishment civil rights leaders now use their once-compelling moral authority to hector, bully and shake down corporate and political targets.

As Ward Connerly, the truly maverick opponent of government racial preferences who is black, wrote recently, "the NAACP is not so much a civil-rights organization as it is a trade association with clear links to the Democratic Party, despite the claim of its chairman that 'the NAACP has always been non-partisan.' Such a statement doesn't pass the giggle test. The NAACP uses the plight of poor black people as a fig leaf to hide its true agenda of promoting policies that benefit their dues-paying members, not black people in general or poor black people in particular."

To compensate for squandering the proud history of the civil rights organization on innocent greeting cards, NAACP leaders introduced a much-hyped resolution at their annual convention this week attacking the nation's biggest racial bogeyman: the tea party movement. It's a tried and true tactic of worn-out grievance-mongers: When you can't find evil enough enemies to blame for your problems, manufacture them. (Just ask hate crimes huckster Al Sharpton.) This is why one of the most popular signs spotted at tea party protests across the country remains the one that reads: "It doesn't matter what this sign says. You'll call it racism, anyway!"

The NAACP resolution calls on its chapters across the country to "repudiate the racism of the Tea Parties" and stand against the movement's attempt to "push our country back to the pre-civil rights era." Yet, it's the NAACP that lobbied the Obama White House to dismiss voter intimidation charges against the thugs of the New Black Panther Party, according to Justice Department whistleblower J. Christian Adams. It's the NAACP that opposes the 21st century school choice movement to free poor minority students from rotten government schools, as black parents in Washington, D.C., have suffered firsthand. It's the NAACP that elevates "diversity" above academic rigor as its primary education goal. And it's the NAACP that backs retrograde, race-based set-asides and classifications that encourage cronyism of color championed by their water-carriers at the Congressional Black Caucus.

And it's the NAACP that tolerates racist sneers and smears like those leveled by the St. Louis NAACP chapter against black limited-government activist Kenneth Gladney, who was derided by civil rights leaders as an "Uncle Tom" after he was beaten bloody by Service Employees International Union henchmen last summer.

Addressing the convention on Monday, first lady Michelle Obama urged NAACP mau-mau-ers to "increase" their "intensity." She's a pro at employing intense accusations of racial oppression as a defense against criticism and milking the victim-ocracy for all its worth.

At Princeton, she complained about "further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant." But rather than remaining "on the periphery," Mrs. Obama climbed the crooked Chicago ladder on a rapid ascent to the top. She hopped from Princeton to Harvard to prestigious law firms, cushy nonprofit gigs and an exclusive Hyde Park manse, before landing in the East Wing with the greatest of ease.

Question the timing of the tea party-demonizing resolution? You bet. The NAACP's man at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. finds himself radically out of step with the American mainstream in the lead-up to the 2010 midterms. He sent his wife to the convention to re-establish White House racial authenticity at a time when increasing numbers of minorities are now as fed up with massive debt, usurpation of individual liberties, corruption in Washington and chaos on the border as everyone else.

It's a black hole bonanza. Cue the distraction: RAAAACIST!



Prosperity Requires Humility

In August of 2005, Houston investment banker Matt Simmons predicted in a New York Times feature article that the price of oil, then $65/barrel, would soar.

Simmons, who had written a book arguing that the world is running out of oil, was predicting oil prices “in the high triple digits.”

After reading Simmons’ prediction, John Tierney, a libertarian, who was then an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, telephoned Simmons and called him on it. He asked him if he’d be willing to put money on his prediction.

The two made a $10,000 bet. If the average oil price five years hence in 2010, adjusted for inflation, exceeded $200, Simmons would win. If not, Tierney would pocket the ten grand.

We’re now into the second half of 2010, and the average oil price, in 2005 dollars, is $70. Unless there is a remarkable explosion in the oil price for the remainder of 2010, driving it well above $300, Matt Simmons loses this bet. It was not even close.

The point here is to try and learn something from this that is relevant to what is going on today.

Simmons is an energy specialist. The company he founded advertises itself as “the only investment bank specializing in the entire spectrum of energy.”

It’s reasonable to assume that he knows a zillion times more about exploring for and producing oil than John Tierney. But Tierney didn’t make the bet because he felt he knew more about drilling for oil. He made the bet because he knows something about markets and change.

If markets are relatively free to adjust, it just doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much you know about a particular commodity or business, you are not going to know what the world is going to look like in five years. Chances are, you are not going to know what it is going to look like in a year.

Now suppose Matt Simmons, instead of being a private businessman making bets on his convictions was, instead, a government official setting policy.

This is what we’ve got today. Pinheads with power who think they know the last detail of how the world works and what it is going to look like, not just over the next couple years – but years down the road.

For them tomorrow is simply a repeat of yesterday. The idea that life is about surprises and the unknown – that what we know is a small splotch compared to what we don’t know – takes humility. And humility is the last thing on the radar screen of power brokers who feel they know so much that they are comfortable planning and taking over the lives of their fellow citizens.

Doomsday scenarios dominated thinking about energy in the 1970’s. It led to major government interference in these markets that just made things worse.

Reagan became president in 1981, cut taxes, cut spending, and decontrolled oil prices. Within a couple years, oil prices dropped to a third of where they were, and stayed there for 15 years.

When I worked on welfare reform, doomsday sayers claimed that getting rid of perpetual government welfare would throw poor people into the street. No one wound up in the street, and many got off welfare, found work, and built new lives.

The biggest problems our country has today relate to government planning gone awry. The huge solvency problems we have with Social Security and Medicare all relate to assumptions these government planned systems were built on that turned out to be false.

Now we have only to watch and wait as the disaster that will follow our new government takeover of our heath care unfolds. Every opportunity for new, creative solutions that would emerge from a free market has been squashed. The bureaucrats now reign.

Freedom is about humility not hubris. Our nation’s current problems reflect the latter. Our only hope for renewed bounty and prosperity is to restore the former.



Attacks on Freedom

John Stossel

Something's happened to America, and it isn't good. It's become easier to get into trouble. We've become a nation of a million rules. Not the kind of bottom-up rules that people generate through voluntary associations. Those are fine. I mean imposed, top-down rules formed in the brains of meddling bureaucrats who think they know better than we how to manage our lives.

The National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) received an anonymous fax that a seafood shipment to Alabama from David McNab contained "undersized lobster tails" and was improperly packed in clear plastic bags, rather than the cardboard boxes allegedly required under Honduran law. When the $4 million shipment arrived, NMFS agents seized it. McNab served eight years in prison, even though the Honduran government informed the court that the regulation requiring cardboard boxes had been repealed.

How about this one? Four kindergartners -- yes, 5-year-old boys -- played cops and robbers at Wilson Elementary in New Jersey. One yelled: "Boom! I have a bazooka, and I want to shoot you." He did not, of course, have a bazooka. Nevertheless, all four boys were suspended from school for three days for "making threats," a violation of their school district's zero-tolerance policy. School Principal Georgia Baumann said, "We cannot take any of these statements in a light manner." District Superintendent William Bauer said: "This is a no-tolerance policy. We're very firm on weapons and threats."

Give me a break. These are just some of the stories featured in a new book, "One Nation Under Arrest". I'll discuss more on my Fox Business show Thursday night.

Here's another: Ansche Hedgepeth, 12, committed this heinous crime: She left school in Washington, D.C., entered a Metrorail station to head home and ate a French fry. An undercover officer arrested her, confiscating her jacket, backpack and shoelaces. She was handcuffed and taken to the Juvenile Processing Center. Only after three hours in custody was the 12-year-old released into her mother's custody. The chief of Metro Transit Police said: "We really do believe in zero-tolerance. Anyone taken into custody has to be handcuffed for officer safety." She was sentenced to community service and now carries an arrest record. Washington's Metro has since rescinded its zero-tolerance policy.

Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis, had the temerity to read "Notre Dame Versus the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan" during breaks on the job. One student complained because the book's cover depicted the Klan. The university then found Sampson guilty of racial harassment! Thankfully, a great organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), came to his defense and got his school record cleared.

Palo Alto, Calif., ordered Kay Leibrand, a grandmother, to lower her carefully trimmed hedges. Leibrand argued that no one's vision was obstructed and asked the code officer to take a look. He refused. Then the city dispatched two police officers. They arrested her, loaded her into a patrol car in front of her neighbors and hauled her down to the station.

In 2001, honor student Lindsay Brown parked her car in the wrong spot at her high school. A county police officer looked inside and saw a kitchen knife -- a butter knife with a rounded tip. Because Lindsay was on school property, she had violated the zero-tolerance policy for knives. She was arrested, handcuffed and hauled off to county jail where she spent nine hours on a felony weapons possession charge. School Principal Fred Bode told a local paper, "A weapon is a weapon."

Congress creates, on average, one new crime every week. Federal agencies create thousands more -- so many, in fact that the Congressional Research Service itself said that merely counting them would be impossible.

This is a bad trend. As Lao Tsu said, "The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be."




Democrats losing Wall Street fat cat support? "At some point when your enemy continues to bash you and hurt you and cost you money, you reach the point of ‘Enough’s enough!’ It seems the power brokers on Wall Street are getting the message. Democrats aren’t their friends. … There’s a fine line here that Democrats in their hubris clearly have crossed. Wall Street, like business interests and taxpayers and any other segement of the population, can be bullied and mollified — to a point. At some point the pain inflicted exceeds the bones thrown to appease, such as cutting special tax deals for segments of the larger group, or handing out stacks of other taxpayers’ money. At some point the pain is plainly more than any perceived benefit.”

American sclerosis: "On Stuart Varney’s FBN program this morning, they debated whether the financial ‘reform’ bill will kill job creation. I can’t see how a two-thousand plus-page law ever avoids doing that. Politicians, many of whom are lawyers, share the conceit that they can manage life with paper and procedure. They don’t understand that just the quantity of their rules cause entrepreneurs to simply say: ‘I won’t even try.’ Why did German and Japan thrive after WWII? Because American bombs destroyed years of accumulated bureaucracy. Well, that’s probably one big reason. Their new governments started from scratch. With fewer rules, German and Japan prospered. America now moves in the opposite direction.”

Increasingly unpopular airport body scanners may offer false security: "USA Today documents the growing resistance to the use of body scanners at airports — a resistance that’s particularly marked in Europe. Complaints about the devices include the expected concerns about privacy, long lines, expense and potential health concerns from even the relatively low levels of radiation emitted by the machines. It should be noted in addition, however, that body scanners aren’t some kind of proven, super-secure technology that offers us a choice between guaranteed safety and keeping our naughty bits under cover. In fact, the machines may offer a false sense of security.”

Live Aid: 25 years later: "It’s been a quarter-century since the dream of Band-Aid, USA For Africa, Live Aid, and other celebrity-studded charitable means to stop the famine in Africa generally and Ethiopia particularly. But one wonders how one should send relief in an area where famine was caused in part by civil war? The relief aid would become just another target of the warring factions. Since then, little has changed on the continent.”

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

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


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


13 July, 2010

The End of Britain as We Know It

The article below has considerable logic to it but reality can be peskily complex. Australia has had the voting system proposed for Britain for around a century now and is one of the most stable, conservative and prosperous countries in the world. It was also one of the few countries that was virtually unaffected by the global financial crisis. How about that?

Additionally it is far from a done deal that the new voting system for Britain will be approved at the proposed referendum. Britain has few referenda but Australia has had rather a lot -- and they have mostly been lost (i.e. got a majority "no" vote)

And the agreement to hold elections at strict 5 year intervals is only an agreement of the moment. It is nothing like America's 4 year constitutional requirement for Presidential elections. It can be overturned at any time by the British parliament and there are already rumbles of dissatisfaction over it. Few observers think it will outlast the present coalition government and it may not even last that long -- JR

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

The United Kingdom, the mother of all democracies, is about to change its political system in fundamental ways -- changes that will spell disaster for the nation and for its politics. For those who love Britain, the news of these impending alterations can only cause angst and distress.

As a result of the inability of either the Conservatives or Labor to win a majority in Parliament in the recent elections, both parties had to bid for support from the Liberal/Social Democratic Party. The price the Conservatives ultimately paid was to agree to some of these changes and to refer others to the electorate for a referendum.

The changes that the parties have agreed to will transform the British government from a decisive decision-making machine into a morass of compromise, half-measures and deadlock. Gridlock will be exported across the ocean to the United Kingdom.

Right now, the prime minister can dissolve Parliament anytime he wants, forcing new elections. He is also obliged to order new elections if he loses a vote of confidence. This power holds the members of his parliamentary majority in check and restrains them from turning on their leaders since, should they succeed in a vote of no confidence, it would plunge them into the uncertainty of a new election, which would imperil their own seats.

The new rules would bar the prime minister from dissolving Parliament during its five-year term and vest that right in a two-thirds majority of parliament. In other words, Parliament would have to vote itself out of office -- something likely never to happen.

So, under the new rules, if a government loses a vote over a major legislative item -- or fails to survive a no-confidence motion -- it must resign, but there need not be new elections. Instead, Parliament can refuse to order new elections and just re-form a new government out of the old Parliament.

The effect of this rule change is likely to be that governments will rise and fall all the time since they may do so without forcing members to face new elections. Like in Italy, the new governments will just be formed by reshuffling the current parliamentary deck into new combinations and coalitions.

Whereas now, if a government falls, there is an election to decide the issue, under the new procedure, the deadlock could just go on and on without resolution.

More dangerous is the proposed new voting system that must be approved by a popular referendum. Rather than vote for one candidate for Parliament in each district, voters will be obliged to rank the candidates in their order of preference. If nobody gets a majority of first-place rankings, the candidate with the least votes drops off and his second place votes are distributed among the other remaining candidates. The Liberal/Social Democrats are pushing this change in the hopes that there may never again be a parliamentary majority for the Conservatives or Labor and that they will always hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.

And they are likely to achieve their objective if the new voting system passes. Most districts in the United Kingdom, as in the U.S., tend either to the left or to the right.

In a leftist district, for example, the Labor Party usually finishes first, the Liberal/Social Democrats second and the Conservatives third. If the Labor candidate did not win a majority of first place votes on Election Day -- and they frequently don't -- the Conservative candidate will drop off and his second-place votes will determine the winner. But what Conservative voter is going to name Labor as his second choice in the polarized politics of the U.K.? Most will name the Liberal/Social Dems as their second choice, and that candidate will win the seat. In right-wing districts, the same process will happen in reverse, again to the benefit of the Liberal/Social Dems.

That means more hung parliaments, less decisive election results and more mush compromise. Together, these changes will tend to paralyze the British government, substituting muddled, mushy compromise for decisive and bold action. We will miss the old United Kingdom.



Should the U.S. Adopt Compulsory Voting?

The Author below obviously knows the Australian electoral system better than the authors above. And I agree with her. The Australian system of COMPULSORY voting would be a disaster in the USA. The conventional wisdom in Australia is that politically indifferent people who are forced to vote distribute their votes randomly so compulsion has no systematic ideological effect.

America is different, however, Blacks and Hispanics at present have very low rates of turnout and forcing them to the polls WOULD have a systematic effect. It would ensure permanent Democrat majorities

There are no similar large and disgruntled minorities in Australia -- JR

By Debra J. Saunders

California GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman has been taking a lot of heat for her voting record. Or non-voting record. The former eBay CEO didn't register to vote in California until 2002. She failed to vote in the 2003 recall election. She didn't register as a Republican until 2007.

Too bad Whitman didn't spend her business-big-shot years Down Under. In Australia, it's against the law for citizens age 18 or older not to vote.

Ask Aussies about the system and they generally support it. The Australian government passed mandatory voting in federal elections after voter participation slipped to 59 percent in 1922 from an earlier high of 71 percent. In recent years, about 95 percent of Australian citizens have voted.

Besides, some Australians will note, it is not a crime to fail to vote if you are not registered. For the vast majority of those who are enrolled but do not vote, it also is easy to get out of the fine -- about $20 for a first offense -- by citing illness or another extenuating circumstance.

Then there's the phenomenon known as "donkey voting" -- or just randomly ticking off names on the ballot. Call it a protest, call it lazy. The outcome is the same.

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow William Galston has proposed that America adopt the same system to increase voter participation. In the 2008 presidential election, 61.7 percent of eligible Americans voted, according to George Mason University.

I object. For one thing, Washington should not coerce citizens by making them vote. In a free country, those who do not wish to vote should be free to abstain. For another, if people are so ill informed as to believe their votes have no import, well, they're probably right.

And while there is no proving that higher turnout means more left-leaning votes, political scientists of both stripes tend to believe that mandatory voting delivers more votes to the left than to the right. Again, quantity does not mean quality.

Even in Australia, even with compulsory voting, however, high-profile, big-money candidates with poor voting records can prevail. Peter Garrett -- you know, the tall bald singer from the rock band Midnight Oil -- ran for office in 2004. At the time, he was forced to admit that for all his politically correct lectures and exhortations for political activism, he himself had not been on the federal election rolls for 10 years.

At the time, conservative Treasurer Peter Costello told the Herald Sun of Melbourne, "If you haven't been interested enough to have registered and voted in elections, it's a bit rich to ask other people to vote for you." And: "It's like the pope saying he hadn't been to church for 10 years."

Today, Garrett is the Labor Party's minister for the environment. In both hemispheres, apparently, rich and famous count for something.



Signs of the Times

Thomas Sowell

If you could spend vast amounts of other people's money just by saying a few magic words, wouldn't you be tempted to do it? Barack Obama has spent hundreds of billions of dollars of the taxpayers' money just by using the magic words "stimulus" and "jobs."

It doesn't matter politically that the stimulus is not actually stimulating and that the unemployment rate remains up near double-digit levels, despite all the spending and all the rhetoric about jobs. And of course nothing negative will ever matter to those who are part of the Obama cult, including many in the media.

But, for the rest of us, there is a lot to think about in the economic disaster that we are in.

Not only has all the runaway spending and rapid escalation of the deficit to record levels failed to make any real headway in reducing unemployment, all this money pumped into the economy has also failed to produce inflation. The latter is a good thing in itself but its implications are sobering.

How can you pour trillions of dollars into the economy and not even see the price level go up significantly? Economists have long known that it is not just the amount of money, but also the speed with which it circulates, that affects the price level.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported that the velocity of circulation of money in the American economy has plummeted to its lowest level in half a century. Money that people don't spend does not cause inflation. It also does not stimulate the economy.

The current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek has a feature article about businesses that are just holding on to huge sums of money. They say, for example, that the pharmaceutical company Pfizer is holding on to $26 billion. If so, there should not be any great mystery as to why they don't invest it.

With the Obama administration being on an anti-business kick, boasting of putting their foot on some business' neck, and the president talking about putting his foot on another part of the anatomy, with Congress coming up with more and more red tape, more mandates and more heavy-handed interventions in businesses, would you risk $26 billion that you might not even be able to get back, much less make any money on the deal?

Pfizer is not unique. Banks have cut back on lending, despite all the billions of dollars that were dumped into them in the name of "stimulus." Consumers have also cut back on spending.

For the first time, more gold is being bought as an investment to be held as a hedge against a currently non-existent inflation than is being bought by the makers of jewelry. There may not be any inflation now, but eventually that money is going to start moving, and so will the price level.

Despite a big decline in the amount of gold used to make jewelry, the demand for gold as an investment has risen so steeply as to more than make up for the reduced demand for gold jewelry, and has in fact pushed the price of gold to record high levels.

What does all this say? That people don't know what to expect next from this administration, which seldom lets a month go by without some new anti-business laws, policies or rhetoric.

When you hire somebody in this environment, you know what you have agreed to pay them and what additional costs there may be for their health insurance or other benefits. But you have no way of knowing what additional costs the politicians in Washington are going to impose, when they are constantly coming up with new bright ideas for imposing more mandates on business.

One of the little noticed signs of what is going on has been the increase in the employment of temporary workers. Businesses have been increasingly meeting their need for labor by hiring temporary workers and working their existing employees overtime, instead of hiring new people.

Why? Because temporary workers usually don't get health insurance or other benefits, and working existing employees overtime doesn't add to the cost of their benefits.

There is no free lunch-- and the biggest price of all is paid by people who are unemployed because politicians cannot leave the economy alone to recover, as the American economy has repeatedly recovered faster when left alone than when politicians decided that they have to "do something."


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

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


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


12 July, 2010

A lawless Federal government

Voting Section Told Not To Enforce Purging the Dead or Ineligible from Voting Rolls -- an open invitation to voting corruption, long a Democrat specialty

by J. Christian Adams

I was at the Voting Section of the Justice Department for over five years. This office is responsible for enforcing most federal election laws which do not involve criminal matters. My previous articles at Pajamas Media have spoken of the DOJ’s lawless abandonment of race-neutral enforcement of voting laws, and other outrageous conduct. I will continue to publish here at Pajamas Media more instances of failure to enforce the law equally by the Department.

One such instance relates to the Motor Voter law, and will shock Americans who care about integrity in the electoral process.

The “Motor Voter” law was passed in 1993 to promote greater voter registration in the United States. It did this — most Americans now know from visits to the DMV — by requiring states to offer voter registration materials whenever someone had contact with a variety of state offices. These included welfare offices, social service agencies, and motor vehicle departments.

A lesser-known provision also obliged the states to ensure that no ineligible voters were on the rolls — including dead people, felons, and people who had moved. Our current Department of Justice is anxious to encourage the obligations to get everyone registered, but explicitly unwilling to enforce federal law requiring states to remove the dead or ineligible from the rolls.

In November 2009, the entire Voting Section was invited to a meeting with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes, a political employee serving at the pleasure of the attorney general. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Motor Voter enforcement decisions.

The room was packed with dozens of Voting Section employees when she made her announcement regarding the provisions related to voter list integrity: "We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it."

Jaws dropped around the room. It is one thing to silently adopt a lawless policy of refusing to enforce a provision of federal law designed to bring integrity to elections. It is quite another to announce the lawlessness to a room full of people who have sworn an oath to fairly enforce the law.

Worse yet, it is a broken campaign promise by Barack Obama, and I’m sure he would not be happy to have heard the announcement. After all, his Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez has been traveling around the country bashing the Bush-era Department of Justice. Perez says as often as he can: "Those who had been entrusted with the keys to the division treated it like a buffet line at the cafeteria, cherry-picking which laws to enforce."

Yet at this meeting, Ms. Fernandes openly relished her time at the buffet line in the Voting Section cafeteria.

The problem with this sort of lawlessness, apart from the fact that it is becoming a trend in this administration, is that it nullifies the important compromise that Congress reached in 1993. Greater access to registration came by turning welfare agencies into voter registration offices, but the law also included provisions to ensure greater integrity. It is a dangerous development for our electoral system when one part of that compromise is tossed overboard by a bureaucrat.

It will be impossible for this purportedly transparent administration to deny this direction was given. There were dozens of good people in the room that I know care more about the truth than about saving Ms. Fernandes’ career.

Plus, the cases the Justice Department has brought — or not brought — corroborate the account: the Department has not filed a single case under the Motor Voter provision where there are problems.

Are there problems with list integrity? Yes, but that’s a story for another article. Even worse than not bringing cases, the Holder Justice Department has dismissed a case against Missouri that the previous administration had started. In many places in Missouri, there are more voters than humans with a heartbeat old enough to vote. Instead of fully litigating the case to a favorable outcome, the DOJ made it go away, nicely, quietly, completely. Sound familiar?



Republicans could win control of Congress, White House admits for first time

The White House has admitted for the first time that Republicans could win control of the House of Representatives in crucial elections in November. Robert Gibbs, the president's spokesman, acknowledged that deep frustration with the economy could see the Democrats' 75-seat majority in the lower chamber wiped out.

"There is no doubt there are enough seats at play that could cause Republicans to gain control, there is no doubt about that," Mr Gibbs told NBC's "Meet the Press".

All 435 seats in the House are up for grabs in the Nov 2 election as well as 36 of the 100 seats in the Senate, which the Democrats expect to hold.

The party is considered particularly vulnerable in southern and midwestern states, districts that turned Democratic in the latter years of the Bush administration. A consensus has emerged among Washington observers that the House would be lost or the ruling party's majority reduced to a handful of seats.

Such outcomes would make it difficult for President Barack Obama to push through his agenda, which is likely to include major reform of energy and immigration. It would not augur well for his re-election bid in 2012.

In the past week Mr Obama has set out his policy for the midterm vote, trying to convince impatient Americans that his economic policies are working and that improvements will take time.

"We understand people are frustrated, everybody is frustrated," Mr Gibbs said. "The president is frustrated that we haven't seen greater recovery efforts, but that doesn't stop us from doing what we know is right."

Rehearsing a line of attack that Democrats are likely to use ad infinitum, he said Americans should beware of "handing back the keys" to Republicans who had "driven the car into the ditch" when the economy crashed in late 2008.

He followed the president's lead in mocking Republican House of Representatives leader John Boehner, who criticised measures Mr Obama used to rescue the crisis-riddled economy as tantamount to using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant.

A recent Gallup poll released showed that 38 per cent of independent voters approve of the job Mr Obama is doing, compared with 81 per cent of Democratic voters and only 12 per cent of Republicans. Mr Obama's overall approval rating is 46 per cent. A year ago, his approval rating among independents was 56 per cent.

Democrats are trusting that Republicans are likely to come in for tougher scrutiny from voters in November, particularly over their record on the economy and almost total opposition to efforts by Mr Obama and the Democrats to improve it.

David Axelrod, a senior White House advisor, said: "On the other side of the ballot in November will be a party that has an economic theory, and it was tested, and it led to catastrophe.

"We lost three million jobs in the last six months of 2008. The financial market almost collapsed. They turned a $237 billion that Bill Clinton left into a $1.3 trillion dollar deficit. And they're running on the same policies."




The economy sure is getting Obama panicked: "President Obama, who vowed in his State of the Union address to double American exports over the next five years, said on Wednesday that he would renew his efforts to renegotiate long-stalled free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia and persuade Congress to adopt them. The two trade pacts, and a third one with South Korea, were negotiated by the administration of former President George W. Bush, but all three have languished in Congress because of deep opposition from Democrats. Mr. Obama said in Toronto last month that he intended to make a new push for the South Korean agreement, and on Wednesday he pledged to press ahead with the two Latin American pacts as well."

Obama Economy Sends Americans to Their Mattresses: "Government policies designed to stimulate the economy seem to be having the opposite effect. Consumers aren't buying, businesses aren't hiring, and those fortunate enough to have some cash on hand don't seem to be investing. I call it the mattress economy. People seem to be following this investment strategy. Step one: Go to Mattress Discounters and buy the biggest mattress you can find. Step two: Take it home, and stuff all your money in it. Step three: Lie down, and get some rest. This hurts the economy, but it's a rational response to the Obama Democrats' public policies.

Chinese credit firm says US worse risk than China: "A Chinese firm that aims to compete with Western rating agencies declared Washington a worse credit risk than Beijing in its first report on Government debt yesterday amid efforts by China to boost its influence in global markets. Dagong International Credit Rating Co's verdict was a break with Moody's, Standard & Poors and Fitch, which say US government debt is the world's safest. Dagong said it rated Washington below China and 11 other countries such as Switzerland and Australia due to high debt and slow growth. The report comes amid complaints by Beijing that Western rating agencies fail to give China full credit for its economic strength, boosting borrowing costs - a criticism echoed by some foreign analysts."

Outlawing pet sales or outlawing pets?: "The nanny statists not only want to to take care of you, they want to make sure every hamster in the world gets fair treatment. Supposedly, that’s why they proposed a ban on pet sales in San Francisco, which fortunately was voted down last night. Proponents say too many people make impulse decisions when they buy pets and, therefore, all pet sales should be illegal.”

One job forward, two jobs back: "The Great Obamanomic Job Creation Machine rumbled into action again over the Fourth of July weekend, promising to spend as much as $2 billion to support creation of 1,585 ‘permanent’ jobs by two solar energy companies. That comes to a potential cost of over $1.25 million per job. In his weekly radio address on July 3, President Obama chided the Republicans for failing to climb aboard his job-creation bandwagon, which he claims — against strong evidence to the contrary — has created or saved 2.8 million jobs over the past year. And he isn’t finished.”

Moratorium on offshore deepwater oil drilling wrong move
: "Not only does the president’s moratorium on deepwater drilling fail to stop the oil leak, it costs jobs on the offshore rigs that he has shut down; reduces the amount of crude oil available for refining into gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil; and penalizes BP’s competitors, who have been pumping oil from offshore wells responsibly for decades. Until BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, no oil had been spilled as a result of offshore drilling in U.S. waters since an accident off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969. Without energy production from deepwater areas, a vital source of jobs and tax revenue will be lost. And if offshore rigs remain idle for long, the Gulf’s economy will wither.”

Bad news for Obama: Conservative Justice Kennedy tells pals he's in no rush to leave Supreme Court: "President Obama may get liberal Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, but conservative swing-voter Anthony Kennedy says he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Justice Kennedy, who turns 74 this month, has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years - through the end of Obama's first term, sources said. That means Kennedy will be around to provide a fifth vote for the court's conservative bloc through the 2012 presidential election. If Obama loses, Kennedy could retire and expect a Republican President to choose a conservative justice. Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been on the court 22 years. He has become a bit of a political nemesis at the White House for his increasing tendency to side with the court's four rock-ribbed conservative justices.

Church of England rejects women bishop plan: "The Church of England was in turmoil after plans by its top leaders designed to avoid a split over allowing women bishops were voted down. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the world's Anglicans, and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, his number two in the Church of England, had put forward safeguards for objectors. They received the backing of a majority of the houses of bishops and laity of the General Synod. But the concessions did not win a majority of the House of Clergy, meaning that the proposals were lost. Anglo-Catholic objectors have warned that if their demands are not met, then "large numbers" of clergy and lay people could leave for the Roman Catholic Church under an offer for disaffected Anglicans made by Pope Benedict XVI." [This just shows how isolated from lay people the bishops are]

Why we should have a paid market in kidney transplants: "Less death, better health and all for less money, what could possibly be wrong with this idea? Well, other than the fact that the Great and the Good in our own dear Blighty seem infected with the idea that money, lucre, is just so icky and shouldn’t be used to solve some problems.”

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

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

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


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


11 July, 2010

About Jon Jay

I have recently received some egregiously abusive email from a conservative blogger with a name rather similar to my most customary username: jonjayray. Even though I am an atheist, I have however always found Christian ethics to be the best guide to life so I am going to demonstrate Christian forgiveness by linking to his site.

He appears to be an elderly but very aggressive former military man who writes in a rather long-winded way and who is much seized by the threat of Islam. I have seen no unusual insights on his blog but from what I can make out, he appears to think that because fundamentalist Muslims have declared war on us then we should in some way take the war to them. I rather thought that George Bush did that but maybe I have missed something.

Anyway he seems much peeved that this "insight" of his has not been enthusiastically embraced by other conservative bloggers and so sent many of us a very condescending and abusive email over our perceived failings in the matter. Rather ludicrously, he even sent his screed to Dymphna of Gates of Vienna, possibly the most anti-Islamic blog in the blogosphere. She replied in rather kinder tones than Mr Jay deserved and I chipped in a few comments too. As a former military man myself who regularly blogs about the Islamic menace (See POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH), I felt that I was undeserving of his condemnation.

Anyway, some readers may find his thoughts useful. I hope so.


Why the silent treatment?

As Scott points out in the post immediately below, the news that President Obama tasked NASA head Bolden, as perhaps his foremost mission, with raising Muslim self-esteem is entirely absent from the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as the nightly newscasts of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Why? Bill Otis argues, persuasively I think, that it's because this news is potentially devastating to Obama:
The reason the MSM has the lid on NASA's new "mission" to snuggle up to Islam (in between decapitations and floggings) is that it would be devastating to Obama if it became known. On the surface, the new NASA "mission" seems merely screwball, and thus a small story. But I think it's a good deal more than that. It shows that Obama's thinking is unrecognizable to the average person. It also shows that he's unserious -- frivolous, really -- about something that made a generation of Baby Boomers take pride in their country. How many millions of people sat in their junior high auditoriums and watched the Alan Shepherd and John Glenn launches? How many millions more were up at midnight on July 20, 1969 to watch the first human being, an American, put his foot on the moon?

When the domestic roots of skepticism about America (and sometimes flat-out anti-Americanism) were being laid -- in the 60's assassinations, the Vietnam War, and the exposure of the country's treatment of blacks -- the one thing in which we all took pride was the space program. So for Obama, it's now one thing that needs to be perverted. Making it a dumbed-down PR front for Islam is, in its way, a genius move for this purpose. But as the MSM recognizes by its silence, it's a bridge too far.

A lot of people out there haven't heard of "American exceptionalism," or, if they have, aren't too sure of what it means. But they have a good intuition for it: It is, among other things, but quite importantly, the excitement and pride they felt when America did something the human race had wanted to do since it looked up at the night sky. Space exploration took on added luster for our generation because it was so in keeping with the natural optimism, bravado and energy of our youth.

Under Obama, NASA has ended plans to go back to the moon, or go to Mars (something also underreported). Budgets are tight, you know. Time to hunker down and lower our sights. But we can do Muslim outreach.

This is a window on the kind of thinking Obama does. Were it widely known, it would be devastating: We will put away what has made the country a beacon, and act like the small, repentant ex-bully Obama takes us to be. Thus the rockets get mothballed as The Great Satan starts to make amends by printing comic books celebrating Arab contributions to trigonomety 4000 years ago, or whatever it was.

"You'll be able to keep your own insurance" was the most important political lie of the last year. But NASA's new mission is the most revealing truth. The MSM understands this, which is why it's been so resolute in keeping it out of sight.



Fear: The real motivator behind the nanny state

In an article that really ought to be online but instead is consigned solely behind a paywall and to its print edition, National Review’s Kevin Williamson makes a point that ought to be made more often: for all that lefties love to talk about “fear-mongering” allegedly done by the right on foreign policy, when it comes to domestic policy, they really ought to look in the mirror.

Instead of being the side of optimism and reason, nanny-state advocates are actually trying to institutionalize their own personal fears about other members of society. Williamson begins with a quote from a blog post from the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reacting to recent Supreme Court rulings expanding the ability of people to own and possess guns:
My biggest worry with Monday’s Supreme Court decision is that by ruling, in effect, that every American can apply for a gun license, the justices will make gun ownership much more pervasive in a society that already has too many guns. After all, if I know that my neighbor is armed and preparing for Armageddon situations where law and order break down (as so many are–just read the right-wing blogs) then I have to think about protecting my family, too. That’s the state-of-nature, everyone for himself logic that prevails in places such as Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Williamson then begins the slicing and dicing:
Mr Ignatius here is remarkably forthcoming: He is not worried about guns in the hands of criminals but about guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, people who are willing to apply for a permit and jump through the bureaucratic hoops required of gun buyers. His nightmare is not an America in which criminals run amok with Glocks, or even an America in which gun permits are handed out liberally, but an America in which “every American can apply for a gun license.” Nevermind the approval of licenses, the mere application gives Mr. Ignatius the howling fantods. It is wonderfully apt that he references the “state of nature” in his criticism, imagining a Hobbesian version of life in these United States: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, permeated by the aroma of cordite. Mr. Ignatius, like Thomas Hobbes, is casting his lot with Leviathan and makes no apology for it.

That is the essence of 21st-century progressivism: In matters ranging from financial derivatives to education to gun control, the Left believes that we face a choice between a masterful state and a Hobbesian war of all against all. For all of the smart set’s vaunted and self-congratulatory nuance, it is this absolutist vision, this Manichean horror, that forms the foundation of progressivism.

This, and not the threat of uncontrollable crime, is really at the hear of the suburban progressives’ abomination of firearms. [...] To use lethal force in self-defense is the ultimate declaration of independence, a kind of momentary secession from the authority of the government whose laws and prisons and police officers have, in that moment, failed the citizen. To acknowledge the right to self-defense–and the concomitant right to be forearmed against aggressors–is to acknowledge that some things are outside the state and its authority, or at least that some moments are outside the state and its authority.

The horror that progressives feel for gun owners is in many ways like the horror they feel for homeschoolers [...] Just as state schooling is not about education, but about the state, gun control is not about guns: It’s about control. A citizen who can fend for himself when the predators come or the schools fail is less inclined to look to the state for sustenance and oversight in other areas of life. To progressives, that’s an invitation to anarchy.



What If Glenn Beck Said, 'I Hate Every Last Iota of a N-----! Kill Their Babies!'

Some details of what Obama is protecting

This past week more unbelievable video of the dude the DOJ’s Eric “Let’s-Cut-Terrorists-N-Racists-Some-Slack” Holder found no guilt with in the Philly voter intimidation case made its way to YouTube for the whole world to see just how insane this black dude truly is. For those who haven’t seen the vid yet, let me give you some nuggets from this New Black Panther’s noggin.

One “King” Samir Shabaz, who looks like Milli Vanilli’s angry and petite brother, head of the Philadelphia branch of the New Black Panther Party, the dude Holder dropped an open-and-shut case on, was caught on film telling us how he really feels about “white crackers” and blacks who date or marry “white cracker whores,” which I guess would include President Obama because he is “half cracker,” as Shazam (or whatever his name is) would say, seeing that Barack’s mom was Caucasian.

Anyway, Shabaz went on the record saying that he hates “every last iota of a cracker.” Honestly, when he said that I didn’t know what he was talking about. Is he talking about Saltines or Ritz or Wheat Thins? Was it one particular cracker or all the thin-toasted biscuits that he abhors? And what would make a man hate these snacks so much? I was in a quandary about his bellicosity to crispy, skinny biscuits until I saw the entire video invective.

Apparently, white people are called “crackers” by the blacks who hate them; Shabaz said, “I hate white people. Every last iota of a cracker. I hate him.” Given the context, it is easy to see that “cracker” equals white devils, and he hates “every last iota of (them).”

Now for those of you who might be laughing hysterically at King Samir’s syntax, I wouldn’t judge him too harshly because even though he might not be that good with grammar, he might be off the chain in regard to math which could qualify him to be a player in Obama’s new NASA initiative. Ya neva know.

After the bubble-off-level Shabaz blasted his hatred for crackers, he then went full retard and began to scream at blacks on the street who were trying desperately to ignore him. He was yelling that if they truly wanted to be “free” they would have to “kill some crackers.” And not just some adult crackers, oh no! He also suggested that black people kill white baby crackers (I guess you would call them “croutons”) to be free. My question, Shamwow, is … free from what? Freedom?

There’s no way in hades Beck, or you, or I could say that stupid crap and walk away from it without a 5-10 sentence. The hate crime cops would be all over us—and justly so. But it appears that blacks can get away with it when it is directed at white devils while BHO is in da House.

Where are Sharpton and Jackson condemning this racial bigotry and call to murder? When’s Obama going to come out and say that this tool acted stupidly like he did to the upstanding Boston cop in the Henry Louis Gates case? Didn’t Imus get deep fried for saying something far less egregious? And, and, isn’t Mel Gibson experiencing hell on earth right now for being caught on tape dropping the N-bomb on his Russian-ex?

To bring it home, what if, once again, a conservative or a Christian said, “I hate n------and we should kill n------ and their black babies?” Or, I know, what if one of us said we should kill women? Or homosexuals? Or Muslims? Or kitty cats? It appears that if you’re black and block voting booths and scream murderous threats to whites, that’s totally cool and that’s “progress” in Holder’s world of hate whitey.

Oh, and one more thing: The mainstream media, like with the ACORN scandal, won’t touch this. Wow. What hypocrisy. You just know if it were Beck (or some lesser conservative luminary) the MSM would be banging that drum like a coked-up Keith Moon.


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

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


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


10 July, 2010

Arrested for Getting Robbed by Illegal Aliens

Given that our legal system has been completely deranged by moonbattery, see if you can guess how it responded to this case from Wheat Ridge, Colorado:
82-year-old Robert Wallace said in February that he looked out his window and saw two men hooking his flatbed trailer up to their pickup. He yelled at them to stop, but they sped away, stealing his trailer. He told police he fired two shots at the pickup.

Minutes later, police say 32-year-old Damacio Torres dropped 28-year-old Alvaro Cardona off at a hospital emergency room with a gunshot wound to the face.

Torres did not stay to talk with police, but they caught up with him later. According to court documents, he admitted he and Cardona stole the trailer.

Wallace did not want to talk on camera, but when we asked him if the two men threatened him he said, "They almost ran me over."

Now the crooks — both illegal aliens with arrest records, one of whom was under investigation for taking part in a major auto theft ring — are safely behind bars on their way to getting deported, right? Of course not:
The Jefferson County DA's office said that neither Torres nor Cardona have been charged with anything at this point, even though Torres confessed to the crime. However, the homeowner, Wallace is facing twelve felony counts, including four counts of attempted first degree murder. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Since they believe in a criminal ideology of theft and coercion (aka "spreading the wealth around"), the liberals who run our courts and our government are criminals. It's hardly surprising that they look out for their own at the expense of their enemy, the respectable citizen.



Democrat-created turmoil is blocking job creation

Business investment is the key to job creation but who would make any new moves with all the upheavals going on now?

These days, too many Americans are certain about things they should be skeptical about, and uncertain about things they need to be confident in. And our economy isn’t likely to improve unless we can reverse these positions.

“The Federal Reserve recently reported that America’s 500 largest nonfinancial companies have accumulated an astonishing $1.8 trillion of cash on their balance sheets,” wrote Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria recently. That’s the highest amount in decades. “And yet, most corporations are not spending this money on new plants, equipment, or workers,” he added.

Zakaria’s Washington Post colleague Steven Pearlstein has noticed, too. “There’s little doubt that businesses are holding back,” he wrote July 7. “Business investment as a percentage of economic output is at its lowest level in more than 40 years, while hiring continues to lag behind growth in output.”

So why are companies hoarding cash instead of hiring people? Simple. Uncertainty.

President Barack Obama likes to say “let me be clear” in his speeches. Before the State of the Union address, a Washington Post piece mocked Obama by saying that, “the ‘let me be clear’ preface has become a signal that what follows will be anything but.” And that’s true.

It’s not clear what Obama wants to do -- although he seems less than interested in simply enforcing the rule of law. He demanded that BP establish a $20 billion fund to pay claims filed against it by Gulf residents. Well, perhaps BP should have established such a fund on its own. But the president doesn’t have the power to compel it to do so.

And remember the automakers? Last year GM and Chrysler were on the verge of collapse. The administration bypassed the usual bankruptcy proceedings and instead engineered a federal buyout that benefited the United Auto Workers union. American taxpayers are now owners of auto companies, whether we want to be or not.

No doubt other companies were watching nervously. They’re also concerned about the possible effects of cap-and-trade legislation and financial regulation. In each case, legislation that would hurt businesses has passed the House and is being considered by the Senate. It’s impossible to predict what a final bill might look like or what it might cost. Hence, uncertainty. Hence, inaction.

And all this says nothing about immigration. “Laws like Arizona’s put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable,” Obama declared on July 1. Thus the administration insists it cannot enforce the law, but adds it wants a new, “comprehensive” law to enforce. Uncertainty on top of uncertainty.

Meanwhile, one thing the president is clear on is the danger supposedly posed by global warming. “Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies and our planet,” Obama declared in Copenhagen in December. “That much we know.”

But how do we “know” this? Scientists have been warning about the supposed dangers of global warming for years. But the planet isn’t getting warmer. It’s getting cooler. As Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, wrote in an e-mail made public after hackers broke into the computers at a British university, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

What else are experts certain about? “The first thing about Social Security is it actually may be solvent forever,” Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman told PBS last year. “The low-cost case in Social Security always shows the trust fund going on forever, so it’s not even clear that we have a crisis.” Well, “forever” didn’t last as long as it once did.

“This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes,” The New York Times reported in March. The Congressional Budget Office hadn’t expected that this would happen for at least six more years.

For decades, people have been certain that Social Security would always be there for them. Yet from now on, Social Security can be expected to pay out more than it takes in each year. It will become an ever-growing drain on the already-strained federal budget. Without reform, there’s no reason to be “certain” it will survive to serve another generation of retirees.

Our leaders in Washington are undermining the rule of law in several ways. Meanwhile, they’re dealing with phantom threats (global warming), and ignoring real ones (Social Security’s insecurities).

Until something changes, there’s no reason to expect American companies to invest in our collective future.



Hamas Sends Patients to Israel for Care

Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv treats up to 100 patients a month from Gaza, and often Hamas takes the role of middleman between Gaza residents and the Israeli hospital, Ichilov Director Professor Gabi Barabash said Thursday. Barabash spoke to Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, a resident of the Druze village of Dalyat El Carmel near Haifa, who was touring the hospital and viewing its care for foreign Arab patients.

In addition to caring for patients from Gaza, the Ichilov staff treats many citizens of foreign Arab countries, including those that have no diplomatic ties with Israel. They all receive dedicated care, and the relatives who accompany them are provided with free food and a place to stay, Barabash said.

Kara praised the hospital's care at the end of the tour. Ichilov treats all of its patients equally, he said, but it is not the only one, and hospitals throughout the country send hundreds of people home to Gaza in good health each month after they arrived in Israel suffering from serious ailments.

He condemned Hamas for benefiting from the arrangement while giving nothing in return. “The time has come for Hamas to give us something small in return,” he said, “to release a single son of ours, who has been held for four years with no medical care, in exchange for the hundreds of people whose lives Israel saves every month.”

Kara called on Arab countries to take action: “I call on those Arab countries that are aware of how much we give them when it comes to medicine to call for Gilad Shalit's release as well.” Shalit's release would “make the peace talks much more meaningful,” he added.



Is the MSM getting rattled by scrutiny from the alternative media?

Staffer fired for pro-terrorist bias

CNN hasn't officially commented on the firing of 20-year veteran Octovia Nasr for an impolitic tweet. But that hasn't stopped Nasr critics and supporters from battling it out over the past 24 hours.

Kagan says that Nasr’s no “firebrand extremist.” Rather, Kagan described her former colleague as a “brilliant asset in putting news from the Mideast in perspective.”

Indeed, Nasr—born in Lebanon and fluent in several languages—probably understands the Middle East's ongoing tensions and cultural sensitivities better than most. And yet she still got tripped up.

Nasr, the network's senior editor for Mideast Affairs, made a hasty remark that could serve as ammunition for those who believe her coverage, or the network's as a whole, is tipped against Israel.

She praised a leader of Hezbollah, a group that has battled Israel for decades and is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. On Sunday, Nasr simply tweeted: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.. #Lebanon.”

These days, there's swift reaction to journalist missteps, or even giving off the appearance of bias. It's because Twitter and influential blogs can quickly amplify a comment to the point where the news organization feels immediate pressure to act.



BrookesNews Update

Obama's fascist economics is failing : Obama's policy are at best a recipe for stagnation — even if full employment was restored. At worst they will result in a steep decline in the standard of living, except for his billionaire pals and his Hollywood fan club
Will the Australian housing market crash or will interest rates fall instead? : Although the laws of supply and demand are the same everywhere and at any time the conditions of supply and demand are not. Conditions in America, for example, are not the same as those in Australia
Illegal immigrants are Obama's sixth column : Irrespective of what Obama supporters — or anyone else — claims an unrestricted flow of illegal immigrants will depress average wages and hence lower the standard of living. It could also gravely undermine social cohesion and create severe political instability
Hollywood leftists mourn Stephen Rivers, their Castro connection : Hollywood's celebrated leftists are mourning the death of Stephen Rivers. What none of the eulogies state is that Rivers was a Castro toady, an agent of influence for his sadistic regime. A liar who hated America and despised its patriots . Not once did this man offer a single word of sympathy for Castro victims. As far as he was concerned those that Castro tortured and murdered had it coming to them. No wonder Hollywood lefties loved Rivers
No one's capital is safe in Obama's America : Obama's poorly coded message to investors is to take your money out of America and keep it out. Whether through excessive taxation, suffocating over-regulation, or thuggish confiscation, the lesson to be drawn by anyone with excess capital is to look for friendlier places to put it to work
Will oil drilling become a pipe dream? : President Obama's Oval Office speech made one thing clear, it is that his administration and the activists who back it view the Gulf oil spill as simply an opportunity to advance their pre-existing agenda — which has nothing to do with cleaning up the Gulf, protecting the fragile coastal environment or fostering the region's economy
Leftwing media bigotry protects the sadistic Castro : Learning more about Castro's recent narco-terrorist activities draws attention to the Fairfax Media, a nasty organization that masquerades as a media company. It's leftwing bigotry is so brazen it would have shamed the Soviets' International Department of the Central Committee

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

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


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


9 July, 2010

Whitewashing Black Racism

By Michelle Malkin

Why haven't national media outlets reported on the vile and violent rants of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) thugs whose 2008 voter intimidation tactics got a pass from the Obama administration? Simple: Radical black racism doesn't fit the Hope and Change narrative. There's no way to shoehorn Bush-bashing into the story. And, let's face it, exposing the inflammatory rhetoric of the left does nothing to help liberal editors and reporters fulfill their true calling -- embarrassing the right.

This week, Justice Department whistleblower J. Christian Adams came forward with damning public testimony about how Obama officials believe "civil rights law should not be enforced in a race-neutral manner, and should never be enforced against blacks or other national minorities." In the wake of Adams' expose on how the Obama DOJ abandoned default judgments against the NBPP bullies for the sake of politically correct racial politics, a shocking video clip of one of the lead defendants in the Philadelphia voter intimidation case resurfaced on the Internet. It shows bloodthirsty King Samir Shabazz during a 2009 National Geographic documentary interview spewing:

"You want freedom? You're gonna have to kill some crackers! You're gonna have to kill some of their babies!"

These NBPP death threats and white-bashing diatribes are nothing new to those who have tracked the black supremacy movement. In August 2009, nearly a year ago, I reported on a sign on display outside NBPP defendant (and elected member of Philadelphia's 14th Ward Democratic Committee) Jerry Jackson's home. It reads: "COLORED ONLY: No Whites Allowed." In July 2009, I interviewed poll watcher/witness Christopher Hill, whom Shabazz and Jackson called "cracker" several times while Shabazz brandished his baton.

"They physically attempted to block me," Hill recounted. He also saw a group of elderly ladies walk away from the polling site without voting while the duo preened in front of the entrance. "If you're a poll watcher, you shouldn't be dressed in paramilitary garb," Hill said, as he wondered aloud at what would have happened if he had showed up in the same sort of costume.

In May 2009, I reported on the affidavit of civil rights attorney and poll watcher Bartle Bull, who witnessed the NBPP thuggery in Philadelphia and reported on billy club-wielding Shabazz's election day boast: "You're about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

In the fall of 2008, just days before he showed up to hector white poll workers, Shabazz told the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"I'm about the total destruction of white people. I'm about the total liberation of black people. I hate white people. I hate my enemy... The only thing the cracker understands is violence... The only thing the cracker understands is gunpowder. You got to take violence to violence."

The desire to kill, subordinate and demonize white people is a staple of NBPP propaganda. An NBPP Trenton, N.J., chapter "block party" music video posted on YouTube calls on black followers to "bang for freedom," "put the bang right into a cracker's face," and "if you're going to bang, bang for black power ... hang a cracker ... if you're going to bang, bang on the white devil ... burying him near the river bank with the right shovel ... community revolution in progress ... banging for crackers to go to hell, we don't need em."

Chanting "Black Power," Minister Najee Muhammad, national field marshal for the New Black Panther Party, and Uhuru Shakur, local chairman of the Atlanta NBPP chapter, issued a pre-Election Day 2008 threat to "racists and other angry whites who are upset over an impending Barack Obama presidential victory." Said Muhammad: "Most certainly, we cannot allow these racist forces to slaughter our babies or commit other acts of violence against the black population, nor our black president."

That's rich, given that the only racists talking about slaughtering babies are the ones with New Black Panther Party patches on their puffed chests.

If a Tea Party activist threatened to kill the babies of his political opponents, it wouldn't just be front-page news. It would be the subject of Democrat-led congressional investigations, a series of terrified New York Times columns about the perilous "climate of hate," a Justice Department probe by Attorney General Eric Holder, a domestic terror alert from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and another Important Teachable Moment Speech/Summit from Healer-in-Chief Barack Obama.

But with the racism shoe on the other foot, Team Obama and its media water-carriers are exhibiting the very racial cowardice Holder once purported to condemn. Thanks to Obama's feckless Department of Injustice, these black supremacist brutes are free to show up on the next national Election Day at polling places in full paramilitary regalia with nightsticks, hurling racist, anti-American epithets at those exercising their right to vote and at those protecting the integrity of the electoral process.

The reaction of our national media watchdogs: Shhhhhhhh.



See You Next Tyranny Day!

Jonah Goldberg

According to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in his mega-selling book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," China banned plastic bags a few years ago. "Bam! Just like that -- 1.3 billion people, theoretically, will stop using thin plastic bags," he gushed. "Millions of barrels of petroleum will be saved, and mountains of garbage avoided."

China's got us beat, suggests Friedman, because its leaders aren't hung up on democracy or checks and balances or any of the other dusty old impediments found in the American system. Friedman has proclaimed his envy for China's authoritarian system countless times. It's why he titled one of the chapters in his book "China for a Day." The idea -- he calls it his fantasy -- is that if we could just be China for a day, the experts could impose by diktat what they cannot win through democratic debate.

If only the Founding Fathers had included an annual "Tyranny Day" in the Constitution. Every 364 days America could debate and scheme, pitting faction against faction, governmental branch against governmental branch, and on the 365th day the Supreme Soviet of the United States could simply "do things that are tough" and shove 10 pounds of policy awesomeness into democracy's five-pound bag.

Now, just for the record, China hasn't banned plastic bags. Just ask anybody who's been to China recently. But what a strange thing to sell your soul for. What was it Thomas More said, "it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world ... but to ban plastic bags?"

Now, I bring all of this up for a couple reasons. The first is that I am mildly obsessed with Tom Friedman. He's easily one of the most influential columnists in America and he routinely and blithely expresses his envy for a barbaric police state that has killed tens of millions of its own people. I think pointing that out is worth a little repetition.

But it's also worth noting that Friedman is hardly alone. He may stretch his argument to the point of parody, but he shares a widespread view that the "experts" have all the answers and the "system" is holding them back.

Such arguments are as old as they are dangerous. And they are arrogant beyond description. People like Friedman automatically assume that their preferred policies are so obviously right, so objectively enlightened, that there's no need to debate them or vote on them.

Such arguments are usually deployed to avoid valid criticisms, not because there are none. Indeed, the Obama White House virtually lives by such claims. All of the experts agreed that their stimulus would work; that Obama's version of healthcare reform was both necessary and popular, that weaning the U.S. from fossil fuels will create "green jobs." The evidence on all of these fronts is mixed or weak and yet the president insists constantly that he doesn't want to hear from people who disagree with him on these issues because all the facts are in.

Such arrogance is dangerous. The literature on the unintended consequences of policies crafted by experts is at least as old as the field of economics. Frederic Bastiat, the great 19th-century economist, noted that all that separated the good economist from the bad is the ability to appreciate the possibility of the unforeseen. Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek demonstrated that healthy economies couldn't be controlled by experts, because the experts will always have a "knowledge problem." They can never know all of the variables and never fully predict how their theories will play out in reality.

Right now Congress is debating a financial reform bill that simply commands that regulators predict when an unforeseen crisis will occur. This is like demanding regulators know when stocks will go up or down. If they knew that, they wouldn't be regulators -- they'd be billionaires.

But forget all that. Let's get back to those evil plastic bags. A new study from the University of Arizona reveals that reusable shopping bags, the enlightened replacement for plastic ones, are breeding grounds for E. Coli and other dangerous bacteria. Roughly 50 percent of the bags inspected were found to contain dangerous, potentially lethal, bacteria.

No, this doesn't mean we should abandon reusable bags, let alone ban them too on next year's Tyranny Day. People can clean the bags and solve the problem. That's a hassle, to be sure. But that's the point. There's always going to be a downside to even the best policies, because the experts don't know as much as they think they do. Sometimes, they don't even know they're not experts at all.




Judge-made law again: "A U.S. judge in Boston has ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage. U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro on Thursday ruled in favor of gay couples’ rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004. Tauro agreed, and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.”

Defending the gypsy cab driver: "The taxi business in the United States usually works to the detriment of the poor and minority groups in two ways — as consumers and as producers. As consumers, their plight is well demonstrated by ethnic ‘taxicab jokes,’ and by the subterfuge and embarrassment blacks undergo in order to get a cab, which they are frequently unable to do. The reasons are not difficult to fathom. Taxi rates are set by law and are invariant, regardless of the destination of the trip. However, some destinations are more dangerous than others, and drivers are reluctant to service these areas, which are usually the home neighborhoods of the poor and the minorities. So when given a choice, cab drivers are likely to select customers on the basis of their economic status or skin color.”

In the game of picking winners and losers, the government picks losers: "A knowledge problem exists. When the government picks winners and losers, it asserts that it knows the optimal level of something. In practice, such a level is impossible to determine. I do not know the socially optimal mix of any set of products and services, and neither do government officials. No one has access to perfect information. It would be beneficial if the state government stayed out of playing favorites in the market and instead let individuals determine their own optimal levels by engaging in unrestricted trade.”

Time to let South Korea defend itself: "What would a new American policy on North Korea — one that is based on seeing reality as it really is, rather than what we dream it to be — look like? In essence, it should be a policy of empowerment for South Korea. This policy of empowerment would involve at least two concrete measures. First, it would involve the immediate ratification of the U.S./South Korea Free Trade Agreement. … Second, a policy of empowerment of South Korea would explicitly and publicly remove our constraints on South Korean weapons development. Let them start developing nuclear missiles as well.”

More decay from a mainstream denomination: "A Presbyterian assembly voted Thursday to endorse the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians, sending the measure for ratification votes to regional presbyteries where resistance to such changes has diminished in recent years. Church representatives, meeting in Minneapolis at the weeklong General Assembly, voted 373-323 to lift the ban in the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has 2.1 million members. The assembly also was scheduled to consider on Thursday night a proposal to redefine marriage in the church’s constitution to encompass any two people, regardless of gender. Both measures would require approval by a majority of the regional presbyteries to become part of the church constitution.” [The Presbyterian church into which I was baptised accepted the Bible as the ultimate authority on faith and morals. Apparently they have found a "wiser" guide than that now!]

Parasitic tort lawyers: "Tort lawyers lie. They say their product liability suits are good for us. But their lawsuits rarely make our lives better. They make lawyers and a few of their clients better off — but for the majority of us, they make life much worse.”

The rats are cornered: "The stimulus and gimmicks initiated by a desperate political class prodded on by our Keynesian witch-doctors Summers and Geithner ran their course and at the end of that road was a massive pile of debt, chronic unemployment, a populace that doesn’t believe or trust anything the government says or does and a housing market set to resume its downward spiral. So basically the forces of deflation have taken over once again. Banana Ben Bernanke knows it and he knows what he wants to do about it. He wants to print so much money it would make your head spin.”

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

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


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


8 July, 2010

New British PM talks big about power to the people

You might be forgiven for flying your Gadsden flag over this but will it actually happen? Sadly, this is Britain and we have heard it all before: From Tony Blair. If it brings any changes at all, it is most likely to mean more power to local busybodies. But I hope I am wrong

David Cameron will today promise to 'completely change' the way Britain is run by giving people real power over schools, hospitals, police and other public services.

The Prime Minister will outline what is being seen as a 'Blair-plus' reform agenda as he insists the coalition is not only interested in paying off the country's unprecedented budget deficit.

The Prime Minister will promise to 'turn government on its head' by taking power away from Whitehall and devolving it to people and communities.

The Government, he will say, intends to introduce 'competition and choice' throughout public services - a pledge that echoes the failed ambitions of 'ultra' supporters of the former prime minister Tony Blair, including Alan Milburn.

State monopolies will be smashed, with charities, businesses and even individuals invited to run schools, back-to-work schemes and other public services.

The coalition also favours the principle of paying providers by results to drive up performance.

It will combine this with its own 'big society' agenda, which will empower individuals by giving them more local democratic control - through elected police commissioners and more local referendums, for instance - and introducing transparency, so they can see how their money is being spent.

Every Government department will be required to publish a plan setting outs its priorities and 'measurable milestones', so anyone can check whether they are meeting their commitments. So-called 'structural reform plan' will replace Labour's old, top-down systems of targets and central mismanagement, the Prime Minister will say.

Speaking to an audience of 450 civil servants at a conference in London, the Prime Minister will say: 'People are making a big mistake if they think this Government is just about sorting out the deficit. 'That's not why I came into politics. It's not what the coalition came together for. We came together to change our country for the better in every way: the best schools open to the poorest children, a first-class NHS there for everyone, streets that are safe, families that are stable, communities that are strong.

'These ambitions haven't died because the money is tight. The real question is: how can we achieve these aims when there is so little money? How can this circle be squared? 'The answer is reform – radical reform. We need to completely change the way this country is run.'

Mr Cameron will say he is not criticising everything Labour did - but insist they went wrong with their 'top-down, controlling, bureaucratic' approach to public services. They created a system of 'bureaucratic accountability' in which almost everything was measured or judged against a set of targets and performance indicators, monitored, measured and inspected centrally.

'That was the past. Now we have a new government. A new coalition government, with a new approach. We intend to do things differently, very differently,' Mr Cameron will say. 'If I could describe in one line the change we plan for the way we approach public services, and reform generally, it's this: we want to replace the old system of bureaucratic accountability with a new system of democratic accountability – accountability to the people, not the government machine.

'We want to turn government on its head, taking power away from Whitehall and putting it into the hands of people and communities. ' We want to give people the power to improve our country and public services, through transparency, local democratic control, competition and choice. 'To give you just one example: instead of teachers thinking they have to impress the Department of Education, they have to impress local parents as they have a real choice over where to send their child.

'It really is a total change in the way our country is run: from closed systems to open markets, from bureaucracy to democracy, from big government to big society, from politician power to people power.'



Transportation Stupid Agency

Once again, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has distinguished itself as guardians of our security for airline travel. Certainly, in a post-9/11 world we have to expect that there will inevitably be some level of security to guard against terrorism. But you have to wonder what the "S" in TSA really stands for. Consider these two news stories from late June.

First, it seems that TSA needs to learn a lesson or two in common courtesy when it comes to airline passengers who are amputees (although some might say that’s true more generally). According to amputee Peggy Chenoweth who was flying with her 4-year old son:

"I had just been put in the plexiglass screening booth – which I expected. My 4-year-old son was made to sit across from me, crying because they would not let him touch me. Everyone was looking at us. Then the TSA agent asked for my prosthetic leg. I knew they could wand my leg, but he insisted on taking it from me. And if that wasn’t humiliating enough, he asked for the liner sock that covers my residual limb, saying I had to give it to him. I felt pressured to give him my liner even though it is critical to keep it sanitary. I was embarrassed to have my residual limb exposed in public."

Although TSA claims to have procedures for properly screening disabled passengers and that "under no circumstances is it TSA’s policy to ask a passenger to remove his/her prosthetic during screening," three-fourths of those surveyed (7,300 amputees out of about 1.7 million in the United States) by the Amputee Coalition of America said they were unsatisfied by their most recent airport screening experience. Among the complaints:

* Not being screened by a TSA agent of the same gender

* Not being allowed to have a caregiver accompany them into the screening room

* Being forced to lift their clothing during random checks for explosives

* And some amputees have had to submit to an inordinate number of x-rays to get through the screening process:

o Jeff from Denver: "TSA confiscated my vacuum system required to fit my prosthetic legs. I told them I need those tools to put on my legs. Without them, it can’t be done. They eventually gave them back after I boarded the plane, but it would have been more appropriate to have a conversation with me about it and let me know. Had they not given the tools back, I could not have put on my legs for my entire trip. This was the worst of my many TSA experiences, but because I fly a lot, I am also concerned about the level of radiation to which I am exposed. I have had as many as 20 exposures during one trip."

o Leslie from Minneapolis: "While I consider myself a seasoned amputee traveler, my situation brought me to tears for the inequity that I experienced because of having a prosthetic leg. I was led to a small room without being told where I was going and my husband wasn’t allowed to accompany me. Ten X-rays were taken of my leg, so I was concerned and inquired about the amount of radiation, but was given no answers. The TSA screeners made me stand on six unsecured, stacked storage bins. I told them it wasn’t safe – I only have one leg."

How hard is it to come up with a standard procedure for passengers with prosthetics? First and foremost, such screening needs to protect those passengers’ privacy – as well as accommodating their unique situation, such as allowing a caregiver to accompany them. It would seem that a simple wanding of the prosthetic to detect for suspicious metal would, in most instances, be enough to determine whether a more invasive search (such as running the prosthetic through x-ray) is warranted. And if for some reason it becomes absolutely necessary to remove a prosthetic, it could be chemically swabbed to detect explosives.

To be fair to TSA employees, a big part of the problem is lack of training – as well as proper supervision to ensure proper procedures are being followed. Compound that with the fact that being a government employee (or contract employee) largely means following all the rules and regulations without leeway for interpretation or the ability to use judgment. Or put another way, common sense is often not allowed to prevail. Indeed, it can be cause for punishment.

Speaking of common sense, how about the fact that 6-year old Alyssa Thomas is on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) infamous no-fly list? According to a TSA spokesperson, "The watch lists are an important layer of security to prevent individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism from flying." Since Allyssa was allowed to fly on the day the Thomases were told that her name was on the no-fly list, she clearly isn’t a threat. But even though the Thomases have appealed to DHS to have their daughter’s name removed from the no-fly list, they’ve been told that nothing in Alyssa’s file will be changed. [This is exactly why Senator Lautenberg's (D-NJ) proposed legislation to prevent people on the no-fly list from being able to purchase a firearm is a dumb idea, not to mention unconstitutional – unless there are other legal reasons, such as being Osama bin Laden or a convicted felon, other than being on the no-fly list.]

This is what $7 billion (TSA’s annual budget, which is part of the $55 billion Department of Homeland Security budget) of your tax dollars buys you. Transportation Stupid Agency.




Britain has a small conservative political party called UKIP which wants Britain out of the EU. I agree with them. I think NAFTA would be a much better fit for Britain. Anyway, UKIP have a brilliant speaker named Nigel Farage. Ironically, he is a member of the EU parliament! He knows how to give them what for, however. His latest speech there is about the fact that the EU parliament has a presidency that changes every six months and it has just become Belgium's turn to preside. Mr Farage is NOT impressed by Belgium! Fun video here. I think he is even more outspoken than Sarah Palin!

Another triumph of U.S. airport security: "In what’s being called ‘an incredible comedy of errors’ that has embarrassed U.S. officials, four semiautomatic pistols belonging to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bodyguards vanished after arriving at New York’s JFK Airport, the New York Post reports. A source characterized the hunt for the 9mm Glock 17s as ‘priority No. 1 in American law enforcement.’ The paper says the pistols were among seven guns in the bodyguards’ luggage that arrived at dawn Sunday on an El Al flight from Israel.”

3 years down the track, there’s no recovery, just more hard times ahead: "Yes, there have been times when the economic data looked promising. During some weeks first time unemployment claims have been down. The economy has grown between two and three percent some months. And there have even been some months when new home sales have swelled and the prices of houses in general have increased. But the fact of the matter is that the worst of the crisis is yet to come and of course like the initial crisis which has lasted for close to three years already it will be Washington’s fault.”

The rout of Obamanomics: "In February 2009, I published a commentary in the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘Reaganomics v. Obamanomics,’ which pointed out that President Obama’s economic policies were exactly the opposite of President Reagan’s. I predicted that as a result they would produce exactly the opposite results. Art Laffer has produced a far more sophisticated argument advancing a similar analysis. But the June unemployment report released last Friday shows an economy doing much worse at this point than even I expected.”

Rogernomics needed in Britain: "Full marks to the dynamic Simon Walker of the British Venture Capital Association, who brought his fellow New Zealander Sir Roger Douglas over to explain how to turn around a failing economy and overblown government That’s what he did as NZ Finance Minister in just three short years in the 1980s. Even though he was a Labour Minister, he ripped into trade protections and subsidies, ended exchange controls, cut the deficit, halved income tax, let markets and not the state lead development, and brought honesty and transparency to government accounting. His key messages? Act decisively, and act quickly. You only get one shot at this. Don’t give the special-interest groups time to band together and drag you down.”

Fear of China is overblown: "‘When the Chinese become our overlords, will they be benevolent overlords — or horrific taskmasters?’ The Daily Show host Jon Stewart made that joke three years ago, but American anxiety over China’s rise is more intense today. The good news is that our anxieties are often misdirected — we fret more about dying in rare plane crashes than in common highway accidents. Is the current Sinophobia also overblown? When I give talks about my new book on China, people often ask me fearful questions about everything from Beijing’s large holding of US Treasury notes to its military buildup. I try to put their anxieties in perspective with these five points.”

Repeal the drinking age: "Somehow, and no one seems to even imagine how, this country managed to survive and thrive before 1984 without a national minimum drinking age. Before that, the drinking question was left to the states. In the 19th century, and looking back even before –– prepare yourself to imagine horrific anarchistic nightmares — there were no drinking laws anywhere, so far as anyone can tell.”

New York Times cluelessness, Part IX: "Okay, I admit I haven’t counted the exact number of stupid New York Times stories that I’ve blogged about, but it’s roughly nine. This time they ran a big story about Wal-Mart Inc.’s Sam’s Club: introducing a program in which it facilitates loans for shoppers of up to $25,000, backed by the Small Business Administration. … The Times suggests that such ‘facilitation’ is an exciting new sales promotion: retailers are taking matters into their own hands. … taking bold steps. … What? What’s bold? This is just crony capitalism. Sam’s Club uses government to help itself, and compliant government rips you off. If Wal-Mart really wanted to loan its customers money to help them buy stuff at Sam’s Club, fine. But why the heck is the SBA involved? It’s involved because we sucker taxpayers allow the SBA to reimburse up to 85% of the loan if a borrower defaults. Sounds familiar (remember Fannie and Freddie’s guarantees?).”

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

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


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


7 July, 2010

With the US trapped in depression, this really is starting to feel like 1932

The US workforce shrank by 652,000 in June, one of the sharpest contractions ever. The rate of hourly earnings fell 0.1pc. Wages are flirting with deflation. "The economy is still in the gravitational pull of the Great Recession," said Robert Reich, former US labour secretary. "All the booster rockets for getting us beyond it are failing."

"Home sales are down. Retail sales are down. Factory orders in May suffered their biggest tumble since March of last year. So what are we doing about it? Less than nothing," he said.

California is tightening faster than Greece. State workers have seen a 14pc fall in earnings this year due to forced furloughs. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is cutting pay for 200,000 state workers to the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to cover his $19bn (£15bn) deficit.

Can Illinois be far behind? The state has a deficit of $12bn and is $5bn in arrears to schools, nursing homes, child care centres, and prisons. "It is getting worse every single day," said state comptroller Daniel Hynes. "We are not paying bills for absolutely essential services. That is obscene."

Roughly a million Americans have dropped out of the jobs market altogether over the past two months. That is the only reason why the headline unemployment rate is not exploding to a post-war high.

Let us be honest. The US is still trapped in depression a full 18 months into zero interest rates, quantitative easing (QE), and fiscal stimulus that has pushed the budget deficit above 10pc of GDP.

The share of the US working-age population with jobs in June actually fell from 58.7pc to 58.5pc. This is the real stress indicator. The ratio was 63pc three years ago. Eight million jobs have been lost.

The average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks. Nothing like this has been seen before in the post-war era. Jeff Weniger, of Harris Private Bank, said this compares with a peak of 21.2 weeks in the Volcker recession of the early 1980s.

"Legions of individuals have been left with stale skills, and little prospect of finding meaningful work, and benefits that are being exhausted. By our math the crop of people who are unemployed but not receiving a check amounts to 9.2m."

Republicans on Capitol Hill are filibustering a bill to extend the dole for up to 1.2m jobless facing an imminent cut-off. Dean Heller from Nevada called them "hobos". This really is starting to feel like 1932.

Washington's fiscal stimulus is draining away. It peaked in the first quarter, yet even then the economy eked out a growth rate of just 2.7pc. This compares with 5.1pc, 9.3pc, 8.1pc and 8.5pc in the four quarters coming off recession in the early 1980s.

The housing market is already crumbling as government props are pulled away. The expiry of homebuyers' tax credit led to a 30pc fall in the number of buyers signing contracts in May. "It is cataclysmic," said David Bloom from HSBC.

Federal tax rises are automatically baked into the pie. The Congressional Budget Office said fiscal policy will swing from a net +2pc of GDP to -2pc by late 2011. The states and counties may have to cut as much as $180bn.

Investors are starting to chew over the awful possibility that America's recovery will stall just as Asia hits the buffers. China's manufacturing index has been falling since January, with a downward lurch in June to 50.4, just above the break-even line of 50. Momentum seems to be flagging everywhere, whether in Australian building permits, Turkish exports, or Japanese industrial output.

On Friday, Jacques Cailloux from RBS put out a "double-dip alert" for Europe. "The risk is rising fast. Absent an effective policy intervention to tackle the debt crisis on the periphery over coming months, the European economy will double dip in 2011," he said.



Republicans alienating the unemployed?

Republicans on Capitol Hill who backed the mobilization of $3 trillion of fiscal and monetary support to bail out the financial system are now going to great efforts to prevent the roll-over of temporary benefits to 1.2m jobless facing an imminent cut-off.

I don’t wish to enter deeply into an internal US dispute between Republicans and Democrats, but I do think think that the American political class will have to face up to the new reality of a semi-permanent slump for a decade or more that will blight a great number of lives. The cyclical recovery that normally makes it possible for most Americans to find a job if they want one is not going to happen this time because the overhang of debt, fiscal tightening, and a liquidity trap have combined to jam the mechanism.

The broader U6 rate of unemployment is 16.5pc. Jeff Weniger from Harris Private Bank estimates that over 9m Americans without jobs are receiving no support.

At some point this will become very political. Everybody knows that the wealthy have in fact been bailed out. Part of the purpose of quantitative easing was to raise asset prices, in the hope that this would course through the economy – and ultimately trickle down. The rich have benefitted enormously from federal action. Bond holders facing stiff losses on bank securities, or Fannie and Freddie bonds, and so forth, have been protected by the Fed and the Treasury.

I do not for one moment believe that Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs – for example – would have survived the Lehman storm without (implicit) intervention. This is not a criticism of federal action. It was right in such circumstances to step in to prevent a collapse of credit system.

But once welfare has been deployed so generously for the rich, it cannot be denied so easily for the poor. This was the Faustian Pact.

Republicans on Capitol Hill need to think long and hard about the nature of the contract they signed, and the language they now use. Otherwise American society risks splitting ever more bitterly into opposed camps.

The recession of the early 1990s spawned spontaneous militia groups across the country. What will we get this time?



The world of political journalism has radically changed in the post-WWII decades

As we know, the world of political journalism has radically changed in the post-WWII decades. The methods, the tone and the very role of media have morphed over time, although they have always been prone to liberal leanings. They began as mere reporters, whose sole function was to chronicle events in Washington. These pressmen represented the classic liberalism of the Scoop Jackson variety — committed to equality among men at home and the belief that a strong America was a force for good in the world — and generally represented the views of those to whom they reported the news.

Then, as the influence of radical socialists who had begun to infiltrate journalism schools in the 1930s began to take effect, they came to view their profession as a way to "change the world for the better." With the advent of television, the opportunity to be seen and heard furthered the ways in which the press increased its influence over the lives and psyches of everyday Americans. These men, embodied by the likes of Walter Cronkite, saw themselves as crusaders whose task it was to lift the minds of their fellow citizens out of their dreary middle-class ethos and into a more worldly one.

In earlier times, and especially those when Republican administrations held sway, they came off as courageous and zealous exposers of government tyranny and corruption. Even up until the Bill Clinton scandals, there were still members of the press — joined of course, by members of the "new media" — who didn't shirk their duty to report all the gruesome details which eventually led up to his impeachment. But things sure changed in a hurry. The hairsplitting minutiae that was the 2000 election seemed to drive them over the edge and out into the open. And they've never looked back.

Instead of speaking truth to power, they now hold the reins when it comes to shaping popular opinion and consequently view themselves as kingmakers; and their preferences are not hard to discern. Try as they might to deny this, it has never been more evident than in the last few election cycles. How? Let me count just a few of the ways.

President Bush was continually vilified for his supposed cowboy image, being compared as you might imagine, in an unflattering way with John Wayne. His use of the term, "bring it on," in reference to bloodthirsty killers, intent on murdering innocent women and children, was met with tsunamis of derision. USA Today bewailed his "combative tone" and quoted Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) who called the president's language "irresponsible and inciteful." We're still waiting for comment from the estimable Sen. Lautenberg on Barack Obama's use of vulgar street-talk when wondering "whose ass to kick" while dealing with an environmental issue that is clearly over his head.

Or how about other examples of bad language? Bush was famously and thoroughly trashed by the media when he referred to NY Times reporter Adam Clymer as a bodily orifice during an open-mike gaffe at an outdoor Labor Day rally in Tennessee. The reaction when Joe Biden dropped the f-bomb during the signing of the healthcare bill at the White House? Puff pieces like this one from CBS that asked if the entire kerfuffle was, "Just Biden Being Biden?;" while over at ABC they wondered, "Was Joe Biden's Swear a Big Deal?" I'll leave the answers to you.

George Bush, a man who rarely talked about his time in the Texas Air National Guard, was for years subjected to what had to have been the most scrutinized military records in American history, to the extent that a formerly respected member of the media employed forged documents in an attempt to discredit the President's service. Yet, any attempts to delve into the military escapades of John Kerry were deemed unpatriotic and even spawned a new pejorative term, swiftboating, which is, I guess, another word for the job formerly held by the media.

Bush was constantly compared to Herbert Hoover as presiding over a terrible economic downturn and although he had earned an MBA from Harvard, he was widely regarded as a fiscal dunce. Not so his successor — whose main qualification for the presidency was a career spent in community organizing — upon whom no blame for our current mess seems to fall. Here's Paul Krugman, hitting on his two favorite subjects, love of Obama and hatred of "Bush's War," defending his hero: "And fear-mongering on the deficit may end up doing as much harm as the fear-mongering on weapons of mass destruction."

And in a more recent development, our friends over at NewsBusters have pointed out that the conservatism of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was pointed out by the media ten times more often than the obvious liberalism of nominee Elena Kagan. The blatancy of this kind of coverage cannot forever be overlooked by an increasingly edgier electorate. Is it any wonder then, that the media has been losing its hold on the American public?

Yet the pendulum might be swinging back again. It seems that the far left segment of the media isn't too pleased with what their champion, Barack Obama, has accomplished lately, even with a friendly Congress. How far might they go in failing to defend him should the November disaster everyone expects come to pass?




Emphasizing home ownership is questionable policy: "It would be preferable if government stopped intervening in the housing market because then housing prices would return to their equilibrium level. The high foreclosure rate is yet another example of a government-created problem that would be better solved with less government, not more. Throwing more state money at the problem is more likely to incite people to buy more expensive houses than they can afford than to reduce the rate of foreclosure. Programs that encourage homeownership already exist at practically every level in the government, but despite these programs, the rate of homeownership has remained steady over time.”

Work for free: "With young people nearly shut out of the market (by recession, regulation, ‘child’ labor laws, and ghastly minimum wage laws), I would like to suggest the unthinkable: young people should work for free wherever they can and whenever they can. The reason is to acquire a good reputation and earn a good recommendation. A person who will give you a positive reference on demand is worth gold, and certainly far more than the money you might otherwise earn.”

French political elite aghast. Must cut personal spending: "French government ministers are under orders to lose the easy-come, easy-go attitude. That’s particularly true for Alain Joyandet, secretary of state for overseas development, who spent $143,000 of taxpayer money on a private jet to the Caribbean. And for Christian Blanc, secretary of state for the greater Paris region, who’s been told to reimburse the $15,000 of public funds he spent on Havana cigars. Revelation in the last few weeks of such lavish habits has sent a chilling wind through the corridors of power, resulting in a brisk awakening for many in the politically privileged class, including the president himself.”

HI: Lingle vetoes same-sex civil unions bill: "Hawaii’s governor on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have permitted same-sex civil unions, ending months of speculation on how she would weigh in on the contentious, emotional debate. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s action came on the final day she had to either sign or veto the bill, which the Hawaii Legislature approved in late April.”

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

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


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


6 July, 2010

Amnesty for employers: A sure-fire way to get everyone back to work

If that REALLY is Obama's top priority these days


Back in January, in his State of the Union speech -- my, how time flies when you're having fun -- Mr. Obama said his No. 1 priority was going to be jobs. "Jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010," Mr. Obama said, adding, "People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help."

He didn't mean it, though. It's within the power of the federal government to facilitate the creation of millions of new private-sector jobs in only a matter of months, but Mr. Obama won't do it.

If the head of a lending library determines a huge chunk of the collection is out on loan and overdue, and that patrons are afraid to bring the books back because the accrued fines are so large, what does he or she do?

The traditional solution is to slice away the perverse disincentives by offering an amnesty: Anyone who brings back a book in the next month will be forgiven their fines.

Any president who wants to see a massive re-birth of private-sector jobs in this country (not government jobs, which suck money out of the private sector even after the bureaucrat retires) -- especially if his party controls both houses of Congress -- need only declare a three-year "employer amnesty."

Why are employers reluctant to hire? First, it would be stupid to add capacity if the economy is still headed down the tubes because of the looming threats of the health care taxes and mandates in ObamaCare; the threatened "global warming carbon tax"; the threatened "value added tax," and the threat that workplaces will now be unionized without a secret ballot majority vote ("card check").

The president could stimulate a giant sigh of relief out there among private-sector employers by declaring that ObamaCare is suspended for three years, along with all those other big-government initiatives. Tell Congress they've done a wonderful job, and send them home.

But the second big reason business owners are wary of creating jobs is all the costs, mandates, taxes and punishments the federal government has attached to job creation.

To fix this, we need an "employer amnesty." Simply tell employers that for the next three years, the federal government doesn't care how many employees you have, or who they are. Uncle Sam doesn't want to hear about it.

We're going to get busy rounding up and deporting some 12 million illegal aliens, so we won't have to worry about all these new jobs going to illegals. Otherwise, hire whoever you want, and don't tell us.

Minimum-wage laws? Three-year hiatus. Withholding, matching and submitting income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes? All gone for three years. Tear up the forms. The IRS is on a three-year leave of absence. We won't need to keep transferring those moneys from young workers to old retirees; we'll just draw down the "trust funds" into which those retirees' wages were placed all through their working years in order to pay them their current, promised benefits.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? Laid off for three years. OSHA? You won't be hearing from them. The ADA? In abeyance. Environmental impact statements for that new hospital, highway or factory you want to build? No one will ever ask to see them if you can get it done in the next three years.

Leftists, statists and fascists will be outraged over any and all of these proposals, of course. "You want workers to die!" they'll shriek, jumping up on their chairs and clutching their petticoats about their knees. "You want racists to be allowed to hire anyone they want, without quotas! You're against the disabled! Allow people to work for any wage they'll agree to? Oh, oh, I feel suddenly light-headed -- someone catch me! Who will protect the weak-minded and the oppressed from greedy capitalists offering them jobs?"

Which means "creating jobs" isn't really their top priority, or their second, or their third, or their 25th, is it?

By the time Rome fell, most of the farmland within a few days' march of the capital stood fallow. You couldn't make enough by farming the land to pay the taxes.

Yet keeping each and every one of these current job-killing federal taxes, regulations and mandates in place and operating at full strength is more important, isn't it?

So what Mr. Obama really meant, back on Jan. 27, was that "Protecting and creating more tax-funded government jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010, and you small people who work out there in Privatesectorland are just going to have to hunker down, shut up, and pay a whole hell of a lot more taxes to get it done, because we're not going to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on private employers who might want to create a job. In fact, you beasts of burden ain't seen nothin' yet!"



Another Liberal Blind Spot

In another sign that liberals are becoming increasingly concerned with the growing popularity of libertarianism, a liberal named Daniela Perdomo has gone on the attack against libertarian John Stossel at Alternet.org, one of the major liberal (or “progressive,” as many liberals now label themselves) websites. In an article entitled “Is John Stossel More Dangerous Than Glenn Beck?” Perdomo has revealed a major blind spot within the liberal mind.

As I have pointed out time and time again in my articles on the minimum wage, liberals have a blind spot when it comes to economic understanding. Or to put it bluntly, when it comes to the field of economics, they have a woeful ignorance, and it is that ignorance that prevents them from recognizing the terrible harm they do to the poor, especially racial minorities, with such statist programs as the minimum wage.

In her attack on Stossel and libertarianism, Perdomo reveals another blind spot: the propensity to view a defense of freedom of choice as an endorsement of the bad, immoral, dangerous, or irresponsible choices that people end up making when they’re free to make choices.

What set Perdomo off was Stossel’s recent criticism of anti-discrimination laws. Like most other libertarians, Stossel argued that freedom entails the right of a bigot to be a bigot, including in the operation of his retail establishment.

What Perdomo’s blind spot prevents her from seeing is that one can defend freedom of choice as a principle without endorsing the wrongful choices that people make. To paraphrase Voltaire, we libertarians don’t agree with racist or bigoted choices but we will defend the right of people to make them, just as our defense of Nazi sympathizers to express their views in a public march in Skokie, Illinois, didn’t mean that we were endorsing their views.

Here is what Perdomo says about Stossel: “While he can make racist statements as well as the rest of them, he couches his particular brand of hate in his passion for libertarianism.”

Does Perdomo point to any racist statement or any expression of hate by Stossel? She does not, and the reason she doesn’t is because she can’t. Stossel didn’t make any racist statement or statement of hate. What Perdomo is essentially saying is that when a person calls for freedom of association on the basis of race, he is automatically, by virtue of taking such a position, guilty of making a racist or hate-filled statement.

Now, is that not ridiculous or what? That’s what passes for serious analysis within the liberal mind. That’s what comes from the 12-year-sentence in public (i.e., government) schools, where the mind is molded into conformity, memorization, and superficial analysis, stamping out any semblance of independent, critical thinking.

Of course, this isn’t the only area where Perdomo and liberals have this particular blind spot. We libertarians see it all the time with respect to the welfare state. Whenever we call for the repeal, not reform, of such liberal socialist programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public housing, corporation bailouts, income taxation, and the like, and argue that people should be free to do whatever they want with their own money, what is it that liberals automatically say to us? They immediately exclaim: “You libertarians hate the poor, needy, and disadvantaged, and you would let them die in the streets!”

Again, they automatically jump to the conclusion that because libertarians favor freedom of choice in peaceful endeavors, they automatically endorse all the choices that people make.

An irony of all this in order to achieve a more moral, responsible, compassionate society, the worst thing people can do is use force to achieve it. It is through the widest ambit of freedom of choice that people are best able to achieve a higher level of conscience, consciousness, morality, and responsibility. Perhaps that’s what frightens statists, both conservatives and liberals, so much about libertarianism.



‘Muslims-Only’ Enclave Thrives In Philadelphia

Thanks to U.S. taxpayers, an Islamic enclave is being carved out of the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. And how generous have you been with your tax dollars? You just gave $1.6 billion for the privilege of turning over all this cash to the Islamic community.
The person doing the carving is Kenny Gamble, the author of such hit songs as “Love Train” and “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

A convert to Islam, Gamble, now known as Luqman Abdul Haqq, is affiliated with the National Ummah Movement which seeks to establish sovereign Islamic enclaves ruled by shariah (Islamic) law within major cities throughout the U.S.A. The movement was started by Jamil al-Amin (the former H. Rap Brown), who is now serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison for killing two police officers in Atlanta.

Gamble managed to collect the $1.6 billion through Universal Company, a so-called “charitable organization,” which he formed in 1993. Gamble and his spokesmen say that the non-profit company provides a public service by cleaning up a blighted section of the south Philly, but local residents say that Universal has really used the $1.6 billion to create a Muslim ghetto. This allegation is supported by Gamble himself. Speaking to his fellow Islamists, the former songwriter quipped: “We are not here for Universal, we are here for Islam.”

The proof is in the pudding. The 800 block of South 15th Street now contains the United Muslim Masjid, an Islamic center, and a madrassah (charter school). All of these organizations have been created and sustained by Gamble’s enterprise. Rotan Lee of the Philly YMCA says: “You look up and down the street and see men, women and children in traditional Muslim dress everywhere; you see the masjid right across from Kenny's house and security guards on the corners in kufis.”

On the website of the Muslim Alliance of National American, the directors of Gamble’s company made the mistake of betraying their true intent by saying: “By the Blessing and Mercy of Allah (SWT), the efforts of Universal Companies serve as a national model for what can be done with commitment, compassion, focus and careful planning and execution. Just another proof positive of the words of the Qu’ran where Allah (SWT) states: ‘Let there arise from among you a small group of people, inviting to all that is good. They enjoin the good, and forbid the evil, and it is they who attain success.’ (3: 104).”

Proof of Gamble’s ties to National Ummah Movement was provided by a conference call from Jamil al Amin to the United Muslim Masjid., a mosque G founded on 15th Street. A transcript from the mosque reads as follows: "...A highlight of one meeting was when we had Imam Jamil Al-Amin on speaker phone talking to us from his Georgia prison. MANA (Muslim Alliance in North America ) and its members have raised and donated several thousands of dollars to his family and legal defense team. Imam Jamil has recently been transferred to a "supermax" prison in Colorado, and we ask that you make du'a for him."

More here



Judges: Obama can’t close Yucca Mountain nuke dump: "Democratic Rep. John Spratt and Republican Rep. Joe Wilson don’t agree on much, yet the South Carolina congressmen are cheering a new ruling that denied the bid by the U.S. Energy Department to withdraw its application for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Three administrative judges within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled last week that Congress had designated Yucca Mountain in 1987 to receive highly toxic waste from the Savannah River Site on the S.C./Georgia border and other complexes that built atom bombs during the Cold War. The panel found that President Barack Obama and Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a nuclear physicist, lacked the power to close the Yucca repository unilaterally; doing so, it ruled, would require another act of Congress.”

Petraeus takes over Afghan fight, vows “to win” it: "‘We are in this to win,’ Gen. David Petraeus said as he took the reins of an Afghan war effort troubled by waning support, an emboldened enemy, government corruption and a looming commitment to withdraw troops — even with no sign of violence easing. Petraeus, who pioneered the counterinsurgency strategy he now oversees in Afghanistan, has just months to show progress in turning back insurgents and convince both the Afghan people and neighboring countries that the U.S. is committed to preventing the country from again becoming a haven for al-Qaida and its terrorist allies.”

Supreme Court opens door to more liberty: "The real surprise lay elsewhere: in signals that the Court may be inching toward a legal doctrine that offers stronger blanket protections of individual rights than this country has seen in almost 140 years. Many people don’t realize that the McDonald case is much more about the Fourteenth Amendment than the Second. Originally, the Bill of Rights — including the Second Amendment right to bear arms at issue in McDonald — only applied to the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in the wake of the Civil War to expand the reach of the Bill of Rights, mainly so that individual states could not pass laws depriving blacks of their civil rights.”

Founders didn’t create America; America created Founders: "When the Swedish botanist Pehr Kalm visited the American colonies in 1748 to find seeds useful for agriculture, he called it a place where ‘a newly married man can, without difficulty, get a spot of ground where he may comfortably subsist with his wife and children,’ and ‘the liberties he enjoys are so great that he considers himself a prince of his possessions.’ Kalm’s observations of the colonists’ liberties and culture came 28 years before the Continental Congress wrote and approved the Declaration of Independence, and his thoughts were neither wrong nor unique for the time.”

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

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


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


5 July, 2010

Another lame attempt to wriggle out of the Race/IQ correlation

It's not much of a guess to say that stupid people are not very good at looking after their health and -- though lack of precautions -- may get a lot more disease than smarter people. And when you have got a whole nation of dumb people, the chances of them having good public health measures -- such as providing reticulated sewerage and clean drinking water -- must also be rated as low. So a finding that stupid people get a lot more illness is not remotely surprising.

And that is what the authors of Parasite prevalence and the worldwide distribution of cognitive ability by Eppig, Fincher and Thornhill found. Rather bizarrely, however, they reverse the causal link. They say that poor health causes low IQ! They do end up admitting that they have no proof for their "reversed" chain of causation so their work proves nothing but it is nonetheless amusing to note a few things about their study.

The whole point of the paper is of course to show that Africans have low average IQs not from genetic inheritance but because they are worm infested. And there is no doubt that Africans in Africa do carry a heavy burden of worm infestation -- mainly due to the great lack of public health measures there.

Where it gets amusing is that Eppig et al. did their study in various regions of the world and in 5 out of 6 regions, the correlation held. The exception was South America. The correlation collapsed completely there. Why? Because the South American region included several Caribbean nations almost wholly inhabited by Africans! So why were the results there different from the rest of South America? Could it be a racial difference?

Oh no! Eppig et al say: "It is possible that local parasites ... are causing these outliers". In other words, they abandon the obvious in favour of a totally vague and unfounded speculation!

Two other reasons why the perverse theory of Eppig et al is wrong: They pinpoint nutritional deficit as the mechanism by which parasite load inhibits brain development. But if poor nutition lowers IQ, how do we explain the famous Dutch famine study? In the closing phases of WWII, Nederland experienced a severe famine. So all the Dutch kids born during the famine should be real dummies, right? The reverse happened. They were of higher average IQ than other Dutch cohorts. Only the very healthy survived and, as we have seen, good health and high IQ correlate.

And a second very obvious disproof of the perverse Eppig et al. theory is that black Americans have very similar health environments to white Americans but are still a whole standard deviation lower in average IQ. The Eppig et al theory is, in other words, arrant and transparent nonsense


President Reagan, Our British Friends, and the 4th of July

In 2001, Kiron Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson edited a superb book that all friends of freedom, and of President Ronald Reagan, should read. Titled Reagan in His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America, it published a selection of Reagan’s daily radio broadcasts between 1975 and 1979.

Reagan composed and wrote these broadcasts himself, and the book reproduces them just as he wrote them. They provide indisputable proof that Reagan gave lengthy, serious thought to the major issues of the day, that he had a clear and consistent vision for America and the world, and that he was a wide reader and a hard worker. Anyone who doubts this should try writing over a thousand radio scripts – and much else – in four years.

All of Reagan’s scripts are worth reading. But this 4th of July, one is particularly appropriate. In a broadcast on September 21, 1976, “The Hope of Mankind,” Reagan returned to one of his favorite themes. As the editors put it, “Reagan believed . . . that America is unique among nations – ‘the hope of mankind.’ He felt we had a duty to protect what we had inherited. . . . In these essays, . . . the guiding star is always individual liberty, how lucky we are to have it, and how to preserve and protect it.”

To that end, Reagan quoted Ferdinand Mount. Mount later ran the Policy Unit in Number 10 Downing Street for Margaret Thatcher in 1982-83, and wrote the tremendously successful Conservative manifesto for the 1983 general election, when Lady Thatcher won her most smashing victory. On July 5, 1976, Mount wrote a memorable column for the Daily Mail. Here, as quoted by Reagan, is what Mount thought it important to say, that day after the 200th 4th of July:
What the world needs now is more Americans. The U.S. is the first nation on earth deliberately dedicated to letting people choose what they want and giving them a chance to get it. For all its terrible faults, in one sense America is still the last, best hope of mankind, because it spells out so vividly the kind of happiness which most people actually want, regardless of what they are told they ought to want. We criticize, copy, patronize, idolize insult but we never doubt that the U.S. has a unique position in the history of human hopes. For it is the only nation founded solely on a moral dream. A part of our own future is tied up in it and the greatest of all the gifts the Americans have given us is hope.

Reagan closed with three sentences of his own: “Thank you Mr. Mount – we needed that. This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening.” Thanks indeed – to Mount, to our friends around the world, and to President Reagan for recalling their faith, and the faith of the Founding Fathers that inspired us all.



The Founders’ Most Important Idea

Some opinions:

Jamie Radtke, Chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation:

In my opinion, one of their most significant achievements was the idea of a written constitution. Our U.S. Constitution was designed to serve as a limitation on federal powers, which is what makes it unique and powerful. It provides for a federal separation of power among three branches of government as was advocated by the French philosopher Montesquieu in his work, The Spirit of the Laws. Thus, unlike a parliamentary form of government, power is divided among an independent legislature, a chief executive and an independent judiciary. Additionally, the Bill of Rights guarantees the fundamental rights of the people and the states and further defines the boundaries of power of the federal government. This brilliantly composed document struck a remarkable balance of affirming our natural rights while establishing justice, safety, and a well-ordered society.

The Founders were sensitive to government’s proclivity to usurp the power of the people and therefore were very intentional in how they crafted these constitutions to safeguard our individual liberties. It is now our responsibility to preserve the original intent of the Constitution, restore federalism, and protect the unique treasure that was given to us by our Founding Fathers.

Matthew Mayer: President of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions:

Without a doubt, the single greatest idea of the Founders is the system of checks and balances established in the Constitution. From 1787 to 1913, this amazing system allowed America to rise from a largely agrarian country to one of the world’s powers on the eve of World War I. During those 126 years, the federal government really was largely constrained and the states played dominant roles in the lives of their citizens. All of that changed in 1913 when Americans unwisely passed the 17th Amendment that fundamentally changed the balance of power between the states and the federal government. With the direct election of U.S. Senators, states lost the only real check they had on the growth and usurpation of power by the federal government. That seemingly insignificant change made to reduce corruption at the height of the Progressive Movement, ironically has resulted in an unchecked federal government with almost limitless powers and the attendant corruption that comes with great power.

ObamaCare illustrates this reality perfectly as states are left to try to undo what their own senators voted for/rammed through despite the costs ObamaCare will pose on states. Now, states desperately cling to the pre-1937 interpretation of the Commerce Clause—it only took 20 years or so for the federal government to realize the power it gained in 1913—and senators ignore the wishes of their constituents—the states, not the people in the states—knowing that the diffusion of the cost is outweighed by the concentration of the benefit. If we want to get America back on course, we should repeal the 17th Amendment, thereby making state legislative races far more important than they are today.

Matthew J. Brouillette, President of the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives:

America’s founding was shaped by the radical declaration that our right to private property was and is inherent and inalienable. This hostile idea, embodied in our Founding documents, challenged the historical practice of man’s rights being determined, limited, and granted by the state. This reorientation of the grantor of rights—from our Creator rather than those in authority—dramatically redefined who was sovereign while simultaneously placing chains on the powers of government. The state would now be the protector—rather than the arbiter—of man’s inherent and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the fruits of his labors.

Ginni Thomas, President of LibertyCentral.org:

While the Founders understood that men were not angels, they also recognized the inherent danger of powerful, centralized government. The simultaneous recognition of both of these principles is remarkable and formed the philosophical foundation for our system of limited Constitutional government. This foundation provided for the greatest degree of individual liberty within a robust independent civil society that could form, naturally, a just and successful society.

Thomas J. Gaitens, Florida Tea Party Leader:

The phrase “Endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights” has to be the most significant idea, revolutionary idea. This simple yet profound idea is the seed by which LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS spring. Furthermore, it is this principle that brings us the irreplaceable conclusion that “Governments are instituted among men …” This concept of unalienable rights, known as the rights of man is the building block of Liberty. Our Hale rallying cry, of “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” embodies this and has been our chief export for 233 years. Failure to understand this byproduct of our Founding is failure to understand American Exceptionalism.




The 4th of July: "The 4th of July is a dedicated day of remembrance. A day not only to remember the sacrifices our forefathers endured to free us from the yoke of tyranny, but also for us to recall how significant our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were for all of humanity. These documents, even with all the flaws of human nature self evident, were the strongest declaration of individual freedom ever created. Because of the freedom these documents provided, America became the wealthiest nation in the world.”

Celebrate race relations? "On my first Fox News Special, What’s Great About America, which airs this weekend, I argue that one of the things we should celebrate about America is American race relations. Yes, America has a history of slavery, then Jim Crow, then segregation and today, there’s still some racial hatred. But for a country that one generation ago had a presidential candidate (George Wallace) declaring ’segregation forever,’ race relations in this country are remarkably good. According to one poll, 81% of Americans have a ‘fairly close personal friend’ of another race. This kind of tolerance is rare in the world.”

Why is the Gulf cleanup so slow?: "As the oil spill continues and the cleanup lags, we must begin to ask difficult and uncomfortable questions. There does not seem to be much that anyone can do to stop the spill except dig a relief well, not due until August. But the cleanup is a different story. The press and Internet are full of straightforward suggestions for easy ways of improving the cleanup, but the federal government is resisting these remedies.”

If the US won’t drill oil offshore, other nations will: "If the United States commits to bypassing offshore drilling at depths greater than 500 feet, we will be cutting off our collective noses to spite our collective face. Spain, China, Venezuela and other nations will continue to exploit potential reserves of fossil fuels, wherever they may be found. As a result, more of the world’s supply of crude oil and natural gas will fall into the hands of unfriendly nations.”

Crude oil falls as US payrolls slip, factor orders decrease: "Crude oil dropped for a fifth day after a U.S. government report showed that employment slipped in June for the first time this year and factory orders declined more than forecast. … Crude oil for August delivery fell 81 cents to $72.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since June 8. Prices slipped 8.5 percent in five days, the biggest weekly drop since the week ended May 7.”

US economy stuck in misery: "The middle class is dead. The US has produced a self-sustaining two-class society. Most Lower Class Americans are in bad or uncertain economic shape but the rich and powerful Upper Class crowd keeps making and spending money as if there has been no recession. Talk about a possible double-dip recession misses the larger reality: For many millions of Americans the first recession is still here; there has been no recovery for them.”

CA: Court okays Governator’s cuts to state employees’ pay: "The governor has the authority to lower most state workers’ pay to the federal minimum wage if a state budget isn’t in place, a state appeals court ruled Friday, the second day of California’s 2010-11 fiscal year. The ruling came one day after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the state controller to cut pay for about 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The court case began in 2008, when Schwarzenegger made a similar order. Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, defied the demand and was sued by the Republican governor, but a budget was approved before the case was resolved.”

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

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

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


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


4 July, 2010

The USA: A country for the little guy

An Independence Day reflection

I was born and bred in the Australian working class and, despite my success in academe and business, I still feel most at home among working class people. They seem to me to have a realism that the bourgeoisie lack. And I notice the same good-humoured realism among small-town Americans too. Big cities and grand theorizing seem to undermine common sense.

And there is no doubt that people from humble beginnings can rise to the top in both Australia and the USA -- from a B grade actor like Ronald Reagan to a parasite like Barack Obama.

But I think that a major factor in making America great is an extraordinarily simple one and one that is often overlooked: America has Congressional elections every two years. That puts the politicians in mortal fear of the little guy -- of ordinary Americans.

The politicians have got very little room to maneuver. If they run off the rails they will very rapidly be out on their ear. And that fear does mostly restrain them from grand follies. So America is in a very real sense the country where the little guy rules -- and that has made it great. And there is no doubt that the grand folly of Obamacare will deliver many a well-deserved boot up the backside to Democrat politicians this November.

And one of the wonderful things about ordinary Americans and Australians is that they are benevolent. They are kindly people who are ready to help others if they can. And that has made the USA into an incredibly generous nation.

What leaves me in awe is that America has repeatedly shown its readiness to risk the lives of its finest young men in order to rescue people in other countries from tyranny and brutality. America itself has not been seriously threatened for around 200 years so most of America's many wars have simply been efforts to help others.

And I think therefore that it is very right to remind ourselves of that awesome sacrifice on this day. I think the video below does that:


Barack Obama's 'politics as usual' revealed by Rod Blagojevich trial

Obama's action in trying to ease his friend Valerie Jarrett into his old Senate seat will fuel cynicism about politics, argues Toby Harnden

In a year when Americans are arguably more cynical and disillusioned about politics than at any time since Watergate, the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich is a sobering reminder of how its practitioners operate.

Although "Blago", the foul-mouthed bouffant buffoon, is the main attraction of the Chicago production, the former Illinois governor's reluctant co-star is Barack Obama. The President forms part of the proceedings each day even though the judge has spared him a personal experience.

Reports of the Blago trial cannot make comfortable reading for the White House for they provide what Mary Mitchell, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist, described as "an unfiltered look at how the sausage is made in Illinois"

Illinois, of course, is the state that gave us President Obama. It is where he cut his teeth as a community organiser and where he first began to ascend the greasy pole of politics by taking his seat in the state senate.

At issue in the Blago trial is whether the then governor was trying to sell the United States Senate seat that Obama ascended to in 2004 after his initial Republican opponent imploded.

Blago had the power to appoint a new Senator when the seat was vacated because of Obama's presidential election victory in November 2008. Clearly, he thought the seat was a valuable prize.

"I got this thing and it's f------ golden and I'm not just giving it up for f------ nothing," he said in a conversation recorded by a federal wiretap. Blago's instinct was that Obama – who he mockingly described as "this historic, f------ demi-god" – would be willing to pay to have his preferred choice be duly appointed.

That choice, the trial has confirmed, was Valerie Jarrett, who now rejoices in the title of senior White House adviser and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Her qualification to be a Senator? Jarrett had worked for Mayor Richard Daley and chaired the Chicago Transit Board. She had been a successful businesswoman in Chicago. But she had never held elected office and her name would not even have been mentioned had it not been for her closeness to the President-elect.

Jarrett was a long-time personal friend of Obama and his wife Michelle and that seemed to be qualification enough for the man about to enter the White House.

Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union's powerful Local 1 branch, took on the role as "emissary" for Jarrett, who initially wanted the Senate seat, and testified that Obama telephoned him personally to speak about it.

Next, Obama's incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel spoke to John Wyma, a lobbyist, who then telephoned Blago's right-hand man John Harris to communicate that "the president-elect would be very pleased if you appointed Valerie and he would be, uh, thankful and appreciative".

Blago's problem seems to have been that he wanted something a little bit more concrete than appreciation. To be precise, his response was: "F--- them."

The gratitude of a President, however, is no small thing and who knows what favour Blago might have found coming his way in due course had he duly appointed Jarrett.

That, of course, is how Chicago politics works – mutual back-scratching, a nudge and a wink. Blago's problem, if the allegations prove to be founded, is that he took a much cruder and more literal approach to such matters.

It has also become clear from the trial that Obama wanted to make sure that Emil Jones, then President of the Illinois State Senate and the man Obama referred to as his "political godfather", out of the seat.

The former sewer inspector had taken Obama under his wing when he was a callow state senator but he had apparently now outlived his usefulness. Perhaps Obama did not want such a reminder of his past in Washington.

Team Obama soon concluded that Blago was out of control and that the way he was dealing with the Senate vacancy could be extremely damaging to the President if he was too closely associated with it. So they pulled back and Jarrett took her White House job instead.

Quite why the President who promised hope, change and transparency thought it proper to have been trying to ease his friend into his old Senate seat just days after he had won the White House has not been answered.

There is no suggestion that what Obama was doing was anything illegal, improper or even out of the ordinary, at least in Illinois. He was simply engaging in politics as usual. Unfortunately, politics as usual is what Candidate Obama promised to bring to an end.



Unprecedented Arrogance

David Limbaugh

The Obama administration grows more arrogant, cavalier and fundamentally dishonest every day. Just in the past few days, we've seen a number of troubling examples. Frankly, sometimes it's hard to keep up.

In a speech in Wisconsin, Obama was bragging about how wonderful the terrible economy is. You'll recall that during both of President George W. Bush's terms, Democrats, including Obama, castigated him for destroying the economy, despite the existence of empirically verifiable robust growth during some seven of those eight years.

Now that Obama has been in office for a year and a half and his economy is failing by all objective measures, he and his Democrats demand, once again, that we ignore the empirical evidence in front of our faces and bow down to them in reverent gratitude for ensuring that things are not worse than they are.

Everyone knows Obama promised -- he was hardly tentative about his prediction -- that if the nation followed him over the cliff with his harebrained "stimulus" scheme, unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. When unemployment soared above 10 percent, he insisted we be patient to allow his plan to work. Now that it stubbornly remains in the high 9s, he tells us that if he hadn't implemented his stimulus bill, the economy would be much worse (12 or 13 or 15 percent), so we not only are forbidden from criticizing him for this disaster but also must genuflect because only three of the four wheels of the economy are teetering over the edge of the cliff.

He said, "There may be some roads that not only were repaired but also were ... linked up to create a new industrial park that would facilitate long-term economic development beyond this immediate crisis."

Can you imagine the reaction of the liberal media had a Republican president uttered such gibberish? There "may be some roads"? How's that for a non-statement? That were linked up to a new industrial park to facilitate long-term growth? How about some facts here, Mr. Intellectual? Then again, how can you blame him for citing nebulous "facts" and failed economic theory when neither the real facts nor the economic evidence substantiates his claims.

He also said that every economist who's looked at it has said that the recovery did its job. Would someone please get this man a link to The Heritage Foundation's website or any other credible conservative think tank or economist? Time and time again, Heritage scholars have not only argued but also demonstrated why Obama's economic policies don't work in theory and haven't worked in practice. As noted many times before, they have not helped avert a crisis, but have exacerbated already bleak conditions. Sure, all economists agree with him, just as all Americans agree with his socialistic policies.

Moving on, in the past few days, we've also heard from former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams, who has confirmed -- from the belly of the beast -- our worst suspicions about Obama and Eric Holder's Justice Department's dismissing a slam-dunk case for voter intimidation against New Black Panther Party members for racial reasons. This is an egregious trampling on the rule of law, an outrage that would subject any Republican president to charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, a scandal of the first order for which this administration isn't even bothering to develop "plausible deniability."

Next, we read about Obama's reaction to Sen. Lamar Alexander's reasonable suggestion that any energy discussion between the president and a "bipartisan" group of senators should include a focus on the oil spill and BP. Obama said, "That's just your talking point," and flat-out refused to discuss the subject. Is he king or what?

Finally, we've also witnessed this week another outburst from that paragon of smugness, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, whom I criticized earlier for mocking members of the press corps for their legitimate questions in lieu of attempting to answer them in good faith.

This time, this little smarmy nerd-thug mocked Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona for claiming Obama told him in a private meeting he would not secure our borders because it would disincentivize Republicans from supporting his effort to pass "comprehensive immigration reform" (read: amnesty). Gibbs accused Kyl of changing his story and basically arguing with himself on the matter, even though Kyl has not retreated an iota from the only relevant assertion: that Obama made the statement in question. Watch the video in which Gibbs clearly intends to create the false impression Kyl had vacillated on his charge, and tell me with a straight face we're not dealing with an entirely unprecedented level of arrogance in this White House.



BrookesNews Update

Obamanomics hits a reef : Borrowing and taxation amount to a transfer of purchasing power. We measure aggregate spending in terms of dollars. How in heavens name does this process increase the quantity of dollars? What we get is not an increase in demand but a change in the composition of demand, the pattern of spending. Aggregate spending must remain unchanged
Did outsourcing hollow out the US economy? : The effect of an overvalued currency is to make imports cheap relative to domestic goods and services. The longer the longer the currency remains overvalued the greater will be the distortions, i.e., malinvestments. This is where an apparent hollowing out process could possibly make its appearance
A leftwing intellectual spews anti-market nonsense : The left's rage against capitalism is relentless. What is striking about these intellectuals is their total ignorance of how markets actually work and of the true history of capitalism. Another striking feature is their utter contempt for the truth
Paul Krugman's depressing krugnorance : A devastating critique of Paul Krugman's economics and his absurd belief that printing money cures recessions. He finds it impossible to entertain the thought that printing money may actually be the cause of booms and busts
Fidel's Castro's terrorist trade : Castro Incorporated has three lines of business: drugs, people smuggling and terrorism. So why isn't the media exposing this vicious political gangster? Because as he himself said: 'I belong to a species which is above arrest', ie, I'm a leftist. Castro's secret police are now working with Mexican drug lords and smuggling terrorists across the border
A Dog in the Manger Presidency: Obama's character described 2,500 years ago by Aesop : If you run a campaign on the argument you are an unprecedented natural-born leader, despite utter inexperience — can you afford to let anyone else outshine you? The notion that an exemplar, par excellence, will fall full-born, like Athena from the head of Zeus is appealing. This concept is seductive probably for the same reason Jesus has unmitigated attraction to this day
Lenin Lives! But will he get his own spot on Larry King? : The Larry King interview with Oliver Stone and Jesse Ventura displayed a carefully crafted use of disinformation and half truths which have been the hallmark of Communist propaganda within the United States since Lenin unleashed his campaign against America not long after the Bolshevik revolution

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

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


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


3 July, 2010

Poland: A Shot of Free Market Capitalism Proves the Best Remedy

People emigrating TO Poland for job opportunities? Dell Computer shifting production to Poland? Positive GDP growth in 2009 -- at the height of a worldwide recession and financial crisis?

For most of the world, 2009 was a year to forget. Not for Poland. It was the only country in the European Union not to fall into a recession during the global economic crisis. Poland's GDP increased in 2009: no other European country was above water. By comparison, GDP fell in the US (-2.4%), in Germany (-5%), in the United Kingdom (-4.3%), in Italy (-6.5%). . . . well, you get the picture. The year 2010 promises to be similarly outstanding for Poland as it is expected to realize the fastest growth in Europe.

During this period, Poland's unemployment rate edged up only slightly, as did its budget deficit and total government debt. In the meantime, the US unemployment rate nearly doubled, while its government racked up record deficits and debt as far as the eye can see.

Why was Poland's experience different?

Simple. Poland's leaders, in particular, Finance Minister Rostowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk, have an unyielding belief in the free markets, having been trained in Austrian economics as espoused by Mises and Hayek, a school of economic theory barely taught at most US universities and not ever mentioned at the high school level. And, therefore, it is unfortunately a school of thought completely foreign to the current U.S. Administration and so many in its government.

So what was their spot-on prescription to the global economic crisis?

When the financial crisis struck in September 2008, Poland's government immediately held emergency meetings. First, they suspended all new planned regulations. This worked so well that Poland is now in the midst of a multi-year program of deregulation that has been a boon for small businesses and entrepreneurs, somewhat similar to the experience of the US in the 1980s.

Next they cut taxes. The three-tiered income tax rate of 19%, 30%, and 40%, was reduced to two tiers: 18% and 32%. And they continued to privatize industry. In October 2009, an IPO for the state-owned power utility, Polska Grupa Energetyczna, raised over two billion dollars which the government has used to fund its budget and keep taxes in check.

What has the United States done in response to the economic crisis?

We greatly increased regulations and government control over our health care, automobile, mortgage, financial, energy, and insurance industries. We increased government spending to record levels and are planning tax increases to pay for stimulus packages and health reform.

It is not surprising that our results have been different.

QUESTION: Is it possible to learn from the lessons of Poland if the media doesn't report it, our leaders do not inform themselves of it, AND IT IS NOT TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS?

Poland is transforming itself into a laissez-faire paradise. Free markets and the Austrian economic theories of Mises and Hayek have wide support in the government and the general population. They are intimately familiar with the hazards of central economic planning and are understandably reluctant to travel that road again.



"Obama is a menace to Israel, to Western Europe, . . . and to the whole of the Western World."

An interview at the New English Review with Dr. Richard L. Rubinstein, Yale fellow, "Distinguished Professor of the Year", and Harvard Ph.D.

"Obama is really a revolutionary. That doesn't mean he's looking to stir up violent trouble but I believe he is trying to transform both the American political system and economic system and America's relationship to the world. I also believe that he has decided that America must make its peace with Iran. I believe that he is a man who is highly intelligent, knows what he's doing and in spite of the fact that he has attracted liberal Jewish supporters, some with great wealth. His intention is to correct the historical mistake of the creation of the state of Israel.

Given Obama's background, the fact that his family was, on his father's side was Muslim, that his sister is a Muslim, that his half brother is a Muslim, there is no doubt that he heard a great deal about Islam and Israel from them before he took office and though he was not candid about it at first, he has by his decisions and his symbolic actions made it clear where his sympathies are.

... In addition to that, he has a hostility towards Western Europe, especially to England as characterized by the symbolic action of returning the bust of Winston Churchill to the English, one of his first acts.

And he has made some interesting symbolic moves with, for example, bowing to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia since King Abdullah is the keeper of the two holiest shrines of Islam, Mecca and Medina, one wonders why he did this.

But when a head of state, which is what Obama is, makes a symbolic statement like that you know he is trying to convey a message, and it’s not one which we in western civilization are willing to accept.

Finally, he has talked of a nuclear-free Middle East and a nuclear-free world, and what he intends to do, of course, if he can, is to disarm Israel’s great equalizer. It has been able to defend itself against the far more numerous Arabs by virtue of the fact that it has nuclear weapons and Obama will, and he’s indicated he will apply every pressure to Israel to take that equalizer away from them.

So the way I see it, is that this man is a menace to Israel, to Western Europe, and I might add that Western Europe is beginning to have sanctions against Iran that are far greater and more effective than anything Obama was willing to tolerate, and to the whole of the Western World. He aims for a radical transformation, he is the most radical president that America has ever had!"



Six Months to Go Until The Largest Tax Hikes in American History

In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.




Sad to see that Wendy McElroy's sites are "down" -- apparently due to a DDOS attack. Both http://www.wendymcelroy.com and http://www.ifeminists.com/ are affected. She is a fierce libertarian so some Leftists must have decided that she is to be silenced. She is a old campaigner, however, so will survive. She appears on other sites at times -- Liberty & Power and Lew Rockwell, for instance -- so her thoughts will still be circulated. I would advise her to set up a blogspot blog. Attacking a blogspot blog means you are attacking Google and they are big boys.

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, Friday, July 02, 2010: "The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 24% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -20. Just 29% believe the president’s economic stimulus package has helped the economy while 43% believe it has hurt. Voters say that decisions made by business owners following their own self-interest will create more jobs than decisions made by government officials."

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

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


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


2 July, 2010

ObamaCare is Bad for Business

ObamaCare will cost our nation more than $1 trillion. However, as Obama’s health care plan begins to unfold, it is clear it is going to cost our nation more than just red ink. If the mandates and taxes in ObamaCare are left as is, it will cost America growth, innovation and jobs.

Victoria Braden and her team of experts work with small businesses as a human relations/employee benefits consulting firm. She is the CEO and President of Braden Benefit Strategies in Georgia. Braden is well versed in what is to come for her clients as they face benefit changes beginning Jan. 1, 2011 — when new mandates of ObamaCare kick in.

Tucked inside the 2,000-page law are new mandates that will affect business owners. ObamaCare has many of these businesses worried, confused and afraid. Some of her clients have already closed their doors for good. “They are afraid,” Braden says. “They are not sure what’s coming. They hear all these things and they want to know what’s happening.”

Most of Braden’s clients are companies with 300 or fewer employees. Many of the new regulations in ObamaCare affect them. She is taking the changes one year at a time. “I am just taking it one step at a time. My clients are doing all they can to survive now,” she says.

With many of the new taxes and mandates in ObamaCare being rather vague, it will be hard to know what kind of damage they will do to small businesses until they are enforced.

Braden says one big change in 2011 that will hit small businesses hard is employers will be forced to give the same benefits to everyone in the company. She gave this example: If a restaurant owner covers 90 percent of the health care costs for his managers, but only 50 percent of the costs for the rest of his staff, he will be forced to cover everyone at 90 percent or 50 percent. Every employee has to receive the same coverage and their W2 forms next year have to reflect how much their employer contributed to their health care plan.

“I’ve had several companies say that they are just going to drop employee’s insurance altogether because they can’t afford it,” Braden says. The problem is, ObamaCare coverage doesn’t kick in until 2014. Individuals who need health insurance and can’t get covered elsewhere have to be uninsured for at least six months before they can apply to receive the high-risk pool insurance coverage, which provides a buffer for the uninsured until ObamaCare coverage starts. However, even the high-risk pool insurance is underfunded and won’t cover everyone that needs insurance, including people with pre-existing conditions.

Regardless, starting in 2011, employers have to obey this mandate, which includes all full-time employees defined as those who work 30 hours or more.

“As a business owner, when you can’t make payroll, yours is the first to go,” Braden says. “We will see a whole bunch of 29-hour employees — especially in the fast food and retail environments — and an increase in seasonal workers.”

There are many more taxes and mandates that are harmful to the small business environment.
“Small business owners are on the front lines,” says Chief Economist Raymond Keating of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council). “They are skeptical and they should be that way.”

Does any part of ObamaCare help small business owners?

ObamaCare does offer a small business tax credit. But don’t be deceived. It is touted as a good and helpful tool for small businesses, but is rendered useless for many of them. There are a series of four tests a business has to go through before they can even qualify for a tax credit. It comes down to the size of your business —t he amount of health care costs you pay per employee and how many employees you have.

Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), comments on this tax credit in a Wall Street Journal article.

“The credit, which is only available for a maximum of six years, puts small business owners through a series of complicated ‘tests’ to determine if they qualify and how much they will receive. Fewer than one-third of small businesses even pass the first three (of four) tests to qualify… More importantly, the credit is temporary, but health-care cost increases are permanent. When the credit ends, small businesses will be left paying full price.”

This doesn’t provide much incentive for a small business who receives a tax credit for only two years to increase its capital and hire new employees when it knows the growth will be short lived.

“ObamaCare is all negative for the small business economy,” says Keating. “Two-thirds of new jobs every year are created by small businesses.”

In this economy, there is nothing needed more than new jobs. The taxes and mandates in ObamaCare are on their way to further damaging our economy and job market.

Many of the mandates in ObamaCare are folded into the health care system over time.
One such mandates is an insurance fee. Overall it is an $8 billion tax — that escalates to $14.3 billion by 2018. This is a tax on insurance companies based on their market share with small businesses paying the bulk of the tax. This law excludes self-insured plans — plans most big businesses and labor unions offer. Therefore this tax will be passed onto plans that a majority of small businesses and individuals buy.

“This is just another tax on small businesses,” Braden says. With so much uncertainty of what 2011 holds for small businesses in regards to ObamaCare, she isn’t even telling her clients about this mandate yet — hoping things will change before it is enforced.

Why is this Administration killing the very engine that drives America?

“I feel like yelling, STOP!” Keating says. “So much damage has been done we need to go back and undo what’s been done. Stop the madness.”

Braden is equally as frustrated. “There are some really good ways to get out of it,” she says about the current situation of the economy and the negative effects of ObamaCare. “There are some great minds out there if we listened. They could figure it out if they’d get out of Washington and listen to the people,” she goes on to say about the leaders of our nation.

“Obama gives lip service to job creation, but his policies are destroying the American dream and the jobs created by small businesses,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Entrepreneurs are smart. Those small businesses waiting to see what will happen when more ObamaCare mandates go into effect will adjust to the changes — even if that means less growth and more Americans unemployed and unable to support their families. That would indeed be a new face of America — and not a pretty one.



An email to Ms. Marlan S. Maralit, Organizing Department, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees

From economist Don Boudreaux

Thanks for your mass e-mail this morning inviting me to recommend students for AFSCME’s Alternative Union Break: Summer Session. I understand that students who attend this four-day program are taught how to “fight for a better country,” and to promote “social and economic justice,” by becoming union organizers.

Alas, I know no student who’d be interested in your program. The young men and women who study economics at George Mason University learn, above all, to think rather than to emote. So our students are rightly suspicious of vague terms such as “social and economic justice.”

Our students learn also that an economy most beneficial to the poorest amongst us is one that is free and competitive – an economy governed by the laws of property, contract, and tort instead of by the arbitrary government diktats that are the fetish of labor unions.

Our students understand that widespread prosperity comes only from entrepreneurial creativity, market-driven investment, risk-taking, and hard work – all in response to the demands of consumers free to spend their money as they choose. Our students know that granting monopoly privileges to politically boisterous groups such as yours reduces, rather than produces, prosperity.

Our students understand that entrepreneurs and firms in market economies gain, not by taking wealth from others, but only by creating wealth and sharing that creation with others on terms that are mutually and voluntarily agreed to.

Oh, here’s one more important fact that our students understand: labor unions routinely promote injustice by lobbying for regulations (such as minimum-wage legislation and the Davis-Bacon Act) that price low-skilled workers out of jobs; by endorsing protectionist policies that deny consumers opportunities to get the most value for their dollars; and by supporting many bailouts and other forms of corporate welfare.

So I invite you to recommend to the young people who go through your program that they attend some of the many programs we have at GMU Economics (and affiliated organizations such as the Institute for Humane Studies and the Mercatus Center) in order to learn how they can truly best promote a society that is prosperous and peaceful.



Young smart-ass Leftist journalist takes a tumble

Blatant bias is still sometimes unacceptable to major news outlets

The resignation of Dave Weigel from The Washington Post’s high-profile blog roll sent a shock wave through the ranks of the DC blogworld. But perhaps his downfall, in so short a time, wasn’t that surprising.

Many of us who have followed Mr. Weigel’s reported posts about conservatives and the Tea Party movement found ourselves buffeted by his often blunt, boyish observations on Twitter. In many ways, he crossed the line of what is considered objective journalism but, in many ways, the Post encouraged opinion and attitude from its flock of young bloggers.

The whole episode seems to point out that while established media organizations want to compete in the blogosphere, they still don’t know quite how to deal with the combination of voice and politics that fuels online debate.

Back when he was writing for The Washington Independent, Mr. Weigel was one of the few bloggers covering the first Tea Party convention step-by-step. He followed real people attending the conference, mining their visions and their reasons for showing up long before Sarah Palin took the stage at the end of the convention.

He was, at that point, someone to watch, whose diligent reporting brought him wider attention, including at the Post. And his straight-laced coverage also seemed to fill a huge gap for the mainstream media — a young engaged reporter who could cover the conservative movement, thus helping offset the criticism of the media as a bastion of the old left.

But in the 24/7 online world, every word is mined for bias — from the right, from the left and everything in between. Watchdogs on the right looked to Mr. Weigel’s intemperate bursts on Twitter and elsewhere for clues to his politics. But it was his acerbic comments on Journolist — the off-the-record water cooler for young, mainly left-leaning writers created by Ezra Klein, another Post blogger — that got him in trouble.


In his public writing he did not appear overly biased but on Journolist, the "private" listserv for Leftist journalists, he was scatological. When Rush Limbaugh went to the hospital with chest pain, Weigel said, “I hope he fails.” Matt Drudge is an “amoral shut-in” who should “set himself on fire.” Opponents are referred to as expletives



Virginia, feds square off over ObamaCare: "The state of Virginia and the [US federal] government were pitched in a legal battle in a federal courtroom on Thursday that could lead to the undoing of the massive healthcare reform [sic] law passed three months ago. Judge Henry Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Richmond heard the federal government’s arguments to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Virginia that contends the healthcare law’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance is unconstitutional. … While the judge will only decide if the suit can proceed — a decision Hudson said he would render within 30 days — the court heard the first airing of arguments that could make their way to the Supreme Court as some states resist implementing the law.”

Subsidies and bailouts: The Department of Prolonged Childhood: "Adults understand that they must pay a price for the mistakes they make. Children, on the other hand, want constantly to be bailed out … and deserve to be … by their parents. Here’s the mistake you politicians make … We are not a nation of children, and you are not our parents. Turning us all into weak dependent children may be good for the business of politics, but its bad for a culture, and completely unworthy of a country that once referred to itself as the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Prison sentencing reform and the cost of drug prohibition: "A sizeable percentage of those incarcerated in England and Wales are drug offenders; a 2009 report by the International Centre for Prison Studies at King’s College London revealed that 15.5% of those incarcerated are convicted on such charges. At more than £35,000 per inmate year, the cost of simply holding these offenders in prison costs taxpayers nearly £500 million per year. This cost, along with those associated with enforcement of drug laws, should be examined seriously as the government proceeds with its review. The Adam Smith Institute has advocated a more sensible policy, involving the medicalisation of addictive and damaging drugs, and the legalisation of recreational drugs.”

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

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


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


1 July, 2010

"My Brain Made Me Do It"

I am not as bothered by this as the blogger below. The logical outcome from biological determinism is that criminals have to be locked up permanently, which would be no bad thing -- JR

It is always rewarding, and sometimes remarkably difficult, to have a very smart patient in Psychoanalysis. Some patients have a talent for introspection and reflection; others use their intellectual abilities to set up all sorts of impediments to the treatment with an unconscious goal of defeating the Analyst and insuring that they do not change. Complex and sophisticated rationalizations comprise some of the most intractable defenses. From time to time a more simple defense appears, which by virtue of its simplicity, allows the patient to refute all interpretative efforts and deny responsibility for their difficulties. Among such simplistic rationalizations is the cry, of a particular behavior, "my brain made me do it." Among other things, this defense has the virtue of being (apparently) supported by modern neuroscience and the legal profession, which takes every opportunity to find ways to mitigate the responsibility for misbehavior of their clients.

This morning, NPR discussed the results of MRI scans of the brains of criminals and how such scans may be changing our conception of guilt and innocence in the courtroom:
A Psychopath's Brain In The Courtroom

Kent Kiehl has studied hundreds of psychopaths. Kiehl is one of the world's leading investigators of psychopathy and a professor at the University of New Mexico. He says he can often see it in their eyes: There's an intensity in their stare, as if they're trying to pick up signals on how to respond. But the eyes are not an element of psychopathy, just a clue.

Officially, Kiehl scores their pathology on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, which measures traits such as the inability to feel empathy or remorse, pathological lying, or impulsivity.

"The scores range from zero to 40," Kiehl explains in his sunny office overlooking a golf course. "The average person in the community, a male, will score about 4 or 5. Your average inmate will score about 22. An individual with psychopathy is typically described as 30 or above. Brian scored 38.5 basically. He was in the 99th percentile."

"Brian" is Brian Dugan, a man who is serving two life sentences for rape and murder in Chicago. Last July, Dugan pleaded guilty to raping and murdering 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico in 1983, and he was put on trial to determine whether he should be executed. Kiehl was hired by the defense to do a psychiatric evaluation.

I don't think I am spoiling the story to mention that Psychopaths show different patterns on fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of their brains than normal people do:
For ethical reasons, Kiehl could not allow me to watch an inmate's brain being scanned, so he asked his researchers to demonstrate.

After a few minutes of preparation, researcher Kevin Bache settles into the brain scanner, where he can look up and see a screen. On the screen flashes three types of pictures. One kind depicts a moral violation: He sees several hooded Klansmen setting a cross on fire. Another type is emotional but morally ambiguous: a car that is on fire but you don't know why. Another type of photo is neutral: for example, students standing around a Bunsen burner.

The subjects rate whether the picture is a moral violation on a scale of 1 to 5. Kiehl says most psychopaths do not differ from normal subjects in the way they rate the photos: Both psychopaths and the average person rank the KKK with a burning cross as a moral violation. But there's a key difference: Psychopaths' brains behave differently from that of a nonpsychopathic person. When a normal person sees a morally objectionable photo, his limbic system lights up. This is what Kiehl calls the "emotional circuit," involving the orbital cortex above the eyes and the amygdala deep in the brain. But Kiehl says when psychopaths like Dugan see the KKK picture, their emotional circuit does not engage in the same way.

Kiehl's response then encapsulates an argument that has already begun to be made in the Ivory Towers of Harvard and Yale Law Schools:
"We have a lot of data that shows psychopaths do tend to process this information differently," Kiehl says. "And Brian looked like he was processing it like the other individuals we've studied with psychopathy."

Kiehl says the emotional circuit may be what stops a person from breaking into that house or killing that girl. But in psychopaths like Dugan, the brakes don't work. Kiehl says psychopaths are a little like people with very low IQs who are not fully responsible for their actions. The courts treat people with low IQs differently. For example, they can't get the death penalty.

"What if I told you that a psychopath has an emotional IQ that's like a 5-year-old?" Kiehl asks. "Well, if that was the case, we'd make the same argument for individuals with low emotional IQ - that maybe they're not as deserving of punishment, not as deserving of culpability, etc."

And that's exactly what Dugan's lawyers argued at trial last November. Attorney Steven Greenberg said that Dugan was not criminally insane. He knew right from wrong. But he was incapable of making the right choices.

"Someone shouldn't be executed for a condition that they were born with, because it's not their fault," Greenberg says. "The crime is their fault, and he wasn't saying it wasn't his fault, and he wasn't saying, give [me] a free pass. But he was saying, don't kill me because it's not my fault that I was born this way."

[I won't even bother pointing out that brain structure does not predict behavior in any individual case. There are people who have "psychopathic brain scans" who have never been involved in criminal behavior. There are a multitude of criminals who have "normal" brain scans. In reality, low IQ is highly correlated with criminality, though most people with low IQ's are not criminals. Of course, many of the same behavioral scientists who insist that Psychopathy is hard wired and therefor mitigates or excuses criminal behavior will also argue there is no such thing as a meaningful neurological substrate for IQ.]

This is an argument that is without end. If you believe in free will and responsibility then we must all accept responsibility for our actions. The only reasonable exception should be the McNaughton Defense, where the perpetrator literally does not appreciate the difference between right and wrong. Lenny, in Mice and Men, would have to be judged innocent under this standard.

If all behavior is not just psychically determined but structurally determined, then no one is responsible for anything. The BP executives could no more avoid taking short cuts in the Gulf and their Regulators could no more avoid neglecting their duties than poor "Brian" could avoid raping and killing that 10 year old child. That way lies nihilism. At the same time, while smart lawyers work out ways to free people like Brian from the consequences of their actions, they are also setting the table for a form of institutionalized neurologically based totalitarianism.

Once we have dispensed with free will and responsibility, then those who have "incorrect" or "dangerous" brain structures can only be locked up or otherwise removed from the body politic. We do not know how to "fix" such brain structures (and such fixes are a long way off, perhaps an infinite distance off, considering the implications of complexity involved) and once we accept that no one can ever help doing what their brain "makes" them do, then the only way to protect a functioning society is to remove those whose brains are inimical to the demands of those who by virtue of their "correct" brain structures have no choice but to rule over the rest of us who are not so lucky. A society based on "Neurological Determinism" will truly be mindless.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Kagan's Top Ten -- which rather speak for themselves

Here are the top ten quotes from Solicitor General Elena Kagan as she goes into her fourth day of Senate hearings.

1. "Like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant." — Responding to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who asked Kagan was she was doing on Christmas Day of last year, when a an terrorist was caught trying to blow up a plane.

2. "Lets just throw that piece of work in the trash, why don't we?" she said. "That's before I went to law school, and didn't understand much about the way judges should work." — Speaking about her thesis to the Judiciary Committee, which defended both judicial activism and bemoaned the demise of the Communist Party in the United States.

3. "The 'disaster' would be if the statement did not accurately reflect all of what ACOG thought." — Trying to wiggle out of her previous reflection that the it would be a “disaster” if the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists could not identify any circumstances under which that partial-birth abortion “would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”

4. “Senator, the military at all times during my deanship had full and good access.”— Speaking on her decision to exclude military recruiters from availing themselves of Harvard’s career services office, and instead force them to work through a student group with limited access to the student body.

5. A "loosey-goosey style of interpretation in which anything goes." — Describing her opinion of a “living” Constitution.

6. “A vapid and hollow charade,” serving “little educative function, except perhaps to reinforce lessons of cynicism that citizens often glean from government.” — From 1995 Law Review article, expressing her opinions of Supreme Court hearings. Ironically, she ensured her very own hearings embodied that sentiment perfectly.

7. "Sounds like a dumb law. But I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it’s constitutional and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless." — Responding to a question from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who asked Kagan if she thought a bill that required Americans to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day would violate the Commerce Clause.

8. “My political views are generally progressive.” — Responding to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who brought up the fact that a former chief counsel to President Obama characterized Kagan as "largely a progressive in the mold of Obama himself."

9. “I’m not quite sure how I would characterize my politics.” Responding to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

10. “I wish you wouldn’t [ask].” Responding to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.), who jokingly asked Kagan to give her opinion on the "the vampire versus the werewolf" in the television series Twilight. Klobuchar’s teenage daughter had seen the midnight showing on the morning before the hearings.



VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV

Aint that govt. healthcare wonderful? Are you looking forward to it? It's coming your way! Disasters like this are routine in Britain. See any day's postings on EYE ON BRITAIN

A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.

Carnahan said Tuesday he is calling for a investigation into the issue and has sent a letter to President Obama about it.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," said Carnahan, a Democrat from Missouri. "No veteran who has served and risked their life for this great nation should have to worry about their personal safety when receiving much needed healthcare services from a Veterans Administration hospital."

The issue stems from a failure to clean dental instruments properly, the hospital told CNN affiliate KSDK. Dr. Gina Michael, the association chief of staff at the hospital, told the affiliate that some dental technicians broke protocol by handwashing tools before putting them in cleaning machines. The instruments were supposed to only be put in the cleaning machines, Michael said.

The handwashing started in February 2009 and went on until March of this year, the hospital told KSDK.

The hospital has set up a special clinic and education centers to help patients who may have been infected. However, Carnahan said he feels more should be done and those responsible should be disciplined. "I can only imagine the horror and anger our veterans must be feeling after receiving this letter," Carnahan said. "They have every right to be angry. So am I."

This is not the first time this year a hospital has been in hot water for not following proper procedures.



Medical-Homes Model Pushed By Health Bill Is Still Unproven

ObamaCare contains incentives for "patient-centered medical homes," an HMO-like model without most of the restrictions. Yet recent evidence suggests their effectiveness is mixed at best.

A medical home emphasizes teamwork among physicians. Primary care doctors coordinate patient care among specialists, but they don't act as gatekeepers. Patients have relatively unrestricted access to care.....

"Whether it is a good idea or not, the question is, is there any evidence that it works?" asked Dr. Richard "Buz" Cooper, a professor of medicine and senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. "Before we rush headlong into a new care model, with too few physicians to do it, we'd better look carefully at what has occurred elsewhere and think about how we might build homes for all of our citizens."

Cooper points to recent articles in the Annals of Family Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. The AFM article examined several U.S. demonstration projects and found that medical homes were "associated with small improvements in condition-specific quality of care but not patient experience. (Medical home) models that call for practice change without altering the broader delivery system may not achieve their intended results, at least in the short term."

The JAMA article was more discouraging, studying the experience of Ontario, Canada, where about 10,000 primary care physicians and 9 million residents joined medical homes from 2002 to 2010. The study found the incentives encouraged doctors to see healthier patients and avoid the sick. "Major cities with urban poor and recent immigrants were much less likely to be served by primary care physicians" in a medical home, the article said.


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

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


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


"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among well-informed people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists hate success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

“Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics.” -- C.J. Keyser

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state – capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931–2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here