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 March, 2011

President Obama's Most Amazing Libyan Achievements have been in America

Proof that Democrats have no principles -- only tribal loyalties

By bombing Libya, President Obama accomplished some things once thought absolutely impossible in America:

a) War-mongering liberals. Liberals are now chest-thumping about military "progress" in Libya. Even liberal television and radio cite ingenious reasons why an optional, preemptive American intervention in an oil-producing Arab country, without prior congressional approval or majority public support -- and at a time of soaring deficits -- is well worth supporting, in a sort of "my president, right or wrong" fashion. Apparently liberal foreign policy is returning to the pre-Vietnam days of the hawkish "best and brightest."

b) Europe first. Many Americans have long complained about the opportunistic, utopian Europeans. Under the protective U.S. defense shield, they often privately urged us to deal with dangerous foreign dictators -- while staying above the fray to criticize America, at the same time seeking trade advantages and positive global PR. But now the wily Obama has out-waited even the French. He has managed to shame them into acting with a new possum-like U.S. strategy of playing dead until finally even Europe was exasperated -- almost as if the president were warning them, "We don't mind the Gadhafi bloodletting if you, who are much closer to it, don't mind." The British Guardian and French Le Monde will be too knee-deep in the Libyan war, busy chalking up Anglo-French "wins" and worrying about European oil concessions, to charge America with the usual imperialism, colonialism and militarism. We are almost back to the 1956 world of the Suez crisis.

c) Iraq was just a Libyan prequel. Conservatives have complained that past opposition -- especially in the cases of then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- to George W. Bush's antiterrorism policies and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was more partisan than principled. Obama ended that debate by showing that not only can he embrace -- or, on occasion, expand -- the Bush-Cheney tribunals, preventative detentions, renditions, Predator attacks, intercepts and wiretaps, and Guantanamo Bay, but now preemptively attack an Arab oil-exporting country without fear of Hollywood, congressional cutoffs, Moveon.org "General Betray Us"-type ads, Cindy Sheehan on the evening news, or "Checkpoint"-like novels. In short, Obama has ensured that the exasperated antiwar movement will never be quite the same.

d) Monster-in-recovery. The Gadhafi clan has been wooing Westerners through oil money and multicultural gobbledy-gook. In the last few years, the British released the Lockerbie bomber, a native of Libya; Saif Gadhafi, the would-be artist and scholar and the son of Col. Muammar Gadhafi, essentially bought a Ph.D. from the prestigious London School of Economics; the creepy Harvard-connected Monitor Group hired out cash-hungry "scholars" to write on-spec tributes to Gadhafi's achievements; and singers Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Beyoncé and other entertainers earned a pile of petro-dollars for crooning before the Gadhafis. Then, suddenly, Obama spoiled the fun and profits by turning Gadhafi from a rehabilitated monster back into Ronald Reagan's old "Mad Dog of the Middle East."

e) Stuff happens. Many supporters of the Iraq war condemned Abu Ghraib as the poorly supervised, out-of-control prison it was. Lax American oversight resulted in the sexual humiliation of detained Iraqi insurgents. It was a deplorable episode in which, nonetheless, no one was killed, and yet it took an enormous toll on the credibility of administration officials. But while the media covered the Libyan bombing and the Middle East uprisings, a number of Afghan civilians allegedly were executed by a few rogue American soldiers. That was a far worse transgression than anything that happened at Abu Ghraib under Bush's tenure -- but apparently an incident that in the new media climate, can legitimately be ignored. Obama made "stuff happens" a legitimate defense for those doing their best to run a war from Washington.

f) War really is tiring. The media serially blamed a supposedly lazy Ronald Reagan for napping during military operations abroad. George W. Bush was criticized for cutting brush at his Texas ranch while soldiers fought and died in Iraq. Obama rendered all such presidential criticism as mere nitpicking when he started aerial bombardment in the midst of golfing, handicapping the NCAA basketball tournament and taking his family to Rio de Janeiro.

g) The road to Damascus? After Bush's interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, many war-weary Americans believed that we would never again get involved in a Middle East war. But now, with Obama's preemptive bombing of Libya, giddy American interventionists are again eyeing Iran, Syria -- and beyond!

In short, Obama turned America upside down when he bombed Libya -- and in ways we could have scarcely imagined.



More on the blind Jewish allegiance to the Democratic party

Jay D. Homnick writes ...

Every so often someone asks me my greatest strength as a columnist. But no one needs to ask me my greatest flaw; I wear it on my sleeve. It is that there is one person in government whom I despise so utterly that mere mention of his name makes me spew all over the page. My poor reasonable readers all scurry for cover in fear of getting acid burns from my invective.

By the same token, he is the reason I felt compelled to enter this field. By a weird quirk of fate, I was present as a sixteen-year-old boy at a local meeting of well-meaning Jews who were gulled into making him State Senator for the neighborhood where I grew up, in Brooklyn, New York. The same boobs later bought his malarkey and promoted him to the United State Congress. I saw the sleaziness, the deception, the insincerity, the manipulation -- and to cap it off, the absolute disdain for the people whose vote he sought.

Now he is ensconced in the United States Senate, beyond the reach of the naïve Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn and Queens to call back the monster they created. He learned early that these people who strive for morality and integrity in their lives are gullible about things taking place in faraway Washington, D.C. So he learned to attend every synagogue dinner and every major bar-mitzvah and wedding. He had a driver zipping him back and forth on Saturday nights from event to event, shaking hands and mouthing a few words in Yiddish or Hebrew. Burning the midnight snake oil: all style, no substance.

Then he took their votes, the votes of people being faithful to their families, people who spend their heart-blood on religious education, on protecting their children from base influences, often living without televisions in their homes, imagining themselves to be conducting lives of holiness -- and he spent their votes on advocacy for every immoral practice imaginable. If you want to promote some corruption, some indecency, some nastiness, you could always count on the vote of good old Charles Schumer.

After all, he was in the safest seat of all, bestowed upon him by all those sweet ingenuous rabbis. Even when he left, he handed it off to his protégé, Anthony Weiner, who does the identical dog-and-pony show at all the synagogues and then hands his vote to Satan as a tribute.

As you may have guessed from my tirade, Schumer is back in form. He was recorded by reporters instructing a quartet of Democrat Senators how to game the budget debate. For once his finagling is exposed: even a snake cannot wriggle away when it is stuck on the tape. He tells his henchmen to hammer away about the "extreme" cuts by the radical Tea Party Republicans. Tell everyone that Democrats want to negotiate but the Republicans are refusing to be reasonable.

I don't suppose this is too much creepier than other political machinations, but I can't help seeing red and black and blue. This man does for Judaism what Harry Reid does for Mormonism: portray it as the province of selfish, grasping, conniving leeches who are willing to bulldoze the moral edifice the Founders built. They do it to advance the cause of a pseudo-progressive remaking of society into a state of moral anarchy.

Please accept my apology. I know I cannot be coherent about this very sore subject. To me he is the Bernie Madoff of moral capital. He got all the Orthodox Jews to invest their moral capital with him and he cleaned them out. My only consolation is that they were sold out but they did not sell out; they got nothing in return. (In fairness, staffers at his neighborhood offices -- including my cousin's cousin -- were always solicitous of the needs of constituents and helped wherever possible.)

Until he leaves public office, I will never be fully able to accept the model of government as a force for good. My dream of seeing Jews in Congress associated with probity and integrity, wisdom and prudence, is all focused on one man right now: Eric Cantor. Somehow I believe against all odds that in the long run the Cantor will lead the congregation in a noble direction. Hey, Schumer, is that extreme enough for ya?



Louisiana Is Ninth State To Seek Waiver From ObamaCare’s Medical Loss Rules

IBD has just gotten word that Louisiana will become the ninth state to request a waiver from ObamaCare’s medical-loss-ratio regulations.

An MLR is the share of health premiums spent on medical costs. Under ObamaCare, insurers in the individual and small group market must have an 80% MLR, which means that 80% of premiums are spent on medical care, leaving 20% for things like salaries, advertising, fraud prevention and profits. Violate that minimum and an insurer must rebate the difference to policyholders.

Many insurers have MLRs considerably lower than 80%, which means that they will have to rebate the difference. Of course, if they can’t afford to do that they will simply drop out of the market. Since states would rather not let that happen given that people losing their policies can turn into angry voters, they have begun requesting a reprieve from ObamaCare’s MLR regulations.

Louisiana makes similar arguments in its official waiver request:
"A review of the language of the Affordable Care Act has raised concerns that there may be unintended yet harmful provisions included. These provisions will, if implemented as written, be disruptive and detrimental to Louisiana’s market.

As currently proposed, implementing the 80% loss ratio in the individual market will act to decrease consumer choice, make coverage more expensive and less readily available, and work to drive valuable trained producers out of the market just when they are needed most."

Prior to Louisiana, eight states had requested waivers. One other state is in the process of putting together a waiver, five others are considering it, and three are keeping it as a future option.
The Obama administration recently granted Maine’s MLR waiver.

If this keeps going, it will mean that there is another set of waivers -- showing how ObamaCare is not workable.



Bill Maher's obsession with Sarah Palin reaches new low

And that's quite a feat given this dude's despicableness. Last week, he called Sarah Palin "a dumb twat". Over the weekend, he decided to use the "C" word... you know the one... it rhymes with punt. Class act eh?

There was a time, long since past, where peckerheads like this were dealt with by men with spines, men with class, men who treated ladies like ladies and a**hole misogynists like the scum that they are.

Bill Maher needs to have his butt kicked. I've got to believe that many women out there could do it. But there ought to be a man out there, a real man, who'll stand up for ladies and punch this guy straight in his kisser. And yea, as someone who's recently returned to the Catholic church and who's trying his damndest to walk the straight line and be a role model worth modeling... I realize that what I'm calling for here goes against the grain.

But hey... I'm a sinner. The apostle Paul called himself Chief Sinner. And I'm telling you that if Bill Maher and I were to run across each other, I might just wrestle that title away from St. Paul. I think it'd be worth it.

For Sarah Palin and all decent women maligned by this butt-munch pantywaist poor excuse for a human being... one punch is all I'd need.




Times paywall: Savior of journalism or confusing debacle?: "On Monday, The New York Times rolled out its newest plan to entice readers to pay for web-based stories. For an industry whose very existence could depend on finding ways to raise revenues from online content, the Times scheme is being watched closely by media consultants eager to see if this might be a model that providers of online content can emulate. In short, the Times will let readers access 20 articles a month for free, but further reading will require a monthly subscription."

Government "protection": "The other day I mentioned in passing that 'official' maps of the danger zones around Mt. St. Helens were so misleading that they probably got people killed. Indeed, I’ve learned since that they did. In fact, almost everybody killed in the 1980 eruption was in an area that government agencies had officially designated as 'safe' — despite evidence to the contrary. ... The saddest fools, unfortunately, were those who trusted the government."

OH: House panel OKs anti-union bill: "A panel of Ohio lawmakers made a bill to limit collective bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers even tougher for unions yesterday, as the state moved closer to Wisconsin-style restrictions. A Republican-controlled House labor committee voted 9 to 6 along party lines to send the bill to the full House. Its approval of the legislation was met with chants of 'Shame on you!’ from the several hundred demonstrators gathered outside the hearing room. 'I don’t hear your supporters out there!’ one man inside the room shouted to lawmakers."

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 March, 2011

More on the antiquity of Judaism

I love my Jewish readers. When I post something about Jews and Judaism, I always get ten times the response to what I get on any other topic -- and all well-reasoned responses too, unlike the tantrums from Leftists.

I posted a couple of days ago a provocative article that did something very naughty. I questioned the continuity between the Judaism of Old Testament times and the Jews of today. It is a tribute to Jewish good manners that my post was greeted with some politeness, albeit with great disagreement.

And, of course, it is all a matter of degree. It is probably safe to say that all religions change all the time. Nonetheless I think there is a step-change after the destruction of Herod's temple. For instance, Jews no longer put homosexuals to death (as the Torah requires) and no longer burn animals on an altar in the belief that so doing will ingratiate themselves with their god.

How often Jews did those things is beside the point. The point is that their religion required those things, whereas now it does not.

It is true that the diaspora started long before the Roman onslaught and that Jews outside Israel had already abandoned the two practices I mentioned. But the temple was still there and its centrality to Jewish practice and belief cannot be doubted by any reader of the Hebrew scriptures. Jews abroad were still in a position to feel that all the requirements of their religion were being met where that mattered: In Israel.

So it is still my conclusion that post-temple Judaism and Christianity are two different and contemporaneous adaptations of the original Hebrew belief system. And we call Christianity a different religion, so why not present-day Judaism?

A point that may have slid past some of my Jewish readers is that Jesus did a very good job of rooting his teachings in the Torah. He quoted it repeatedly and insisted that he did not question it. He was a good Israelite of his times and his adaptation of the traditional teachings provided a good foundation for what later became known as Christianity to be likewise rooted. Which is why the Hebrew scriptures are an important part of Christianity to this day.

Update: In case it is not already clear, I should perhaps note that I am speaking of Jewish RELIGION. There is also of course a substantial claim that modern Jews are RACIALLY related to the ancient Hebrews.


Mike Church: The Most Radical Man on the Radio

I think this guy has something. I wouldn't go as far as he does but I think every Federal department that has an overlapping function with a State Dept. should be abolished. Who needs Federal Depts. of Health, Education etc. when States also have such Depts? Out with OSHA, DEA, EPA etc. too. Eliminating the duplications would not only save the taxpayer a bundle but would remove a lead weight of bureaucracy off everybody -- JR

The King Dude is shuffling papers, clearing his throat. The revolution he leads will not be televised, but it will be patched in by satellite during the morning drive. The King Dude is bouncing in his seat, his feet dangling about a foot above the floor. His voice is beamed into space from Sirius XM’s studio in Washington, D.C., then back to earth and through your dashboard where it explodes, pops, and fizzes in your skull like a fireworks show dangerously out of control. In approximately the next 45 seconds he will reference “The Matrix,” The Lord of the Rings, the “Virginia Debate on Ratification of the Constitution,” and “Idiocracy” before concluding that the Union should be busted up and the federal government drowned in the Potomac.

When Sirius took off, Church had the first talk show on it. He pioneered a motor-mouth style, dubbed political opponents “citizens of Libtardia,” and filled the air with political song parodies performed by actual musicians rather than hack producers with a karaoke track. The King Dude was cruising until 2007, when he had on author Kevin Gutzman to discuss The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution. “He was saying things I never heard before,” says Church. “You get a lot of books when you do talk radio. I never read them. I read that one.”

Shortly after this Church watched Ron Paul stand up to Rudolph Giuliani in a presidential debate, where Paul put 9/11 in the context of blowback. “I started thinking about what I had learned from Gutzman, and it started to make sense,” Church says, “and that’s the hardest conversion. That’s the one that the Hannitys, Becks, Limbaughs, and Levins will never come to. Either for financial reasons or for pride reasons, they will never come to that view of the minimalist foreign policy.”

Suddenly the show and the man had a new sense of purpose. Church began reading the debates and letters of the Founding Fathers, even memorizing large excerpts. He developed solidly Anti-Federalist leanings. “Patrick Henry and his guys were right, it all came to pass. Madison and his guys were wrong, none of that came to pass. There is only one intellectually honest way you can approach it.” And if Church couldn’t find guidance for some issue in the Founding Fathers, he looked to a succeeding generation.

Between comments on Lady Gaga or Donald Trump, Church will sprinkle excerpts from floor speeches by George Frisbie Hoar, a Massachusetts senator who opposed U.S. imperialism in the Philippines. “Frisbie Hoar was saying then the same things Ron Paul is saying today,” Church avers.

Church has become what he calls a “paleoconservative,” believing in liberty underpinned by an enduring moral order. While he still teases liberals, he just as often tells his listeners to live virtuously if they want to live as free men and women. “I’m no longer in the business of demonizing people who disagree with me,” he said as an aside on a recent broadcast. “People are socialized or educated into their views,” he explained later, so he has opened up a side business as an educator, producing two animated films about the Founding Fathers, “The Road to Independence” and “The Spirit of 1776.”

His listeners have been catching on. “The most rewarding thing is when someone calls you and repeats it back to you,” he says, “Someone who says ‘Mason says, such and such.’ They embrace it and internalize it themselves.” Almost imperceptibly, Church is conducting a seminar on the Founders tucked within a laugh-out-loud conservative talk show. And it is a close fidelity to the Founders and their thought that leads him to his radical conclusions.

He finished a recent segment with a flourish: “Is there any doubt in your mind that if we reanimated the Founding Fathers and they came here today they would look at what we’re doing and say, ‘When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to DISSOLVE the political bonds which have connected them with one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them.’

“We had 213 really good years,” he concludes, “can’t we just settle this amicably? You get the kids, I’ll get a couple of the cars. This is sanity. That doesn’t mean Kentucky is not going to make partnerships with Tennessee, Oklahoma. … That means that this particular political experiment is over. It is a failure. The Constitution is dead; bury the goddamn thing and get over it.”



The Koch Brothers and the power of ideas

Institution-building is important for libertarians too

Of the brothers, Charles is the ideas man, and his idea has always been to build a set of complementary institutions [e.g. the Cato Institute] which, once mature, can thrive without his (or his brother's) financial help. That said, I have no doubt that these institutions either would not have existed, or would have existed in a very different form, were it not for the Kochs' institution-building philanthropy. Having committed about a decade of my life to a few of these institutions, I'd like to think that those labouring within them have had some affect on American culture and politics—have had some small success in increasing awareness of and strengthening the public case for the value of individual rights, free markets, limited government, and peace. I don't think there's been a huge effect, but surely there's been an effect...

In this sense, the left is smart to target the Kochs. They have been absolutely essential in the libertarian project to create a set of institutions that together constitute a mild countervailing force against both progressive and conservative statism in America's economy of political influence. However, progressives seem to me to neglect this channel of influence compared to much less important ones, such as campaign spending, rendering their favoured account of the effects of money on democratic politics badly incomplete.

The progressive master narrative is that inequalities of income and wealth are easily translated into inequalities of political power, and that the rich as a class exploit this unequal power to shape the basic structure of our public institutions to their permanent advantage, in effect disenfranchising the less-wealthy and leaving their rights and interests without the protection of authentically democratic institutions. I think the channel through which the Kochs have most influenced American politics illustrates several problems with this narrative.

First, money is not all that easily translated into effective political influence. Most rich people just thoughtlessly fling cash at causes and candidates they happen to like to little real effect. Indeed, a good deal of political spending is part of moneyed status-signaling games; whether the money makes a difference to anything but the donor's reputation is beside the point. In any case, much effort is devoted simply to neutralising the spending of opposed ideological teams, and the whole racket largely amounts to redistribution from the rich to somewhat less rich political consultants and nonprofit managers.

The most interesting thing about the Kochs is not that they have spent so much of their fortunes on politics, because they haven't. What's interesting is that they seem to have spent their money so much more efficiently and effectively than most rich people interested in politics manage to do. And I suspect this is not unrelated to the farseeing strategic intelligence that has made Koch Industries America's largest privately-held corporation. This suggests, among other things, that some rich people are better than others at converting money into influence, and that inequalities in wealth and inequalities in influence sometimes have a common cause.

Of the money the Kochs have spent on politics, broadly construed, the portion directed to campaigns really is negligible. Most of their money and attention has gone to ideological institution-building, and this form of spending has not been a traditional target of progressive regulatory zeal. Progressives often argue that restrictions on campaign spending are justified by the need to sustain the relative equality of "voice" or influence required for a fair and legitimate democratic process.

However, few progressives have pursued the idea that limits must be placed on the amount wealthy individuals are allowed to spend building and supporting civil-society institutions meant to shape public opinion and politics over time. But why not? It is through this channel, not through lobbying or campaign spending, that the Kochs have most affected American politics. (I've asked a similar question in the past about the left's wariness of limiting private media ownership, which, like institution-building, has hugely more to do with inequality of voice than does under-regulated campaign finance.)

Other than the proposal to end the tax-deductibility of certain classes of charitable gifts, progressives have shied away from proposing regulations on this kind of spending in the economy of influence. The reason this is so, I think, is that any move in this direction logically tends toward clearly unconstitutional, ideologically-loaded limits on speech.

Suppose I want to spend $250m to start a conservative Christian college. Or suppose I want to donate $10m to my alma mater to fund an endowed chair in sociology for study of the causes of American inequality. If you ask me, both of these count as political spending, in the broad sense. Suppose I want to spend millions on institutions that will aid the poor in my hometown. Will this not affect voter demand for overlapping taxpayer-funded public programmes? Is there any way of neutrally regulating large philanthropic gifts? I don't think so. Even a total ban is not really neutral; it simply redistributes power to those with the greatest influence over government spending, and I highly doubt this ends up redounding to the benefit of the lower and middle classes.

In the absence of any remotely intelligible or feasible proposal to limit the unequal ability of wealthy people such as the Koch Brothers or Peter Lewis or George Soros to affect opinion through ideological institution-building, progressive commentators at ideologically progressive institutions are left mainly with the opinion-shaping tools wealthy progressive patrons have put at their disposal. That's why, I think, we see very little principled criticism of ideological institution-building in general, but many breathless attempts to characterise Koch-style free-market, limited-government libertarianism as ideological cover for plutocracy or oligarchy or whatever. This stuff is about as serious as the idea that Barack Obama is some sort of crypto-Marxist, radical Kenyan anti-colonial egalitarian, but it serves its low purpose.

Although the premise that the wealthy conspire to promote their class interests is part of the progressive master narrative, many progressives—especially those in the can for the Democratic Party—don't act like they believe it. They act as if there are good, progressive rich folks and bad, anti-progressive rich folks. In most tellings of the master narrative, progressive commentators opportunistically use class-interest rhetoric to discredit the small minority of wealthy people who build and support institutions ideologically opposed to the causes favoured by the wealthy people who build and support progressive institutions. Those wealthy people and their expensive repudiation of class interest are honoured by going unmentioned.

A truly coherent telling of the progressive master narrative would reveal how the apparently hot antagonism between, say, the American Progress Action Fund and Americans for Prosperity conceals a deeper, perhaps-unwitting symbiosis by which the Koch brothers and John Podesta's mysterious billionaire paymasters in the Democracy Alliance combine to secure their advantages and thereby the demise of true democracy. I would be pretty excited to hear about that.




New EEOC rules: We’re all “disabled”: "New regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offer fresh guidelines on the issue of how to define 'disability' under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Millions of Americans may be disabled and not even know it, according to some legal experts. That's because sweeping new regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offer new guidelines on the issue of how to define 'disability' under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA, originally passed in 1990 and updated by Congress in 2008, originally defined disability as 'a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.'"

SCOTUS revisits campaign finance: "The Supreme Court returned to the controversial issue of campaign finance today, hearing a constitutional challenge to Arizona's public financing system for political campaigns. Several of the conservative justices on the bench seemed skeptical of the constitutionality of the Arizona Citizen's Clean Elections Act."

Trump a birth skeptic: "He off-handedly questioned President Obama's birthplace last week -- a comment that drew strong rebukes from some quarters -- but now business mogul Donald Trump says he's more concerned than ever that the president was, in fact, not born in the United States."

Obama and the ghost of ’68: "Liberal doves are feeling a deep sense of betrayal after watching their champion of peace drop bombs on an Arab country. If the war drags on inconclusively, or if Obama feels compelled to expand our involvement, their discontent will grow. Then what? Then he could face what Lyndon Johnson faced in 1968: a Democratic primary challenger appealing to those tired of war and mistrustful of their president."

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 March, 2011

The meaning of "soul" in the Bible

Jesus said: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8: 36).

How can you lose your soul? Is not your soul YOU? Is it not your immortal essence? Sadly, although the idea that we have an immortal soul in us is an old pagan one, it is not Biblical -- as the text shows.

The Bible in fact mentions nothing like an immortal soul. The word "soul" does appear in most translations of the Bible but it does not mean what Christians assume it to mean. In the original Greek of the New Testament, the word used in Mark 8: 36 and elsewhere is "psyche", the basic meaning of which (according to the authoritative Liddell & Scott Greek Lexicon) is "breath", or, metaphorically, "life".

So when you're dead, you're dead, brother -- as Ecclesiastes chapter 9 tells you so emphatically. Your only hope is to be resurrected at the coming of the Messiah.


There Is a Method to Obama's Libya Madness

On both sides of American politics, there is a great deal of disquiet about Obama's bombing of Gaddafi & Co. As a libertarian, however, I rejoice at seeing tyrants deposed. And Gaddafi is as ugly a tyrant as any. So if there is even a chance that deposing Gaddafi will bring less tyrannical government to Libya, I think it is worth a few bombs.

David Limbaugh below states the "No" case with a view to Obama's actual motivations and he may well be right. I think even Limbaugh lacks perspective though. Obama's actions are very similar to Bill Clinton's in Serbia and the interventions by Woodrow Wilson and FDR in World Wars I and II. Democrats just like bombing or shooting at villains. It makes them look good, and, in their childish way, that motivation trumps almost everything else -- JR

As I argued in my most recent column, this is just the foreign policy outworking of Obama's campaign to fundamentally transform America. Notice the common thread. He is using domestic policies to effectuate "economic justice" at home, trying to cut "wealthy" Americans down to size. Now he is using foreign policy to diminish America's role and stature in the international community to cut wealthy, imperialistic America down to size.

I don't want to get bogged down here in a discussion of whether his motive is thus to sabotage America. In my view, that's the effect of his policies, but I suppose that in his view, America will be a better nation if it uses government coercion to come closer to equalizing everyone's share of the pie -- even if it results in the pie's shrinking -- and if America operates less in its own self-interest in foreign affairs. It's a bizarre mindset and one that most Americans probably don't understand -- so bizarre that they don't believe it despite the proof in front of their faces.

Think about it. Obama's secretary of defense, Robert Gates, admitted on national television Sunday that Libya poses no actual or imminent threat to the United States and that it is not a vital national security interest. This was no gaffe. Surely, Obama's team is not so incompetent and undisciplined that it didn't anticipate this question and carefully prepare the answer.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton damaged the administration's credibility even more by opining that as long as international bodies approved of America's kinetic military action, the president didn't even need to pick up the phone to call Congress. Consider what that reveals concerning the administration's mindset about America's sovereignty and prerogatives.

In terms of philosophy, ideology and motivations, the administration's approach to foreign policy can further be understood by Obama's position from the outset. He has been adamant that America is seen as imperialistic by foreign nations, especially Arab and Muslim nations, and must radically reset its image to ingratiate itself to the world community. He believes terrorism is in large part fomented by the world's negative perception of the United States -- a perception he shares to some extent and one he is obsessed with changing.

That's why he went on his world apology tour, threatened (recklessly and unrealistically) to dismantle multiple components of Bush's anti-terror policies (later reneging) and promised to negotiate with dictators on even terms -- "engagement." If you doubt this, then explain Gates' assertions that America's chief interest in Libya is "the engagement of Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans" and, he threw in, "the general humanitarian question."

There's more. In trying to distinguish between the Libyan and Syrian situations, Clinton said the Syrian situation isn't as severe yet. Then she got to the crux of it: "But in Libya, when a leader says 'spare nothing, show no mercy' and calls out air force attacks on his own people, that crosses a line that people in the world had decided they could not tolerate."

As liberal writer William Saletan points out, "the key phrase isn't no mercy or air force. It's they could not tolerate. Not we, but they. We're outsourcing our standards for intervention." But Saletan noted it is "worse than outsourcing." Outsourcing is hiring someone to do your bidding, but in Libya, "we're hiring ourselves out to do what somebody abroad wants." Indeed, one might consider our military the new mercenaries for foreign governments.

If you understand Obama's thinking, it all makes sense. He obviously believes it is in our interests to act in ways that don't fit the conventional definition of national self-interest. In his worldview, our conventional self-interest is selfish and imperialistic. For too long, America has looked out for its own interests and has exploited the world, its people and its resources. With these unrelenting overtures denying our self-interest, Obama hopes to show the world that the new America -- Obama's America -- is different and moral.

In the meantime, we may very well be propping up coalitions of jihadists in both Egypt and Libya and who knows where else, but that's OK because Obama and his fellow liberals have "good intentions."



The Syrian Spring

Caroline Glick

The anti-regime protests in Syria are a welcome departure from the grim choices posed by Egypt and Libya because supporting the protesters in Syria is actually a good idea.

Assad is an unadulterated rogue. He is an illicit nuclear proliferator. Israel’s reported bombing of Assad’s North Korean-built, Iranian-financed nuclear reactor at Deir al-Zour in September 2007 did not end Assad’s nuclear adventures. Not only has he refused repeated requests from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the site, commercial satellite imagery has exposed four other illicit nuclear sites in the country. The latest one, reportedly for the production of uranium yellowcake tetroflouride at Marj as Sultan near Damascus, was exposed last month by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.

Assad has a large stockpile of chemical weapons including Sarin gas and blister agents. In February 2009 Jane’s Intelligence Review reported that the Syrians were working intensively to expand their chemical arsenal. Based on commercial satellite imagery, Jane’s’ analysts concluded that Syria was expending significant efforts to update its chemical weapons facilities. Analysts claimed that Syria began its work upgrading its chemical weapons program in 2005 largely as a result of Saddam Hussein’s reported transfer of his chemical weapons arsenal to Syria ahead of the US-led invasion in 2003.

The Jane’s report also claimed that Assad’s men had built new missile bays for specially adapted Scud missiles equipped to hold chemical warheads at the updated chemical weapons sites.

As for missiles, with North Korean, Iranian, Russian, Chinese and other third-party assistance, Syria has developed a massive arsenal of ballistic missile and advanced artillery capable of hitting every spot in Israel and wreaking havoc on IDF troop formations and bases.

Beyond its burgeoning unconventional arsenals, Assad is a major sponsor of terrorism. He has allowed Syria to be used as a transit point for al-Qaida terrorists en route to Iraq. Assad’s Syria is second only to Iran’s ayatollahs in its sponsorship of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders live in Damascus. As Hezbollah terror commander Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination in Damascus in February 2008 exposed, the Syrian capital serves as Hezbollah’s operational hub. The group’s logistical bases are located in Syria.

If the Assad regime is overthrown, it will constitute a major blow to both the Iranian regime and Hezbollah. In turn, Lebanon’s March 14 democracy movement and the Iranian Green Movement will be empowered by the defeat.

Obviously aware of the dangers, Iranian Revolutionary Guards forces and Hezbollah operatives have reportedly been deeply involved in the violent repression of protesters in Syria. Their involvement is apparently so widespread that among the various chants adopted by the protesters is a call for the eradication of Hezbollah.

Mention of Lebanon’s March 14 movement and Iran’s Green Movement serves as a reminder that the political upheavals ensnaring the Arab world did not begin in December when Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia. Arguably, the fire was lit in April 2003 when jubilant Iraqis brought down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

The first place the fire spread from there was Syria. Inspired by the establishment of autonomous Kurdistan in Iraq, in May 2004 Syria’s harshly repressed Kurdish minority staged mass protests that quickly spread throughout the country from the Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria. Assad was quick to violently quell the protests.

Like Gaddafi today, seven years ago Assad deployed his air force against the Kurds.

Scores were killed and thousands were arrested. Many of those arrested were tortured by Assad’s forces.

The discrimination that Kurds have faced under Assad and his father is appalling. Since the 1970s, more than 300,000 Kurds have been stripped of their Syrian citizenship. They have been forcibly ejected from their homes and villages in the north and resettled in squalid refugee camps in the south. The expressed purpose of these racist policies has been to prevent territorial contiguity between Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds and to “Arabize” Syrian Kurdistan where most of Syria’s oil deposits are located.

The Kurds make up around 10 percent of Syria’s population. They oppose not only the Baathist regime, but also the Muslim Brotherhood. Represented in exile by the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, since 2004 they have sought the overthrow of the Assad regime and its replacement by democratic, decentralized federal government. Decentralizing authority, they believe, is the best way to check tyranny of both the Baathist and the Muslim Brotherhood variety. The Kurdish demand for a federal government has been endorsed by the Sunni-led exile Syrian Reform Party.

This week the KNA released a statement to the world community. Speaking for Syria’s Kurds and for their Arab, Druse, Alevi and Christian allies in Syria, it asked for the “US, France, UK and international organizations to seek [a] UN resolution condemning [the] Syrian regime for using violence against [the Syrian] people.”

The KNA’s statement requested that the US and its allies “ask for UN-sponsored committees to investigate the recent violence in Syria, including the violence used against the Kurds in 2004.”

The KNA warns, “If the US and its allies fail to support democratic opposition [groups] such as the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria and others, [they] will be making a grave mistake,” because they will enable “radical groups to rise and undermine any democratic movements,” and empower the likes of Hezbollah and Iran.

Led by Chairman Sherkoh Abbas, the KNA has asked the US Congress to hold hearings on Syria and allow representatives of the opposition to state their case for regime change.

Opponents of regime change in Syria argue that if Assad is overthrown, the Muslim Brotherhood will take over. This may be true, although the presence of a well-organized Kurdish opposition means it may be more difficult for the Brotherhood to take charge than it has been in Egypt.

Aside from that, whereas the Brotherhood is clearly a worse alternative in Egypt than Mubarak was, it is far from clear that it would be worse for Syria to be led by the Brotherhood than by Assad. What would a Muslim Brotherhood regime do that Assad isn’t already doing? At a minimum, a successor regime will be weaker than the current one. Consequently, even if Syria is taken over by jihadists, they will pose less of an immediate threat to the region than Assad. They will be much more vulnerable to domestic opposition and subversion.

Even if Assad is not overthrown, and is merely forced to contain the opposition over the long haul, this too would be an improvement over what we have experienced to date. In the absence of domestic unrest, Assad has been free to engineer and support Hezbollah’s coup d'etat in Lebanon, develop nuclear weapons and generally act as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s sub-contractor.

But now, in a bid to quell the anti-regime protests, Assad has been forced to deploy his military to his own towns and villages. Compelled to devote his energies to staying in power, Assad has little time to stir up fires elsewhere.

The first beneficiary of his weakness will be Jordan’s King Abdullah who now needs to worry less about Assad enabling a Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood-instigated civil war in Jordan.

Depressingly, under the Obama administration the US will not lift a finger to support Syrian regime opponents. In media interviews Sunday, not only did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rule out the use of force to overthrow Assad, as his troops were killing anti-regime protesters, Clinton went so far as to praise Assad as “a reformer.”

The US retreat from strategic rationality is tragic. But just because President Barack Obama limits American intervention in the Middle East to the places it can do the most harm such as Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian conflict with Israel, there is no reason for Israel not to act independently to help Assad’s domestic opponents.

Israel should arm the Kurds. Israeli leaders and spokesmen should speak out on behalf of Syria’s Kurds from every bully pulpit that comes their way. Our leaders should also speak out against Assad and his proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should ask the UN to speed up the release of the indictments in the investigation of the late Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman should call on the UN to behave honestly and indict Assad for ordering Hariri’s murder.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak should release information about Syria’s transfer of weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah. The government should release information about Syria’s use of terror against the Druse. Netanyahu must also state publicly that in light of the turbulence of the Arab world generally, and Assad’s murderous aggression against his own people and his neighbors specifically, Israel is committed to maintaining perpetual sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

We are living through dangerous times. But even now there is much we can do to emerge stronger from the political storm raging around us. Syria’s revolt is a rare opportunity. We’d better not squander 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

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 March, 2011

How ancient is Judaism?

At some risk to my "Goy" self, I occasionally write something about Jews and Judaism. So far, however, I have escaped unscathed (I think) so here goes another foray:

It is a common and proud claim among Israelis that they are still living in the same place and speaking the same language and (sort of) following the same religion as they did 3,000 years ago. That thought gives them great pride and helps make up in some way for the horrendous travail Jews have had to go through to get to today.

But, to be blunt, it is nonsense. After the Roman triumph and the expulsion of most Jews from Israel, Jews had to change their religion radically. Judaism had been a temple-focused religion -- so once the temple was gone, huge changes in thinking and custom were needed.

And the changes took two forms: Those who accepted the ideas of the greatest rabbi (Jesus Christ) and those who laboured to stick more closely to traditional ideas. Even among the latter group, however, the surrounding pagan culture took over to a degree. The modern form of the seder, for instance, is said to be strongly influenced by the form of the Hellenistic symposium.

So Judaism as we know it today is in fact no older than Christianity. They are two branches that had to put out fresh growth after the original tree was cut down. And just as Christian thinking underwent all sorts of disputes in its development (e.g. the Arian/Athanasian controversy) so Jews waited a long while for their new ideas to coalesce -- in the form of teachings by great rabbis such as Rashi and Maimonides.

Christian thought in fact probably coalesced more rapidly that did post-temple Jewish thought. Rashi and Maimonides both wrote over 1,000 years after the fall of the temple but have been immensely influential. And by the time they wrote, they lived in a Christian world so were undoubtedly influenced in various ways by Christian ideas -- and Christianity had itself taken on a pretty heavy load of pagan ideas by that time. So I am sure that the Christian/Egyptian concept of the triune God was the subject of much private hilarity among Jews.

So we in fact have two religions of ancient Jewish origins that are quite contemporaneous -- with the Christian variant more successful in most ways. And while Christianity/Judaism precede Islam, Sikhism and Bahai, they are themselves preceded by Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto. And I'm inclined to think that Shinto has the best hats -- despite formidable competition from the gold crowns of Russian Orthodoxy and the shtreimel of orthodox Judaism.

I guess I'll get a few zingers over all that! I'll hear about the Talmud and the Midrash and so on. As an atheist who is sympathetic to religion, however, I may be in a position to be more impartial than most.


The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics: The Left’s obsession with the Koch brothers

In case anybody misses it, the title above is an allusion to "The Paranoid Style in American Politics", a supercilious 1964 essay by Richard J. Hofstadter that attacked conservatism as psychologically deranged. It was pure projection, claiming that it was conservatives who had angry minds! Paranoia is an irrational and obsessive feeling of being persecuted or under attack, often accompanied by conspiracy theories

David Koch’s secretary told him the news. This was in February, during the rowdy standoff between Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and demonstrators backing 14 Democratic legislators who’d fled to Illinois rather than vote on a bill weakening public employee unions. Koch’s secretary said that an editor for a left-wing website, the Buffalo Beast, had telephoned the governor posing as David Koch and recorded the conversation. And Walker had fallen for it! He’d had a 20-minute conversation with this bozo, not once questioning the caller’s identity. But then how could Walker have known? Sure, David Koch was a billionaire whose company had donated to his campaign. But Koch (pronounced “Coke”) had never talked to Walker in his life.

Yet here were the media reporting that he and his brother Charles were behind Walker’s push against public employees. Anger washed over David like a red tide. He’d been victimized by some punk with a political agenda. “It’s really identity theft,” he told me a month later, during an interview at Koch Industries’ headquarters. “And I think it’s extremely dishonest to misrepresent yourself. I think there’s a question of integrity. And the person who would do that has got to be an incredibly dishonest person.” Up until Walker’s showdown with the Democratic state senators, Koch had never seen a photograph of the governor. He didn’t know him at all. But now the protesters occupying the Wisconsin state capitol were calling Walker a “Koch Whore.”

Why? Because the Koch Industries PAC had given $43,000 to Walker’s campaign. That was less than one half of one percent of Walker’s total haul—but still enough for the left to tie Koch Industries to the battle royal in Wisconsin. David found the whole affair disturbing. “One additional thing that really bothered me,” he said, “was that the press attacked me rather than the guy who impersonated me! And I was criticized as someone who’s got a death grip on the governor and his policies. And that I control him—I mean, that’s insane!”

Ah, but such is life when you and your brother are suddenly two of the most demonized men in American politics. For decades David and Charles have run Koch Industries, an energy and manufacturing conglomerate that employs around 50,000 people in the United States and another 20,000 in 59 other countries. Depending on the year, Koch Industries is either the first- or second-largest privately held company in America—it alternates in the top spot with Cargill, the agricultural giant—with about $100 billion in revenues. David and Charles are worth around $22 billion each. Combine their wealth and you have the third-largest fortune in America after Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Like most billionaires, the brothers spend a lot of time giving their money away: to medical and scientific research, to educational programs, to cultural institutions, and to public policy research and activism.

That last part has caught the attention of the left’s scouring eye. For unlike many billionaires, the Koch brothers espouse classical liberal economics: They advocate lower taxes, less government spending, fewer regulations, and limited government. “Society as a whole benefits from greater economic freedom,” Charles wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. Judging by the results of the 2010 elections, there are millions of Americans who agree with him.

Over the years the Kochs have flown beneath the radar, not seeking publicity and receiving little. But then the crash of 2008 arrived, and the bailouts, and the election of Barack Obama, and pretty soon the whole country was engaged in one loud, colossal, rollicking, emotional argument over the size, scope, and solvency of the federal government. Without warning, folks were springing up, dressing in colonial garb, talking about the Constitution, calling for a Tea Party. Some of them even joined a group called Americans for Prosperity—which the Kochs helped found and partly fund.

For progressives confused at the heated opposition to their do-gooder agenda, the Kochs became convenient scapegoats. Invoking their name was a way to write off opposition to Obama as the false consciousness of racist rubes stoked by greedy businessmen. In the liberal imagination the Kochs ascended from obscurity to infamy in record time. Starting in the spring of 2009, whenever you turned on MSNBC or clicked on the Huffington Post you’d see the Kochs described in terms more applicable to Lex Luthor and General Zod.

As last year’s midterm elections approached, the White House singled out the Kochs for attack. President Obama relied on innuendo: “They don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are,” he said in August. “You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company, or a big bank.” Obama’s lieutenants were more direct. Also in August, an administration official, later identified as the economist Austan Goolsbee, delivered a background briefing to reporters in which he falsely alleged that Koch Industries paid no corporate income tax. (An inspector general is now investigating whether anyone in the Obama administration accessed confidential tax information prior to the attack.) The Kochs, former White House adviser David Axelrod wrote last September, are “billionaire oilmen secretly underwriting what the public has been told is a grass-roots movement for change in Washington.”

But that was just for starters. Liberals in the media turned into Koch addicts. They ascribed every bad thing under the sun to the brothers and their checkbooks. Pollution, the Tea Party, global warming denial—the Kochs were responsible. The liberals kneaded the facts like clay until the Kochs resembled a Lovecraftian monster: the Kochtopus! Its tentacles stretched everywhere. “Their private agenda is really the eradication of the federal government in almost all of its forms, other than the parts of it that protect personal rights,” New Yorker writer Jane Mayer told NPR’s Terry Gross. Anonymous, the hackers’ collective, accused the Kochs of attempting to “usurp American Democracy.” The Koch brothers manipulated the Tea Partiers, according to Keith Olbermann, by “telling them what to say and which causes to take on and also giving them lots of money to do it with.”



Federalism gives options -- and the Texas option is the most attractive

The Census Bureau last week released county and city populations for the last of the 50 states from the 2010 Census last week, ahead of schedule. Behind the columns of numbers are many vivid stories of how our nation has been changing -- and some lessons for public policy, as well.

Geographically, our population is moving to the south and west, to the point that the center of the nation's population has moved to Texas County, Missouri.

That sounds like the familiar story of people moving from the Snow Belt to the Sun Belt, but that's not exactly what's happening. Instead, the fastest growth rates in the 2000-10 decade have been in Texas, the Rocky Mountain states and the South Atlantic states.

We're familiar with the phenomenon of people moving to the West Coast. But the three Pacific Coast states -- California, Oregon and Washington -- grew by 11 percent in the last decade, just 1 percent above the national average, while the South Atlantic states from Virginia through the Carolinas and Georgia to Florida grew by 17 percent.

In 2000, the South Atlantic states had 121,000 more people than the Pacific Coast states. In 2010 they had 2.8 million more.

What's been happening is that people from the Northeast and the Midwest have been flocking to the South Atlantic states, not to retirement communities but to Tampa and Jacksonville, Atlanta and Charlotte and Raleigh, which are among the nation's fastest-growing metro areas. The South Atlantic has been attracting smaller numbers of immigrants, as well.

Coastal California, in contrast, has had a vast inflow of immigrants and a similarly vast outflow of Americans. High housing costs, exacerbated by no-growth policies and environmental restrictions, have made modest homes unaffordable to middle class families who don't want to live in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods or commute 50 miles to work.

California for the first time in its history grew only microscopically faster than the nation as a whole (10 percent to 9.7 percent). Metro Los Angeles and San Francisco increasingly resemble Mexico City and Sao Paulo, with a large affluent upper class, a vast proletariat and a huge income gap in between.

Public policy plays an important role here -- one that's especially relevant as state governments seek to cut spending and reduce the power of the public employee unions that seek to raise spending and prevent accountability.

The lesson is that high taxes and strong public employee unions tend to stifle growth and produce a two-tier society like coastal California's.

The eight states with no state income tax grew 18 percent in the last decade. The other states (including the District of Columbia) grew just 8 percent. The 22 states with right-to-work laws grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew just 6 percent. The 16 states where collective bargaining with public employees is not required grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew 7 percent.

Now some people say that low population growth is desirable. The argument goes that it reduces environmental damage and prevents the visual blight of sprawl.

But states and nations with slow growth end up with aging populations and not enough people of working age to generate an economy capable of supporting them in the style to which they've grown accustomed. Slow growth is nice if you've got a good-sized trust fund and some nice acreage in a place like Aspen. But it reduces opportunity for those who don't start off with such advantages to move upward on the economic ladder.

The most rapid growth in 2000-10, 21 percent, was in the Rocky Mountain states and in Texas. The Rocky Mountain states tend to have low taxes, weak unions and light regulation. Texas has no state income tax, no public employee union bargaining and light regulation.

Texas' economy has diversified far beyond petroleum, with booming high-tech centers, major corporate headquarters and thriving small businesses. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of Americans and immigrants, high-skill as well as low-skill. Its wide open spaces made for low housing costs, which protected it against the housing bubble and bust that has slowed growth in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The states, said Justice Brandeis, are laboratories of reform. The 2010 Census tells us whose experiment worked best. It's the state with the same name as the county that's the center of the nation's population: Texas.




SCOTUS to consider Arizona’s Incumbent Protection Act: "The state's Citizens Clean Elections Act, which provides candidates with public campaign funds as long as they don't accept private donations, is being challenged. Legal experts say its chances of survival aren't good. ... On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a constitutional challenge to the Arizona law brought by the conservative Goldwater Institute and the libertarian Institute for Justice."

Innovation requires economic freedom: "A civilization is the product of a definite worldview, and its philosophy manifests itself in each of its accomplishments. The artifacts produced by men may be called material. But the methods resorted to in the arrangement of production activities are mental, the outcome of ideas that determine what should be done and how. All the branches of a civilization are animated by the spirit that permeates its ideology."

A sample of government at work: "Where I live there’s no mail delivery. All USPS mail has to be picked up at the post office. And at the post office the address is, well, a P.O. Box with its number. If one sends a piece of mail to the house address, the zip code must contain the post office box number at the end of the regular five digit number. And it is usually no problem to do this! Except, of course, with some government bureaus."

Why we really, really, don’t want planning of the food market: "It isn't just that planners will, as we've seen, fail to recognise efficiencies in what is already produced. It's also that they can have absolutely no idea whatsoever of what we might start to produce. Chocolate covered pickles are always going to be a minority taste of course (although they sound worth trying: choccie and salt, or if vinegar pickled, sweet and sour, worth a nibble at least) but take a step up to pickles themselves. You can draw a line through Europe. To the east and north, they are normally salt pickles, in brine. To the west and south in vinegar. With the new movements of people of the past decade, those hundreds of thousands from the east moving west, how should production of pickles change?"

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)


27 March, 2011

Are Christians humans, too?

President Obama, on those rare occasions when he defends his Libya policy at all, focuses on Col. Muammar Qaddafi's threats of "no mercy" to the rebels in his strife-torn North African satrapy. It's a "humanitarian" imperative. America, the president says, has a moral duty to intervene when millions are threatened with extermination.

In the Sudan, some 5 million Africans have died for decades at the hands of the Islamist government in Khartoum. So brutal has been the rule of Omar al-Bashir that when the majority of Christians and followers of traditional African religions in South Sudan recently had the chance to vote on separation, most regions registered near unanimous votes to break away. Yet there have been no calls from the Obama administration, or previous administrations, for the United States to intervene militarily in the Sudan.

Which leads us to ask: Are Christians humans, too? How is it that when U.S. administrations have been willing to spend blood and treasure for endangered peoples in the post-Communist era, it has been the case that we will intervene when Muslims are threatened, not when it is Christians who are being slaughtered?

Take Iraq, for example. When Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were not found, we were told that at least we had stopped his mass murder of Kurds and Shiites. Well, that should promise a better future for Iraqis.

Except that we now learn that two-thirds of Iraq's Assyrian Christians have been forced to flee the country of their birth since the United States took down Saddam. Iraqi Christians have lived, often precariously, in the Fertile Crescent since biblical times. But only now is this ancient Christian community facing extinction. All the while, U.S. taxpayers shell out millions in foreign military assistance to a Baghdad government that cannot, or will not, protect its Christian minority.

In Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus assures us that the U.S. military presence is helping to establish a stable foundation for democracy. Only 500,000 Afghan children attended school under the Taliban, and none were girls. Since 2001, the general says, there are now 5 million Afghan children being educated. We might feel a lot better about that fact if we could also be assured that they are not being taught in madrassa schools where they learn to murder their neighbors who are Christian.

Pakistan has recently seen its only Christian Cabinet member assassinated. He was the lone voice for the Christian minority in that country. Also assassinated there was a Muslim provincial governor who had taken a Christian woman under his protection. That late governor had called for a repeal of the country's blasphemy law, which makes it a hanging offense to say there is a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Five hundred Pakistani lawyers and professors applauded the governor's assassination-by his own security guard. Yet, we are told that Pakistan is a democracy. Are we surprised that Pakistan has not been able to locate the hiding place of Osama bin Laden?

Lebanon was once a rare candidate for status as an Arab democracy. But decades of political violence have targeted such figures as President-elect Bashir Gemayel, a Maronite Christian, who was assassinated in 1982, and President Rene Moawad, also a Maronite, who was killed by a car bomb in 1989. More recently, the great hopes of a "Cedar Revolution" for democracy have faded as Lebanon has fallen under the rule of Hezbollah, the terrorist "Party of God" dominated by Iran.

Fearless Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, a former Muslim, heads Barnabas Aid, a U.K.-based Christian advocacy group. Barnabas informs us that Coptic Christians are being murdered in Egypt. Sporadic attacks occurred under Hosni Mubarak, whom the United States financially supported for 30 years. Christian persecution of the Copts is intensifying in Egypt since Mubarak's ouster. There, some 6 to 9 million Christians of the country's 80 million people. In neighboring Ethiopia, a country with a Christian tradition going back to the Book of Acts, Barnabas reports some 100,000 Christians are fleeing new attacks by emboldened Islamists.

We Americans are moved by humanitarian concerns. Just look at the outpouring of prayers and financial aid to Haitians, the Japanese, Indonesians, and other victims of natural disasters. It should be noted that the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference-both groups whose members possess vast oil wealth-have done virtually nothing to help afflicted peoples.

The time is fast approaching for a searching reappraisal of a foreign policy that seems willing to rescue those being led to slaughter provided only that they are not Christians.



The World's Most Unfair Tax System

Which country has the most progressive - i.e., parasitical, socialistic, and grotesquely unfair - tax system in the industrialized world? None other than the erstwhile Land of Liberty:

Don't worry about Comrade Obama imposing socialism on America. It's already been imposed. That's why the economy is slumping toward collapse, as people mutter bleakly about our best days being behind us.

This won't stop Democrats from continuing to bleat about "the rich" (a.k.a. employers) being forced to "pay their fair share." Until we've been reduced to subsistence level collectivism, their work is not done.



Gingrich vs. Gingrich

by Jeff Jacoby

NEWT GINGRICH sees himself as a statesman, a public-policy sage, and a potential president of the United States. The former House speaker has written more than 20 books, produced a half-dozen documentaries, and launched organizations that focus on subjects as varied as health care, the importance of faith and free markets, and the interests of American Hispanics. It is clear that Gingrich is smart, curious, articulate, and energetic. He is never at a loss for words, and he has an opinion on everything.

But is he serious? For someone who holds himself out as a public intellectual, Gingrich comes across all too often as more glib than thoughtful -- more interested in jumping into the fray than in expressing carefully worked-out ideas. When he takes a strong stand on a controversial issue, it's never clear how much conviction and deliberation have gone into it. He seems to think and speak at full gallop, tossing off opinions as fast as they come to him, less interested in being right than in being heard -- and in taking shots at the opposition. Of course it is in the nature of American politics that Republicans criticize Democrats, and Democrats disparage Republicans, but Gingrich professes "to rise above traditional gridlocked partisanship." And yet Newt the Republican combatant is a much more familiar figure than Newt the nonpartisan visionary.

Consider the former speaker's position(s) on Libya. On March 7, before US military action against Moammar Khadafy had begun, Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren asked Gingrich what he would do about Libya. Without hesitation, he called for aggressive American intervention and derided the president for not having ordered it already:

"Exercise a no-fly zone this evening," Gingrich demanded. "The idea that we're confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is. . . . This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with."

So eager was Gingrich for action that he wanted it done unilaterally: America "doesn't need anybody's permission," he said. "We don't need to have NATO. . . . We don't need to have the United Nations. . . . All we have to do is suppress [Khadafy's] air force, which we could do in minutes."

Two weeks later, on the day the UN Security Council voted for a Libyan no-fly zone, Gingrich intensified his criticism. The Obama White House, he told Sean Hannity, "is maybe the most passive and out of touch presidency in modern American history." Khadafy was still in place two weeks after the president said he had to go, Gingrich observed, and "there is no evidence that the no-fly zone by itself will be effective."

The next day, Gingrich told Politico that the president's position on Libya "makes us look weak and uncertain and increases the danger in the Persian Gulf."

Yet by Sunday, with US missile strikes on Libyan air defense systems underway, Gingrich's tune began to change. Now Obama was guilty of "opportunistic amateurism without planning or professionalism," he said, and the only thing that could explain the administration's decision was "opportunism and news media publicity."

On Wednesday, March 23, Gingrich went on NBC's "Today" show to condemn the entire operation. "I would not have intervened," he told Matt Lauder. "I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Khadafy. I think there are a lot of allies in the region that we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces." For good measure he labeled the military campaign, which so far has gone pretty well, "about as badly run as any foreign operation in our lifetime." That will come as news to anyone who can remember Vietnam, Somalia, or Iraq before the surge.

Thus in the space of three weeks, Gingrich went from blasting Obama for not imposing a no-fly zone in Libya "this evening" to blasting Obama for imposing a no-fly zone in Libya. On March 3 he wanted the president to tell Khadafy "that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we're intervening." By March 23 he was mocking "humanitarian intervention" as an unserious "public relations conversation."

But if the only consistent note in Gingrich's ever-evolving position on Libya is that Obama is always wrong, just who is the unserious one? On his website, Gingrich describes himself as an internationally recognized "expert on world history, military issues, and international affairs." He would like to be regarded as a man of deep learning and principled ideas. He is coming across so far as a politician who will say anything to score cheap points.



Pathetic: Media Matters Plots "Guerilla Warfare" Campaign Against Fox News

The loathsome creatures at Media Matters For America are officially evolving from nominal media "watchdog" to a codified Left-wing attack dog. This rabid, pitiable puppy will be nipping at the heels of one specific target. Guess who?
The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of "guerrilla warfare and sabotage" aimed at the Fox News Channel.

The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the "nerve center" of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals - not least among the donors who fund Media Matters' staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.

In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters - which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget - is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.

Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox's top executives but on a series of midlevel officials...

Brock said Media Matters also plans to run a broad campaign against Fox's parent company, News Corp., an effort which most likely will involve opening a United Kingdom arm in London to attack the company's interests there. The group hired an executive from MoveOn.org to work on developing campaigns among News Corp. shareholders and also is looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network.

The group will "focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests - whether that be here or looking at what's going on in London right now," Brock said, referring to News Corp.'s - apparently successful - move to take a majority stake in the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Question for legal minds: MMFA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (with a -c4 activist arm). How many tax-exempt non-profits are explicitly dedicated to "disrupting the commercial interests" of their enemies?



London Riots Illustrate the Decline and Fall of Britain

Liberalism is a disease that attacks the moral backbone of a civilization, rotting it into a putrescent jelly that cannot hold society erect. At that point it collapses. This is happening now in Britain, which was one of the greatest nations in history within the memory of many still living today.
Anarchists today broke away from one of the largest protests Britain has ever seen to bring chaos to the streets of London.

The Ritz hotel and Fortnum & Mason were among the buildings targeted in the capital after groups of rampaging youths intent on spreading havoc left the mass anti-cuts demonstration.

Around 500,000 activists and campaigners descended on London this morning to protest at the Government's drastic cuts programme.

The cuts were as inevitable as the riots. As the last great British leader Margaret Thatcher observed, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money. "

The cockroaches with the masks are the result of generations that were never expected to take any responsibility for their own parasitical existences. They are Britain's post-civilization future, bred by the Dole. Next comes authoritarian collectivism, a totalitarian form of serfdom.

If this could happen to Britain, it could happen to America — and it will, if the disease is not cured quickly.

SOURCE. (See the original for pix)



It's called "inflation": "Does anybody besides Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke really believe the U.S. economy is not suffering from increasingly serious inflation? Bernanke -- like the rest of us -- has seen soaring prices for precious metals, base metals, gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil, and corn, wheat, and other foodstuffs. He has seen big increases in the nation's Producer Price Index and a record high in the United Nations Food Price Index, up about 25 percent in the past year."

Correcting fantasies about Social Security: "Let's bring the Trust Fund lie down to a very personal level ... You can't create an asset by writing yourself an IOU. If you take $10 out of your right pocket, spend the $10, and then write yourself an IOU for $10, the IOU is worthless, EVEN if you place it in your Left-pocket Trust Fund. The Social Security Trust Fund is really the Left-pocket Trust Fund. And these so-called bonds are just another political con-job designed to dupe the American people"

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 March, 2011

The uniformed goons of the Left

Whether black, white, brown, red, pink, orange, green, or purple, leftists come in all colors… depending on their issue de jour. Watching the turmoil in Wisconsin in recent weeks, and seeing Democrats on the floor of the General Assembly… all decked out in their stylish orange t-shirts… shouting childish epithets at their Republican colleagues, one is reminded of how easily and how quickly liberals, Democrats, socialists, fascists and communists adopt self-identifying uniforms.

What comes to mind are leftist movements of the past two centuries: Mussolini’s Blackshirts; Hitler’s Brownshirts; the white-hooded Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; the black-suited New Black Panthers; the pink-shirted dilettantes of Code Pink; the red-shirted thugs of Obama’s ACORN; the green-shirted radicals of the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and the purple-shirted goons of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Of these, only Hitler’s Brownshirts and Mussolini’s Blackshirts are not known to have been closely associated with the Democratic Party.

Unlike Tea Party activists, who are capable of dressing themselves and thinking for themselves, union members and other self-identified leftists, socialists and fascists are, by their very nature, like children who must have others dress them and do their thinking for them.

Mussolini’s Blackshirts, the Fasci di Combattimenti, were established as a Fascist paramilitary force in 1919. Far from being as brutal as Hitler’s Brownshirts, Mussolini’s Blackshirts favored tactics such as tying an opposition “non-conformist” to a tree, forcing a pint or two of castor oil down his throat, and forcing him to swallow a live toad or frog. While not life-threatening, such punishments were enough to cause most Italians to give the Blackshirts a bit of latitude.

And while submissive adults were important to the Mussolini regime, it was the children, the fascists of the future, who were of greatest interest to Il Duce. Like Democrats of today and like Nazis of yesteryear, a top priority of Italian fascists was control of the state’s public education system… not because of the quality of the education children might receive, but because of the opportunities it provided for filling impressionable young minds with leftist ideology.

While Italian children were taught to sing hymns of praise to Il Duce, American children are taught by unionized teachers to chant, “He said red, yellow, black, or white, all are equal in his sight. Mmm, mmm, mmm! Barack Hussein Obama! Barack Hussein Obama!”

Adolph Hitler’s Brownshirts, the Sturmabteilung (SA), served as the paramilitary arm of the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party. It played a major role in Hitler’s rise to power during the 1920s and ’30s until being violently displaced by the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1934.

The Hitler Youth, who wore the same brown shirts as their elders, were important to the future of the Third Reich because it was their job, not only to inform on their parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, but to train and recruit future SA members. And just as the Hitler Youth were taught Nazi slogans and Nazi doctrine by adult leaders, Youth for Obama children are taught to sing propaganda themes such as, “We’re gonna’ spread happiness. We’re gonna’ spread freedom. Obama’s gonna’ change it, Obama’s gonna’ lead ‘em, Obama’s gonna’ change it… and rearrange it. We’re gonna’ change the world.”

The Ku Klux Klan, identifiable by their white robes and white conical hats and facemasks, was formed in 1865 as the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party. The primary role of the Klan was to intimidate the freed slaves, controlling every facet of their daily lives as if they had not been freed from the bonds of slavery. Sworn testimony contained in the Congressional Record tells us that, after Republicans wrote and ratified the 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote, Democrats often stood in the doorways of the polling places handing out Democratic ballots and reminding blacks that, if they failed to vote the Democrat ticket, there was a coffin waiting for them.

With that level of intimidation most blacks voted the Democrat ticket… but some did not. Archives maintained by the Tuskegee Institute contain the names of some 4,730 men and women who refused to be intimidated. Between 1882 and 1951, the white-clad night riders of the Klan lynched some 3,437 blacks and 1,293 whites, essentially all Republicans. Now, in what can only be described as a mind-boggling reversal of roles, we find members of the New Black Panther Party, clad in black military style uniforms and brandishing police-style nightsticks, employing essentially the same tactics as the KKK… intimidating both black and white voters suspected of voting for Republican candidates.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), whose members and staff are recognizable by their red t-shirts, was born out of the welfare rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. According to ACORN propaganda, the group’s priorities have included better low-income housing, higher wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, better public schools, unionization of workers and other “social justice” issues. Putting a bit of “lipstick on a pig,” ACORN claims to have pursued these goals through public demonstrations, negotiations, lobbying and voter participation.

The truth is, in spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it taxpayer funds, have flowed through the hands of 30 ACORN state chapters and hundreds of local chapters, ACORN activists have little to show for their efforts. Low-income housing has been a national disgrace; few minorities have gained middle-class status via ACORN’s efforts; pressure exerted on banks to make mortgage loans to applicants with little or no ability to repay them, has brought our nation to the brink of financial collapse; the number of high school dropouts, especially in the black community, has steadily increased while education spending has grown exponentially; more than two out of every three black babies are born to unwed mothers; and, with ACORN’s assistance, the number of black babies aborted now borders on genocide.

The only thing ACORN has done successfully is to provide the Democratic Party with many thousands of dead or fictitious voters. Numerous officials have been indicted on fraud charges and on March 22, 2010, ACORN announced it was closing all of its remaining state chapters and disbanding due to falling revenue. Although Democrats will be forced to find a new source of fraudulent voter registrations, they’re almost certain to experience a one-time windfall from the sale of thousands of red ACORN t-shirts.

Until the shameless siege of the Wisconsin state capitol, the purple-shirted goons of the SEIU could be counted on to turn out in force… shouting, screaming, pushing, shoving and brutalizing the opposition. But now, the violence-prone goons of the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the NEA and the AFT appear to have reclaimed their mantle as party “enforcers.” And while decent people may view with alarm the lawless nature of those who occupied the Wisconsin capitol, threatening and terrorizing Republican members of the House and Senate, it is easy to lose track of just who those people are.

They are not just a bunch of radical Democrats and unionized public employees in someone else’s state capital. No matter where we live, they are our family members, our neighbors; the teachers who teach our children; our fellow Wal-Mart shoppers; and, sadly, in far too many instances, they are the police officers and the firefighters in whose hands we place the safety of our families and our property. They are, like the Wisconsin classroom teachers and other public employees, those who contribute their hard earned dollars to elect Democratic puppets in our city halls, our county courthouses, our state legislatures, and the Congress.

They are the people who refuse to condemn the author of the death threat made to Wisconsin legislators, the cowardly threat that tells Republican legislators, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed… We have all planned to assault you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head…” They are the leftist hoodlums who have been taught by their union overlords to chant at Republicans, “You have killed democracy,” when few of them are sufficiently educated to write a single declaratory sentence describing the difference between a democracy and a republic.

They are not the people who have, through their industry, built a great nation; they are the people who would find comfort in the smothering embrace of a European-style socialist state. They are not builders of wealth, creators and leaders; they are the moochers, the parasites and the hangers-on of Ayn Rand’s epic work, “Atlas Shrugged.”

Now that conservatives and Republicans have been successful in attacking the power of public employee unions in Idaho, Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, the real battle begins. Between now and the 2012 general election, it is up to Republicans to remind voters of why collective bargaining reform is so essential. They must hang all of Wisconsin’s $100,000+ bus drivers, New York City’s 4,000 “rubber room” teachers and Harry Reid’s Northern Nevada Cowboy Poetry Festival tightly around the necks of Democrats. And now that the rainbow coalition of color-coded radicals, representing less than fifteen percent of the U.S. workforce, has been foolish enough to show us their true colors, it’s up to the rest of us to make sure the voters do not forget who they are when they go to the polls in 2012.



No longer the land of the free

As American warplanes strategically attack Libya and American boots win the peace in Afghanistan and Iraq, YouTube sensation Remy sings that it is important to remember that our brave men and women are fighting for our rights to let the TSA take full body scans; place our three-ounce toiletries in plastic baggies; protect 16,000 pages of tax code; and ban energy drinks.



Government's Work Is Never Done: The endless expansion of big government

"When," humorist P.J. O’Rourke has asked, "can we quit passing laws and raising taxes? When can we say of our political system, ‘Stick a fork in it, it’s done’?... The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop."

Alas for O’Rourke and those who sympathize with him, the project of contemporary liberalism is never done. You might look upon the vast expansion of the regulatory state over the past couple of decades and conclude that government could afford to take a breather—maybe even a three-day weekend. Wrong. To the liberal or progressive eye, the remarkable thing is not how much government does—but how much it has yet to do.

Take the recent tragic crash of a tour bus in the Bronx, which killed 15. Nobody knows yet what caused it. No matter. "Lax Rules for Discount Buses Cited After I-95 Crash," ran the New York Times headline over a story which began: "Discount tour buses transport millions of passengers a year"—sounds good so far, but here comes the but—"but the federal government has little control over who gets behind the wheel." Better pass some more rules, stat.

Warning about too little regulation is a house specialty at the Times, which over the past couple of years has run a "Toxic Waters" series about "the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response"; a "Radiation Boom" series about advanced medical techniques ("As Technology Surges, Radiation Safeguards Lag"); and a "Drilling Down" series on natural-gas fracking ("Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers").

But it’s not just The Times. The default position for most major media outlets is that more regulation is good—and whenever a new problem arises, the obvious and necessary answer is a firmer government hand.

Or even when a new problem does not arise. A few days ago The Washington Post ran a lengthy story on car booster seats for children who weigh more than 65 pounds, which "are not held to any government safety requirements." Missing from the story: Any evidence that this has increased carnage on the roadways. To the contrary, the article quotes a car-seat specialist for the Safe Kids advocacy group, who confirms that "we’re not seeing large numbers of kids affected by shoddy products." Nevertheless, the article lamented the fact that "parents are confronted with a barrage of safety seat choices"—why can’t the government mandate just one?!—and "many parents say they find little information about seats beyond what they cull from private testing organizations, such as Consumer Reports magazine and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety." Oh, is that all?

"Just when you thought it was safe to pull up to a table to eat," warned NPR’s Joanne Silberner not long ago, "infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota says think again." Even though a new food safety measure recently has been signed into law, even though the number of people sickened from eating tainted food has actually declined, not all is well, because—ready for it?—Republicans in Congress have been "expressing great reluctance" about meeting the FDA’s $326 million request for new food safety activities, Silberner reported.

Note what her story did not say: that Congress had refused the request. Or that the new activities could not possibly be performed for less than the sum requested. Or, more pertinent, that the regulatory activities would actually produce commensurate gains in food safety. Or any gains at all, for that matter. Those gains were simply assumed.

But not all regulations are created equal. A 1980 ban on unvented space heaters cost around $100,000 per life saved (in 1995 dollars), according to an article in the Fall 2002 issue of Regulation magazine. By contrast, a 1991 rule governing the chemical 1,2-Dichloropropane in drinking water cost $1.9 billion per life saved.

Since money is finite, it makes sense to spend regulatory dollars where they will do the most good. The platitudinous statement that "if it saves one life, it’s worth it" is not only wrong, but tragically wrong if the resources used to save that one life could have saved 500 others. And sometimes, regulations actually have the opposite effect of that intended. There is even a term for the phenomenon—the Peltzman Effect, named after Sam Peltzman, a University of Chicago economist who found that seat-belt laws and other safety measures often encourage more reckless driving. (This has been demonstrated in, among other places, Drachten, Holland, where the frequency of accidents at a particular intersection declined after lights and traffic signals were removed.)

Considerations such as these seem to carry little weight with fans of the regulatory state such as The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson—who noted, in the wake of the once-in-a-millennium tsunami that has devastated Japan, that "we haven’t defeated risk." Once we have—presumably after the Rapture comes—then maybe the expansion of the regulatory state can throttle down. Until then, this much is clear: If O’Rourke wants to stick a fork in anything, he better have a permit.




GE, Obama and cozy government business: "In America today, the biggest recipients of handouts are not poor people. They're corporations. ... Businesses love to have government as their partner. There's safety in it. Why take chances in a marketplace full of fickle consumers and investors, when you can get secure money and favors from the taxpayers? It's an old story, and free-market advocates as far back as Adam Smith warned against it. Unfortunately, too many people think 'free market' means pro-business. It doesn't. Free market means laissez faire: prohibit force and fraud, but otherwise leave the marketplace alone. No subsidies, no privileges, no arbitrary regulations. Competition is the most effective regulator."

Sleeping Reagan Air Traffic Controller Shows FAA's Failures: "The incident at Reagan National Airport in which two airliners landed after midnight without any assistance from the control tower illustrates a long-standing flaw with the Federal Aviation Administration. That agency combines two incompatible roles in a single body: aviation safety regulator and operator of the air traffic control system. Every other aspect of the aviation system is regulated at arm’s-length by the FAA: airports, airlines, air taxis, business jets, pilots, mechanics, and the producers of planes and engines. Only the air traffic control system is operated by the safety regulator itself, rather than being regulated by it. Every developed country in Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many others, has separated its air traffic control system from its aviation safety regulatory agency"

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 March, 2011

There are still "Samurai" in Japan

Hideaki Akaiwa is one of them, an unassuming hero. When his home town of of Ishinomaki in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture was flooded by the tsunami, he set out with great courage to rescue his wife and mother from the waves. There are several versions of the story in the news so it appears to be a true account. Some versions of the story say that he used scuba gear in his efforts but apparently he only used a wetsuit. He is an experienced surfer. In good Japanese style, he rejects personal publicity and has given only a few monosyllabic replies to questions. I have modified the account below to remove profane language

Hideaki's wife of twenty years was still buried inside the lake somewhere. She hadn't gotten out. She wasn't answering her phone. The water was still rising, the sun was setting, cars and were swooshing past on a river of sea water, and and rescue workers told him there was nothing that could be done - the only thing left was to sit back, wait for the military to arrive, and hope that they can get in there and rescue the survivors before it's too late. With 10,000 citizens of Ishinomaki still missing and unaccounted for, the odds weren't great that Hideaki would ever see his wife again.

For most of us regular folks, this is the sort of that would make us throw up our hands, swear loudly, and resign ourselves to a lifetime of hopeless misery. But Hideaki Akaiwa isn't a regular guy. He's an insane hero, and he wasn't going to sit back and just let his wife die alone, freezing to death in a miserable water-filled tomb. He was going after her. No matter what.

Hideaki wasn't going to let a pair of soul-crushing natural disasters deter him from doing awesome things and saving his family. He dove down into the water in the freezing cold, pitch black rushing current on all sides, and started swimming through the ruins of his former hometown.

Surrounded by incredible hazards on all sides, ranging from obscene currents capable of dislodging houses from their moorings, sharp twisted metal and giant cars careening through the water like toys, he pressed on. Past broken glass, past destroyed houses, past downed power lines arcing with electrical current, through undertow that could have dragged him out to sea never to be heard from again, he searched.

Hideaki maintained his composure and navigated his way through the submerged city, finally tracking down his old house. He quickly swam through to find his totally-freaked-out wife, alone and stranded on the upper level of their house, barely keeping her head above water. He grabbed her tight and dragged her out of the wreckage to safety. She survived.

But Hideaki Akaiwa still wasn't done yet.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering what the hell is more intense than face-punching a tsunami and dragging your wife of two decades out of the flooded wreckage of your home, but it gets even better. You see, Hideaki's mother also lived in Ishinomaki, and she was still unaccounted for. I think you all know where this is going.

First, Hideaki searched around the evacuation shelters and other areas, looking for his mom among the ragtag groups of survivors who had been lucky enough to flee to higher ground. She might have escaped, and he needed to find her. Now. He ran through the city like some post-apocalyptic action hero, desperately trying to track her down, but when a couple of days went by without any sign of her, he knew what he had to do. The water had only receded a few inches by this point, the rescue teams weren't working quickly enough for his tastes, and Hideaki Akaiwa once again took matters into his own hands - rushing back into the waterlogged city looking for his mom.

So, once again Hideaki navigated his way through the Atlantean city, picking his way through crumbling wreckage, splintered wood, and shredded metal to find his elderly mother. After another grueling trek, he tracked her down on the upper levels of a house - she'd been stranded there for four days, and would almost certainly have died without the timely aid of her son. He brought her to safety somehow as well, as you might expect at this point.

Now, while most people would have been content in the knowledge that their family was safe, Hideaki Akaiwa isn't the sort of hero who's going to hang up his flippers and quit just because he'd taken care of his own personal business - this guy made an oath to keep going back into the wreckage on his own to find people and help them to safety. Today this 43 year-old Japanese hero rides out every single day, multiple times a day, riding around on a bicycle with his legs wrapped in plastic to keep himself dry. His only equipment - a pocketknife, a canteen, a flashlight, a change of clothes, and a set of aviator sunglasses - packed into a trusty trio of backpacks, he rides out in search of people needing rescue, a modern-day, real-life action hero.

SOURCE. Another account here.


More stories from remarkable Japan

Observations by a visiting British journalist. He was apparently also in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and draws some obvious comparisons. I think readers here will know well enough about the Katrina aftermath, however

In Japan there has been not the slightest sign of civil unrest. In the hard-hit city of Sendai, I was humbled by a visit to the Tatekoshi elementary school — one of hundreds used as shelters for the homeless.

It was evening when I arrived, and the 272 men, women and children had just eaten a supper of sticky rice and curry sauce, and then formed an orderly queue to wash in cold water in the cloakroom. They were preparing to spend another freezing night sleeping on the gym floor. They knew they would be sardined together like this for many months, yet I heard not a murmur of complaint.

The Japanese are sticklers for neatness, and their blankets were folded with absolute precision, with each person claiming exactly the same amount of space. They are also obsessive about hygiene, and had hung their laundry to dry over the gym’s parallel bars.

The adults chatted amiably in small social groups, and one elderly woman told me how ‘fortunate’ they felt to have a roof above their heads.

Meanwhile, the best-behaved children I have ever come across made light of the fact they had lost their computers and other electronic gadgetry, and played traditional games instead. One little girl even folded a beautiful origami bird from coloured cardboard and proudly presented it to me as I left.

Less than a fortnight after their homes were reduced to matchwood and all their belongings were lost, these valiant people are already contributing towards Japan’s new future.

Ferried back to their flattened districts in local authority buses each day, they join the search for bodies and clear away rubble. ‘There is no time to look back,’ one young woman told me. ‘We must face up to what has happened, take responsibility for ourselves, and move forward. There is nothing else to be done.’

This is exactly the message promoted daily on NHK TV, Japan’s equivalent of the BBC. In Britain, in such circumstances, government ministers and bosses of the power plants so grievously damaged would be called to account for their every action. But there is no Japanese Jeremy Paxman.

The news is rather like one of those old Pathe newsreels screened in our cinemas during World War II, with clips of rice rations being delivered and communities pulling together. The newspapers publish useful tips, such as how mothers can make nappies out of plastic shopping bags and carry their babies on their backs in slings made from towels.

In Japan, however, they don’t ‘do’ heroes. Glorifying the individual is simply not their way. Nor is it done to disclose intimate personal details, or express one’s innermost feelings.

That is why we don’t even know the names of some of the most courageous men alive, the so-called ‘Fukushima 50’ — the brave nuclear power technicians risking a lingering death from nuclear fall-out in an effort to avert a catastrophic meltdown. And, whatever becomes of them, we probably never will.

With a great deal of persuasion, I did, at least, get permission to speak to two policemen who rescued an 80-year-old grandmother and her grandson, aged 16, after eight days trapped in the wreckage of their home.

If I expected them to describe, in copious detail, how they located the pair, then scrambled over precarious timbers and shards of glass to reach them, I was to be disappointed.

‘We are not special. It was a team effort,’ Sergeant Yoichi Seino told me with a shrug. ‘We are just happy we were able to send a message to our people, to never stop hoping.’

All along the tsunami coast, I met this same, one-for-all and all-for-one sense of purpose. Take, for instance, the young Sendai council worker whose entire life had been swept away by the great wave. ‘My dearest wife and son were lost in the great tsunami, but I’m still their proud husband and father,’ the man, who signed himself ‘S’, had written on a sign pinned to the town hall door. ‘I know it’s hard, but please — I implore you — don’t give up!’

Back in the relative safety of Tokyo, I related these experiences to a young flight attendant, and invited her to explain why her compatriots react so very differently to Westerners in the face of great hardship.

‘In Japan, children learn from a very early age always to think about the harmony of the group, rather than their own feelings,’ she told me. ‘We think: “If I accept a bad situation, then everybody will accept it, and it will be easier.”

‘It’s not that we aren’t scared inside, for instance about what might happen at Fukushima. And of course we feel heartbroken at the massive loss of life. ‘But we hide our true feelings because we believe that will help other people. What good will it do if I say I am frightened? The ripples of that emotion will only spread through the group.’

She continued: ‘When I went to high school in LA, I was amazed because Americans had an opinion about everything and expressed it loudly. My teacher wanted me to do the same, but that is not the Japanese way.’

Indeed not. But it is the Japanese way to be hospitable to guests — as I discovered when a woman brought me a bowl of noodles to eat as I trudged through the snow. And it is their way to carry on regardless, when the skyscraper they are working in suddenly shudders so violently that I dived under the desk.

At the airport this week, I met a young woman from Tokyo flying to London to distribute thousands of traditional Japanese hand-painted pictures. They were inscribed with a simple message: ‘Please pray for Japan.’

And so we should, for her stricken people deserve our prayers as they begin — with a very old-fashioned, once-British stiff upper lip — to rebuild their shattered lives.



Leftists are still fascinated by that old hater

Which tells is a lot about them. Basically, Marx hated everyone. He even mocked the workers

BOOK REVIEW of "Commonwealth" By Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Reviewed by: David L. Prychitko

Some two decades after the collapse of communism, socialist intellectuals still scramble to rehabilitate Marx and collectivist social theory in general, with Duke University professor Michael Hardt and Italian sociologist Antonio Negri leading the bunch. Academics are attracted to their radical critique of existing capitalist institutions. Non-academics and educated laypersons on the left are attracted to their radical message and hope that the people will successfully engage in a revolution to overturn private ownership and market exchange.

Although the book has attracted some zealous followers, it is a difficult read. One wades through lengthy and tiring discussions of Foucault, debates with Sartre, attempts to refashion Marxist theory, and then, sandwiched in between, hopeful tales about the restoration of “authentic identity” among the Maya and lengthy, optimistic claims about how the people of Cochabamba are progressing from “antimodernity” toward “altermodernity.” One suspects that the authors understand that their ideas won’t hold up well if stated in plain English, so they resort to an obscure but intimidating style. Amidst all of this, and among many other intellectual detours, stands a full-blown chapter on Spinoza’s concept of love. Suffice it to say that Hardt and Negri argue that people must be trained and educated in love in order to fight the evil forces of private property.

The authors assume (but don’t bother to argue) that property and market exchange block and destroy genuine human relationships. Marx had this general insight correct, they believe, but they suggest that his analysis needs to be corrected and updated in its details to fit our postindustrial age. Hardt and Negri claim that Marx’s theory of alienation, for example, must be further developed from an analysis of competitive separation of people and estrangement of the fruits of their labor to an “alienation of one’s thought” itself. Exactly what that means isn’t clear, but I think they’re suggesting that our thoughts aren’t truly our own, but are created by the capitalist system that allegedly controls us.

The authors insist that life—genuine, loving human relationships—is nestled in “the common.” The common consists of those institutions beyond private and public ownership of the means of production and, it appears, the fruits of labor, too. (One of the book’s many confusing aspects is that the meaning of “the common” is vague and shifting.) In Hardt and Negri’s view private property is the essence of capitalism, public property the essence of socialism, and the common is the essence of—you guessed it—communism. With this concept the authors try to break from the totalitarian consequences of “the victorious revolutions” of Russia, China, and Cuba. They claim to be optimistic that the revolution is imminent and, at long last, emancipating.

Nowhere do the authors consider the possibility that their revolution might lead to adverse results. Nor do they ever come to terms with the knowledge-communicating properties of voluntary and open exchanges of property rights. The coordination of plans, which is ultimately coordination of thoughts and expectations, is completely ignored in the book. How this can happen without private property and exchange is a mystery.

The common, the authors proclaim, is the ground of freedom and voluntarism. Activities within the common are the source of true wealth (hence the book’s title). The freedom of the common is the freedom to find and develop love, and it provides the source of the multitude’s supposed creative power. But “capital,” that meaningless collectivist concept that goes back to Marx himself, disrupts the common. Capital, they assert, exploits the multitude, the truly productive.

And the multitude is huddled and gathered mainly in cities, in “the metropolis,” used as another collectivistic concept. Marx focused on the factory, but Hardt and Negri claim that the metropolis is supposedly the current site of “hierarchy and exploitation, violence and suffering, fear and pain,” and therefore will be the site of the impending revolt. The authors have absolutely no sense of cities as spontaneous orders where millions cooperate for mutual gain. Maybe people keep going to cities because they are alienated from their own thoughts.

Hardt and Negri try to impress with their knowledge of Foucault, Laclan, Derrida, and Viveiros de Castro, but where’s Smith? Where’s Hayek? Where’s Jacobs? They never address the spontaneous and invisible-hand-like nature of markets, the communicative and wealth-enhancing nature of exchange, the role that cities play in such exchange, and the notion of civil society, an independent sector that is not fundamentally organized through commercial activity or the violent compulsion of the State. Are they even aware of the counterargument? And if so, when do they plan to address 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

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 March, 2011

Japan can do it

They're an example to us all -- and show what could be done everywhere

The picture of gaping chasms in a Japanese highway demonstrated the power of the March 11 earthquake. Now the astonishing speed of reconstruction is being used to highlight the nation’s ability to get back on its feet.

Work began on March 17 and six days later the cratered section of the Great Kanto Highway in Naka was as good as new. It was ready to re-open to traffic last night.

Many workers returned to their jobs the day after the quake and subsequent tsunami and some businesses in the worst-hit regions have already reopened.

The Japanese recovery has prompted some investors, including American Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, to declare that the disaster which has left 23,000 dead or missing represents a ‘buying opportunity’ in the money markets.



The great budget battle


A "quagmire" in Libya?

Democrats were shouting from the rafters about a "quagmire" (getting bogged down) when George Bush sent troops into Iraq but it seems that Obama may have got the USA into a real quagmire in Libya -- with very confused policy objectives being the cause

Let's imagine that all goes well in Libya. The rebels, protected by air strikes, recapture lost territory and sweep into Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi and his sons one way or the other disappear.

Leaders propose a democratic and secular constitution that voters overwhelmingly approve. The first act of the duly elected government is to issue a proclamation of thanks and friendship to the United States, Britain, France and others who prevented Gadhafi's mass slaughter.

Well, we can all dream, can't we? But in the cold light of day, none of these happy eventualities seems very likely. As one who hopes for success in this enterprise, I am dismayed by the contradictions in the course we are following.

Some three weeks ago, Barack Obama said Gadhafi "must go." But the United Nations Security Council resolution under which we are acting stops well short of this goal.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen confirmed that Gadhafi may remain in power indefinitely. National Security Council staffer Ben Rhodes said, "It's not about regime change."

If not, then the purported purpose of the operation, to "protect civilians," could be of unlimited duration. Libya might well be divided between a Gadhafi regime in the west around Tripoli and a rebel regime in the east around Benghazi.

Maintaining the existence of the latter will likely require military force. Obama has conceded that the United States is currently in command of operations, but says that command will be handed off to others in "days, not weeks."

But news reports make it clear that the overwhelming majority of military forces in action are American. Putting a British or French officer in command will not change that. And putting U.S. forces under foreign command might weaken support for the enterprise here at home.

Obama's policy is reminiscent of the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee. The policy satisfies advocates of humanitarian intervention, like the National Security Council's Samantha Power, who remember Bill Clinton's regret that he didn't intervene to stop the slaughter in Rwanda.

Unfortunately, in order to satisfy those who oppose anything smacking of unilateralism, it took time to get the U.N. Security Council to act, so that we missed the moment when it seemed possible that recognition of a rebel government or imposition of a no-fly zone would topple Gadhafi.

That delay gave him time to launch a counterattack that made him strong enough to withstand the limited military action that could get multilateral approval.

By accepting limits on U.S. involvement, Obama aims to satisfy skeptics of military action, like Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who publicly pointed out the difficulties of maintaining a no-fly zone. We have seen this before, when Obama announced his surge in Afghanistan together with a deadline for the beginning of troop withdrawals.

The result in Libya is a policy whose means seem unlikely to produce the desired ends.

In the process, this Democratic president has jettisoned some of the basic tenets of his party's foreign policy.

"It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action," candidate Obama said in December 2007. But Congress was not informed or, it seems, consulted in any serious way about this decision to take military action in Libya.

Instead, members of Congress, like the general public, heard the president make the announcement in Rio de Janeiro. That's quite a contrast with George W. Bush, who sought and obtained congressional approval of military action in Afghanistan in September 2001 and Iraq in October 2002.

Since then, many Democrats have denounced Bush's "rush to war" in Iraq. But military action there began a full five months after Congress approved. Obama didn't wait five days after the Security Council resolution.

Bush argued that intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq was in the national interest. Obama, who has made the same argument about Afghanistan, doesn't seem to be making it about Libya. For some supporters of his policy, the absence of any great national interest makes it all the more attractive.

It's not likely to remain attractive to American voters if it fails to result in the overthrow of Gadhafi and leads to an open-ended military commitment in a nation where our vital interests are not at stake.

But a better outcome is at least possible. After all, history shows that dreams sometimes do come true.



Doctors Give the Practice of Medicine under Obamacare a Grim Prognosis

On Monday, The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel of current and future physicians to discuss the impact of Obamacare on their profession. Their remarks highlighted the importance of the doctor-patient relationship as the heart of the practice of medicine and detailed direct threats as a result of the new health law.

Representative Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) explained that part of being a physician is fighting for the best interests of each individual patient. Under Obamacare, this will be harder to do, as government inserts itself further into the provision of care. One example is the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare. Representative Burgess pointed out that under ACOs, doctors would not be held accountable to patients, but rather to the hospital or health plan in charge. Based on his experience as an OB/GYN, Representative Burgess argued that it will be more difficult for doctors to stand up for patients’ needs to insurers or the government if they work directly for the latter.

Dr. Martha Boone, a urologist from Atlanta, further argued that currently, if an insurer denies coverage for a certain treatment, she can call the medical director (a fellow physician) and explain her rationale. In the case of coverage provided by the government, such as Medicare and Medicaid, that’s not an option—the answer is always no. Greater government influence in medical decision-making will come at the expense of patients’ own desires.

Physicians’ concerns go beyond the expansion of bureaucratic power into patient care. Jeet Guram, a first-year medical student at Harvard Medical School, pointed to the new law’s expansion of Medicaid, a flawed program, to cover an additional 18 million Americans. Since Medicaid pays physicians significantly lower rates than private insurance or Medicare, it is difficult for doctors to accept Medicaid patients without risking insolvency. As more Americans enter the system, barriers to access for Medicaid beneficiaries will become even more pronounced.

Of further concern to Guram is Obamacare’s “misalignment of priorities” when it comes to medical innovation. The new law increases government control over cost and utilization of services, which could distort demand. Further discouraging innovators are the law’s new taxes on pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. As Representative Burgess said, investors “don’t hazard big things for small rewards.” Medicine is on the cusp of exciting new territory, but discouraging future innovation could change that.

The sentiments expressed by the panel echo those of the medical profession at large. According to a recent survey sponsored by Pfizer, 59 percent of physicians cited the interference of non-medical entities in medical decisions as a negative development in the health care system. And 50 percent held an unfavorable view of Obamacare, compared to 24 percent who saw it as favorable.

Threats to the doctor-patient relationship existed before the passage of Obamacare. However, rather than empowering doctors and patients, the new law will result in further erosion as a result of government intrusion in health care.



An Obamacare waiver for the whole of NYC?

We read:
Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday he was looking into how a health law waiver might work for New York City.

Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because of the city’s special health care infrastructure, his office was looking into alternatives that might make more sense. Weiner is one of the health care law’s biggest supporters; during the debate leading up to reform, he was one of the last holdouts in Congress for the public option.

“The president said, ‘If you have better ideas that can accomplish the same thing, go for it,’” said Weiner. “I’m in the process now of trying to see if we can take [President Barack Obama] up on it in the city of New York, … and I’m taking a look at all of the money we spend in Medicaid and Medicare and maybe New York City can come up with a better plan.”

New York is one of two states that pass on Medicaid expenses to cities and localities, so “the city winds up having an enormous Medicaid expense,” Weiner said.

Weiner can spin this as a testament to how "flexible" the law is until he's blue in the face (don't fall for that ruse), but in truth, this amounts to an astounding admission of failure. This is an ardent supporter of The Greatest Federal Law Ever publicly conceding that it doesn't make sense for the nation's largest city -- and scrounging for workable alternatives. Wow.



An economic fallacy that will not die

Economic lunacy abounds, and often the most learned, including Nobel Laureates, are its primary victims. The most recent example of economic lunacy is found in a Huffington Post article titled "The Silver Lining of Japan's Quake" written by Nathan Gardels, editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, who has also written articles for The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post.

Mr. Gardels says, "No one -- least of all someone like myself who has experienced the existential terror of California's regular tremors and knows the big one is coming here next -- would minimize the grief, suffering and disruption caused by Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami. But if one can look past the devastation, there is a silver lining. The need to rebuild a large swath of Japan will create huge opportunities for domestic economic growth, particularly in energy-efficient technologies, while also stimulating global demand and hastening the integration of East Asia. ... By taking Japan's mature economy down a notch, Mother Nature has accomplished what fiscal policy and the central bank could not."

Gardels is not alone in seeing silver linings in disasters. Harvard University's Professor Larry Summers, former Obama economic adviser and Treasury secretary, said the disaster "may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake, Japan actually gained some economic strength."

It's not just disasters in Japan. After Florida's devastating 2004 hurricane, newspapers carried headlines such as "Storms create lucrative times." and "Economic growth from hurricanes could outweigh costs." Economist Steve Cochrane added, "It's a perverse thing ... there's real pain, but from an economic point of view, it is a plus."

Why might Japan's and Florida's devastation be seen as "pluses"? French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) explained it in his pamphlet "What is Seen and What is Not Seen," saying, "There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen."

Bastiat elaborated further in his "Broken Window Fallacy" parable where a vandal smashes a shopkeeper's window. A crowd forms, sympathizing with the shopkeeper. Soon, someone in the crowd suggests that instead of a tragedy, there might be a silver lining. Instead of the boy being a vandal, he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town. Fixing the broken window creates employment for the glazier, who will then buy bread and benefit the baker, who will then buy shoes and benefit the cobbler and so forth.

Bastiat says that's what's seen. What is not seen is what the shopkeeper would have done with the money had his window not been smashed. He might have purchased a suit from the tailor. Therefore, an act that created a job for the glazier destroyed a job for the tailor. On top of that, had the property destruction not occurred, the shopkeeper would have had a suit and a window. Now he has just a window and as a result, he is poorer.

After the 2001 terrorist attack, economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman wrote in his New York Times column "After the Horror," "Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack -- like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression -- could do some economic good." He explained that rebuilding the destruction would stimulate the economy through business investment and job creation.

Do a simple smell test on these examples of economic lunacy. Would the Japanese economy face even greater opportunities for economic growth had the earthquake and tsunami also struck Tokyo, Hiroshima, Yokohama and other major cities? Would the 9-11 terrorists have done us an even bigger economic favor had they destroyed buildings in other cities? The belief that society benefits from destruction is lunacy.


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 March, 2011

Sarah Palin is a Threat to More than Just the Establishment Here at Home

Sarah Palin’s trip to India and Israel is a great opportunity for her to boost her foreign policy credentials, solidify future potential alliances, learn more about the issues by engaging directly with the movers and the shakers and develop relationships which will be important to her should she become president. But, it’s also an opportunity for those who are enemies of America to size up a potential opponent; and if you are a Muslim extremist bent on establishing Sharia law worldwide, Sarah Palin represents a serious threat.

Because liberalism and elitism in both major political parties here at home are protecting their own interests, not enough is being understood about the role Palin would play on the world stage should she become president.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher experienced the same issues along their ways. They were seen as lightweights from the uneducated classes that couldn’t fully grasp the complexity of things like détente, global interconnection, the complexities of intelligence gathering and the concessions that had to be made in order to keep people safe – even if it meant toning down rhetoric or letting a domino country or two fall. They couldn’t grasp the complexity of these things not because they were unintelligent. It was because they didn’t accept the premise behind these things in the first place.

While opponents of Reagan on both sides of the aisle saw a cavalier cowboy who would say something inflammatory enough to cause the Soviet Union to go to war with us, they operated from the premise that we could be scared but the Soviets were too cold to fear us. Reagan knew defeating the Soviet Union wasn’t going to come from pressing the button and throwing the planet into World War III. He knew that defeating them required us to have a set of convictions and be willing to stand up for those convictions in much the way a child stands up to a bully.

You can put all the greatest political, intellectual, military and diplomatic minds in the country into a room and have them overanalyze any issue. In their great complexities and in their deep thinking rooted in years of education and research, you will find one difficulty with their methodology. “We win, you lose” is too simple a concept for them to grasp.

This is not to say people shouldn’t be educated and shouldn’t analyze problems. This is to make the point that in any competition or conflict, the ultimate underlying meaning is winning is everything. One never wins out of weakness or fear, but rather out of primal brute strength. Calling out an “evil empire” or demanding that its leader “tear down this wall” may sound provocative to “trembling tigers” that are comfortable in their positions of power on what is now becoming a rocky boat, but it’s a language better understood in international power politics than it is in our domestic language of civil debate.

You earn the respect of your enemy when you demonstrate the ability to stand up to them and defeat them. Getting together, holding hands and singing Kumbaya may work in the feel good confines of Berkeley, but it’s a completely foreign language to forces outside our bubble of Constitutional democracy. The only language they understand is force; and if we don’t speak to them in that language, they won’t understand us.

Force can be defined as political, economic or military. But the fact of the matter is you don’t communicate with people who are using triggers, detonators and suicide bombers by calling a meeting.

There are too many people in America who don’t understand that there are millions of Muslim extremists throughout the world who want to destroy us. There are too many people in America that don’t understand that these people are already in the process of establishing a world caliphate. If we wait for the “plane to hit the building” this time around, it may be too late.

Once again, it’s not the complexities of the situation that disqualify people like Palin the way the elites would have us believe; it’s her unwillingness to accept the premise that really drives them nuts. Just as it was with the Soviet threat, the idea of peaceful coexistence or curling up into a ball and only attacking them if they attack us are still being seen as viable options against Muslim extremism. Coexistence and isolationism didn’t get us out of the Cold War; and these will not prevent a worldwide caliphate either. “We win, you lose” is the only way to stop them.

When it comes to the language of international power politics, you must remember that the world does not operate under a civil democracy where disputes are settled in courts. It’s a wild frontier out there with armed maniacs willing to die for Allah. It’s not about being scared of them. It’s about understanding their language so that we can communicate with them. Their language is brute force. Until we learn to speak that language fluently, we will always have problems relating to a world that doesn’t relate to us through our prism of civility and a naiveté that assumes they value life the way we do.

Sarah Palin understands the language of international power politics. She's fluent in it. When she uses mama grizzly imagery, she is talking about the primal condition of nature. Here in America, we are civil human beings. But out there in the world, a lot of those people are just animals.

The elites and the liberals in America may worry that she will rock their little boats and upset their little apple carts, but they can take solace in the fact that this country will still be a familiar enough place for them to survive in if she does win the presidency. One cannot say the same should Obama win a second term.

Watch how we react when the electricity goes off or if there is no food in the store. They say you can’t release domesticated animals into the wild because they won’t survive. Well, we humans better realize that we, too, have been conditioned like domesticated animals. Our problem is we are spoiled as a nation. See those folks over there in the Muslim world? The extremists don’t have that problem....

The lame stream media won’t touch the Palin Doctrine or call Muslim extremism what it really is. They’re afraid people might start listening to Palin and take her seriously.

The media lives a double life of lies by propping up the incompetent president they helped get elected while desperately hiding the truth about Palin’s strengths, qualifications and message because they know these could get her elected in 2012 at the expense of their poor chosen one. Listen to Sarah Palin’s 2008 VP acceptance speech and check that against Obama’s message of hope and change. Is what we have going on right now in America and in the world the hope and change that some of you voted for?

Don’t kid yourselves. Muslim extremism is as dangerous as communism was back in the Soviet days. Resist the urge to watch the Tina Fey version of Sarah Palin play back in your head when reading this or any other article that is trying to break through the fabric of a lying media. They want you to doubt her. They want you to fear her. Unless you’re a Muslim extremist, those fears are unfounded.

More HERE (See the original for links)


Uncivil disobedience: Media ignores union thuggery


Just a couple of months ago, in the wake of Jared Loughner's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, simple talk of "targeting" a political opponent for defeat was treated as beyond the pale. But let's look at some more recent language -- and conduct -- that our bien-pensant punditry can't be bothered to notice, let alone condemn.

In Michigan, protesters opposed to Gov. Rick Snyder's austerity budget broke a window to get into the capitol building. One faces felony charges after assaulting police with an edged weapon; 14 were arrested.

In Washington, DC, the windows at GOP headquarters were shot out, not the first time that Republican offices have been subject to such attacks.

In Madison, Wis., the state capitol was occupied for weeks by teachers-union members and their supporters. Doors and windows were broken; a mob tried to keep Republican state senators from entering the Senate chamber to vote.

And blogger Ann Althouse -- a Wisconsin law professor who voted for Barack Obama -- received nasty threats for the crime of posting video depicting this thuggish conduct on YouTube: "We will f--- you up," the threateners wrote. This was not the first threat she has received for her blogging.

The GOP state senators who supported Gov. Scott Walker's budget also received death threats, including an e-mail reading, in part: "I want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me have decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and your republican dictators have to die.

"This is how it's going to happen: I as well as many others know where you and your family live, it's a matter of public records. We have all planned to assult [sic] you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head...

This threat was more credible because mobs of union protesters had already visited senators' houses, screaming and banging on the windows.

At the Huffington Post, liberal Lee Stranahan wonders why this kind of thing isn't getting more attention from the traditional media who were tut-tutting over much more minor (and even imaginary) offenses to civility so very recently. "Ignoring the story of these threats is deeply, fundamentally wrong. It's bad, biased journalism that will lead to no possible good outcome and progressives should be leading the charge against it.

"Just before writing this article, I did a Google search and it's stunning to find out that the right-wing media really isn't exaggerating -- proven death threats against politicians are being ignored by the supposedly honest media.

He's right, but the big-media folks seem so anxious to peddle the same tired storyline -- right-wingers are violent and ignorant, left-wingers are peaceful and virtuous -- that they almost have to ignore anything that will spoil the narrative.



More union foul play?

“I think we need the freedom to have barbecues,” said Cynthia Davis during a telephone interview Sunday. If you think it sounds crazy for Davis, a former state representative now serving as chair of the St. Charles County (Mo.) Republican Party, to stake her claim on the right to have a barbecue without government interference, you don’t know the half of it!

On Saturday, Davis hosted her “First Barbecue of the Spring” on the lawn in front of the Back to Basics Christian Bookstore which she owns and operates with her husband, Bernie, and several of her seven children in O’Fallon, Mo. On the menu of food items offered to invited guests was dangerously-delicious meat from T-Bones Natural Meats, suspiciously-sumptuous cakes from Susie G’s Specialty Cakes and — OMG! — chips and salsa from Chevy’s Fresh Mex®.

Though several dozen people attended the early-afternoon event, Davis did not expect Rick Etherington, an environmental public health specialist from the St. Charles County Health Department, to be among them. But he showed up, explaining that he was there in response to the health department receiving calls about the barbecue on Thursday and again on Saturday.

Davis and others at the event agreed that Etherington was polite and only doing his job. It appears, however, that he was being used by someone as a pawn in a thinly-veiled effort to shut down Davis’ event and, in turn, hurt her chances of winning a seat on the board of the St. Charles County Ambulance District during elections April 5.

The ambulance district? I know, it might seem unimportant, but keep reading and you’ll understand why the matter caught my attention.

Etherington spent about an hour at the event, according to Davis, but did not shut it down. Instead, he allowed her to send a representative to the health department when it opened for business Monday morning to obtain a no-cost, after-the-fact permit for the event.

Two days after the event, one question remains: Who would want to disrupt an invitation-only barbecue on private property by calling out a health department inspector who, I’m told by one local restaurant industry insider, almost never works weekends?

All the arrows seem to point to the ambulance district paramedics represented by the Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri IAFF Local 2665 — and for good reason.

Fresh on the heels of contract negotiations that ended with them faring pretty well (i.e., their wages were frozen and they lost one vacation day per year) despite a bad economy, those union paramedics don’t want a person like Davis on the board when their next round of salary negotiations with the ambulance district begins in 2012. After all, she states in her campaign literature that “She’ll ask the tough questions.”

The ambulance district had to borrow $1.4 million in September 2010 just to meet payroll, according to Davis; On Jan. 24, 2010, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that members of the paramedics’ union were at the center of a firestorm that resulted in allegations of union influence, threats and back-room deals on the normally-quiet board.



Hamas Rocket Attacks On Israel Go Practically Unnoticed

With all eyes on the events unfolding in Japan, with Japanese triple-disaster, and the battle against the regime of Libya's dictator Moamar Khadhafi, a massive rocket attack on Israel practically went practically unnoticed this weekend.

Members of the terrorist group Hamas launched attacks against Israel from their base in Gaza during this weekend's Sabbath. The Israeli intelligence service says they have proof that the Iranian government is instigating these latest attacks by providing the rockets and mortars.

Terrorists launched more than 50 rockets which landed in southern Israel this Saturday morning with the aim of causing maximum -- and indiscriminate -- death and destruction, according to Israeli government officials.

This was the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said, while Hamas police beat up and confiscated equipment from reporters covering the attack.

This massive assault comes just days after Israel seized a cargo ship, Victoria , carrying rockets and other lethal weapons from Iran and Syria that were headed for delivery to Hamas in Gaza.



"Quantitative easing" (money printing) is coming home to roost in Britain too

Families are being punished by the highest rate of inflation for two decades amid fears of an interest rate rise. Figures published yesterday put the retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation at 5.5 per cent, the biggest annual increase in the cost of living since 1991. At the current level, inflation is higher in Britain than any other European country – except Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania.

The figures were released on a day of bad news for the economy, which included: The cost of fuel hitting a record average price of £1.33 for a litre of unleaded; The announcement that public sector borrowing was the highest ever for a February at £11.8billion.

The biggest problem facing families is that the cost of ‘essential’ items is rising, which means they cannot escape. For millions, the biggest battle is finding the money to fill up their car. The average price of petrol and diesel has never been higher.


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 March, 2011

Touchdown: B-2 stealth jets return after epic 11,500 mile journey to bomb Libyan aircraft shelters

Six hero pilots return home safe and sound from a bombing mission to Libya which saw them in the cockpit for an incredible 25 hours. Three B-2 Spirit bombers, piloted by two men each, made it back after the 11,418-mile round trip from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri - where they are kept in special hangars - to Libya, where they hit targets on forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi and back again.

At $2.1bn, they are the most expensive warplanes in the world and rarely leave their climate-controlled hangars. But when it does, the B-2 bomber makes a spectacularly effective start to a war - including during this weekend's aerial attack on Libya's air defences.

Its mission is to penetrate heavily defended enemy territory and 'kick down the door' on the opening night of a conflict. One of its special features is its ability to carry eight GBU-37 'bunker buster' bombs, weighing in at 2.27 tonnes that are capable of boring 20 to 30 ft of rock or reinforced concrete before detonating.

After the first wave of more than 110 Tomahawk missiles launched from allied warships in the Mediterranean, they struck yesterday morning on 'a variety of strategic targets over Libya', according to the US Air Force.

They dropped a total of 45 one-tonne satellite guided missiles on Libyan aircraft shelters before making the 5,709 mile journey back to the Missouri. The B-2 stealth bombers were first used in the Kosovo and Serbian war and have been used more recently in Afghanistan.

The long-range, heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defence, and with one refuelling, is able to fly to any point in the world within hours. The aircraft is famous for rather ominous-looking bat-like silhouette: The leading edges of the wings are angled at 33° and the trailing edge has a double-W shape. It is manufactured at two Northrop Grumman facilities in Pico Rivera and Palmdale in California.

The aircraft also are deadly and effective: An assessment published by the USAF showed that two B-2s armed with precision weaponry can do the job of 75 conventional aircraft. That makes it a powerful weapon to strike targets including bunkers, command centres, radars, airfields, air defences. The B-2 can carry 16 2,000 pound (900 kilogram), satellite-guided bombs, including an earth penetrating version.



Just a tribal war in Libya

In Libya and Yemen and Bahrain, as with Egypt, there is a LOT being published in the media, a LOT of commentary on-line, and a LOT of screaming back and forth about the wonderful revolt or rebellion and how it includes all the “lost” segments of Islamic society (women, homosexuals, atheists, etc.). Balderdash! All this indicates that people do NOT understand either tyranny, dictatorship, nor the history and current situation in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Look first at Libya. Libya is a tribal society, and has been since the Arabs overran this part of the Roman empire in the 7th Century, including the Visigothic regime which had conquered this portion of the empire. The country doesn’t even have a constitution.

Gaddafi “overthrew” the old Islamist monarchy in 1969, but only because his tribe joined an alliance of other key tribes which did not want to remain under the tribe to which the monarchs had belonged from 1951 to 1969, and he was in front. He is not a figurehead, but the dominant personality and leader of a coalition of tribes in a bewildering array of committees and councils and even mixed tribal military and militia units. The national military is a cesspool of competing tribal interests. The “rebels” are not really rebels: they are tribes that have withdrawn from the various coalitions: often they are the majority, and the “government forces” are definitely in the minority: the tribes who still want to keep the current (or former) regime.

Some tribes have been very resistant to Gaddafi’s (and his tribe’s and their allies’) brand of government and Islam: they want to return to the Islamic tribal system, and have been under pressure from the more “secular” tribes and Gaddafi for decades (one reason Al Qaeda has so many Libyans in its ranks.) Other tribes just want to be in the driver’s seat. Though the current uprising has some popular roots, it is taking place and continuing because it is allowed and supported by several of the tribes which have decided to no longer participate in the shared power structure, either because THEY want to be boss, or because they are tired of the brutality used to enforce the “code of honor” that the tribes have used to resolve their conflicts.

Gaddafi (and his tribe) are in a bad position: his tribe was not a large one, and his personal influence, though built on his tribe, actually has supported and protected his tribe. Enough others have, until now, agreed with what he has done so that he has been in power for 42 years. But now enough tribes (and people) have withdrawn their support that it has collapsed into civil war. The protesters and the mobs are as much the tools of the tribes and power brokers as they are any kind of independent force for change.

The uprising and civil war is very VERY unlikely to lead to any “democratic” state - just a reordering of tribal power – even if the EU, NATO, or the US intervene. This is NOT a situation in which individual liberty is likely to increase - indeed, just the opposite. And in the chaos, the various small tribes and political groups, from Al Qaeda to the local branches of every possible group you can imagine, see this as the perfect opportunity to strike out at their enemies - but at the same time, they are better targets than ever for their own enemies.

As long as Arabs, Persians, and others are enslaved spiritually by their religion, Islam or “Submission”, and enslaved mentally by their tribal culture and society, there will be no “democratic” OR “republican” revolution on Arab Street, no individual liberty with personal responsibility, and no peace in the “Lands of Peace.” And if we do not understand that, we will continue to find OUR liberty and freedoms threatened by Islam and Arabs and their ilk two centuries from now.



An assortment of good thoughts from Thomas Sowell

Don't mention "municipal golf courses" to me. It sends my blood pressure up through the roof. What earthly excuse is there for spending the taxpayers' money subsidizing a golf course? Politicians can't even invoke "the poor," as they do when trying to justify other government boondoggles.

The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be "materialistic" and "greedy" to want to keep what you have earned. But it is "idealistic" to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.

Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do-- and nothing is more unpredictable.

An e-mail from a perceptive reader points out that, although Congressional "earmarks" represent a very small part of federal spending, they can be used as bribes to buy the votes of members of Congress on bills involving the spending of vastly larger sums of the taxpayers' money.

When political commentators from the Fox News Channel had books whose sales would normally make the New York Times' non-fiction best-seller list, the New York Times changed the rules for putting books on that list. Thus best-selling political books by Mike Huckabee and Dick Morris appeared last Sunday on a more obscure list of miscellaneous personal advice and how-to books, such as "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook."

When the Federal Reserve cites statistics to claim that there is not much evidence of inflation, we need to keep in mind that the statistics they rely on exclude food and energy prices. The cost of living is no sweat if you can do without electricity and food.

Even if it could be proved that judges who are making rulings that go counter to the written law produce better results in those particular cases than following the letter of the law would have, that does not make society better off. When laws become unreliable and judges unpredictable, lawsuits become a bonanza for charlatans, who can force honest people to settle out of court, for fear of what some judge might do.

The mainstream media never expressed half the outrage about Mao Zedong as they did about Ronald Reagan. Yet, when it came to killing millions of innocent civilians, even Hitler was an amateur compared to Mao.

The Obama administration seems to be following what might be called "the Detroit pattern"-- increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions. In the short run, it got mayors re-elected. In the long-run, it reduced Detroit from a thriving city to an economic disaster area, whose population was cut in half, as its most productive citizens fled.

Safety advocates who say that we shouldn't take chances, but should ban things that might be unsafe, don't seem to understand that if we banned every food to which somebody had an allergy we could all starve to death.

The vile people who picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in action are far away enough from the mourners not to be heard. It is media attention that magnifies their sick message.

Intolerance may not promote progress but it can promote survival. An intolerant Islamic world may outlast the Western world that seems ready to tolerate anything, including the undermining of its own fundamental values and threats to its continued existence.



Arab League Redefines Chutzpah

Dennis Prager

I always thought the best illustration of "chutzpah" was that of the boy who kills his parents and then pleads with the court for mercy, on the grounds that he is an orphan. But given that that is only a hypothetical example, we now have a better illustration of chutzpah because this one is true.

Witnessing the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's large-scale killings of Libyan civilians, the Arab League begged us, the Europeans and the Security Council to militarily intervene on behalf of the Libyan people.

So, despite the fact that America is rather weary of fighting Muslim mass murderers, is militarily overstretched and has a devastating national debt, America said yes. We are the most decent country on Earth, and even a liberal-left Democrat in the White House feels the moral pull of America's legacy, values and unparalleled strength.

But no sooner have America and the Europeans intervened than the Arab League officially protests our intervention on the grounds that Libyan civilians -- 48 claimed, 0 confirmed at the time of the protest -- have been killed by the intervention requested by the Arab League.

What exactly did the Arab League, most of whose dictators have murdered thousands of their own people for political reasons, think would happen once the U.S. and the Europeans intervened militarily? Did they assume not one Libyan civilian would get killed? Has there been a military action in history in which no civilians died?

Amr Moussa, the outgoing secretary general of the Arab League, claimed in his statement that "What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians."

Perhaps Moussa did not read the Security Council resolution. It does not limit anti-Gadhafi military activity to "imposing a no-fly zone." The resolution authorizes U.N. member states "to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi (italics added)."

Perhaps President Obama should hold a press conference and make this announcement: "Given the Arab League's protest, we are immediately ending our military involvement in Libya. Apparently, Mr. Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, assumed that military intervention is possible without the killing of a single civilian. He should have told us so. Under that condition, we would never have put our blood and treasure on the line. So now, we are out, and the blood of every Libyan killed and tortured by the Libyan dictator is now on the Arab League's hands. On behalf of the American people, I ask the Arab League, and especially Mr. Moussa, to never again appeal to us to save Arabs from their dictators. Shukran."

(The president likes using Arabic words when he addresses Arab audiences, so his using the Arabic word for "thank you," shukran, would add a nice flourish.)

What does this Arab League protest mean? It clarifies once again that tribal values outweigh moral values in the Arab world, including among much of its educated elite such as Moussa. In many Arabs' eyes, it is better for an Arab tyrant to slaughter any number of Arabs, and to allow that tyrant to retain power, than for Westerners to kill a dozen Arabs in order save tens of thousands of them trying to topple that tyrant.

More here



MA: Two Boston parades, two different crowds: "Under a brilliant, blue sky in South Boston yesterday, there were two Saint Patrick’s Day parades: the traditional one and, more than a mile behind it, an alternative one billed as the Peace Parade. The first had all the usual trappings of the cultural celebration and street party that dates back more than a century and draws crowds lining the streets six people deep. After that parade ended, the crowd mostly dispersed, unaware or uninterested in what followed. Forty-five minutes later, the police let the second one begin: the court-ordered procession of antiwar demonstrators and gay rights groups"

SCOTUS upholds release of Fed bailout records: "The Supreme Court let stand Monday a ruling that the U.S. Federal Reserve must disclose details about its emergency lending programs to banks during the financial crisis in 2008. The justices rejected appeals by a group representing major commercial banks of last year's ruling by a U.S. appeals court in New York that required disclosure of the lending records."

Authority: God vs. man: "I think God’s true law is written in our hearts and we know these things intuitively just as we know the justness of the rights described in The Bill of Rights. To the Founders, these rights were self-evident and ordained by our creator (again, whatever 'creator' means to you). These rights flow from the notion of self-ownership, which is also self-evident. Not to believe in self-ownership is to accept the idea that other people own you and/or that you own other people. This is an absurdity on its face, yet many hold that view — that we are owned by society"

Merging Britain's income tax and national insurance: "I am relieved to hear that chancellor George Osborne is considering merging income tax and national insurance, even if the changes are likely to be slow in coming. The division between these two direct taxes on income tax once (just about) justifiable on the contributory principle -- that payment of certain amounts of national insurance made you eligible for certain benefits. That justification no longer holds to any great extent, and if the state pension is changed as planned it will evaporate altogether. The only remaining reason to keep income tax and national insurance separate is for political, presentational reasons: to stop people from cottoning on to just how much tax they are paying." [Similar to the IRS/Social Security split in America]

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 March, 2011

What NPR think of their audience


Adventures in government lunacy

Story from Britain

Adventures in government stupidity are of course nothing new: but to raising the bar to sheer howling lunacy is more unusual. Even that toxic brew of special interests, bureaucrats and politicians rarely produce something that is outright insane. Rarely, but not never:
Local authorities will put up the deposit to allow first-time buyers to get on the housing ladder, under a scheme unveiled today. The organisation behind the ‘local lend a hand’ initiative, Capita business Sector Treasury Services, says it will free up social and affordable housing by making it easier for people to buy their own homes. The initiative is initially being backed by Lloyds TSB, and has been piloted by five local authorities, but Capita hopes to get more lenders and councils on board as the scheme progresses.

The local authorities will lodge funds with the lender to cover the shortfall in a first-time buyer’s deposit. This can be up to 20 per cent of the mortgage, so for a typical 75 per cent loan to value mortgage, the buyer would only need to find a 5 per cent deposit. Available funds in each area will be capped, although the council shouldn’t incur any actual costs unless there are problems with the mortgage repayments.

So let us try and get this straight. The world's entire financial system is still reeling from its recent effort to walk straight off a cliff by lending money to people to buy houses they couldn't afford. This lesson having been learned, said financial houses no longer being willing to lend to people without a substantial deposit, showing that they've some skin in the game, that you don't lend hundreds of thousands to people who have bupkiss, we now have the following bright political solution?

The taxpayers should subsidise these deposits so that when (no, not if) something goes wrong in the future the taxpayers have to pick up the bill? That, having seen what people buying houses they cannot afford does, we should insist that more people should buy houses they cannot afford?

This, this, is why we send our finest minds to Oxbridge so that they may rule over us all? Somewhere up there the Goddess of Irony is weeping bitter tears into her nectar as not even she had thought of that one.

Look, it's terribly, terribly, simple. If local councils want local houses to be cheaper they should grant planning permission for more local houses. Supply and demand really does work you know and it is the planning permission itself which is the most expensive part of a house these days. No, not the land, not the building, but the chitty allowing you to build on that land. The council even makes a profit issuing permissions rather than losses on paying people's deposits.

With ideas at the above level of stupidity I fully expect both Ed Balls and George Osborne to announce next week that the way to close the deficit is to make cucumbers from Moonlight.



Stoic, heroic Japan vs. Neurotic Nation USA

Ilana Mercer

On the day that a venerated American institution was preparing to bestow an award for transparency in government on President Barack Obama ̶ the domestic equivalent of the president's Nobel peace prize, Charles Krauthammer called it ̶ members of our country's media were accusing the Japanese government of secrecy. On that day, Neurotic Nation USA, egged on by the meltdown media, began hoarding Geiger counters and potassium iodide supplements as a protection against imaginary radiation plumes from Japan, wafting across 5,000 miles of ocean.

Our country's edgy experts have ordered the evacuation of Americans in Japan within a 50-mile radius of the damaged reactors at Fukushima. Japan is being harangued to ape America. The Japanese have, so far, moved people from within a 20-kilometer radius of the power plant. Funny that. The Neurotic Nation, whose military personnel in Japan are popping iodine pills if they've so much as flown over, or visited, the vicinity, expects the country that is fielding "The Fukushima 50" to do the same.

"The Fukushima 50" are volunteers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company. These men are working under near-impossible conditions at the problem power station to douse radioactive fires and spent nuclear rods, and to plug reactor containment vessels. As we say in the U.S., these men are taking a hit for the team.

Judging by their bombast, you'd think that our experts have been to the site at Fukushima. Indeed, Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, asserted that the water meant to cover and cool the spent fuel pool at the No. 4 reactor had evaporated, leaving the rods dangerously exposed. They were overheating, he declared from ground zero … at the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel in Washington.

"It's way past Three Mile Island already," crowed physicist Frank von Hippel. "The biggest risk now is that the core really melts down and you have a steam explosion." Where exactly was professor von Hippel situated when he issued his doom-laden predictions? At Princeton, N.J.

Jaczko's Japanese counterparts have countered that they are on the verge of restoring electrical power to the Daiichi plant, and with it the ability to pump water over the sizzling, spent fuel.

Are the nuclear plants in Japan working the way ours do in America? MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked one of the many American specialists to shamelessly share his findings from afar.

Hardball's blowhard has a point. The USA's stellar safety record ̶ the best in the world, perhaps ̶ is helped by the fact that we don't have much of a nuclear power industry. Following the recommendations set out in "The China Syndrome," a Hollywood dramatization of the incident at Three Mile Island, the construction of new reactors in the USA was practically halted. Nobody died in that 1979 accident in Pennsylvania. Nobody but the nuclear-power industry.

The chauvinism with which our ego-bound elites are treating The Japanese Other continued apace. After all, this genteel, able people do not qualify as members of an easy-to-patronize, protected group, the kind so valued in the U.S.

CNN's rude Wolf Blitzer turned furiously on Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese ambassador to the U.S., in an interview that reminded me of the time the regal (Akio) Toyoda went up against the proverbial Torquemada, his tormentors on the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. No words of condolence did Blitzer offer to the Japanese gentleman for the calamity his country and people had endured. Instead, he hammered Fujisaki about the possibility of "another Chernobyl" at the Daiichi power plant.

That one of the largest tremors in recorded history had left some 6 million Japanese households without electricity horrified Wolf. Where were Wolf and his network during the biggest windstorm to have hit Washington and Oregon in decades? In 2006, at least a million residents in the Pacific Northwest were stranded without power for days ̶ some for weeks ̶ in primitive conditions, befitting a Third World country. So, too, is Blitzer blissfully unaware that, with Katrina, the U.S. government's claim for high standards in a natural disaster was sundered forever.

At one stage, the bewildered Blitzer repeated, incredulously, "No looting? No looting; are you sure?" which is when a CNN Japanese foreign correspondent took the opportunity to educate this insular American. Japan was relatively crime-free. If you lose your wallet, you'll likely find it at the nearest police station. People pull together here, yet are propelled forward by individual agency and initiative, she explained proudly.

But that was hardly a journalistic angle worth pursuing. For to grasp the reason this homogenous society's culture has endured, one would have to juxtapose it with balkanized America, a country riven by feuds and factions courtesy of state-imposed tribalism (multiculturalism and mass immigration). Far better to crank things up by pursuing the partial meltdown, full meltdown or core meltdown angles.

Most members of the meltdown media have been schooled in activism, not in journalism. To them, every news story becomes, reflexively, a cause – a reason to "educate" and promote "awareness," rather than to report the facts. That so many of our news outlets settled on identical front-page, or pixelated, leads is unsettling.

As a consequence of this pervading groupthink, we have not seen nearly enough of how impressively the Japanese people are coping, how calm and courageous they appear in interviews. When CNN's international correspondent alluded to "scenes of hardship," the camera cut to a shelter. The images were heartbreaking, to be sure. But, unlike those taken during Katrina, there was much to inspire in Japan. One saw rows of neatly laid-out mats. The elderly had been snugly tucked in clean blankets. Kids, faces covered with masks, were sweeping the floors industriously.

In other footage, lines of people snaked around the neighborhood, waiting patiently, sometimes for days, to purchase food and water. The individuals interviewed were grief-struck, but they held it together. Nobody was screaming for government aid. There has been no menace or murder on what remains of the streets of Sendai city.

Accustomed as I am to seeing abreacting Americans or unhinged Haitians, these sights astounded me. My heroes have always been in the Greek tradition. This makes the silent, stoic, refined Japanese my heroes. Japan will be OK. It is a highly civilized, advanced society.



U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Highest in World

Were No. 1! But that's the bad news. After a reign as the nation with the second highest corporate income tax rate, the United States is set to move into first place when Japan lowers its rate next month.

The combined federal and state rate in the U.S. is 39.2 percent of corporate profits, a new analysis by the Tax Foundation disclosed. When Japan, which currently has a rate of 39.5 percent, enacts a planned cut of 4.5 percentage points in April, America will have the highest rate of all the economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of 34 advanced nations with economies most comparable to the U.S.

United States companies are now in the position of trying to compete in the 21st-century world economy with a 20th-century tax system, said Scott A. Hodge, the Tax Foundations president and author of the new study.

America has moved to the top of the corporate tax list not by raising taxes but through inaction. Between 2000 and 2010, nine OECD countries cut their corporate tax rates by double-digit figures, and almost every OECD nation has cut rates to some extent. In the United States, on the other hand, the rate has remained essentially unchanged during that 10-year period.

Germany, which had the highest rate in 2000, 52 percent, has slashed its rate to 30.2 percent, and Canada, No. 2 in 2000, cut its rate from 42.57 to 29.52 percent. The rate in Ireland is now just 12.5 percent, while in Iceland it is 15 percent and in Chile, 17 percent. Four other OECD nations have a rate lower than 20 percent. Worldwide, about 75 countries have cut their rates since 2006, according to the Tax Foundation.

But 2011 marks the 20th year in which the U.S. statutory tax rate has been above the average of OECD nations.

For the United States to move to the OECD average and match China which significantly lowered its rate in 2008 the federal rate would have to be reduced to 20 percent. The scope of corporate tax reform so far endorsed by the White House would fall far short of this goal, the Tax Foundation stated.

Hodge said: Dozens of countries around the world including many of the United States closest trading partners have realized that sky-high corporate tax rates are an economic dead end. Now more than ever, Americans want to see policies that will help create increased growth, more jobs, and higher standards of living exactly the things that a lower and more streamlined corporate tax system can help achieve.

And the National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on the Foundation's report, observed: As other nations enact reforms and rate cuts, the U.S. corporate rate will continue to stand out as a hindrance to economic growth and competitiveness unless lawmakers move to lower the tax burden for businesses.




TN: Teachers’ bargaining may hinge on GOP internal battle: "Republicans in the state Senate are pressing ahead with a plan to take away teachers' power to unionize, even after their counterparts in the state House of Representatives unveiled a deal last week that would let teachers continue to bargain with school boards over some issues. House leaders and Gov. Bill Haslam back the compromise, but Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the leader of the Senate, is calling on conservatives to rally behind a complete ban on teachers unions."

NY candidate Davis: Bus blacks to farms to pick crops: "Congressional candidate Jack Davis said in a Republican Party endorsement meeting that Latino farmworkers should be deported and that inner-city African-Americans should be bused to farms to pick crops. Several sources who attended the endorsement interview confirmed Davis' statement to Buffalo News. The remark echoes a similar comment he made to the Tonawanda News in 2008. 'We have a huge unemployment problem with black youth in our cities,' Davis said. 'Put them on buses, take them out there and pay them a decent wage; they will work.'"

The Obama administration’s “open government” empty rhetoric: "Liberal 'open government' advocates are giving the president a medal for supposedly promoting 'government transparency.' He shares their liberal ideology, but not their alleged commitment to transparency. In reality, President Obama is so hostile to open government that 'the Obama administration censored 194 pages of internal e-mails about its Open Government Directive,' according to the Associated Press."

Bureaucracy stifles enterprise: "Without government grants, tax credits, or artificial incentives of any kind, David 'Cranky Dave' Wolk saved his money and built up, ex nihilo, his own business — a gathering place and venue for artists and their creations. Like the vigilante HVAC man, Cranky Dave filled a niche for artists and the community and apparently did at least well enough to keep the doors open. Now things are getting difficult for him as Saint Louis city chases after his unpaid earnings tax bill (when he says he had no earnings) and simultaneously cites him for not having a separate trash bin for his business (he says he was using the one for his residence, which is in the same building and that he upcycles much of the trash produced by his business, incorporating it into art and craft projects)."

Democrats a roadblock to fiscal responsibility: "Passing the federal budget is perhaps the most important task the Congress has each year. It has failed miserably. The federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Theoretically, a budget should be signed into law no later than Sept. 30. Here it is March and still no budget. The Congress just passed its sixth continuing resolution, this time to keep the government operating through April 8. This is inexcusable."

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)


20 March, 2011

Leftists need secrecy -- and Obama is no exception, despite his deceptive talk

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was too diplomatic Thursday in saying the Obama administration's treatment of a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower "appeared to be an act of retaliation."

In fact, the way several of President Obama's political appointees at DHS treated a senior career civil servant who blew the whistle on them is a classic illustration of an all-too-familiar Washington story. That this is happening under Obama is yet more proof that business as usual in government is moving apace in his administration.

Catherine Papoi was the deputy unit chief for the DHS office that processed Freedom of Information Act requests. She told the DHS inspector general that Obama's political appointees were improperly interfering with the agency's FOIA response process, including those submitted by journalists and members of Congress.

Not long afterward, Papoi found herself out of a job. She was still being paid at her old rate, but her title and office were taken by somebody else who was approved by one of the political appointees who Papoi claimed interfered with the department's FOIA responses. DHS officials denied retaliating against Papoi and cited as proof the fact that her grade and pay were unchanged. But that's the way Washington tames career employees who buck the political types -- the troublemaker is left with no official duties and is marginalized in every way possible in the bureaucratic equivalent of a rubber-hose beating.

Issa was less diplomatic in pointing out that "denying or interfering with employees' rights to furnish information to Congress is against the law." In a five-page letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano that was obtained by the Associated Press, Issa said "federal officials who retaliate against or otherwise interfere with employees who exercise their right to furnish information to Congress are not entitled to have their salaries paid by taxpayer dollars." He has started an official investigation of the Papoi scandal.

On his first day in office, Obama declared that "a democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." This week happens to be Sunshine Week, which commemorates the FOIA, and Obama's spokesman used the occasion to claim that thisadministration has been "the most open" ever.

Yet Obama administration officials have interfered with or otherwise stonewalled FOIA requests on politically sensitive topics such as Guantanamo Bay detainees and illegal immigrants. A recent Knight Foundation survey found that only 13 of the 90 major federal departments and agencies it reviewed have changed their FOIA processes significantly since Obama took office. Obama's Office of Management and Budget even redacted an e-mail exchange between federal employees who were discussing how to apply the administration's own Open Government Initiative.



Victoria’s Secret: The inside story of an arms-laden ship

Led by Flotilla 13 commander Capt. S, the Shayetet 13 commandos evidently knew what they were looking for

The ships closed in fast. Hours earlier, the navy had received news that the Victoria, a 179- meter-long cargo ship flying a Liberian flag, had departed from Mersin Port in southern Turkey with Alexandria, Egypt as its destination.

According to intelligence received several days earlier by the defense establishment, the ship was carrying 39 containers among the 100 on its deck that had been loaded onto it at Latakia in western Syria the week before.

Latakia is one of Syria’s primary ports and is also home to a newly-built Russian navy base. It is there that the Russian supersonic P-800 Yakount cruise missiles will be brought later this year as part of a deal Israel tried to torpedo.

It was also the port where two Iranian warships – the frigate Alvand and supply ship Kharq – docked in late February.

First to approach the Victoria were Sa’ar 5-class missile ships from Flotilla 3, based in Haifa. They contacted the captain of the German-owned ship on the international radio channel and began questioning him about his point of origin and planned destination. A navy officer then told the captain his ship was suspected of carrying illegal cargo and asked for permission to board for an inspection. “Yes,” the captain said. “I will tell engineers to stop our vessel.”

A few more minutes passed before speedboats carrying armed commandos from Flotilla 13 pulled alongside the Victoria, which dropped down a ladder for them to use to climb aboard.

Not knowing what to expect, the commandos boarded with their weapons at the ready out of concern that there could be Iranian or even Hamas operatives aboard. They ordered the ship’s crew to gather by the bridge and then began going over the cargo certificates.

Led by Flotilla 13 commander Capt. S – a bald, short but serious looking officer – the commandos apparently knew what they were looking for. Out of the 39 shipping containers that had been loaded onto the Victoria in Latakia were three that were supposed to be unloaded in Alexandria.

According to their cargo certificates, the three were carrying lentils and cotton, but when the commandos located them on the upper deck they were found sealed with heavy locks, not the kind used for innocent cargo. After breaking them open, the commandos pulled away the first few rows of sacks and discovered a number of crates each of which had a “Made in Britain” sticker pasted to it.

The first few crates contained mortar shells of various sizes as well as regular ammunition. But Capt. S. knew the true reason he and his teams of commandos had been sent 350 kilometers into the Mediterranean in the middle of the night, and it wasn’t for mortars.

“Open the containers’ back door!” he ordered his men. It was then that the commandos saw two large metallic looking tubes, each containing a four-meter long missile known in Iran as the Nasr-1 and in China as the C-704, an extremely sophisticated antiship missile.

After the containers were unloaded at Ashdod port, the navy found they were carrying six C-704s in all, and two of the British-made radars that are used to guide them.

With a range of 35 km. and a 130 kg. explosive warhead capable of sinking 1,000-ton vessels, the missiles – had they arrived in the Gaza Strip – would have forced the navy to change the way it operates. It now operates just a few kilometers from shore; this would no longer be possible.



Implications of the armaments seizure

By seizing the Victoria, Israel not only dealt a blow to Hamas machinations but foremost to those of Hamas’s Iranian patron. The Victoria’s cargo wouldn’t merely have added quantitatively to Hamas’s already colossal arsenal; it would have strategically upgraded its quality.

With a 35-kilometer range, the Chinese designed C-704 could theoretically have hit any boat within that radius from Gaza, as well as hit naval facilities on Israeli shores, to say nothing of strategic sites like the Ashkelon power plant, fuel depots, oil and gas facilities and much more. It could have truly triggered a nightmare scenario.

So far, the world media has shown only scant interest in the story. The likely pretext for the lack of interest is Japan’s overshadowing radioactive mega-scare.

Yet in November 2009 the interception of the Francop, with a haul of 320 tons of military hardware earmarked for Hezbollah (in brazen violation of UN Resolution 1701), also made almost no waves internationally. No looming nuclear calamity diverted the world’s attention at that time. Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of the Francop’s cargo as constituting “components of a war crime,” much of the negligible resonance generated in some broadcasts actually dealt with accusations about “Israeli piracy.”

THE IMPLICATIONS are grave. Now, as then, there appears nearly no readiness to hear Israel out. Israeli grievances are essentially ignored. Aggressive anti-Israel schemes – of which the Victoria is only the most recent example – aren’t registered, much less internalized, at a time when the war against Israel has increasingly switched to the propaganda arena, where vilification and libel are the preferred weapons of choice. Iran’s protégés continually provoke Israel, yet are still allowed to masquerade as victims.

The arsenals that Tehran-sponsored terror groups import and hoard are crucially important. They demonstrate that Israel isn’t facing local militias but Iranian stand-ins. These ostensible underdogs possess deadly missiles and artillery, capable of upsetting the precarious balance in our vicinity, undercutting our defenses and ultimately enabling attacks on our civilian population centers.

It is precisely to thwart these fundamentally strategic dangers, as distinct from tactical annoyances, that Israel has maintained its sea blockade against Gaza. This isn’t arbitrary wickedness but an indispensable element of Israel’s self-defense. Were Israel misguidedly to forfeit its controls on traffic into Gaza, gunrunning ships like the intercepted Victoria might then regularly unload lethal arsenals in broad daylight.



Christianity the reason for West's success, say the Chinese

With an estimated 200 million Christians, China may have the world's largest Christian population. China quietly encourages Christianity, seeing it as a force for modernization. The churches must be wholly Chinese, however, with no leadership from overseas bodies such as the Vatican

In the West we are doing our best to destroy our Christian heritage but in China, Chinese intellectuals are coming around to the view that it is precisely this heritage that has made the West so successful.

Former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Lawson, in a review in the Sunday Times of Niall Ferguson's new book, ‘Civilisation: The West and the Rest’, carries a quote from a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in which he tries to account for the success of the West, to date.

He said: “One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world.

“We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. “Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. “But in the past twenty years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful.

“The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

Note the source. It isn't from a religious leader, or some religious think-tank. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is an instrument of the Chinese Communist government which spends a not inconsiderable amount of time and money persecuting Christians and is officially atheistic.

If this is the conclusion it has come to, maybe Europe needs to reconsider whether it mightn't be an idea to encourage rather than eradicate Christianity.

Incidentally, just to drive home the point, Lawson also refers to this data point in Ferguson's book: Wenzhou, the Chinese city which is rated as the most entrepreneurial in the country, is also home to 1,400 churches.

Lawson refers to a quote in the book from a prominent Wenzhou business leader, a Mr Hanping Zhang, who argues that “an absence of trust had been one of the main factors holding China back; but he feels he can trust his fellow Christians because he knows that they will be honest in their dealings with him”.

It has long been accepted that Christianity is one of the core elements of Western civilisation; it is too little understood that it is also one of the secrets of the stunning success of that civilisation.



End the Drug War, Save Black America

One key to getting past the race issue in America is to end the war on drugs. John McWhorter says it's the most important thing we could do.

Cato's Letter features a lecture by McWhorter in which he calls for an end to the war on drugs. (It's really a war on certain people.) McWhorter, the former Berkeley linguistics professor and now senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, specifically indicts the war on drugs for "destroying black America." McWhorter, by the way, is black.

The "main obstacle(s) to getting black America past the illusion that racism is still a defining factor in America" are, he says, "the strained relationship between young black men and police forces" and the "massive number of black men in prison."

And what accounts for this? Prohibition. "Therefore, if the War on Drugs were terminated, the main factor keeping race-based resentment a core element in the American social fabric would no longer exist. America would be a better place for all."

McWhorter sees prohibition as the saboteur of black families. "It has become a norm for black children to grow up in single-parent homes, their fathers away in prison for long spells and barely knowing them. In poor and working-class black America, a man and a woman raising their children together is, of all things, an unusual sight. The War on Drugs plays a large part in this."

He also blames the black market created by prohibition for diverting young black men from the normal workforce. "Because the illegality of drugs keeps the prices high," he says, "there are high salaries to be made in selling them. This makes selling drugs a standing tempting alternative to seeking lower-paying legal employment."

This has devastating consequences. The attractive illegal livelihood relieves men of the need to develop skills that would provide stable legal incomes. To those who argue that there's a shortage of jobs for black men, he says that is refuted by the black immigrants who thrive in America. "It is often said that because immigrants have a unique initiative or 'pluck' in relocating to the United States in the first place, it is unfair to compare black Americans to them. However, the War on Drugs has made it impossible to see whether black Americans would exhibit such 'pluck' themselves if drug selling were not a tempting alternative."

One poisonous byproduct of prohibition and the black market, McWhorter says, is that going to prison is a now "badge of honor." "To black men involved in the drug trade, enduring prison time, regarded as an unjust punishment for merely selling people something they want (with some justification), is seen as a badge of strength: The ex-con is a hero rather than someone who went the wrong way." This attitude did not exist before drug prohibition.

Would cheaper and freely available drugs bring their own catastrophe? McWhorter says no.

"Fears of an addiction epidemic are unfounded. None such has occurred in Portugal, where the drug war has been significantly scaled back." How about damage to the culture? "Our discomfort with the idea of heroin available at drugstores is similar to that of a Prohibitionist shuddering at the thought of bourbon available at the corner store. We'll get over 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

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 March, 2011


On Saturday night, March 19th, religious Jews around the world will behave in a way that violates common stereotypes of people of faith. We will wear silly, colorful costumes, consume a great deal of alcohol, exchange gift baskets and listen to raucous public readings of the one book of the Bible that never mentions God.

The holiday of Purim celebrates the deliverance from danger described in the book of Esther, and even though divine intervention is never specifically described, the complicated events clearly show the hidden hand of Providence. “Esther,” not coincidentally, comes from the Hebrew word for “hidden,” and the costumes also emphasize that the Almighty sometimes disguises his plans. Just as he used the ancient Persian Jew-hater, Haman, for a higher purpose, we can hope that God also intends a benign purpose in dealing with the latter day Persian Jew-hater, Ahmadinijad.



The Threat to Freedom: The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Department of Homeland Security

Briefing to the Tea Party Caucus of the US House of Representatives February 17, 2011 By Tom DeWeese:

My name is Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center I am a right wing extremist, a racist and a potentially violent terrorist.

In March, 2010, SPLC issued a report entitled “Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism,” in which groups opposed to issues like the Obama health care plan and illegal immigration were lumped with white supremacist groups like the National Socialist Movement and Skin Heads.

In August, 2010 SPLC launched an attack against my organization and our national conference, The Freedom Action Conference, held at Valley Forge, PA, and featured such speakers as best selling author Tom Woods, former presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, Sheriff Richard Mack, several respected state legislators, and many more well known spokesmen.

The title of the SPLC attack against me read, “Patriot Rhetoric Becomes Increasingly Violent,” and said we were “united by rage” at the federal government. Not one speaker at our conference advocated violence or lawlessness of any kind. Yet we were labeled as dangerous and potentially violent terrorists.

Annually SPLC puts out a list of what it calls “hate” groups and individuals it deems dangerous to the nation. That list is almost exclusively respected pro- Constitution spokesmen.

Now why do I care what this private organization, with its own political agenda, says about me? Because the Southern Poverty Law Center has direct ties to the Department of Homeland Security, helping to write official DHS policy that may affect my life, my freedom, my ability to travel and my ability to speak out. Consider the following facts:

* Item: In 2009, The DHS issued a report entitled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

That official document of an agency of the United States government said “Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movement, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

* Item: Two weeks later, the DHS released a second report entitled: “Domestic Extremism Lexicon,” designed to provide specific definitions of just who may be Right wing extremists.

That report labeled the following to be extremists, bordering on terrorism: Those concerned over the economy; loss of jobs; foreclosures; antagonism toward the Obama Administration; Criticism of free trade programs; anti-abortion; oppose same sex marriage; believe in the “end times;” stockpile food; oppose illegal immigration; oppose a New World Order; oppose the UN; oppose global governance; fear of Communist regimes; oppose loss of US manufacturing to overseas nations; oppose loss of US prestige; and use of the internet (or alternative media) to express any of these ideas.

Right after both of these reports were issued, there was the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. Next to their news reports on the incident, many newspapers carried side bar articles citing the DHS reports, basically confirming that such violence is perpetrated by right wing nuts and justifying the concerns of the DHS – just like clockwork. Yet there was absolutely no connection found between that shooter and the right wing. But the damage was done.

And there’s more. The Department of Homeland Security has established Fusion Centers in each state. These are designed to combine federal, state and local law enforcement. Their stated purpose is to assure immediate and efficient response to a terrorist attack or a Katrina-like disaster without bureaucratic red tape.

* Item: In 2009, the Missouri Fusion Center set off a fire storm over a report it issued entitled “The Modern Militia Movement.” Reported Fox News, the report, “identifies the warning signs of potential terrorists for law enforcement communities.”

In other words, this report was issued to law enforcement agencies across the state as official documentation warning who the cops should look out for as potential violent terrorists. The list of potential terrorists included Americans who voted for presidential candidate Ron Paul; Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin; and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr. It also cited those of us who opposed the creation of a North American Union with Canada and Mexico.

* Item: Just last month, immediately following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Fusion Center issued a report saying that the shooter was influenced by a right wing group called American Renaissance. Immediately the mainstream media picked up the report and flooded the airways with the story that the radical and violent right wing was responsible for the shootings.

The information was completely wrong. There is no evidence that there was ever any connection between the shooter and American Renaissance. Moreover, American Renaissance has never advocated violence or extremism. The only connection between American Renaissance and extremism is that the Southern Poverty Law Center listed them as a hate group. A detail that interestingly found its way into the Arizona Fusion Center report as fact.

* Item: in the Spring of 2010, the Department of Homeland Security organized a “Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.” This is an advisory council given the task of creating a plan to reach out to local law enforcement and community activists for training to respond to potential violence and terrorist threat.

Leafing through the report one gets the distinct impression that the plan is basically a “turn in your neighbor,” neighborhood- watch approach. It talks extensively of “sharing” information, along with “training, training, training.”

Training for what? To identify potential terrorists, of course. And who are those potential terrorist? A look at the members of the working group offers a clue. While the group includes several public officials and law enforcement officials from around the nation, and it also includes Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and unindicted co-conspirator in a case concerning the funding of Muslim terrorist organizations. And the working group member list also includes Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In addition, as one of the “Subject Matter Experts,” it lists Laurie Wood, an analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center and an instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

That training center is run by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is one of the most visible direct links between DHS, the Fusion Centers and SPLC. Law enforcement agencies actually send their personnel to these training classes to gain Federal Law Enforcement Training Center certification.

That means that policy for this DHS working group is being created by the very organization that has labeled those who advocate Constitutional law to be potential terrorists.

In addition, the “training” called for in the report will most likely be conducted, at least in part, by the SPLC’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

The pattern is clear, one of the nation’s leading hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which opposes even the right of free speech by people it labels potential terrorists, is helping the largest federal enforcement agency in the nation to create its policy. That policy clearly states, according to DHS reports, that anyone disagreeing with actions of the American government is a potential terrorist and must be, at least, watched and monitored by federal, state, and local authorities.

The result of such surveillance could possibly lead to loss of freedom, loss of jobs, loss of the ability to travel, and loss of the ability to speak publicly for anyone who opposes the private agenda of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is an effort to silence their opponents. Honest political debate is now being interpreted as dangerous extremism.

Why is DHS dealing with such people? Are the policies of SPLC the same policies of the United States? If so, then freedom in America is in grave danger, indeed.

I believe there needs to be an immediate Congressional investigation into the ties between the Department of Homeland Security and the Southern Poverty Law Center and any other radical groups.

Particular attention should be paid to SPLC’s tax exempt status and the amount of money it receives from DHS or any other agency. And there should be an immediate stop to American law enforcement being trained by SPLC’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

The specific purpose of the Department of Homeland Security is to protect the “STATE” against all enemies. That has come to include anyone who uses their first amendment right to speak out against specific policies. Apparently, that has been interpreted by DHS to mean a threat to the STATE.

May I remind you that the tanks that ran over the student protesters in Tiananmen Square in Communist China were also protecting the STATE against its enemies.

I fear that if private groups with their own political agendas, like the SPLC are allowed to continue feeding their own brand of hatred into the policies of DHS then such a comparison with China is not too far off. I don’t think that is the America each of you pledged to serve.



Progressive Government Is Obsolete

By Stephen Goldsmith, the deputy mayor of New York City

The rule-based civil service was a step forward from Tammany Hall. But today's regulations stifle government workers at a time when getting value for tax dollars is more important than ever.

Across the country, the interests of organized labor, elected officials and taxpayers are colliding over wages, work rules and the astronomical costs of retiree pensions and health care. As important as these specific issues are to resolve, there is another, more fundamental problem causing so many Americans to lose faith in their government: It is not government unions per se but progressive government itself—long celebrated in Wisconsin, New York and elsewhere—that no longer produces progressive results.

In the early 20th century, the progressives championed a rule-based approach to public-sector management that was a big step forward from the cronyism and corruption of Tammany Hall. Today, however, the very rules that once enhanced accountability, transparency and efficiency now stifle the creativity of public-sector workers and reduce the ability of public investments to create opportunities for citizens—outcomes precisely the opposite of those intended by Progressive Era reformers.

New York City has more than 300,000 employees who work under more than 100 collective-bargaining agreements, along with layers of bureaucratic state civil-service laws. State law mandates that over 1,500 job titles must be filled through competitive written exams, specifically ignoring an employee's actual performance or qualifications. We are even required to administer a civil-service test for the head of our Police Department's counterterrorism unit! (We found a way around it.)

Seniority rules require that layoffs are based on date of hire, not merit. These rules also prevent any significant rewards for outstanding performance and make dismissing bad apples in the Big Apple all but impossible. Even asking employees for their ideas can be against the rules.

No one wants a return to the bad old days when public employees feared arbitrary dismissals. Today, however, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Rather than too few rules governing public employees, there are far too many, and they hurt the very people progressive reformers cared most about: the least fortunate members of society who depend the most on effective support services.

A hundred years ago, progressives envisioned a highly professional public-sector work force reining in exploitative corporate interests. They saw those on the margin being victimized both by corrupt government and business interests. They believed that the worst abuses of capitalism—think Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"—would be reined in by government regulation.

Ironically, today we find that in many cases special interests are working in the bureaucracy, using Progressive Era rules to protect the status quo and themselves.

Recent efforts to trim approximately 150 laborers, carpenters and electricians from city hospitals, for example, were halted by a lawsuit brought by the unions. In a city facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, every nonessential dollar spent is a dollar less available for hospital care—or shelter for the homeless, or police for troubled neighborhoods. In a word, these special- interest interventions ultimately lead to socially regressive results.

For cities to survive, we need a post-progressive approach in which the efficient creation of the common good is the shared goal of labor, management and citizens alike. This means rethinking the rules of the early 20th century in light of the realities of the 21st century. A system that hires without discretion, promotes without considering performance, and lays off teachers without regard to merit cannot truly serve its citizens.

Progressive Era reformers rightly targeted corruption among Boss Tweed-type contracts for city work. Today, however, excruciating contracting rules produce unintended results.

Antiquated and overly complex procurement rules lead to year-long delays and waste millions of taxpayer dollars. These complex bureaucratic processes lock out small businesses and lock in existing contractors. Simpler, less prescriptive processes with greater transparency would produce better, faster and cheaper results, minimize political favoritism, increase competition among contractors, and improve the quality of work done on the taxpayer's dime.

The current systems punish taxpayers in other ways too. Unaffordable pensions imposed by state legislators on unsuspecting citizens have created an unsustainable burden. In fiscal year 2012, New York City will pay $8.4 billion from its operating budget to fill a hole in its unfunded pension obligations. An expense of this magnitude leads directly to budget cuts for social programs and education, and to higher taxes that squeeze working families' budgets and kill jobs.

Would an increase in the "progressivity" of the tax system be the way out of our budget woes? More and more, urban mayors understand the futility of trying to tax their cities into prosperity. Few would dispute the fairness of a progressive tax system—but there are limits. In New York City, the highest-earning 1% of tax filers pay approximately 50% of the city's income taxes. Those paying the most are also best-positioned to relocate.

We need a new approach to governance that includes more respect not only for students in need of high-quality education but also for taxpayers, that has less job-killing red tape, and that fosters a more productive work force. The first rule of city government should be an unwavering commitment to delivering real value to the public with every tax dollar. That would be real progress.


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)


18 March, 2011

Obama WANTS high gasoline prices for Americans

In pursuit of a "Green" agenda

With poor Japan's nuclear reactors in crisis; with Middle East violence stripping bare American recklessness in relying on an Arab oil supply; with prices rising fast at the local gas pump, there is an almost apocalyptic tension growing in the absence of action on the American energy problem: Tons -- or, rather barrels and cubic feet -- of resources, and no will or even interest on the part of our trusted, responsible and feckless elected leaders to get it.

What is their problem? What is our problem?

Sarah Palin posted about this emerging crisis this week (and created a not-so-small news cycle in the process), taking on "The 4-Dollar-Per-Gallon President," which is probably a low-ball figure. Palin scored President Obama's energy program, which, at best, does nothing to reverse the rise in prices at the pump even in the long-term, which is what it seems we can reasonably ask of him.

Why doesn't it? Answer coming; first, the back-story.

Palin outlines Obama administration energy policies which include: a drilling moratorium (only two permits in the last year); Obama's 2012 budget that, for example, cuts tax incentives for energy exploration; and anti-drilling regulatory policies. She discusses in some detail an area north of the Arctic Circle where the U.S. Geological Survey tells us there are some 90 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, "one-third of which is in Alaskan territory."

"That's our next Prudhoe Bay right there," she writes, describing thousands of jobs, hundreds of billions of dollars in wages and revenue, and a home-grown energy flow that wouldn't depend on the shaky grip of some desiccated desert bandit with a harem. Palin continues: "This would be great news if only the federal government would allow Shell" -- the company that purchased the leases -- "to drill there. But it won't."

Sure enough, as Palin points out, just last month, Shell announced an end to exploratory drilling this year in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas after Alaskan native and environmentalist groups went before the federal Environmental Appeals Board and successfully challenged the drilling permits Shell had received from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now, who is it that we elected on that appeals board to make this crucial drilling decision? There's something out of whack about this system; something we can't touch; something we can't even see. Particularly in our unstable era, such a decision is an urgent matter for open debate by elected representatives; not for those "faceless bureaucrats" you read about (or maybe not).

Of course, we elected Barack Obama. The question Americans must ask of him before next time (heaven forefend) is whether he even wants low gas prices.

Judging by his actions, his rhetoric, his Third-World, anti-imperialist, Frantz-Fanon-imbued vision of Diminished America, my hunch is no. To this president's way of thinking, high gas prices are a solution, not a problem. Cheap energy is the launch pad of a soaring economy, one beyond government (his) control. And this president wants control: over what we eat (less), drive (smaller) and live (lower thermostats). As Palin reminds us, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu actually pines for gasoline prices as high as Europe's ($9-plus) as a tool of social regimentation "to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars," as the Wall Street Journal reported, "and living in neighborhoods closer to work." Chu told the paper, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Oh, and by the way: Not one senator whose salary we pay bothered to query Chu during his confirmation hearing about how regular Americans with hour-long commutes (as opposed to Berkeley professors like Chu) would fare in this social-engineering scheme.

"Energy is the building block of our economy," Palin wrote. "The President is purposely weakening that building block and weakening our economy."

I think Palin's right. This isn't about "experience," "ineptitude" or "inaction." Such excuses would explain failure to achieve a more or less conventional goal of, for lack of a better term, American greatness. That just isn't what Obama has in mind. Otherwise, he'd be doing absolutely everything in his considerable presidential powers to bring American oil to market ASAP.



Shun the Expert and Pass the Ammunition

“No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life” Lord Salisbury told us “as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe.”

For close to a century experts have told us to put our trust in government. We have a host of them in our life everyday: Federal Reserve bankers, Education Department officials, Union economists, scientists on the government dole, Energy Department officials, all here for our own good.

Yet, government doesn’t even pretend to try to solve the very problems they claim to care about. The “experts” at the EPA designed a tax on carbon to combat so-called global warming and even they won’t claim that the tax will bring down the earth’s temperature.

Still, a failed result won’t stop the experts from insisting on this tax for our own good.

As a consequence of the care of so many government experts who insist on doing stuff for our own good, we are now at a point where nothing is true.

* Men marry men and we call it marriage. Doctors kill babies and we call it choice. We practice targeted discrimination against certain classes of people, under the law, and we call it justice.

* We ban the religion of some in the public square as a matter of taste and call it a moral good.

* In the name of safety, the government takes away guns for self-defense, but sues states for enforcing federal immigration laws.

* We “improve” public education by lowering standards rather than raising them; and we design a medical and retirement "safety net" that threatens not just life, but everything our country was built on: liberty, opportunity, property.

My religion tells me to fear not. That’s why I cling to it. Others have done the same for 2000 years. My gun too tells me to fear not, although its ammunition isn’t as refined as the word of God. Good men have armed themselves for the 500 years since Europeans first lived in North America. So, I cling to the gun as well.

Expert government opinion? It’s been king for 70 years and it has a very spotty record.

Truth, I know, always resides wherever brave men still have ammunition. And I'll take truth over experts everyday.



The superior culture of Japan

Larry Elder doesn't mention New Orleans below but ...

Japan's prime minister calls the 9.0 earthquake and the following tsunami the greatest crisis in Japan since World War II. Ten thousand people are feared dead. Millions are without power, and millions sleep outdoors in cold weather. But we haven't seen looting. So I posted this question on Facebook and Twitter.

"Race is not an issue," Mike replied. "Third World countries like Haiti loot due to poverty. Japan is like America, an economic superpower. Plain and simple."

"Poverty equals crime" is the standard "plain and simple" explanation, especially to the left. The analysis contains holes big enough to drive a Hummer through.

In the "economic superpower" called America, we see widespread looting following natural disasters, as well as during power blackouts, "civil unrest" and basketball team victory celebrations. If we attribute this to American poverty, what about Japanese poverty?

"Japan Tries to Face Up to Growing Poverty Problem," read the headline of a 2010 New York Times article. Here are excerpts:

"After years of economic stagnation and widening income disparities, this once proudly egalitarian nation is belatedly waking up to the fact that it has a large and growing number of poor people. The Labor Ministry's disclosure in October that almost one in six Japanese, or 20 million people, lived in poverty in 2007 stunned the nation and ignited a debate over possible remedies that has raged ever since.

"Many Japanese, who cling to the popular myth that their nation is uniformly middle class, were further shocked to see that Japan's poverty rate, at 15.7 percent, was close to the ... 17.1 percent in the United States, whose glaring social inequalities have long been viewed with scorn and pity here. ...

"Following an internationally recognized formula, the (Labor Ministry) set the poverty line at about $22,000 a year for a family of four, half of Japan's median household income. Researchers estimate that Japan's poverty rate has doubled since the nation's real estate and stock markets collapsed in the early 1990s, ushering in two decades of income stagnation and even decline."

If Japan's percentage of people living below the poverty line is about the same as ours, and if poverty causes crime as Mike suggests, why isn't the crime rate in Japan about the same as ours?

San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1960s became one of the most impoverished areas in California. Public policy professors James Q. Wilson and Richard Hernstein wrote: "One neighborhood in San Francisco had the lowest income, the highest unemployment rate, the highest proportion of families with incomes under $4,000 per year, the least educational attainment, the highest tuberculosis rate and the highest proportion of substandard housing. ... That neighborhood was called Chinatown. Yet, in 1965, there were only five persons of Chinese ancestry committed to prison in the entire state of California."

Two low-income areas outside of Boston -- South Boston and Roxbury -- were featured several years ago in U.S. News & World Report. They had similar socio-economic profiles: high levels of unemployment; the same percentage of children born to single-parent households; and the same percentage of people living in public housing. But the violent crime rate in Roxbury, predominately black, was four times higher than that of South Boston, predominately white.

Culture and values explain why some countries and some communities experience crime, while others do not. This explains why many students from Asian countries outperform equally "disadvantaged" black and brown students from the same "underperforming" inner-city government schools.

Culture and values explain a 2011 article headlined, "New Zealand Police 'Sickened' at Looting in Quake-Hit City": "New Zealand police said ... they were 'sickened' at a spate of looting, email scams and bogus appeals for charity in the wake of the deadly Christchurch earthquake. ... Lootings and burglaries, including one at the home of a woman feared dead in the disaster, have also been reported, while fraudulent emails soliciting charity donations were also doing the rounds." The Japanese earthquake was over 8,000 times more powerful than the New Zealand quake earlier this year. [New Zealand has a substantial Maori minority who sometimes show little respect for private property rights or rules of any kind]

Culture and values explain the fear in Egypt and Libya of looting from museums that house precious historical and cultural artifacts.

Culture and values explain why in Los Angeles, a city with a 46 percent Hispanic population and a 10 percentage Asian population, one sees no Latinos or Asians holding up "Will Work for Food" signs. When South Korea played for soccer's 2010 World Cup, the Los Angeles Korean community received permits to view games on big-screen monitors in the streets near Koreatown. The police said the streets were more trash-free after the games than before.

Culture and values are not set in stone. They can and do change for the better -- especially when we accept responsibility and stop blaming bad behavior on poverty. Plain and simple.



Fukushima heroes: Not afraid to die

Bushido lives

Since the disaster struck in Japan, about 800 workers have been evacuated from the damaged nuclear complex in Fukushima. The radiation danger is that great.

However, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that a handful have stayed on the job, risking their lives, to try to save the lives of countless people they don't even know. The exact number of workers is unclear and has been reported to be anywhere from 50 to 180.

Although communication with the workers inside the nuclear plant is nearly impossible, a CBS News consultant spoke to a Japanese official who made contact with one of the workers inside the control center. The official said that his friend told him that he was not afraid to die, that that was his job.




Grass-roots Credited with Defeat of Same-sex 'Marriage' in Maryland: "As if we needed more proof that grassroots action brings real results, the recent defeat of a same-sex “marriage” law in Maryland demonstrates that ordinary citizens’ voices can make all the difference in legislative battles. Pro-family conservatives in Maryland were urged to contact their state assemblyman to tell them to preserve traditional marriage, and the pressure worked – the bill was effectively “killed.” Opponents of homosexual marriage give all the credit to a coalition of activists throughout the state, including traditional values conservatives and black churches who joined together to make up the wave of phone calls that led to the bill’s defeat. Homosexual activists had boasted prior to the citizens’ action that the bill’s passage was a done deal – obviously, that wasn’t the case."

Clever Congress shoots the consumer: "Get ready for big fee increases at your nearest ATM. Some of the nation's largest banks are boosting fees on their automated teller machine networks. The new fees could be especially costly for people who withdraw cash from another bank's ATM. Chase is now charging Illinois residents $5 every time a non-customer withdraws money from a Chase ATM. ... The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress last year .... included the Durbin amendment, which would limit banks' income from debit card fees."

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 March, 2011

And a happy Pat's day to you all

There's plenty of Irish in me so I am pleased when people celebrate the saint in the wise Irish way. It's a hot day where I am so a cold beer will go down nicely a little later on.


The hate for Sarah Palin

Mark Levin

The corporate hate for Sarah Palin at Politico is obvious. The latest is here. But if you google Politico and Palin, the evidence of a Politico agenda is overwhelming. And the manner in which Politico’s editors pursue their hate-Palin agenda is to cherry-pick the individuals they quote to make the point they want made. A couple of quick things:

1. As I demonstrated last week, remarkably George Will missed the Reagan Revolution not only in 1976 but as late as 1980. In the 1979 Republican Presidential Primary, his first choice was Howard Baker, his second choice was George H. W. Bush, and his third choice was Reagan. Not until days before the 1980 general election did he write on November 3, 1980 that Reagan deserved election. For all his wonderful columns, the Republican electorate better understood the needs of the nation and the excellence of a potential Reagan presidency than Will. It is hard to believe he was so wrong about a matter of such great import, despite Reagan’s presence on the national scene for many years.

2. Charles Krauthammer was not only wrong about Reagan, as late as 1980 he was a speech-writer for Vice President Walter Mondale. Krauthammer, like Will, not only missed the significance of the Reagan candidacy, but was putting words in the mouth of a terribly flawed politician from a philosophical perspective. I certainly do not begrudge, but in fact encourage, liberals becoming conservatives or Democrats becoming Republicans. Reagan was a Democrat who famously changed parties. But I do not believe that individuals touted by a left-wing “news” site as two of the leading conservative intellectuals, who stunningly opposed Reagan’s candidacy while both were of mature age and mind, are necessarily reliable barometers in this regard. The “non-intellectual” voters knew better.

3. It is apparent that several of President George W. Bush’s former senior staffers are hostile to Sarah Palin, including Karl Rove, David Frum, and Pete Wehner, to name only three. Pete is a good friend and a very smart guy. That said, Bush’s record, at best, is marginally conservative, and depending on the issue, worse. In fact, the Tea Party movement is, in part, a negative reaction to Bush’s profligate spending (including his expansion of a bankrupt Medicare program to include prescription drugs). And while Bush’s spending comes nowhere near Barack Obama’s, that is not the standard.

Moreover, Bush was not exactly among our most articulate presidents, let alone conservative voices. I raise this not to compare Bush to Palin, but to point out only a few of the situational aspects of the criticism from the Bush community corner. (If necessary, and if challenged, I will take the time to lay out the case in all its particulars, as well as other non-conservative Bush policies and statements. No Republican president is perfect, of course, but certainly some are more perfect that others, if you will.)

This is not to say the folks cherry-picked by Politico are without accomplishment and merit. They clearly are accomplished. But that’s not the point. Most were not involved in either the Reagan Revolution or the Tea Party movement, and were not, to the best of my knowledge, early outspoken supporters of either. What is necessary is a full debate on each candidate’s substance and policy positions. Most of these Politico stories are little more than excuses to attack Palin, intended to damage her early on in case she should decide to run. This has been going on for some time now. If she is as weak as some think, why the obsession? Why the contempt?

Moreover, Palin has used social media and other outlets to comment substantively on a wide range of issues and policies. In fact, she has spoken on a wider array of issues than Youtube governor Chris Christie, popular among most of these folks, and her positions have, for the most part, been solidly conservative. (Christie’s positions on numerous issues important to conservatives are all but ignored by some of those complaining about Palin; indeed, the same could be said of potential presidential contenders Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitch Daniels, among others.)

My purpose in mentioning Christie here is to juxtapose the demands by “the intellectuals” on one politician versus another. Their inquisitiveness seems influenced by their political bias. That’s not unusual, but it requires underscoring lest their opinions be viewed or promoted as objective.

As a Reaganite pre-dating Reagan’s 1976 candidacy, the contempt for Palin does, in fact, remind me of the contempt some had for Reagan, especially from the media and Republican establishment, although no comparison is exact. I’ve not settled on a favorite would-be presidential candidate, but I also know media hit-jobs when I see them. I am hopeful more conservatives will begin to speak out about this or, before we know it, we will wonder why we are holding our noses and voting for another Republican endorsed by “the intellectuals” but opposed by a majority of the people.



Hate is the Leftist way, not civility

[Obama's] Organizing for America has been a steady presence in Madison, Wisconsin. And this is their report on Saturday’s massive welcoming to the fourteen democratic senators who returned after three weeks hiding in Illinois, refusing to come to Madison for a vote:

"This is what democracy looks like!" the people are chanting and clapping with a pretty awesome beat. This is very real and it's happening now. Friends, allies, workers, we're all here at the capitol in Madison in the fight for our rights. The spirit inside and out of the packed building are filled with faces showing all ranges of emotions…”

There was no mention of that “range of emotion” that included hate.

Death threats to Wisconsin Republican Governor, Scott Walker, and his party’s eighteen Senators have been direct and unambiguous. They are numerous and specific and they are coming from protestors in sympathy with union protestors connected to the President of the United States. But the President is silent…Organizing for America is silent and so have been NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, CNN, the New York Times, and most major media.

These are excerpts from an e-mail sent March 9 to Republican Senators:

“Read below for …possible scenarios in which you will die...I hope you have a good time in hell…we have planned…to put…a nice little bullet in your head... I as well as many others know where you and your family live…we wouldn’t leave it there….we have also built several bombs…placed in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent…that includes your house, your car, the state capitol, and well, I won’t tell you all of them because that’s just no fun…we will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you….Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and say goodbye to your loved ones….YOU WILL DIE!!!”

Only two months ago, President Barack Obama, Senator Dick Durbin and these same media outlets were clamoring for civility after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a deranged gunman. Many accused Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and conservative radio hosts of creating the atmosphere that caused the shooting. Palin’s greatest sin was placing a gun crosshair over “targeted” districts. The Tea Party’s guilt came from claiming the Obama Healthcare Plan establishes “death panels”.…which it does.

Nancy Pelosi wept on the House floor months before the shooting, expressing her deep concern about the loss of civil discourse by the Tea Party. A mad rush ensued to comply with these new sensitivities to harsh rhetoric.

Yet when protestors in Madison began to call Scott Walker Hitler and Khadafy, and call for his death openly, it was ignored. The President’s first remarks were to claim the union was being “assaulted.” Earlier statements during the campaign made clear his solidarity with labor unions: most notably the purple thugs of the Service Employees International Union to whom he pledged undying loyalty.

Hamas and Hezbollah are famous for gaining power through providing practical help and humanitarian aid to citizens who are later called upon to further their deeper, more dangerous agenda.

Teachers…laborers…and sympathetic farmers beware. Organizing for America, the SEIU, the NEA and many of America’s labor unions have more on their mind than accomplishing your concerns… and more in common with the violence and intimidation of Hamas than with protecting “workers.”

You will rue the day you fancied you were being mistreated by losing your ability to quibble over benefits. For we will all live in the midst of ruin if they prevail.



Blacks and Republicans

Thomas Sowell

San Francisco's irrepressible former mayor, Willie Brown, was walking along one of the city's streets when he happened to run into another former city official that he knew, James McCray.

McCray's greeting to him was "You're 10."

"What are you talking about?" Willie Brown asked.

McCray replied: "I just walked from Civic Center to Third Street and you're only the 10th black person I've seen."

That is hardly surprising. The black population of San Francisco is less than half of what it was in 1970, and it fell another 19 percent in the past decade.

A few years ago, I had a similar experience in one of the other communities further down the San Francisco peninsula. As I was bicycling down the street, I saw a black man waiting at a bus stop. As I approached him, he said, "You're the first black man I have seen around here in months!"

"It will be months more before you see another one," I replied, and we both laughed.

Actually, it was no laughing matter. Blacks are being forced out of San Francisco, and out of other communities on the San Francisco peninsula, by high housing prices.

At one time, housing prices in San Francisco were much like housing prices elsewhere in the country. But the building restrictions-- and outright bans-- resulting from the political crusades of environmentalist zealots sent housing prices skyrocketing in San Francisco, San Jose and most of the communities in between. Housing prices in these communities soared to about three times the national average.

The black population in three adjacent counties on the San Francisco peninsula is just under 3 percent of the total population in the 39 communities in those counties.

It so happens that these are counties where the voters and the officials they elect are virtually all liberal Democrats. You might be hard pressed to find similarly one-sided conservative Republican communities where blacks are such small percentages of the population.

Certainly that would be hard to find in states with a substantial total population of blacks. In California, a substantial black population has simply been forced by economics to vacate many communities near the coast and move farther inland, where the environmental zealots are not yet as strong politically, and where housing prices are therefore not yet as unaffordable.

With all the Republican politicians' laments about how overwhelmingly blacks vote for Democrats, I have yet to hear a Republican politician publicly point out the harm to blacks from such policies of the Democrats as severe housing restrictions, resulting from catering to environmental extremists.

If the Republicans did point out such things as building restrictions that make it hard for most blacks to afford housing, even in places where they once lived, they would have the Democrats at a complete disadvantage.

It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts, not only in coastal California but in similar affluent strongholds of liberal Democrats around the country. Moreover, environmental zealots are such an important part of the Democrats' constituencies that Democratic politicians could not change their policies.

Although Republicans would have a strong case, none of that matters when they don't make the case in the first place. The same is true of the effects of minimum wage laws on the high rate of unemployment among black youths. Again, the facts are undeniable, and the Democrats cannot change their policy, because they are beholden to labor unions that advocate higher minimum wages.

Yet another area in which Democrats are boxed in politically is their making job protection for members of teachers' unions more important than improving education for students in the public schools. No one loses more from this policy than blacks, for many of whom education is their only chance for economic advancement.

But none of this matters so long as Republicans who want the black vote think they have to devise earmarked benefits for blacks, instead of explaining how Republicans' general principles, applied to all Americans, can do more for blacks than the Democrats' welfare state approach.




The gathering storm: "Many people understand that you cannot solve a debt problem by issuing more debt. They understand that an individual or a country cannot borrow their way to prosperity. The U.S. government is essentially bankrupt and dependent upon Ben Bernanke's printing press to keep up the appearance of solvency."

Minimum wage: The missing explanation: "So the unemployment rate among relatively unskilled workers is high -- 16 percent -- and it's hard to explain why they can't find jobs 'for less pay?' No, it's not, at least for some of them. The missing explanation is the minimum wage. On July 24, 2009, it increased by 70 cents an hour to $7.25 an hour. Given that there was deflation that year, the real increase was about 12 percent."

There’s no such thing as homemade ice cream: "In the freezer section of the grocery store, there's Vanilla Bean, French Vanilla, and yet another vanilla flavor called Homemade Vanilla. Now, come on! I'm in the store here, looking at rows and rows of commercial products produced by a vast capitalistic machinery, a cornucopia of frozen goods made by advanced industrial technologies, made from goods and services that require a global division of labor and a sophisticated trading and price system rooted in private property and replete with entrepreneurial risk at every stage of production."

62% Favor Repeal of Obamacare: "In a new Rasmussen survey, it shows that 62% are now in favor of repealing the Unconstitutional Obamacare. This is up 8% since the beginning of March, when only 54% favored repeal of the law. Rasmussen also points out that it has reached its highest support for repeal since May of last year.

The injustice of social justice: "Every once in a while, something comes along that perfectly encapsulates the idea of so-called 'social justice' in action. For all the wonderful critiques that have been written about this wretched concept by its many detractors, none quite match the elegant simplicity of a recent work by some of its advocates. I am referring here to a recent video made for the World Day of Social Justice in which students and teachers complete this sentence: Everyone has the right to _____."

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)


16 March, 2011

How political biases sometimes yield invalid research

I have been forwarded the essay below which originated from José L. Duarte, a Graduate Student in the Department of Psychology (Social Psychology Program) of Arizona State University. E-mail: jose.duarte@asu.edu. It's a lot like what I used to write for the journals in the now distant days when I took social science research seriously. It is an excellent critique of what goes on all the time among academic psychologists and sociologists. I therefore reproduce it below.

I hope Mr Duarte likes flipping burgers at McDonald's because I am fairly sure the essay will end his academic career. I wrote my critiques when I already had tenure.

I have myself made sweeping criticisms of work by John Jost. See here -- JR

I've followed with interest the controversy stemming from Jon Haidt's address at SPSP. One issue that has not been discussed is how the political biases of the field have severely undermined some of the research. I propose that we have a serious problem. Most research in social psychology does not touch on politics and has no obvious political implications. However, some of the research in sub-fields like political psychology and attitudes has deviated sharply from valid scientific methods. Researchers sometimes embed ideological assumptions into their hypotheses, constructs, and measures, in ways that make their studies invalid or even meaningless. Regrettably, I can't properly make my point without evaluating the work of noted social psychologists. I'm willing to do so here, and in future settings, because a) I think this is a serious problem for the field – these biases may ultimately weaken our very standing as a science, and b) these practices have gone unchecked for years, and a frank and open consideration of them is long overdue.

My first example of the phenomenon is the Napier and Jost (2008) Psych Science article "Why Are Conservatives Happier Than Liberals?"

In this article, the authors want to show that conservatives are happier than liberals because they "rationalize inequality" (by which they mean economic or financial inequality, such as unequal incomes). This is already an unanswerable research question. Why? To rationalize is to explain away an uncomfortable reality, often by making excuses for it. It is dissonance reduction. Thus, a basic precondition for conservatives to rationalize economic inequality is that economic inequality be uncomfortable for them. However, economic inequality is particularly uncomfortable only for leftists. Conservative ideology does not feature economic inequality as an injustice or a problem to be solved. (Libertarians are also largely unconcerned about it.) Therefore it's logically impossible for conservatives to rationalize it, since they aren't particularly bothered by it. (Jost's own data confirm that conservatives are relatively unconcerned about economic inequality.) A research program centered on conservative "rationalization" of something that only liberals care deeply about has no apparent way forward.

So how did the authors conduct the research? In Study 2, they operationalized the rationalization of inequality with a one-item measure: 1 (hard work doesn’t generally bring success—it’s more a matter of luck) to 10 (in the long run, hard work usually brings a better life). High ratings on this item were cast as rationalization of inequality. In other words, the authors took endorsement of the efficacy of hard work and called it rationalization, then plugged it in as a mediator between conservatism and happiness (note that this belief about the efficacy of hard work is a constituent conservative belief – we might find that other conservative beliefs work just as well as "mediators" here) . There was no attempt (in either study) to capture or measure any actual process of rationalization – they simply applied the label to conservatives for endorsing this standard conservative view on hard work. (It may be worth noting here that hard work actually does pay off, as I assume anyone who has mentored graduate students can attest – this is observationally self-evident and supported by massive amounts of data. So people are being labeled as rationalizers for simply endorsing an obviously true statement.)

Since no process of rationalization was exposed in Studies 1 or 2, and since it makes no sense that people who don't have a serious problem with economic inequality could be accused of rationalizing it, the article's results are essentially meaningless. The data don't tell us anything related to the hypotheses. This is what I mean by a lack a validity – the data do not represent the construct, and given the nature of this construct, it's unlikely that any data could. This research is a scientific non-sequitur: From (1) Conservatives are happier than liberals, and (2) Conservatives believe that hard work pays off, we conclude (3) Conservatives are happier than liberals because they rationalize inequality. Our only way out is if we treat the following statement as an objective fact: Economic inequality is unjust. If we treat this ideological claim as a fact, as a description of reality, then we might assume that all people are motivated to rationalize such economic inequality as exists in their communities, and proceed from there. But of course we cannot take this ideological claim as fact. It's a philosophical position held by one particular political ideology, and many people would disagree with it. Social scientists are in no position to ratify the truth or falsity of such philosophical positions.

In other work, Jost uses words like legitimize or justify, in addition to rationalize. The question might be something like "how do conservatives legitimize the status quo system?" All of these verbs are ideologically loaded, and the questions which rest on them are not answerable by social science. To ask why anyone legitimizes the status quo is to presume that the status quo is unjust and thus requires legitimization, rationalization, or justification. This assumption is fully an ideological/philosophical assumption, and has no place, nor any real utility, in framing scientific research.

Here are some analogous research questions: Why do liberals legitimize gay marriage? Are liberals less happy than conservatives because they rationalize abortion? These are exactly the same sorts of questions, and fully as invalid as the above. They presume that gay marriage is wrong and needs to be legitimized, or that abortion is wrong and must therefore be an object of rationalization. But of course, liberals don't grant that gay marriage or abortion are wrong, so there is nothing for them to legitimize or rationalize. A research program thus framed would have nowhere to go. If a scientist presented research framed by these conservatively-biased, loaded questions, we would immediately recognize it as scientifically invalid. But framed from a leftist perspective, such loaded questions have escaped scrutiny.

The field should discard ideologically-loaded constructs like these – constructs that have no scientific meaning because they rest on ideological assumptions, rather than observable facts.

A second example of how research is framed in biased ways: If we look at the Jost lab website, we find that many of the researchers frame their research around leftist ideological assumptions. To take just one example, Irina Feygina describes her research as focused on "the effect of motivation to justify the socioeconomic system on denial of environmental problems, such as ecological destruction and global warming, and resistance to implementing imperative pro-environmental changes to the status quo."

This is alarming. Social psychologists know what the imperative "pro-environmental" changes are? How? When did we discover the correct human values and ideals, or imperative policy reforms? Environmentalism is a political ideology, and as such it rests on various philosophical assumptions and values (e.g. a conception of the natural world as sacred; a view of human activities as unnatural; resources as static and collectively-owned; and a propensity to value the preservation of status quo ecologies more highly than some increment of human prosperity). Reasonable people might embrace or reject environmentalism, in whole or in part, for any number of reasons. We cannot treat environmentalism as self-evidently correct, any more than we can treat conservatism or Kantianism as self-evidently correct.

Imagine if a researcher focused her research on "resistance to imperative pro-Christian changes to the status quo", or "resistance to imperative pro-business changes to the status quo". I assume you get my point. We should not be in the business of investigating why people "resist" the truth of our personal ideologies, and a researcher so motivated will likely struggle to maintain an appropriate scientific posture.

I offer a principle from all this: If a research question requires that one assume that a particular ideology or value system is factually true, then that research question is invalid. Stated differently, if a research question has no meaning unless we assume that a given political ideology is factually true, then that research question is invalid (and cannot be meaningfully answered).

Critical to any science is the generation of testable hypotheses. The practices I've highlighted above will consistently yield untestable hypotheses, because they rest on the assumption that liberalism is true, which will never be testable. It is, after all, a question of values and value judgments, which are not subject to empirical validation (at least not by our methods). Modesty requires that we allow for the possibility that reasonable people might embrace values that differ from our own. Notably, researchers who employ such ideologically loaded hypotheses are very likely to find what they are looking for. For example, suppose I wanted to show that conservatives are happier because they "rationalize" war. Mirroring the Napier and Jost method, all I would have to do is ask conservatives if they think some countries are a threat to the USA, and label their affirmative responses as "rationalization of war". I would plug it in as a mediator between conservatism and happiness, which would likely work out. I could then publish my findings in a journal, concluding that conservatives are happier than liberals because they rationalize war, and garner some good media coverage. Apparently, no one would stop me. But would I respect myself in the morning? No, because such an article would have no standing as a work of science, and its conclusions would be completely unsupported by the data.

Among the sciences, social science operates with the most flexibility in constructs, methods, and measurement. This makes us especially vulnerable to bias (see John Ioannidis' work for more on this). I think we should be vigilant, ambitious, and idealistic about keeping our science clean. I assume nothing but the best of intentions on the part of the researchers I've critiqued, and I don't at all enjoy publicly critiquing them. Nevertheless, I submit that the issues I've raised here are not minor -- these are serious violations of the valid practice of social science. Our credibility and even our very standing as a science are at issue, and will be questioned by politicians, taxpayers, and scientists in other fields if these practices continue. Admittedly, this sort of validity issue has not been well-elaborated in our training or the literature. Yet I'm confident most researchers will agree that what I've offered here is a straightforward extension of construct validity and the features of testable hypotheses. The biases at issue represent a (correctable) blind spot in our field, and an unsurprising one, given the large overrepresentation of liberals.


The Australian experience of socialized medicine

Jeremy Sammut

According to the Prime Minister, when Australians look at the debate that has raged in the US over ‘Obamacare’, they wonder what on earth Americans are going on about. Because here in this country, we know that ‘Medicare works’.

For many people this will ring true. Medicare is widely considered to be symbol of national equity. The sentiment is that in a wealthy country like Australia, no one should go without health care due to disadvantage, nor be bankrupted by medical bills. This is fair enough as far as it goes. But whether Medicare actually ‘works’ for those who most need assistance to access health services is another question altogether.

Yet, speaking from experience, if you dare to raise any doubts about the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Australian social democracy, you will provoke every ‘true believer’ in the land. Question the wisdom of Medicare in any way, shape, or form, and you are guaranteed to provoke the following loaded response, which is calculated to kill any debate about health reform stone dead. “If we change Medicare, Australia will end up like America with people dying out front of the hospital.”

Yet there is a factual reply that confounds the popular, Michael Moore-esque, conceit.

That reply is that Medicare now kills more Australians than the national road toll. An estimated 1500 avoidable deaths occur each year due delayed emergency treatment. The facts are that one third of emergency patients have to wait longer than eight hours before gaining admission to a bed, because public hospital bed numbers have been cut by one third since the start of Medicare.

This situation has been rightly dubbed the ‘hospital crisis’, and it includes the avoidable deaths that are caused by long waiting times for elective surgery. The truth is that thousands of Australian are dying each year because of long waits to get into overcrowded public hospitals.

What this illustrates are the systemic problems with Medicare.

When Medicare was introduced in 1984, Australians were told it would be all so simple and equitable: each Australian would pay a levy on their income according to their means, and receive treatment according to their needs. The reality is that an inverse care law applies under the scheme, which means patients with the greatest health needs receive the least responsive services.

This is the result of Medicare operating as what health economists describe as a ‘reverse insurance’ system. Medicare provides GP and other medical services on demand on a fee-for-service basis. All consultations and tests are either bulk billed or eligible for a rebate under the Medical Benefits Scheme. The MBS budget is uncapped and is funded entirely by the Federal Government.

This means Medicare is fundamentally flawed in principle. No sound health insurance system should cover minor medical costs from the first dollar spent because this inevitably leads to overuse and waste. Because consumers face either no charge or lower charges, unnecessary consultations and tests are encouraged. The MBS is a political ‘sacred cow’ for this very reason: Australians are in love with bulk billing because they can go to the doctor for ‘free’ whenever they like.

What isn’t understood is that the ever-increasing and open-ended cost of the MBS has led to funding and service imbalances in the hospital sector. To offset MBS spending, the Federal Government has always limited its financial exposure to the cost of public hospital care by giving the states only capped hospital grants.

The predictable response by financially over-stretched state governments has been to impose blunt expenditure controls in the public hospital system including massive cuts to bed numbers.

The result is that many Australians with serious health needs requiring hospital care do not receive timely treatment due to the tight ‘caps’ on hospital funding that federal and state governments both use to limit the cost of our ‘free’ health system.

The perverse outcome is that Medicare leaves people over-entitled at the least serious end of the health care spectrum, while the cost of the most serious, most expensive illnesses are inadequately covered.

If Australians are serious about the fabled ‘fair go’, then the view we should take is that Medicare fails to live up to the national ethos. Medicare means that even the well and worried receive unrestricted, subsidised doctor visits, while the sickest patients languish in the hospital queues that are the daily reality around the country.

Before banging on about the evils of the US health system, Australians would be better off admitting that the way Medicare ‘works’ is deeply inequitable.




GA: Obamabots seize execution drug on weak pretext: "The Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed Tuesday that the agency seized the state of Georgia's supply of a key lethal injection drug because of questions about how the stockpile was imported to the U.S. DEA spokesman Chuvalo Truesdell said he didn't know if other states' supplies of sodium thiopental were being collected."

Guatemalans sue US for deliberately spreading illness in 1940s experiment -- under a Democrat (Truman) administraion: "A lawsuit was filed Monday in a US district court on behalf of 700 Guatemalan soldiers, mental health patients, and orphans secretly experimented on from 1946 to 1948. An apology is not enough for Guatemalans deliberately infected with syphilis by a US medical team in the 1940s. Five months after the American taxpayer-funded medical experiment came to light, victims have brought a class-action lawsuit against the US government seeking compensation for resulting health problems. The experiments were “both unprecedented and unequivocally impermissible in the United States and throughout the civilized world,” the complaint states."

How Dems & bureaucrats use tragedy to hold taxpayers to ransom: "The New York Times thinks that Republican budget cuts are dangerous. Thus the headline in Monday’s edition: 'GOP Cuts Could Hit Tsunami Warning System, Foes Say.' ... Yikes! Are Republicans really so irresponsible, to the point of near legislative manslaughter? Answer: no, they are not"

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 March, 2011

Poll on entitlements

Not surprisingly, people agree that undefined "cuts" to Medicare and Social Security are "unacceptable." But specific, meaningful changes to these programs are broadly supported — so much for truth in labeling.

In fact, reducing Medicare and Social Security benefits for wealthier retirees was supported by 62 percent of those asked. Raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 was backed by a 56-42 margin. Taken together, these two adjustments, supported by the president’s deficit reduction commission, would cover roughly 60 percent of the long-term shortfall in Social Security.

Most voters do not consider these changes to be "significant" cuts because the ideas strike them as common sense: the wealthy should pay a larger share of their Medicare costs; retirement age should reflect long-term changes in life expectancy. The challenge is to read far enough into a story to find the truth. Significance is in the eye of the beholder.

And what constitutes "significant" in the debate over this year’s discretionary spending levels? Extending the current spending resolution through the end of the fiscal year would cost $1.08 trillion. House Republicans passed a bill that would reduce this level by about $57 billion, while the president proposed $6 billion in cuts. The White House argues that its recommended reductions — about one-half of 1 percent — are "significant." Republicans disagree.

Strip away the rhetoric, and the difference between the two is about 5 percent of federal discretionary spending. Controlling a budget is never easy, but families and businesses rein in their spending by 4 or 5 percent all the time. More important, given that the United States just posted the largest monthly budget deficit in world history — $223 billion — one might hope we could do better than a half-percent reduction.

In fact, the NBC/WSJ poll showed that majorities support budget cuts to state government assistance, the Environmental Protection Agency, and transportation projects as well. Interestingly, after all the poll questions about program cuts had been asked, preference for "cutting important programs" actually increased from 35 to 37 percent, while support for raising taxes declined from 33 to 29 percent.

Polls shouldn’t determine budget policy; they simply show the degree to which the public recognizes that tough choices are at hand. Today’s fiscal crisis is bigger than any one government program, but if budget negotiators were to embrace public sentiment on retirement age and means-testing and find 3 or 4 percent in discretionary savings this year, they just might be on to something "significant."



Rules for Wisconsin Radicals

Hint: Lose the whole '60s thing

Just before the package of labor reforms favored by Gov. Scott Walker made it through the Wisconsin legislature, students demonstrating inside the Capitol mobilized to show their resistance. On the floor of the rotunda, they linked their bodies to offer a little protest art for the photographers: a human peace sign.

Two days later, upwards of 100,000 people, some bussed in from elsewhere, converged on Madison to say that this is only the beginning. The idea, of course, is that the Republican governor and his Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature have thwarted democracy. By "overreaching," they are said to have done for Democrats what ObamaCare did for the Republicans: galvanize a demoralized base.

That's what the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, meant when he told an audience last Thursday at the National Press Club, "Thank you, Scott Walker. We should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year Award."

Certainly the Badger Revolution has provoked protests on a level few anticipated. It's true too that many Americans are not yet sold on the need to roll back collective bargaining, even for public employees. Whether Wisconsin represents the emergence of a broad-based, national campaign against reform-minded Republican leaders, however, depends on something far less clear: the ability of the protest movement to reach beyond its own echo chamber to the nonunion middle class.

Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing, would have relished the challenge. In the last chapter of his classic "Rules for Radicals," he put it this way. "Tactics must begin with the experience of the middle class, accepting their aversion to rudeness, vulgarity, and conflict. Start them easy, don't scare them off." The aim was to make the other guy look heavy-handed, and thus gain sympathy for your side.

In that spirit, here's an updated list of 10 rules for Wisconsin protesters:

1) No more Jesse Jackson . This man is a national symbol of agitation for agitation's sake, and he suggests to people who have not yet made up their minds that the protesters may be more radical than they claim.

2) Ditto for Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and Tony Shaloub. Outsiders like these may excite the crowds, but they'll alienate people you need.

3) Lose the peace signs. It suggests a hankering for the anti-middle class 1960s, rather than a 21st-century struggle for a middle-class standard of living.

4) Put out more flags. Many of the farmers who drove past the Wisconsin Capitol on Saturday featured American flags. It wouldn't hurt to add a few verses of "God Bless America"—which demonstrators sang to good effect during last month's protest in Michigan's capital.

5) Respect the law. The broken doors and windows that resulted when protesters overwhelmed police trying to keep mobs out and allow legislators in did not help. By contrast, Gov. Walker was noticeably restrained in his use of force (perhaps because he feared the police, themselves members of a public-employees union, wouldn't obey him).

If you absolutely have to have people carted off by the cops, make sure they are moms and grandmoms—not bearded University of Wisconsin grad students.

6) If you are teachers, don't call in sick as a group so you can all protest. It suggests a certain insincerity about putting students first, especially when classes are cancelled.

7) No more Hitler mustaches on Gov. Walker. Not because is it unfair, but because Hitler analogies are tired. Ridicule would be far more effective.

8) Make local workers your public face: real teachers, real cops, real firemen. Even unpolished, they make a much more sympathetic case than the professional union leaders.

9) Don't call for grand actions likely only to end up confirming your weakness. Instead of going after all GOP state senators—a losing proposition—better to target one and make an example of him. The guy whose own wife signed a petition for his recall would be a good candidate.

10) Show some sympathy for the taxpayers. Show them you know they are paying your salaries—and that you know they are hurting.

Rallying those who share your outlook is easy. But Alinsky succeeded in neighborhoods such as Back of the Yards, Chicago in good part because of his ability to work with people and institutions with whom he had little in common. Accordingly, the first thing he often told would-be organizers was to get a haircut and a decent suit.

In "Rules for Radicals," Alinsky urged his successors to "return to the suburban scene of your middle class with its PTAs to League of Women Voters, consumer groups, churches, and clubs" and find "common ground." Especially for protesters hoping to come back from a resounding political defeat in Wisconsin, that's still good advice.

In fact, there's already one group following it—taking to the streets, demanding radical change, and upending the political status quo. It's called the tea party



Why We Don't Agree

The writer below calls himself a "bleeding heart libertarian" but his views are essentially conservative. Conservatives have always accepted the need for some welfare measures and what we now call welfare was the invention of two notable 19th century conservative leaders: Otto von Bismarck and Benjamin Disraeli

The remarkable truth of this conversation between bleeding heart libertarians and progressives is that our disagreement is exclusively empirical. If we all agree that political institutions should be arranged to alleviate poverty, then the only remaining question is which policies actually do this. Why is it then that we cannot agree, or at least converge, by just looking at reliable data, studies, and empirical theories?

I suggest an answer: in the political arena, a person often supports a policy, not because of the effects he thinks that policy will have, but because his supporting it has symbolic value for himself or others. Supporting the minimum wage is an act that stands for a value such as concern for the poor. The person who is concerned for the poor wants to express that concern, and there are acts that socially symbolize that concern: praising the New Deal, announcing that you voted for a Democrat, supporting public schools, criticizing Bush.

Symbolic behavior, I hasten to say, is not exclusive of progressives. In libertarian circles someone may oppose environmental regulation for symbolic reasons. That position evinces a hostile attitude toward government regulation in general which he wants to express. In his haste to send the right signals he overlooks (say) the problems of externalities and market failure.

The speaker in these cases might not simply want to express himself. He may be anxious to be accepted in certain groups who associate the verbal act with other beliefs that the speaker presumably has and that make him a desirable candidate for admission.

I have found that this problem, self-defeating political symbolism, is extraordinarily hard to eradicate and fatally gets in the way of agreement between these two audiences. Progressives feel compelled to stand by their positions even in the face of evidence that the policies they advocate frustrate the goal they profess. They stick to those views because the views strongly symbolize and give unity to a vision of the world associated with social justice. Libertarians, on the other hand, have a hard time convincing progressives that they care for the poor because they endorse policies that do not socially symbolize concern for social justice.

I do not know how to get around this problem, but, for whatever is worth, I find symbolic behavior morally objectionable, because the speaker cares about the values he expresses more than about those persons he says he wants to help.



"Death Panels" sneak back in

Sarah Palin was right

IBD has received a letter from Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on “the improper inclusion of a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning in a Medicare regulation in the fall of 2010.”

Late last year, a controversy erupted when in November a set of final regulations for Medicare contained a provision enabling Medicare to pay for “end-of-life” counseling. A furor ensued over the fact that (1) this raised the entire “death panel” specter again; and (2) the provision was not in the proposed regulations released in August, thereby shielding the provision from the lengthy public comment period that is supposed to follow proposed regulations.

No one was sure who was responsible for slipping the provision into the 692-page final regulation. Until eleven days ago. Here is Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., asking Sebelius about the matter. In short, Sebelius admits that she was the one who slipped it in without allowing for public comment.

This has prompted Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee to send a letter Monday to Sebelius demanding more information. The letter says that the “inclusion of this regulation was clearly an attempt to subvert the democratic process.” Further, the Republicans state:

"We are very disturbed by your actions. It is clear that end-of-life regulations would not make it through Congress or survive a public debate during the rulemaking process, and were thus dropped into the final rule without allowing the public any opportunity to comment. The secrecy surrounding their inclusion in the final rule indicates that this was a political maneuver designed to avoid public scrutiny and comment."

The letter further asks Sebelius to make a “designee” available to committee staffers next week so they can learn more about the “internal discussions” at HHS regarding “how the proposal was surreptitiously inserted.”

SOURCE. (See the original for links)


Dems at radicalization hearings recite Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group’s talking points

The Daily Caller has acquired the talking points that the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), a group with deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, supplied to its supporters as an aid in attacking the Muslim radicalization hearing New York Republican Rep. Peter King held Thursday. Save for Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s incoherent ramblings on Thursday, Democrats’ statements and testimony against King’s hearing, whether intentionally or unintentionally, largely mirrored MPAC’s talking points.

MPAC recommended that its supporters accuse King of “pure political posturing,” and told them to say, “these hearings appear little more than a political circus with Rep. King as the ringleader.” MPAC also recommended supporters say that the “hearings hurt our national security” because of their “narrow scope.” Finally, it said supporters should say that the hearings were unnecessary because “active” partnerships between law enforcement and the American Muslim community already exist.

California Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson hit on the “pure political posturing” point in the MPAC memo. She compared King’s hearings to those of the McCarthy era.

Rep. Al Green, Texas Democrat, asked why King wasn’t investigating the Ku Klux Klan, something that plays right into the MPAC “suggested message” that the “hearings hurt our national security” because of a “narrow scope.”

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison regurgitated all the MPAC talking points in his testimony at the beginning of the hearing.

“Ascribing the evil acts of a few individuals to an entire community is wrong; it is ineffective; and it risks making our country less secure,” Ellison said. “Targeting the Muslim American community for the actions of a few is unjust. Actually all of us–all communities–are responsible for combating violent extremism. Singling out one community focuses our analysis in the wrong direction.”

A spokesman for Ellison told TheDC that the congressman didn’t receive the MPAC talking points and “wrote his testimony himself.” A spokesman for Green did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment.


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 March, 2011

Leftist dishonesty

If it suits their emotional needs, Leftists will defend the indefensible. They are incapable of admitting that their opponents are right. And they are not ashamed to use the most disreputable and invalid forms of argument. Note below how they defend their friends, the Muslim extremists:
On his popular nationally syndicated talk-radio show yesterday, Michael Savage spotlighted the behavior of Democrats at the controversial House hearing on radicalization in the Muslim community in America. "Did you see how the Democrats behaved? How disgusting their behavior was?" Savage asked, pointing to Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, as one of many examples.

After the hearing Thursday, Green bullied a reporter who pointed out that of 126 terror indictments by the Justice Department, all were of Muslims. But Green insisted the Ku Klux Klan should have been investigated along with Muslim radicalization.

"Mr. Green, Mr. Green," Savage interjected as he played the clip. "The KKK is a despicable organization. They've been investigated, they've been penetrated. Half of them are FBI agents." Instead of embracing an investigation of Islam in America, Savage wondered, "why is Al Green suddenly talking about the KKK?"


How many KKK members have gone on shooting sprees at U.S. army bases? But the argument is a non-argument anyway. If someone wants to investigate the KKK, let them. It could be interesting to find out whether they are still all Democrats! But to claim that there should be another enquiry speaks not at all to whether the first enquiry is justified!

And the other classic of illogic is the ad hominem attack: Abusing the arguer rather than addressing his argument. And you can find heaps of attacks on Peter King of that sort here.

And there have of course been innumerable comparisons of Peter King with Joe McCarthy. Again, however, that is a barb without a sting -- if only because McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse King of McCarthyism is to accuse King of accuracy!

And the most amusing thing of all about McCarthy is that he is regularly blamed for the deeds of the Democrat-led HUAC. Yet McCarthy was a Senator and HUAC stands for "HOUSE Un-American Activities Committee"! And the HUAC enquiries lasted far longer (37 years!) than McCarthy's enquiries did. How odd that we never hear Democrats blaming HUAC for anything! They only criticize HUAC when they think they can attribute it to McCarthy!


ATF Should Change Its Name to WTF

Doug Giles comments on efforts by the ATF to "plant" evidence of gun smuggling

What finally drew my ire and ink was the underreported story about how, according to Alan M. Gottlieb, Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), the Obama Administration and members of Congress are still trying to take away our Second Amendment rights, especially in the wake of the Tucson shootings.

And I quote: “The ATF has a very political agenda in mind, and that is to take away your gun rights—even if it means allowing gun sales to criminals so they can present ‘evidence’ to the administration that the Second Amendment should be restricted or abolished!”

For instance, Gottlieb reports:

On December 14, 2010, Customs and Border Protection Agent Brian Terry was shot as he tried to capture heavily armed “bandits” targeting illegal immigrants trying to get across the border near Rio Rico, Arizona. He died the next morning. It was a tragic incident that occurs frequently on our southern border, made all the more tragic because the semi-automatic rifle that was used to kill Agent Terry was bought by a criminal and smuggled into Mexico under the watchful eye of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

William La Jeunesse (Fox News broadcast, February 22, 2011) states, “The gun used to kill Agent Brian Terry has been sourced, not to Mexico, but to a gun store in Phoenix that was actually part— and cooperating with—a federal investigation into arms trafficking. However, U.S. agents did not stop the sale or the transfer of that gun to the cartels that killed Terry.”

Quoting Gottlieb again, the accusations against ATF and DOJ officials include:

1. They intentionally allowed perhaps as many as 3,000 firearms to “walk” across the U.S. border into Mexico.

2. They instructed U.S. gun dealers to proceed with questionable and illegal sales of firearms to suspected gunrunners.

3. They intentionally withheld information about U.S.-sanctioned gun smuggling from the Mexican government.

4. One of the guns ATF allowed or helped to be smuggled into Mexico was involved in the death of CBP Agent Brian Terry.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is now demanding answers on ATF's “Project Gunrunner.” Hundreds of guns were allowed to be purchased along the border by alleged straw buyers, while ATF conducted its investigation and DID NOTHING. The ATF looked the other way while these guns slipped into Mexico into the hands of drug cartels, and then they blamed gun laws in the United States for the transactions.

Anti-gun activists, led by the Obama administration, are doing all they can to make the connection between law-abiding citizens and deranged criminals—even standing by while known drug dealers purchase guns on our soil and take them back to Mexico ... and then use them to take the lives of our brave border agents!

Whistleblower John Dodson, 39, a front-line agent for the ATF, told the Center for Public Integrity that the guns the ATF allowed into the hands of drug lords and gun runners “are going to be turning up in crimes on both sides of the border for decades. With the number of guns we let walk, we'll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed ... there is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.” Dodson said his supervisors were “elated every time a gun was recovered in Mexico” because they “saw it as proving the nexus that we were dealing with a real drug trafficking group.”

For two years, we've been hearing from Holder and others in the Obama administration about a so-called “iron pipeline” of American guns across the border, and federal officials have been working to strip you of your rights.

Wouldn't it be ironic to learn that while the Obama administration was blaming our gun rights for the drug war violence in Mexico, its own gun sting operation was a major source of illicit firearms?

Gottlieb and The CCRKBA call on Congress to support Senator Grassley's investigation into “Project Gunrunner” and to cut funding to the corrupt ATF immediately. Obama nominated anti-gun zealot Andrew Traver to head up the ATF prior to Congressional recess last year and reappointed him in the 112th Congress, but the Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to hold hearings. Rumors are that this Gunrunner issue is causing problems because the ATF doesn’t want questions about this case to come up. What does the ATF not want us to know?



The Real Battle: Makers v. Takers

Ideological budget battles between GOP and Dems in congress mask the real battle erupting across America-- the battle between the makers and the takers. Entrepreneurs and other working Americans, the makers, are growing tired of government's rapacious hand in their financial pocket and they are becoming more aggressive and more outspoken in their protests. Dems should expect this trend to continue.

The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report citing systemic high unemployment for the past two years shows that of the approximately 300 million Americans, only 47% of adults have full-time jobs. It's a mind-boggling statistic: 53%-- or a majority -- of American adults do not work. The repercussions for our country are dire, despite the White House proclaiming the recent Labor report as good news.

Meanwhile Dems in Congress are relying on an elaborate Ponzi-scheme of increased taxes and hide-the-budget-pickle to justify spending increases on a bevy of social re-engineering programs while the White House continues to champion an expansion of the regulatory straight jacket hobbling entrepreneurs.

Clearly, the White House operates in a cloud of incredible conceit. Team Obama seems to believe that entrepreneurs can innovate and create new jobs and grow the American pie regardless of his anti-growth, pro-tax, increasingly regulatory policies that are crushing small businesses. Even as President Obama and Dems in Congress maneuver and scheme to help "takers" protect their claim to an ever larger slice of the pie, the pie is likely to get smaller and is no longer growing as before.

GOP mostly represents the "makers"--the entrepreneurs who create the pies that the White House wants to tax and regulate to death. Increasingly, the Dems represent the "takers"--the folks on the dole, receiving entitlement support, government subsidies and those deriving power from government protectionism. The battle lines between these two groups, the Makers and the Takers, has never been more apparent.

Takers, dependent upon government and their union allies, argue that in these rough economic times, they need to preserve or increase their slice of the pie. Makers are worried whether, given the increase in government regulatory handcuffs and increased tax knee-capping, they can even make a pie.

Our country now runs the risk that the equivalent of donor fatigue is setting in as the 47% of Americans who actually work are asked to bear even greater burdens for public support. Dems should be worried about how much longer their demands will be tolerated. Eventually, even a dancing chicken will jump off the hot stove.

The March 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report showed that private industry employers spent an average of $27.75 per hour worked for total employee compensation and that the average cost for legally required benefits was $2.28 per hour worked in private industry (8.2 percent of total compensation).

Is it any wonder that businesses aren't able to grow at a rate to keep up with the growth in government spending?

Another disturbing statistics from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.6 percent over the last 12 months. This is more bad news for taxpaying Americans because the price of goods went up for them, which means their paychecks don't stretch as far, but it also means that the voracious requirements for increasing government wealth transfer schemes grow, which increases Democrat demands that working Americans pay even more.

Rush Limbaugh has said that "no nation in history ever taxed itself to prosperity." How true. But, George Bernard Shaw best explained the dilemma faced by the GOP makers when he said: "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul's support." The takers, currently outnumbering the makers, will always be willing to vote more taxes on the Makers. The takers will continue to use guilt-tripping rhetoric to try to make Makers feel guilty that they aren't doing more for them.

The Makers v. the Takers--now that's the real battle for the ages.



Obama: 'The best revolutions are organic'

James Lewis (below) sees in a recent statement by Obama traces of extreme Leftist theology. He may be right. Obama certainly has been steeped in that thinking. On the whole, however, I am inclined to think that Obama may have simply meant that the best revolutions are ones which originate as a spontaneous uprising among the people

We finally have a quote from Obama that sounds authentic. It's something he believes, or at least it's something that some Marxist professor told him back at Occidental or Columbia, in the old dope-smoking days, one that stuck in his mind. Behind the scenes in the White House Obama apparently trotted out this gem of Marxist-Leninist wisdom several times during the Middle East firestorms of the last two months, according to this source: "The best revolutions are organic."

This is while they are trying to decide whether to save any lives, and the whole Muslim world is exploding. Obama is doing nothing except giving a push to Mubarak and Khadafi -- which is bound to make things worse in the short run. In Egypt the military took over and stabilized the situation, and Libya has a real civil war. But Iran is doing fine, thanks to Obama's gullibility in dealing with the blood-spattered mullahs. Oh, well. Zero out of three ain't bad.

But now we know why The President of the United States was doing nothing. He wasn't protecting the rebels in Libya from the tender mercies of Khaddafi's air force, because a Western intervention in Africa would not be "organic." That's `cause "the best revolutions are organic."

Now "organic" doesn't mean that the Egyptian rebellion was grown in goat manure, or that it came in little recycled bags complete with a jolly banana sticker and locally grown, certified E coli. No, this is "organic" the way grand historical speculators like Marx, Lenin, Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler liked to use "organic."

Here's an example from Wikipedia: "In 1920 Spengler produced Prussiandom and Socialism (Preuáentum und Sozialismus), which argued for an organic, nationalist version of socialism and authoritarianism... "

The Nazis claimed that their revolution was "organic," just like Spengler's idea. The word "organic" has a specific meaning in this madcap fantasy world. It means "having a united racial soul." No kidding. It all makes perfect sense in German Romanticism, which loved being organic.

Obama's notion of "organic revolutions" comes from a French Leninist movement of "negritude," or ideological blackness. It means "really, truly black," as opposed to phony blackness, like the kind Justice Clarence Thomas has. To the Madcap Left, Sarah Palin is not a real woman, Justice Thomas isn't black, and Obama, who has no personal roots in the American black experience at all, is really black. Black is not a color.

None of this belongs in a White House of sane and realistic people. It is grotesque. Obama's White House today is evading the very real question of innocent people whose lives are at risk in Libya. They are pumping dense clouds of smoke to cover up their real thinking.

More here



Reclaiming the word “liberal”: "I propose that we call left-liberals just that, not 'liberals' without qualification. Doing so would help reclaim the original name of an honorable old political tradition. It would resist the purloining and perversion of the word 'liberal' as used in the United States."

Wikileaks suspect being mistreated in jail says State Department spokesman: "US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley has said the Pentagon is being 'ridiculous and stupid' in subjecting American soldier Bradley Manning to mistreatment at Quantico in Virginia over the alleged leak of US diplomatic cables through the Wikileaks website. Crowley said Manning was being "mistreated" in the military brig, adding: "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defence." Manning is being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and stripped naked every night." [Crowley was later fired for speaking out so it sounds like he was right]

Obama’s disgrace: "Traditionally in the United States, when the government cannot bear its burden of proof before a court, it must set a suspect free. But the so-called 'war on terror' changed all that for people arbitrarily branded terrorist suspects or enemy combatants. Carrying on the policy established by Bush, the Obama administration takes the position that someone felt to be a threat to national security can be denied a trial and held prisoner indefinitely. Nothing is more un-American. "

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)


13 March, 2011

Will Obama Give Stealth-Fighter Secrets to Iran and China?

A traitor President? It's possible. If you elect a man because of the color of his skin rather than the content of his character, there's no knowing what you will get. We will see what happens sooner or later I guess. Let's hope it's not later

Plans continue apace to sell Turkey our next generation F-35 Joint Strike fighter. While Turkey is part of a consortium and will help build the fuselage, its participation is a diplomatic nicety rather than a necessity. Even so, the fuselage does not contain the top-secret electronics and other technology that the increasingly antagonistic Turks might share with their new partners in Iran and China.

After all, Turkey’s new intelligence head is known to be an Islamic Republic groupie, and Turkey earlier hosted aerial war games with the Chinese air force without first informing the Pentagon or NATO.

Against this backdrop, it is good news that the Turks are now complaining that the United States is reluctant to give them flight codes for the new fighters. Let’s hope that President Obama will not concede when Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, calls to complain.

Given the propensity and ability of both the Iranians and Chinese to reverse-engineer, it would be far better if the United States declined to sell any F-35s to Turkey. Alas, Senators Carl Levin and John McCain are asleep at the switch: the Senate Armed Services Committee has not even required that the Pentagon report to Congress on the vulnerability of F-35 technology leakage should the United States sell any planes to Turkey.



Who Are These Suckers?

James O'Keefe's NPR sting has to be one of the most beautifully orchestrated deceptions in the annals of journalism. I think the academy award for performance in a documentary should go to that bushy-bearded "Arab" who, on hearing NPR executive Richard Schiller say, "Let me take off my NPR hat" and launching into his Tea Party rant, intones in a marvelously phony North African accent, "I like it when you take off your NPR hat." That was the laugh line of the year.

So now everybody will be talking about how embarrassing it was and how NPR has put its neck in the noose and how they will soon be losing their federal funding -- which they say they don't need anyway. All that scurrilous badmouthing of the American public will be reverberating around the political arena for quite some time.

The question that hangs in my mind, though, is this: How could people who think of themselves as so intelligent be such suckers? How could they be taken in by an American black and a bushy-bearded "Muslim" talking in a grade-B Hollywood accent and really believe they were being offered $5 million? After all, these are people who define themselves as being intelligent. They're the "educated elite" of whom we supposedly don't have enough of in this country. And yet they were no more alert than a bunch of high school dropouts sitting around a shabby ACORN office in Baltimore. How do you explain that?

Well, I think it is possible to offer an explanation. Here's an attempt.

First, liberals can be suckered precisely because they think they are the only intelligent people in America. This smug confidence insulates them from having to pay attention to what anybody else is saying. The conventional wisdom among liberals is that people disagree with them only because they are stupid, uneducated, or have been bought off by the sinister forces of American capitalism. (The New York Times'current obsession with the Koch brothers is a case in point. Conservatives have the same mania over George Soros but they only resent Soros's funding of liberal projects; they do not dismiss any liberal intellectual working in one of his organizations as being "bought off" by his money.)

You cannot find a liberal intellectual anywhere who can give you an honest, objective accounting of conservative positions on major issues. All they know is that conservatives are "stupid," racist" and "scary" -- boilerplate terms but unfortunately the exact words employed by Schiller on the tape.

Practically the only liberal around who has ever been able to give a recognizable presentation of a conservative position is Barack Obama, who was always very good at repeating everybody's argument before choosing the most liberal point of view. For that we elected him President.

By assuming they are smarter than everybody else, liberals leave themselves utterly vulnerable to anyone who plays on their sense of superiority. It's a classic Italian Renaissance comedy -- the wily servant who, with cajoling and flattery, outwits his master. It's been going on for centuries. Liberal intellectuals could write you an unintelligible paper on the subject for the Modern Language Association, but they can never see it happening to themselves!

Second, for liberal intellectuals, race is the key to everything (alright, the holy trinity of race, class and gender, I'm abbreviating). If you get on the right side of the fence on race, everything else falls into place. It was an absolute stroke of genius for O'Keefe to send in an American black to tell Schiller he could have $5 million if only he could be a little more balanced in his coverage of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Could it have possibly crossed Schiller's mind, "I wonder if this guy is putting me on?" Never! His whole body would rise up in anguish to banish the thought. That would be racist! Besides, blacks are on our side! All American blacks are beholden to liberals because they support affirmative action and genuflect to Kwanzaa and therefore how could a good-hearted African American possibly be deceiving? Instead, one must only assume the proper patronizing tone, as Schiller did throughout.

Then there is the bushy-bearded fellow passing for a Muslim. I won't even go into that. All I can say is it reminds me of one of the Hardy Boys mysteries where a bushy-bearded pirate named Bluebeard appears on the scene shouting "I tattoo ye!" and then disappears again without explanation.

So how could the nation's "educated elite" possibly be played for such suckers? The answer is simple. They live in a bubble. Everybody says the same things and thinks the same things and anybody who is any different is to be marveled at as an exotic flower rather than engaged in serious conversation.

Last Sunday's New York Times ran a long profile, for instance, on Wayne Barrett, the longtime Village Voice investigative reporter who after 37 years has been unceremoniously fired, apparently for budget reasons. During the decade of the 1980s, according to the Times, Barrett's greatest scoop was to reveal Cardinal John J. Conner, head of the New York Archdioceses, was…are you ready for this?… a Republican!

It's the same with all the riffraff out there. Tea Party people are easy to identify. They are the industrial parts salesman you meet on an airplane in the Midwest or the local real estate agent who'll give you the rundown on what people are buying these days.

They know nothing about semiology and wouldn't be able to discuss the hockey stick graph but they are intelligent people nonetheless who understand business and know how the world works. I recall one outspoken realtor I covered years ago as a suburban reporter who had become the local "gadfly" for opposing a teachers' strike.

Watching the teachers parade around with picket signs reading "Millions for basketball players, pennies for teachers," she commented, "They have to compare themselves to basketball players. They've already passed everyone else." Sure enough, I checked the numbers and found that public school teachers had just passed the median wage earner in the district. Tea Party people have always been around. They are just now finding their voice.

So where do NPR intellectuals get the idea they are the only smart people around? Only by ignoring the opposition. Tune in to Fox News any night and listen to Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Steve Hayes or Fred Barnes discussing complex issues. Could anybody say that they are not intelligent? Would it be correct to say that they understand the opposing liberal position but just don't happen to agree with it? Now, try this. Can you imagine Charles Krauthammer being taken in by a bunch of bushy-bearded strangers claiming to be Orthodox rabbis ready hand him $5 million for taking a more balanced view on their effort to move the Dome of the Rock off the Temple Mount?

As a fellow human being, I have to feel sorry for Ron Schiller. Only a few weeks ago he was sitting on top of the world, discussing seven-figure donations, ready to move on to a cushy job at the Aspen Institute. Now, because of one luncheon, he'll probably never make than $80,000 the rest of his life. It's a cruel fate. Maybe he can take this opportunity to learn a little more about the world. "Be nice to everybody on your way up because you're gong to meet them on your way down," as they say in show business. It might make a nice memoir -- "The Education of Ron Schiller." For now, though, all I can think to say is, "Ron, try to be a little smarter next time."



The arrogant Left

The majority of things on network television appear there by design. And since it is the American left that controls most of the agenda coming out of popular culture and hence television programming, you have to ask yourself, "Who are they hoping to convince?"

I'm pretty sure a lot of parents were asking themselves that question among many others as "network television's most 'family friendly' show"--Glee posed a conundrum for the father of a homosexual character on the broadcast.

In a scene that left many a parent with gaping mouths hanging open, a character of this season's cast mildly scolds the father of another character who believes himself to be homosexual. In this direct confrontation the viewer is left with the unabashed idea that unless a parent is willing to secure homosexually erotic literature and speak to their son or daughter about how the parts "work" (when in fact they don't,) they are a bad parent.

The conflict portrayed by the father is that he needs to (in order to be a good Dad) give his virgin son instruction on homosexual activity in order to not be perceived as hateful, or negligent, or careless by the son, his friends, and most importantly the watching audience.

Glee has played in the "gay garden" many times since its first episode. The producers have gone so far as to have open lesbian interaction between two of the cheerleading characters (because that's oh so often how it happens) on multiple occasions and this week one of the two cheerleaders openly declares her "need" for the other one.

The inundation of disproportionate amounts homosexual behavior on this show has made it unpalatable to most faith based families in America. But in taking the steps as far as they did this week, the producers advocated--that in all my debates on the marriage issue to date I've never heard--a most aggressive manipulation to be forced to think about homosexual acts (something most gay advocates attempt to avoid in their debates,) and additionally pressure cautious parents to call the activity "decent."

* It is now not merely enough to be allowed to do what you want in your own bedroom.

* It is now not merely enough to allow certain amounts of that behavior to be expressed in public.

* It is now not enough to say, "I love you, even if I disagree with your actions.

Nope, now it is incumbent upon the majority to learn, explain, and teach the sex habits of the most perverted kind merely in order to be considered a good parent.

And people wonder why I keep saying I won't let Baby James watch TV till he's 21.

It is these same bully tactics that the unions have utilized these past weeks in Wisconsin. I am glad to see that the Governor stood by my advice from two weeks ago to bust those unions wide open. Yet nonetheless the bullying continues.

Jesse Jackson claimed that Wisconsin had set "basic rights" back hundreds of years. Of course no reporter had the gall to ask him, "You mean like when people who looked like you weren't allowed to hold press conferences?"

See Rev. Jackson was lying because he knows that bringing the collective bargaining agreement into line with where the private sector is--isn't a true setback to someone like him. He's made his money. He's got his shtick and he's good at propagating it.

To the left you must always see the world only as they do. You must not merely tolerate that they exist or live and let live.

Nope, now the expectation of the left is for you to pay for their gold standard benefits. The expectation of the left is for you to grow poor while empowering them. The expectation is for you to keep your mouth shut while they get to speak. And now you must also teach your son the art of homosexual sexual practice, to even be considered a good Dad.

The ranks of those who think with common sense should be swelling. Resistance to these tyrants is not futile. After all NPR is short two key executives this weekend because of their over confidence in their intellectualism. We need to issue more public policy spankings and punish those who would hold our free society hostage.

And with the whipping that Scott Walker applied to the AWOL state senators, and with the red-faced buffoonery that James O'Keefe exposed in all persons' Schiller at NPR perhaps the tide is turning.

At the very least we have some very basic illustrations of how we can go about it in the midst of all the outcry and anger the ginned up protestors will muster.



The decaying brain of a Leftist economist

Since they kicked him out of Harvard for telling the truth he has just lost it

As the Japanese work to bring the injured to safety and to recover the bodies of the dead — and as the world watches in sadness, and shivers — someone, somewhere will throw a touch of absurdity on the whole event.

Enter Larry Summers. According to one report, entitled “Tsunami an economic disaster? Not necessarily,” the “former director of President Obama’s economic council and a former head of the World Bank, said rebuilding could temporarily boost the Japanese economy.”

Every disaster we hear this old chestnut. Last year, Nancy Pelosi cheerfully noted that the Haiti earthquake had a bright side. This form of gallows cheer is known, in the literature of economics, as “The Broken Window Fallacy,” in honor of the brilliant, classic analysis by Frédéric Bastiat.

Bastiat was a French politician and economist. He starts his famous 1850 essay, “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen,” with a short lesson on causation, and then proceeds to tell the tale of a village confronting a minor tragedy: the shopkeeper’s son had broken the glass pane of the shop’s window.

The lesson is that for every cause (event, act, policy, etc.) there are many effects, a series of them. Bad economics only takes note of a small subset of effects. Good economics takes note of the whole series. Indeed, great economists look for hidden and even obscure results.

In the story, the villagers commiserate. But they quickly find a silver lining. If windows didn’t break, what would glaziers do? The broken pane of glass, they suggest, would provide a boon to the local economy. A boomlet, if not a boom.

They trace the effects of what happens to the shopkeeper’s money, after he hires the glazier to fix the window. The glazier buys donuts or something, helping the baker. And . . . and . . . and . . .

But Bastiat calls to our attention an unseen effect: What would have happened to the shopkeeper’s wealth if his window hadn’t broken. He would have spent the money — at least eventually — elsewhere. And a similar pattern of spending and economic activity would unfold, if along a different path. You just don’t see that, because that’s what’s been precluded by the disaster.



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 March, 2011

Politics is just another beauty contest

By Dr. Oliver Marc Hartwich, a German economist

Those working in politics and the media often assume that elections are lost or won on the big issues that so excite them. In reality, very few voters actually care about the intricate details of the National Broadband Network, Australia’s role in the G20, or the next round of the Doha talks. Sometimes even a politician’s smile is more important than his or her policies.

Voters bias towards more beautiful politicians has long been confirmed in surveys. Where voters are uninformed about politicians’ plans and beliefs, they instinctively go by their appearance. But new research from Scandinavia reveals that good looks are quite unevenly distributed in this beauty contest.

In their discussion paper The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Their Voters Reward It, economists Niclas Berggren, Henrik Jordahl, and Panu Poutvaara analysed the attractiveness of more than 1,300 Finnish politicians by asking non-Finns to rate their facial appearance.

Given that most people outside Finland would not recognise the Finnish president, let alone obscure politicians from Jämsänkoski and Lappeenranta, it is safe to assume that there was no political bias involved.

The results were surprising. Right-wingers were on average found to be more attractive and more competent than left-wingers, especially in local government. Perhaps even more interestingly, right-wing voters also cared more about good looks than left-wingers. The ‘beauty premium’ in electoral contests was bigger on the right than on the left.

As the authors of the study suggest, this could lead clever right-wingers to go for a dual strategy. While investing in a new pair of glasses and a stylish haircut, they could be running their campaigns on a more left-wing platform. They could harvest the beauty-conscious right-wing voters while simultaneously reaching deep into left-wing spectrum with their policies. Ironically, right-wing beauty would then generate left-wing outcomes.

The study also speculates whether the increasing role of television in elections tends to favour right-wing candidates. But they may be at an advantage anyway. Left-wing election strategists, unaware of the importance of appearance, still try to woo the electorate with boring policy details when all that voters really care about are lipstick colours and beard fashions.

Without a doubt, the Scandinavian research team has opened a can of worms with their survey. New existential questions in politics urgently need to be answered: Why does conservatism make you more beautiful? Or why are beautiful people more conservative? Why don’t lefties care about looks? And why do people believe that being attractive automatically makes you more competent?

After this seminal piece of research, politics will never look the same again. Quite literally, politics may be more of a beauty contest than political wonks realise.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated Mar. 11. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


Democrat Thuggery in Its Worst Form

After Democratic state senators fled the state to block a fair vote, and after union members took over the capitol building, and after Republican senators received death threats, Wisconsin state Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, labeled Republican passage of a bill to reduce public employee collective bargaining power "political thuggery in its worst form."

And the left wonders why so much of America doesn't take it seriously.

At 9:18 Wednesday night, an e-mail was sent to Republican state senators in Wisconsin. Its first paragraph reads:
Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes [sic] will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

Republican senators reported receiving harassing and threatening phone calls, being physically bumped around at the state capitol, and having their cars struck by protesters. Yet here is how Sen. Jauch described the protests:
I have deeply respected the mature, responsible and thoughtful manner in which hundreds of thousands of citizens have politely exercised free speech in protesting Governor Walker's proposal to end 52 years of collective bargaining.

Unfortunately for Sen. Jauch, more than three-fourths of Americans have Internet access, and, therefore, the ability to see for themselves whether the protesters and Democratic senators were being mature, responsible and thoughtful.

They can decide whether Jauch was more correct than Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who said: "This has been all about intimidating, be it the death threats, the screaming in the face, the late night phone calls or the recalls, this has been all about trying to intimidate Republican legislators into bowing to the public unions, and it has only steeled our resolve."

Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry said Republicans had denied Wisconsin citizens a "voice." OK, just so we have this straight, fleeing the state to strip the majority of the duly elected Senate of a quorum, shutting down the capitol building, and intimidating the majority with phone and e-mail threats is OK, but passing a bill by majority vote after getting the OK of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau is silencing the people?

Speaking of denying the people their voice, former Democratic Congressman David Obey is trying to have Gov. Scott Walker recalled. That's not legal under Wisconsin law. Only politicians in office for at least a year can be recalled, and Walker has been in office for eight weeks. But Obey says he should be recalled anyway, ABC News reports, because he's "abusive."

Obey isn't alone. Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca made an effort to have Speaker Joe Fitzgerald removed from office, yelling on the Assembly floor, "your speaker is impaired."

Wisconsin Democrats are trying to recall every Republican senator who has been in office for at least a year. Republicans are trying to recall eight Democrats who fled the state to avoid voting on the union compensation and bargaining bill. Democrats want to recall the Republicans "because they support Walker's anti-union bill," according to ABC News.

But it's the Republicans who are trying to silence the people? Gov. Scott Walker won election last fall with 52 percent of the vote. The state Senate went from 18-15 Democrat to 19-14 Republican. The Assembly went from 50-45 Democrat (with two independents) to 60-38 Republican (with one independent). Sen. Russ Feingold lost the seat he'd held for 18 years, and the House seat Obey held for 41 years went Republican.

It was a Republican electoral victory of historic proportions. And the Democrats and public-sector labor unions are trying to undo it by shutting down the legislature, intimidating the majority, and removing fairly elected politicians simply because they disagree with them. In Wisconsin, it's not the Republicans who are subverting the will of the people.



Another Unqualified, Unethical Liberal Appointed to the Court

Apparently she thought that a superior American liberal like her had no need to take seriously a gang of slanty-eyed gooks and that lies would suffice as a response to them

On January 5, 2011 President Obama renominated Susan Carney to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Carney is unqualified to serve as an appeals court judge. She has never tried a case to conclusion, she has rarely examined witnesses, and she has never even argued a case before an appeals court. Even the American Bar Association gave her a lackluster rating of Substantial Majority Qualified, Minority Unqualified. Fn.1.

While serving as Yale’s Deputy General Counsel, Carney was heavily involved in a scandal, which calls her integrity and competence into question. The following is an excerpt from the Yale Daily News about the scandal:
In September 2005, officials at Dongguk [University] sent a letter to Yale requesting confirmation of a letter provided by one of their professors, Shin Jeong-ah, who said she had received her doctorate from Yale’s Graduate School. Pamela Schirmeister, associate dean at the Graduate School, told Dongguk officials that she had signed the letter, failing to check her records or notice that her name had been misspelled, the lawsuit claims.

In 2007, suspicious of Shin’s credentials, Dongguk University President Youngkyo Oh sent a letter to University President Richard Levin asking if Shin had graduated from the University. Yale officials checked their records and found that Shin never did. Still, they denied that Dongguk had sent the original letter asking for verification.

When Oh contacted Levin in July 2007, Yale officials had already been sent a copy of the 2005 letter and a facsimile of Schirmeister’s response. The next day, Yale Deputy General Counsel Susan Carney replied to Oh, saying that the facsimile of her response was not authentic. But, as the Dongguk lawyers found, Yale officials had made this assessment without checking their files.

And despite what she told Oh, Carney described the letters as “troubling” in an e-mail to Nina Glickson, an assistant to Levin, expressing concern that the 2005 letter and her response might be real.

The following August, Dongguk officials again tried to prove that Yale had received and responded to the 2005 letter. They e-mailed Carney, telling her they had a receipt for the letter that said it had been handled in the Yale Central Mailroom by an employee named Michael Moore.

Still, even with the specific information provided by the receipt, the lawsuit claims that no Yale official attempted to search University records to check if the letter had been received.

Dongguk’s lawyers said the internal e-mails show that Yale officials were not taking Dongguk’s request seriously. For example, one Yale official — Edward Barnaby, a graduate school assistant dean ­— joked in an e-mail to Carney that “maybe the letter wound up in the hands of the controversial documentary filmmaker …”

[Yale] officials took action when, at the request of Korean prosecutors, the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed Yale on Oct. 17, 2007 for documents related to Shin’s upcoming criminal trial in Korea. The next day, an assistant to Schirmeister searched the dean’s files — and found the September 2005 letter, with its original envelope.

Yale’s actions following the discovery of the letter, Weiner said, went beyond negligence and constituted “dishonorable and disgraceful behavior.” Rather than correcting themselves, the lawsuit claims, Yale officials met over the next week to develop strategy to contain the mistake.

On Oct. 29, they finally told the Department of Justice that they had received and responded to a letter from Dongguk in 2005 that sought to verify Shin’s degree. They told Dongguk the same on Nov. 29. Yale did not release a public statement until Dec. 29, two days after Dongguk held its own a press conference. During this time, the lawyers said, the Korean media continued to condemn Dongguk for the scandal, which it termed “Shingate.”

Dongguk has since alleged that Yale’s actions led to damages equivalent to $50 million.

Weiner said his team plans to take depositions from Carney, Reinstein and Schirmeister in December [2009].

Carney’s liberalism is evidenced by her board service and contributions. For example, she has given money to Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and the National Organization for Women (NOW). She served as a boardmember and officer of Women Organizing Women Political Action Committee (WOWPAC), another pro-abortion group. She also served on the board of Fine by Me, a gay advocacy group.



Planet Washington

By earth-logic, if you got a raise of 10 percent last year, but this year you're only getting a raise of 8 percent, you're still getting a raise. On Planet Washington, that qualifies as an indefensible slashing.

So when the GOP cut $4 billion from the budget last week, the Democrats acted as if it was an involuntary amputation.

Now the GOP wants to cut $61 billion of discretionary nondefense spending from the total budget of $3.7 trillion, and Democrats are responding as if this will spell the end of Western civilization.

But given their terror of forcing a government shutdown, Democrats were forced to counteroffer with a cut of $10.5 billion, or 0.28 percent of the federal budget.

Imagine you have a budget of $10,000 (about 40 percent of it borrowed on a credit card), then "slash" 28 bucks. That's what it's like to be a frugal Democrat....

Look at it this way. Those heartless Republican bastards would cut 2011 nondefense discretionary spending from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent of GDP. Under Bill Clinton, such spending averaged 3.1 percent of GDP.

We owe $14 trillion we don't have. Our total liabilities -- i.e., Social Security and other entitlements -- dwarf that. So we can't just cut discretionary spending alone. But if it's this hard to ask cowboy poets to pony up, how are we going to deal with what everyone agrees is the much harder stuff?



Obama regime pushes massive mortgage bailout; would rip off pension funds, bank shareholders

Back before the election, intellectuals with ties to the Obama Administration proposed a trillion-dollar bailout for some (but not all) underwater mortgage borrowers, as a way to increase consumer spending.

Now, the Washington Post reports that bureaucrats at the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) want to do something similar on a smaller scale. Their proposal would require banks to write off part of the mortgages of certain (but not all) mortgage borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth. Worse, they would require mortgage servicers to write off loan principal on loans owned by other institutions, like pension funds, violating their property rights.

Virtually all of America’s pension funds own mortgage-backed securities. Pension funds (including the unions) that millions of people rely on for their retirements would lose billions of dollars due to reduced mortgage value. These demands are contained in a 27-page proposed settlement sent to the banks by the CFPB, the Justice Department, and state attorney generals who sued the banks over their recent foreclosure documentation lapses. Such demands flout court rulings like Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank v. Radford (1935), which overturned a federal law that wiped out mortgage value.

Meanwhile, the write-offs would reward the most financially irresponsible borrowers, while punishing responsibility. If you were thrifty, and made a big downpayment, you will not be eligible for a write-off, since your mortgage will still be smaller than your house is worth, even if your house declined in value. But if you saved little money, and took out a no-downpayment loan, your loan may be bigger than the value of your house even if the value of your house didn’t fall much. Even a small fall in value would leave you “underwater” on your loan, and thus eligible for a bailout under the proposed settlement, to reduce the size of your mortgage to less than your home value.



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 March, 2011

Australia a true friend, Prime Minister says in speech to Congress

I am not sure how well this was covered in the American media. My guess is a one minute mention on some TV news bulletins. It is however an excellent speech on the whole. It could well have emanated from a conservative Prime Minister. It is however the work of a Prime Minister who hails from the Left faction of Australia's major Leftist party -- and that faction has been in the past rather anti-American. The speech is therefore an indication of how realistic the Australian Left is on the whole. Despite their old anti-American reflexes, they can obviously see clearly the great extent to which Australian and American interests coincide. That even a Leftist Prime Minister has come out with such emphatically pro-American sentiments does therefore confirm that Australia is America's best friend internationally

JULIA Gillard received a four-minute standing ovation after making a historic address to a joint meeting of the US Congress in Washington.

During the half-hour address she hardened Australia's military commitment in Afghanistan, telling the Congress Australia remembered America's help in World War II and would always stand by it as "a true friend Down Under".

Conceding that the transition to local control in Afghanistan will take "some years", Ms Gillard threw herself fully behind President Barack Obama's Afghanistan strategy, saying the two nations were inextricably linked by shared values and common aims.

Ms Gillard also challenged the US to use its capacity for reinvention to join Australia in pressing for new rounds of trade liberalisation and economic reform.

Describing herself as a "true mate", Ms Gillard urged the US to "be worthy to your own best traditions," calling on the nation to turn its creativity to addressing climate change.

And she called for US leadership in the Asia-Pacific to balance the rise of China and India and ensure all nations in the region could enjoy the benefits of prosperity and growth.

Ms Gillard's comments came in an address to a joint sitting of Congress to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS treaty - a military alliance which binds Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Among Australian prime ministers, only Bob Hawke and John Howard have been accorded the same honor, while Robert Menzies addressed the House of Representatives in 1955.

Ms Gillard used her speech to make clear that Americans should expect firm and ongoing support from Australia.

"In both our countries, real mates talk straight," she said. "We mean what we say. You have an ally in Australia. An ally for war and peace. An ally for hardship and prosperity. An ally for the 60 years past. And Australia is an ally for all the years to come."

Ms Gillard said Australia had not forgotten that the US helped defeat the Japanese in World War II. She said the US should expect that Australia would not swerve in its support for the Afghanistan war. "I have told Australia's parliament in Canberra ... what I told General (David) Petraeus in Kabul ... what I told President Obama in the Oval Office this week," she said. "Australia will stand firm with our ally the United States. Our friends understand this. Our enemies understand this too."

Referring to her recent visits to the war zone, she said she was convinced the Afghanistan coalition had the right strategy.

However, as she outlined her solidarity on the war, she threw out challenges to the gathered US politicians on the economy and climate change.

Calling for US support for the economic reform process through the G-20, she also appealed for the reignition of the stalled Doha Round of international trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation.

On climate change, she called for continuing collaboration, insisting that the world must find a way to decouple economic growth from growth in carbon emissions.

Turning to security, Ms Gillard noted that political power was shifting towards China and India, and urged the Americans to call on the same courage that saw them provide leadership during the Cold War and to apply it to the emerging new world order.

She also praised former US President Ronald Reagan, describing him as a great figure of American optimism who had displayed the same values she believed would see the US continue to prosper and provide global leadership.

"I firmly believe you are the same people who amazed me when I was a small girl by landing on the Moon," she said. "On that great day, I believed Americans could do anything. I believe that still. You can do anything today."



Evil Oregon Democrats attack Republican candidate's children

By Art Robinson

In an effort to do my part in rescuing our country from the out-of-control Obama administration, last year I ran for Congress in Oregon's 4th District against 12-term incumbent, far-left Democrat Peter DeFazio, co-founder of the House Progressive Caucus.

Although I won the nominations of the Republican, Independent and Constitution Parties and the endorsement of the Libertarian Party, a massive media smear campaign by DeFazio, paid for with money raised by MoveOn.org and from special interests favored by DeFazio in Washington, resulted in a 54.5 percent to 43.6 percent victory for DeFazio in a race that was expected to be much closer. Although I had never run for public office before, I immediately announced my candidacy for Congress again in 2012.

However, when you take a stand for what's right, sometimes there is retribution. On Nov. 4, 2010, as soon as the election results were in and they were sure their candidate had won, faculty administrators at Oregon State University gave new meaning to the term "political payback."

They initiated an attack on my three children – Joshua, Bethany and Matthew – for the purpose of throwing them all out of the OSU graduate school, despite their outstanding academic and research accomplishments. OSU is a liberal socialist Democrat stronghold in Oregon that received a reported $27 million in earmark funding from my opponent, Peter DeFazio, and his Democrat colleagues during the last legislative session.

Thus, Democrat activist David Hamby and militant feminist and chairman of the nuclear engineering department Kathryn Higley are expelling four-year Ph.D. student Joshua Robinson from OSU at the end of the current academic quarter and turning over the prompt neutron activation analysis facility Joshua built for his thesis work and all of his work in progress to Higley's husband, Steven Reese. Reese, an instructor in the department, has stated that he will use these things for his own professional gain. Joshua's apparatus, which he built and added to the OSU nuclear reactor with the guidance and ideas of his mentor, Michael Hartman, earned Joshua the award for best Masters of Nuclear Engineering thesis at OSU and has been widely complimented by scientists at prominent U.S. nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, faculty member Todd Palmer notified four-year Ph.D. student Bethany Robinson (OSU grade point average 3.89) that he was terminating her thesis work and taking all of her work in progress for himself. Some of Bethany's graduate work has already been used, without credit to Bethany, in the thesis of another favored student now recently hired on the department faculty.

Palmer, until recently married to a member of the OSU psychology faculty, is now married to former OSU student Camille Lodwick. They are both faculty members in the nuclear engineering department.

It is also rumored that Higley, a long-time associate of Palmer's and who is adamant that Bethany leave OSU, may dislike Bethany because of criticism Higley received when department students complained of sexual assault at wild drunken parties of OSU nuclear engineering students during taxpayer-financed trips to scientific meetings. These incidents may have been more likely because Higley had failed to report to OSU authorities an earlier instance of milder sexual harassment against Bethany, probably because Bethany – a brilliant but very mild-mannered, conservative, homeschooled Christian young lady – does not share Higley's views.

My children and I attempted to counter all these actions against us as they unfolded, but were initially uncertain as to their ultimate intent. All became clear, however, when OSU faculty administrators abruptly took a further and very serious prejudicial action toward Joshua. At that point, OSU Professor of Nuclear Engineering Jack Higginbotham, who was privy to all of the meetings and actions, warned us and came to our defense.

Professor Higginbotham, who also serves as president of the OSU Faculty Senate and director of the Oregon NASA Space Science Consortium, has been a member of the OSU faculty for 24 years. He has held many responsible positions in the university and has received numerous professional awards. Moreover, he is very widely admired for the many instances in which he has given special help to students at OSU. This is a man who thinks always of his students and never of himself.

Professor Higginbotham warned us that faculty administrators at OSU were working to make certain that Joshua, his sister Bethany and, if possible, his brother Matthew never receive Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering from OSU, regardless of their examination, academic and research performance. Professor Higginbotham then reviewed with us the details of the plan to destroy the education of these students and advised me to do anything I could to protect my children.

Since November, a remarkable battle has been raging within OSU. I considered an immediate public exposure of this plot and warned the faculty of this possibility, but instead my family and I decided to try to prevent a scandal at OSU and save the students within the confines of OSU. We fought these unprincipled academics on their own ground and held them off for four months. That effort is, however, now failing, and Joshua and Bethany are both slated for dismissal from the department of nuclear engineering very soon. Also, unless action is taken immediately, Professor Higginbotham's career will be completely destroyed.

Indeed, in retribution for Professor Higginbotham's efforts to protect the Robinson students from these unprincipled attacks, he personally has become the target of a campaign of defamation, vilification, persecution, Star-Chamber humiliation and other career-destroying actions orchestrated by Higley and the other people who are attacking us.

Now nearing success is a disgraceful effort to strip Professor Higginbotham of his faculty position and his research grants. His career now potentially in ruins, he is fighting back in hopes of saving himself and the positions of the students and staff who depend upon him at OSU and who may also lose their careers as collateral damage in these astonishing events.

The attack on Professor Higginbotham, if not stopped, may also destroy the graduate work of his student, Matthew Robinson. Matthew (OSU grade point average 3.91) passed up a $57,000 per year offer from the MIT graduate school so he could join his brother and sister at OSU two years ago.

Demonstrating unanimity with the DeFazio cause, both responsible OSU deans and the president of OSU, Edward Ray, have so far failed to halt these dishonorable and illegal actions. Ray, a supporter of DeFazio on the campus, has refused even to meet with me or my son Joshua concerning these events. Knowledgeable observers have concluded that orders for the attacks on the Robinson students are coming from sources far above Ray in the Democrat political machine.

The department of nuclear engineering attracted the Robinson students to OSU during a better day when it was directed by distinguished nuclear engineer José Reyes, who has now moved to NuScale Power. The department was in the hands of a group of very outstanding nuclear engineers. The ranks of these engineers have unfortunately been thinned by retirements and departure to other universities, including Michael Hartman now at the University of Michigan, but still mentoring Joshua. The engineers no longer control the department.

The department is now controlled by ideologues, most of whom do not have Ph.D.s in nuclear engineering. Nepotistic husband-and-wife combinations and new hires of their own graduate students have brought the department under the control of unprincipled people who have enthusiastically participated in the attacks on the Robinson students and Professor Higginbotham – attacks that have violated numerous OSU academic rules, several laws and the most basic professional ethics.

Professor Higginbotham, Joshua, Bethany and Matthew Robinson can still be rescued – but only by immediate, intense public pressure.

OSU administrators think they can violate ethical academic standards of professional conduct, break formal OSU rules and regulations, and even violate U.S. laws with impunity because, in any resulting litigation, they would be defended by lawyers from the Oregon Department of Justice, assuring that only students with huge sums of money and many years to invest in litigation can oppose them. The Robinsons do not have those huge sums of money, and, moreover, they want to complete their education – not receive money in exchange for the destruction of their education and opportunities.

If these people succeed, a delighted Peter DeFazio will be able to brag to the voters that the Robinson children were thrown out of Oregon State University. Why else but to favor DeFazio would the OSU administration condone seemingly irrational actions that are potentially so damaging to the reputation of the university? OSU dances to the tune of the Democrat machine, and DeFazio controls that machine.

As things stand today, Jack Higginbotham and his students and staff, along with Joshua Robinson are in immediate danger. Bethany Robinson is slated for dismissal soon after and without the Ph.D. that she has nearly completed. The dismissal of Matthew Robinson may not be far behind. And the danger to Professor Higginbotham's other students is likewise very high.

Please don't let this happen!

Please notify OSU of your interest in this matter and urge the university to stop its destructive actions against Joshua, Bethany and Matthew Robinson and against Professor Jack Higginbotham, the remarkable president of the OSU faculty senate who has risked his career to help them!

Contact information for the OSU nuclear engineering department is:

Phone: 541-737-2343
Fax: 541-737-4678
Mailing address:
116 Radiation Center,
Corvallis, OR 97331-5902

Please also contact the president of OSU, Edward Ray:

Phone: 541-737-4133
Fax: 541-737-3033
Mailing address:
600 Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-2128

For more information or to take further action, please visit OregonStateOutrage.com.

Please ask these people why the destruction of the academic work and careers of these students and Professor Higginbotham is so important that they are willing to sacrifice the good name of Oregon State University.

Please ask them to stop the attacks on the Robinson students and Professor Higginbotham.

SOURCE. (See the original for email addresses)

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 March, 2011

An amazing story from Canada

This is the sort of thing Obama is aiming to fix on Americans

That the Ontario health-care system is under pressure isn't news. But every so often another case comes along that proves, yet again, just how dysfunctional it is.

Jill Anzarut, a 35-year-old mother of two young children, has had the misfortune of becoming the latest Canadian whose story speaks to the system's broader problems. Anzarut detected a lump in her breast and tests determined the lump was indeed a cancerous tumour - an aggressive kind. Worse, Aznarut's genes mean she is at high risk of her cancer reoccurring. There is a drug, already used in other provinces and in some cases in Ontario, that has been shown to reduce the likelihood of the cancer returning. But Aznarut can't get it in Ontario: She had the misfortune of catching her cancer too early to qualify.

Anzarut has fallen afoul of a quirk in Ontario's policies on the use of the drug in question, Herceptin, which can cut in half the odds of cancer returning after a successful treatment. In Ontario, the drug can be prescribed for cases where the tumour is more than one centimetre in diameter. Anzarut, having caught it very early, has a tumour smaller than that.

How can this possibly be justified? How much money has been spent on public health campaigns stressing the importance of women performing self-exams for cancer, following up on any abnormalities and getting regular mammograms as a precaution? After all that effort, a young mother does everything exactly right, immediately seeks medical care and is told . sorry, you're not quite sick enough to get the medicine best able to treat you. Perhaps she should go home and wait while the cancer cells invade her body, then come back later and hope she qualifies. Welcome to Ontario, where we value early warning so long as it's not too early. You really gotta straddle a fine line with these life-threatening diseases, ya know.

For most of us, the absurdities of state-monopoly health-care usually mean inconvenience, delays and sometimes, added pain. For Anzarut, the cold inefficiencies of a ration-based system could cost her far more. But all is not yet lost, there is a review panel that can examine her case and grant an exemption. God knows if there was ever a case warranting an exemption, she's it. If so, that will be good news not only for Anzarut, but the 100 or so women estimated to find themselves in a similar situation every year.

Some Ontario patients have been able to access Herceptin because they're lucky enough to have some coverage under a private insurance plan. If the only way to survive in the public health-care system is to come packing private insurance, is that not a sign that the public system isn't working?



Maine Gov. Paul LePage

Our new Maine Gov. Paul LePage is making New Jersey 's Chris Christie look like a wimp. He isn't afraid to say what he thinks. And, judging by the comments I hear at the cigar shop and other non-political gathering places, every time he opens his mouth his popularity goes up.

He brought down the house at his inauguration when he shook his fist toward the media box and said, "You're on notice! I've inherited a financially-troubled state to run. Observe...cover...but don't whine if I don't waste time responding to your every whim for your amusement."

During the campaign he was talking to commercial fishermen who are struggling because of federal fisheries rules. They complained that President Obama brought his family to Bar Harbar & Acadia National Park for a long Labor Day holiday, found time to meet with union leaders but wouldn't talk to them. LePage replied, "I'd tell him to go to hell and get out of my state." Media crucified him but he jumped 6 points in the pre-election poll!

The Martin Luther King incident was a political sandbag which got national exposure. Media crucified him but word on the street is very positive.

The NAACP specifically asked him to spend MLK Day visiting black inmates at the Maine State Prison. He replied if he visited the prison he would meet all inmates regardless of race.. NAACP balked. They then put out a news release claiming falsely that he refused to participate in any MLK events. He read it in the paper for the first time next morning while be driven to an event and went ballistic (none of the reporters called him for comment before running the NAACP release).

So he arrived at an event and said on TV camera that "...if they want to play the race card on me they can kiss my butt..." and reminded them that he has an adopted black son from Jamiaca and that he attended the local MLK Breakfast every year he was mayor of Waterville (he started his morning there on MLK Day yesterday.)

He then said there's a right way and a wrong way to meet with the governor and he put all special interests on notice that press releases, media leaks and demonstrations are the wrong way. He said any other group which acts like the NAACP can expect to be on the bottom of the governor's priority list!

Then he did this which broke yesterday and, judging from local radio talk show callers, increased his popularity even more:

The state employees union complained because he waited until 3 p.m. before closing state offices and facilities and sending non-emergency personnel home during the last blizzard. The prior governor would often close offices for the day with just a forecast before the first flakes. (Each time the state closes for snow, it costs the taxpayers about $1-million in wages for no work in return.)

LePage was CEO of the Marden's chain of discount family bargain retail stores before election as governor. He noted that state employees getting off work early could still find lots of retail stores open to shop. So, he put the state employees on notice by announcing: "If Marden's is open, Maine is open!"

He told state employees: "We live in Maine in the winter, for heaven's sake, and should know how to drive in it. Otherwise, apply for a state job in Florida !"

Refreshing politician!



At last: unscripted honesty

THE CURRENT standoff in Wisconsin has put tough-talking Governor Scott Walker in the headlines, but for sheer candor, no one holds a candle to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. For the past year in town hall meetings, interviews, and speeches, Christie has been cheerfully, relentlessly, and brutally honest. People appear to love it. His approval/disapproval rating now stands at 52/37 in a state where Democrats outnumber Christie's fellow Republicans by 700,000. Yet imitators remain few and far between.

During Christie's campaign in 2009, CNN reporters tried to create an awkward moment by asking him about his weight. He earnestly replied, "I've had a weight problem for 30 years, so what?'' When they pushed him to criticize President Obama's visit to New Jersey, he simply noted that, "it's always an honor to be visited by the president of the United States.'' Clearly, the sincerity of these responses confused the pundits at CNN.

At a town hall meeting when a public school teacher suggested that she was worth up to $80,000 per year, Christie made two observations: first, New Jersey, unlike the federal government, cannot print money; and second, she didn't have to teach if she didn't want to. There was no pandering rhetoric about our children, our future, or our values - just simple, honest truth.

About Social Security, Christie says, "We're going to have to raise the retirement age.'' He refers to high-speed rail, electric cars, and universal broadband access as "the candy of American politics,'' which we simply cannot afford until we deal with our budget crisis. And when confronted with a possible government shutdown in New Jersey, he announced that if it happens, "I'm going to order a pizza and watch the Mets.''

This type of candor is exceedingly rare. No one, least of all a politician, enjoys telling someone "no we can't.'' Instead, most people instinctively respond to questions in the most positive way possible, and running for office only makes the problem worse. Beyond this desire to appease lies the fact that confrontation also takes more work. Refuting someone else's argument or point of view requires facts, reasoning, and analysis. By contrast, nodding in sympathetic agreement saves time and energy, and eliminates the need to think.

Last week's release of a Government Accountability Office report on duplication and overlap in government shows what happens when you try to please all of the people all of the time. We end up with 56 financial literacy programs spread over 20 federal agencies, 80 economic development programs in four departments, and 82 programs for teacher quality - as much as $100 billion spent without any way of measuring the outcome or benefits. The only real antidote to such out-of-control bureaucracy is toughness, oversight, and attention to detail - and the ability to say "no.''

Christie says he's not running for president, and given the consistency of his first year in office, you would be a fool not to take him at his word. But with the federal budget awash in red ink, the timing looks right for a national leader cut from the same cloth. Speaking with CBS's Bob Schieffer last week, Christie again denied national aspirations while offering advice for would-be candidates: "You have to have unscripted moments. [Americans] want unguarded moments - that's when they can really judge your character.'' It was a valuable suggestion from the man who has had more unscripted moments than any other American politician during the past year.

In fact, the history of the New Hampshire primary favors the blunt. Ronald Reagan and John McCain thrived on the retail politics of the Granite State, where a candidate can be asked any question, by any voter, at any moment. In the same vein, both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were viewed as plainspoken outsiders when they made a name for themselves in New Hampshire on the way to the White House. All of these candidates were comfortable in the unpredictable, unscripted moments of the campaign, and earned a reputation for candor. They were willing to give voters an unvarnished look at themselves, and reveal their character in the process.

Do Americans really want brutal honesty in a president today? Perhaps Reagan best carried the "tough love'' approach into office. He fired the air traffic controllers, cut domestic spending, reformed the tax code, and, in 1983, signed the last major overhaul of Social Security. Last month, a Pew poll identified Reagan as the most respected president of the 20th century. It may be difficult to emulate, but it appears to be a recipe for success.

Meanwhile back in Washington, Harry Reid refuses to even discuss Social Security as part of budget negotiations. On the national scene, Republican presidential contenders are spending an awful lot of time selling books and producing TV shows. We've seen a lot of tough talk during the past few weeks, but frankly, most of it feels scripted. Even more to the point, the idea of ordering pizza and watching the Mets during a government shutdown seems to be the last thing on anyone's mind.




Leftist hypocrites felled by a camera. First ACORN, now NPR: "NPR's CEO and president, Vivian Schiller, has resigned, the radio broadcaster announced Wednesday, following an undercover sting in which an executive was videotaped describing Tea Party members as 'racist.' On Tuesday, Schiller condemned the comments by Ron Schiller (no relation), which were caught on camera by political activist James O'Keefe of 'Project Veritas.' But a statement by the chairman of NPR's board of directors, Dave Edwards, said the board had accepted Vivian Schiller's resignation 'with deep regret.'" [Leftism is one big fraud that can't stand the light of day]

TN: Healthcare opt-out bill goes to governor: "A proposal that would allow Tennesseans to opt out of the federal health-care law is headed to the governor for his consideration after passing the Republican-controlled House 70-27 Monday on a party-line vote. The companion to the 'Health Freedom Act' also passed the Senate 21-10 on a party-line vote last month. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to review the proposal when it reaches his desk. Republican House sponsor Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster said the legislation doesn't argue for or against the federal law, but just gives Tennesseans a choice."

How times have changed! A Chinese frigate in the Mediterranean: "Late last week, the geostrategic implications of the still-unfolding crisis in the Middle East began to reveal themselves, as China positioned the advanced missile frigate Xuzhou off the eastern coast of Libya - the country's first deployment in the Mediterranean. The ship, and the special forces personnel it carried, were there to make sure that the estimated 30,000 Chinese workers in Libya were safely evacuated, in the face of a rash of attacks on Beijing-owned oil facilities."

Anti-democratic Democrats trumped: "The leader of Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate says his caucus will return to the state, but he won't say when. Senate Democrats fled the state nearly three weeks ago to block a vote on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights. But Senate Republicans used a procedural move on Wednesday to pass the proposal without the Democrats present. The floor session lasted just minutes, and the state Assembly is scheduled to take up the measure on Thursday morning. That's the last step before it can go to Walker for his signature.

ID: Bill limits teachers' bargaining powers: "A far-reaching bill that removes most of Idaho teachers' existing collective bargaining rights passed the Idaho House on Tuesday, sending the measure to the governor's desk and marking a big win for state schools Superintendent Tom Luna, who proposed the plan. Luna hailed the move, calling it 'a great step forward,' while Idaho's teachers union, the Idaho Education Association, declared a 'Day of Action' with after-school rallies across the state today to protest."

Why we need an asteroid strike: "See, societies are like people in that they get old, clot, lose flexibility, and then croak. They can't get better. Like most things, they just get worse. A rule of thermodynamics says that rivers don't flow backwards, plaque does not voluntarily leave arteries, and governments do not become more reasonable, efficient, or interested in the well-being of their populations."

A little understanding goes a long way: "As the world confronts one of the most critical periods of economic upheaval that it has ever seen, it is clear that our most influential economic stewards have absolutely no idea what they are doing. But, like kids with a new chemistry set, they are nevertheless unwilling to let that stand in the way of their experimental fun. As they pour an ever-growing number of volatile ingredients into their test tubes, we can either hope that they magically stumble on the secret formula to cure the world's ills, or more pragmatically, we can try to prepare for the explosion that is likely to result."

Why ObamaCare mandate penalty can't be a tax: "Within a year or two, the Supreme Court probably will decide whether the new federal mandate to purchase a particular type of health insurance is authorized by Congress' constitutional power to 'regulate Commerce ... among the several States.' If the Obama administration cannot convince the court that the commerce clause allows Congress to force people to engage in commerce, the administration has a backup argument: The mandate is separately authorized by Congress' constitutional power to tax. If this argument succeeds, the constitutional system of a federal government of limited, enumerated powers will, for all practical purposes, come to an end."

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 March, 2011

Crony capitalism is a burden on us all

America now has a largely Fascist economy, with all the costs and inefficiencies implied by that

The awarding of a $36 billion tanker contract to Boeing illustrated the well-known difficulties caused by crony capitalism in the awarding of government contracts. However what is less well appreciated is the damaging effect that crony capitalism has in a number of other ways, making the economy less efficient and providing rent-seeking opportunities that are both morally and economically repugnant.

Let’s begin with a definition of crony capitalism. In a truly free market, government is small, so gives out few contracts. It also passes few laws that affect business, so for even large corporations there is no point in hiring lobbyists. This was the position in Calvin Coolidge’s America. It still appeared sufficiently true even in the 1990s that Microsoft spent no management attention on Washington lobbying “virtually ignoring the Washington power game” according to the New York Times – and was surprised in 1998 by a massive antitrust suit.

As Microsoft found to its cost (though it survived the antitrust suit and has made up for it since with massive lobbying activities) that is not the America – or world – in which we now live. Crony capitalist companies seek through campaign contributions and strategic placement of their alumni to produce legislation favoring their business, to get access to lucrative government contacts, to rewrite the tax laws in their favor and to create rent-seeking mechanisms whereby their profits (and management bonuses) can be enlarged at public expense.

The costs of crony capitalism became apparent in the 2008 financial crash and bailout. Two episodes stand out in particular. In the rescue of AIG, $62.1 billion of credit default swaps were paid out to counterparties such as Goldman Sachs, who also profited from their holdings of CDS against the credit of AIG itself. Goldman Sachs alumnus Hank Paulson was Treasury Secretary at the time, and appears to have given no significant thought to the possibility of killing the pernicious CDS market by allowing the $62.1 billion in losses to be levied on its major participants.

Second, the banking industry as a whole was energetic in encouraging Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues to lower interest rates to zero and to buy over $2 trillion of Treasury and agency securities – decisions which ran directly against Walter Bagehot’s advice for a financial crisis, to lend freely, but at penally HIGH rates. We have not yet seen the full cost of this decision, which has reduced job creation in the recovery to a painfully slow rate (through making labor-saving capital investment artificially cheap) while very probably leading to a major inflationary collapse – and tangentially to the current Middle East turmoil, through the mechanism of excessively inflated commodity prices. Wall Street wanted low interest rates, to bail it out of the mess it had created, so that’s what it got, without regard to the needs of the rest of the economy, the losses to America’s beleaguered savers or the disruption it imposed on the world as a whole. Wall Street alumni being scattered liberally throughout the decision making process in both the Bush and Obama administrations, it was a classic case of crony capitalism. Again, no proper consideration was given to the Bagehotian alternative.

The longest-standing and most entrenched area of U.S. crony capitalism is agriculture. Farm subsidies were introduced in the 1930s and have remained important ever since, with a modest attempt to reduce them in 1996 being reversed by the Bush administration in 2002. In recent years an additional gigantic farm subsidy has been introduced, the corn-based ethanol fuel program. This subsidizes an especially inefficient method of fuel production, which offers no net benefit in terms of carbon emissions – it is a pure handout to the farm lobby, strengthened by the political salience of the Iowa presidential caucuses. Today much of U.S. agriculture is dependent on crony-capitalism controls and subsidies, at enormous cost to the food consumer and the world economy.

The global warming hysteria, as it played out, gave massive opportunities to crony capitalists (whether or not some modest measure of global warming is in fact occurring.) Global warming, once it emerged from the academy, was a project of extreme socialist environmentalists to increase government control of the economy. (The academicians themselves became “useful idiots” rewarded with tenure and massive grants in return for proclaiming the global warming religion, adjusting the facts where necessary to justify the theory.) However the movement would not have got far, at least in the United States, without the assistance of crony capitalists.

GE saw the opportunity to close high-labor-cost US light bulb manufacturing plants, relocating production to China, and to reap rewards from manufacturing higher-cost fluorescent light bulbs. Hence it worked with allies in Congress to institute in December 2007 an outright ban on incandescent light bulbs, effective 2012-2014. This measure was costly economically and damaging environmentally, since it failed to solve the disposal problem of the toxic CFL bulbs, which contain mercury.

Crony capitalism also reared its head in the abortive Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade environmental legislation of 2009. Cap-and-trade as a mechanism for controlling carbon emissions is highly subject to capture by crony capitalists, because it inserts the government into an entirely new area of economic activity, and allows it to give out emission permits to favored interest groups. The Waxman-Markey legislation was particularly unattractive in this respect; it imposed a huge new cost on the economy and then managed to lose over 80% of the revenue that should have been received by government through giving handouts to crony capitalists.

Immigration is another area in which crony capitalism is rife; in this case the crony capitalists seek to block proper enforcement of US immigration laws in order to ensure themselves a labor supply at below-market costs. As with the “cap-and-trade” scheme the crony capitalists are here seeking to distort the legal system and the market mechanism to achieve self-enrichment through government manipulation. The current dispute in Georgia is a case in point; Governor Nathan Deal, elected on a platform of enforcing the e-verify employment verification program, appears to have bowed to crony capitalists among his campaign donors and is now seeking to block the appropriate state legislation.

Crony capitalism is rife in the taxation system, as businesses seek special exemptions from taxes that apply to the remainder of their countrymen. The subsidies to GE and Whirlpool for making energy efficient washing machines, which appear to have wiped out a decade or so of the latter company’s tax liability, are a case in point. Another example is the “carried interest” taxation of private equity funds, whereby the tax code deems their bonus remuneration to be a capital gain, even though no capital has been invested.

Of all areas in the U.S. economy, crony capitalism is most rife in the health system, which is why healthcare costs 50% more in the United States than elsewhere in the world. Hospitals are encouraged to load their non-insured customer with additional costs arising from their enforced mandate of providing free care in emergency rooms. An entire industry of medical care trial lawyers exists solely to leech off the medical system, using their political connections to ensure that their protection rackets are preserved unharmed. The pharmaceutical companies load their drug development costs onto U.S. consumers, protected by legislation prohibiting drug purchases from abroad. The examples are innumerable; the costs loaded onto the healthcare dollar are becoming unsustainable. Needless to say, President Obama’s healthcare legislation, heavily supported by many producer interests in the healthcare sector, made none of the cost reductions that had been promised, simply adding a new layer of bureaucracy, cost and controls to an already overloaded system.

The above examples should indicate that crony capitalism has become a major burden on the U.S. economy. Through it, government meddling is proliferated, spurious costs are added and politically connected producer interests are given windfall profits. The problem has steadily worsened since the abandonment of small-government free enterprise in the Great Depression, and the proliferation of new excuses for regulation in the last few decades has provided endless new opportunities for crony capitalists, greatly increasing their burden on the economy.

The solution is not merely smaller government but less intrusive government. To the extent that laws are simple, comprehensible and properly enforced, the opportunities for crony capitalism are limited. Environmental controls need to be cut back to those that truly produce a net economic benefit, after taking into account the health and other costs of pollution. Immigration laws need to be simplified, with fewer loopholes such as H1B visas and the lottery program, and enforced strongly and equitably. The financial system needs to control excessive speculative activity, through a modest “Tobin tax” on fast trading and a bank regulatory system that enforces proper risk management as well as simply capital standards. Frivolous lawsuits, cross-subsidization and excessive regulation need to be removed from the healthcare system, so that the free market can operate in medical services, while the poorest are protected through handouts. Loopholes must be removed from the tax system, not only in corporate tax but also in individual tax – the “sacred cows” of the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable contributions deduction must be abolished.

The necessary changes will provoke immense squawking from the interests concerned. But in economic legislation there is a universal aphorism: the loudest squawks come from those whose unjustified privileges are to be abolished.



Evil in the White House

In good Fascist style, the White House treated non-union employees much worse than unionized ones during GM bailout

Republican Reps. Mike Turner of Ohio and Dan Burton of Indiana are asking House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, California Republican, to dig into the Obama administration’s decision to cut more than 20,000 private-sector workers’ pensions and eliminate their health and life insurance plans during the General Motors (GM) bailout in 2009.

A spokesman for Issa’s committee told The Daily Caller the committee “remains interested” and is “looking forward” to findings from an ongoing Government Accountability Office investigation, which is expected to come out within the next couple of months. What Turner and Burton are saying happened during the GM bailout is that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner decided to cut pensions for salaried non-union employees at Delphi, a GM spinoff, to expedite GM’s emergence from bankruptcy. The problem with that, according to the congressmen, is that Geithner decided to fully fund the pensions of union workers involved in the process – including workers associated with United Auto Workers, Steelworkers and the IUE-CWA.

“This is a terrible injustice. This is a political decision, not a legal or financial decision,” Turner said in a phone interview with TheDC. “There were people who were penalized and people were chosen as winners and losers. The White House, the administration and the Auto Task Force (ATF) decided who were going to receive their pensions and who were not.”

Bruce Gump, one of the workers who lost most of his pension and his health and life insurance plans, said what really disappoints him is how Geithner justified his decision. “Mr. Geithner justified that by saying in the press that there was no commercial necessity to do anything for those people,” Gump told TheDC. “So, to him, we were just ‘those people’ and he thought that commercial necessity was a justification to out certain groups.”

According to a time-line provided by the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association (DSRA), a group several of the disgruntled employees formed to try to get their benefits back, it was the U.S. government’s involvement in bailing out GM that caused them to lose their benefits. Also, the DSRA points out that UAW workers’ “pensions were topped off in unprecedented action under direction of ATF without any union contractual obligation.”



NPR executives caught on tape bashing conservatives and Tea Party, touting liberals

A man who appears to be a National Public Radio senior executive, Ron Schiller, has been captured on camera savaging conservatives and the Tea Party movement.

“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move,” declared Schiller, the head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, who last week announced his departure for the Aspen Institute.

In a new video released Tuesday morning by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, Schiller and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving, are seen meeting with two men who, unbeknownst to the NPR executives, are posing as members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The men, who identified themselves as Ibrahim Kasaam and Amir Malik from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust, met with Schiller and Liley at Café Milano, a well-known Georgetown restaurant, and explained their desire to give up to $5 million to NPR because, “the Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere.”

On the tapes, Schiller wastes little time before attacking conservatives. The Republican Party, Schiller says, has been “hijacked by this group.” The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea Party people.” Schiller agrees and intensifies the criticism, saying that the Tea Party people aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

Schiller goes on to describe liberals as more intelligent and informed than conservatives. “In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives,” he said.

O’Keefe’s organization set up a fake website for MEAC to lend credibility to the fictitious group. On the site, MEAC states that its mission is combating “intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.” At their lunch, the man posing as Kasaam told Schiller that MEAC contributes to a number of Muslim schools across the U.S. “Our organization was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America actually,” he says.

Schiller doesn’t blink. Instead, he assumes the role of fan. “I think what we all believe is if we don’t have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air,” Schiller says, “it’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.”

When O’Keefe’s two associates pressed him into the topic, Schiller decried U.S. media coverage of Egypt’s uprising against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, especially talk of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on the protests and future of Egypt. Schiller said that is what he is “most disappointed by in this country, which is that the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population, so that you have this very large un-educated part of the population that carries these ideas.”

When the man pretending to be Kasaam suggests to Schiller that “Jews do kind of control the media or, I mean, certainly the Zionists and the people who have the interests in swaying media coverage toward a favorable direction of Israel,” Schiller does not rebut him or stop eating. He just nods his head slightly.

More HERE (See the original for video)



MA: Unions offer concessions on healthcare: "Public employee unions in Massachusetts, startled by the raging national debate over benefits for government workers, yesterday offered concessions that they said would deliver significant savings to cash-strapped cities and towns while preserving collective bargaining rights. The union officials, gathered at a State House press conference, said their members are under assault as governors from Wisconsin to New Jersey have directed public attention and anger on public employee benefits. They said their plan shows they are willing to work with Governor Deval Patrick and the Legislature to address rising costs."

The real lesson from Wisconsin: "There is an abiding delusion that frustrates efforts to limit the size and scope of government: The government, unlike the private sector, shields people from economic risk. Government jobs are regarded as safer and government bonds securer. But the battle that public unions are fighting in Wisconsin shows that the government can no more offer guarantees in life than the tooth fairy. On the contrary, it shows that a government powerful enough to give you everything you want is also powerful enough to take away everything you’ve got."

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 March, 2011

Reality triumphant: Cuban/Jewish/Americans

There is a long but very good-humored article by Stephen Steinlight about attitudes to immigration among American Jews which is well worth reading in full. But I particularly liked the excerpt below. The article overall is primarily about retired Jews in Florida. Steinlight finds them much less Leftist than the official Jewish leadership:

The differences between it and the typical Florida Jewish retirement community are substantial. These include such significant factors as: a very different recent history as well as a different one going back hundreds of years; the use of a different primary language at home and when they go out to dine or party; a personal style, even body language that is marvelously vital in contrast to the staid one of the more typical retirees; a far more conservative politics and a long-time involvement in the Republican Party; a tremendously powerful and thoroughly unashamed patriotism; and great pride as Jews, Americans, and Hispanics.

I'm speaking of course about Florida's large Cuban-Jewish-American community. Though in some respects its history and culture are sui generis, as previously noted, some of the elements that make it special are also equally true of members of my audiences in many other parts of America, and those commonalities strongly influence how people, Jewish or Christian, place themselves within the immigration debate. Their commonalities make them powerful allies of the immigration philosophy espoused by CIS: they came to America as refugees from tyranny; are profoundly patriotic; know American Exceptionalism is real; despise post-American attitudes; believe passionately in the rule of law; strongly oppose illegal immigration and amnesty; maintain a high level of civic engagement; feel strongly protective of America; and fear that massive immigration will change the character of America for the worse, both economically and socially.

Like most Americans who are Jews, some of the Cubans have roots in East/Central Europe, but the majority trace their pre-Cuban history to Spain, especially Catalonia, Portugal and France. Forced out by the Inquisition and Expulsion of 1492 into the Sephardic diaspora that included many of the lands that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire – the families of congregants lived for centuries throughout Turkey, Greece (mostly Thessalonica), the Middle East, the Balkans, the Maghreb – many returned to Spain and France only to escape to Cuba during the rise of fascism and Nazism – when no Western power, including the United States, would admit Jewish refugees. Those who survived the Holocaust that wiped out most of their families and communities joined relatives and friends in Cuba. Arriving destitute, thoroughly traumatized, and in deep mourning, the community prospered there until Castro came to power when almost all fled to America with nothing, starting over once again from scratch, a familiar pattern.

Many now in the learned professions or successful businesspeople remember their early years in Miami, knocking on doors asking for work hauling trash, cleaning garages, repairing cars, doing whatever they could do to support their families. Over time the community again prospered, and its descendants form one of America's model minorities: groups who began in poverty but arrived not only with a strong work ethic but also with deep respect for learning that provided the engine of rapid upward social and economic mobility. With little help from the wealthy Florida Jewish community, they achieved their success with their own hands, a source of great pride (and some resentment). What they dreamed of America provided in full measure: a tolerant free society, a level playing field (they were white, after all, and the hindrances associated with being Jews caused minor irritants compared to what they had experienced elsewhere), opportunities for higher education, and plenty of scope for their exceptional entrepreneurial abilities.

Like many other immigrants, their strong traditional values and powerful sense of religious and cultural roots enabled rather than impeded the desire to become full members of their new country. A result of growing up under communist tyranny and having a strong entrepreneurial spirit it is hardly surprising that their politics were and are predominantly conservative and their attraction to the Republican Party was and is natural. Sometime, as happens occasionally with Eastern European refugees from communism, there is a tendency to project fears of communism onto garden variety American liberalism, but if that prior life experience can sometimes be a source of hasty over-determined political judgment, it has been and remains a source of strong dedication to individual liberty, belief in the reality of upward social mobility, the defense of private property, and their suspicion of the danger represented by the power of the government, even when it appears to be wielded in the interest of the common good.

Some of the mainstays of American leftwing politics and culture are simply intolerable and inexplicable to them, a result of growing up in the worker's paradise. Having lived under tyranny and now living in freedom, they cannot understand post-Americanism, which they see as blind ingratitude or treason. Having suffered under and escaped societies and systems – whether Nazi or communist – whose power in large measure was enabled and then justified by the extinction of constitutional and statutory law and its replacement by prerogative law – that is to say, the "law" being whatever the Party or political class finds politically convenient – they are appalled at the wholesale violation of the rule of law in the context of immigration, and stunned that the federal, state, and municipal governments and law enforcement wink at it.



Islamists and Leftists co-operate because both idealize collectivism

The history of Islam and the modern Left is one of cooperation when there is some obstacle to their divergent concepts of “social justice” and the perfect society. These are always marriages of convenience, enduring no longer than the enemy that drives them into each other’s arms. But, reliably, it is they — the Islamists and the leftists — who come together when there is a third party in the mix. Rarely will one collude with a common enemy against the other. Today, the common enemy of Islamists and leftists is individual liberty, especially the social, economic, and political freedom guaranteed by the American Constitution, as conceived by the Framers. Conceived, that is, by men who saw government as a necessary evil to be rigorously limited lest it devour true freedom — not as an essential good to be empowered for the very purpose of enforcing servitude.

Collaborations between Islamists and leftists — past examples and those happening right before our eyes — are numerous, so much so that I admit to being dumbfounded by the frequency of the question of whether they really happen. That there is collusion is undeniable.

That collusion is a major theme of my book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America — “grand jihad” and “sabotage” being the Islamists’ own terms for what they describe as their plan to “destroy Western civilization.” By the time the book was published last spring, the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New Left flagship created by radical lawyer William Kunstler in the 1960s, had spent nearly a decade spearheading the representation of jihadists captured making war against the United States.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — whose founders were ardent admirers of Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, and whose current executive director said, right after the 9/11 attacks, that “we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list” — was at the forefront of Islamist organizations then campaigning for the enactment of Obamacare, when MPAC wasn’t otherwise occupied by the numerous executive-branch agencies that regularly seek its input on any number of issues.

This should have been no surprise, for history is littered with Islamist/leftist confederations — e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood’s support of the military coup led by Soviet puppet Gamal Abdel Nasser to overthrow the British-backed Egyptian monarchy; the avowed “Islamic socialism” of the Pakistan People’s Party; the blend of Islamists and leftists that has always composed the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The interesting question is not whether it occurs, but why. To anyone who studies the matter, as the liberty-loving Muslim reformer Zuhdi Jasser has, the Islamist enthusiasm for statist schemes like Obamacare is easy to decode. Islamist organizations are collectivist groups, Dr. Jasser explains. They fall squarely in line with the socialist platform of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is, as Dr. Jasser puts it, to “increase the power of government through entitlement programs, increased taxation, and restricting free markets whenever and wherever possible.”

That platform is the legacy of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, and of Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood’s most formidable theoretician. Decades after their deaths, both these men remain required reading for budding Islamist activists in Brotherhood-inspired redoubts like the Muslim Student Association, the Islamic Society of North America, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

An animating goal of these organizations is to have Islamic principles recognized by government and enforced through the state’s coercive power. These principles needn’t be known as “Islamic” any more than leftist pieties are advertised as “leftist.” They need only reflect what Islamists, like leftists, call “social justice.”

This is perhaps most clearly illustrated in Qutb’s tract, Social Justice in Islam. The book teaches that Islam is about the collective, and that those who resist the Muslim ummah must, as Rousseau would have said, be “forced to be free.” According to Qutb, “integrating” humanity in “an essential unity” under sharia is “a prerequisite for true and complete human life, even justifying the use of force against those who deviate from it, so that those who wander from the true path may be brought back to it.”

Islamists and leftists have several significant differences. Qutb saw communism as far preferable to capitalism but too obsessed with an economic determinism that discounted the spiritual. The two camps part company on the equality of women and of non-Muslims, on matters of sexual liberty, and on abortion. If the world were populated only by Islamists and leftists, they could not coexist. Their marriages of convenience can have savagely unhappy endings once the common enemy that has drawn them together has been overcome. In Egypt, the Islamists were brutally persecuted by Nasser; in Iran, the secular leftists were routed by Khomeini.

Nevertheless, for all their differences, what unites Islamists and leftists is stronger than what presently divides them. They both support totalitarian systems. They would both attempt to recreate mankind, intending to perfect us by indenturing us to their utopian schemes. Their general will cannot abide free will. They both abhor individual liberty, unfettered reason, freedom of conscience, equality of opportunity rather than result, and bourgeois values that inculcate a devotion to bedrock Western principles and traditions.

That is why Islamists and leftists work together. It is why they will continue working together as long as there is resistance.



ObamaCare's March Madness

After one year as the law of the land, mayhem abounds

Sports fans relish this time of year for the NCAA Championship Basketball Tournament, aka "March Madness." But this year the tournament has a serious contender for that title. March is also ObamaCare's anniversary month.

Last year, President Obama gave Congress an arbitrary deadline to pass his health-care takeover legislation before the Easter recess at the end of March. This forced lawmakers to hurry their votes on a deeply flawed bill that very few of them had read. Worse, many made false promises to secure final passage.

We're already seeing ObamaCare's madness in its first year of implementation, which is why the American people continue to call for defunding, repealing and replacing it with more sensible reforms. Here are a few examples of the mayhem.

* More than half the states—28 and counting—are challenging the law in court, saying that it violates the constitutional rights of their citizens and the sovereignty of the states. A new study from the Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce Committees found that as a result of ObamaCare, budget-strapped states face at least $118 billion in unfunded mandates during the first 10 years after the law takes effect.

* Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has handed out nearly 1,000 waivers to allow select companies, unions and states to escape, at least temporarily, some of the burdensome new insurance rules she has created. This is a continuation of the trend of the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase" that Senate Democrats used to get the law passed in the first place, and that so disgusted the American people.

* Independent experts have shown that the cost of health insurance will rise faster than it would have without the law. The Congressional Budget Office expects the price of a family policy in the individual market to be $2,100 higher by 2016 than it would have been had the law not passed. In at least 20 states, it's now impossible to buy child-only health insurance because of Ms. Sebelius's onerous new rules.

* Seniors are at risk of losing access to physicians and medical care. Medicare actuaries say that the cuts built into the law will force as many as 40% of providers to eventually stop seeing Medicare patients or go bankrupt.

* Many thousands of people are already losing the health insurance they have now as companies are exiting markets for individual, small group and Medicare Advantage coverage.

* The former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, says that the costs of ObamaCare are set to explode when employers opt to drop coverage and send their workers to the new, federally subsidized health exchanges for coverage. He estimates that this will drive up the cost of the law by $1 trillion or more in the first 10 years.

The list goes on and on. It's time to stop the ObamaCare madness before it becomes another entrenched entitlement program.

To protect taxpayers and our health sector, Congress can begin by defunding ObamaCare at every opportunity. Next we need a president and a Congress that will vote to repeal the law and start over with sensible reforms. The stakes are high for the capacity of patients and doctors to choose and control their medical choices, and for all Americans' freedom and prosperity.




Obama restarts Guantanamo trials: "President Barack Obama reversed course Monday and ordered a resumption of military trials [sic] for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making his once ironclad promise to close the isolated prison look even more distant. Guantanamo has been a major political and national security headache for the president since he took office promising to close the prison within a year, a deadline that came and went without him ever setting a new one."

France: Chirac faces corruption trial: "Jacques Chirac today became the first French President since 1958 to go on trial on criminal charges. The 78 year-old former Head of States is accused of embezzlement, breach of trust and conflict of interest, based on allegations linked to his tenure as Paris mayor — before he began his presidency (1995 to 2007). It is however unclear whether the trail will in fact go ahead since one of Mr. Chirac’s co-accused has filed a complaint based on procedural issues and the judge could adjourn the proceedings until further notice. The trial is being held in the same court where Queen Marie Antoinette was tried in the aftermath of the 1789 French Revolution (she was later beheaded at the Place de la Concorde)."

Social Security's "trust fund" was robbed long ago: "In a recent column, I noted that Social Security is often 'middle-class welfare' that bleeds the country. This offended many readers. ... Some argued that Social Security, with a $2.6 trillion trust fund, doesn't affect our budgetary predicament. Wrong. As a rule, I don't use one column to comment on another. But I'm making an exception here because the issue is so important."

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 March, 2011

Blaming Wall St.

Liberal Lies, Propaganda and Omissions

Those who seek the truth seldom can find it in history books. Liberals who write those books blame conservatives for every criminal act those very Liberals commit against an uninformed citizenry. They use every trick in the book including lies, propaganda and omission to distort the truth to their own biased agenda.

For example, take the cause of our “Great Recession.” Liberals are blaming Wall Street and the Republicans for what was clearly an economic and societal catastrophe generated out of liberal redistributive policy. Take from the rich give it to the poor and when the poor fail to follow through blame the whole thing on the rich.

Over a billion people were listening in last Sunday when Charles Ferguson accepted the Oscar for “Inside Job” a documentary featuring the likes of George Soros blaming Wall Street for the meltdown of the real estate and mortgage market. He said “that three years after the horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that’s wrong”.

In that single phrase liberals incorporate not only their lies, but their propaganda and omissions as well. Anyone with a kindergarten education knows that NINJA loans were to blame for the meltdown and that Democrats not only sponsored but covered up the fraud until it was too late to save many financial firms. Senator Dodd and Representative Frank were at the core of the deception and they and they alone caused the Great Recession.

Now you can say Wall Street was complicit. They not only benefited from the fraud when it was taking place but doubly benefitted by betting that that the market would implode and they would profit when they covered their short positions. You bet there was corporate cronyism after the fact. They triply benefited by getting the government (the taxpayers) to bail out their losses by covering their bets on the downside.

But the playing field is not fair. The government is no longer a small institution based on limited government. It has grown into a behemoth. It can only be viewed as the enemy of free enterprise. Therefore since all tactics are allowed in war Wall Street knows how to play that game better than anyone else. Since they have to “make” the market in all securities they can’t be held responsible for seeing that government (their enemy) interference could be profited from on the downside as well as the upside. They have to make the market don’t they?

Those who really profited from betting the downside were Democrat CEO’s of major security houses and George Soros. So this self-made chaos orchestrated by Soros really makes us all a bunch of chumps. It makes the media and our politicians look even worse.

Comment by retired tax accountant Dick McDonald


"A remorseless demographic arithmetic"

Mark Steyn

According to Bismarck's best-known maxim on Europe's most troublesome region, the Balkans are not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. Americans could be forgiven for harboring similar sentiments after the murder of two U.S. airmen in Germany by a Kosovar Muslim.

Remember Kosovo? Me neither. But it was big at the time, launched by Bill Clinton in the wake of his Monica difficulties: Make war, not love, as the boomers advise. So Clinton did — and without any pesky U.N. resolutions, or even the pretense of seeking them.

Instead, he and Tony Blair and even Jacques Chirac just cried "Bombs away!" and got on with it. And the left didn't mind at all — because, for a modern western nation, war is only legitimate if you have no conceivable national interest in whatever war you're waging.

Unlike Iraq and all its supposed "blood for oil," in Kosovo no one remembers why we went in, what the hell the point of it was, or which side were the good guys. (Answer: Neither.) The principal rationale advanced by Clinton and Blair was that there was no rationale. This was what they called "liberal interventionism", which boils down to: The fact that we have no reason to get into it justifies our getting into it.

A decade on, Kosovo is a sorta sovereign state, and in Frankfurt a young airport employee is so grateful for what America did for his people that he guns down U.S. servicemen while yelling "Allahu akbar!"

The strange shrunken spectator who serves as President of the United States, offering what he called "a few words about the tragic event that took place," announced that he was "saddened," and expressed his "gratitude for the service of those who were lost" and would "spare no effort" to "work with the German authorities" but it was a "stark reminder" of the "extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . ."

The passivity of these remarks is very telling. Men and women "in uniform" (which it's not clear these airmen were even wearing) understand they may be called upon to make "extraordinary sacrifices" in battle. They do not expect to be "lost" on the shuttle bus at the hands of a civilian employee at a passenger air terminal in an allied nation.

But then I don't suppose their comrades expected to be "lost" at the hands of an army major at Fort Hood, to cite the last "tragic event" that "took place" — which seems to be the president's preferred euphemism for a guy opening fire while screaming "Allahu akbar!"

But relax, this fellow in Frankfurt was most likely a "lone wolf" (as Sen. Chuck Schumer described the Times Square Bomber) or an "isolated extremist" (as the president described the Christmas Day Pantybomber).

There are so many of these "lone wolves" and "isolated extremists" you may occasionally wonder whether they've all gotten together and joined Local 473 of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves and Isolated Extremists, but don't worry about it: As any Homeland Security official can tell you, "Allahu akbar" is Arabic for "Nothing to see here."

Bismarck's second best-known maxim on the region is that the Balkans start in the slums of Vienna. The Habsburg imperial capital was a protean "multicultural society" wherein festered the ancient grievances of many diverse peoples.

Today, the Muslim world starts in the suburbs of Frankfurt. Those U.S. airmen were killed by Arid Uka, whose Muslim Albanian parents emigrated from Kosovo decades ago. Young Arid was born and bred in Germany. He is a German citizen who holds a German passport. He is, according to multicultural theory, as German as Fritz and Helmut and Hans. Except he's not. Not when it counts.

Why isn't he a fully functioning citizen of the nation he's spent his entire life in? Well, that's a tricky one.

Okay, why is a Muslim who wants to kill Americans holding down a job at a European airport? That's slightly easier to answer. Almost every problem facing the western world, from self-detonating jihadists to America's own suicide bomb — the multi-trillion dollar debt — has at its root a remorseless demographic arithmetic.

In the U.S., the baby boomers did not have enough children to maintain their mid-20th century social programs. I see that recent polls supposedly show that huge majorities of Americans don't want any modifications to Medicare or Social Security.

So what? It doesn't matter what you "want." The country's broke, and you can vote yourself unsustainable quantities of government lollipops all you like, but all you're doing is ensuring that when, eventually, you're obliged to reacquaint yourself with reality, the shock will be far more devastating and convulsive.

But even with looming bankruptcy America still looks pretty sweet if you're south of the border. Last week, the former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, Steve Murdock, told the Houston Chronicle that in Texas "it's basically over for Anglos." He pointed out that two out of every three children are already "non-Anglo", and that this gap will widen even further in the years ahead. Remember the Alamo? Why bother? America won the war, but Mexico won the peace.

In the Lone Star State, Murdock envisions a future in which millions of people with minimal skills will be competing for ever fewer jobs paying less in actual dollars and cents than they would have earned in the year 2000. That doesn't sound a recipe for social tranquility.

What's south of Europe's border? Why, it's even livelier. In Libya, there are presently one million refugees from sub-Saharan Africa whose ambition is to get in a boat to Italy. There isn't a lot to stop them.

Between now and mid-century, Islam and sub-Saharan Africa will be responsible for almost all the world's population growth — and yet, aside from a few thousand layabout Saudi princes whoring in Mayfair, they will enjoy almost none of the world's wealth.

Niger had 10 million people in 2000, and half-a-million of them were starving children. By 2010, they had 15 million, and more children were starving. By 2100, they're predicted to hit 100 million. But they won't — because it would be unreasonable to expect an extra 90 million people to stay in a country that can't feed a population a tenth that size.

So they will look elsewhere — to countries with great infrastructure, generous welfare, and among the aging natives a kind of civilizational wasting disease so advanced that, as a point of moral virtue, they are incapable of enforcing their borders.

The nations that built the modern world decided to outsource their future. In simple economic terms, the arithmetic is stark: In America, the boomers have condemned their shrunken progeny to the certainty of poorer, meaner lives.

In sociocultural terms, the transformation will be even greater. Bismarck, so shrewd and cynical about the backward Balkans, was also the father of the modern welfare state: When he introduced the old age pension, you had to be 65 to collect and Prussian life expectancy was 45.

Now life expectancy has near doubled, you get your pension a decade earlier, and, in a vain attempt to make that deformed math add up, Bismarck's successors moved the old East/West faultline from the Balkans to the main street of every German city.




Speaking of the left’s willingness to provide cover for Islamic imperialism, the hippetty-hop mogul Russell Simmons was in Times Square this weekend to stand in solidarity with the Ground Zero mosque under the slogan “Today I Am A Muslim, Too“:
Some 300 people gathered in Times Square on Sunday to speak out against a planned congressional hearing on Muslim terrorism, criticizing it as xenophobic and saying that singling out Muslims, rather than extremists, is unfair.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and the imam who had led an effort to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site were among those who addressed the crowd.

“Today I Am A Muslim, Too.” So, like, you can be a Muslim on a Sunday and something else on a Monday? Hey, that’s great! Who knew? Maybe Russell Simmons could pass the good news on to Said Musa? They didn’t get the memo on death row in Kabul, where he was imprisoned for converting to Christianity.

Kim Kardashian was unable to attend the rally but tweeted her support for it. Maybe Kim could jet in to the village of Soul in Egypt’s Helwan Governorate and personally pass on to the locals the exciting news that you can be Muslim just for a photo-op and then move on. I’m sure the girlfriend of Coptic Christian Ashraf Iskander would love to hear that, assuming she’s still alive:
A mob of nearly four thousand Muslims has attacked Coptic homes this evening in the village of Soul, Atfif in Helwan Governorate, 30 kilometers from Cairo, and torched the Church of St. Mina and St. George…

This incident was triggered by a relationship between 40-year-old Copt Ashraf Iskander and a Muslim woman. Yesterday a “reconciliation” meeting was arranged between the relevant Coptic and Muslim families and together with the Muslim elders it was decided that Ashraf Iskander would have to leave the village because Muslims torched his house.

The father of the Muslim woman was killed by his cousin because he did not kill his daughter to preserve the family’s honor, which led the woman’s brother to avenge the death of his father by killing the cousin. The village Muslims blamed the Christians.

The Muslim mob attacked the church, exploding 5-6 gas cylinders inside the church, pulled down the cross and the domes and burnt everything inside…

But that’s just their colorful way of saying today St Mina and St George are Muslims, too! Witnesses said the mob chanted “Allahu Akbar” and vowed to conduct their morning prayers on the church plot after razing it.

“Today I am a Muslim, too”? No need to jump the gun, Russell.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)



Sikhs mistaken for Taliban?: "Police said Saturday that they don't know why someone gunned down two men -- frail from heart attacks and advancing years -- as they slowly ambled through a quiet Elk Grove neighborhood during their daily afternoon walk. ... Relatives and friends in the tightknit Sikh community to which the two men belong were not as hesitant to call the shooting a hate crime. Singh and Atwal, like many Sikh men, had thick beards and wore turbans -- traditions that have made Sikhs the target of bigotry and violent attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

WI: Recall drives could make history: "As improbable as the last three weeks have been in state politics, Wisconsin is about to embark on another wild ride into the political unknown -- a series of legislative recall campaigns on a scale the nation has rarely, if ever, seen. ... Formal recall campaigns have now been launched against 16 state senators -- eight Republicans and eight Democrats. That's everyone in the 33-member Wisconsin Senate who is legally eligible to be recalled this year."

LEAP slams Obama renewed Drug War commitment: "The pro-legalization group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition fretted that President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon were embarking on a counterproductive mission after the two pledged 'renewed cooperation' on the drug war Thursday. 'Legalization is the only way to end the cartel violence, just like ending alcohol prohibition was the only way to make gangsters stop shooting each other over beer and liquor distribution,' Tom Angell, a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, told Raw Story in an e-mail."

Taxpayers in revolt: "Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the Jimmy John's sub chain, just applied to move his residence from Illinois to Florida — and his company's headquarters could soon follow. 'All they do is stick it to us,' he says of the state legislature's move to jack up the personal income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent — and the corporate income tax from 7.3 percent to 9.5 percent."

Washington’s most corrupt list, 2010: "It doesn’t seem to matter how much house cleaning voters do in the legislature; year after year, the corruption gets worse. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has released its report on the 'most corrupt' politicians for 2010."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc. He says a fair bit about Libya this 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)


6 March, 2011

Hellfire and the immortal soul are pagan doctrines

Although I have been the most utter atheist for all of my adult life, I cannot get out of my mind an interest in theological questions -- so I am reproducing the article below. I would normally have nothing but contempt for an "evangelical" equivalent of Episcopalian Bishop Spong but I think that there are good Biblical grounds for some of the more unorthodox views described below and I will add my reasoning on that at the foot of the reproduced article -- JR
A new book by one of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors, challenging traditional Christian views of heaven, hell and eternal damnation, has created an uproar among evangelical leaders, with the most ancient of questions being argued in a biblical hailstorm of Twitter messages and blog posts.

Rob Bell addressed the issue of heaven and hell in a video about his book, “A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

In a book to be published this month, the pastor, Rob Bell, known for his provocative views and appeal among the young, describes as “misguided and toxic” the dogma that “a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better.”

Such statements are hardly radical among more liberal theologians, who for centuries have wrestled with the seeming contradiction between an all-loving God and the consignment of the billions of non-Christians to eternal suffering. But to traditionalists they border on heresy, and they have come just at a time when conservative evangelicals fear that a younger generation is straying from unbendable biblical truths.

Mr. Bell, 40, whose Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., has 10,000 members, is a Christian celebrity and something of a hipster in the pulpit, with engaging videos that sell by the hundreds of thousands and appearances to rapt, youthful crowds in rock-music arenas.

His book comes as the evangelical community has embraced the Internet and social media to a remarkable degree, so that a debate that once might have built over months in magazines and pulpits has instead erupted at electronic speed.

The furor was touched off last Saturday by a widely read Christian blogger, Justin Taylor, based on promotional summaries of the book and a video produced by Mr. Bell. In his blog, Between Two Worlds, Mr. Taylor said that the pastor “is moving farther and farther away from anything resembling biblical Christianity.”

“It is unspeakably sad when those called to be ministers of the Word distort the gospel and deceive the people of God with false doctrine,” wrote Mr. Taylor, who is vice president of Crossway, a Christian publisher in Wheaton, Ill.

By that same evening, “Rob Bell” was one of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. Within 48 hours, Mr. Taylor’s original blog had been viewed 250,000 times. Dozens of other Christian leaders and bloggers jumped into the fray and thousands of their readers posted comments on both sides of the debate, though few had yet seen the entire book.

One leading evangelical, John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, wrote, “Farewell Rob Bell.” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a blog post that by suggesting that people who do not embrace Jesus may still be saved, Mr. Bell was at best toying with heresy. He called the promotional video, in which Mr. Bell pointedly asks whether it can be true that Gandhi, a non-Christian, is burning in hell, “the sad equivalent of a theological striptease.”

Others such as Scot McKnight, a professor of theology at North Park University in Chicago, said they welcomed the renewed discussion of one of the hardest issues in Christianity — can a loving God really be so wrathful toward people who faltered, or never were exposed to Jesus? In an interview and on his blog, he said that the thunder emanating from the right this week was not representative of American Christians, even evangelicals. According to surveys and his experience with students, Mr. McKnight said, a large majority of evangelical Christians “more or less believe that people of other faiths will go to heaven,” whatever their churches and theologians may argue.

“Rob Bell is tapping into a younger generation that really wants to open up these questions,” he said. “He is also tapping into the fear of the traditionalists — that these differing views of heaven and hell will compromise the Christian message.”

Mr. Bell, who through his publisher declined to comment on the book or the debate, has resisted labels, but he is often described as part of the so-called emerging church movement, which caters to younger believers and has challenged theological boundaries as well as pastoral involvement in conservative politics.

As the controversy exploded last week, HarperOne moved up to March 15 the publication date of Mr. Bell’s book, “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

Judging from an advance copy, the 200-page book is unlikely to assuage Mr. Bell’s critics. In an elliptical style, he throws out probing questions about traditional biblical interpretations, mixing real-life stories with scripture.

Much of the book is a sometimes obscure discussion of the meaning of heaven and hell that tears away at the standard ideas. In his version, heaven is something that begins here on earth, in a life of goodness, and hell seems more a condition than an eternal fate — “the very real consequences we experience when we reject all the good and true and beautiful life that God has for us.”

While sliding close to what critics consider the heresy of “universalism” — that all humans will eventually be saved — he never uses the term.

Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today, called in an article on the magazine's Web site for all sides to temper their rhetoric and welcome more debate.

“We won’t be able to discern where the Spirit is leading if we don’t listen and respond respectfully to one another,” he wrote.

“God once used a donkey to make his will known,” he added, “so surely he is able to speak through both traditionalists and gadflies.”


I think Pastor ring-a-ding is right for the wrong reasons. He is clearly motivated mainly by the current Leftist "prizes for all" mentality, which in turn emanates from their totally counterfactual belief that "all men are equal". So his is a secular rather than a religious gospel. I may be wrong but I rather doubt that he would be able to give a straight answer to the question: "Do you believe in God?" Spong just ridicules the question.

But orthodox Christianity is unbiblical too. It is still largely mired in the pagan add-ons that the church absorbed in its first thousand years of existence. And the heaven/hell story is one of the pagan add-ons. Why else is the supposedly "immortal" soul repeatedly referred to in the Bible as dying? (e.g. Ezekiel 18:4).

The original Jewish hope of an afterlife (as recorded in the OT) was of being resurrected to life on this earth after the coming of the Messiah. They believed that when you are dead you are dead, with no mention of some part of you flitting off to heaven or elsewhere. I give you an excerpt from Ecclesiastes chapter 9:
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.... Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest

And Jesus looked forward to a resurrection on earth too. Do I need to repeat: "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven"?

St Paul, however muddied the waters somewhat with his proclamation in 1 Corinthians 15:
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.... Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

So Paul was also perfectly clear that nothing happened until the resurrection and that we are mortal, not immortal. What he changed was WHAT we are raised as. Instead of being recreated as flesh and blood persons on this earth, he saw us as being transformed into spirit beings after the manner of God and the angels. And he said NOTHING about Hell. The good guys were brought back to life and the rest of the dead stayed dead.

So what the Bible says is just ignored by orthodox Christianity. It should be a huge theological puzzle as to whether we accept the OT or the Pauline account of the afterlife. Who is right? Jesus or Paul? Yet there seems to be almost no awareness that the question even exists.

And there also seems to be no awareness that there is no Biblical basis for the doctrine of hellfire. There is no mention of such a thing in the Bible. The words translated in most English Bibles as "hell" are in the original Hebrew and Greek "sheol" and "hades", which simply mean "grave".

There is on one occasion a reference to burning in the fires of Gehenna but Gehenna was simply the municipal incinerator of ancient Jersusalem -- a place where the bodies of criminals were thrown. It is NOT any kind of spirit realm.

So I agree with pastor ring-a-ding that the hellfire doctrine is repulsive -- but you can't pin that doctrine onto the Bible. The original Bible doctrine DOES fit with a loving God: The faithful are resurrected and the sinners are simply forgotten.

For more details on the above matters see my scripture blog -- e.g. my post of 3.14.2005.


Barack Obama and the Cavalcade of Naivete

By Barry Rubin

President Barack Obama told Democratic Party contributors in Miami:

"When you look at what's happening...in the Middle East, it is a manifestation of new technologies, the winds of freedom that are blowing through countries that have not felt those winds in decades, a whole new generation that says I want to be a part of this world. It's a dangerous time, but it's also a huge opportunity for us.''

Obama also said that the United States should not be "afraid" of change in the Middle East. Well, that depends on the kind of change, doesn't it? I wouldn't be afraid if Iran, Syria, and the Gaza Strip had revolutionary upheavals that installed moderate democratic governments, for example.

But let me remind you once again, my theme from the first day of the Egyptian revolution has been that I'm worried because others aren't worried. The more they show that they don't understand the dangers, the greater the dangers become.

President Franklin Roosevelt said about the Great Depression that there was, "Nothing to fear but fear itself." That is, Americans should be confident about their abilities to solve problems. But he didn't say, when German forces seized one country after another, that Americans shouldn't be afraid of change in Europe. Nor did he say, as the Japanese Empire expanded, that Americans shouldn't be afraid of change in Asia.

President Harry Truman didn't say that Americans shouldn't be afraid of change in Eastern Europe when the Soviets gained power over the governments there or China became Communist.

These (Democratic) presidents recognized the danger and worked to counteract it as best they could under the circumstances.

In contrast, while giving lip service to the idea that it's a "dangerous time," Obama never points to what the dangers are because, frankly, he has no idea. All the points he makes about these changes are positive, cheerleading.

Yet if he's right on what basis does the United States not want some regimes--Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority--to be overthrown? Why does he not make a differentiation between America's enemies and America's friends?

To show who is really being naive, he added:

"All the forces that we see building in Egypt are the forces that should be naturally aligned with us. Should be aligned with Israel."

All the forces "should be" aligned with the United States and Israel! Well, maybe they "should be" but they aren't. In fact, it is the exact opposite: all the forces that we see building in Egypt are forces that in fact are not aligned with the United States and Israel. Here we see the arrogance of someone who tells people in other countries what they should think instead of analyzing what they do think.

Of course, what happens--and we see this quite vividly--is that the intellligence agencies and media rewrite reality to say that these people are moderate because that's what the president expects.

Here are some historical parallels to Obama's statements (I made them up):

1932: Germany should be aligned with the Western democracies and the United States because that is the way it will achieve prosperity and stability in Europe, two things that German desperately needs. Only 14 years ago, Germany lost a long, bloody war. Surely, the Germans have no desire to fight again and repeat their mistake of trying to conquer Europe!

1945: The Soviet Union should be aligned with the Western democracies and the United States because we have just been allies in a great war. Moscow must understand that the United States has no desire to injure it, wants to live in peace, and respects Soviet interests. Surely, Stalin will put the emphasis on rebuilding his country and not on expansionism abroad!

1979: The new Islamist regime in Iran should be aligned with the West and the United States because they accept the revolution there, want good relations, and are the customers for Iran's oil exports.

1989: Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi regime should be aligned with the West and the United States because they backed him in his recent war with Iran and he fears the spread of revolutionary Islamism. Saddam will cause no trouble and will put the priority on rebuilding his country after a bloody eight-year-long war with Iran and providing better lives for his people.

1993: Yasir Arafat and the Palestinians should be aligned with the United States and eager to make a comprehensive peace with Israel since that is the only way they can get a state. Now that they are going to have elections and be responsible for administering the West Bank and Gaza Strip certainly the PLO will cease to be revolutionary or terrorist.

Get the picture? And so when Obama says:

"I'm actually confident that 10 years from now we're going to be able to look back and say that this was the dawning of an entirely new and better era. One in which people are striving not to be against something but to be for something."

Remember those words. He has absolutely no understanding of the Arabic-speaking world, the Muslim-majority world, or the Middle East whatsoever. How are these new regimes going to stay in power, smite their rivals, and make up for not delivering the material goods to their people? What is the world view of these forces? How do they perceive America, the West, and Israel? These are the questions that should be asked, and answered, in order to understand what the world will look like in a decade.


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 March, 2011

Obama Irrelevant on World Stage

Two years into his presidency, the man who promised to restore America's standing in world public opinion has rendered himself personally irrelevant on the world stage. President Obama came into office more popular abroad than he was even at home, where he won a resounding election victory. European crowds thronged his speeches; leaders complimented him on his cultural sensitivity; the foreign press praised his cosmopolitan roots. The cognoscenti were so enamored of Obama that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize barely nine months into office. The move embarrassed even Obama.

But as the world faces a cataclysm of popular revolt stretching across North Africa and into the Middle East, Obama stands mostly on the sidelines. He did nothing to support the brave Iranian demonstrators who flooded the streets of Tehran after fraudulent elections there in 2009. He waited too long to weigh in on the side of Egyptians who demanded an end to autocratic rule in their country.

Now, as tens of thousands of Libyans flee their country and despot Moammar Gadhafi orders air attacks on his own people, Obama dispatches his secretary to Capitol Hill to quiet administration critics urging the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The wisdom of setting up a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone is debatable, but that wasn't the message Secretary Gates delivered. He implied that we couldn't do it because the U.S. doesn't have enough aircraft carriers in the region to support it. The administration seems intent in engaging in the opposite of saber rattling; call it saber sheathing instead. Following the decision to dispatch a chartered ferry to evacuate Americans trapped for days in the escalating violence in Tripoli, his comments make us look weak.

The protests spreading throughout the Arab and Muslim world came with little warning -- and it is far too early to tell whether things will end well for the people in the region or for United States' interests. For more than 60 years, the one thing that has united Arabs is their hatred for Israel and Israel's ally, the United States. Arab rulers have managed to quell opposition by ginning up hatred of Israel, crushing those who dare to challenge them, and -- in oil-rich countries -- providing a standard of living just high enough to keep the general populace from open revolt.

But it wasn't Obama who saw the demand for democracy coming. It was his predecessor George W. Bush. Indeed, the push for democracy in the Middle East was the linchpin of his foreign policy in the region. He gave countless speeches on the subject, rarely missing an opportunity to promote his freedom agenda. Yet, the very people who fawned over Obama openly reviled Bush.



Did Muslim Lobby Force Firing of Popular Radio Host?

Washington, D.C. radio station WMAL is once again being accused of firing a popular talk-show host because of his criticism of radical Muslims. The station, a major source of news and information for the nation's capital, claims that popular morning host Fred Grandy resigned on his own, but Grandy tells AIM that he was essentially forced to leave after his wife, who is also outspoken about radical Islam, was cut from the program.

The growing controversy over Grandy's departure has resulted in some Grandy supporters charging the station with being "Sharia-compliant," a reference to Islamic law, and with bending under pressure from the Council on American Islamic-Relations (CAIR), a Muslim lobbying organization that combats what it calls "Islamophobia" in the media.

Grandy, a former actor and Republican member of Congress, told AIM, "My wife and I have used our program over the last several months to warn about the spread of radical Islam at home and abroad. Last week, Catherine (known on the show as Mrs. Fred) delivered a very tough indictment against stealth jihad, and for her efforts she was told she was off the show. I then told management without Mrs. Fred at the microphone, I could not remain either and have resigned effective this morning."

A WMAL statement, which makes no mention of terminating "Mrs. Fred," was released on Thursday and claimed that "Fred Grandy has informed WMAL of his intention to resign from the station and its morning program, The Grandy Group. Veteran broadcast talent Bryan Nehman will continue to anchor the morning program and in the interim will be joined by several notable guest hosts and regular contributors. The station's morning show will also continue to provide the latest news, traffic and weather reports to its audience. WMAL remains committed to its goal of providing a forum for discussing a broad spectrum of issues while delivering compelling programming including Chris Plante, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin."

The statement on the Grandy matter was read on the air by another WMAL host, Chris Plante, who said that his broadcast opposition to radical Islam has not been curtailed in any way.

Grandy told AIM, "We cannot affirmatively conclude CAIR or any of the prominent Islamic organizations had anything to do with this. We do know, however, in 2005 representatives of CAIR in DC were successful in getting midmorning host Michael Graham fired for anti-Islamic statements he had made on the radio and TV."

Graham was fired from WMAL after describing Islam as a "terrorist organization" on his program and refusing to apologize or modify the description.

James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, who insists that Grandy was "forced to walk away" from his program after the banning of his wife from the show, blames the controversy on CAIR. "CAIR frequently criticized Grandy for reading FBI reports and court documents on his radio show which labeled CAIR as `an unindicted co-conspirator' in the federal Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial," Lafferty said.

But CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper acted surprised by the news of Grandy's resignation and responded, "What is their evidence for that claim?," when informed that his group was being blamed for his departure.

Lafferty told AIM, "I heard from two very good sources that CAIR was involved in this and not only targeting Grandy but Sean Hannity." He said CAIR's strategy was to knock Grandy off the air and then go after Hannity, a nationally syndicated radio host carried by WMAL in the afternoon. Hannity also hosts a Fox News Channel TV show.

Lafferty has urged supporters of the Grandys to protest on Monday, March 7, and Tuesday, March 8, during "Call Out WMAL Days." He wants the public to call WMAL at (202) 895-2350 and (202) 686-3100 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each of those days and tell the station, "you will not listen to their station until Fred and Mrs. Fred Grandy return."

"America expects radio stations to be committed to free speech and the truth," he says. "We expect WMAL to grow a backbone and stand up to CAIR and the other radicals. Call early and often."



Economists: State, local pension funds understate shortfall by $1.5 trillion or more

Doubts about government pension accounting have been voiced by analysts for years, but with shortfalls in state and local pension plans exacerbated by the recession, the push to refigure pension fund shortfalls has gained political momentum.

The trillion-dollar gap arises from the government method of accounting, which several experts say significantly underestimates the cost of future pension payments.

"It's been a perfect storm," said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. When the pension liabilities are correctly tallied, "you get a very, very large number."

The cost of pension plans for the approximately 17 million state and local government workers have come under heightened scrutiny in recent weeks, particularly in Wisconsin, New Jersey and other states where governors are struggling to balance budgets and reduce costs.

In Wisconsin, for example, Gov. Scott Walker (R) wants state workers to pay 5.8 percent of their wages to fund the pension.

Even under current accounting methods, state and local governments are facing massive pension shortfalls - at least $344 billion, according to calculations by the Center for Retirement Research and other groups.

But when the accounting is revised to value future payments more accurately, in the critics' view, the amount that pensions are underfunded grows to more than $1.9 trillion, according to Munnell's calculations for 126 large plans.

Those calculations have been published in part in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

By comparison, the entire federal debt held by the public is $9.3 trillion.

"By virtually any measure, that's an enormous number," said Jeffrey R. Brown, a finance professor at the University of Illinois who has studied the issue. "When you're short that much money, at some point you have to pay the piper."

If the pension obligations are as enormous as critics say, virtually every state and local government running a pension will have to invest more in its pension plan - either by cutting services or raising taxes - or gamble that it will achieve a high rate of return on its investments.



Shortage of Goodwill in Berkeley

When it comes to the foreign terrorists detained at Club Gitmo, the moonbats of Berkeley spread their arms wide in sanctimonious welcome. But Goodwill stores that help Americans cause them to fold those scrawny arms across their sunken chests:
Solano Avenue merchants are trying to stop the nonprofit giant from opening a thrift store in the upscale commercial district, saying it would be a magnet for the homeless, noisy delivery trucks and bargain-hungry shoppers not likely to patronize the area's boutique baby stores and Persian rug shops.

Goodwill hasn't reached an agreement with the landlord yet, but.
That has not stopped some merchants from circulating anti-Goodwill petitions and asking the city to stop the project on the grounds that it would alter the character of the neighborhood. .
The city cannot act on the issue until Goodwill signs a lease and moves ahead with the permit process. If there are enough complaints, a public hearing on the permit could be scheduled.

Meanwhile, vacant storefronts have been growing more numerous along Solano Avenue. With a little help from bureauweenies, they should be able to keep one vacant rather than let used goods be sold to the lower classes.



Brainless ban on lead again

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's father used a horse to get around his 1,100-acre Montana farm. When Jon got older, he sold the horse and bought a motorcycle.

Now, Montana's junior senator is trying to help keep the young citizens of Montana riding. At the start of this Congress, Tester reintroduced legislation dubbed "the dirt bike bill" that makes it possible for retailers to sell motorized vehicles (dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles) properly sized for children as young as six.

Why can't 6 year olds ride dirt bikes you may ask? If you thought it had something to do with the inherent danger of zipping around on what is essentially a small Harley Davidson, you'd be wrong. Instead, it has to do with lead. In 2008, the passage of the Consumer Product Safety Act made it illegal for children's toys to contain more than a specified amount of lead.

Concern over lead in children's toys came to a head in 2006 when a 4-year-old boy named Jarnell Brown of Minneapolis died after swallowing a heart-shaped charm bracelet made by Reebok. The charm, which came free in a box of shoes, turned out to be made almost entirely of the heavy metal, and Brown died of lead poisoning.

As part of subsequent toy-safety legislation, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., added a provision that would ban the metal from children's toys. The bill has led to the recall of an array of toys including dinosaur play sets, body boards, fishing poles, animal masks, and dolls.

As far as the bill was concerned, if children were going to ride dirt bikes, they had to adhere to the same set of regulations as Barbie dolls. And children's dirt bikes and ATVs had enough lead in their brake parts, battery terminals, and other internal components to keep them off the market. To Tester, this wasn't horse sense; it was horse's ass sense.

"I don't think of them as toys," he said. "There's a big difference between a dirt bike and a dollhouse. I really don't see there being a big risk of children chewing on the motor and getting lead poisoning," Tester said.

A spokesman for Klobuchar said that that she never intended for dirt bikes or ATVS to be included in the bill, and is has in fact voted in favor of exempting them from the lead ban.

To some, a dirt bike is more than just a play thing, it's the best way to enjoy the Big Sky State's great outdoors. The fourth-largest state in the country, Montana really is an "all-terrain" state, featuring everything from the mountains to the prairies. Sure, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the outdoors, but few offer the high-speed and dust-kicking capabilities of motorized vehicles.

Tester says riding dirt bikes and ATVs to enjoy this eclectic landscape is a quintessential Montana experience. It's something he remembers from his youth when he used to ride around on his Honda 160 with his friends. It's a practice he passed down to his granddaughter when she got her first ATV at the age of four (it was small enough that Tester said he would certainly bend the frame if he tried to sit on it).




Government can't regulate just one side of the market: "I've spent the last week or so teaching price controls in my intro-to-economics class. One thing I tried to stress is that controls are often sold to the citizenry in a way that disguises what they really do. I don't mean just the obvious point that there are unintended consequences. I mean that such laws appear to regulate only the 'bad guys' while protecting the innocent folks on the other side of the transactions. In reality government can't regulate just one side of the market: Regulations on sellers are necessarily regulations on buyers, and regulations on buyers are necessarily regulations on sellers"

Keynesian politics and the minimum wage: "The minimum wage sets a lower bound that, even in good times, prevents the least-productive workers from finding work. In recession times, it's even worse. Keynesians in the golden age of Keynesianism were quite critical of the minimum wage and were sympathetic to its victims."

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 March, 2011

Feminist Media Promote Flawed White House Report

Marc Rudov, the author and radio/TV personality known as The NoNonsense Man, doesn’t think much of the feminist-oriented “White House Report on Women” released by the Obama Administration on Tuesday. “I discount any report about women from the White House,” he said. “President Obama has a clear female bias and agenda.” Rudov asserts, citing a major government study, that there is no real wage gap, as depicted in the White House report, and that the evidence shows that men have suffered the most from the economic downturn.

The report was released on the eve of International Women’s Day on March 8 and is expected to be used to push Senate ratification of the U.N.’s Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The horrible loudmouth herself, complete with socialist clenched fist

However, a leading feminist and U.N. activist on “women’s rights,” former Rep. Bella Abzug (pictured), has just recently been exposed by her FBI file as a communist who maintained friendly contacts with the Soviet mission to the U.N. One FBI official called her “the highly controversial loud-mouthed Congresswoman.”

In regard to the White House report, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday let the modern feminist line dictate coverage of the document. On the alleged wage gap between men and women, he solemnly proclaimed, “An old problem is just as bad, just as serious, and it continues to hold women back economically.”

“The report says that women are still paid about 75 percent of what their male counterparts are paid,” said NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was brought on to assert that the new report provided “evidence” of such a gap. “It’s a conclusion that does not sit well with women around the country,” Guthrie added.

But Rudov counters, “In January 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor received the results of a study it had commissioned from an outside consultancy on male and female wages. The report, ‘An Analysis of the Reasons for the Disparity in Wages,’ concluded that there is no gender-based wage gap.”

In addition, he says, “our economic downturn has been called the MANcession. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, when the economy deteriorated in 2009, men felt the brunt of it. Some 3.1 million jobs held by men were lost compared to only 1.6 million for women—and women now dominate in the workforce and increasingly in the ranks of management.” The “MANcession” was even the subject of a New York Times article noting the recession has disproportionately hurt men.

At the same time, Rudov notes, “The reality is that women now earn the majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees. And, women in their 20s and 30s now out-earn their male counterparts across the United States. Time magazine calls this phenomenon the SHEconomy.”

On the supposed wage gap, which is where the feminists in the media and their male lackeys are now waging their next battle, Rudov notes that “In many cases, such as male welders and female dental hygienists, men and women often do very different jobs and get paid differently. To claim there is an average male wage and average female wage is both disingenuous and mathematically inaccurate.”

“The differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action,” his website points out. “Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

Indeed, the report, “An Analysis of the Reasons for the Disparity in Wages,” states that “the raw wage gap continues to be used in misleading ways to advance public policy agendas without fully explaining the reasons behind the gap” and that “There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap.”

Rudov concluded, “It seems that Mr. Obama’s report conflicts with the facts.” But the liberal media did not bother to point this out.

Rudov notes that journalist Hanna Rosin, cofounder of DoubleX and a contributing editor to The Atlantic, recently gave a presentation at the TED Conference called “Women Are Taking Control of Everything.” DoubleX is a feminist Web magazine launched by Slate, which is owned by The Washington Post.

In the TED presentation, Rosin declares, “We are now going through an amazing and unprecedented moment where the power dynamics between men and women are shifting very rapidly. And in many of the places where it counts the most, women are in fact taking control of everything.”



Interior Dept. Issues Deepwater Permit, But It Only Points Out The Stupidity of the Moratorium

Michael Bromwich, the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement which issued the approval.

There is much rejoicing in the oil patch today over the news that the Obama administration’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) approved the first deepwater drilling permit since the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

The permit went to Noble Energy for a well at the Santiago project, approximately 70 miles southeast of Venice, La., not far from the Macondo well that the Deepwater Horizon was working on.

Here’s the thing, though – this isn’t a permit for a new project. The permit issued to Noble was for a bypass of an obstruction in a well they’d already drilled before the Deepwater Horizon accident. It took 314 days to get that well back online with this administration.

From Noble Energy’s press release on the subject… "Located in 6,500 feet of water, the Santiago exploration well had previously drilled to a depth of 13,585 feet at the time of the moratorium. Drilling operations are anticipated to resume in late March 2011, targeting total drilling depth of approximately 19,000 feet. Results are expected by the end of May 2011. The Ensco 8501 rig, which performed completion operations on the Santa Cruz and Isabela discoveries at the Galapagos project during the second half of 2010, will perform the drilling at Santiago".

“This permit was issued for one simple reason: the operator successfully demonstrated that it can drill its deep-water well safely and that it is capable of containing a sub-sea blowout if it were to occur,” BOEMRE head Michael Bromwich said. “We expect further deep-water permits to be approved in coming weeks and months based on the same process that led to the approval of this permit.”

Noble has contracted with Helix Energy Solutions Group to use that firm’s collection system (due to go online by the end of March) in the event the well’s blowout preventer fails. Helix built a system to deal with well control in just such an eventuality, as did the industry consortium Marine Well Control Corporation, which announced a little over a week ago they had completed an interim system to deal with a wild deepwater well.

No new project has been issued a permit by BOEMRE yet. Shell has applied for one, and a decision on it is supposed to be made any day now. But Bromwich touted today’s announcement as a big deal in any event at a press conference this afternoon.

“This is a new well in the sense it is going into a reservoir and therefore was barred under the moratorium,” Bromwich said. ”So we treat an application for a bypass like this much as we do for new wells. I don’t think it’s right to say, ‘Oh it’s just a bypass so it’s not as significant as a permit for a new well.’”

It’s not a new well. It’s a well Noble had been drilling for four days when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, and it’s a well that would have been online and producing oil but for the 314-day delay in getting a permit from the administration. That Bromwich wants the same credit for issuing this permit as for a new well is very instructive.

Rep. Charles Boustany, whose voice has become more and more angry over the months as the moratorium and permitorium have ravaged his district’s economy, sounded a similar tone today.

“This first deepwater permit is critical to restoring jobs in Louisiana, especially at a time of rising gas prices and turmoil in the Middle East,” Boustany said. “The United States cannot afford to continue its reliance on foreign energy when so many of our natural resources sit idly by in our own backyard.

“The people of Louisiana are united in their voices – they are ready to return to work,” Boustany continued. “This is a major step toward getting American energy production up and running again. This is important for the Gulf Coast, but there is a permit backlog and BOEMRE must approve other permits without delay.

Bromwich said now that the ice is broken, there will be a flood of permits issued.
“Industry has been waiting for signals that deepwater drilling would be able to resume and I think they’ll take this as that signal,” he said.

Perhaps so. Perhaps the industry will be more interested in Mr. Bromwich’s signals when his department complies with Judge Martin Feldman’s order of 11 days ago directing him to issue or deny five permit applications by Ensco Offshore in the deepwater Gulf that have been sitting idle for more than four months. When his agency acts on those permits, then the industry will believe things are back to normal.

If it believes otherwise, it’s foolish. And the oil industry is not foolish.



Eric Holder's People: The attorney general confirms suspicions of racial bias at the Justice Department

"This Department of Justice does not enforce the law in a race-conscious way," declared Attorney General Eric Holder in a House oversight hearing yesterday. But Politico reports on an exchange during the hearing that suggests otherwise. Rep. John Culberson, a Texas Republican, was questioning Holder about the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case, which the department dismissed after Holder took over:
The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

"Think about that," Holder said. "When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia--which was inappropriate, certainly that . . . to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people," said Holder, who is black.

It's sometimes a useful exercise to imagine situations like this one in reverse. Suppose that in the course of defending himself against accusations of bias in favor of whites, a white attorney general referred to whites as "my people." What would we make of that?

We have to admit that, for historically contingent reasons, such a scenario would be worse. Although civil rights laws protect everyone, they were enacted to remedy brutal and systematic discrimination against blacks. Thus it is of particular importance that black Americans be able to have confidence in the impartial administration of justice.

Yet to say it is of particular importance is to draw a distinction of degree, not of kind. It is of great importance that all Americans have confidence in the impartial administration of justice. Holder understands that, at least in theory, or he would not have denied that his department enforces the law "in a race-conscious manner." But when the attorney general spoke of "my people" and meant only a subset of Americans, it confirmed the suspicion of bias that he was trying to counter.

"Holder noted that his late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama," Politico reports. That's a legitimate point of personal pride, but in his official capacity Holder owes his allegiance to the nation as a whole. If he approaches the job with the attitude that any group smaller than all Americans is "my people," he is the wrong man for the position.




Pro-Union Protesters Vacate Wisconsin Capitol After Judge Orders Them Out: "Pro-union protesters have vacated the Wisconsin Capitol on the 17th day of round-the-clock demonstrations after a judge ordered the building closed at night. About 50 protesters left the building peacefully Thursday night about two hours after a judge ruled the state had unconstitutionally restricted access to the building. But the ruling also said the protesters had to leave Thursday night. Dane County Circuit Judge John Albert had directed authorities to immediately take actions to remove demonstrators who stayed in the Capitol after its normal 6 p.m. closing time. He also ordered the removal of unauthorized materials, such as sleeping bags, air mattresses and the hundreds -- perhaps even thousands -- of signs that protesters have taped to the Capitol's walls."

Statement by Americans for Limited Government on federal Judge Vinson’s decision finding ObamaCare unconstitutional" ”The headlines on Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling on ObamaCare read that he has stayed his own decision for 7 days to allow the Administration time to appeal his ruling that the law is unconstitutional. While this is true, it does not reflect the overall ruling, which clearly reaffirms that Vinson’s ruling is binding and that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, and that without a stay it cannot be implemented. ”Vinson’s decision to give the Administration seven days to produce an appropriate appeal is an act of judicial charity forcing the Administration to follow federal appellate procedures, or cease implementation.”

German prosecutors: “Islamic extremism” motive in airport attack: "German prosecutors said Thursday they suspected a deadly attack on US servicemen at Frankfurt airport by a gunman was motivated by Islamic extremism. 21-year-old Arid Uka, who worked at mail distribution center at the airport, cried 'Allah Akbar' ('God is Greatest') before opening fire on a military bus at the busy airport, according to eyewitnesses quoted by German media. Two US Air Force Military Police were killed and two others were seriously injured"

WI: Senate OKs arrest of absent Dems for contempt: "The Wisconsin Senate has passed a resolution calling for police to take 14 Democrats into custody for contempt after they fled to Illinois to avoid voting on a union rights bill, the Associated Press reports. The resolution says the absent Democrats are determined to be guilty of contempt and disorderly content."

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 March, 2011

Obama asleep at the wheel over oil supplies

Gasoline prices are jumping toward the "Oh my God!" level, and if they continue upward, will soon have an unpleasant impact on consumer behavior. An economy still struggling to recover can't afford for Americans to get nervous about spending. High pump prices have that effect. The huge 2008 run-up in oil prices throttled consumer spending, hitting the automobile industry — and thus, Michigan — particularly hard.

The turmoil in the Middle East has pushed oil above $100 per barrel again, and gasoline prices are following suit. In Metro Detroit, many stations are posting prices above $3.30, with predictions that they will move higher unless oil supplies increase.

Unfortunately, at the same time foreign supplies are falling, domestic production is being curtailed by policies of President Barack Obama's administration.

The Interior Department continues to defy a federal court order that lifted a ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, put in place during last spring's oil spill. Rather than complying with the judge's order, federal regulators have stalled the issuing of permits so that almost no new drilling has occurred in the Gulf in more than six months.

In addition, the administration is standing firm on a seven-year ban on new drilling in the eastern Gulf and off the East Coast, and has expanded by 100 miles the no-drill zone off the coast of Florida.

Vast areas in the nation's interior have been placed off-limits to drilling, as has the oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Additional impact on consumers will come if Obama succeeds in his bid to raise taxes on oil companies. Those higher costs will be passed along.

Pressure is being felt as well from rising worldwide demand for oil as the economy recovers.

It adds up to the real possibility that gasoline could return to the $4 a gallon level it hit in 2008, and possibly go higher.
Democrats in Congress are urging the president to ease prices with releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. But that oil serves the purpose of protecting the country against a more serious contraction of imported oil. A better strategy would be to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf, and consider exploring other domestic reserves.

Rising gasoline prices serve the purpose of those who want an immediate and drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels. But the notion that alternative energy sources can significantly replace the demand for oil anytime soon is a pipe dream.

The only sure way to offset the decrease in foreign production is to increase domestic production, which has fallen to 5 million barrels a day from a high of 10 million.

The last time oil prices headed so sharply in this direction, Democrats and Republicans fretful about the impact on the 2008 elections agreed to expand domestic drilling. That pledge was largely revoked after the election, and restrictions on drilling have instead become tighter.

The risk that higher oil prices will send the economy back into recession is too great to ignore. Easing restrictions on domestic production is a necessary safeguard.



ObamaCare to stiff the elderly and the seriously ill

The Galen Institute has an excellent summary of the damage that ObamaCare has already caused, such as driving insurers out of the child-only, small-group and individual markets. The article is only about four pages long, with plenty of supporting tables at the end.

It also contains a summary of Medicare Advantage plans getting out of the market. That apparently has the Obama Administration worried enough that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent out a letter recently that per-capita payments to Medicare Advantage would increase 1.6% in 2012 — don’t want more seniors losing their plans in an election year!

However, ObamaCare is supposed to cut about $136 billion from Medicare Advantage over the next decade, so an increase in 2012 means that even steeper cuts must follow. Of course, those can happen beginning in 2013, when President Obama will no longer have to worry about re-election.

That’s not the only consequence ObamaCare will have for Medicare Advantage. To stay in business, other plans will likely engage in what can be called “reducing costs on the back end.” That is, they will impose cost-sharing or deny care when patients are sickest and in most need of the protection that insurance is supposed to provide.

It’s already happening with one Advantage plan: Many Philadelphia area Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will be hit with a new 20 percent coinsurance on some drugs, including chemotherapy, and a new $25 copay for radiation and dialysis treatments starting next year.

The changes implemented by the region’s largest insurer, Independence Blue Cross, will affect more than 40,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Bucks and Montgomery counties enrolled in PPO and HMO plans. Previously under the plans, they had no copays for Part B drugs, including drugs that are injected or infused in doctor’s offices. Part B drugs include oral anti-cancer, immunosuppressive and drugs requiring administration via a nebulizer or infusion pump in the home.

This is what happens when insurance pays for a lot of the up-front costs that we should be paying for out-of-pocket, such as physician visits, and minor procedures and tests. Thanks to the employer-based tax exclusion for health insurance and benefit mandates imposed by most state governments, insurance has paid for more and more up-front costs. But to make revenues meet expenses, insurers cut costs somewhere. That somewhere is on the back end, when patients are often the sickest and where politicians are less likely to focus legislative protections.

ObamaCare only exacerbates this, as now all Medicare plans must fully pay for most preventive care. They can’t even charge copays. With the resulting increased demand in preventive care that insurance companies must pay for, they will inevitably save costs in areas that are not legislated, like chemotherapy drugs.

This may not fit the needs of patients very well, but it suits the needs of politicians quite well. After all, politicians want to maximize their political survival. They can please voters by giving them lots of “free” stuff, and the more voters you can so please, the better. Lots of voters want free preventive care, so politicians find it worthwhile to force insurers to give it to them. Far fewer voters, however, will develop a serious illness, so protecting them is not nearly as useful for politicians who wish to get re-elected.

The truly insidious thing about it is that politicians will be able to blame others for the problems they have created. They will get on their high horse and excoriate the heartless and cruel insurers like Independence Blue Cross. Politicians excel at obfuscation, making it difficult, as Thomas Sowell says, to trace their fingerprints back to the murder weapon.

But as long as ObamaCare remains law, get used to less and poorer quality care for the sickest. The number of people who get seriously ill each year represent a sliver of voters compared to those who have minor illnesses or no illness at all and would just like a checkup or other test. Which group do you think politicians will cater to when it comes to health care policy?



A Union Education: What Wisconsin reveals about public workers and political power

The raucous Wisconsin debate over collective bargaining may be ugly at times, but it has been worth it for the splendid public education. For the first time in decades, Americans have been asked to look under the government hood at the causes of runaway spending. What they are discovering is the monopoly power of government unions that have long been on a collision course with taxpayers. Though it arrived in Madison first, this crack-up was inevitable.

We first started running the nearby chart on the trends in public and private union membership many years ago. It documents the great transformation in the American labor movement over the latter decades of the 20th century. A movement once led by workers in private trades and manufacturing evolved into one dominated by public workers at all levels of government but especially in the states and cities.

The trend is even starker if you go back a decade earlier. In 1960, 31.9% of the private work force belonged to a union, compared to only 10.8% of government workers. By 2010, the numbers had more than reversed, with 36.2% of public workers in unions but only 6.9% in the private economy.

The sharp rise in public union membership in the 1960s and 1970s coincides with the movement to give public unions collective bargaining rights. Wisconsin was the first state to provide those rights in 1959, other states followed, and California became the biggest convert in 1978 under Jerry Brown in his first stint as Governor. President Kennedy let some federal workers organize (though not collectively bargain) for the first time in 1962, a gambit to win union support for his re-election after his cliffhanger victory in 1960.

It's important to understand how revolutionary this change was. For decades as the private union movement rose in power, even left-of-center politicians resisted collective bargaining for public unions. We've previously mentioned FDR and Fiorello La Guardia. But George Meany, the legendary AFL-CIO president during the Cold War, also opposed the right to bargain collectively with the government.

Why? Because unlike in the private economy, a public union has a natural monopoly over government services. An industrial union will fight for a greater share of corporate profits, but it also knows that a business must make profits or it will move or shut down. The union chief for teachers, transit workers or firemen knows that the city is not going to close the schools, buses or firehouses.

This monopoly power, in turn, gives public unions inordinate sway over elected officials. The money they collect from member dues helps to elect politicians who are then supposed to represent the taxpayers during the next round of collective bargaining. In effect union representatives sit on both sides of the bargaining table, with no one sitting in for taxpayers. In 2006 in New Jersey, this led to the preposterous episode in which Governor Jon Corzine addressed a Trenton rally of thousands of public workers and shouted, "We will fight for a fair contract." He was promising to fight himself.

Thus the collision course with taxpayers. Public unions depend entirely on tax revenues to fund their pay and benefits. They thus have every incentive to elect politicians who favor higher taxes and more government spending. The great expansion of state and local spending followed the rise of public unions.

Professors Fred Siegel and Dan DiSalvo point out that even during the Reagan years, growth in state and local government jobs was double the rate of population growth. The effect on the private economy is a second order problem for public unions, as we've seen from the recession's far more damaging impact on private than on public workers.

Current AFL-CIO chief Rich Trumka has tried to portray Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's reforms as an attack on all unions, but they clearly are not. If anything, by reining in public union power, Mr. Walker is trying to protect private workers of all stripes from the tax increases that will eventually have to finance larger government. Regarding public finances, the interests of public union workers and those of private union taxpayers are in direct conflict. Mr. Walker is the better friend of the union manufacturing worker in Oshkosh than is Mr. Trumka.

Notice, too, how fiercely the public unions are willing to fight for collective bargaining power even if it means public job layoffs. Without Mr. Walker's budget reforms, Wisconsin will have to begin laying off thousands of workers as early as today. The unions would rather give up those jobs—typically for their younger members—than give up their political negotiating advantages. They know some future Governor or legislature will get those jobs back, as long as they retain their inordinate political clout.

This is the imbalance of political power that Mr. Walker is trying to break up, and he is right to do so. As important, the public in Wisconsin and around the U.S. seems to be listening and absorbing his message. The cause has been helped by the sit-ins and shouting of union members, the threats toward politicians who disagree with them, and by the flight of Democratic state senators to undisclosed locations in Illinois. It's hard to claim you're protecting democracy when you won't show up to vote. Taxpayers need to win the battle of Wisconsin for the sake of self-government.




Is the TSA good for ANYTHING? "A passenger managed to waltz past ramped-up security measures at JFK with three box cutters in his luggage, easily boarding an international flight while carrying the weapon of choice of the 9/11 hijackers. The breach grounded the flight for three hours on Saturday night and drew fury from US Port Authority cops, who accused the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of being asleep on the job, the New York Post reported. Once aboard Santiago-bound Flight 837, flight attendant Fausto Penaloda, 40, asked him to stow his luggage in the overhead storage bin. As Peraltalajara's shoved it into the compartment, Penaloda saw the box cutters fall out of the bag. Peraltalajara told authorities that he used the box cutters for work at a Secaucus manufacturing plant and simply forgot that they were in his luggage. He was not charged with any crime.

NH: Bill would make TSA gropings a crime: "Lawmakers and residents engaged in heated debate Tuesday over a bill that would make random airport security pat-downs and body scans criminal in New Hampshire. The bill (HB628-FN) 'makes the touching or viewing with a technological device of a person’s breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault,' according to the introductory text of the bill. 'Let's put their name on the sex offender registry, and maybe that will tell them New Hampshire means business,' said bill co-sponsor Rep. Andrew Manuse, R-Derry."

OH: Senate votes to bar state workers from striking: "The Ohio Senate has narrowly approved legislation barring public employees from striking and from bargaining over health care, sick time and pension benefits. The measure, which would apply to about 360,000 state, university and local government workers, creates a new contract-dispute process that involves elected officials, Cincinnati.com says."

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 March, 2011

Token retreat on Obamacare

President Obama, who has stood by his landmark health care law through court attacks and legislative efforts to repeal it, told the nation’s governors on Monday that he was willing to amend the measure to give states the ability to opt out of its most controversial requirements right from the start, including the mandate that most people buy insurance.

In remarks to the National Governors Association, Mr. Obama said he supported legislation that would allow states to obtain waivers from the mandate as soon as it took effect in 2014, as long as they could find another way to expand coverage without driving up health care costs. Under the current law, states must wait until 2017 to obtain waivers.

The announcement is the first time Mr. Obama has called for altering a central component of his signature health care law, although he has backed removing a specific tax provision that both parties regard as onerous on business.

But the prospects for the proposal appear dim. Congress would have to approve the change through legislation, and House Republican leaders said Monday that they were committed to repealing the law, not amending it. Even if the change were approved, it could be difficult for states to meet the federal requirements for the waivers.

Political calculations, as much as policy ones, were at work in the president’s announcement. The shift comes as the health care law — and the mandate in particular — is under fierce attack in the courts, where federal judges have issued conflicting opinions on its constitutionality. The mandate is also a rallying cry for conservatives and Tea Party supporters, who regard it as a prime example of overreaching by the federal government.

Mr. Obama has been trying to reposition himself in the political center on some issues in the wake of the drubbing his party took in the November midterm elections; dropping his insistence on the mandate is one way to do that. And with governors pressing the administration to allow them to cut Medicaid rolls to ease their fiscal distress — a step Mr. Obama does not want to take — the president is trying to look flexible in other ways.

But Mr. Obama’s flexibility goes only so far. “I am not open to refighting the battles of the last two years,” he said, “or undoing the progress that we’ve made.”

Mr. Obama’s announcement did not appear to appease his Republican critics. The House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, told reporters that the health law was “an impediment to job growth” and that Republicans remained committed to its repeal.



Obama's Narcissistic Personality Disorder

During the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton suggested that if the emergency phone rang at 3 a.m. in the White House, you wouldn't want President Obama picking it up. She was wrong. Obama wouldn't pick it up in the first place. He'd let it go to answering machine. He'd be too busy chasing the nearest camera.

Obama is the "Girls Gone Wild" president: Stick a lens in front of him and he'll take off his shirt, mince about like a coed, and babble nonsensical nothings to an audience oddly fascinated by his antics.

How else to explain Obama's desperate injection of himself into the Oscars this past Sunday? Even as the Middle East goes up in flames, even as oil prices spike dramatically, even as the national debt skyrockets toward $19.6 trillion by 2015, Obama took time out to tackle a pressing question: What is his favorite movie song? Answer: "As Time Goes By," from "Casablanca." Feeling better about the world situation yet?

Obama had a busy week -- at least in terms of pop culture. Thursday evening, Obama held yet another party at the White House, this time in honor of Motown music. Celebrity attendees included Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Smoky Robinson, John Legend, Seal, Sheryl Crow, Nick Jonas and Jordin Sparks. Jamie Foxx summed up the Obamas' view of what it means to inhabit the "people's house" in his rendition of Robinson's "Get Ready": "We won the election. White House, baby, so much fun!" Meanwhile, Muammar Qadafi shot people at will in the streets of Tripoli, and Americans struggled to pay their rent.

President Obama has become the Salahis of entertainment, cropping up in random places when he's least wanted. We can't escape him. He delayed the fifth game of the 2008 World Series, so he could broadcast a 30-minute infomercial for his campaign. He threw out the first pitch at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2009. He did a 10-minute interview with Katie Couric during the 2010 Super Bowl broadcast. In both 2009 and 2010, he did interviews with ESPN to tell the world about his NCAA tournament brackets. In 2010, Obama showed up on "American Idol." As commander-in-chief, he's hit "The View," "The Tonight Show," "The Late Show" and "Jersey Shore." OK, he hasn't hit "Jersey Shore" ... yet.

In fact, Obama is worse than the Salahis -- at least the Salahis don't use tax dollars to subsidize their antics. Obama doesn't just crash other parties -- he spends hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to throw parties of his own. Not that Obama cares; as he put it, "This is a pretty big house so we get lonely. It's hard for me to move around out there sometimes, so I got to bring the world to me."

Poor baby.

Obama's desperate need for attention is clearly a psychological condition. He drinks in applause like a washed-up movie star. It is usual for neglected children to develop narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), typically characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a strong sense of entitlement, preoccupations with utopian fantasies, elitism, manipulative tendencies and pathological need for praise.

President Obama was abandoned by his parents during childhood. Now he exhibits the textbook symptoms of NPD. He thinks his powers are godlike in import; "I have a gift, Harry," Obama once told Sen. Harry Reid. He believes he is entitled to positions of power and prestige. He has never worked a real job in his life, yet deigns to tell the rest of us that he embodies our hopes and dreams. He is obsessed with nonsensical utopian fantasies of one-world peace and harmony in which nuclear weapons are beaten into plowshares.

Obama is an elitist through and through, disdaining ordinary Americans as "bitter [people who] cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." He is manipulative in the extreme, seeing every crisis as an opportunity to magnify his personal power.

Most dangerous, he requires a constant stream of paeans to his persona. Radical Muslims, socialists, anti-Semites -- so long as they clap, they're worthy of his warmth. Obama strongly resembles a once-abused puppy; he doesn't care who pets him, so long as he receives the petting.

With one exception: Obama has no interest in the attention or praise of Americans who challenge his radical agenda. To make himself subject to their philosophy would force him to acknowledge a fundamental truth: His parents abandoned him because they were bad parents, not because America is a "downright mean" country. Obama has told himself for decades that America's selfishness forced his parents to make him a social outcast. To acknowledge now that the system was largely good and his parents were largely bad would fracture his fragile ego.

So expect to see President Obama on the next telecast of the next big event. He can't stay away from the cameras, and he certainly won't leave behind the enthusiastic hurrahs of his supporters. Mr. De Mille, he's ready for his close-up.



Crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepreneurs from producing the products and services that make people's lives better


Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year—double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year's projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.

Several trillions more in debt have been accumulated by state and local governments. States are looking at a combined total of more than $130 billion in budget shortfalls this year. Next year, they will be in even worse shape as most so-called stimulus payments end.

For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we've been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we're determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.

Both Democrats and Republicans have done a poor job of managing our finances. They've raised debt ceilings, floated bond issues, and delayed tough decisions.

In spite of looming bankruptcy, President Obama and many in Congress have tiptoed around the issue of overspending by suggesting relatively minor cuts in mostly discretionary items. There have been few serious proposals for necessary cuts in military and entitlement programs, even though these account for about three-fourths of all federal spending.

Yes, some House leaders have suggested cutting spending to 2008 levels. But getting back to a balanced budget would mean a return to at least 2003 spending levels—and would still leave us with the problem of paying off our enormous debts.

Federal data indicate how urgently we need reform: The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That's well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the interest on our federal debt is "poised to skyrocket." Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is sounding alarms. Yet the White House insists that substantial spending cuts would hurt the economy and increase unemployment.

Plenty of compelling examples indicate just the opposite. When Canada recently reduced its federal spending to 11.3% of GDP from 17.5% eight years earlier, the economy rebounded and unemployment dropped. By comparison, our federal spending is 25% of GDP.

Government spending on business only aggravates the problem. Too many businesses have successfully lobbied for special favors and treatment by seeking mandates for their products, subsidies (in the form of cash payments from the government), and regulations or tariffs to keep more efficient competitors at bay.

Crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market. But it erodes our overall standard of living and stifles entrepreneurs by rewarding the politically favored rather than those who provide what consumers want.

The purpose of business is to efficiently convert resources into products and services that make people's lives better. Businesses that fail to do so should be allowed to go bankrupt rather than be bailed out.

But what about jobs that are lost when businesses go under? It's important to remember that not all jobs are the same. In business, real jobs profitably produce goods and services that people value more highly than their alternatives. Subsidizing inefficient jobs is costly, wastes resources, and weakens our economy.

Our elected officials would do well to remember that the most prosperous countries are those that allow consumers—not governments—to direct the use of resources. Allowing the government to pick winners and losers hurts almost everyone, especially our poorest citizens.

Recent studies show that the poorest 10% of the population living in countries with the greatest economic freedom have 10 times the per capita income of the poorest citizens in countries with the least economic freedom. In other words, society as a whole benefits from greater economic freedom.



New Israeli weapon downs anti-tank rocket fired from Gaza

'Trophy' system sensed incoming missile, blew it up away from tank

A new Israeli weapons system knocked down a Palestinian anti-tank rocket in its first combat test Tuesday, the military said, showing off technology that could protect the heavy vehicles that have been the mainstay of the world's ground forces for decades.

Palestinian militants said they fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an Israeli tank as it patrolled near the Gaza-Israel border, a frequent occurrence. This time, the "Trophy" system sensed the incoming rocket and fired its own projectile, blowing it up away from the tank, the military said.

Trophy is thought to be the only active defense system of its kind in the world. Up till now, tanks have relied on heavier and thicker armor plating to protect against more powerful anti-tank weapons.

Experts say the active defense concept, if it works consistently, could allow the construction of smaller, lighter and more efficient tanks.

The Israeli military did not make pictures or video of the Tuesday encounter available to the media, instead issuing a short statement. It said a tank came under fire while on routine patrol, and "for the first time during operational activity, the Trophy system, ... designed to actively protect against anti-tank missiles, identified, alerted and intercepted the (anti-tank rocket)."




Why boom is a no-show: A lack of net investment: "Although the economy is showing some signs of revival, many people wonder why it hasn’t roared back, as it did after most previous contractions. If consumer spending were the key, the economy would be going strong. ... What is to blame is the collapse of private business investment."

The President’s own dumb rules: "While red tape is rising under his watch, President Barack Obama promised recently in a Wall Street Journal op-ed to undertake a grand review of economic regulation in the United States and get rid of rules that 'are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.' Yet he has added plenty of dumb regulations himself."

GAO: US bureaucracy wastes billions: "The U.S. government could save tens of billions of dollars a year by streamlining a bloated federal bureaucracy, according to a report Tuesday from the Government Accountability Office. In its first annual report on the subject, the GAO reviewed a wide range of federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives to identify where the government is duplicating its goals or activities"

SCOTUS: Hospital punished worker for being in Reserves: "The US Supreme Court on Tuesday embraced a broad reading of a federal law designed to bar workplace discrimination against current or former members of the US armed forces. The high court ruled 8 to 0 in favor of a former hospital lab technician who said he was fired from his job at a Peoria, Ill., hospital because his supervisors were hostile to his responsibilities as a member of the US Army Reserves."

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 March, 2011

Voting for the National Interest, Not Self-Interest

It's a question that puzzles most liberals and bothers some conservatives. Why are so many modest-income white voters rejecting the Obama Democrats' policies of economic redistribution and embracing the small-government policies of the tea party movement?

It's not supposed to work out that way, say the political scientists and New Deal historians. Politics is supposed to be about who gets how much when, and people with modest incomes should be eager to take as much from the rich as they can get.

Moreover, as liberal economists and columnists point out, income levels for middle-class Americans remained stagnant for most of a decade during the George W. Bush presidency and then plunged in the recession. Housing values fell even more.

The conservative writer David Frum has made the same point and has said that Republicans must come up with policies that will raise ordinary people's incomes if they hope to win.

But the fact is that Republicans did pretty well among whites who did not graduate from college -- the exit poll's best proxy for the white working class -- even in the otherwise dismal year of 2008. John McCain carried non-college whites by a 58 percent to 41 percent margin, more than his 51 percent to 47 percent margin among college whites.

Barack Obama won because he carried all other voters 79 percent to 21 percent. But he carried non-college whites in only 14 states and the District of Columbia with 127 electoral votes.

Liberals are puzzled by this. Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" argued that modest-income whites were bamboozled by the moneyed elite to vote on cultural issues rather than in their direct economic interest.

But that's no more plausible than the notion that rich liberals from Park Avenue to Beverly Hills have been bamboozled to vote the opposite way on similar issues rather than for those who would extend the Bush tax cuts. People are entitled to base their vote on the things they think important. They don't always vote just to maximize their short-term income.

In any case, the cultural issues seemed to be eclipsed by economic issues in 2010, when Republicans carried non-college whites 63 percent to 33 percent in House elections. That was almost as large a percentage margin as the Democrats 74 percent to 24 percent among the smaller number of nonwhites.

My own assumption is that economic statistics have been painting an unduly bleak picture of modest-income America. When we measure real incomes we use inflation indexes, which over time inevitably overstate inflation, because they're based on static market baskets of goods.

The problem is if one item spikes in price, we quit buying it. In addition, inflation indexes cannot account for product innovation and quality increases.

Liberal writers look back to 1973 as a year when real wages supposedly peaked -- just before a nasty bout of inflation. But back then, a pocket calculator cost $110. The smartphone you can buy today for $200 has a calculator and hundreds of other devices.

If you get out beyond the Beltway to Middle America, you find supermarkets with wonderful produce and big box stores with amazing variety, all at prices that are astonishingly low. You can eat well and dress stylishly at prices far below what elites in places like Washington and New York are accustomed to paying. In many ways, people with modest incomes have a significantly better standard of living than they did four decades ago.

The recoil in 2010 against the Obama Democrats' vast expansion of the size and scope of government seems to have a cultural or a moral dimension as well. It was a vote, as my Washington Examiner colleague Timothy P. Carney wrote last week, expressing "anger at those unfairly getting rich -- at the taxpayer's expense."

Those include well-connected Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs that got bailed out and giant corporations like General Electric that shape legislation so they can profit. They include the public employee unions who have bribed politicians to grant them pensions and benefits unavailable to most Americans.

A government intertwined with the private sector inevitably picks winners and losers. It allows well-positioned insiders to game the system for private gain. It bails out the improvident and sticks those who made prudent decisions with the bill.

Modest-income Americans think this is wrong. They want it fixed more than they want a few more bucks in their paychecks.



The Democrats' Tactic: Fearmongering

Democrat leaders have been working overtime to foster fear among Americans by exaggerating the potential repercussions of a shutdown of the federal government. Why? Fearmongering is a great diversionary tactic for Democrats who do not want to be held accountable for out-of-control government spending and who have no intention of getting serious about budget cuts.

They myth of a reign of chaos induced by a government shutdown is just that—a myth. Harkening back to the shutdown of 1995, it seems as if every would-be pundit with a tale of woe has been paraded on the liberal media circuit.

In reality, the country is in great shape to handle a shutdown because for about a decade, the government has spent billions of taxpayer dollars on Continuity of Ops (COOP). Continuity of operations is the way the federal government prepares and plans for how it would operation during a time of national disaster, during a time when critical systems fail, or when unexpected changes in leadership occur, or when unexpectedly there is a need to change the location of the government. COOP is the government’s plan for identifying which personnel are considered essential and what tasks are considered operationally mandatory for the smooth and effective operation of our government.

I know, from my experience leading one of the federal agencies responsible for developing these plans that each federal agency already has in place a series of well-documented, frequently exercised, standard operating procedures that answer most of the questions currently causing the hand-wringing around Washington, DC.

These standard operating procedures exist for all three branches of government to ensure an enduring constitutional government. Annually, the government undergoes a minimum of two weeks of rigorous exercises to identify potential gaps in capabilities. Each year the government rigorously identifies problem areas and solutions that are cost effective and sustainable. Each year the federal government prepares after-action reports that form the basis of future areas for improvement and expansion.

These joint exercises are usually in support of national security, but the operational principles and the decision matrices are the same. Complex logistical scenarios are exercised. Complex joint contingency plans are developed, documented and put into play for all key stakeholders.

Above all, these exercises ensure that government responds calmly and responsibly and does not succumb to the fearmongering and hysteria that Dems are trying to whip up among Americans.

Democrats in congress and members of the Executive Branch who claim that the nation will be in trouble if a shutdown were to occur are being disingenuous or are perhaps intending to deliberately sabotage years of careful planning and billions of dollars and thousands of hours of professionals efforts to ensure that nothing bad happens to our great nation, its leaders or our constitutional government.

So what will happen if the government shuts down? All federal agencies have key personnel plans now in place that did not exist back in 1995. So, social security checks and government welfare subsidies get paid (most are EFT anyway). Benefits to veterans and the military and other government workers continue to be paid. The country will continue to be protected; policemen, firemen and hospitals will continue to serve their communities with distinction. What a shutdown will do is stop non-essential functions. So, for example, many of Obama’s czars and their horde would no longer be funded. Of course, there are many Americans who would not see this as a negative.

In fact, given the extraordinary amount of time lost in multitudinous government meetings that often serve no purpose other than to plan the next meeting, our government might even experience a surge of unexpected productivity.

Perhaps proof that the country could function just fine with a smaller, more productive government is what Dems fear the most. In fact, it could be that the greatest risk is simply that some in government might work to ensure that several, high-visibility programs that could be continued under a government shutdown are not—just to prove a point.

But, it would be both a crime and a disgrace if certain military or other essential efforts are put in jeopardy as a way to heighten the sense of panic and doom. Let’s hope that all legislators roll up their sleeves, sharpen their budget-cutting pencils and realize, as President Obama often reminded conservatives over the last two years that “elections have consequences”. Voters this past November have spoken: they want government to cut the federal budget and they want it to happen now. GOP legislators who are determined to return our country to a culture of fiscal discipline have nothing to fear but fearmongering itself.



The Rise of the Adolescent Mind

Victor David Hanson

We live in a therapeutic age, one in which the old tragic view of our ancestors has been replaced by prolonged adolescence. Adolescents hold adult notions of consumption: they understand the comfort of a pricey car; they appreciate the status conveyed by a particular sort of handbag or sunglasses; they sense how outward consumption and refined tastes can translate into popularity and envy; and they appreciate how a slogan or world view can win acceptance among peers without worry over its validity. But they have no adult sense of acquisition, themselves not paying taxes, balancing the family budget, or worrying about household insurance, maintenance, or debt. Theirs is a world view of today or tomorrow, not of next year — or even of next week.

So adolescents throw fits when denied a hip sweater or a trip to Disneyland, concluding that it is somehow “unfair” or “mean,” without concern about the funds available to grant their agendas. We see now just that adolescent mind in Wisconsin. “They” surely can come up with the money from someone (“the rich”) somehow to pay teachers and public servants what they deserve. And what they deserve is determined not by comparable rates in private enterprise, or by market value (if the DMV clerk loses a job, does another public bureau or private company inevitably seize the opportunity to hire such a valuable worker at comparable or improved wages?), or by results produced (improved test scores, more applicants processed in an office, overhead reduced, etc.), or by what the strapped state is able to provide, but by what is deemed to be necessary to ensure an upper-middle class lifestyle. That is altogether understandable and decent, but it is entirely adolescent in a globalized economy.

Why so? In a word, the United States is not producing enough real wealth to justify a particular standard of living among its public workforce far superior to counterparts in the private sector. We are borrowing massively abroad for redistributive entitlements. We fight wars with credit cards. We talk of cap-and-trade and “climate change” without prior worry about how to fuel the United States, as we sink in perpetual debt to import well over half our oil. We have open borders and pat ourselves on our backs for the ensuing “diversity,” without worry that illegality and lack of reverence for federal laws, absence of English, no diplomas, multiculturalism instead of the melting pot, the cynicism and chauvinism of Mexico, and recessionary times are a perfect storm for a dependent, and eventually resentful, underclass extending well into a second generation, one that fumes over why things outside are not equal rather than looking within to ensure that they could be.

Who would not wish pristine 19th-century rivers to run all year long? But that same utopian rarely thinks like an adult: “I want water releases into the San Joaquin River all year long and am willing to pay more money at Whole Earth for my produce to subsidize such diversion of irrigation water; I do not wish any more derricks off Santa Barbara, so I choose to drive a Smart car rather than my Lexus SUV. And I want teachers to be able to strike, and receive $100,000 in compensation and benefits, and therefore am willing to close down a rural hospital in Wisconsin or tax the wealthy with full knowledge that many will leave the state. I insist on amnesty and open borders, and will put my children in schools where 50% do not speak English, and live in the barrios to lend my talents where needed to ensure parity for new arrivals. I want cap-and-trade and so believe that the lower middle classes should pay “skyrocketing” energy bills to subsidize such legislation.” And so on.

Finally, the adolescent thinks in a rigid, fossilized fashion in explicating the “unfairness” of it all, unable yet to process new data and adjust conclusions accordingly. So we now hear that the evil corporate/Wall Street nexus is turning us into a Republican-driven Third World — apparently unwilling to see that among the largest contributors of campaign cash were unions, and both Wall Street and international corporations favored Barack Obama in the last election, the first presidential candidate in the history of campaign financing legislation to opt out of the program in order to raise even more “fat cat” money. Just because one is a former Chicago organizer does not mean he cannot be the largest recipient of Goldman Sachs or BP donations in history. Railing against Las Vegas jet-setters does not mean that one cannot prefer Martha’s Vineyard, Vail, or Costa del Sol to Camp David.

We talk about all these “millionaires,” but fail to include a Rahm Emanuel who managed to receive several million for his apparent fiscal and investment “expertise” or the liberal Clintonite insiders who looted Fannie and Freddie in bonuses just before these agencies imploded. The Koch brother are deemed evil; George Soros and Warren Buffet enlightened billionaires about whose modes of acquisition of riches we must be indifferent. Anything that might upset the predetermined adolescent world view is simply ignored in “I don’t want to hear all this” teen-aged fashion. The adolescent plays reruns of Al Gore’s mythodramas and simply thinks away the ensuing evidence of fraud and malfeasance that seems so deeply embedded in the climate change industry. The rant and temper tantrum follow in the puerile mode of being so distasteful that someone surely must give in to stop the embarrassing disturbance.

There are lots of issues involved in Wisconsin, in the impending financial and fuel crises, and in the sense of American impotency abroad. Yet a common denominator is a national adolescence, in which we want what we have not earned. We demand the world be the way that it cannot; and we don’t wish to hear “unfair” arguments from “bad” and “mean” people.




Obama admin approves ONE new oilwell: "The U.S. has approved the first deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since BP's massive oil spill. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement announced Monday that it issued a permit to Noble Energy Inc. to continue work on its Santiago well about 70 miles southeast of Venice, La. Drilling will resume nearly one year after BP's blowout created the worst offshore spill in U.S. history."

OH readies union bill vote; IN still delays: "A vote on an Ohio bill that would end collective bargaining rights for public employees could come as early as Wednesday, a state senator said on Sunday. Meanwhile, in Indiana, Democratic state representatives could stay in Illinois all week to avoid votes on bills they say would harm workers' rights, officials said. While the massive protests in Wisconsin over proposed collective bargaining limits have been in the national spotlight, debates over curbs on unions also have roiled other Midwestern states."

Politics and government “investment”: "I hope that you are as tired as I am of hearing politicians trot out the term 'investment' to justify spending the taxpayers’ money on such things as high-speed rail, 'green' energy alternatives to fossil fuels, innovative R&D projects and highways, more widespread Internet access and other so-called infrastructure. The public sector does not invest in any meaningful sense."

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)


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.

"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.

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

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

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

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 people who should know better, 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.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

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!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

"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.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

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.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

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

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.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

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 African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. 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

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

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.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR"