DISSECTING LEFTISM -- MIRROR ARCHIVE  
Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

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

The original of this mirror site is HERE. My Blogroll; Archives here or here; My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Political Correctness Watch, Education Watch, Immigration Watch, Food & Health Skeptic, Gun Watch, Socialized Medicine, Recipes, Tongue Tied and Australian Politics. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing)
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31 May, 2008

McCain Should Run Against Congress

When House Minority Leader John Boehner is asked whether his party needs to distance itself from George W. Bush, he likes to point out the president isn't on the ticket this fall. True. Several hundred incumbent GOP members of Congress are, however, and don't think John McCain hasn't noticed.

With Congress's approval rating at record lows, the time is ripe for a slam campaign. Barack Obama won't do it, since his Democratic colleagues are running the joint. But it's a huge opportunity for Mr. McCain, who could play Congress's failings off his promises for reform. Even as Republicans sagely warn their nominee to distance himself from the president, they're beginning to see that his more productive option might just be to throw them - and Congressional Democrats - under the Straight Talk bus....

Today's Congress is ripe for a shredding. The GOP kicked off an era of public disgust with its corruption and loss of principle, a reputation it has yet to shake. Democrats have, impressively, managed to alienate voters further with inaction and broken promises. Congress has come to represent the institutional malaise that so frustrates voters. That distaste explains this year's appetite for "change."

Mr. McCain could play off that hunger, and in the process provide his campaign with the theme it still sorely needs. Mr. Obama has his "change" slogan, but as of yet no innovative policies to hang on it. Mr. McCain's problem is opposite: He's laid out smart ideas - an optional flat tax, health-care tax credits, a veto of all earmarks - but has yet to find a narrative to bring them together. One solution: Latch on to a subject that today occupies only a part of his speeches - the promise of "political reform" - and turn it into a full-fledged philosophy. Theme: "Your government has failed you, and here's how I plan to fix it."

Congress is the embodiment of that failure, and Mr. McCain could use it to draw distinctions. He could swivel the focus away from the Bush comparison, and toward Mr. Obama's kinship with today's all-talk Democratic Congress. He could tell voters that the party they feel is today failing them in the Capitol will also fail them in the White House.

As for bad-mouthing the GOP as part of this process, it isn't likely Mr. McCain would offend his conservative base. Most of it is already offended by Congress. His criticism of today's diminished GOP brand, and a promise to revive it, might even help him with the rank-and-file, and would certainly draw independents.

Mr. McCain has so far only flirted with this idea. He wrote an op-ed criticizing the farm bill, but it was largely an abstract complaint about policy. He might have instead made its focus the skewering of a Congress that relentlessly shovels subsidies to agribusiness, and then directly tied that naked vote-buying to today's high prices. A proponent of entitlement reform, he could flay Congress for its decades of inaction on Social Security. His earmark criticism might name names, including those in his party, whose pork addiction has sullied politics. If he's looking for suggestions, he could start with the Alaska delegation.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Rupert's 99-year old mother beats the tax man: "Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has been spared from paying tax on a multi-million dollar payment after a successful Federal Court appeal against the tax office. Dame Elisabeth, 99, had received the $85 million payment in 1994 after alleged breaches in relation to four of the family trusts set up by her late husband Keith Murdoch and administered by her son Rupert Murdoch. The tax office classified the payment as taxable income.... Today, Federal Court judges Kevin Lindgren, Margaret Stone and Peter Jacobson ruled that the 2007 decision of the Administrative Tribunal had incorrectly classified the lump sum payment as income instead of capital. The court ordered the Tribunal's decision be set aside and that her tax assessment for the 1995 financial year be ammended. The taxation commissioner was also ordered to pay Dame Elisabeth's court costs."



Pope cracks down on pretend-Catholics: "The Vatican has issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication. The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect. A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the Church's existing ban on women priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations. Excommunication forbids those affected from receiving the sacraments or sharing in acts of public worship. Father Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Centre at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favour admitting women to the priesthood."

Bibi on Israeli socialism: "Netanyahu: "Yeah, we [Israel] have had high tech for quite some time. We produce more conceptual products per capita than any other country in the world, so we should be perhaps the richest or among the richest countries. And yet we're not. Countries that were behind us 20 years ago -- Ireland, Singapore, Spain -- they don't have nearly the capacity to produce information and conceptual products that we did. They beat us. Why? It's because they liberated their markets a lot faster. In other words, high tech without free markets doesn't go very far."

Blind boy killed by Muslim teacher: "A blind seven-year-old student at an Islamic school in eastern Pakistan has died after his teacher punished him for not learning the Koran, police said today. Muhammad Atif was hung upside down from a ceiling fan and severely beaten by his teacher, Qari Ziauddin, at the seminary or madrassa in Vihari, near Lahore on Thursday, they said. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had ordered in inquiry into the death, an official statement said. "The Prime Minister has expressed his deep sorrow and concern over the tragic death of Muhammad Atif, who reportedly died as a result of corporal punishment by his teacher,'' the statement said. Police said the teacher had been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering the boy."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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30 May, 2008

The British scene

In the latest policy screw-up, Labour back-benchers are screaming about a planned 200 pound ($396) tax increase on any high-carbon-emitting vehicle registered in the past seven years. Even green-minded politicians realize that punishing citizens for their past purchases won't shrink Britain's carbon footprint today.

Lawmakers are also panning a prospective 2-pence-per-liter hike in the fuel tax just weeks after the Brown government had to abandon separate plans to effectively raise the lowest income-tax rate to 20% from 10%. The latter move, which would have raised taxes on millions of workers at the bottom of the pay scale, figured heavily in Labour's disastrous results in the May 1 local elections and last Thursday's loss of an ultrasafe parliamentary seat in a by-election.

Mr. Brown doesn't only soak the poor. There's also been tremendous blowback from the ś30,000-a-year levy he and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling want to slap on wealthy foreigners who live and work in Britain but claim residency - and keep most of their taxable assets - elsewhere. The government finally agreed to modify this new tax on "nondomiciled" residents. But it remains to be seen whether the tax drives away some of the very workers who have helped London become a financial powerhouse.

Some of Mr. Brown's policy problems are older than his premiership. Take the collapse of mortgage lender Northern Rock last autumn, a situation that the government promptly and repeatedly botched. It quickly became apparent that part of the blame lay in Mr. Brown's decision years earlier, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, to divide banking supervision among three different departments. This unwieldy "tripartite" arrangement made it more difficult for regulators to spot banks in danger before it was too late and to respond to a snowballing crisis.

Mr. Brown's once-solid reputation as an able steward of the economy is fading. As in the U.S., British homeowners worry that their country's housing bubble will burst; consumers are struggling with soaring grocery and gasoline bills. One wonders whether Britain was simply riding the wave of world-wide growth in the past decade of Labour rule - and if it might have done even better had the Chancellor not increased public spending from 37% of GDP in 1999-2000 to more than 41% in each of the last four budgets.

More here

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Brookes News Update

Putting the Bush boom in perspective: Speculation that the housing 'crisis' could sink the Bush economy are completely off-beam. As usual, commentators are ignoring the monetary factors, especially credit expansion, that create booms and generate housing bubbles
Safe from truth: Democrats move to silence the Pentagon: With the support of the treasonous New York Times House Democrats passed a bill that would prevent the Pentagon from publicising the good news that the allies are winning in Iraq
How interventionists drive up rents: The real enemy is not lying two-faced lefties but public ignorance of basic economic principles. If these principles were widely understood those regulations that have done so much to harm the poor by driving up rents would not have passed muster
More offshore oil drilling: The U.S. government has banned drilling in thousands of square miles off the U.S. Coast. These areas hold an estimated 115 billion barrels of oil and 633 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This insane ban has left America's energy needs increasingly at the mercy of foreign autocrats, despots and maniacs
Left-wing racism remembered: Did you know.Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican? Every civil rights law, beginning in the 1860s through the 1950s and 1960s, was fought against by Democrats? Or the KKK had links to the Democratic Party? Is the Democrats' racist past is finally catching up with them?
Global warming: "These are the times that try men's souls": Despite reams and reams of scientific data and increasing numbers of real science experts denouncing the idea that mere humans can accomplish earthly changes in climate, politician after politician continue to promote policies that will cause irreparable harm to the people they seek to put them in office
Madness of a self-destructive world: Sixty years have passed since Israel won her independence. During this time Israel absorbed several millions of Jewish refugees, including 850,000 from Muslim countries. When WW2 ended, 50 million refugees were scattered across Europe. All of them have found a country where they can live and work, for themselves and their families. This experience expose as a fraud the so-called tragedy of 'Palestinian refugees'

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ELSEWHERE

Iran is building a bomb: "More worrying is what the IAEA delicately calls the "possible military dimensions" of Iran's programs. Given that Iran insists its nuclear drive is for peaceful purposes only, it's interesting to note "the fact that substantial parts of the centrifuge components were manufactured in the workshops of the Defense Industries Organization." Also interesting is what the report describes as "the development of high voltage detonator firing equipment and exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonators including, inter alia, the simultaneous firing of multiple EBW detonators, an underground testing arrangement . . . and the testing of at least one full scale hemispherical, converging, explosively driven shock system that could be applicable to an implosion-type nuclear device." If there's an innocent explanation for this kind of work, we'd love to hear it".

Leftist Geraldine Ferraro sees anti-white racism in the media: "These two historic candidacies in 2008 would take racism and sexism and show the world that it is not in the DNA of the United States to deal with those issues the way they were dealt with years and years ago. Well folks, I was proven wrong. It is in the DNA of this country and it's in the DNA of the press. And, I think the press has been absolutely, unbelievably sexist and in some instances racist; not racist against blacks but in some instances racist against whites; picking up everything that was said and running with it as if it's true; attacking people for speaking up." "I have to tell you I hear people... they come up to me and say they're worried. They're worried about what the future has because anytime anyone who speaks up who's white, it's a problem..."

Shootout in Harlem, Al Sharpton Unavailable for Comment: "Monday evening saw seven people shot in Harlem and now there are wails for healing, anti-gang messages and, reflexively, more gun control. Yet one name is missing in every news account I read: Al Sharpton. Yoo-hoo, Reverend Al. How about protesting in your own backyard? Oh, that's right, there were no police involved. So no threats, no shakedowns, no tying up traffic, no multimillion-dollar lawsuits. It's just black kids shooting other black kids, so he doesn't give a damn. Never mind."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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29 May, 2008

WHY TWO WORLD WARS WERE FOUGHT

Pat Buchanan knows his history, whatever else you might think of him, and he has just written a good summary of the revisionist arguments about the two world wars. I myself alluded briefly to such arguments on 23rd.

I am one of the many history buffs who agree that WWI was the big mistake so I agree with Buchanan there and I certainly agree with him that the peace-obsessed politics of the interwar period were the breeding ground for WWII.

Buchanan is however being wise in hindsight, something easy to do. What he seems largely unaware of is the psychology behind those two disastrous wars. WWI was NOT fought over the assassination of an Austrian archduke in Serbia. Politicians can be pretty foolish but we do our ancestors discredit to think that they were as foolish as that.

Strangely, WWI was the fruit of the long peace engineered by the "Iron Chancellor" of Prussia, Prince Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck gained great authority from the way he used both war and politics to extend the Prussian domain to the point that almost the whole of the German-speaking lands came under the sway of the Prussian crown in the form of a united Germany -- with the Prussian defeat of Napoleon III at Sedan being the clincher.

So how did Bismarck use that great authority and the pre-eminent German military machine that he controlled? If he had been a Leftist like Napoleon, he would have attempted to conquer the world. But he was a conservative so he did no such thing. Once he had attained his aim of a united Heimatland (homeland) -- i.e. a united Germany --- he used his great talents and resources to ensure that there were no more wars in Europe.

And the long peace from 1872 onwards allowed Europeans to concentrate on constructive pursuits for change -- leading to vast economic growth in most of Europe (including Russia). But the huge leap forward in science, technology and prosperity in the late 19th century led to hubris among the populations concened. They were so impressed by their own achievements that they thought they could conquer the world -- literally. And they actually did to some extent -- bringing large slices of what we would now call the Third World under their rule.

Sadly, however, communications then fell a long way short of the global village that we inhabit today and most people in the national populations concerned concluded that their great achievements were the fruit of a national genius peculiar to them. That other nations were doing about equally as well was lost sight of. It was, in short, a time of overweening national pride and they all thought that they could conquer anyone. So they were all spoiling for a fight. They thought that if they could have a war, they could conquer the other nations around them in six weeks. So after Bismarck was no longer there to restrain them, a pretext for a fight was found and the nations of Europe all marched into WWI in full confidence of a rapid national triumph. It was however reality that triumphed.

And after the colossal horror of WWI, who can blame the politicians of the interwar years for doing everything they could to run away from another war? That running away does more harm than good is however the lesson we must learn from that.

Buchanan's article stops before the events of WWII so I will stop there too. Much to be said there but some other time. I do think Churchill was right in his unswerving enmity to Nazism, however.

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ELSEWHERE

Rather odd to see in the WSJ an essay by Thomas Frank, that well known hater of American working-class people (particularly in Kansas). And in his essay he tries to strike back at the many people who have accused him of elitism. He does that mainly by linking people who dislike elitism to Richard Nixon. Association with Nixon makes you ridiculous of course. And ridicule of ordinary people is all that he seems to have to offer. He answers critics of elitism with more elitism. His deliberate offensiveness suggests to me that he is profoundly insecure about his own claims to elite status.

Stupid Michigan Democrats: "Officials in Lansing reported this month that the state faces a revenue shortfall between $350 million and $550 million next budget year. This is a major embarrassment for Governor Jennifer Granholm, the second-term Democrat who shut down the state government last year until the Legislature approved Michigan's biggest tax hike in a generation. Her tax plan raised the state income tax rate to 4.35% from 3.9%, and increased the state's tax on gross business receipts by 22%. Ms. Granholm argued that these new taxes would raise some $1.3 billion in new revenue that could be "invested" in social spending and new businesses and lead to a Michigan renaissance. Not quite. Six months later one-third of the expected revenues have vanished as the state's economy continues to struggle. Income tax collections are falling behind estimates, as are property tax receipts and those from the state's transaction tax on home sales. Michigan is now in the 18th month of a state-wide recession, and the unemployment rate of 6.9% remains far above the national rate of 5%..... The tax hikes have done nothing but accelerate the departures of families and businesses."

Congress more stupid than Mexico: "In Congress, rising oil and food prices are leading to all sorts of bad ideas - from new farm and energy subsidies to talk of import controls and higher taxes. The Members should take their next foreign trip to Mexico or Indonesia, where governments are adapting to the commodity price boom with sensible reforms. In Mexico on Sunday, President Felipe Calderon decreed a reduction or elimination of import tariffs on wheat, rice, corn, soy, soymeal and fertilizer. He also cut by half the tariff on powdered milk imports, and he'll allow up to 100,000 tons of beans to enter the country duty free, among other tariff reductions. The reforms are intended to ease the burden of rising food costs on Mexicans, both by allowing cheaper imports and encouraging more domestic food production. They will have the added benefit of spurring more competition for that country's protected food producers."

Iranian mines used in attacks on Brits in Afghanistan: "The underside of armoured vehicles deployed in Helmand has proven to be highly susceptible to mines buried by the Taleban, and the Ministry of Defence is preparing to add extra armour to key vehicles. The relatively new Viking armoured troop-carrying vehicle - which was built for the Royal Marines for use in Norway but is now being used across desert routes in northern Helmand - has proven to be vulnerable to the mines, which are suspected of being supplied from Iran. Five Vikings have been destroyed by mines."

Greenie Britain runs out of power: "Hundreds of thousands of people were hit by electricity blackouts yesterday when seven power stations shut down. The unscheduled stoppages were regarded as an unprecedented sign of the fragility of Britain's power infrastructure. Operations were cancelled, people were stuck in lifts, traffic lights failed and fire engines were sent out on false alarms. Householders were unable to use any appliances or make phonecalls as the blackouts hit areas including Cleveland, Cheshire, Lincolnshire and London. It was unclear last night why the power stations had failed. As the cuts escalated, the National Grid was forced to issue the most serious possible warning - "demand control imminent" - and urged suppliers to provide lower-voltage electricity to meet demand. Energy suppliers affected by the shutdown, including British Energy and EON, said that they could not reveal the reasons for the cuts"

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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28 May, 2008

U.S. Memorial Day

The world of blogs picks up lots of stuff that you would never read in the old media. An excellent example is a post by John Rubery who has marked Memorial Day by a tribute to the Australians who have fought alongside Americans in America's wars since 1900 -- even in Vietnam and currently now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Australians celebrate their equivalent of Memorial Day on April 25th. And our ANZAC day is undoubtedly our most solemn national day. So it is easy for Australians to understand how Americans feel on their similar occasion. You can read what I wrote last April 25th here.

John Rubery is a "blogging friend" of mine so I think I should warn him about the Australian sense of humour if he ever comes to Australia. Australians have great fun with nicknames. There is a short stocky Australian mining magnate who is referred to even in the media as "Twiggy" (after a very thin British model of yesteryear); Redheads are commonly addressed as "Bluey" and I have even heard German immigrants with the Christian name of "Heinz" referred to as "57 varieties". So if he were ever here for long John Rubery would undoubedly be addressed by his friends as "Rubbery".

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The hate-filled NYT versus GWB

In its Memorial Day editorial the NYT insists the Iraq War is unwinnable:
President Bush opposes a new G.I. Bill of Rights. He worries that if the traditional path to college for service members since World War II is improved and expanded for the post-9/11 generation, too many people will take it.

He is wrong, but at least he is consistent. Having saddled the military with a botched, unwinnable war, having squandered soldiers' lives and failed them in so many ways, the commander in chief now resists giving the troops a chance at better futures out of uniform. He does this on the ground that the bill is too generous and may discourage re-enlistment, further weakening the military he has done so much to break.

So lavish with other people's sacrifices, so reckless in pouring the national treasure into the sandy pit of Iraq, Mr. Bush remains as cheap as ever when it comes to helping people at home.
The White House immediately countered this outrageous Memorial Day article.
The White House on Monday blasted The New York Times for irresponsibly distort[ing] President Bushs strong commitment to strengthening and expanding support for Americas service members and their families.

...This editorial could not be farther from the truth about the presidents record of leadership on this issue, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said in a statement. She added that the newspapers editorial board doesnt let the facts get in the way of expressing its vitriolic opinions - no matter how misleading they may be.
More... The White House released this statement today in response to the hateful reporting at The New York Times:
Once again, the New York Times Editorial Board doesn't let the facts get in the way of expressing its vitriolic opinions - no matter how misleading they may be.

In today's editorial, "Mr. Bush and the GI Bill", the New York Times irresponsibly distorts President Bush's strong commitment to strengthening and expanding support for America's service members and their families.

This editorial could not be farther from the truth about the President's record of leadership on this issue. In his January 2008 State of the Union Address, while proposing a series of initiatives to support our military families, President Bush specifically called upon Congress to answer service members' request that they be able to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their spouses and children. In April, he sent a legislative package to the Hill that would expand access to childcare, create new authorities to appoint qualified spouses into civil service jobs, provide education opportunities and job training for military spouses, and allow our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children.

As Congress debates the best way to expand the existing GI Bill, Secretary Gates has laid out important guidelines to ensure that legislation meets our service members' needs and rewards military service. First, since our servicemen and women have regularly requested the ability to transfer their GI bill benefits to their family members, legislation should include transferability. Second, legislation should provide greater rewards for continued military service in the all volunteer force.

There are several GI bill proposals under consideration in both the House and Senate. The Department of Defense has specific concerns about legislation sponsored by Senator Webb because it lacks transferability and could negatively impact military retention.

The President specifically supports the GI Bill legislation expansion proposed by Senators Graham, Burr, and McCain because it allows for the transferability of education benefits and calibrates an increase in education benefits to time in the service.
More here

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A dangerous Democrat

Are we engaged in a war? If so, against whom? To Sen. Joe Biden, the answers are apparently "no" and "I don't know." In this op-ed, Biden asserts that the regimes and movements sworn to the destruction of the West are merely "a small number of radical groups." He adds that "to compare terrorism with an all-encompassing ideology like communism and fascism is evidence of profound confusion."

Indeed, terrorism is a weapon so it makes no sense to compare it with an ideology. But Biden should by now have at least a passing acquaintance with the ideologies and movements utilizing the terrorist weapon to wage an asymmetrical global conflict. Those ideologies go by various names including militant Islamism, Jihadism, Islamo-Fascism, Khomeinism, Salafism and bin Ladenism. Has Biden not heard these terms? Or does he think he might offend some peaceful merchant in Casablanca were he to utter them?

Biden insists, too, that "Sunnis and Shiites, Persians and Arabs, Iraq and Iran, al Qaeda and Shiite militias" are "more at odds with each other than with us." That the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is not familiar with the abundant evidence to the contrary is frightening.

Source

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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27 May, 2008

A small meditation

I had a small surgical procedure on one of my eyes a few hours ago so posting on some of my blogs is a bit reduced. I put up initially below something I wrote a few days ago

I still love the old hymns that I learnt in my Christian days and my favourite remains that great Blake hymn:

Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

I particularly love the incredible imagery of the 3rd verse, which is in part derived from the book of Ezekiel.

What the poem tells me is how intertwined Christianity is with Judaism. I sometimes refer to Christianity as a Jewish sect for that reason. The hymn is a great English patriotic poem but what is its criterion for excellence, what is its aspiration? It is: Jerusalem. I will never understand how any sincere Christian can sing in his church of Jerusalem and read in his Bible of all the central events in his faith that took place there and not be unreservedly pro-Israel. It seems to me that Israel and Jerusalen are as central to the Christian faith as they are to the Jewish faith. And it is a wonderful legacy that Christians have received from the old faith. So to my mind, Christians who are not pro-Israel have lost the faith. If your Bible tells you that Israel is the promised land of the Jews, how can you deny it and still be a Christian?

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"Big Oil"

I hadn't realized, until the hearings on energy that were held this week in House and Senate committees, that the United States doesn't have any big oil companies. It's true: the largest American oil company, Exxon Mobil, is only the 14th largest in the world, and is dwarfed by the really big oil companies--all owned by foreign governments or government-sponsored monopolies--that dominate the world's oil supply.

This graph tells the story; you can barely see the American oil companies as minor players on the right side of the chart. The chart was presented to the House committee by Chevron:



With 94% of the world's oil supply locked up by foreign governments, most of which are hostile to the United States, the relatively puny American oil companies do not have access to enough crude oil to significantly affect the market and help bring prices down. Thus, Exxon Mobil, a small oil company, buys 90% of the crude oil that it refines for the U.S. market from the big players, i.e, mostly-hostile foreign governments. The price at the U.S. pump is rising because the price the big oil companies charge Exxon Mobil and the other small American companies for crude oil is going up.

This is obviously a tough situation for the American consumer. The irony is that it doesn't have to be that way. The United States--unlike, say, France--actually has vast petroleum reserves. It would be possible for American oil companies to develop those reserves, play a far bigger role in international markets, and deliver gas at the pump to American consumers at a much lower price, while creating many thousands of jobs for Americans. This would be infinitely preferable to shipping endless billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela.

So, why doesn't it happen? Because the Democratic Party--aided, sadly, by a handful of Republicans--deliberately keeps gas prices high and our domestic oil companies small by putting most of our reserves off limits to development. China is now drilling in the Caribbean, but our own companies are barred by law from developing large oil fields off the coasts of Florida and California. Enormous shale oil deposits in the Rocky Mountain states could go a long way toward supplying American consumers' needs, but the Democratic Congress won't allow those resources to be developed. ANWR contains vast petroleum reserves, but we don't know how vast, because Congress, not wanting the American people to know how badly its policies are hurting our economy, has made it illegal to explore and map those reserves, let alone develop them.

In short, all Americans are paying a terrible price for the Democratic Party's perverse energy policies.

Source

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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26 May, 2008

Leftists want control

For nearly two hundred years liberals have believed that the government can solve complex economic problems like the provision and fair distribution of goods and services. For two hundred years they have tested that belief and for two hundred years they have failed. How is it possible for human beings to stay fixated on an idea that has proven untenable time after time after time? The reason: control.

Liberals, like the rest of us, do not expect the government to mow their lawns. They know how to do that. They control the growth of their lawns. Liberals do not expect the government to repair their cars when they break down. They may not know how to fix their automobiles, but they know how to find someone who does. They can control the working condition of their cars.

But when it comes to almost any problem that is not directly under their control, liberals tenaciously cling to the belief that the government can and should fix it. Our socialized system of education is a deteriorating wreck. I can't fix it by myself -- and neither can you. The liberal solution? More government control of education. Our health care system is the best in the world. But not everyone in America has immediate access to all of its amenities. The liberal solution? Governmental control of medical treatment.

Conservatives have misunderstood this notion of control that dominates the liberal mindset. Conservatives tend to believe that liberals want power. Conservatives point to liberal politicians and their efforts to socialize various aspects of our lives as proof. But all politicians want power. Generally speaking, politicians are driven by two things: election and ego. The actions of the politician are dictated by the beliefs of the electorate plus the politician's egocentric desire for the recognition of that electorate. Democrats running in the south run as conservatives-not liberals.

As a percentage of the population, very few Americans run for federal office- -- far less than one per cent. The vast majority of liberals do not want power ... they want control. These are, for the most part, decent, caring human beings. They want control of things that they feel are unfair or unjust. They want to control, collectively, the things in their lives that they cannot control individually.

There is a problem with this liberal effort to establish communal control over things outside of the ability of the individual to control. It does not and cannot work. Individuals labor and create and provide. Governments do not. A government may hire a person, call that person a government employee, pay the person, and order him to perform a certain task; but the individual hired must choose to perform and then physically perform the requested task. The work of governments is performed by individuals....

And it all comes back to control. Without the direct intervention of force, I cannot control your actions and you cannot control mine. Nor can I, again without the use of force, designate some abstract process of sharing, call it "government," and pretend that I can control something outside of my immediate sphere of influence.

We can talk about communal control and such speech appears to be rational to most people. But it is not. If I say, "The government should clean up the environment." I have not made a rational statement. Governments cannot clean up anything. "Government" is an abstract concept -- not a labor-performing subject, like a janitor, that exists in the real world. People can clean up the environment. More exactly, individuals can clean up the environment.

Liberals falsely believe that speech about communal control can result in actual communal control. But there is no such thing as "communal control."[ii] Nearly all of the millions of people who chant in unison with Barack Obama "yes, we can change," do not want power. They want the impossible. They want communal control. And if they cannot have that control, they can still feel good about their effort to obtain it.

More here

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Brookes News Update

Ill-omens haunt the US economy: Therefore conditions in manufacturing clearly indicate that the US economy is now in recession. Can the recession be averted or the trend reversed? Not really, but it is possible that it could be delayed by a massive monetary injection like the one the Reserve Bank of Australia unleashed on the Australian economy in 2001
Rep. John Conyers: America-hating political bigot and Democrat targets Rove for destruction: The United States is largely inhabited by two groups: leftists and Americans. Leftists sound like Americans and were 'educated' in America. However, they despise America and those who cherish her. Conyers is among those who pretend to be Americans while doing everything he can to destroy his country
Obamastan: How anti-Hamas and pro-Israel is Obama? This is the man who wants us to believe that the unrepentant Weatherman terrorist bomber William Ayers, who played host to Obam's first fundraiser and with whom he would later serve on a board, is just a regular guy. So why does Obama attract the support of terrorists?
The "non-judgmental" Michael Moore and Cuban-American: The cowardly Michael Moore viciously libelled Cuban-Americans. Instead of being pummeled as a bigot by the usual media sniffers and snouters, he was feted as the guest of honor at the last Democratic National Convention, squatting his gargantuan gluteus in the very President's Box alongside the notorious Jimmy Carter
Media silent as Obama plays the 'Cross' card: Whenever a Republican invokes God or refers to his faith the mainstream media immediately castigate him. However, the same media is now giving Obama a free pass on religion even though he is sending out campaign flyers showing him at the pulpit of a church. This is another example of the mainstream media's political bigotry and double-standards
Mugabe's thugs torture one of Zimbabwe's leading sportsman: 'They dragged my wife outside and they were trying to strangle her. At this stage she managed to bite the hand of the man who was grabbing her round the throat. Whereupon he started to beat her'. Welcome to Mugabe's socialist paradise.
Israel and the empty rhetoric of deceitful candidates: There are three runners for the position of the President of the United States: not one of them has integrity to admit the mistakes of the past and speak up with clarity about the rights of Jews and the state of Israel

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ELSEWHERE

I have up on FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC at the moment a post titled: "Wacko vets": DOES MILITARY SERVICE SEND YOU MAD?. The research-based answer is the opposite of what the media preach.

They Are Dying, Send Them Condoms: "The United Nations will send nearly a quarter of a million condoms into cyclone-hit Myanmar to help needy survivors with no access to contraceptives, a UN official says. So far, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said it had sent 72 800 condoms to survivors struggling to maintain their family planning after the storm hit in early May. [.] Cyclone Nargis left at least 133 000 people dead and missing"

Muslim gangs taking over UK prison: "Prison officers at one of Britain's maximum security jails are losing control to Muslim gangs, according to a confidential report obtained by The Observer. An internal review of Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire warns that staff believe a 'serious incident is imminent' as several wings become dominated by Muslim prisoners. The report, written by the Prison Service's Directorate of High Security, says there is an 'ongoing theme of fear and instability' among staff at Whitemoor, where just under a third of the 500 prisoners are Muslim. It claims: 'There was much talk around the establishment "

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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24 May, 2008

Has the GOP lost its mojo?

This is supposed to be liberalism's year. We hear it from all sources on all points of the political spectrum. A miserable and disillusioned electorate, an energized base, an opposition both confused and demoralized - the 2008 election, we're assured, is the left's to lose.... This contention has become so widespread that it's achieved the status of a received truth, with the danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. But there's one problem with it: if the American left is in such great shape, why are all their programs collapsing? ...

Iraq has set the tone. The American left intended to ride the Iraq "disaster" to victory on all fronts, giving them a lock on political power unseen since the beginning of the Reagan era. That dream ended with the success of General David Petraeus's surge strategy, which routed Al Queda in Iraq with humiliating swiftness and thoroughness. Mention of Iraq then became scarce in the media and among left-of-center politicians.

There was a flurry of excitement a few weeks ago with "failure" of the Iraqi government's effort against the Shi'ite militias in Basra and Sadr City. But it lasted only days until it became apparent that something else was going on: that government forces were in fact engaged in a "cut and reduce" strategy, in which limited objectives are taken one after the other, rather than the swift, once-and-for-all sweep characteristic of Western forces. This is a common technique in Eastern warfare (Byzantium was conquered in exactly this fashion), and one that appears to work: Moqtada al-Sadr, the chief irritant, has steadily given ground, and the recent "truce", utilizing the good offices of Iranian middlemen, was effectively dictated by the Maliki government. Iraq is one step closer to pacification, and once again unsuitable for public discussion among decent people. (The American media has consistently misread Iraqi intentions and capabilities throughout this war, discussing the government and people as if they were average Americans and events were taking place in the area around Dubuque.)

But it didn't end with Iraq. In fact, the past year has seen a general collapse of liberal programs unmatched since the 60s and one that may well be unprecedented in such a short span of time. Global Warming was one of the more successful efforts at Green propaganda over the past decade, one that has paid a number of dividends (including financial). The science underlying warming was simplistic and badly worked out, and could not be expected to prevail for any extended period (e.g., the claim that CO2 was a major driver of global temperature, when in fact such elements as solar radiation, earth's orbital variations, and water vapor are all more important).

The facts caught up with global warming last year. It became common knowledge that the earth's temperature had remained constant since 1998, a problem compounded by a sudden drop in global temperature of nearly a degree and a half Fahrenheit. Neither development was predicted by any climate researcher's model, nor could they be made to fit any accepted warming theory. The only alternative was the desperate adaption of an argument derived from a recent scientific paper released by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, contending that the Atlantic MultiDecadal Oscillation is holding temperatures down and will continue to do so until at least 2015. (Just in time to save the polar bears, too.) Though warming advocates will not admit it, this represents a surrender flag -- what kind of overwhelming, universal climatic determinant is overthrown by a single oceanic variation? A more convincing explanation lies in the "quiet sun" thesis -- the contention that we're moving into a lengthy period of reduced solar activity. A few more cold winters will tell the tale.

Ethanol -- in its own way an offshoot of the warming panic, ethanol represents the latest "solution" to an environmental menace. None of these have ever been made to work (past environmental problems have almost universally been solved through conventional means), and ethanol is no exception. In short form: mandates for ethanol in gasoline to fight "global warming" and ease U.S. oil imports. The percentage of corn so used grew to one-third of last year's harvest. Coming during a shift in global agricultural markets and amid several unrelated agricultural difficulties, the ethanol mandates triggered a worldwide rise in grain prices that nearly doubled the cost of food in the U.S. and, far worse, created near-famine conditions in a number of marginal nations.

The "Recession" -- like global warming, the Great Recession of 2008 is a catastrophe that has not lived up to its billing. The economy is often a winner for American liberals (somewhat mysteriously, considering their actual history of economic ineptitude). Talk of recession began last summer, in the midst of a 4.9% economic growth rate, and continued through the new year. Signs of economic distress due to loose credit policies were taken as clear evidence of the "recession's" arrival. George Soros and both Democratic candidates -- Madame Hillary in particular -- hailed it as something along the lines of the Second Coming. They were echoed by almost the entire legacy media (Particularly the AP's Jeannine Aversa, who has been awarded legendary status by NewsBusters and the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web as the Cassandra of the third millennium. There wasn't a single dip that Aversa didn't see as a "chasm", a bad day in the market that wasn't a "nightmare", a slowdown that didn't become a "collapse". Somebody should give her a reality show.)

A classic recession was unlikely for a number of reasons: recessions are rarities during wartime. It would also be unusual for one to occur little more than five years after the last. Nor do recessions usually spring from weaknesses in a single sector. And as the year has progressed, so the specter of a full-blown recession has receded. The growth rate remains an anemic but still positive 0.6. The unemployment rate remains below average historical levels at a little over 5% The Dow Jones industrials has consistently remained in the 12,000 range, inching its way back up to 13,000.

We could go one to other, less critical ploys: the claim for mounting American unpopularity on the international scene, which doesn't look quite so compelling with the elections of Sarkozy, Merkel, and Berlusconi. Or the very public and utterly unwarranted humiliation of Colombia and its government, which, with the exposure of Democratic ally Hugo Chavez as aggressor and terror sponsor, could very easily be turned into an issue.

This is what the GOP is running against: people who want to lose a war, who are keeping alive an environmentalist scam, who (as a byproduct of that scam) have created conditions of serious hunger across the world, and who would not mind seeing a recession in the U.S., no matter how many people it hurts. How do you lose against a hand like this? You lose by throwing your cards down and collapsing under the table whining about being forced to play at all. That's what the GOP is doing -- it can't be described in any other way.....

More here

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ELSEWHERE

The efficient British bureaucracy again: "The shoddy state of Crown Prosecution Service case files is highlighted in a report today. Most files are incomplete or have missing data, such as whether a defendant is on bail. Inspectors found that in more than one third, or 36 per cent, of magistrates' and Crown Court cases, a defendant's bail status was not recorded. In some cases, the omission led to cases having to be adjourned."

Vindicated: "The Minnesota Department of Transportation admits that Republican Sen. John McCain was right about that bridge collapse. Last month, McCain caught some heck for telling the truth when he said: "The bridge in Minneapolis didn't collapse because there wasn't enough money. The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects." Oh no, the Left declared, it was engineering, blah, blah, blah. Now AP reported: Money woes may have led to bridge collapse. You don't say".

The "Pacifascists": "The latest examples of the "pacifascists" among us would be those that raised the howl last week demanding that the US Armed Forces supply Burma's suffering millions with aid even if they had to go in at the point of a gun with massive air cover. Typical "pacifascist" crap. As long as there are no real American interests in play, the use of the military is "enlightened" -- even required. If there are actually reasons strategic and otherwise for the US to engage in a war an win it -- i.e. Iraq, there is no justification that can possible satisfy the "pacifascists." Peace, Appeasement and Submission Uber Alles: The motto of the modern American Pacifascist. I'm sure we must have bred citizens this low and slimy before, but never in such numbers".

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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23 May, 2008

We still have warriors among us

The pregnant wife of a brave Marine - whose brush with death during a gun battle with the Taliban was captured in a dramatic photo - told FOXNews.com that she feared an early trip to the delivery room when she realized the leatherneck under fire was her husband.

A Reuters photographer captured Sgt. Bee's very close shave during a May 18 firefight in the Garmsir district of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where U.S. and British troops have mounted an offensive since April 28 against a supply route used by the Taliban to funnel insurgents and weapons along the Pakistan border.



Bobbie, expecting her first child - a boy - said her 26-year-old husband is a "poker-face guy" who "lives for the Marine Corps." She spoke with him Wednesday morning and he reassured her he was "perfectly safe."

Much was made of the photographs, which showed Sgt. Bee defending a mud wall without a helmet. Bobbie said her husband told her he was changing into fresh clothes when the company came under gunfire. "He said he turned around and did what he had to do."

I am glad he and his new family are OK. Semper Fi Sgt. Bee and keep that helmet handy.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

A correspondent writes: "One quick question... Why is it that when the 76-year-old, hard-living dissolute Democrat Ted Kennedy is diagnosed with a brain tumor, it is of course a human and national tragedy... But when the 67-year-old, clean-living Republican Dick Cheney repeatedly goes into the hospital for heart/pacemaker problems, it's a huge media-political laugh, with endless variations of "what's the prob, he doesn't HAVE a heart!, yuk, yuk" going over the airwaves non-stop for a week? Why is that? I'm just asking."

Belmont Club has a look at the unending revisionist argument that WWII was a mistake and that the USA and the UK should have stayed out of it. The argument is now a very old one and one that I have been involved with for many years but I think in the end that Churchill was right. I am quite firm that the USA and the UK should have stayed out of WWI, though. That was the big mistake that gave us both Stalin and Hitler. Neither the UK nor the USA had any quarrel with the Kaiser's Germany. It was all done to rescue the ungrateful French!

French court confirms Palestinian hoax: "The French Court of Appeals on Wednesday found in favor of Jewish activist Philippe Karsenty, overturning a lower court decision that he had libeled France 2 and its Jerusalem correspondent Charles Enderlin when he accused them of knowingly misleading the watching world about the death of the Palestinian child Muhammad al-Dura in the Gaza Strip in 2000. "The verdict means we have the right to say France 2 broadcast a fake news report, that [al-Dura's shooting] was a staged hoax and that they duped everybody - without being sued," Karsenty told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the verdict was issued at 1:30 p.m. Paris time. Al-Dura was filmed cowering with his father, Jalal, behind a barrel at the Gaza Strip's Netzarim junction on September 30, 2000, during an apparent gun battle between Palestinians and IDF troops. The video, taken by Palestinian cameraman and France 2 stringer Talal Abu Rahma, shows al-Dura hiding, and then cuts to footage of him lying, apparently dead, at the junction. It does not show the child killed. The footage, and Enderlin's broadcast assertion of Israeli responsibility for the killing of al-Dura, turned the 12-year-old's death into a cause celebre in the Muslim world. Karsenty, the head of the media watchdog Media Ratings, was sued for libel after calling for Enderlin's and France 2 news director Arlette Chabot's dismissal, saying the footage was "a hoax."

There's a big article on media-enabled Palestinian photo-fraud here

The new Tory mayor of London is a Latinist! How marvellous!: "The best question time in town yesterday was not at the House of Commons but at City Hall. There, the most powerful Tory in the land, Boris Johnson, was facing his first grilling or, as he put it to London Assembly members: "I now submit to your catechism." Catechism? This caused a few titters, not least as most of us thought it was something to do with religion. But now, driven to the dictionary, I find a second meaning: "Rigorous and persistent questioning." Hmmm... And now for the Latin bit. Boris was being hammered by some Labour members about not following the correct process for appointments to his financial audit board. "Non tali auxilio nec defensoribus!" cried Mr Mayor (an incomplete quote from the Aeneid, which means something like, as Hecuba would confirm, "this is ridiculous".) "Speak English!" the member shouted back. Mr Mayor didn't like that. After all, no one ever said that to Virgil."

Disgraceful British police action reversed: "A former jihadist recruiter who now seeks to deradicalise young Muslims was released without charge yesterday after being held for 12 days under the Terrorism Act. Hassan Butt, 28, who has been offered Home Office funding to support his work, was arrested by officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on May 9 as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan. His release came as lawyers for the police appeared at the High Court to defend an attempt to force journalists to hand over materials relating to Mr Butt." [See previous post here of 20th]

Can Congress Arrest Itself?: "The other day I pointed out that one of the great solutions advanced by Democrats in Congress to help bring down gas prices was to outlaw OPEC. I wasn't aware at the time however, exactly what the legislation sought to outlaw. The text of the bill is ironic: "It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act. to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product.or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas, or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price... in the United States." Leaving aside OPEC, what other institutions seem to have an overriding interest in limiting the production and distribution of petroleum products, with an easily foreseen effect on prices in the U.S.?"

GWB vetoes the Farm Bill: "For a year and a half, I have consistently asked that the Congress pass a good farm bill that I can sign. Regrettably, the Congress has failed to do so. At a time of high food prices and record farm income, this bill lacks program reform and fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase. It is inconsistent with our objectives in international tradenegotiations, which include securing greater market access for American farmers and ranchers. It would needlessly expand the size and scope of government. Americans sent us to Washington to achieve results and be good stewards of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars. This bill violates that fundamental commitment."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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22 May, 2008

You Can't Soak the Rich

Head of research at H.C. Wainwright & Co. Economics Inc. David Ranson:
"Kurt Hauser is a San Francisco investment economist who, 15 years ago, published fresh and eye-opening data about the federal tax system. His findings imply that there are draconian constraints on the ability of tax-rate increases to generate fresh revenues. I think his discovery deserves to be called Hauser's Law, because it is as central to the economics of taxation as Boyle's Law is to the physics of gases. Yet economists and policy makers are barely aware of it.

"Like science, economics advances as verifiable patterns are recognized and codified. But economics is in a far earlier stage of evolution than physics. Unfortunately, it is often poisoned by political wishful thinking, just as medieval science was poisoned by religious doctrine. Taxation is an important example.

"The interactions among the myriad participants in a tax system are as impossible to unravel as are those of the molecules in a gas, and the effects of tax policies are speculative and highly contentious. Will increasing tax rates on the rich increase revenues, as Barack Obama hopes, or hold back the economy, as John McCain fears? Or both?

"Mr. Hauser uncovered the means to answer these questions definitively. On this page in 1993, he stated that "No matter what the tax rates have been, in postwar America tax revenues have remained at about 19.5% of GDP." What a pity that his discovery has not been more widely disseminated.....



"The data show that the tax yield has been independent of marginal tax rates over this period, but tax revenue is directly proportional to GDP. So if we want to increase tax revenue, we need to increase GDP."
Source

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Just why are Democrats favored this year?

Rasmussen Reports:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 62% of voters would prefer fewer government services with lower taxes. Nearly a third (29%) disagrees and would rather have a bigger government with higher taxes. Ten percent (10%) are not sure. Those numbers have changed little over the past month.

Republican voters overwhelmingly prefer fewer government services-83% of the GOP faithful hold that view while just 13% prefer more government involvement. Democratic voters are evenly divided on this question: 46% prefer more government services, while 43% prefer less government services.

Not surprisingly, conservative voters like less government while liberal voters favor a bigger government. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of politically moderate voters prefer smaller government. A separate survey found that most adults (56%) are worried that the next president will raise taxes too much.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters think American society is generally fair and decent. Twenty-seven percent (27%) think it is unfair and discriminatory. Those numbers have become slightly more positive over the past month.

Three quarters of voters (75%) think people who move to America from other countries should adopt the nation's culture. Just 13% think they should maintain their home country's culture (see video report).
None of these issues favor Democrats. On top of that, the Democrats are responsible for driving up the cost of energy by strangling production of all sources. The Democrats have also been dead wrong about the war in Iraq for the past year. They have been embarrassed by the success of our troops and the surge strategy. Democrats should be losing this election hands down.

Source

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ELSEWHERE

Ted Kennedy has malignant brain tumor (so what else is new?): "Doctors have confirmed that Senator Edward Kennedy has a malignant brain tumour - days after he was airlifted to a Boston hospital following a seizure. The liberal lion's cancer diagnosis sent shockwaves through the US political scene, which the 76-year-old has bestrode for nearly a half century, and cast a shadow over the day's business over the US Congress. "Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe," physicians Lee Schwamm and Larry Ronan said. Normal treatment for such a condition is radiation and chemotherapy, the doctors said, adding that Senator Kennedy, sole surviving brother of assassinated president John F. Kennedy, was in "good spirits and full of energy".

Fathers no longer important in socialist Britain: "Fathers were last night effectively declared an irrelevance in modern Britain. The requirement for fertility doctors to consider a child's need for a male role model before giving women IVF treatment was scrapped by MPs. In a free vote, they swept away the rule despite impassioned pleas that the Government plan would "drive another nail into the coffin of the traditional family". Labour rebels said it would send entirely the wrong signal to society as Britain faces a crisis in responsible parenting. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, had warned it would remove the father from the heart of the family. He accused the Government of putting the interests of "consumers" who want to become parents before the welfare of children. But in the Commons, ministers won support for the legislation. Voting was 292 to 217, a majority of 75. In a second vote, a Tory attempt to underline the need for a father or "male role model" was rejected by 290 votes to 222, a majority of 68."

Only American defeats are news: "Do we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there? If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines. Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating. But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily. You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003. To be fair to the quit-Iraq-and-save-the-terrorists media, they have covered a few recent stories from Iraq: When a rogue US soldier used a Koran for target practice, journalists pulled out all the stops to turn it into "Abu Ghraib, The Sequel." Unforgivably, the Army handled the situation well. The "atrocity" didn't get the traction the whorespondents hoped for".

In The Cold Kentucky Rain: "Hillary searches for delegates in the cold Kentucky rain. She manages a big win, but it was never going to be big enough. THE EXIT POLL: Among the many questions, one caught my eye - was the race of the candidate important to you? The breakdown: Whites who say yes: 18% of total voters - 88% Hillary, 9% Obama; Whites who say no: 67% of voters; 68% Hillary, 28% Obama; Blacks who say yes: 2% of voters; N/A on breakdown; Blacks who say no: 7% of voters; N/A on breakdown. Although the breakdown was not meaningful for black voters, black Democrats went for Obama by 91% to 8%. Unless someone can remind me of the major issues differentiating Obama from Hillary, I suspect that Obama's race was important to black voters, their denials notwithstanding. However, only whites will be accused of racism."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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21 May, 2008

Chinese reluctance to accept earthquake help

What I reproduce below is an unusual news summary but it comes from someone I know personally (I am slightly amazed that three of my old friends are in China these days) so I thought I would pass it on:

At HK airport Sunday night and also in the Herald Tribune I read some interesting details I bet you wont read in China daily. Apparently China stores all its nuclear bombs in this earthquake zone as it's so remote. Also there are a number of nuclear reactors there to make bomb grade plutonium. They are supposed to be all reported as suffering none or little damage.

There was another news item about 2 foreign disaster relief teams from Scotland and Canada who arrived in HK with all their equipment...specialist earthquake relief teams...they tried to join the rescue effort but were refused visas in HK , the visa office their telling them they were not required. They had their own tents , food and specialist equipment to find the living buried in rubble.

After hearing about a Beijing Govt International apeal for International specialist help, they had advised the embassies of China in both Canada and UK they were able to come but received no reply from these embassies. Frustrated they flew out to HK anyway with all their gear only to be refused visas . They were returning home Monday.

In other articles there are lots of stories about people being refused visas to China in HK . Apparently the China Govt is now asking all Nationals to return to their home countries to get visas. Multiple entry visas are no longer being issued. Many foreigners who own businesses in China are whinging [complaining] as they need to come and go at short notice and now there are huge queues at the only mainland HK visa issuing office in Wanchai.

The situation is obviously very confused because I flew to Beijing OK last Thursday night without a Hotel voucher requirement and using the multiple entry visa in my passport which expires October 2008. However the Dragon Air flight was alomost empty...I have never seen a plane more empty....an A330 airbus capable of carrying up to 350 people with about 50 people on it.

At the new airport in Beijing I was stamped in without any questions. The China Govt seems to be getting more paranoid as the Olympics approaches.

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Bush strikes back at media deception -- for once

The White House on Monday sent a scathing letter to NBC News, accusing the news network of "deceptively" editing an interview with President Bush on the issue of appeasement and Iran.

At issue were remarks Bush made in front of Israel's parliament earlier this week. Specifically, White House counselor Ed Gillespie laments that the network edited the interview in a way that "is clearly intended to give viewers the impression that [Bush] agreed with [correspondent Richard Engel's] characterization of his remarks when he explicitly challenged it.

"This deceitful editing to further a media-manufactured storyline is utterly misleading and irresponsible and I hereby request in the interest of fairness and accuracy that the network air the President's responses to both initial questions in full on the two programs that used the excerpts," said Gillespie in the letter to NBC News President Steve Capus.

Gillespie used the opportunity to also inquire whether NBC News still believes that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. In November 2006, the network decided to label the infighting in the country a "civil war."

"I noticed that around September of 2007, your network quietly stopped referring to conditions in Iraq as a `civil war,' " Gillespie wrote. "Is it still NBC News's carefully deliberated opinion that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war? If not, will the network publicly declare that the civil war has ended, or that it was wrong to declare it in the first place?"

Source

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ELSEWHERE

An amazing post here showing how Obama can say one thing one night and the opposite next night. And about an important matter too. He truly is a psychopath.

The helpful Obama: "Two years ago, a young senator named Barack Obama went on a trip to Israel with a group. In his reactions at the time, Obama said that Israel was so strong that it could easily make big concessions for peace. Now, in his recent interview with Atlantic magazine doomsayer-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama said the exact opposite: Israel may disappear unless it makes big concessions for peace.

Politicians must have solutions -- even where there are none: "The problem is not really politicians. The problem is politics. Politicians are chefs-some good, some bad-but politics is road kill. The problem isn't the cook. The problem is the cookbook. The key ingredient of politics is the idea that all of society's ills can be cured politically. It's like a cookbook where the recipe for everything is to fry it. The fruit cocktail is fried. The soup is fried. The salad is fried. So is the ice cream and cake. And your pinot noir is rolled in breadcrumbs and dunked in the deep fat fryer. It is just no way to cook up public policy. Politics is greasy. Politics is slippery. Politics can't tell the truth."

Useless Germans: "German special forces had an important Taliban commander in their sights in Afghanistan. But he escaped -- because the Germans were not authorized to use lethal force. The German government's hands-tied approach to the war is causing friction with its NATO allies."

Iranian meddling in Iraq: "Michael Rubin’s Bad Neighbor is required reading for anyone presuming to speak intelligently on the issue of Iranian weapons in Iraq. He gives a first hand account of Iranian meddling in Iraq in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is well known to those who have studied Iraq, and contrary to the latecomers to the Iraq news cycle, the burden of proof should be on those who claim that Iran is not sponsoring fighters inside Iraq."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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20 May, 2008

The only way McCain can win (?)

John McCain is America's favorite kind of candidate. With his record of extraordinary patriotism and his distinctive Senate tenure, McCain is a nominee whom voters from both parties -- and independents, too -- could easily support. But he has been dealt a terrible hand: a tanking economy, an unpopular war, a Republican incumbent whose approval ratings are at their all-time low and a gloomy national mood, with 82 percent of Americans saying in a Washington Post-ABC News poll last week that the country is on the wrong track. Political scientists add all that up and predict that the Democrats are destined to win the White House. But I don't do political science; I do politics, and I'm convinced that McCain can still win -- if he's willing to follow the road map below.

McCain needs to not run as a traditional Republican, which is easy, since he's not one. After all, how did an anti-torture, anti-tobacco, pro-campaign finance reform, anti-pork, pro-alternative-energy Republican ever emerge from the primaries alive? Simple: The GOP electorate, along with the rest of the country, has moved somewhat to the left. (In Florida, for example, exit polls showed that only 27 percent of Republican primary voters described themselves as "very conservative," while 28 percent said they were "moderate" and 2 percent said they were "very liberal.")

In this environment, McCain can win by running to the center. His base will be there for him; indeed, it will turn out in massive numbers. Wright has become the honorary chairman of McCain's get-out-the-vote efforts. It would be nice to think that race isn't a factor in American politics anymore, but it is. The growing fear of Obama, who remains something of an unknown, will drag every last white Republican male off the golf course to vote for McCain, and he will need no further laying-on of hands from either evangelical Christians or fiscal conservatives.

So McCain doesn't have to spend a lot of time wooing his base. What he does need to do is reduce the size of the synapse over which independents and fearful Democrats need to pass in order to back his candidacy. If the synapse is wide, they will stay with Obama. But if they perceive McCain as an acceptable alternative, there is every chance that they will cross over to back him in November.

Earlier in the race, Iraq might have been a deal-breaker. But a kinder, gentler war has emerged. U.S. combat deaths are way down, and the de facto U.S. alliance with Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province against al-Qaeda in Iraq seems to have dramatically improved the security situation. Still, most Americans don't like the war, and McCain must deal with their opposition if he wants to win. The solution is to draw Obama out -- to ask the untested senator what he would do if al-Qaeda in Iraq took over the country . . . or if Iran did . . . or if the Iraqis who backed the U.S. mission were being slaughtered by the thousands . . . or if Islamist terrorists seized control of the country's oil wealth.

Obama, not wanting to appear weak, would no doubt rise to the bait and agree that he might need to send troops back in under certain conditions. He would assure us that sufficient forces would be available at nearby bases to get the job done. To avoid coming across as indecisive and timid, he would put on a sufficiently hawkish face to reassure the voters. And in doing so, he would blur the war issue vis-a-vis McCain. It will make little difference to most Americans whether our troops are in Iraq (as McCain wants) or in Kuwait (as Obama can be pushed to suggest), so long as U.S. casualties are dropping. And with the economy in tough shape, Iraq will fade as the election's be-all and end-all issue.

Meanwhile, McCain should highlight his credentials as a reformer and a maverick to attract Democrats and independents who worry about Obama.

More here

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British police: OK to be a terrorist-supporter but not OK to reform and condemn terrorism

The Muslim-loving British police get madder every day

He was the poster boy for jihadist extremism who become one of its most vocal opponents, meeting a government minister and being offered Home Office funding to support his deradicalisation work among young Muslims. But now Hassan Butt is under arrest and at the centre of a high-stakes legal battle that goes to the core of Britain's fight against terrorism.

Hassan Butt sent dozens of British Muslims to training camps in Pakistan, raised money for the Taleban and once boasted of his desire "to kill or be killed for the sake of Allah". His words and deeds in support of Islamist terrorism were reported widely between 2001 and 2004, yet he was never charged with any offence.

After the suicide attacks on London in July 2005, he embarked on a lengthy and painful reexamination of his beliefs, eventually repudiating violence and emerging as a passionate critic of the cause he once espoused. Since early 2007 Mr Butt, 28, has denounced al-Qaeda in numerous newspaper articles, in international television interviews and in debate at the Cambridge Union. However, he has been labelled a traitor to Islam by his former comrades and in April last year was stabbed in the street by two assailants.

Ten days ago, as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan, Mr Butt was arrested - and is still detained - under the Terrorism Act. If his rejection of violence was not a sham, then Greater Manchester Police - whose investigation is being carried out independently of Counter Terrorism Command at Scotland Yard - may be about to face more than a few tough questions.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

The fact that Ted Kennedy was recently hospitalized seems to have been deemed newsworthy worldwide. In the circumstances, the following email from a medical reader may be of interest: "LOVE the politeness of the Media, including Fox News, about Kennedy's seizures. They don't discuss the most obvious. Kennedy has a history of many years of heavy alcohol drinking. He was even said to be a possible candidate for a liver transplant years ago. There are any number of recordings of Kennedy being drunk in the Senate. Is this rocket science? One of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is seizures. No doubt this is just too much to handle for the "sensitive" media."

The British spooks sure know how to screen their spies: "A bizarre sex scandal involving a top motor sports official and the prostitute wife of a British spy has raised urgent questions about the screening procedures employed by the MI5 security service. The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph reported that an MI5 officer had been forced to resign after it emerged that his wife was one of five prostitutes who took part in an orgy with Max Mosley, president of Formula One's governing body, the FIA. A security source did not dispute the reports but said any suggestion the orgy had been an MI5 'sting' operation to entrap Mosley was "nonsense". The affair raises many questions, not least how MI5 could have failed to know that the wife of one of its operatives was working as a prostitute. Staff are subjected before joining the agency to what its website calls "the most comprehensive form of security vetting in the UK", aimed at establishing their reliability and suitability. The screening continues after a person has joined the service, and there is a responsibility on staff to inform MI5 of changes in their personal circumstances." [Even Kim Philby could probably get a job there these days]

Blame it all on fatties: "Obese people are contributing to the world food crisis and climate change, experts say. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculated the obese consume 18% more calories than average. They are also responsible for using more fuel, which has an environmental impact and drives up food prices as transport and agriculture both use oil. The result is that the poor struggle to afford food and greenhouse gas emissions rise, the Lancet reported."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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19 May, 2008

Seattle Times Editor: 'Hitler's Demands Were Not Unreasonable'

Seattle Times editorial writer Bruce Ramsey, in an effort to defend Barack Obama against President Bush's "appeasement" speech, actually ends up defending Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, and the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria): Bush, and His Use of `Appeasement'.
Democrats are rebuking President Bush for saying in his speech to the Knesset, here, that to "negotiate with terrorists and radicals" is "appeasement." The Democrats took it as a slap at Barack Obama. What bothers me is the continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938.

What Hitler was demanding was not unreasonable. He wanted the German-speaking areas of Europe under German authority. He had just annexed Austria, which was German-speaking, without bloodshed. There were two more small pieces of Germanic territory: the free city of Danzig and the Sudetenland, a border area of what is now the Czech Republic.

We live in an era when you do not change national borders for these sorts of reasons. But in 1938 it was different. Germany's eastern and western borders had been redrawn 19 years before-and not to its benefit. In the democracies there was some sense of guilt with how Germany had been treated after World War I. Certainly there was a memory of the "Great War." In 2008, we have entirely forgotten World War I, and how utterly unlike any conception of "The Good War" it was. When the British let Hitler have a slice of Czechoslovakia, they were following their historical wisdom: avoid war. War produces results far more horrible than you expected. War is a bad investment. It is not glorious. Don't give anyone an excuse to start one.
Source

Our Lefty copped a lot of flak over those words and he has now revised them somewhat. As with a lot of Leftist writing, what he has said is half true. A lot of people of the prewar era DID think Hitler's demands were reasonable. To them, he was after all merely attempting to regain a small portion of the German territory that had been lost to Germany in the aftermath of WWI.

But people who thought that way were wishful thinkers. They were ignoring evidence that they did not want to see. As far back as Volume I chapter 4 of Mein Kampf, Hitler had made clear his intention to grab for Germany the territory of other nations. But people just did not want to believe that he really meant it.

Similarly today, President Ahmadinejad of Iran has made clear his intention of wiping the "tumour" of Israel off the map but again people are blocking their ears. Again they just do not want to believe it -- even though Ahmadinejad has expressed himself most forcefully on the matter. It is clear that our Leftist editor thinks it is defensible for Obama to join the blocked-ears brigade but we must all fervently hope that whoever wins next November WILL learn from history. The clearly expressed aggressive intentions of extremists DO have to be taken seriously and prepared against.

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Senator Harkin is an Anti Military Slime

Post below recycled from Big dog. See the original for links

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa is a bonehead who has insulted John McCain because McCain served in the military. According to Harkin, McCain's service and the generations of service from his family has wired him differently and renders him unfit to serve as president. Imagine that, Harkin thinks military service makes one unfit for the Presidency. Remember when service was a good thing and when most of our presidents served or came from military families? Perhaps liberals look at this differently because it is getting harder and harder to find liberals who served and they know this.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain's family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, "and he has a hard time thinking beyond that," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., said Friday.

"I think he's trapped in that," Harkin said in a conference call with Iowa reporters. "Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous."

Harkin said that "it's one thing to have been drafted and served, but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that's just how you're steeped, how you've learned, how you've grown up." Des Moines Register
Harkin is absolutely, without a doubt a complete idiot. He believes that being in the military and that havng a family history of serving makes one unfit to be the president. I guess the idea of discipline, selfless service to the country, duty, honor, and integrity (all values taught in the military) are not what Harkin would call positive attributes. And why would he? Just look who he backs for president. Barack Obama.

Barack Obama lived the ideal liberal life. He was born to a black man and white woman. His father left when Obama was very young so he was left in a single parent household. Eventually he ended up being shipped off to his typical white grandmother. Obama benefitted from affirmative action and used the benefits provided by the government to attend law school and then he became a politician and has lived off the government. Barack Obama has lived a liberal life of handouts and socialism. He is not fit to be president. His life experiences are ingrained in him and he will try to run the country based on his liberal ideas of income redistribution.

It seems to me that Democrats are positioning themselves for the general election. They know that Obama has NO military experience whatsoever and his life shows he has little leadership experience. The left is trying to make this a non issue now by claiming it is McCain whose life experiences make him unfit to serve. There are a lot of problems with John McCain that might call into question his qualifications for the presidency but his military experience is not among them and Senator Harkin should be slapped around for suggesting such stupidity.

Think about it America. The Democrats want you to believe that military experience and a family history of service makes people unfit to be president. Barack Obama is supposed to be the next coming of JFK. As I recall Kennedy was in the Navy. His service failed to make him unfit to be president. Only in the mind of liberal idiots could military experience disqualify a person from serving AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES.

And this is the kind of logic that wants to run this country. It might be a good idea for the liberals to come up with another line of attack. This whole military issue will backfire. Harkin has already insulted a lot of people who have served and whose families have a history of service and these insults will not go unnoticed.

GM Roper also has some good comments. Hark to some basic background on the dishonest Harkin here and also below::



For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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18 May, 2008

The madness of government intervention in the food business

Yet another appalling example



The United States and Japan are poised to strike a deal that will remove one of the most widely reviled distortions in global rice markets and could send prices plummeting in the coming weeks. The move, which will flood the market with an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of high-grade American rice that is sitting in Japanese silos, comes amid continuing rice export restrictions by some of the world's biggest suppliers and rioting in countries where the population cannot afford the price increases.

Senior government sources in Tokyo told The Times that Japan had received permission from Washington to begin exports from its giant, but largely hidden, mountain of unwanted American rice to countries that need it most. The exposure of the vast Japanese rice surplus has emerged as one of the chief imbalances of world rice markets and an effect of the complex and wasteful lattice of rules, subsidies and pacts that have knocked global agriculture markets so badly out of kilter.

Rice experts say that the move could defuse temporarily one of the principal catalysts of the food-price crisis - the perception that the world is running out of rice - and the panic and hoarding that has accompanied it. With commodities traders sniffing that a US-Japan deal was imminent, rice futures ended the Asian trading week in a dramatic nosedive as the prospect of a sudden supply surge and bullish harvest forecasts routed speculative money from the market.

The collapse came as think-tanks and food experts called on Japan and the US to urgently unwind one of the biggest "invisible" distortions in global rice markets: a quirk of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules that obliges Tokyo to buy rice it does not need and that eventually rots in storage. The WTO rule, its many critics say, effectively turns millions of tonnes of high-grade American produce into feed for Japanese hogs and chickens.

Researchers at the Washington-based Centre for Global Development (CGD) said that if that distortion were removed, and the 1.5 million tonnes of unwanted US rice were released from Japan's storage silos, the crisis that has sent the price of the crop that feeds half the world surging up would be solved instantly. The centre has suggested that rice prices could halve by the end of the month.

Standing in the way of that, however, has been a rule that prevents Japan from re-exporting its reserves of US rice without permission from Washington, which has not been forthcoming until now because of the fear of domestic political repercussions from the US rice industry.

Source

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The Rust Belt Should Be Bitter

And better, for that matter

In the firestorm touched off by Barack Obama's comments about those who "cling to" guns and religion out of economic resentment, most analysis missed a crucial point: The "bitterness" felt in the so-called Rust Belt is mainly a product of high-tax, highly unionized states.

While there are pockets of prosperity in Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Ohio and Michigan, a good deal of this area is economically depressed. That's not because of Washington's policies (or lack thereof). These policies aren't killing Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Florida.

While southern states do have problems, their governments generally don't smother economic growth by layering on ever-rising taxation, regulation and expenses. They don't permit workers to be forced to join closed-shop unions. No one in D.C. - Obama, Clinton, McCain or Superman - can fix the Rust Belt's self-inflicted wounds.

Western New York offers a prime example. Despite proximity to major markets, a long international border with a major trading partner, a well-developed transport system, untold natural splendors and a well-educated workforce, the Buffalo area's population shrinks every year. Why? High taxes, high government costs and forced unionization are major factors.

New York state is run by and for its public-employee unions, particularly teachers, but several others as well. The unions collect dues and then recycle a significant amount of what they collect into politicians' campaign funds. These contributions (plus state electoral law, which seems designed to protect incumbents and hobble challengers) produce tax-and-expense structures that drive employers away. To varying degrees, the same is true for much of the Rust Belt.

Mr. Obama referred to the ire of poor folks who've been given false promises in the past by national politicians. The real falsehood is the notion that federal programs or subsidies can overcome a state's own ruinous policies.

Source

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ELSEWHERE

There is an interesting new site called Climate Data Due Diligence which looks critically at Warmist "science". Click on "Reports" to see their latest.

UK: Call for sell-off of Royal Mail: "The postal regulator has called for Royal Mail to be partly privatised to safeguard the quality of the UK's mail delivery service. Postcomm warned that Royal Mail's financial difficulties would worsen unless bold action was taken. Nigel Stapleton, Postcomm's chairman, told the BBC that without private sector involvement, Royal Mail may require a government subsidy." [Privatizing the post-office! An excellent idea!]

Oil in England's green and pleasant land? "More than 200 communities in the English countryside may be sitting on billions of pounds of undiscovered oil, according to prospectors. Scores of greenfield sites across southern and eastern England are being mapped for viability as world oil prices soar. The Government has received 60 applications from 54 companies to explore 182 plots, but is keeping the details confidential because they are commercially sensitive. Villages, hamlets or new estates will learn about a prospector's interest only if permission is sought to drill or extract oil. The Times has learnt that rural locations from the South Downs to the Lincolnshire Wolds have been designated potential oilfields. There is a 70-mile stretch of small oil deposits in limestone and sandstone from Poole in Dorset, through Hampshire to West Sussex, and pockets in Surrey, the East Midlands and South Wales".

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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17 May, 2008

Why Israel is the world's happiest country

Excerpt below from a very original article by "Spengler" ("Spengler" keeps his identity hidden but he sounds like a very elderly German Jewish survivor of Hitler's holocaust. His pseudonym appears to be an allusion to Oswald Spengler's "The Decline of the West" ("Der Untergang des Abendlandes"). The present "Spengler" also sees great weakness in Western civilization)

Envy surrounds no country on Earth like the state of Israel, and with good reason: by objective measures, Israel is the happiest nation on Earth at the 60th anniversary of its founding. It is one of the wealthiest, freest and best-educated; and it enjoys a higher life expectancy than Germany or the Netherlands. But most remarkable is that Israelis appear to love life and hate death more than any other nation. If history is made not by rational design but by the demands of the human heart, as I argued last week , the light heart of the Israelis in face of continuous danger is a singularity worthy of a closer look.

Can it be a coincidence that this most ancient of nations [1], and the only nation persuaded that it was summoned into history for God's service, consists of individuals who appear to love life more than any other people? As a simple index of life-preference, I plot the fertility rate versus the suicide rate of 35 industrial countries, that is, the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. Israel stands alone, positioned in the upper-left-hand-quadrant, or life-loving, portion of the chart [2]. Those who believe in Israel's divine election might see a special grace reflected in its love of life.

In a world given over to morbidity, the state of Israel still teaches the world love of life, not in the trivial sense of joie de vivre, but rather as a solemn celebration of life. In another location, I argued, "It's easy for the Jews to talk about delighting in life. They are quite sure that they are eternal, while other peoples tremble at the prospect impending extinction. It is not their individual lives that the Jews find so pleasant, but rather the notion of a covenantal life that proceeds uninterrupted through the generations." Still, it is remarkable to observe by what wide a margin the Israelis win the global happiness sweepstakes.

Nations go extinct, I have argued in the past, because the individuals who comprise these nations choose collectively to die out. Once freedom replaces the fixed habits of traditional society, people who do not like their own lives do not trouble to have children. Not the sword of conquerors, but the indigestible sourdough of everyday life threatens the life of the nations, now dying out at a rate without precedent in recorded history.

Israel is surrounded by neighbors willing to kill themselves in order to destroy it. "As much as you love life, we love death," Muslim clerics teach; the same formula is found in a Palestinian textbook for second graders. Apart from the fact that the Arabs are among the least free, least educated, and (apart from the oil states) poorest peoples in the world, they also are the unhappiest, even in their wealthiest kingdoms.

The contrast of Israeli happiness and Arab despondency is what makes peace an elusive goal in the region. It cannot be attributed to material conditions of life. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life index, below Rwanda. Israel is tied with Singapore on this index, although it should be observed that Israel ranks a runaway first on my life-preference index, whereas Singapore comes in dead last.

Even less can we blame unhappiness on experience, for no nation has suffered more than the Jews in living memory, nor has a better excuse to be miserable. Arabs did not invent suicide attacks, but they have produced a population pool willing to die in order to inflict damage greater than any in history. One cannot help but conclude that Muslim clerics do not exaggerate when they express contempt for life.

Israel's love of life, moreover, is more than an ethnic characteristic. Those who know Jewish life through the eccentric lens of Jewish-American novelists such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, or the films of Woody Allen, imagine the Jews to be an angst-ridden race of neurotics. Secular Jews in America are no more fertile than their Gentile peers, and by all indications quite as miserable.

For one thing, Israelis are far more religious than American Jews. Two-thirds of Israelis believe in God, although only a quarter observe their religion strictly. Even Israelis averse to religion evince a different kind of secularism than we find in the secular West. They speak the language of the Bible and undergo 12 years of Bible studies in state elementary and secondary schools.

Faith in God's enduring love for a people that believes it was summoned for his purposes out of a slave rabble must be part of the explanation. The most religious Israelis make the most babies. Ultra-Orthodox families produce nine children on average. That should be no surprise, for people of faith are more fertile than secular people, as I showed in a statistical comparison across countries.

Traditional and modern societies have radically different population profiles, for traditional women have little choice but to spend their lives pregnant in traditional society. In the modern world, where fertility reflects choice rather than compulsion, the choice to raise children expresses love of life. The high birthrate in Arab countries still bound by tradition does not stand comparison to Israeli fertility, by far the highest in the modern world.

The faith of Israelis is unique. Jews sailed to Palestine as an act of faith, to build a state against enormous odds and in the face of hostile encirclement, joking, "You don't have to be crazy to be a Zionist, but it helps." In 1903 Theodor Herzl, the Zionist movement's secular founder, secured British support for a Jewish state in Uganda, but his movement shouted him down, for nothing short of the return to Zion of Biblical prophecy would requite it. In place of a modern language the Jewish settlers revived Hebrew, a liturgical language only since the 4th century BC, in a feat of linguistic volition without precedent. It may be that faith burns brighter in Israel because Israel was founded by a leap of faith.

Two old Jewish jokes illustrate the Israeli frame of mind.

Two elderly Jewish ladies are sitting on a park bench in St Petersburg, Florida. "Mrs Levy," asks the first, "what do you hear from your son Isaac in Detroit?" "It's just awful," Mrs Levy replies. "His wife died a year ago and left him with two little girls. Now he's lost his job as an accountant with an auto-parts company, and his health insurance will lapse in a few weeks. With the real estate market the way it is, he can't even sell his house. And the baby has come down with leukemia and needs expensive treatment. He's beside himself, and doesn't know what to do. But does he write a beautiful Hebrew letter - it's a pleasure to read."

There are layers to this joke, but the relevant one here is that bad news is softened if written in the language of the Bible, which to Jews always conveys hope.

The second joke involves the American businessman who emigrated to Israel shortly after its founding. On his arrival, he orders a telephone, and waits for weeks without a response. At length he applies in person to the telephone company, and is shown into the office of an official who explains that there is a two-year waiting list, and no way to jump the queue. "Do you mean there is no hope?," the American asks. "It is forbidden for a Jew to say there is no hope!," thunders the official. "No chance, maybe." Hope transcends probability......

If the Israelis are the happiest country on Earth, as the numbers indicate, it seems possible that they will do what is required to keep their country, despite the odds against them. I do not know whether they will succeed. If Israel fails, however, the rest of the world will lose a unique gauge of the human capacity for happiness as well as faith. I cannot conceive of a sadder event.

More here

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Is there any hope for McCain?

McCain is behaving like a wild mustang, untamed and unbridled, which gives support to his claim of maverick status. Republicans are being told to toe the line and be loyal Republicans. Often mentioned is an admonishment not to speak evil of fellow Republicans. But enough is enough! I am concerned about the liberal-light leanings of the Republican Party at a time when liberals are attempting to emasculate the Republican Party. Republicans leaders seems not to realize what is happening. Three safe Republican seats have already been lost to Democrats who sounded more Republican than the Republicans they defeated.

Although I cringe at the thought of an Obama presidency and the unwelcome and disastrous changes that would be ushered in, how can I be sure about John McCain? I am told that he would be good on taxes, appointing judges, and the war on terror, but if McCain faces a Democratic Congress could these issues have a happy ending for Republicans?

Sadly McCain has hammered another nail in a coffin that is already pierced with all manner of doubt and distrust with his courtship of West Coast swing voters on Monday, May 13. His was a call to action on global warming and an indictment of the Bush Administration's failed policies to combat global warming. His proposal to develop a cap-and-trade system designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in his belief that CO2 is behind global warming, would ultimately destroy this nation's free market system and capitalism, raise the cost of energy, destroy smoke- stack industries, and rob us of our liberties -- all in the name of phony science.

McCain's surrender to the extreme environmentalists, when he must surely know that a large chunk of his party's conservative base remains skeptical about the science of climate change, puts him in tandem with both Hillary and Obama. Even so, McCain's radical proposals of May 12 are being ripped by environmentalists as not going far enough, as just a beginning.

What are Republicans to do in November? Our goose seems to be cooked whichever way we turn given McCain's embrace of a liberal approach to something that does not even exist and would not make a bit of difference even if the fixes were put in place.

Sadly the absence of conservative leadership over many years has caused this frustrating dilemma for many Republicans. McCain has no overall set of beliefs of philosophy that can be embraced by his party faithful. Can John McCain be tamed and brought back into the fold of Republicanism or has John McCain and the Republican Party tacked so far to the liberal left in a belief that doing so will win elections, that Republican values and doctrine have been cast aside?

I am willing to give John McCain a chance. It is up to John McCain to prove to Republicans like me that he would be a responsible leader. That he knows what must be done to keep this nation secure and economically vital, while at the same time preserving our individual freedoms. McCain is counting on the fact that we have nowhere else to go, so we can lump it. Perhaps you might say that McCain cannot count on everyone who dislikes Obama or Clinton to bother to vote for him; they might just stay home and let God sort it out. Certainly, conservatives will be reluctant to put their time and money into electing him. At best, he will get our vote -- maybe.

Source

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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16 May, 2008

ISRAEL: LONG RANGE ROCKETS HITS SHOPPING MALL, CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER



14 people were wounded Wednesday evening, including a mother and her three-year-old daughter, when a Grad rocket fired from Gaza hit the Hutzot Shopping Center in Ashkelon. The rocket ripped through the roof of the mall, causing a large chunk of the roof to collapse in a huge pile of rubble and twisted metal. Four windows were blown out of the side of the building. The top floor of the building, which bore the brunt of the attack, is where offices and clinics are located.

A hospital official said a woman and her young daughter were seriously wounded, along with another child. Another woman was seriously wounded, and several other people were lightly wounded, said the official, Leah Malul of Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

MDA said 14 people were wounded - three seriously, two moderately and nine slightly, adding that all the casualties had been evacuated from the site of the attack, including four people who were briefly trapped under the rubble.

(IsraelNN.com) Arab terrorists in Gaza fired two Grad Katyusha missiles at southern Ashkelon late Wednesday afternoon, and one rocket scored a direct hit on a children's medical clinic inside a shopping center. Parts of the building collapsed, trapping four people for a half-hour. Many ambulances rushed to the scene.

Source

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Obama's Peace Partner, HAMAS: 'We will persecute the Zionists'

I guess all free men and lovers of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (aka non-believers) are on this guys hit list. What galls me is this is who Carter legitimized (and who Obama failed to denounce) and further, these are the same savages that Obamacide wants to have "talks" with. Hmmm, what will they talk about gas or ovens?
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said Wednesday that a Palestinian state will be established on all of the land of Palestine and not only on parts of it, and that it will include "Jaffa, Lod and Haifa." Zahar also reiterated Hamas' unwillingness to recognize the State of Israel and said that the group "will continue to persecute the Zionists wherever they are, after we prove that the Zionist army can be defeated - contrary to what was believed in the past, that it is impossible to beat the Zionists."
This is what the "Palis" voted for.
Speaking in the Gaza Strip, he went on to affirm Palestinian right of return, claiming that the "right of return of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians is closer than ever." "After we defeat the Zionists we will persecute them. we will persecute them to eternity, and the sun of the freedom and independence of the Palestinians will burn all of the Zionists," he continued.
Source

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More Pali lies

Palestinians are teaching their children on this Nakba (which is still my joy, incidentally) that the Israeli city of Tel Aviv belongs to them, that they used to live in "Tel al-Rabi" long before the dastardly Zionists showed up.

To absolutely nobody's surprise, we discover that this "tragic" history is a propagandistic invention, and has no basis whatsoever in that little thing we like to call "reality." Carl in Jerusalem has the full story, but here's the kicker:
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 as a Jewish city. The city next to it - Yafo - which has now been incorporated into Tel Aviv, was a mostly Arab city at the time, but has a rich Jewish history (see, for example, the Book of Jonah). In any event, Tel Aviv was not and has never been an Arab or 'Palestinian' city. But the 'Palestinian' jihadis are teaching their children that they will return to it anyway and murder any Jew who stands in their way. There never was a city called Tel Al-Rabi.
Once again, we have conclusive proof that the "Nakba" celebrations are nothing more than anti-Israeli propaganda.

Source

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Brookes News Update

The 2000 recession can tell us a lot about today's US economy: If you really want to know in which direction the US economy seems is heading then you need to read the Austrian explanation of the boom-bust cycle. The last recession fitted Austrian analysis brilliantly. And we turn to that recession for illumination of the current state of the economy
It is nonsense that only CEOs need fear Obama's tax assault: Obama is selling economic snake-oil. He's telling Americans that the way to promote prosperity is to burden the economy with even heavier taxes. So far his spending agenda exceeds $307 billion a year. Taxing 'fat cats' won't be enough. He will have to extract the money from millions of middle-class taxpayers
Hillary Clinton's nuclear option: Most pundits are telling Senator Hillary Clinton that it's all over but the shouting. The math is against her. But it is also against Obama. Neither candidate can earn the needed majority in the remaining primaries. The decision will be made by the Democrats' superdelegates who are free to change their allegiance at any time
Two recent success in WOT you didn't hear about in the media: The corrupt mainstream media are up to their old tricks. They are refusing to report recent successes against terrorists in Iraq. In doing so they are lying by omission, once again revealing their hatred of President Bush and their desire for a terrorist victory
The American left's dangerous illusions: Have you ever wondered why so many people see higher taxes and more government as the solution to every problem, despite the empirical evidence that more government reduces economic efficiency and growth, plus diminishes our liberties?

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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15 May, 2008

This is Why the Left Must Lose in November

We need to keep the liars out

Post below recycled from Ace. See the original for links

I've been taking some flak from commenters for insisting that McCain must win in November. As I've said before, it's not because McCain is going to make a great president or achieve much for Republicans. It's because the alternative is so very much worse. That's what crossed my mind when I saw the following. What follows is the type of thinking that you will see in the White House should the Democrats win in November. WARNING: it is a concentrated example of the half-truths, distortions, and outright lies that passes for foreign policy discussion on the Left. And if you're anything like me, it's really going to make you mad.
So let's recap the scene: the US military and its Iraqi "allies" are laying siege to a sprawling neighborhood in Baghdad housing roughly 2.5 million Iraqis, launching air strikes, artillery attacks, tank shells and other assorted ordnance, shutting down hospitals and bombing others, cutting off the supply of food and walling off entire sectors of the embattled region, causing a refugee crisis by their actions - and now actually pursuing a policy with the intent of creating a larger refugee crisis!
Witness the liar's casual blend of truth and falsity, used to imply malicious intent that doesn't exist. It's true that U.S. and Iraqi forces are fighting to take and keep control of portions of Sadr City and that one hospital was shut down and another damaged in a bombing. It is also true that the U.S. is building a concrete barrier through the city.

It is absolutely false that the hospital was bombed intentionally--as the liar implies--or that the U.S. has cut off food to the city. In fact, the article he links to (which we will, for now, assume is accurate) notes that the U.S. military is distributing food and medical supplies. This is curiously omitted from the liar's post, given how concerned he is about the residents of Sadr City. According to the article, the Red Crescent estimates that only 6% of the city's population have experienced food, water, or medical shortages during the weeks of fighting. More than that, it also notes that the "refugee crisis" which he blames on the U.S. and Iraqi forces hasn't actually materialized.

It is also manifestly untrue that the intent of the U.S./Iraqi operation is to create a "larger refugee crisis." In fact, the idea is to put an end to mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone, U.S. military bases, and civilian areas which are coming out of parts of Sadr City. Confusion about the difference between purposeful goals and regrettable, unintended, but unavoidable consequences is not unusual on the Left. The twisted morality that disregards intent makes claims of moral equivalence so much easier. The liar's most pernicious distortion comes next:
For what reason: because a majority of residents in these regions support a political movement, and militia, that oppose our presence. Can't have that. Because we have to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq to safeguard the Iraqi people. After all, whose gonna set up the tents in the refugee catch basins we so magnanimously helped set up to receive the overflow from our relentless assault on political movements that would make it harder for us to stay in Iraq. To safeguard the Iraqi people.
He thinks that the U.S. is targeting Sadr City merely because a "political movement, a militia" that opposes the U.S. hides in its slums. He makes no mention of the roadside, car, and market bombings, and rocket and mortar attacks that the Mahdi Army has committed. He ignores the Mahdi Army's attacks on Sunni mosques and attempts to "cleanse" a portion of the city of Sunni Arabs. Conveniently forgotten is journalist Steven Vincent who was killed almost certainly by members of that "political movement."

This distortion, wherein the Left imputes political animus to the U.S. government, is shameful, dreadful stuff. It is a mild flavor of conspiracy theory. The obvious purpose--American and Iraqi authorities want the Madhi Army to stop killing people--is disregarded in favor of a dubious, but oh-so-satisfyingly nefarious one: the Americans and their Iraqi stooges are "relentlessly attacking political groups." Another Leftist recently in the news, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, would no doubt agree. He's also fond of malicious government conspiracies.

This is the type of person you are inviting to enter the center ring when you say "we can wait 'til 2012." Democratic voters, Democratic thinkers, Obama's staff and advisers--these are the people you are flirting with when you say "McCain will do so much damage to the Republican Party." Consider for a minute how much damage these people will do to the United States. This is why the Left must lose in November. I'm not asking you to vote for John McCain. I'm asking you to vote against having a Leftist in the White House.

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EMAIL

A few words about the email I get: I do get a LOT of email. Most of it is positive but even when it is critical I am pleased to get it. I do learn from informed criticism and am delighted when I do. The contrast in quality between email I get from conservatives and Leftists is great, however. Reasoned email from Leftists is rare. Leftist email and Leftist comments posted on my blogs consist generally of unreferenced assertions. They seem to think that I must take their word for what they say. Evidence is unnecessary! Comments of that kind left on my blogs I simply delete, of course.

A word of apology however: I DO read all the emails I receive and I reply to lots of them. But I just do not have time to reply to all. Please therefore do not take umbrage if I fail to reply. It just means that I am pushed for time. Since I post daily to 15 blogs, you may understand that! Recommendations for articles that I should look at I often do not reply to. I often accept the recommendation and put the article up somewhere. That seems to me to be a good reply.

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ELSEWHERE

More on high fuel prices: "With oil prices closing above $125 a barrel of oil on Friday, angry politicians are blaming the higher prices on everything from speculators to greedy oil companies. Last week some Democratic Senators demanded "urgent action . . . to adequately investigate whether speculators are driving up prices." Democrats are proposing to protect the American people from "greedy oil traders who manipulate the market." ... Putting aside the fact that having politicians blame oil companies is a bit hypocritical - U.S. oil companies have paid more than three times in taxes to the government than they have earned in profits over the last 25 years - higher taxes on profits will reduce production and increase prices. A higher tax on profits will mean fewer investments in producing oil and that in turn will mean less production in the future. Ironically, Democrats won the 2006 elections and took control of both the House and the Senate by promising they would reduce gas prices. Yet, with regular gas now selling above $3.67 a gallon, Americans can only longingly remember the average prices of about $2.20 a gallon that Democrats were complaining about in early November 2006. The Democrats' bigger sin is that they seem to have no understanding of how markets work.

The Recession of 2008 That Wasn't? "More bad news for the Recession Hysteria Pimps. The professionals whose income depends on accurate economic forecasts, as recently as 5/8/2008, continue to forecast economic growth in every quarter of 2008. Remember, The Conference Board has been in the business of providing accurate economic forecasts for "over 90 years". The Conference Board predicted 0.4% GDP growth for Q1 of 2008. And, the advance number, 0.6%, beat their forecast. I'm betting their forecast for the rest of the year will be equally accurate. But, nobody in the media wants to allow anybody at The Conference Board to talk about their forecast. Why? Because it's "off script". It won't sell as much advertising and it won't advance the political agenda of those in the media."

With Deepest Condolences To the AP Economics Desk: "According to the Philadelphia Fed, economists are climbing down off the recession ledge (that minority of economists who thought we were on the brink of recession are, anyway). The so-called "Anxious Index" now indicates less than 28% of economists surveyed believe the economy will slip into recession next quarter. Having peaked at 43% this cycle, the AI failed to reach even its lowest of recession-era peaks observed over the last 40 years."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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14 May, 2008

In defense of 'Big Oil'

With gas prices topping four dollars a gallon in some regions of the country, now may not be the best time to say something positive about "big oil," but here goes anyway. Where is it written that the cost for a product or service should be frozen in place and in time, never to rise again, or to rise at a pace commensurate with our incomes? People who think this way know little to nothing about supply and demand and less than nothing about the profit motive. That's because at least three generations have been raised on the notion of entitlement, and when one feels entitled to something, one believes someone else should pay.

Senate Democrats last week sought to ingratiate themselves with voters, while doing nothing to produce more energy, with a familiar attack on "big oil." They want to repeal $17 billion in tax breaks for the oil companies over 10 years and on top of that impose a windfall profit tax on companies that don't invest in new energy sources. This is political expediency at its worst.

Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron, told me it's a myth that oil companies are not investing in new energy sources. He says last year alone, Chevron spent $20 billion exploring new sources of energy.

Robertson said President Bush's trip this week to Saudi Arabia is "highly embarrassing" because he is "calling on the Saudis to produce more oil when we are not doing it ourselves." The last refinery built in America was in 1976. Tighter government regulations are the main reason. That's how unserious we are about our energy "crisis." Robertson said there would be plenty of oil available to the United States if the oil companies were allowed to get it: "Eighty-five percent of offshore oil is off-limits." Responding to objections to offshore drilling by environmentalists and their allies in Congress, Robertson noted that some of the strongest pro-environment nations in Europe -- he mentions Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom -- lease offshore locations for oil exploration. The technology has become so good, he said, that during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, "one thousand offshore wells were destroyed (in the Gulf of Mexico), but not one leaked." Australia, he said, has allowed offshore drilling for 40 years without any environmental damage.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass says: "The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate's politics were born in Chicago. Yet [Barack Obama] is presented to the nation as not truly being of this place, as if he floats just above the political corruption here, uninfected, untouched by the stain of it or by any sin of commission or omission.... My argument is not with him -- but with the national political media pack that refuses to look closely at what Chicago is.... Why is Obama allowed to campaign as a reformer, virtually unchallenged by the media, though he's a product of Chicago politics and has never condemned the wholesale political corruption in his home town the way he condemns those darn Washington lobbyists"

Air Combat by Remote Control: "The sniper never knew what hit him. The Marines patrolling the street below were taking fire, but did not have a clear shot at the third-story window that the sniper was shooting from. They were pinned down and called for reinforcements. Help came from a Predator drone circling the skies 20 miles away. As the unmanned plane closed in, the infrared camera underneath its nose picked up the muzzle flashes from the window. The sniper was still firing when the Predator's 100-pound Hellfire missile came through the window and eliminated the threat. The airman who fired that missile was 8,000 miles away, here at Creech Air Force Base, home of the 432nd air wing. The 432nd officially "stood up," in the jargon of the Air Force, on May 1, 2007. One year later, two dozen of its drones patrol the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan every hour of every day."

Socialists decide not to destroy Britain's finance industry after all: "The Treasury has succumbed to sustained pressure from big business and agreed to water down controversial proposals to change the UK corporate tax regime. Several big multinational British companies had said that they were prepared to move their headquarters from the UK amid concerns that the Treasury was preparing to tax the profits they derived overseas. A Treasury spokesman confirmed yesterday that the department had drawn up a new set of tax plans after extensive consulation with UK companies. The move will be seen as another embarrassing government climbdown. The spokesman said that new proposals would be put out to consultation in mid-June, with a view to introducing legislative changes next year. Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, threatened to move the advertising giant offshore, following a lead set by Shire, the pharmaceuticals business, and United Business Media, the publishing group. Other companies looking at moving their headquarters outside the UK for tax reasons include Aberdeen Asset Management, the fund manager, and Brit Insurance and Chaucer, the Lloyd's of London insurers. Smith & Nephew, the medical equipment firm, and Old Mutual, the insurance and fund management group, have both refused to rule out a departure.... Treasury sources said that the Government would move ahead with legislation only if it had secured the broad agreement of business and would not rule out abandoning the proposals."

NYT grudgingly notes improvements in Iraq: "Three hundred miles south of Baghdad, the oil-saturated city of Basra has been transformed by its own surge, now seven weeks old. In a rare success, forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have largely quieted the city, to the initial surprise and growing delight of many inhabitants who only a month ago shuddered under deadly clashes between Iraqi troops and Shiite militias. Just as in Baghdad, Iraqi and Western officials emphasize that the gains here are "fragile," like the newly planted roadside saplings that fail to conceal mounds of garbage and pools of foul-smelling water in the historic port city's slums. ... Among the many uncertainties are whether the government, criticized for incompetence at the start of the operation, can maintain the high level of troops here. But in interviews across Basra, residents overwhelmingly reported a substantial improvement in their everyday lives. "The circle of fear is broken," said Shaker, owner of a floating restaurant on Basra's famed Corniche promenade, who, although optimistic, was still afraid to give his full name, as were many of those interviewed."

If only these guys had been government clerks: "A highly sensitive internal report into the state of the British Army has revealed that many soldiers are living in poverty. Some are so poor that they are unable to eat and are forced to rely on emergency food voucher schemes set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Some of Britain's most senior military figures reacted angrily yesterday to the revelations in the report, criticising the Government's treatment of its fighting forces. The disturbing findings outlined in the briefing team report written for Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, include an admission that many junior officers are being forced to leave the Army because they simply cannot afford to stay on. Pressure from an undermanned army is "having a serious impact on retention in infantry battalions", with nearly half of all soldiers unable to take all their annual leave as they try to cover the gaps". [But there's always plenty of money for more clerks and bureaucrats]



Obama Once Again Wearing Flag Pin, Star Count Unclear: "Well, that didn't take long. Just 24 hours after the Obama-edition 57-star flag pins went on sale, the candidate himself is found sporting a patriotic lapel pin voluntarily for the first time in months. It's hard to tell from the resolution of the photo, but I think it's safe to assume it's one of ours."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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13 May, 2008

Some facts in search of a moral

My personal life is uneventful -- which is how I like it. So it's only occasionally that I find something worth noting on my personal blog. Something I noted there recently, however, sparked a train of thought. I noted how many Presbyterians there are in Korea: about 20% of the South Korean population, if I remember rightly. Yet Korea was never one of the many British colonies. India, on the other hand, was dominated by the British for centuries yet Christianity of any kind is rare there. Most Indian Christians in fact have mixed ancestry -- Anglo-Indians.

And then there is Fiji. The British presence in Fiji happened with a large degree of consent from the native Fijians -- via their traditional chiefs. Queen Victoria was simply recognized as the chief of chiefs. And Fijians to this day recognize Queen Elizabeth as their queen. And there are so many Fijians in the British army that their has been talk of putting a cap on their numbers. So what religion are the Fijians? They are almost all Methodists, and Methodists of the old school at that.

I am sure there is a moral there but I am not certain of exactly what it is yet.

And then there is another old British/Australian custom that probably prevails in America too: A sort of defiant custom. I think the most amusing example occurs in David Niven's autobiography. When he was about to graduate from Sandhurst, he was asked what regiment he would like to join. He put down: "Anything but the HLI". The Highland Light Infantry wear trews (tartan trousers) and Niven did not like that image at all. He was of course immediately posted to the HLI.

Another example of it occurred when the father of a friend of mine inadvertedly spoke with some satisfaction of his expense account. He was of course immediately told that he had to take us to dinner at a good restaurant on it -- which he was in fact glad to do, though it clearly was not an example of a work expense.

So is there an underlying principle or moral there too? I suspect that there is. An attack on hubris, maybe?

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Newsweek: Republicans Are Successful Because They Scare Voters

Post below recycled from Gateway Pundit



The media onslaught against the Republicans and John McCain is officially on its way. Today's Newsweek article combines both the media's deep hatred of Republicans and love for Messiah in one piece:

While Clinton veered between playing Queen Elizabeth I and Norma Rae, Obama and his team chugged along with a superior 50-state campaign strategy, racking up the delegates. If the candidate seemed weary and peevish or a little slow to respond at times, he never lost his cool. But the real test is yet to come. The Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968, when Richard Nixon built a Silent Majority out of lower- and middle-class folks frightened or disturbed by hippies and student radicals and blacks rioting in the inner cities. The 2008 race may turn on which party will win the lower- and middle-class whites in industrial and border states-the Democrats' base from the New Deal to the 1960s, but "Reagan Democrats" in most presidential elections since then. It is a sure bet that the GOP will try to paint Obama as "the other"-as a haughty black intellectual who has Muslim roots (Obama is a Christian) and hangs around with America-haters.
Here's some news for Newsweek: Republicans don't have to "paint" anything-- Obama's done a fine job all by himself.

(Top left clockwise) Barack and Michelle Obama and radical Leftist anti-Israel Professor Edward Said at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago at which Edward Said gave the keynote speech. (Bill Baar's West Side), Former PLO operative and close friend of the Obama's Rashid Khalidi, Barack Obama and his racist minister Jeremiah Wright, and terrorist friend William Ayers.

To think that Republicans have to do more than lift a brush to paint Obama as "the other" guy who likes hanging around with America-haters is ridiculous. The truth speak for itself. STACLU provides of few examples of Democratic scare tactics that are more recent than 1968.

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There is a great tribute to West Virginia here. It sounds like a place that I would like.

Not history alone: "Israel's fundamental right to exist doesn't derive from UN votes, or promises in the Bible, or its own Declaration of Independence. For ultimately, the right of statehood accrues only to those who can fashion and sustain a nation. "Why does the United States belong to Americans?" Yale's David Gelernter wrote in 2002. "Because we built it. We conceived the idea and put it into practice bit by bit." For the same reason, the land of Israel belongs to Israelis: "Because Israelis conceived and built it -- and what you create is yours. If you want a homeland, you must create one. You drain swamps, lay out farms, build houses, schools, roads, hospitals. . . . "That's how America got its homeland. And that is why Israel belongs to the Israelis."

Marines squeeze Taliban supply routes : "US Marines supported by British troops in Afghanistan now command three key locations south of the town of Garmsir, in Helmand province, putting pressure on the main supply routes of the Taleban for arms, opium and reinforcements. For the first time since the Nato campaign expanded to the south in 2006 the Taleban stranglehold in this part of Helmand - stretching from the Pakistan border to Garmsir - has been weakened. Crucial vantage points are now held by 1,200 US Marines from 24 Marine Expeditionary Unit (24 MEU) and 200 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 Scots) battle group. Lieutenant-Colonel Robin Matthews, the chief British spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said that the US men were guided by British troops as they moved at night "over extraordinarily difficult terrain . . . to launch their assault".

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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12 May, 2008

ISRAEL AT 60

Israel's 60th anniversary has produced some wonderful essays in honour of that heroic people but the most down to earth was in my view written by Prof. Barry Rubin -- a man who has converted his love of Israel into an unceasing verbal war against all those in the media who misrepresent Israel. I reproduce an excerpt below. The whole thing, of course, is a must-read for all of us who support Israel

As part of the sixtieth anniversary celebration, Israelis are choosing their national bird but they have long since picked the national sport: self-criticism. The great Israeli humorist Ephraim Kishon described his own arrival in the country shortly after independence by joking that as the ship approached the coast it became very hot and we began criticizing the government over the weather. Daily Israel, every conceivable failing (real or imagined) is relentlessly dissected. The negative is usually highlighted, though afterward people feel optimistic at having been able to vent their pessimism. One day walking down the street I ran into a friend.

"How's everything?" he asked. "Great," I answered. "How can you say that!" he exclaimed. "Don't you read the newspapers?" This characteristic has a positive effect, by inspiring a ceaseless effort to make things better. In dictatorships and places ruled by extremist ideologies, the stifling of this process has been one of the main reasons for their failings.

I know our society could have been, and could be today, far better. Don't get me started on the teacher's strike or the low calibre of politicians. The president and prime minister have rightly both faced charges of malfeasance. One cannot help but think that if so much effort didn't have to go into self-defence, the country would be within shouting distance of utopia.

Still, when annual quality of life polls are taken, the positive scores from Israelis are into the 90th percentile. Moreover, although Israel faces very real threats, its security situation is better than the great majority of those sixty years. While there is full, formal peace with only Egypt and Jordan, most Arab states-except for Syria-have in practice made the material, as opposed to verbal, pursuit of the conflict, a low priority.

It's true that the old comradeship of decades ago has declined, as have the institutions created to build the state. As in other countries, privatization has replaced statism. I can remember when a telephone installation took a month. Now it takes a day. Television stations have gone from a single choice to dozens. The national airport has been upgraded from a place barely fit for a small provincial town to a large, thoroughly modern complex. This tiny state of now seven million people is a world leader in science, medicine, and hi-tech among other things, yet still has some of the globe's best-tasting fruit and vegetables as well as internationally exported flowers.

And nothing more symbolizes Israeli daily life than the driver behind you setting off his horn to beat the speed of light from the changing traffic signal. Yet civility, too, is creeping in gradually. With all of its problems-at times because of its problems-it is a great place to live.

Oh yes we are human beings, a fact that often seems forgotten in the hate-filled propaganda that pervades too many institutions, the slanderous misrepresentation of latest fact and longer-term history which is heard far too much. A friend told me today that he was seriously informed on an international television broadcast that former prime minister Ariel Sharon drank a glass of Palestinian blood every day.

It's often explained that criticism of Israel is not antisemitism as such but increasingly the extreme, crazed attacks precisely duplicate that hateful standpoint. More important is this: historic antisemitism's claims and assumptions have simply been adapted to Israel; the word "Zionism" simply substituted for "Judaism" and "Israel" for "Jews." We are the only people in the world continually called on to apologize because we survived, even after 85 percent of European Jews were murdered and about 90 percent of Middle Eastern Jews were expelled or had to flee the countries where they were born.

In contrast to the false accusations, we will be delighted to agree, cooperate, and celebrate the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state willing to live in peace alongside Israel. Unfortunately, that prospect seems distant. Equally unfortunately, that movement's Islamist and much of its nationalist leadership prefers to continue the conflict-and intensify their own, and our, people's suffering--rather than accept anything less than Israel, in the words of Iran's president, being wiped off the map.

A thousand years ago, Chasdai Ibn Shaprut wrote from Spain: "Dishonoured and humiliated by our dispersion, we have to listen in silence to those who say: `every nation has its own land and you alone possess not even the shadow of a country on this earth.'" But if there really was a place, Shaprut said, "where harassed Israel can rule itself, where it is subject to nobody.I would not hesitate to forsake all honours, resign my high office.and travel over mountains and plains, over land and water," to reach it. Well, now it exists and will keep on doing so, very probably long after seemingly more established states or at least societies vanish in its neighborhood or elsewhere.

Nahum Lenkin, one of my few relatives who escaped with his life from wartime Poland, wrote how his parents there often "went without food" to pay for the town's Zionist school where he and others could be prepared "to one day go as pioneers to Eretz Israel." Virtually all that town's survivors, and their children, live in Israel.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Bush set to veto $300 billion farm bill: "Administration officials have dashed hopes among farm-state lawmakers from both parties that President Bush will sign a nearly $300 billion farm bill that they finished Thursday. The veto warning sets up an effort by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, joined by many farm-state Republicans, to override a veto and defend government payments to farmers earning record incomes even as food prices soar. Administration officials said the bill, which would set U.S. food policy for the next five years, is loaded with budget gimmicks that disguise a $20 billion increase in spending. "At a time of record farm income, Congress decided to further increase farm subsidy rates, qualify more people for taxpayer support, and move programs toward more government control," Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said. Schafer dismissed lawmakers, including Republicans, pushing to override the veto. "The same people stand up and say they're against corporate welfare and tax cuts for the rich," he said. "I have visited face to face with our president and he was direct and plain. The president will veto this bill."

Big business likes big government: "Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is struggling to attract money from some of the same industries that helped bankroll President George W. Bush's record-setting fundraising. Employees from the securities, construction, pharmaceutical and energy industries, who accounted for about a tenth of Bush's money in 2004, are turned off by his record and giving more to his Democratic rivals, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. ``A significant percentage of your base Republican support, whether financial or otherwise, are not fans of McCain because of various things he's done or said or sponsored,'' said Republican consultant Eddie Mahe, who is supporting the Arizona senator. ``Many of them don't see Mr. McCain as being a lot better'' than the Democrats."

Big victory for the Iraq government: "Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. In return, Sadr's Mahdi Army supporters won the Iraqi government's agreement not to arrest Mahdi Army members without warrants, unless they were in possession of "medium and heavy weaponry." The agreement would end six weeks of fighting in the vast Shiite Muslim area that's home to more than 2 million residents and would mark the first time that the area would be under government control since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003"

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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11 May, 2008

Buried Prejudice: The Bigot in Your Brain

Deep within our subconscious, all of us harbor biases that we consciously abhor. And the worst part is: we act on them

The heading and subheading above are from a recent article in that well-known Greenie publication, "Scientific American". I also reproduce the first part of the article concerned below. The article seems to be aimed towards making us less prejudiced towards outgroups. But the article exists in a reality vacuum. It totally ignores realities such as the incredibly high rate of violent crime among blacks and also ignores most of the research on impression-formation and stereotyping. It is largely a rehash of some well-known work by Banerji and Richeson that I have commented on some time ago.

The "amazing" thing that the researchers found was that whites (and some blacks) are more wary of blacks than they are of whites -- no matter how you measure or detect that. Such a finding would, however, surely surprise only a psychologist. If blacks REALLY ARE more dangerous to others, it is merely psychological good function to be more wary of them than of others. And I don't think even Leftists attempt to deny the high rate of black crime. So to call such perfectly proper wariness in people "bigotry" is itself bigoted. Bigotry is judging people according to a fixed and wrong set of preconceptions and it seems to me that that is exactly how psychologists are judging others when they refer to perfectly normal and adaptive behaviour as bigotry.

The one thing that the research literature on stereotyping shows most clearly is that the "stereotypes" people have in their heads are not usually (Except, perhaps in the case of psychologists) rigid or imprisoning but are highly flexible and responsive to the realities that people encounter (See for instance here and here). That fact fully explains all the behaviour that the psychologists described below view as "bigotry". If blacks change, the perceptions and expectations of them will change -- but I am not holding my breath.

Fortunately, the same literature tells us that once we get to know a particular person as an individual, the importance of the stereotype recedes rapidly -- so that the particular person will then in general be treated as we find him/her, regardless of any expectations we have about the group to which he/she belongs. A rather amusing example of that which I once came across was a white neo-Nazi whose best friend was a very dark-skinned Bengali. And there was another guy who could not stand "Chinks" (East Asians) but who was happily married to one. And Wilhelm Marr, the man who in 1879 invented the term "antisemitism" (he thought it was a good thing), was actually married to a Jewish lady! Psychologists have traditionally seen such behaviour as perverse but a good knowledge of the impression-formation research would have told them that it is normal.
"There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life," Jesse Jackson once told an audience, "than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery-then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved."

Jackson's remark illustrates a basic fact of our social existence, one that even a committed black civil-rights leader cannot escape: ideas that we may not endorse-for example, that a black stranger might harm us but a white one probably would not-can nonetheless lodge themselves in our minds and, without our permission or awareness, color our perceptions, expectations and judgments.

Using a variety of sophisticated methods, psychologists have established that people unwittingly hold an astounding assortment of stereotypical beliefs and attitudes about social groups: black and white, female and male, elderly and young, gay and straight, fat and thin. Although these implicit biases inhabit us all, we vary in the particulars, depending on our own group membership, our conscious desire to avoid bias and the contours of our everyday environments. For instance, about two thirds of whites have an implicit preference for whites over blacks, whereas blacks show no average preference for one race over the other.

Such bias is far more prevalent than the more overt, or explicit, prejudice that we associate with, say, the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis. That is emphatically not to say that explicit prejudice and discrimination have evaporated nor that they are of lesser importance than implicit bias. According to a 2005 federal report, almost 200,000 hate crimes-84 percent of them violent-occur in the U.S. every year.

The persistence of explicit bias in contemporary culture has led some critics to maintain that implicit bias is of secondary concern. But hundreds of studies of implicit bias show that its effects can be equally insidious. Most social psychologists believe that certain scenarios can automatically activate implicit stereotypes and attitudes, which then can affect our perceptions, judgments and behavior. "The data on that are incontrovertible," concludes psychologist Russell H. Fazio of Ohio State University.

Now researchers are probing deeper. They want to know: Where exactly do such biases come from? How much do they influence our outward behavior? And if stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes are burned into our psyches, can learning more about them help to tell each of us how to override them?
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ELSEWHERE

Tax revolt in Britain: "Gordon Brown must stop his crippling tax rises or face an election hammering, Cabinet ministers have warned him. They told the beleaguered Prime Minister that millions of decent, hard-working families have been stretched to breaking point by Labour's punishing policies. Warning that the country will revolt against any further drain on dwindling family finances, they used an extraordinary Cabinet meeting to tell the Prime Minister that voters have "reached the limit" of their endurance for his relentless hikes in income tax, fuel duty and council tax. Even Chancellor Alistair Darling is understood to be counselling that Middle Britain cannot take any more financial punishment. And in the first signs of a Cabinet revolt, ministers demanded a halt to any new taxes."

Germany: Court says Muslim girl can't skip swimming: "A Muslim girl in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia cannot skip co-ed swimming lessons because of religious prohibitions against wearing formfitting clothing, a German court ruled on Wednesday. The administrative court in Dusseldorf ruled that the state's responsibility to educate the girl outweighed the potential infringement on her religious freedom. The 12-year-old girl's parents sued her school in the northern German city of Remscheid after the school refused to allow the girl to skip swimming class. Citing religious reasons, the parents said they did not want their daughter to participate because her body would not be covered. The ruling means the girl must participate in swimming lessons starting next week, Sabine Ernst of the Alexander von Humboldt School told German news agency DDP. Ernst declined to state what the consequences could be if the girl declines to attend." [Nil!]

FBI targets Internet Archive, loses: "The Internet Archive, a project to create a digital library of the web for posterity, successfully fought a secret government Patriot Act order for records about one of its patrons and won the right to make the order public, civil liberties groups announced Wednesday morning. On November 26, 2007, the FBI served a controversial National Security Letter on the Internet Archive's founder Brewster Kahle, asking for records about one of the library's registered users, asking for the user's name, address and activity on the site. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet Archive's lawyers, fought the NSL, challenging its constitutionality in a December 14 complaint to a federal court in San Francisco. The FBI agreed on April 21 to withdraw the letter and unseal the court case, making some of the documents available to the public."

An old-fashioned Christian family rich in children: "It's a happy Mother's Day for an Arkansas woman - she's pregnant with her 18th child. Michelle Duggar, 41, is due on New Year's Day, and the latest addition will join seven sisters and 10 brothers. There are two sets of twins. The Duggars' oldest child, Josh, is 20, and the youngest, Jennifer, is nine months old. The fast-growing family lives in Tontitown in northwest Arkansas in a 7,000-square-foot home. All the children - whose names start with the letter J - are home-schooled... Duggar said she's six weeks along and the pregnancy is going well. She and her husband, Jim Bob Duggar, said they'll keep having children as long as God wills it. "The success in a family is first off, a love for God, and secondly, treating each other like you want to be treated," Jim Bob Duggar said. "Our goal is for each one of our children to be best friends, and everybody working together to serve each other makes that happen."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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10 May, 2008

Support for US attack on Iran grows in Middle East

The potentially transforming events in the 2008 campaign are matters of war and peace. Both may be in play between now and November, in ways that add extra volatility to the presidential race. Let's start with war: The United States is already fighting two of them, in Iraq and Afghanistan. But judging from recent statements by administration officials, there is also a small, but growing, chance of conflict with Iran.

The administration is signaling the Iranians that they need to stop supplying and training Shiite militias in Iraq -- or run the risk of U.S. retaliation. The Maliki government in Baghdad, worried about the danger of escalation, is passing this message to Tehran, but so far the only consequence has been that the Iranians have broken off talks in Baghdad that were aimed at stabilizing the situation.

Saber rattling from the Bush White House may seem almost routine, but pay attention to the comment last week by Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Iran is not going away. We need to be strong and really in the deterrent mode, to not be very predictable."

The risk of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation is growing in part because Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the Middle East are so eager for it. "Behind closed doors, we are praying that the Iranians will make a mistake so that you will have a reason to attack," one Saudi told me this week. Another prominent Arab official said he hopes the United States will strike Iranian training camps just over the border from Iraq.

How would a U.S.-Iran confrontation play out in the campaign? Obviously, that depends on how you read the American political mood. Usually, we assume that the nation rallies around the party of war, but that's less certain in this case. America is war-weary, and it mistrusts President Bush. So a military skirmish with Iran might backfire, adding to public dissent -- much as happened with the Nixon administration's attack on Viet Cong sanctuaries in Cambodia in 1970.

Adding to the combustible mix is Hillary Clinton's hawkish position on Iran, which has support from the center-right of the party even if she drops out. Her rhetorical threat to "totally obliterate" Iran if it launched a nuclear attack against Israel was sharper than anything that has come out of the Bush White House. The anti-Iran stance from centrist Democrats blunts John McCain's appeal as the tough-guy candidate. But it complicates the Democrats' argument for withdrawing U.S. troops rapidly from Iraq, since the main beneficiary of such a move would be Tehran.

Source

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The Democrat defence of voter fraud



(Toon via Mamacita)

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ELSEWHERE

Real economic truth: "Does the media accurately report economic news? Some are raising that question after the release of several highly anticipated economic reports last week. The new data show that the United States is not in a recession, as the economy continues to grow. Fewer jobs have been lost than expected, with unemployment staying low at 5 percent. And the stock market has been surging over the last few months, with the Dow Jones Industrials average rising back over 13,000 last Thursday. But many news articles are painting a different picture. 'The bruised economy limped through the first quarter of this year,' the Associated Press reported. '... as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.' The article noted in the second paragraph that, 'the statistic did not meet what economists consider the classic definition of a recession.'"

British judge has obviously never heard of the age of responsibility: "A paedophile who molested an 11-year-old girl escaped jail yesterday when a judge ruled the victim had "welcomed" his advances. Judge Robert Atherton triggered outrage when he told Manchester Crown Court the child had invited Jon Dixon's attack as she had a "sexual awareness" that would make someone twice her age blush. The judge rejected an assessment by the probation service that Dixon, 20, posed a "high risk of serious harm to children".

Stopping promiscuity key to aids prevention: "The fight against the Aids epidemic in Africa is founded on ineffective strategies and should focus on male circumcision and reducing promiscuity, according to leading scientists in the field. HIV containment is generally based on the "three pillars" - promotion and provision of condoms, HIV status testing and treatment of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can increase the risk of becoming infected. There is little evidence, however, that any of these methods works well in sub-Saharan Africa, where two thirds of the 33.2 million people who carry the virus live, a review for the journal Science has found. It was published in a special issue to mark the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes Aids." [They think they can stop Africans from sleeping around by lecturing them??]

Hillary: Big rewards?: "Hillary may not want to stop until there's blood on the Convention floor, but apparently Big Rewards Await Clinton If She Ends Campaign Now. Like a Discover card, there are cash rewards. One of the most inviting is the near certainty that the Obama campaign would agree to pay back the $11.4 million she has loaned her own bid, along with an estimated $10 million to $15 million in unpaid campaign expenses."

Al-Masri the Egyptian falls : "Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq was captured today in the northern city of Mosul according to the Iraqi ministry of defense. Al-Masri's life parallels that of al-Qaeda itself. Born an Egyptian he followed al-Qaeda's fortunes from the Middle East to Central Asia and back. According to US sources, Masri was born in 1967, "joined the Muslim Brotherhood, and in 1982 ... joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which later became part of al-Qaeda. He went to Afghanistan in 1999, where he became an explosives expert. In 2004 he was put in charge of al-Qaeda's overseas networks, and in 2006 he succeeded al-Zarqawi as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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9 May, 2008

Conservatives are happier because they are less angry

That seems to be the conclusion to be drawn from the report of a piece of psychological research below. But that conclusion must of course be interpreted to make conservatives look bad. So the assumption is injected that they SHOULD be angry! No argument is offered to say why. I will probably say more about this when the actual academic journal article underlying the report below comes online. One of the authors, John Jost, has however previously been shown as having some strange ideas about how to define conservatism so I expect further idiocy and bias in his measure of "rationalization". There is already an extended comment on the study up at STACLU

Individuals with conservative ideologies are happier than liberal-leaners, and new research pinpoints the reason: Conservatives rationalize social and economic inequalities. Regardless of marital status, income or church attendance, right-wing individuals reported greater life satisfaction and well-being than left-wingers, the new study found. Conservatives also scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities.

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are." To justify economic inequalities, a person could support the idea of meritocracy, in which people supposedly move up their economic status in society based on hard work and good performance. In that way, one's social class attainment, whether upper, middle or lower, would be perceived as totally fair and justified.

If your beliefs don't justify gaps in status, you could be left frustrated and disheartened, according to the researchers, Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University. They conducted a U.S.-centric survey and a more internationally focused one to arrive at the findings. "Our research suggests that inequality takes a greater psychological toll on liberals than on conservatives," the researchers write in the June issue of the journal Psychological Science, "apparently because liberals lack ideological rationalizations that would help them frame inequality in a positive (or at least neutral) light."

The results support and further explain a Pew Research Center survey from 2006, in which 47 percent of conservative Republicans in the U.S. described themselves as "very happy," while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats indicated such cheer. The same rationalizing phenomena could apply to personal situations as well.

"There is no reason to think that the effects we have identified here are unique to economic forms of inequality," the researchers write. "Research suggests that highly egalitarian women are less happy in their marriages compared with their more traditional counterparts, apparently because they are more troubled by disparities in domestic labor."

Source

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ELSEWHERE

Marine recruiting ahead of schedule: "The U.S. Marine Corps has had more success than expected in attracting recruits, and has moved up the date for completing their current expansion. Last year, Congress ordered the marines to expand their strength from the current 181,000 to 202,000. At first, the marines thought it would take them four years to do it. But between the large number of recruits, and the many current marines who are staying in, the expansion will be accomplished by next year... The Marines will be back up to pre Clinton cut levels next year"

Sadr militia in a corner: "With their Basra bases destroyed, the Mahdi Army is making a last stand in the eastern Baghdad Sadr City neighborhood. U.S. troops have erected concrete reinforced roadblocks around the Mahdi Army strongholds, and then work with Iraqi troops (who do most of the fighting) to clean out the Shia militiamen house by house. Thousands of civilians have been fleeing, once they see the roadblocks go up, for they know that the Mahdi fighters use civilians as human shields. In one well reported case, a Mahdi Army warlord set up his command post next to a hospital, believing this would make him immune from air attacks. He was wrong, even though the missile that destroyed his operation also blew out windows in the adjacent hospital."

Media Boycott Of Moderate Muslims?: "We keep saying we want to hear from influential moderate Muslims who oppose the worrisome rhetoric and occasional deeds of anti-western Islamists, but what good is our wanting to hear from them if, when they come along to speak to us, the media ignores them? Today I had the privilege of attending a private meeting with Morad El Hattab, who is visiting from France. M El Hattab, who identifies himself as a Muslim, not an ex-Muslim, is a scholar and a well-known public figure in France... El Hattab has said, "I think that the criminalization of the State of Israel is the cancer of the 21st century." He has traveled extensively in Israel and the West Bank, knows members of the Palestinian Authority, and maintains friendships with both Jews and Arabs in the area... Wouldn't you think that a Muslim intellectual of such open-mindedness, prestige, learning and deep understanding of both the Muslim and Jewish worlds would be of interest to the media? He spoke today at the Universit‚ de Montreal but not a single media outlet in Quebec wanted to meet with him or interview him. Indeed El Hattab characterized the media's snubbing as a "boycott."

Wise words from JPod: "John Podhoretz has some sage advice for those of us certain that the voters will never elect such a far left candidate with no real resume and a cast of unsavory associates: "In 2004, John Kerry, the most liberal member of the Senate and nobody's idea of a good candidate, received 59 million votes. He bettered Al Gore's 2000 vote total by 17 percent. He only lost because George Bush generated 62 million votes, the greatest number in American history. Who received the second greatest number of votes in American history? John Kerry. A left-liberal can win, and will win, unless he is defeated by his rival. Barack Obama will not defeat himself. He's already too strong a candidate for that to be a possibility""

Salem witch trials all over again? "Substitute teacher Jim Piculas does a 30-second magic trick where a toothpick disappears then reappears. But after performing it in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land 'O Lakes, Piculas said his job did a disappearing act of its own. "I get a call the middle of the day from the supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments. You need to come in right away,'" he said. When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell that went much farther than he'd hoped. "I said, 'Well Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry,' [he said]. Wizardry?" he asked."

The lost baggage airline is also now the no beef airline: "British Airways has ditched beef for economy class passengers this summer in an attempt to appeal to a more international passenger base. The familiar cabin crew inquiry of "chicken or beef?" will not be heard in economy after the airline ditched the national dish in favour of what it calls a lighter, healthier option. Critics will suspect that the relentless pressure to cut costs that all airlines are facing is behind the move, although BA said cost was not a factor. A spokesman for the airline told The Times: "We were looking for something with broad appeal. Research trends have shown us that fish pie is very popular in supermarkets so we decided to go with that and chicken and tarragon for the summer. "We can only serve two options and beef and pork obviously have religious restrictions," the spokesman added. BA's second-biggest long-haul market, after transatlantic routes, is to India".

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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8 May, 2008

Israel At 60: The Hope

Hope is deeply ingrained in the Israeli consciousness, along with resilience, creativity, progress, democracy, self-criticism, and decency. There is sometimes unavoidable friction among them, but cumulatively they make Israel a unique modern miracle among nations. May 8, the 60th anniversary, offers the lesson of Israel's experience to the world.

Israel's Left and Right argue and re-argue about how to relieve Israel of the burdens and threats from Gaza and the West Bank, and Iran. These arguments, however, are largely subsumed by hope, hope without much evidence to support it. There's quite a difference between constructive optimism and potentially lethal leaps. Still, the strengths of Israel's other national characteristics are what makes hope possible. For example, Colette Avital, a Labor Party Knesset member, argues:
At the end of the decade, the traditional disagreements between left and right have lost much of their relevance, as a majority of Israelis support the end of occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state. Moreover, the debate on the path to follow seems to be over, too. Unilateralism is largely discredited as an option. Our negotiating partner is our partner, however imperfect. Israelis may be less hopeful than they were, but they are more realistic in their demands. They know the limits of military power. What's more, they know that time is running out. It may just be that sense of urgency that will make an agreement possible at the end of 2008.
One may be excused for dismissing this hopefulness. But, it must be realized it is deeply felt by a broad range of the public in Israel and the US, and comes more from strength than from weakness of spirit. Hope is what Israel is, ultimately, about. Israel's national anthem is Hope, Hatikvah. That Hope is based upon the diaspora's return to Israel to live in peace and progress.

More here

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Brookes News Update

Bernanke gets it wrong: Bernanke is said to be an expert on the Great Depression and that it has shaped his thinking about the role of the Fed. Be that as it may, Bernanke's actions suggest that far from absorbing the lessons of the 1930s he has in fact hammered them into a Keynesian mould. And this is why we just got another rates cut
Emissions trading - a weapon of mass taxation: Although consumers in many countries will bear the oppressive costs of a carbon tax, there may be no reduction whatsoever in CO2 emissions, and no beneficial effect on the world's climate. But parasitic companies formed to exploit carbon tax will reap billions from ripping off the public and savaging its living standards
Debt and monetary policy - is there a link?: It is a pretty sorry state of affairs when economic commentators can write of consumer spending and debt driving the economy without once referring to monetary policy. It is even worse when the same commentators write about monetary policy without even alluding to the money supply
Body of South American youth mutilated near Guantanamo: Has Cuba's Stasi-trained secret police been murder South American students for their organs? The mutilated body Beatriz Porco of a 22-year-old Bolivian student found near Guantanamo suggest that this is the case. But this should not surprise us considering that Castro ordered political prisoners to be drained of their blood
Wages and risk: another leftwing fallacy: Leftists argue that labour flexibility and productivity schemes are attempts to shift the risks of doing business from the firm to its employees. This is pure baloney
Feed the World: Though he is already being belaboured by the self-haters in the left-wing commentariat, the Western consumer did not choose to implement costly and economically nonsensical biofuel policies; he had such ill-thought out intervention foisted upon him by ignorant politicians and greenie fanatics
The silent jihad against the west: Active jihad, the holy war, is terrorism. But there is also another form of jihad that is part of the deliberate effort to have Islam replace all concepts of morality and the values held dear by the rest of us. The name of this silent fifth column effort is Sharia Banking **********************

ELSEWHERE



Osprey exceeds expectations in Iraq test : "Textron Inc and Boeing Co's MV22 Osprey, the world's first operational half-helicopter half-airplane, performed far better in its Iraq combat debut than had been predicted by critics, the general in charge of Marine Corps aircraft said Friday. The hybrid aircraft is "just going to become more and more valuable across the board," including for Air Force special operations, said Marine Lt. Gen. George Trautman, deputy commandant for aviation. "Most of the critics are just plain wrong in many of the things they say," Trautman told a Pentagon briefing marking the return from Iraq last week of the first Marine Corps operational Osprey squadron. He said Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 did "every single mission that they were asked to do" during a seven month deployment. The Marines were just starting to exploit the tilt-rotor aircraft's "new and revolutionary technology," he added"

CNN Declares Itself a "Wright Free Zone," Explaining That "Our Viewers Want Us to MoveOn.org (TM)": "Funny how the networks are quick to accede to the political desires of liberals, without worrying too much about "pandering" or subcontracting their own highly-trained sense of news-value to the lay public, so long as that lay public can be used as a pretext to do what what the liberals in the newsroom want to do anyway. Imagine if FoxNews announced "We're going to have Wright updates every half hour, because that's what our viewers want." I imagine they'd be castigated for deferring to their bitter, gun-clinging audiences' wishes. Because CNN has a better audience, of course. It's liberal, and, as such, can be trusted to help make the big news-judgment decisions. Because ultimately it's not a J-school credential that empowers one to decide what should and should not be in the national debate -- it's an adherence to the liberal political philosophy."



Bratton for Britain: "The man who cleaned up the streets of New York is to help mastermind Boris Johnson's crime crackdown in London. U.S. police chief Bill Bratton will advise the new Tory mayor on how 'zero tolerance' of graffiti, fare-dodging and other minor crimes can prevent more serious offending. The move underlines Mr Johnson's determination to wage war on youth violence and anti-social behaviour. It chimes with David Cameron's promise to fight back against social breakdown and is further evidence that the capital will be a test-bed for a future Tory government. Yesterday Mr Johnson proposed the creation of up to 100 weekend clubs, involving 'competition, discipline and punishment', to help troubled teenagers. The 'respect schools' will offer youngsters activities such as football and boxing alongside academic subjects to help them perform the 'handbrake turn' needed to put them on the path to educational achievement. Mr Johnson will today flesh out his manifesto pledge to tackle crime on public transport, with patrols on buses and Tubes and a ban on drinking alcohol on the Underground."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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7 May, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Radical Past

By Jonah Goldberg

Carl Bernstein has a long post up over at the Huffington Post.... Bernstein illuminates an under-discussed fact of the campaign. Hillary Clinton's ties to 1960s radicals are far more serious than Barack Obama's (no news to readers of my book). Yes, Obama knows William Ayers, and I for one think that's not insignificant. But Hillary's history with the radical left is much more profound. Bernstein is absolutely right to criticize the Clinton campaign's hypocrisy for attacking Obama about Ayers, while airbrushing her own past. But Bernstein also wants to make the case that Clinton's ties are entirely irrelevant too. His case in this regard rests almost entirely on assertion. It's just not a big deal because I say so.

The one attempt he makes to draw a meaningful distinction between 60s radicals and Hillary is that she rejects their faith in revolutionary violence. Okay. Fair enough and bully for her. But does that mean that so long as you reject radical violence in favor of "working through the system" your roots in sixties radicalism are completely irrelevant? I think many liberals would agree with Bernstein and answer, "Yes."

This is of a piece with establishment liberalism's general approach to 60s radicals like the Weathermen and the Black Panthers. They ritualistically deplore their tactics, but they quickly start spouting sympathy for their goals, even their idealism. We're told that the only real sin of these would-be revolutionaries was that they "cared too much." This was certainly the attitude of many Great Society liberals in the 1960s and I think its the attitude of countless liberal sixties-nostalgists today. But surely it says something about your views about America and politics in general if your only serious difference with Marxist radicals is one of means rather than ends.

Do I think Obama's relationship with Ayers disqualifies him for the presidency? Of course not. Do I think it says something about the milieu he emerged from? Yes I do. Likewise, I don't think Hillary's affinity for the Black Panthers nor her work at the most "important radical law firm of the day" (Bernstein's words) should disqualify her from public office. But I think Bernstein & Co.'s attempt to make any consideration of these facts into "McCarthyite" guilt-by-association is undiluted hogwash. Sixties radicals weren't just tactically misguided, their aims were wrong too. Of course not all of them. They were right about racial equality. They were out of their gourds about much else.

And, while it's not a new point, it should be noted once again, that this is hardly a standard liberals apply to conservatives. Republican politicians who have tenuous unsavory relationships and associations with various confederate, racist or otherwise "extremist" groups do not endorse violence either, and yet liberals routinely find such associations relevant. Heck, Bill Clinton tried to blame the Oklahoma City bombing on Rush Limbaugh & Co., that was real McCarthyite guilt-by-association.

Source

Andy McCarthy adds in response to the above:

Jonah, the Clinton hypocrisy grates more than usual here. One of my last cases as a federal prosecutor was a lengthy litigation to keep Weather Undergrounder Susan Rosenberg in prison serving her richly deserved 58-year sentence, imposed by a federal judge in New Jersey. (She was claiming that she was lawlessly being denied parole because of New York conduct - the infamous Brinks robbery - for which she had never been convicted.) After I finally convinced the New York federal judge not to disturb the sentence, Clinton pardoned Rosenberg and another Weather terrorists, Linda Evans (serving a 40-year sentence), on his last day in office. To get a sense of what a Clinton/Obama web this is, Bill Ayers' wife, Bernadine Dohrn, did several months in the slammer for contempt of a grand jury subpoena - she was refusing to testify about ... Susan Rosenberg.

Source

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The Italian Revolution

Comment by Michael Ledeen

We are in Italy. Sicily, actually. And we are watching something amazing: an Italian revolution. The new Parliament, sworn in yesterday, does not have a single member who calls himself "communist." That's the first time since World War II. Gianfranco Fini, the new speaker of the House, announced that the post-war era was over, and he was entirely right. No one knows it better than he, because for most of his adult life he has been called a "fascist," and scorned by most of the writers, salon hangers-on, and politicians in the country, even though he led his right-wing party through a profound transformation from its neo-fascist past, embraced Israel, actively supported Jewish causes, and challenged the Left's ostentatious support of radical antisemitic and anti-Israel terrorists. He dissolved his own party into Berlusconi's umbrella organization, and is now one of the three most powerful politicians in the country. Wow.

There is more. In the last few days, the city of Rome fell to the Right. Once again, the leader was a former neo-fascist, Gianni Alemanno, who had abandoned the bad old ways. Alemanno defeated one of the Left's most adored icons, Francesco Rutelli, who had twice before been elected mayor of Rome and who was heavily favored to win again. But Alemanno won by a huge margin, just as Berlusconi on the national level.

Why has all this happened? Above all, it is the result of the demonstrated incompetence of the Left to govern Italy effectively, along with the usual corruption scandals, and the Left's snooty disregard for law and order, particularly regarding illegal immigrants. The people I've spoken to (in Sicily the Right also won an overwhelming victory) all basically said the same thing: the Left is a disaster, let's see if these other guys can do better. It is not an ideological transformation; it's above all a search for someone who can advance the interests of most Italians.

Source

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Green Genocide

Post below recycled from Charlie Foxtrot:

fun from Europe:
At the request of the Swiss government, an ethics panel has weighed in on the “dignity” of plants and opined that the arbitrary killing of flora is morally wrong. This is no hoax. The concept of what could be called “plant rights” is being seriously debated.
see-dubya at Michelle Malkin says:
Sure, you vegans thought yourselves so morally pure. But according to the Swiss government, your hands are stained with the chlorophyll of innocent beings.
So this leads me to a couple of questions...

1 - Does this make the Haitians progressive for eating dirt cookies

2 - Will it be considered a 'Crime against Horticulture' to use Ethanol in your car?

I can see the protest signs now..."Save the Plants, Burn Oil!!" However when it comes to food, I guess we will have to resort to more dramatic measures

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

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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6 May, 2008

A comment on Britain's new Conservative hero

By veteran British conservative columnist, William Rees-Mogg

I followed the local elections in London and in Somerset. If one had to choose a mayor of London from the characters in Shakespeare's plays, there is no doubt one would have to choose Falstaff. He combines a big personality, a shrewd intelligence, a certain reputation where women are concerned, an eye for the main chance and an enduring warmth. So far, London voters have consistently voted for the candidate who most resembled Falstaff in character; Boris Johnson is now closer than Ken Livingstone, who has never been sure whether he was playing Falstaff or Jack Cade.

The most successful mayors of New York, such as the great wartime mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, have come out of the same mould. They have given personality to a great city. I doubt if Boris will ever be called "the little flower", but he will personify London. He will also add to the innocent amusement of the nation.

I expect him to be a good mayor; he is highly intelligent, basically good-natured and a surprisingly skilful politician. David Cameron will find him a nuisance from time to time, but he will be amply rewarded in additional votes. Boris Johnson may make it fashionable to vote for the Conservatives; he makes Toryism fun.

I'm certain he will not change. He was a contemporary of members of my family when he was at Oxford; I have heard him being discussed for the past 20 years. In that time he has not changed, and I cannot see why he would change now. One can safely disregard the stark warnings of those who have never liked him. He poses no threat except to political rivals and to attractive young women of nubile age.

Boris Johnson has done something very important. He has won London for the Conservatives against the most skilful London politician since Herbert Morrison, who led Labour in London to the great 1945 victory. London is the leading city of the nation and by far the wealthiest. It is always a strong influence on British politics. London usually leans to the left, as most big cities do. Only an exceptional Conservative politician can take the lead in London and deliver the big city for his party. Boris's London victory makes an overall Conservative victory at the next election far more likely. I do not expect the Conservatives to throw that away.

Source

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Far-Left KOS sends itself up



See the yellow highlights. They were criticizing John McCain for not knowing the difference between Shias and Sunnis (He did but was unduly deferential to Joe Lieberman). But, in criticizing McCain, Kos showed above that THEY certainly did not know which was which. They actually thought that Al Qaeda was Shia! Full story at Blue Crab

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Media frauds trip themselves up

North Pole fables: "On the NBC nightly news there was a heart-throb report of an attractive British teen-ager who had skied across the North Pole with her father to demonstrate how the Arctic ice pack is receding in the face of global warming. Oh, horror. Oh, how terrible. The pictures were beautiful: Her pretty face, her gentle smile, her soft voice, her snow-crusted parka, the blue skies, the brilliant white ice, the cascading chunks of ice calving from glaciers, the two penguins standing on an ice floe.... Wait a minute. Penguins? At the North Pole? Not that we ever heard of. So much for science, as reported by NBC News. [See the video concerned here]

A commenter on the above adds: "Actual photo below from my journey to the lowland rainforests of Nepal, where the penguins have all been killed for their ivory tusks"



[For any products of a modern education reading here, the South Pole has penguins but no bears and the North pole has bears but no penguins]

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ELSEWHERE

Democrat distortions shown up: "Howard Dean made his much-anticipated appearance on Fox, and found the environment much less friendly than did Barack Obama last week. Chris Wallace pressed the DNC chair hard on the latest ads from his organization, which even the nonpartisan group Fact Check insist are distortions of John McCain's remarks on the economy and on Iraq. Dean sputters and spins, but doesn't make any headway against Wallace in this appearance. He flashes a piece of paper that supposedly contains what McCain really said, but Wallace calls his bluff and shows the whole clip. Wallace also scornfully ripostes Dean's contention that it would take "six minutes", when it only takes less than ten seconds to show how the DNC used creative editing to distort the remarks."

White farmers from Zimbabwe bring prosperity to Nigeria: "Musa Mogadi says he is better off since "the whites" came. He's got a new job, learned new farming skills, and he can chat on a mobile phone while zipping around the countryside on a motorbike. Three years ago, Mr. Mogadi got by as a subsistence farmer. But he now earns a regular wage as a supervisor on one of this town's new commercial farms. He's applied skills he learned from some of the two dozen white Zimbabwean farmers who moved to Nigeria in 2005, after being kicked off their land by President Robert Mugabe and later attracted by large parcels of land on offer under 25-year leases and commitments of support from the Nigerian government."

European middle classes getting poorer: "The European dream is under assault, as the wave of inflation sweeping the globe mixes with this continent's long-stagnant wages. Families that once enjoyed Europe's vaunted quality of life are pinching pennies to buy necessities, and cutting back on extras like movies and vacations abroad. Potentially more disturbing - especially to the political and social order - are the millions across the continent grappling with the realization that they may have lives worse, not better, than their parents.... A study by the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin found that the broad middle of the German work force, defined as workers making from 70 to 150 percent of the median income, shrunk to 54 percent of the population last year, from 62 percent in 2000."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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5 May, 2008

Derb defends Darwin

John Derbyshire replies below to a post by a young Jewish writer in defence of Intelligent Design. The controversy arose from Derb's criticism of some fairly extreme statements by Jewish creationist Ben Stein (Someone whom I admire, in general).

Although I am an atheist, I myself think that it is entirely proper that schools teach BOTH Intelligent Design and evolution. As they say in boxing, "Let the best man (or theory) win"! From a purely scientific point of view, I think that there are deficiencies in both theories.


No, David. "The world is truly revealed as upside-down and backward" when intelligent young Jews sign up to the anti-science crusade. One of the best reasons to be a philosemite in our time is sheer gratitude at the disproportionate contribution Jews have made to the advance of Western civilization, and to our understanding of the world, this past two hundred years. The U.S.A. dominated the 20th century in culture and technology, to the great benefit of all mankind, in part because of the work done in math and science by the great tranche of pre-WW2 immigrant Jews from Europe.

Now you have joined up with people who want to trash the scientific enterprise and heap insults on one of the greatest names in intellectual history. For reasons unfathomable to me, you and Ben Stein want to sneer and scoff at our understandings, hard-won over centuries of arduous intellectual effort. Don't the two of you know, don't Jews of all people know, where this anti-intellectual agitation, this pandering to a superstitious mob, will lead at last? If you truly don't, I refer you to the fate of Hypatia, which you can read about in my last book (Chapter 3), or in Gibbon (Chapter XLVII). Your new pals at the Discovery Institute no doubt think Hypatia got what she deserved. Civilization is a thin veneer, David. Reason and science are bulwarks against the dark.

I am sure you know the fine speech that Robert Bolt put in the mouth of Sir Thomas More, but "people need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed":
More: What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? (He leaves him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
Bolt's More understood a thing you and Stein don't understand, the thing that Waugh credited Kipling with understanding in that quote I posted earlier in the week, and that Adolf Hitler (hey, you started the reductio ad Hitlerum), in his own way, and of course from the other side of the Wall, also understood. You and Stein are playing a dangerous game, a game that Jews should be the very last to play. The ADL, for all its faults, at least understands that.

I really, seriously wonder how much of a future the U.S.A. has. We are sinking into a bog of mediocrity, frivolity, superstition, and ignorance. When even Jews join the parade of folly, it's hard to keep hoping.

Yesterday (thanks! to a generous friend who got me in) I had the colossal privilege of watching Kurt Masur conduct Anne-Sophie Mutter in rehearsal. While Tchaikovsky's wonderful music filled the hall I found myself thinking, as I always do: How long shall we have this? How long will it last? How long before it is all swallowed up in the great grinning, jeering maw of hip-hop, the worship of worthless "celebrities," reality TV, Oprahified politics, and "intelligent design" - junk religion meets junk science? How long have we got?

Our civilization is on the way out. I hope it at least outlives me, but I am less and less sure it will. I'll be damned if I won't go down fighting, though.

Source

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Tony Blair: "You didn't realize how much you needed me"?



Rightward movement in both London and Rome: "In less than a week the major political parties of the Right in Britain and Italy scored unprecedented electoral victories by winning mayoral races in Rome and then in London. Since the end of the Second World War, the Right had never controlled those two offices. To grasp what this means, consider that "Londonistan" is the title of an excellent book by Melanie Phillips which warns of the descent of that great city into a radical Moslem polity. The citizens of Londonistan have chosen an iconoclastic Conservative Party leader, Boris Johnson, who has campaigned on the need to reduce crime in London and who has condemned the academic boycott of Israel by British universities as "disgusting and one sided." Although Johnson is more an offbeat moderate than a strong conservative, in Londonistan the change is dramatic and sweeping compared to what it had been before. His defeated opponent, "Red Ken" Livingston, was a blatant fan of every Marxist thug and radical Moslem in the world."

[There is a good humorous piece by Boris Johnson here]

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ELSEWHERE

How Many Communists Does It Take to Discredit an Anti-War Movement? "Not In Our Name (NION) is a group of people who sit around writing paranoid diatribes about the Bush administration with campy names like "Pledge of Resistance" and "Statement of Conscience." They collect signatures from celebrities and professional radicals, then publish the things in big, expensive newspaper ads. Then everyone involved pretends like they've just done something courageous and heroic. NION's money shot was the "Statement of Conscience," which they claim has been signed by over 15,000 people. Those courageous signatories include Angela Davis, two-time vice-presidential candidate on the Communist Party ticket; unindicted traitor Jane Fonda; convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal; and left-wing usual suspects like Ed Asner, Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon, Al Sharpton, Martin Sheen, Gloria Steinem, and Gore Vidal. Oh, and Yoko Ono. Nobody gives a movement credibility like Yoko Ono! The folks at NION aren't content just to write self-indulgent "pledges" and "statements." They also have an "activist" arm, the Not In Our Name Project, which organizes "anti-war" demonstrations."

Hillary's Jobs Ad Shows Indiana Plant Closed By Bill Clinton: "U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton stood in a Washington Township gymnasium last month and publicly said President George W. Bush was forcing the American military to rely on "Chinese spare parts" by allowing the sale of a Valparaiso defense contractor. But fresh questions are being raised in the wake of Hillary's much-publicized comments questioning why Bush failed to stop Chinese investors from moving Magnequench to China and closing the Northwest Indiana plant. For example, if the sale of the company to Chinese investors was going to jeopardize national security, why did President Bill Clinton's administration approve it in 1995? Magnequench made the sophisticated magnets needed to guided "smart bombs." Today, bomb-makers have to buy the magnets from the Chinese."

Happy 60th birthday to Israel: "Melanie Phillips says that the prosperity and growing cultural confidence of Israel is a fitting riposte to the Western intelligentsia, American meddling and the daily propaganda assault that ignores the Islamisation of the Palestinians. Indeed, much of the responsibility for these six decades of conflict lie with a Western world which, from 1921 onwards, has chosen to appease Arab violence while shedding crocodile tears over its Jewish victims. But the future of Israel is the future of the West. If the front line in Israel were to go down, the West would be next. Given its current internal appeasement of Islamism, however, the West may go down anyway. At least Israel knows it has to fight to survive. As a result, in 60 years' time it will still be there. Can the same be said for Britain or Europe?"

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

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

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4 May, 2008

Triumph for truth! New York Governor signs law protecting residents against suits in foreign courts

New York state fought back today against terrorism apologists who have used foreign libel laws to silence opponents as Gov. David Paterson signed a law granting protections under the First Amendment. The Libel Terrorism Protection Act was inspired by New York-based author Rachel Ehrenfeld's battle with a British court over her 2003 book, "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Funded and How to Stop It."

New York officials said the law will make it more difficult for "libel tourists" to threaten authors and publishers with foreign libel suits. It bars enforcement of a libel judgment in foreign courts unless a New York court determines the decision is consistent with the free speech and free press protections guaranteed by the U.S. and New York state constitutions. "New Yorkers must be able to speak out on issues of public concern without living in fear that they will be sued outside the United States, under legal standards inconsistent with our First Amendment rights," said Paterson. "This legislation will help ensure the freedoms enjoyed by New York authors."

Britain's libel law has been used in a number of instances against writers who speak out against international terrorism. As WND reported, Saudi banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz filed suit against Ehrenfeld after she named him in her New York-published book as a funder of Islamic charities that supported terrorism. She asserts there are more than 10 lawsuits outstanding by numerous plaintiffs in the U.S. claiming billions of dollars in damages from Mahfouz's alleged involvement in financing the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Center. Only 23 copies of her book were sold in the United Kingdom, but Mahfouz took advantage of the country's liberal laws and filed the suit there, charging damage to his reputation.

The British court issued a $225,000 judgment against Ehrenfeld after she refused to appear, on advice of her counsel in Britain. The author then sought a judgment in New York declaring the British decision unenforceable in the U.S., because her work is protected under American law. The New York Court of Appeals ruled Ehrenfeld's suit could not be heard under state law unless legislature made changes. Paterson, who succeeded disgraced Gov. Eliot Spitzer last month, urged the federal government to take similar action.

"Although New York state has now done all it can to protect our authors while they live in New York, they remain vulnerable if they move to other states, or if they have assets in other states," said Paterson. "We really need Congress and the president to work together and enact federal legislation that will protect authors throughout the country against the threat of foreign libel judgments."

State Sen. Dean G. Skelos noted "the truth is a critically-important component of the war on terror." "American authors, like Dr. Ehrenfeld, who expose terrorist networks and their financiers should not be subject to intimidation and lawsuits in foreign courts designed to circumvent our First Amendment rights," he said. "This is important legislation, and I thank Governor Paterson for signing it into law."

Source

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ELSEWHERE

Boris! "Britain's Labour Party has suffered its worst local election defeat on record and lost control of London, forcing Prime Minister Gordon Brown to rethink his strategy to avoid losing the next national election. Conservative Boris Johnson, a journalist-turned-politician prone to gaffes, wrested the prized post of London mayor from Labour's maverick Ken Livingstone, who has run the capital since 2000. After an often bad-tempered campaign, Mr Johnson paid tribute to Mr Livingstone as a "distinguished leader" of the city, singling out his efforts after the Tube and bus bombings in 2005. He promised to those who did not vote for him to "work flat out from now on to earn your trust and to dispel some of the myths that have been created about me". To those who did vote for him, he said: "I will work flat out to repay and to justify your confidence." ... Mr Johnson will be in charge of an $23.31 billion budget covering public transport, police and fire services in a city of some 7.5 million people. He will oversee preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games and be responsible for promoting policies on housing, the environment and the economy in Europe's biggest financial centre."

Navy Announces Commissioning of Submarine North Carolina : "The Navy's newest attack submarine North Carolina will be commissioned Saturday, May 3, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Port of Wilmington in Wilmington, N.C. Designated SSN 777, the fourth submarine of the Virginia-class will bear the name North Carolina to honor the Tar Heel State. The submarine will be the fourth ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the name North Carolina. The Virginia-class is designed and built to fulfill all current warfighting requirements and provides the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Equally adept at operating in the world's shallow littoral regions and deep waters, North Carolina and her sister ships will significantly contribute to the mission areas of anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; special operations forces; strike; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; battle group support; and mine warfare. Capt. Mark E. Davis, a native of upstate New York, will become the ship's first commanding officer and will lead a crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel. North Carolina will be homeported in Groton, Conn., as a member of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The 7,800-ton North Carolina was built under a teaming arrangement between Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat."

High taxes are for others, not Leftists -- the Metzenbaum story: "Though a lifelong Ohioan, the Senator moved to Florida in 2002, according to a declaration of domicile filed with the Broward County Clerk's office in 2003. In doing so, he avoided paying his home state's income tax (top rate: 6.55%). More important as he neared the end of his life, the former Senator also saved his family from paying Ohio's death tax, which features one of the highest state rates (7%) and lowest asset thresholds - $338,333 - in the country. Florida famously has no income or estate tax, which is one reason other than the climate that it is home to so many northern-born retirees. Howard Metzenbaum thus denied the state in which he lived most of his life a parting financial gift. But he has at least provided the rest of us with a teaching moment in tax policy. If a liberal lion like Metzenbaum is willing to relocate late in life to avoid his state's death tax, maybe living politicians in Ohio will better understand how their confiscatory tax laws are driving its citizens to warmer climes."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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3 May, 2008

The vast hypocrisy of "There's no such thing as right and wrong" -- again

When Leftists say, "There's no such thing as right and wrong", they are normally referring to moral judgments. They use that formula when confronted with something as uncomfortable as their unwavering support for murderous Communists and Muslims. And, as such, it is a transparent fraud. They themselves reveal that such talk is at best a tantrum by going on themselves to use the language of right and wrong to condemn "intolerance", "Zionists" or the Iraq war etc. Talk of right and wrong is meaningless when conservatives use it but highly meaningful when Leftists use it, apparently. To call such reasoning "sophomoric" is to praise it too highly.

Under the rubric of "postmoderninsm", they also however extend their condemnation of "right and wrong" to statements of fact. If anyone presents facts that conflict with Leftist beliefs they evade it in various ways. One stratagem is to say that that is just "your reality" etc. Or if some fact upsets some theory that they are wedded to, they simply deny the fact in some way -- often by ad hominem arguments such as saying that the person presenting the pesky fact is "in the pay of big oil" -- or some other totally discreditable stratagem that tells you no more than that the Leftist does not want to believe the fact concerned.

And the latest example of convenience as a criterion for truth is the amazing spectacle of Pastor Wright claiming that blacks and whites have inherently different brains. He has famously said that:
"Africans have a different meter, and Africans have a different tonality," he said. Europeans have seven tones, Africans have five. White people clap differently than black people. "Africans and African-Americans are right-brained, subject-oriented in their learning style, ....They have a different way of learning."
or as Heather Macdonald summarizes:
At the NAACP meeting, Wright proudly propounded the racist contention that blacks have inherently different "learning styles," correctly citing as authority for this view Janice Hale of Wayne State University. Pursuing a Ph.D. by logging long hours in the dusty stacks of a library, Wright announced, is "white." Blacks, by contrast, cannot sit still in class or learn from quiet study, and they have difficulty learning from "objects"-books, for example-but instead learn from "subjects," such as rap lyrics on the radio. These differences are neurological, according to Hale and Wright: whites use what Wright referred to as the "left-wing, logical, and analytical" side of their brains, whereas blacks use their "right brain," which is "creative and intuitive."
Most people have reacted very adversely to these utterances -- recognizing how far outside the mainstream they are. But I think that there may be something in what he has said. The behavioural differences between blacks and whites are plain to any honest observer and that the differences might have a genetic basis is entirely in accord with what the scientific literature keeps telling us about the vast influence of genetics.

I myself have also been saying for decades that black and white brains are different -- but I have been rewarded for that by being figuratively cast into outer darkness -- even by other conservatives. Anybody who mentions the plain psychometric fact that blacks are on average of much lower intelligence and that the difference is hereditary is completely outside the pale of civilization. To accept the lie that there are NO important genetic differences between the races is not just the conventional wisdom: It is a necessary passport to being acceptable and respectable in polite society. And rejecting that lie is even worse than rejecting global warming!

As Dr Goebbels knew, a big lie is often more plausible than the plain scientific facts and those of us who draw attention to the facts can easily be marginalized. Perhaps fortunately, most of the lies, deceptions and legends that I campaign against are in the medical field -- where the fate of the skeptic is mostly to be ignored rather than being stigmatized. But all the lies, deceptions and accepted myths concerned are very harmful to people. I would not bother about them otherwise.

So how come Pastor Wright can say the opposite of what is normally regarded as correct about race to thunderous applause at a NAACP convention? Simple: To a Leftist, the truth of a statement depends entirely on the use to which it is put. If a statement about an inborn difference seems to be derogatory to a favoured group (Leftists are so mentally limited that they think almost entirely in terms of groups) then that statement is WRONG. But if it defends the deviant actions of the same group it is RIGHT.

Leftists really do mean it when they say that there is no such thing as right and wrong -- absurd though that it. I guess that they do know deep down that there are real truth differences but truth is very subordinate to their political convenience. It just does not matter. They have no regard for truth at all. Truth is what is expedient. Manipulating people has priority over all else.

Ed Morrissey has also noted the hypocrisy in the response to Pastor Wright's claims.

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ELSEWHERE

The incoherence of Democrat energy policy : "The Democrats' domestic policies are an incoherent jumble: they want lower gasoline and heating oil prices, but they block the very things, oil drilling and the construction of new refineries, that would actually reduce them. At the same time, for reasons of "climate change," they want less consumption of oil and gas, which implies higher, not lower, prices. None of this makes any sense; the Democrats are just hoping that no one notices between now and November."

Slower growth is not a recession: "Despite all the doom and gloom, America is not in a recession, in fact, according to our rule of economics, "if the economy contracts for six straight months it is considered to be in a recession. That, however, didn't happen in the last recession in 2001", and it isn't happening now. Soaring gas prices, higher food prices, and a sputtering job market aren't helping things but since the Democrat presidential candidates, in an effort to differentiate themselves from President Bush, chose the economy as a topic to beat on, well, if you repeat something often enough, people will believe it."

It's Not All About Hillary : "So Hillary was on O'Reilly last night (and again tonight), and apparently was somewhat impressive. So much so that some on the conservative side of the aisle might even view her as acceptable. Heck some obscure internet pundits have declared that she might possibly be the "most uncompromising wartime President in U.S. history" (should that be 'herstory'?). That may well be true, I dunno. But I want to say this to all conservatives who think that perhaps things wouldn't be so bad if she were to get the nomination and then win the election.... This election ain't all about the war, and this election ain't all about Hillary. The election is about all the issues, and the election is about all the people she would bring into the administration with her. It has been proven time and again that a President is limited in what he actually *can* do. It is the politicos who are brought in to take over the vast federal bureaucracies and establish/implement their policies that are the ones who can do the most good....or the most damage. So if you think that Hillary as a tough talking, uncompromising wartime president is acceptable, than you had better be ready to accept all the liberal and leftist activists who are going to take over leadership positions in Justice, Education, Immigration and Customs Enforcement , HHS, EPA, OMB, DHS, Defense, CIA, etc...."

Leftists lose big in Britain: "Gordon Brown is facing pressure from Labour MPs for a change in direction after a nightmare at the polls which saw the party slump to its worst results for four decades. With results still coming in from England and Wales overnight, Labour’s projected national vote share has been put at just 24 per cent, trailing 20 points behind David Cameron’s Conservatives on 44 per cent and beaten into third place by the Liberal Democrats on 25 per cent. The margin was similar to the drubbing received by John Major in council elections in 1995, two years before he was ejected from Downing Street by Tony Blair. Latest analysis suggests that the Tories would enjoy a landslide Commons majority of between 138 and 164 seats if the results were repeated in a general election."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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2 May, 2008

Remove the Democrat fingers from the throat of energy production

What to do about oil? First it went from $60 to $80 a barrel, then from $80 to $100 and now to $120. Perhaps we can persuade OPEC to raise production, as some senators suggest; but this seems unlikely. The truth is that we're almost powerless to influence today's prices. We are because we didn't take sensible actions 10 or 20 years ago. If we persist, we will be even worse off in a decade or two. The first thing to do: Start drilling.

It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, but Congress has put large areas of potential supply off-limits. These include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. By government estimates, these areas may contain 25 billion to 30 billion barrels of oil (against about 30 billion barrels of proven U.S. reserves today) and 80 trillion cubic feet or more of natural gas (compared with about 200 tcf of proven reserves).

What keeps these areas closed are exaggerated environmental fears, strong prejudice against oil companies and sheer stupidity. Americans favor both "energy independence" and cheap fuel. They deplore imports -- who wants to pay foreigners? -- but oppose more production in the United States. Got it? The result is a "no-pain energy agenda that sounds appealing but has no basis in reality," writes Robert Bryce in "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence.' "

Unsurprisingly, all three major presidential candidates tout "energy independence." This reflects either ignorance (unlikely) or pandering (probable). The United States imports about 60 percent of its oil, up from 42 percent in 1990. We'll import lots more for the foreseeable future. The world uses 86 million barrels of oil a day, up from 67 mbd in 1990. The basic cause of exploding prices is that advancing demand has virtually exhausted the world's surplus production capacity, says analyst Douglas MacIntyre of the Energy Information Administration. Combined with a stingy OPEC, the result is predictable: Any unexpected rise in demand or threat to supply triggers higher prices....

On environmental grounds, the alternatives to more drilling are usually worse. Subsidies for ethanol made from corn have increased food prices and used scarce water, with few benefits. If oil is imported, it's vulnerable to tanker spills. By contrast, local production is probably safer. There were 4,000 platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. Despite extensive damage, there were no major spills, says Robbie Diamond of Securing America's Future Energy, an advocacy group.

More here

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Brookes News Update

Dire warnings of an economic collapse plague the US economy: The cause of the current economic problems is very simple: Bad economics. Instead of closely examining the monetary theory that got us into this mess economists have started playing the blame game
Inflation v. unemployment?: Critics of a fight inflation first policy are committing a serious and inexcusable error. The unemployment they are attacking is not the cost of fighting inflation at all - it is the price that must be paid for having inflation
The real costs of the greens' carbon tax: Considering the amount of anti-warming evidence that is accumulating, I think people are entitled to question the motives of those who are using hysterical language to try and bulldoze us into adopting policies that would savage our living standards while simultaneously increasing government control over our lives
Obama's Academia Nuts: William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn bombed New York City police headquarters in June 1970, the U.S. Capitol Building in March 1971 and the Pentagon in May 1972. Ayers stated on Sept. 11, 2001: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough". Despite the vicious record of this unrepentant terrorist Obama picked him as a friend and adviser. That tells us what Obama really thinks about America
Obama, Clinton and capitalism: It's OK for them, but nobody else: Although Obama has done extremely well for himself in our free-market economy he still has the 'audacity' to demonize others who have done well for themselves, and to propose economic policies that, if implemented, would radically change our nation into something more akin to a Western European socialist state
The future you save might be your own: Instead of forcing curly cue light bulbs upon us and ethanol, with some initial government assistance legislatively and financially we could tap into a virtually limitless (at least for several hundred years) supply of coal to produce oil

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ELSEWHERE

Media support voter fraud: "On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote, upheld Indiana's requirement that voters present photo identification before casting ballots. Yesterday the Associated Press published a dispatch titled "Advocates: Voter ID Ruling May Disenfranchise US Voters." It ran 15 paragraphs, required two reporters (Deborah Hastings got the byline; David Lieb "contributed"), and was totally one-sided, offering not a single argument in favor of voter ID requirements. It's possible that the AP did another dispatch titled "Advocates: Voter ID Ruling Helps Prevent Fraud," or some such, but we couldn't find it in a Factiva search."

Clinton blasts Bush for not stopping a project that Bill OK'd: "Hillary Clinton loves to tell the story about how the Chinese government bought a good American company in Indiana, laid off all its workers and moved its critical defense technology work to China. It's a story with a dramatic, political ending. Republican President George W. Bush could have stopped it, but he didn't. If she were president, Clinton says, she'd fight to protect those jobs. It's just the kind of talk that's helping her win support from working-class Democrats worried about their jobs and paychecks, not to mention their country's security. What Clinton never includes in the oft-repeated tale is the role that prominent Democrats played in selling the company and its technology to the Chinese. She never mentions that big-time Democratic contributor George Soros helped put together the deal to sell the company or that the sale was approved by her husband's administration."

Democrat Congress loves rich farmers: "Prominent Los Altos developer John Vidovich and various family members in the Sandridge Partnership of Sunnyvale were the nation's biggest recipients of automatic government payments to farmers last year, receiving more than $1 million, according to a new analysis of federal data by Environmental Working Group. Known as direct payments, the subsidies go mainly to big farms growing a handful of crops. In the Sandridge case, that is mostly cotton, wheat and peanuts grown on farms controlled by the partnership in the Central Valley. Vidovich did not return a call for comment. More than $5 billion in direct payments are made each year to growers of corn, wheat, rice, cotton and a few other crops based on past production, regardless of market conditions or even whether the crops are still grown. The payments are heavily weighted to the biggest producers, with the top 10 percent getting two-thirds of the subsidies."

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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1 May, 2008

Another hit at the self esteem myth

The absurd idea that high self-esteem is a universal good thing (contrasting with the Christian message of the importance of humility) has already been extensively debunked (See e.g. here and here and here) but the study below offers some refinements. The comments about people with fragile self-esteem seem particularly apt. I have long identified preachers of Leftism as having high but fragile self esteem -- or "large but weak egos", as I usually put it

Oscar Levant, a mid-century pianist, film star and wit, once watched noted keyboardist and composer George Gershwin spend an evening playing his own music at a party and clearly having a great time. "Tell me, George," Levant said, somewhat jealously, "if you have it to do all over again would you still fall in love with yourself""

Increasingly, psychologists are looking at such behavior and saying out loud what may go against the grain of how many people act: high self-esteem is not the same thing as healthy self-esteem. And new research by a psychology professor from the University of Georgia is adding another twist: those with "secure" high self-esteem are less likely to be verbally defensive than those who have "fragile" high self-esteem. "There are many kinds of high self-esteem, and in this study we found that for those in which it is fragile and shallow it's no better than having low self-esteem," said Michael Kernis. "People with fragile high self-esteem compensate for their self-doubts by engaging in exaggerated tendencies to defend, protect and enhance their feelings of self-worth." The research was published today in the Journal of Personality. Kernis's co-authors are Chad Lakey and Whitney Heppner, both doctoral students in the UGA social psychology program.

Amid the complexity of perspectives on the human psyche, a slow but relentless change is occurring in how psychologists view self-esteem, said Kernis. It was once thought that more self-esteem necessarily is better self-esteem. In recent years, however, high self-esteem per se has come under attack on several fronts, especially in areas such as aggressive behavior. Also, individuals with high self-esteem sometimes become very unlikable when others or events threaten their egos.

While high self-esteem is still generally valued as a good quality that is important to a happy and productive life, more researchers are breaking it down into finer gradations and starting to understand when high self-esteem turns from good to bad. In fact, it is now thought that there are multiple forms of high self-esteem, only some of which consistently relate to positive psychological functioning.

One of the ways in which high self-esteem can turn bad is when it is accompanied by verbal defensiveness-lashing out at others when a person's opinions, beliefs, statements or values are threatened. So Kernis and his colleagues designed a study, reported in the current article, to see if respondents whose self-esteem is "fragile" were more verbally defensive than those whose self-esteem was "secure."

Using 100 undergraduates, they set up a study in three phases. In the first part, students completed a basic demographic questionnaire and other measures to evaluate their levels and other aspects of self-esteem. In phase 2, the team assessed the students' stability of self-esteem because the more unstable or variable one's self-esteem, the more fragile it is. And finally, in the last phase, the researchers conducted a structured "life experiences interview" to measure what they call "defensive verbalization."

"Our findings offer strong support for a multi-component model of self-esteem that highlights the distinction between its fragile and secure forms," said Kernis. "Individuals with low self-esteem or fragile high self-esteem were more verbally defensive than individuals with secure high self-esteem. One reason for this is that potential threats are in fact more threatening to people with low or fragile high self-esteem than those with secure high self-esteem, and so they work harder to counteract them." On the other hand, individuals with secure high self-esteem appear to accept themselves "warts and all," and, feeling less threatened, they are less likely to be defensive by blaming others or providing excuses when they speak about past transgressions or threatening experiences.

One reason the study's findings are important, Kernis said, is that it shows that greater verbal defensiveness relates to lower psychological well-being and life satisfaction. "These findings support the view that heightened defensiveness reflects insecurity, fragility and less-than-optimal functioning rather than a healthy psychological outlook," said Kernis. "We aren't suggesting there's something wrong with people when they want to feel good about themselves. What we are saying is that when feeling good about themselves becomes a prime directive, for these people excessive defensiveness and self-promotion are likely to follow, the self-esteem is likely to be fragile rather than secure and any psychological benefits will be very limited."

Source

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Some truths about McCain that are stranger than fiction

Excerpts from an account by Karl Rove -- retelling what wartime comrades of McCain have related to him

Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple." The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place. Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complemented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

Another story I heard over dinner with the Days involved Mr. McCain serving as one of the three chaplains for his fellow prisoners. At one point, after being shuttled among different prisons, Mr. Day had found himself as the most senior officer at the Hanoi Hilton. So he tapped Mr. McCain to help administer religious services to the other prisoners. Today, Mr. Day, a very active 83, still vividly recalls Mr. McCain's sermons. "He remembered the Episcopal liturgy," Mr. Day says, "and sounded like a bona fide preacher." One of Mr. McCain's first sermons took as its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Mr. McCain said he and his fellow prisoners shouldn't ask God to free them, but to help them become the best people they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar who put them in prison and Caesar who would get them out. Their task was to act with honor.

Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamese practice of torturing him by tying his head between his ankles with his arms behind him, and then leaving him for hours. The torture so badly busted up his shoulders that to this day Mr. McCain can't raise his arms over his head. One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the end of his watch to tighten them again so no one would notice. Shortly after, on Christmas Day, the same guard stood beside Mr. McCain in the prison yard and drew a cross in the sand before erasing it. Mr. McCain later said that when he returned to Vietnam for the first time after the war, the only person he really wanted to meet was that guard.

Mr. Day recalls with pride Mr. McCain stubbornly refusing to accept special treatment or curry favor to be released early, even when gravely ill. Mr. McCain knew the Vietnamese wanted the propaganda victory of the son and grandson of Navy admirals accepting special treatment. "He wasn't corruptible then," Mr. Day says, "and he's not corruptible today."

More here

For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

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

****************************

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

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