Monday, November 30, 2009

'This isn't the Britain we fought for,' say the neglected warriors of WWII

Sarah Robinson was just a teenager when World War II broke out. She endured the Blitz, watching for fires during Luftwaffe air raids armed with a bucket of sand. Often she would walk ten miles home from work in the blackout, with bombs falling around her. As soon as she turned 18, she joined the Royal Navy to do her bit for the war effort. Hers was a small part in a huge, history-making enterprise, and her contribution epitomises her generation's sense of service and sacrifice. Nearly 400,000 Britons died. Millions more were scarred by the experience, physically and mentally.

But was it worth it? Her answer - and the answer of many of her contemporaries, now in their 80s and 90s - is a resounding No. They despise what has become of the Britain they once fought to save. It's not our country any more, they say, in sorrow and anger.

Sarah harks back to the days when 'people kept the laws and were polite and courteous. We didn't have much money, but we were contented and happy. 'People whistled and sang. There was still the United Kingdom, our country, which we had fought for, our freedom, democracy. But where is it now?!'

The feelings of Sarah and others from this most selfless generation about the modern world have been recorded by a Tyneside writer, 33-year-old Nicholas Pringle. Curious about his grandmother's generation and what they did in the war, he decided three years ago to send letters to local newspapers across the country asking for those who lived through the war to write to him with their experiences. He rounded off his request with this question: 'Are you happy with how your country has turned out? What do you think your fallen comrades would have made of life in 21st-century Britain?'

What is extraordinary about the 150 replies he received, which he has now published as a book, is their vehement insistence that those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war would now be turning in their graves. There is the occasional bright spot - one veteran describes Britain as 'still the best country in the world' - but the overall tone is one of profound disillusionment. 'I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me,' wrote a sailor who fought the Japanese in the Far East, 'and I wonder why I ever tried.' 'My patriotism has gone out of the window,' said another ex-serviceman.

In the Mail this week, Gordon Brown wrote about 'our debt of dignity to the war generation'. But the truth that emerges from these letters is that the survivors of that war generation have nothing but contempt for his government. They feel, in a word that leaps out time and time again, 'betrayed'.

New Labour, said one ex-commando who took part in the disastrous Dieppe raid in which 4,000 men were lost, was 'more of a shambles than some of the actions I was in during the war, and that's saying something!' He added: 'Those comrades of mine who never made it back would be appalled if they could see the world as it is today. 'They would wonder what happened to the Brave New World they fought so damned hard for.'

Nor can David Cameron [wishy washy Conservative party leader] take any comfort from the elderly. His 'hug a hoodie' advice was scorned by a generation of brave men and women now too scared, they say, to leave their homes at night.

Immigration tops the list of complaints. 'People come here, get everything they ask, for free, laughing at our expense,' was a typical observation. 'We old people struggle on pensions, not knowing how to make ends meet. If I had my time again, would we fight as before? Need you ask?'

Many writers are bewildered and overwhelmed by a multicultural Britain that, they say bitterly, they were never consulted about nor feel comfortable with. 'Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought for freedom, are having to sell our homes for care and are being refused medical services because incomers come first.'

Her words may be offensive to many - and rightly so - but Sarah Robinson defiantly states: 'We are affronted by the appearance of Muslim and Sikh costumes on our streets.' But then political correctness is another thing they take strong issue with, along with politicians generally - 'liars, incompetents and self-aggrandising charlatans' (with the revealing exception of Enoch Powell).

The loss of British sovereignty to the European Union caused almost as much distress. 'Nearly all veterans want Britain to leave the EU,' wrote one. Frank, a merchant navy sailor, thought of those who gave their lives 'for King and country', only for Britain to become 'an offshore island of a Europe where France and Germany hold sway. Ironic, isn't it?'

As a group, they feel furious at not being able to speak their minds. They see the lack of debate and the damning of dissenters as racists or Little Englanders as deeply upsetting affronts to freedom of speech. 'Our British culture is draining away at an ever increasing pace,' wrote an ex-Durham Light Infantryman, 'and we are almost forbidden to make any comment.'

A widow from Solihull blamed the Thatcher years 'when we started to lose all our industry and profit became the only aim in life'. Her husband, a veteran of Dunkirk and Burma, died a disappointed man, believing that his seven years in the Army were wasted. 'It is 18 years since I lost him and as I look around parts of Birmingham today you would never know you were in England,' she wrote. 'He would have hated it. He also disliked the immoral way things are going. I don't think people are really happy now, for all the modern, easy-living conveniences. 'I disagree with same-sex marriages, schoolgirl mothers, rubbish TV programmes, so-called celebrities and, most of all, unlimited immigration. 'I am very unhappy about the way this country is being transformed. I go nowhere after dark. I don't even answer my doorbell then.'

A Desert Rat who battled his way through El Alamein, Sicily, Italy and Greece was in despair. 'This is not the country I fought for. Political correctness, lack of discipline, compensation madness, uncontrolled immigration - the "do-gooders" have a lot to answer for. 'If you see youngsters doing something they shouldn't and you say anything, you just get a mouthful of foul language.'

Undoubtedly, some of the complaints are 'grumpy old man' gripes, as the veterans themselves recognise - from chewing gum on pavements and motorists using mobile phones to the march of computerisation ('why can't I just go to the station and buy a railway ticket?') and the dearth of pop music tunes you can hum. But it is the fundamental change in society's values which they find hardest to come to terms with. Bring back birching and hanging, the sanctions they grew up with, they say. Put more bobbies back on the beat.

'We were rigidly taught good manners and respect for older people,' said a wartime WAAF, 'but the nanny state has ruined all that. Television programmes are full of violence and obscene language. This Land of Hope and Glory is in reality a land of yobs, drug addicts, drunkard youths and teenage mothers who think they are owed all for nothing.' Aged 85, she has little wish to go on living.

For others, the strength of character that got them through the war is still helping them to survive the disappointments of peacetime. A crofter's son from Scotland who served on the Arctic convoys taking supplies to Russia found the immediate post-war years hard. 'In those days we had no welfare support from any source. It was as though we had served our country to the full and were then forgotten. 'However, we were very resilient and determined to make a go of it, and many of us, including myself, succeeded. 'How times have changed now, with the countless many clamouring to get welfare benefits for the asking.'

A medic who made it through Dunkirk and D-Day thought the fallen would be appalled by the lack of manners in modern life and the worship of celebrities, plus 'the patent dishonesty of politicians'.

Another common issue was their bemusement at the idea anyone could live in constant debt. 'We were brought up to believe that if you hadn't the money, you waited till you had!' one wrote. However, this particular man was unusual among the 150 respondents in believing that there were many pluses to modern life. He even had a good word to say about the European Union and felt it would appeal to the fallen 'if only for maintaining the peace in Europe over the past 60 years or so'.

He praised the breaking down of class barriers in Britain compared with the years when he was young and 'infinitely' increased prosperity. 'More clothes, cars, holidays abroad, home ownership. As a young teacher in the Fifties I had one suit (Army issue) and the luxury of a sports jacket and flannels at the weekend. 'Education has made vast progress. In my early days I taught classes of 50. Only five per cent of children went on to further education compared with over 40 per cent today. 'The emancipation of women has also been a huge plus, with the introduction of the Pill a large contributor. Before the war, women teachers were dismissed as soon as they married.'

A Land Girl who laboured on farms in Devon during the war agreed that 'we have so much to be grateful for. 'So much progress has been made to transform the standard of living since the war.' But she could not help asking whether people were any happier. She bemoaned the advent of the Pill and the collapse of sexual morality. 'In my day, drugs were unknown, families remained together, divorce was a rarity and children felt secure. 'Were our sacrifices made so hooligans may run wild? And aggressive behaviour be accepted as the norm by TV interviewers and society in general?'

A captain with a Military Cross for valour under fire thought Britain was still the best country in the world. The 'occasional' sight of parents and nicely dressed children gave an otherwise gloomy veteran of the Italian campaign a sense that 'what we did all those years ago was not for nothing'.

A grandmother, the widow of a Royal Marine who took part in the D-Day landings, felt the National Health Service had descended into chaos but was grateful for a pensioner's free television licence, 'which brings art, travel and animals into my home', and being able to text her grandchildren. Just being alive was a bonus. 'Although I hate what is happening to our country, I am so happy to be here, grumbling, but remembering better, happier days,' she wrote.

But one of the bitterest complaints of the veterans was that their trenchant views on many of the matters aired here were constantly ignored by those in authority. Their letters of complaint to councillors and MPs went unanswered. It was as if they didn't matter, except when wheeled out for the rituals of Remembrance Day. 'Why do so many of the British public confuse sentimentality with genuine concern for others?' asked one letter-writer.

But this was the generation honoured in Remembrance services last weekend, showered with gratitude and teary-eyed sentiments as their dwindling ranks marched unsteadily past the Cenotaph and other war memorials throughout the UK. The overall impression any reader of the letters gets is that this generation feel unheard, unwanted and unimportant. This remarkable collection of their thoughts should give us pause for reflection.

They may be deemed beyond their sell-by date (and many of their views may seem unacceptable, flouting every sort of 'ism' imaginable) but, by their deeds of 60-plus years ago, they have won the right to be listened to and their disillusionment noted with respect. In one letter in this collection, an RAF mechanic quoted a poem about comrades who fell in battle: 'I mourned them then, But now surviving in a world, Indifferent to their hopes and dreams, I grieve more for the living.'



Where the Real Fear Is

You should be very afraid. No, not of Islamic extremists plotting to kill their fellow Americans. After all, “At this point, there is no information to indicate Major Nidal Malik Hasan had any co-conspirators or was part of a broader terrorist plot,” the FBI announced almost immediately after Hasan allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood. That must be the federal version of, “move along, nothing to see here, folks.” And you certainly shouldn’t fear a rapacious and steadily growing federal government. No. Your biggest concern should apparently be…the right-wing militia movement.

“The truth is, is that these groups are popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain,” Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center told CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The network recently aired a long series of reports on the militia movement. The series included images of supposed extremists pledging -- hold on to your hat for this one -- allegiance to the American flag. It also featured men, women and, yes, children, learning how to handle firearms.

“Well, any time we get a Democratic president in the office, people become concerned, including myself, and we get a resurgence out here,” one member told Acosta. He “didn’t want to give his last name,” Acosta explained, over “worries the government will eventually take away his gun rights.”

Well, the last thing anyone wants these days is to catch Uncle Sam’s eye. Liberal civil-liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate estimates the average American now commits three felonies every day without even knowing it (hence the title of his recent book, “Three Felonies a Day”).

Examples abound. A 12-year-old in Georgia spent two days in jail for bringing a Boy Scout knife to school. A Texas man was sent to prison for selling orchids. An Alaska man was detained by federal agents for failing to properly label a UPS package. In today’s overcriminalized society, if the feds decide to charge you with a crime, they’ll find something to pin on you.

Still, the militia members seem more giving than fearful. “They’re prepared to teach anyone, even this reporter, how to fire a semiautomatic weapon like this Russian assault rifle,” Acosta reported over video of himself shooting. If these people were zealots plotting to overthrow the government, would they really be so friendly with a reporter and his camera crew? It sounds as if they’re gun-lovers who simply want to teach others how to use weapons.

“There really is this kind of terrible fear mixed with fury about the idea that President Obama is somehow leading a kind of socialistic, you know, takeover of America,” the SPLC’s Potek adds.

But is “socialism” such a wild accusation? In the last several months the House of Representatives has passed a massive cap-and-trade bill that would raise taxes in order to supposedly combat global warming. It’s passed a massive health care reform bill that could change everyone’s access to medical care in order to supposedly “bend the cost curve.” And it’s passed a “stimulus” bill and a budget that will combine to spend your children and grandchildren into the poorhouse.

And it’s worth noting that the real fear and loathing in this country is on the left. Recently, the liberal publisher of the Falls Church News-Press attempted to explain what’s driving the tea party movement. Conservatives aim to, “Go after those African-Americans (including your president), those immigrants, those gays! Don’t let them have health care! Don’t let them have equal rights! Harass them, beat them up! Yeah, that’s ‘freedom,’ man!” Nicholas Benton wrote. It’s great when the mask slips and liberals show what they really think of their fellow citizens. No wonder they’re so afraid of conservatives, if they really believe this is how we think and act.

A few years ago, the Supreme Court issued its infamous Kelo decision, mistakenly finding it would be constitutional for the city of New London, Conn. to seize private property and turn it over to developers. Dozens of people lost their homes. Ironically, the company that had planned to build an office complex on the land pulled out recently. Now it’s just empty space. That underlines the point: government doesn’t give, it merely takes away.

This Thanksgiving week, let us celebrate above all else the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. Not simply for bequeathing to us the Constitution -- the single greatest governing document in the history of mankind -- but for actually having the foresight to write it down. That ensures that, no matter how mangled the supposed “living” Constitution becomes over the years, there’s at least the chance our country can someday return to its roots by simply reading and following the actual words of our Founders.



ACORN and "Journalistic Standards"

Those who live in glass houses .....

The LA Times' James Rainey writes in his "On Media" column about how the reporting of Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe doesn't stand up to the "standards of journalism." That may be true -- but it takes a lot of nerve to make that claim with a straight face. Especially if you work for the LA Times, which wears its left-wing politics on its sleeve and frequently pays the price for it in reduced credibility.

Rainey castigates Giles and O'Keefe for failing to get ACORN's side of the story. But what does he have to say -- just to take one example -- of the LA Times' decision to run a story alleging mistreatment of women by Arnold Schwarzenegger right before the gubernatorial election in 2003? Democrat Susan Estrich (a professor of law and expert on gender law) pointed out that "Anonymous charges from years ago made in the closing days of a campaign undermine fair politics." That strikes me as a violation of "journalistic standards," too. Yet the Times never apologized.

There are so many examples of misreporting and bias that it would take an eternity to lay it all out. But just to get a little closer to home, how 'bout The New York Times' decision to "cut bait" on a story about Obama's links to ACORN? Anyone think a story that might have damaged, say, Sarah Palin would have been abandoned so readily? (Not if the AP has anything to say about it!)

At the moment, the real journalistic scandal surrounding the press and ACORN has nothing to do with Giles and O'Keefe. Rather, it's how the mainstream press allowed an obviously corrupt organization to continue to operate in the political arena, accepting taxpayer money, with virtually no reporting on its routine illegalities.

This ACORN story that Giles and O'Keefe got was out in the open for every big MSM organization to see. They could have embedded an undercover reporter as a member of ACORN, or done any other countless number of things. And it's hard to believe that, if, say, Operation Rescue had been accused of the kinds of corruption and law-breaking that have longbeen linked with ACORN, the MSM would have politely looked away.

Rainey needs to understand that if he's worried about hard-hitting stories been reported in conformity with "journalistic standards," well, maybe then the press had better start doing some investigative work of its own -- and not just directed against one side of the political spectrum. Nature abhors a vacuum; now that the internet allows regular people to publicize the stories that the MSM conveniently overlooks, this is going to happen more and more.


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


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


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


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nothing Israel can offer will ever suit the Palestinians

It was the moment the Palestinians might have had a state, with a capital in East Jerusalem. For a single moment, the dove of peace hovered hopefully over the Middle East. On September 16 last year, the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, offered the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, the most far-reaching and comprehensive peace deal any Israeli prime minister has ever offered. Mr Olmert recalls his pleas to Mr Abbas to accept the deal: "I said to him, do you want to keep floating forever - like an astronaut in space - or do you want a state? I told him he'd never get anything like this again from an Israeli leader for 50 years."

Mr Olmert, who as a rule avoids the media these days, has undertaken hours of discussion and interviews with The Weekend Australian and provided unprecedented detail of his peace offer to Mr Abbas. The interviews took place amid growing tension over West Bank settlements. Palestinians appealed to the US yesterday to raise pressure on Israel, saying an Israeli plan to halt new construction in the West Bank was insincere. Presidential adviser Yasser Abed Rabbo urged US envoy George Mitchell to bring about "a real peace process" that would halt all settlement construction.

Mr Olmert says such disputes could have been resolved with his deal. He recalls meeting Mr Abbas more than 35 times for "intense, serious" negotiations, in the two years leading up to the September 16 offer last year. Mr Olmert says his offer to Mr Abbas included a Palestinian state occupying 94 per cent of the West Bank and all of Gaza. This would have allowed Israel to keep the major Jewish population areas in the settlements in the West Bank. But in return he would have given the Palestinians an equal parcel of land from Israel proper in compensation. He offered Palestinian sovereignty over all the Arab areas of East Jerusalem, so that it could function as a capital for the new Palestinian state.

Dividing Jerusalem is an explosive issue in Israeli politics. Mr Olmert recalls his own struggle to come to grips with his offer on Jerusalem: "This was a very sensitive, very painful, soul-searching process. While I firmly believed that historically and emotionally Jerusalem was always the capital of the Jewish people, I was ready that the city should be shared."

Perhaps Mr Olmert's most radical and audacious proposal was for an international administration of the sites in Jerusalem holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Mr Olmert proposed forming an area of "no sovereignty" to be administered jointly by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the new Palestinian state, Israel and the US. He offered to build a tunnel, under Palestinian control, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Mr Olmert says every European leader, and senior Americans, who knew of the plan acknowledged it as the most far-reaching and extensive peace offer Israel has made.

Mr Olmert still regards Mr Abbas as a peace partner for Israel. "I think he's genuine in his desire to achieve a Palestinian state and he recognises the right of Israel to exist," he says. Mr Olmert speculates that Mr Abbas didn't accept the deal because he felt he could not deliver the Palestinian commitment to it, or perhaps because he feared the outcome of approaching Israeli elections. But nor did Mr Abbas directly reject the deal. Instead he said he wanted to bring experts back with him the next day. But the next day, the Palestinians' chief negotiator postponed the meeting. "I never saw him again," Mr Olmert says.



Israel readying new arms to meet Iran challenge

With cutting-edge anti-missile systems and two new submarines that can carry nuclear weapons, Israel is readying a new generation of armaments designed to defend itself against distant Iran as well as Tehran's proxy armies on its borders.

Having failed to crush Hamas' firepower in its Gaza offensive last winter, or Hezbollah's in its 2006 war in Lebanon, Israel is turning to an increasingly sophisticated mix of defensive technology.

A system that can unleash a metallic cloud to shoot down incoming rockets in the skies over Gaza or Lebanon has already been successfully tested, according to its maker, and is expected to be deployed next year. The army is developing a new generation of its Arrow defense system designed to shoot down Iran's long-range Shihab missiles outside the Earth's atmosphere.

It has three German-made Dolphin submarines and is buying two more. They can be equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles which analysts say could be stationed off the coast of Iran. Israel says Iran, despite its denials, is trying to acquire atomic weapons. It has never confirmed its Dolphin fleet has nuclear capabilities, but senior officials acknowledge that commanders are fast at work devising a strike plan in case diplomacy fails.

Under their overarching fear of nuclear annihilation by Iran, whose regime has repeatedly called for Israel's extinction, the more immediate threat is seen as coming from Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel's military believes Hezbollah has tripled its prewar arsenal to more than 40,000 rockets, some of which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel _ a dramatic improvement over the short-range missiles fired in 2006.

Hamas has also increased its rocket arsenal since last winter's fighting, said a senior military official who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with army regulations. Hamas recently test-fired a rocket that can travel up to 60 kilometers (40 miles), putting the Tel Aviv area within range for the first time, according to Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Israel's military intelligence chief.

Israel's defense industry says it is close to deploying Iron Dome, a system that will use cameras and radar to track incoming rockets and shoot them down within seconds of their launch. The system is so sophisticated that it can almost instantly predict where a rocket will land, changing its calculations to account for wind, sun and other conditions in fractions of a second.

Shooting down a missile is a bit like stopping a bullet with a bullet. But Eyal Ron, one of Iron Dome's developers, said his system will fire an interceptor that explodes into a cloud of small pieces which make it unnecessary to score a direct hit.

"It's a great advantage because to bring an interceptor to a target flying at incredible speed to an exact point is very hard," said Ron, a specialist at mPrest Systems Ltd., an Israeli software firm developing the system along with local arms giant Rafael.

He said recent tests in Israel's southern desert were successful, and a final dress rehearsal is expected in December before the system goes live next year.



Texas vs. California -- and the lesson for America as a whole

New Geography, the online magazine created by Joel Kotkin and others with a special focus on demographics and trends, has been tracking the implosion of California in an interesting way: by comparing it to Texas.

Texas and California are America’s two most populous states, together numbering approximately 55 million people, which is only about 6 million less than the United Kingdom, where I live. California, as everyone knows, has a coolness factor that Texas cannot match. Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and wine. Say no more. But, unless one has been living in a cave, everyone knows that the cool state is also the broke state. If Hollywood turned California’s budget and fiscal position into a movie, it would be a blockbuster horror film indeed.

Texas, on the other hand, is growing, creating wealth, and attracting the entrepreneurial and creative classes that too many people think only go to places like New York and California. This interesting post by Tory Gattis at New Geography explains why. He shares a four-point analysis from Trends magazine:

First, Texans on average believe in laissez-faire markets with an emphasis on individual responsibility. Since the ’80s, California’s policy-makers have favored central planning solutions and a reliance on a government social safety net. This unrelenting commitment to big government has led to a huge tax burden and triggered a mass exodus of jobs. The Trends Editors examined the resulting migration in “Voting with Our Feet,” in the April 2008 issue of Trends.

Second, Californians have largely treated environmentalism as a “religious sacrament” rather than as one component among many in maximizing people’s quality of life. As we explained in “The Road Ahead for Housing,” in the June 2009 issue of Trends, environmentally-based land-use restriction centered in California played a huge role in inflating the recent housing bubble. Similarly, an unwillingness to manage ecology proactively for man’s benefit has been behind the recent epidemic of wildfires.

Third, California has placed “ethnic diversity” above “assimilation,” while Texas has done the opposite. “Identity politics” has created psychological ghettos that have prevented many of California’s diverse ethnic groups and subcultures from integrating fully into the mainstream. Texas, on the other hand, has proactively encouraged all the state’s residents to join the mainstream.

Fourth, beyond taxes, diversity, and the environment, Texas has focused on streamlining the regulatory and litigation burden on its residents. Meanwhile, California’s government has attempted to use regulation and litigation to transfer wealth from its creators to various special-interest constituencies.

I wrote an article for New Geography related to the second point last spring. The role played by housing regulations in the housing bubble is one of the most under-reported and under-analyzed factors contributing to the 2008 financial crisis, and nowhere was its destructive force more evident than in California. Regulators lathered on rule after rule to construction requirements, escalating costs so dramatically that lenders had to design “exotic” mortgages so even relatively affluent people could afford homes. One of Texas’s attractions, meanwhile, was the opportunity of much more affordable homeownership.

Perhaps the analysis above falls a bit short, though, in not giving enough attention to role that the tax structure in California has played in driving people away, and the parallel problem of the state’s hemorrhaging public sector workforce. Kotkin has written in Forbes that California’s government workforce has saddled the state’s budget with $200 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Kotkin also points out that California has been losing high-tech jobs to the Southwest and elsewhere because of its increasingly hostile tax and regulatory environment.

By now, the subtext of this post should be clear: the Obama administration is behaving as though California were its model for growth. Increasing unfunded liabilities, proposing $1 trillion in new healthcare spending, responding to the economic crisis with new regulatory agencies but balking on the core causes of the problem —all of this and more betrays a sinister psychology of policy making.



BrookesNews Update

Obama's economic policies are turning into a global disaster : A country can no more devalue its way to prosperity then it can spend its way into solvency. The effect will be lower real wages, which means a lower standard of living. But look on the bright side: Buffett will still be fabulously rich as will be all those super rich Hollywood Democrats
Will the exchange rate kill manufacturing : The world is facing is a grave monetary disorder and depreciating currencies and rapidly changing exchange rates are symptoms of this disorder. As a result American and Australian manufacturing have been hit particularly hard. Until central banks come to understand that manipulating their money supplies creates malinvestments and distorts the pattern of international trade these problems will only worsen
The resources boom signals good times, but is manufacturing telling another story? : If manufacturing is sensitive to monetary changes then it is very likely that any further tightening will cause manufacturing to continue to contract irrespective of the demand for resources. So it seems that the country's capital structure is being dangerously distorted by domestic monetary policy and China's policy of creating masses of credit to fuel growth
Islam and the Dark Age of Byzantium : Instead of saving civilization did Islam bury it. Historical evidence is now emerging that the rise of Islam was a disaster for the ancient world and civilized values. That it was a plundering and parasitic culture that heralded a Dark Age
The Obama/Holder Bushwhack : The New York terrorist trial is really about making the case against former President George W. Bush as a war criminal while the whole world watches. It's what the Obama campaign promised its America-hating base. To this pair of leftists Republicans are the real enemy, not terrorism
The Khalid trial: Bombs and Circuses in New York : It's hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama administration wants to use Khalid's trial to embarrass Bush and expose more details of enhanced interrogation. It is truly disgusting that any president would use a mass murderer to embarrass a predecessor while causing immense pain to those who survived the atrocity. One would have to be incredibly callous to do such a thing
Why can't White people celebrate their own culture? : Why don't we all just take Martin Luther King's advice and judge people based on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin? That way we could do away with all those groups that focus on skin color, like the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Hispanic 'La Raza
When I like the outcome -- democracy, when I like the outcome : "What is striking about the Democratic Party is that it is totally anti-democratic. Only when an electoral decision favours them do they approve of democracy. Hence all Republican administrations are illegitimate



The "Gatecrasher" story, where an univited couple attended a White House dinner in honour of the Prime Minister of India, is rather amazing. How could security be so lax? Anything could have happened. I have just got around to reading some details of the matter and I think I know how it happened. It was political correctness run riot. The lady concerned was wearing some sort of Indian garb and security staff were afraid to challenge her in case they goofed and got accused of racism.

Here Comes the Judge?: "Given Hillary Clinton's stated regret that the United States is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court, there is a real possibility that the Obama administration intends to allow American soldiers in Afghanistan to be tried in the in the Hague. This is not only terribly wrong, it is gravely dangerous to US security. If America -- which has some of the world's strictest rules of engagement, and already punishes those who trangress them -- agrees to subject its soldiers to inherently selective international prosecution, no one could blame young people for declining to join the military. What's more, it allows a bunch of international judges effectively to define the permissible limits of the warfare conducted by Americans, and offers an opportunity for them to wield enormous (and unjustified) authority over our troops, our strategy and our defenses -- a clear violation of our sovereignty. Soldiers' hands are already being tied enough -- and their ability to defend themselves constrained enough -- by the new, PC era in the Obama armed forces. Subjecting them to international jurisdiction would be the last straw."


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


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


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Real Pilgrims Sought Purity, Not Tolerance or Diversity

As American families sit down to their traditional Thanksgiving feasts they will naturally recall the familiar story of the Pilgrims taught to every school kid and, in the process, distort the true character of the nation’s religious heritage.

Most children learn that the Mayflower settlers came to the New World to escape persecution and to establish religious freedom. But the early colonists actually pursued purity, not tolerance and sought to build fervent, faith-based utopias, not secular regimes that consigned religion to a secondary role. The distinctive circumstances that allowed these fiery believers of varied denominations to cooperate in the founding of a new nation help to explain America’s contradictory religious traditions – as simultaneously the most devoutly Christian society in the western world, and the country most accommodating to every shade of exotic belief and practice.

Concerning the Pilgrims who celebrated the First Thanksgiving in 1621, they didn’t travel directly from their English homes to the “hideous and desolate wilderness” of Massachusetts. They sailed the Atlantic only after living for twelve years in flourishing communities in Holland—the most tolerant and religiously diverse nation of Europe. They left the Netherlands not because that nation imposed too many religious restrictions but because the Dutch honored too few. The pluralism they found in Amsterdam and Leyden horrified the Pilgrims. They were separatists who considered themselves “a people apart” and who preferred isolation on a distant shore that facilitated the building of a unified, disciplined, strictly devout commonwealth, not some wide-open sanctuary for believers of every stripe. The famous Mayflower Compact defined their purpose explicitly as “the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith…”

The like-minded Puritans who followed them (and whose much larger settlement of Massachusetts Bay annexed the Pilgrims’ Plymouth in 1691) showed similar determination to build a model of single-minded religious rigor. The leaders of this idealistic venture were in no sense the victims of oppression back home, but rather counted as wealthy and influential gentleman who wielded considerable political influence. Even after their fellow Puritans won total power (and executed a king in 1649) the Massachusetts colonists chose to remain in their “city upon a hill” in the New World rather than to return to the compromises and complications necessitated by the fractious politics of England. The famous shipboard sermon by which Governor John Winthrop inspired his flock for the challenges of their “errand into the wilderness” declared that “when God gives a special commission he looks to have it strictly observed in every article….to serve the Lord and work out our salvation under the power and purity of his holy ordinances.”

Beyond the four New England colonies (which each began as energetic theocracies representing various strands of Puritanism), other major settlements took shape according to the dreams and dictates of other denominations. William Penn and his fellow Quakers followed their “inner light” to establish Pennsylvania as a “holy experiment,” while the aristocratic Calvert family set up Maryland as a refuge and a base of operations for devout British Catholics. Even the less explicitly religious colonies, where early settlers seemed to care more about finding gold than finding God, received royal charters that declared their underlying mission of spreading the faith. Virginia’s charter described a mandate for the “propagating of Christian Religion as such People as yet live in Darkness.” At the first landing of the original Jamestown expedition (April 26, 1607), Captain Christopher Newport took it upon himself to erect the colony’s first structure: a large cross at Cape Henry to mark their arrival.

How, then, did these enthusiastic true believers with their often uncompromising standards ever manage to join together in a new nation in 1776 – a nation that has been characterized ever since by a religious diversity and inter-denominational cooperation altogether unprecedented in human history?

The Revolutionary struggle forced their hand, with soldiers from more than a dozen Christian traditions and sects (as well as a disproportionate representation of the colonies’ tiny Jewish minority) fighting side by side in the Continental Army. When General Washington ordered “divine services” to build morale among his weary troops, he made some effort to avoid excluding New England Congregationalists or Virginia Baptists or Carolina Methodists or, for that matter, the random Catholic or Mennonite. In the eight year struggle, Massachusetts soldiers served willingly under the brilliant Quaker General Nathanael Greene – even though their Puritan forebears might have been among those who order the occasional hanging of his co-religionists in the previous century.

Violent struggles had broken out from time to time in the past among various faith communities—with Puritans challenging Catholics for control of Maryland, for instance, and fighting the bloody Battle of the Severn in 1655. But for the most part the wide open spaces of the new continent allowed even the most impassioned theological enthusiasts to build their own spheres of influence without confronting or oppressing their potential rivals in far flung neighboring settlements. The constant threat of Indian violence and the even more dire menace of British suppression made some level of mutual respect a practical necessity, even for localities that bitterly disagreed.

The First Amendment to the Constitution ratified this arrangement of uncontested local authority with its careful wording: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” The Constitutional formulation limited the power of the federal government to impose a single national faith, and to provoke the dangerous battles accompanying such an attempt, but did nothing in the eyes of the zealous founders to interfere with the established churches (that received direct government funding and endorsement) on the state level. The esteemed liberal scholar Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School writes: “A growing body of evidence suggests that the Framers principally intended the Establishment of Religion Clause to perform two functions: two protect state religious establishments from national displacement, and to prevent the national government from aiding some, but not all, religions.” With this understanding in mind, religious voting restrictions (limiting the franchise to Trinitarian Protestant Christians, for instance) continued in several states for more than forty years under the Constitution.

The Pilgrims and their spiritual descendants never had to retreat from religious fervor or Biblical demands to join the new Republic, thanks to the continued existence of more or less autonomous, localized refuges and enclaves. No one can suggest that our Founders embraced secularism or relativism, but they did come to accept the notion of separate faith communities following their own distinctive rules while managing to live side-by-side and to cooperate where necessary.

Thanksgiving in that sense doesn’t celebrate religious freedom, but rather coexistence. We remain a nation of impassioned, fiercely committed, openly competing believers who have nonetheless established a long tradition of letting other faith communities go their own way. We can be pious and uncompromising at our own Thanksgiving tables, without menacing, or even questioning the very different proceedings in the home next door. The limitless boundaries and vast empty land of the fresh continent, plus the challenges of a long Revolutionary struggle, gave the faith-filled fanatics of the founding the chance for a freedom more profound than mere religious tolerance: the right, in their own communities, to be left alone.



So Much for Transcending Race

Given how high the hopes were for Barack Obama -- and how many of those hopes were pinned on the candidate's supposed ability to bridge America's racial divide -- it is sobering to analyze this linked Gallup survey.

The President's approval has slid to 39% among whites; the only reason it remains in the high 40's overall is because he enjoys a 73% approval among non-whites (and even higher, understandably, in the African American community alone). Apparently, the racial divide remains with us for the foreseeable future -- perhaps, ironically, worse than ever, to the extent that African Americans perceive any unfairness in the critiques of the President that they attribute, rightly or wrongly, to his race.

But even if the President has proved unable to transcend race, he has done a great favor for America, especially its young, albeit unwittingly. Every generation must be reminded anew about how precious freedom is, and how insidiously government can begin to take over -- and how destructive (to our liberties, to our economy, to our culture, even) an overweening, hyperactive, steroidal government can be.

Jimmy Carter taught an earlier generation about the disaster that lefty economics and soft foreign policy creates. Perhaps it may be that Barack Obama and his "Big Government knows best" agenda is doing the same thing. And if that's the case, I'm thankful -- for that and so much more.



Why Won’t the Mainstream Media Cover the ACORN Story?

It’s blindingly obvious why corrupt leftist lawmakers including House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) and his subcommittee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) won’t investigate their good friends at ACORN, but as evidence continues to mount of ACORN’s habitual, potentially criminal wrongdoing, why does the mainstream media refuse to investigate a scandal that “could be as historically significant as Watergate“?

Big Media seems to be taking cues from what NewsReal blogger Kathy Shaidle calls the George Soros Steno Pool at Media Matters for America. Throughout the continuing revelations about ACORN, Media Matters has steadfastly defended its allies at ACORN. One has to wonder if ACORN is keeping Media Matters on retainer and if so how big the regular checks must be.

Soon after the first few hidden-camera videos of James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles surfaced in September showing the public ACORN’s barely concealed criminal proclivities, John V. Santore of Media Matters launched a sleaze attack against O’Keefe, Giles, and their online publisher, Andrew Breitbart. Because O’Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart are conservatives there is no way they could be honest reporters of facts, implied Santore. Giles even attended events at the National Journalism Center, he noted. Heavens! Of course ideological disqualification never applies to left-of-center media outlets.

Santore also focused on the journalistic ethics involved in the undercover video sting operation, arguing that because the reporters had an animus against ACORN they couldn’t be trusted. Tell that to the award-winning crusading journalists throughout American history who have helped to bust up (other) crime gangs and expose malfeasance everywhere. Having an opinion or a desire to do the right thing isn’t a requirement to be a reporter nor does it disqualify a person from being a reporter.

Appropriately, on his TV show Glenn Beck observed: "The New York Times wonders why they are losing readers. It’s because reading their paper is like entering a time machine or reading the news in your rearview mirror. They didn’t even bother to jump on the ACORN story, which came complete with corruption, hookers and pimps."

The ACORN scandal is a great story yet apart from Fox News and a few other media outlets, the media has been ignoring it. What coverage we’ve seen –especially from the Associated Press– tends to focus not on ACORN’s corruption, but instead on the political ramifications of what is now happening to the radical advocacy group-cum-organized crime syndicate. Still other news stories focus on the journalistic ethics involved in the hidden-camera videos of James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles that helped to show the public ACORN’s barely concealed criminal proclivities. Particularly tedious are the whiny, typo-laden essays of Eric Boehlert of Media Matters who declares that whatever the videos are, they’re “not really journalism at all.”

Media critic Jack Shafer of the liberal website excoriates the mainstream media for ignoring the ACORN story. Shafer wrote: "The liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America complains that the ACORN videos, which aren’t a “major story,” are driving an “incomplete, misleading” media stampede. But Media Matters is wrong. Independent news organizations, including the Washington Post, the New York Post, and the Baltimore Sun, are chasing the ACORN story not because they’ve been bamboozled by the Breitbart exposé but because the dress-up stunt has pointed them toward what could be fertile grounds for wrongdoing."

Actually, when Shafer wrote the above referenced column on Sept. 23 it appeared the media was actually going to do its job and thoroughly investigate ACORN. Alas, it was not to be.




The President of France supports a pedophile: "Roman Polanski’s family yesterday praised the role played by Nicolas Sarkozy in securing the film director’s release on bail after two months in a Swiss prison. The French President “has been very effective” behind the scenes, according to the film director’s sister-in-law Mathilde Seigner, as Mr Polanski prepared to move from a cell to house arrest in his luxury chalet in the exclusive Alpine village of Gstaad. The Swiss authorities said that Mr Polanski would be allowed out once the agreed bail of 4.5 million Swiss Francs had been received. They have ordered that he should not leave his chalet - for fear that the first-rate skier might slip over the nearby border via a mountain pass into his adopted French homeland and escape US justice a second time. Mr Polanski must turn in his passport and have a surveillance system installed at his chalet, where he will wear electronic tagging, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said in a statement. “He must not leave this house,” the ministry said. Should he violate the terms of release, the bail, raised against the director’s apartment in Paris, will be forfeited to the Swiss Government."

Irish Catholic Church 'covered up' sickening catalogue of child abuse by paedophile priests: "Thirty years of sex abuse by paedophile priests was covered up by the Roman Catholic Church on an 'astonishing scale', a damning report has found. Four archbishops were among those condemned for allowing hundreds of vulnerable children to suffer so they could protect the Church's reputation. The Catholic hierarchy was granted police immunity and Church leaders protected abusers in some cases with the blessing of senior law enforcers. Hundreds of crimes were not reported while police treated clergy as above the law, investigators said. Fear of the public anger that would have followed high-profile prosecutions of priests was seen as more important than preventing the sex offenders from repeating their crimes, it concluded. Instead of reporting the allegations, Church leaders shifted the accused from parish to parish, allowing them to prey on new victims. The report, by the Commission of Investigation, said: 'The Dublin archdiocese's preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets.' The archdiocese 'did its best to avoid any application of the law of the state', it added".

Seattle silliness: "After 13 years of delays, and cost-overruns that tripled its estimated cost, Seattle finally finished the first 14 miles of its insanely impractical light rail system. Running between downtown and the airport, “Central Link” cost an unprecedented $330,000,000 per mile—nearly $200,000 per yard. Of course, ridership is barely half what officials predicted—and interest on construction expenses alone means a subsidy of $200 per ride. My wife and I tried the new system, experiencing a jerky, pokey ride that took 45 minutes. Officials claim the normal time will be 36 minutes, but acknowledge that the popular 194 Bus travels the same route (at a lower fare) in just 32 minutes! To force the unwilling public to use the white elephant light rail, they’ve arrogantly announced cancellation of the 194 Bus, starting in February."

Obama's grandmother in Mecca for 'Hajj' ceremony: "The grandmother of US president Barack Obama has arrived in Saudi Arabia for the 'Hajj' or Islamic pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, a Saudi daily said on Wednesday. Sarah Obama, 87, is being accompanied by a nephew and Obama's cousin, Omran. On Wednesday Sarah Obama was in the valley of Mina with an African delegation, according to the Saudi daily Okaz. Obama, the mother of the American president's father, lives in a village in Kenya and is one of the many guests of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud." [During the election campaign, it was claimed that the the woman concerned was a CHRISTIAN]

NY Democrat says Obama an 'obstacle to peace': "In defiance of President Obama's demands that Israel cease building in sections of Jerusalem and the West Bank, New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind laid the cornerstone for the second phase of a new Jewish construction project in the Nof Tzion neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem. Together with Knesset Member Danny Danon, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, Hikind spoke with reporters about the Jewish right to build in Israel's capital city. Hikind, a Democrat, asserted banning Jews from building in neighborhoods was segregation. He expressed wonder that an African-American president would endorse such a policy in the 21st century. Speaking with the media, Hikind blamed Obama for stalling the peace process. According to the assemblyman, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has latched onto Obama's calls for a settlement freeze as an excuse not to negotiate with Israel. According to Hikind, a Jew cannot even build a bathroom in Jerusalem without international condemnation".

Diversity has jumped the shark, horrifically: "It cannot be said often enough that the chief of staff of the United States Army, Gen. George Casey, responded to a massacre of 13 Americans in which the suspect is a Muslim by saying: "Our diversity ... is a strength." As long as the general has brought it up: Never in recorded history has diversity been anything but a problem. Look at Ireland with its Protestant and Catholic populations, Canada with its French and English populations, Israel with its Jewish and Palestinian populations. Or consider the warring factions in India, Sri Lanka, China, Iraq, Czechoslovakia (until it happily split up), the Balkans and Chechnya. Also look at the festering hotbeds of tribal warfare – I mean the beautiful mosaics – in Third World hellholes like Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Central L.A. "Diversity" is a difficulty to be overcome, not an advantage to be sought. True, America does a better job than most at accommodating a diverse population. We also do a better job at curing cancer and containing pollution. But no one goes around mindlessly exclaiming: "Cancer is a strength!" "Pollution is our greatest asset!"


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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)


Friday, November 27, 2009

If the Races Were Reversed, We’d Be Hearing About This Nationwide

By Debbie Schlussel

If White people were targeting Black men at a big city mall in America and beating them senseless and filming it for racial snuff films, I guarantee it’d be a national media story. In fact, we’d see Presidential campaign commercials vilifying the Republican Presidential nominee with it. But, sadly, since it’s the other way around here, it remains a news story confined to Denver. The roles of the races and racism in this case simply don’t fit the mainstream media’s preferred narrative of victims and victimhood.
Peter DeQuattro, a 25-year-old cook, exited the Mall Ride at Civic Center Station around 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 8, after his shift at a Lower Downtown bar. His next recollection was writhing on a gurney in the back of an ambulance, an eye swollen shut and adrenaline pumping as EMTs struggled to restrain him. DeQuattro, who is white, was one of the most recent men targeted in a downtown-centered spree of attacks where small groups of black men and youths — many with admitted gang ties — tried to knock out white or Latino men with whacks to the head. They sometimes stole from them or taunted them with racial epithets.

DeQuattro never knew what hit him, though police have told him three men blindsided him from behind and then pummeled his face while he struggled from the ground to fight them off. In the process, they broke a bone just above his eye. The maroon bruise is just starting to fade, two weeks later.

“I usually don’t have to worry about these things,” said DeQuattro, hinting that his 6-foot, 4-inch stature normally deters would-be muggers. In this case, it might have been an incentive. “I never thought I would be the victim of a hate crime.”

No way. A hate crime like this–a race-based hate crime–would never happen in this Obama era of post-racialism. Would it?
Denver police announced Friday that they’d been investigating the spree of similar assaults in tourist areas like the 16th Street Mall and LoDo for four months and had arrested 32 suspects. Police apprehended a 33rd man, Torrence McCall, when he turned himself in Sunday afternoon after first calling a local television station.

A gang-prevention leader, the Rev. Leon Kelly, has suggested the assaults are being videotaped and used to show how quickly the assailants can knock out their victims. According to Kelly, the recordings are traded on the black market and bolster street credibility.

Hmmm . . . there’s a market for beat-the-cracker snuff films. What does that tell you about racism against White people in the Black community in America? It’s far too accepted. That’s what it tells me.
The 26 attacks that police know about have followed a similar pattern. A small group of black men approach their white or Latino victim. Sometimes, racial epithets are used to taunt victims before they’re attacked. But often, they’re sucker-punched with “a whack to the head” and sometimes robbed, said Lt. Matt Murray.

Like I said, this one is restricted to Denver media reporting because only White on Black racism merits national attention in America.



Obama and the Democrats do NOT have America's best interests at heart

It is time to cast aside all remaining doubt. President Obama is not trying to lead America forward to recovery, prosperity and strength. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In September of last year, American Thinker published my article, Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis. Part of a series, it connected then-presidential candidate Barack Obama to individuals and organizations practicing a malevolent strategy for destroying our economy and our system of government. Since then, the story of that strategy has found its way across the blogosphere, onto the airwaves of radio stations across the country, the Glenn Beck television show, Bill O'Reilly, and now Mark Levin.

The methodology is known as the Cloward-Piven Strategy, and we can all be grateful to David Horowitz and his Discover the Networks for originally exposing and explaining it to us. He describes it as: "The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse."

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were two lifelong members of Democratic Socialists of America who taught sociology at Columbia University (Piven later went on to City University of New York). In a May 1966 Nation magazine article titled "The Weight of the Poor," they outlined their strategy, proposing to use grassroots radical organizations to push ever more strident demands for public services at all levels of government. The result, they predicted, would be "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash "powerful forces ... for major economic reform at the national level."

They implemented the strategy by creating a succession of radical organizations, most notable among them the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), with the help of veteran organizer Wade Rathke. Their crowning achievement was the "Motor Voter" act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993 with Cloward and Piven standing behind him.

As we now know, ACORN was one of the chief drivers of high-risk mortgage lending that eventually led to the financial crisis. But the Motor Voter law was another component of the strategy. It created vast vulnerabilities in our electoral system, which ACORN then exploited. ACORN's vote registration scandals throughout the U.S. are predictable fallout.

The Motor Voter law has also been used to open another vulnerability in the system: the registration of vast numbers of illegal aliens, who then reliably vote Democrat. Herein lies the real reason Democrats are so anxious for open borders, security be damned.

It should be clear to anyone with a mind and two eyes that this president and this Congress do not have our interests at heart. They are implementing this strategy on an unprecedented scale by flooding America with a tidal wave of poisonous initiatives, orders, regulations, and laws. As Rahm Emmanuel said, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

The real goal of "health care" legislation, the real goal of "cap-and-trade," and the real goal of the "stimulus" is to rip the guts out of our private economy and transfer wide swaths of it over to the government to control. Do not be deluded by the propaganda. These initiatives are vehicles for change. They are not goals in and of themselves except in their ability to deliver power. They and will make matters much worse, for that is their design...

More here


Effort To Curb Financial Giants May Worry Markets Even More

More taxpayer bailouts or increase markets' regulatory uncertainty? That may be the trade-off from legislation dealing with financials deemed "too big to fail." The House Financial Services Committee voted 38-29 last week to expand federal power over Tier 1 firms, which face more scrutiny because they pose a systemic risk. It was an amendment by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., to the Financial Stability Improvement Act. "(The) Kanjorski amendment would empower federal regulators to rein in and dismantle financial firms that are so large, inter-connected, or risky that their collapse would put at risk the entire American economic system, even if those firms currently appear to be well-capitalized and healthy," Kanjorski said in a press release. "Therefore, American taxpayers should no longer be on the hook for bailouts, as financial companies would not be able to become 'too big to fail.'"

Critics say investors will be wary of putting money into activities of companies when regulators can later order those firms to discontinue those activities. "These firms may be held back from profitable ventures their non-Tier 1 competitors can enter," said John Berlau, director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute. "Investors will take into account that these firms may receive greater harm from regulators than their competitors." ...

"The only way to end taxpayer bailouts is to end taxpayer bailouts," said Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and a member of the Financial Services Committee. Hensarling says the Kanjorski amendment would create more political uncertainty in markets. "It is completely irrational to believe that substituting the arbitrary actions of unelected federal bureaucrats for the judgments of well-informed market participants will reduce the government's moral hazard for the impact of its actions on shareholders, creditors, counterparties and others," he said...

More here


Judge punishes 'repulsive' bank and writes off subprime mortgage

Hard to understand why the bank was so foolish. It failed to apply basic principles for dealing with debtors in default. Flexibility and compromise are the keys to best outcome. The bank should fire whatever moron was in charge of the matter

Greg and Diane Horoski's story may seem familiar. They bought their home before the boom and, when house prices soared, increased their mortgage to finance a small business. Interest rates rose, health bills poured in, and then the housing market crashed so that they ended up owing thousands of dollars more than their bungalow was worth.

Yesterday they went to court in New York expecting to be thrown out - but instead they emerged with their debt of $500,000 written off and a mortgage-free home. Judge Jeffrey Spinner ruled that their lender's behaviour had been “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive to the extent that it must be appropriately sanctioned so as to deter it from imposing further mortifying abuse”.

Facing financial difficulties because of Mr Horoski's health problems, the couple began having trouble making the mortgage payments in 2005. IndyMac Bank, a division of the California-based OneWest Bank, which services the loan for Deutsche Bank, sought to evict the couple.

IndyMac claimed that with interest and penalties they owed more than $US527,437. Because the case involved a high-interest “subprime” mortgage, the bank was required by New York state law to attend a court conference to seek a settlement that would keep the owners in their home before completing the foreclosure. The bank, however, rejected repeated offers by the Horoskis to make reduced monthly payments with help from their adult daughter. It flatly turned down an offer by the daughter to buy the house for its current value with money from another lender to pay off the bulk of the mortgage.

The judge was outraged and accused the bank's representatives of an “opprobrious demeanour and condescending attitude”. He pointed out that the Horoskis had turned up for court on six occasions, despite Mrs Horoski's difficulty in walking and her husband's many health problems. “At each appearance, they have assiduously attempted to resolve this controversy in an amicable fashion, only to be callously and arbitrarily turned away,” he wrote. Eviction would leave the Horoskis and their daughter homeless, “leading to an additional level of problems, both for them and for society”. The mortgage was “hereby cancelled, voided, avoided, nullified, set aside and is of no further force and effect”.

Mr Horoski told the New York Post that negotiating with the bank was “like dealing with organised crime”. He said: “I think the judge felt it was almost a personal vendetta. The bank was so intransigent that he decided to punish them.”




Sarah Palin memoir tops US book sales: "Republican former governor Sarah Palin's memoir Going Rogue shot to the top of the US bestseller list in its first week after publication, industry figures showed overnight. With almost half a million copies sold, Going Rogue: An American Life beat new blockbusters by James Patterson and Stephen King to become the highest-selling book in the country, according to Nielsen BookScan. She launched the memoir, published November 16 by HarperCollins, with a blitz of media appearances and a political campaign-style book tour. Her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show received huge attention, both contributing to publicity for the book and also boosting Oprah's own ratings -- in some markets doubling viewership, Nielsen said. Ms Palin's electability remains in dispute, but in the book race she does well against other Washington heavyweights. First week sale statistics show Going Rogue selling 469,000 copies, less than former president Bill Clinton's 2004 memoir, My Life at the same period of sales, but just ahead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2003 Living History. Going Rogue trounces the performance of President Barack Obama's 2007 Audacity of Hope which had sold 67,000 copies a week after publication, Nielsen figures show."

Europe's new "Foreign minister" is a former peacenik and friend of the Soviets: "Baroness Ashton of Upholland’s past came back to haunt her yesterday when the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief was forced to deny taking funds from the Soviet Union during her days as treasurer for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Lady Ashton, a surprise choice for her post, was challenged to deny that she had contact with Russian sources while she was in charge of its accounts at the height of the Cold War. The Times has learnt that concerns about her CND involvement are felt across countries from the former Iron Curtain now in the EU and that MEPs plan to question her about it when she appears before them for the hearing to confirm her in her post. Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, raised the matter on the floor of the European Parliament yesterday, earning himself a reprimand for referring to Lady Ashton and Herman Van Rompuy, the new European President, as pygmies. Mr Farage added: “She was treasurer during a period when CND took very large donations and refused to reveal the sources."

Ireland’s Christian Brothers to pay £146m to victims of child abuse: "The Christian Brothers religious order is to give €161 million (£146 million) in cash and property in reparation for its role in decades of child abuse in Ireland. The Brothers said that €34 million in cash would be used to help victims of abuse, whose plight was identified in a government report in May. However, the move was criticised, with one victims’ group describing it as “mere smoke and mirrors”. The Ryan report chronicled cases of tens of thousands of children who suffered systematic sexual, physical and mental abuse over decades at residential homes run by 18 congregations. It concluded that the Brothers order was responsible for most of the cases. A transfer of €127 million in property will be used to “begin to repair trust with so many people in Ireland, who felt betrayed by the Brothers”, the order said in a statement. “We understand and regret that nothing we say or do can turn back the clock for those affected by abuse,” the statement said. “Our response reflects the moral obligation we collectively and individually feel.” The Christian Brothers made their announcement on the eve of publication of another report, which is expected to shake the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland."

CA: Bureaucratic tyranny. Man jailed after housing homeless on ranch: "A California rancher who houses homeless people on his property chose to serve 90 days in jail rather than accept probation after being convicted of misdemeanor safety violations. Dan de Vaul says the terms of probation offered Monday would prevent him from sheltering about 30 people who reside at his ranch and participate in a substance abuse recovery program. The 66-year-old de Vaul says he is proud to go to jail for housing the homeless. About 30 supporters applauded as he was led out of court in handcuffs.”

Bureaucrats with badges: "There is no shortage of shameful exploits by TSA agents and other airport security personnel in the post 9/11 era. An octogenarian World War II hero was delayed and repeatedly searched when he attempted to board a plan carrying his Congressional Medal of Honor. A planeload of soldiers were forced to remain in their jetliner during a four-hour layover. TSA officials ruled the servicemen posed a security threat because they had weapons stored in the belly of the aircraft. The soldiers were en route home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Another soldier, who had his jaw wired shut following surgery for a bullet wound, was prohibited from boarding his aircraft because he possessed a small pair of wire cutters required to cut open his jaw in a medical emergency. These embarrassing episodes are not surprising to anyone familiar with government bureaucrats armed with ‘rules, policies and procedures’ and employing no commonsense.”

Revisiting and expanding the Laffer Curve: "The Laffer curve is about how much imposition or other types of trouble, people are willing to tolerate from their fellows. Arthur Laffer, a professor at the University of Southern California, is supposed to have drawn a bell shaped graph on a napkin once to show that up to an indeterminate but peak point of the curve people are very likely to put up with the burden of taxation. The peak isn’t the same for everyone, but everyone does have such a peak.”

AZ: Would you pay a toll to beat traffic?: "Solo drivers on Interstate 10 could soon zip past traffic by paying a toll to use the carpool lane if a prediction by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters proves right. She says high-occupancy toll, or HOT, lanes on I-10 could soon be available for frustrated drivers. In two months, the cash-strapped Arizona Department of Transportation begins courting private investors to improve the highway system. Already, state and regional transportation agencies have fielded inquiries from numerous would-be investors, consultants and contractors about all kinds of projects, including HOT lanes.”


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


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


Thursday, November 26, 2009

This Thanksgiving, Celebrate without guilt

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It is used to celebrate man's ability to produce. It is a day filled with wonderful things to commemorate a person's production throughout the year. The mouth-watering turkey, aromatic pies, savory trimmings and, in some cases, cosmopolitan decorations are a testament to weath creation. It is these facets of the holiday that should be a source of pride to every self-reliant person.

However, there are those, motivated by hatred for mankind and our comfort and happiness, who would rather make Thanksgiving into a day based on guilt. Thanksgiving critics, such as environmentalists and religionists, criticize our lifestyles. They say that Americans should be ashamed for consuming so much (especially food). Our material abundance, they say, contributes to a depletion of things like the planet's natural resources.

Critics insist that the construction of homes and buildings, usage of fossil fuels, abundance of food and drink, driving vehicles are cause, not for celebration, but should be condemned. That we should feel guilt for our selfish ways and that Americans have a duty to give reparations to those less fortunate. They shudder at the possibility of the rest of the world being able to consume the way Americans do.

If the world came to consume the way we do, it will result in a utopia, not a dystopia as many doom-gloomers insist. For the world to embrace economic freedom, even in minimal amounts, means that the production of wealth is multiplied.

Human survival is not automatic. In order for someone to live, their life depends on producing successfully. From the food we eat, the clothes on our backs, the science researched and art forms we enjoy, every act of production requires thought. The greater the thought, the greater the creation. Yet all production is the result of creation. The wealth created where it didn't exist before and was the result of human effort to reshape places and elements considered of little value into a scheme to benefit mankind. Not the result of mystical creation as told in holy texts such as the Bible or Koran.

In terms of Thanksgiving, less than a year after the founding of the Jamestown settlement in the 1600's, only 46 of the 104 original colonists were left alive, most having perished for lack of food. This was due, in large part, to the colonists casting off their relgious tenets, since applying them to their way of life was destructive. At first, colonial land and farming was owned and worked on a communal basis along with the care and raising of children. It wasn't until rejecting their religious beliefs and embracing free trade that the death, famine and misery that resulted from the Jamestown colonists initial communistic policy ended. The Pilgrims were so pleased with the results from their change of heart that they prospered and didn't starve that they saw it as an occasion for a Thanksgiving.

However, the colonist's bold step required thought and action to put their new policies to work. In order to survive, the colonists had to produce. And to produce, they used their logic and reason.

It was Abraham Lincoln who made the first Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863. Upon making his declaration, Lincoln stated that we have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. Yet this statement and the many declarations made by clergy and environmentalists condemning our abundance while calling on us to sacrifice for the greater good or because society or some mystical element - such as God or nature - demands it, is an insult to everything we work for throughout the year.

Thanksgiving is not about faith and charity. It is about thought and production. The proper thanks for one's wealth is not mystical guilt, sacrifice or condemnation but celebration, if one has rightly and morally earned it. When you sit at the dinner table with family and friends ready to consume your dinner on fine china, ignore those who damn your ability to live by calling for you to sacrifice -- and revel in the day since it is done in commemoration of your hard work and effort. You have earned it.



Obama secrecy: Another broken promise

Big rethink when he has got something to hide. But the secrecy tells most of the story anyway

After seven months of stonewalling their FOIA requests, Don Loos and the National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation have been forced file a complaint with the U.S. District Court demanding the Department of Labor be compelled to give them the information they seek. So much for Obama's promise to run the the most open and transparent administration in history.

On Obama's first day in office, the Department of Justice issued the following memorandum regarding FOIA requests:
The President directed that FOIA “should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.” Moreover, the President instructed agencies that information should not be withheld merely because “public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”

Agencies were directed to respond to requests “promptly and in a spirit of cooperation.” The President also called on agencies to “adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure” and to apply that presumption “to all decisions involving [the] FOIA.” This presumption of disclosure includes taking “affirmative steps to make information public,” and utilizing “modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government.”

The Obama administration's full-throated endorsement of transparency here only makes the administration's utter failure to respond to FOIA requests that much more infuriating. Loos has been trying for months to get basic information regarding the relationships between union bosses and Obama Labor department employees, including:

* Records from communications and recorded events where specified Obama appointees and Big Labor official were present

* Lists of lawsuits involving the Department of Labor and Deborah Greenfield within the past eight years.

* List of any gifts received by Solis in the past 5 years from Big Labor or its officials

* Specifically provide in detail (a) notes, (b) agreements, (c) communications, and (d) agendas related to the regulations related to the labor union and officer disclosure rules

* Copies of phone logs

* Copies of any notes or documents related to any enforcement of any labor laws and any outside groups such as labor unions, American Rights at Work, or ACORN

None of this information should be a closely guarded state secret. To the contrary, the public is probably owed such knowledge. And as bad as the Department of Labor is behaving, stonewalling FOIA requests is common throughout the Obama administration.



The “Science Presidency”

Remember when President Obama said that he was going to “restore science to its rightful place”? Apparently, that statement needed to be translated from the vagaries of “hope and change” to modern English: Right-wing anti-science policies are out; left-wing anti-science policies are in.

For starters, President Obama appointed Cass Sunstein as the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Mr. Sunstein believes that all recreational hunting should be banned. He also believes that meat consumption should be phased out in the United States, and he holds the unique belief that animals should have the right to sue humans in court. Naturally, the animal would be represented by a human lawyer—a policy other than that would just be silly. But who exactly would represent the animals in court is unclear at this point. Dr. Doolittle might be available, though.

All satire aside, with someone this disconnected from reality working in the White House, one wonders what impact he could have on the ability of scientists to conduct biomedical animal research.

Also, remember Mr. Obama’s obsession with creating green technology jobs as a way of leading us out of the recession? According to a report described by George Will in his Washington Post column, Spain’s massive subsidization of renewable energy has cost that country 110,000 jobs. Far from helping Spain’s economic crisis, this foolish subsidization appears to have contributed to its mind-blowing 19.3% unemployment rate.

As if this weren’t bad enough, a fantastic op/ed by Joel Frezza brought up several more examples of “junk science” coming from the White House, a few of which I’ll summarize and expand upon.

Mr. Frezza describes how the Obama Administration is asking for areas of Alaska to be deemed “critical habitat” for polar bears. This move could severely limit the ability to drill for oil and gas in the region, in a time when our nation is in desperate need of energy sources. It appears that, once again, Mr. Obama has caved to propaganda-spewing environmentalists who have ignored recent evidence indicating that polar bear populations are increasing. In fact, polar bear researcher Mitch Taylor claims that of the 19 populations of polar bears, only two have exhibited declining numbers. As a side issue, it’s also interesting to note that people like Captain Planet (Al Gore) who refer to polar bears as “endangered” don’t even have their facts straight: Polar bears are officially listed as “vulnerable”—an entirely different conservation status. This status is given to animals which may become endangered if conditions don’t change. Arguably, however, conditions are changing because their population has been increasing.

Finally, Mr. Frezza points out the economically ludicrous and scientifically unsound subsidization of biofuels. Liberals see the subsidization of biofuels as killing two birds with one stone: Fixing the planet and helping out America’s farmers. However, science has something entirely different to say about biofuels. The production of biofuels emits nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. The planet, unfortunately, doesn’t find it very funny, since nitrous oxide is a much more potent contributor to the greenhouse effect than is carbon dioxide. As The Economist points out in this article, a policy meant to make things better is merely an expensive way of making things worse.

Honestly, this list could go on and on. What is so infuriating is the fact that Mr. Obama self-righteously proclaimed to be the protector of science, when the truth is that he simply replaced Mr. Bush’s special interests with his own. In what has to be the most stunning broken promise in Mr. Obama’s presidency, instead of “restoring science,” he has simply resorted to “politics as usual.”




KY: Officials say census worker staged suicide: "A Census Bureau worker in Kentucky who was found dead in September with ‘FED’ written on his chest killed himself and staged his death to look like a homicide, state and federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday. … investigators concluded that Sparkman wrote the word on his own chest, then strung a rope from a tree, placed a noose around his neck and leaned forward, using his own body weight to cut off oxygen to his brain. Witnesses told investigators that Sparkman had discussed ending his life. He had also discussed recent federal investigations of Kentucky public officials and the negative perceptions of federal agencies expressed by some residents of Clay County, Ky., where he lived, investigators said. Before his death, Sparkman also secured two life insurance policies, totaling $600,000, that would not pay out for suicide.” [No apology from the hysterical Left for prejudging the matter?]

The "Bing" strategy behind News Corp, Microsoft link-up: "The surprising feature of the reaction to Rupert Murdoch's statement that he wanted to charge for online access to his media empire's content, was that anyone was surprised that he would want to. Well, we are now getting some clue to how Murdoch might think he can do it. By playing off Microsoft's desire to build an alternative search engine to the Google dominance. Reports out of Europe suggest plans are afoot for publishers to `de-link' from Google -- request Google not to, prohibit it from, linking to their content. And going exclusively with the Microsoft alternative. The 'charge''would come from Microsoft paying for that exclusivity. In effect paying for a franchise to publish an online version of the print product. There are a huge range of both competition and practical questions raised by the idea. And it would remain to be seen how successful -- or not -- it could end up. But it goes some way to answering the puzzle unleashed by Murdoch's observation."

Great! Airlines fined for stranding travellers on plane: "The US government has imposed its first-ever punishment against airlines for stranding passengers aboard aircraft, fining three carriers $175,000 for a six-hour ordeal in Minnesota. Continental Airlines and its ExpressJet Airlines affiliate were fined $US100,000, while Mesaba Airlines, a unit of Delta Air Lines, was fined $US75,000, the Transportation Department said. Continental, ExpressJet and Mesaba all reached settlements with the government's Aviation Enforcement Office. The action served as a sharp reminder to carriers about service just as the busy Thanksgiving Day travel period gets under way. Regulators found all three airlines violated a law prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices for their roles in the August 8 incident in Rochester, Minnesota. Forty-seven passengers were stranded overnight aboard a Continental Express plane en route from Houston to Minneapolis that diverted to Rochester due to bad weather. ExpressJet operated Flight 2816 for Continental while Mesaba was the only airline staffing the Rochester airport at the time. Mesaba refused to let passengers exit the plane and enter the terminal because there were no federal security personnel on duty at the time. Government officials concluded that passengers could have entered the terminal so long as they remained in the secure area."

'Godfather of Spam' jailed for four years: "A Hong Kong resident and three other men, including the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Spam", have been sentenced to prison for their roles in an email stock fraud scheme, the Justice Department said. The sentences, ranging from 32 to 51 months in prison, were handed down by US District Judge Marianne Battani in federal court in Detroit, the department said. Alan Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, and his son-in-law, Scott Bradley, 48, also of West Bloomfield, were sentenced to 51 months and 40 months in prison respectively on the same charges. FBI special agent Andrew Arena said Ralsky, the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Spam", flooded email boxes with unwanted spam email and attempted to use a botnet to hijack computers to assist them in the scheme. A botnet is a network of computers infected by malicious software. According to court documents, the conspirators used spam emails to manipulate thinly traded stocks between January 2004 and September 2005. They would profit by trading in the stocks once their share prices increased on purchases by recipients of the spam emails."

Losing Nicaragua: "With U.S. policymakers distracted by the situation in Honduras, Nicaragua continues to move toward authoritarianism. On October 19, a Nicaraguan Supreme Court panel overturned a constitutional provision limiting presidents to two non-consecutive terms in office. The ruling will allow incumbent Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega — the Sandinista party leader, former Soviet client, vociferous critic of the United States, and current Hugo Chavez acolyte — to run for another term in 2011. If there were any doubts that Nicaraguan democracy is slowly being extinguished, this latest development should remove them. The Nicaraguan Supreme Court is composed of 16 members. Thanks to a political deal made by Ortega and Arnoldo Aleman, a former Nicaraguan president who went to jail for massive corruption, half the magistrates are appointed by the ruling Sandinistas, and the other half are appointed by the opposition Liberals. But due to the May 2009 death of one Liberal-appointed magistrate, and the fact that his seat still has not been filled, the Sandinistas currently enjoy an 8-7 majority, which means the court is effectively a Sandinista rubber-stamp.”

Seven big lies about the stimulus: "1. Raises = jobs: This one turns out to be pretty common. For example, the Associated Pressreported that one nonprofit in Georgia used stimulus money to give its employees raises, then multiplied its total number of employees (508) by the percentage points of the raises (1.84) and told the White House that the stimulus had saved 935 jobs. (Its directors said they were just following instructions they received from the White House.) Other nonprofits did the same. According to the AP, this fraud exaggerated the number of jobs created or saved by 9,300.”

Our bills should be written in plain English: "Our Founding Fathers wrote the documents creating the greatest nation the world has ever known using plain English. Although drafted by highly educated and talented people, they knew that in order to get the public to support their efforts the common folk, as well as the cultured, had to understand it. There is not a doubt in my mind that the average American high school student today can fully understand and appreciate the words and the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Amendments thereto — including the Bill of Rights. The same cannot be said of the healthcare bill passed by the House. … There is no way even the average legislator can fully understand a 1, 900+ page highly technical bill — even with the help of the ample staff members who work for them.”

America's Al-Qaeda lawyers: "Some of the nation’s wealthiest and most powerful law firms have donated hundreds of millions of dollars in free legal services to terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Their work, bolstered by left-wing activists groups, has helped to free, or force the transfer, of hundreds of al Qaeda suspects to third countries. Some have gone back to terrorism and the job of trying to kill Americans.”


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


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


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black is bad -- researchers find

It's far from a watertight piece of research but the conclusions may well be accurate. Since being black in the USA is highly correlated with being criminal, poorly educated, welfare dependant etc., there are clear reasons why people might associate blackness with something they dislike

A study released today draws a connection between political partisanship and the skin tone of political candidates. Researchers from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago suggest people believe that a lighter skin tone is more representative of a candidate with whom they are politically aligned than a politician with a darker complexion.

"We found that people not only 'darken' those with whom they disagree, but also 'lighten' those with whom they agree," states the article, "Political partisanship influences perception of biracial candidates' skin tone," by Eugene Caruso, Nicole Mead, and Emily Balcetis, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Caruso, an assistant professor of behavioral science at Booth, was part of a team of a researchers who asked participating undergraduate students to identify his or her political affinity and then select the most representative photo of President Obama from a set of images. Participants were shown three photos: the original image, a lightened version and a darkened version. "The more people who thought that the lightened photos were representative of Obama, the more likely they were to report having voted for him in the election," Caruso said. "And that held as we controlled for political beliefs and attitudes."

Dr. Melanie Killen, a professor of Human Development at the University of Maryland, is skeptical of the study's findings, saying the conclusions drawn are too broad. "It does tell us that people are aware that there are associations with race, that it can be positive or negative and that in the political arena it is important to consider," said Killen. "But, there's a lot of complexity to these issues and when I read an article like this I get worried. People are aware that there are more negative and positive associations with skin tone and darker is negative and white is more positive. What do we do with the attitudes? Do they use it and manipulate it or is it that there are these associations out there and they understand that?"

Diana Owen, associate professor of political science at Georgetown University, told ABC News the study hints at a valid point, but, "I'm not so sure that the way they carried out the research with the manipulations of the images is particularly convincing or good. There's not a uniformity in imagery, so that conflates the findings in some way. Obama is casual in the lighter image and more formal in the darker image."

Owen suggests that even subtle tweaks to photographs can elicit a different response. "For example if you put a flag behind a candidate and you do a study of the public's perception of a candidate with the flag in the background and without the flag in the background, overwhelmingly people rate the one with the flag more positively. There are just certain triggers. They shouldn't have picked one where Obama is casual versus formal."

The skin tone in images came up during the Democratic primaries of the 2008 presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton's campaign came under fire from the liberal blogosphere for putting out a television ad attacking Obama that some believed portrayed the candidate with a darker skin tone. Likewise, Time Magazine was once criticized for darkening O.J. Simpson's skin color for its cover picture.

Killen also expressed concern about the small sample size of the study and its failure to address the background of the participants. "It's not about 'people' -- it's about the white majority, high status," said Killen, a developmental psychologist. "It's one thing if you're looking at eye blinking or memory in a study, but you're looking at issues of race and ethnicity. Don't you need to know the ethnicity of the participants?"

When asked by ABC News about the race and ethnicity of the participants, Caruso acknowledged the limitation. "We did ask participants to indicate their race at the end of the study and we were hoping that we'd be able to test for differences. Unfortunately, fewer than 10 percent of our participants identified as being black, so we didn't have enough power to test between black and non-black participants," Caruso said.



Obama's Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage

Comment from Germany

Barack Obama looked tired on Thursday, as he stood in the Blue House in Seoul, the official residence of the South Korean president. He also seemed irritable and even slightly forlorn. The CNN cameras had already been set up. But then Obama decided not to play along, and not to answer the question he had already been asked several times on his trip: what did he plan to take home with him? Instead, he simply said "thank you, guys," and disappeared. David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, fielded the journalists' questions in the hallway of the Blue House instead, telling them that the public's expectations had been "too high."

The mood in Obama's foreign policy team is tense following an extended Asia trip that produced no palpable results. The "first Pacific president," as Obama called himself, came as a friend and returned as a stranger. The Asians smiled but made no concessions.

Upon taking office, Obama said that he wanted to listen to the world, promising respect instead of arrogance. But Obama's currency isn't as strong as he had believed. Everyone wants respect, but hardly anyone is willing to pay for it. Interests, not emotions, dominate the world of realpolitik. The Asia trip revealed the limits of Washington's new foreign policy: Although Obama did not lose face in China and Japan, he did appear to have lost some of his initial stature.

In Tokyo, the new center-left government even pulled out of its participation in a mission which saw the Japanese navy refueling US warships in the Indian Ocean as part of the Afghanistan campaign. In Beijing, Obama failed to achieve any important concessions whatsoever. There will be no binding commitments from China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A revaluation of the Chinese currency, which is kept artificially weak, has been postponed. Sanctions against Iran? Not a chance. Nuclear disarmament? Not an issue for the Chinese.

The White House did not even stand up for itself when it came to the question of human rights in China. The president, who had said only a few days earlier that freedom of expression is a universal right, was coerced into attending a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao, at which questions were forbidden. Former US President George W. Bush had always managed to avoid such press conferences.

A look back in time reveals the differences. When former President Bill Clinton went to China in June 1998, Beijing wanted to impress the Americans. A press conference in the Great Hall of the People, broadcast on television as a 70-minute live discussion, became a sensation the world over. Clinton mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when the government used tanks against protestors. But then President Jiang Zemin defended the tough approach taken by the Chinese Communists. At the end of the exchange, the Chinese president praised the debate and said: "I believe this is democracy!"

Obama's new foreign policy has also been relatively unsuccessful elsewhere, with even friends like Israel leaving him high and dry. For the government of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, peace is only conceivable under its terms. Netanyahu has rejected Obama's call for a complete moratorium on the construction of settlements. As a result, Obama has nothing to offer the Palestinians and the Syrians. "We thought we had some leverage," says Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel under the Clinton administration and now an advisor to Obama. "But that proved to be an illusion."

Even the president seems to have lost his faith in a genial foreign policy. The approach that was being used in Afghanistan this spring, with its strong emphasis on civilian reconstruction, is already being changed. "We're searching for an exit strategy," said a staff member with the National Security Council on the sidelines of the Asia trip.

An end to diplomacy is also taking shape in Washington's policy toward Tehran. It is now up to Iran, Obama said, to convince the world that its nuclear power is peaceful. While in Asia, Obama mentioned "consequences" unless it followed his advice. This puts the president, in his tenth month in office, where Bush began -- with threats. "Time is running out," Obama said in Korea. It was the same phrase Bush used against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, shortly before he sent in the bombers.



Arrogant ACORN stung again

On October 1st, 2009 California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced that an investigation had been opened into ACORN’s activities in California, resulting from undercover videos showing employees seemingly offering to assist the undercover film makers with human smuggling, child prostitution and even tax advice to boot.

Although ACORN has denied any wrongdoing, some of the employees involved were terminated, and ACORN has publicly stated that they would fully cooperate with any investigations that followed.

Interestingly, the local head ACORN organizer in California, David Lagstein was caught on tape earlier this month speaking to an East County Democratic Club. Mr. Lagstein stated: “…the attorney general is a political animal, but certainly every bit of the communication we have had with them has suggested that the fault will be found with the people that did the video and not the people with ACORN.”

Continuing, Mr. Lagstein stated: “…we are fully cooperating, some of the investigators visited our office this morning and I think they really understand what’s going on.” Shockingly, we now learn that the ACORN office in National City (San Diego County) engaged in a massive document dump on the evening of October 9th, containing thousands upon thousands of sensitive documents, just days prior to the Attorney General’s visit. has learned that not only did this document dump occur, but the documents in question were irresponsibly and brazenly dumped in a public dumpster, without considering laws and regulations as to how sensitive information should be treated.

I am a local licensed private investigator. I took it upon myself to keep an eye on what the local ACORN office was up to, in light of the release of the undercover videos. I retrieved these documents from the public dumpster.

Documents shared with include information exposing not only the inner workings of ACORN in California, but also personal, sensitive information belonging to employees, members and clients of ACORN. ACORN and its few remaining defenders insist that the “good” ACORN provides outweighs the transgressions exposed in the recent undercover video sting. But, ACORN’s massive dumping of these documents and the cavalier manner in which it betrayed the trust of its supporters betrays that talking point.

ACORN’s political agenda is also exposed, with thousands upon thousands of documents revealing the depth of the political machine that is ACORN, and its disturbing ties to not only public employee labor unions but some of the most radical leftist organizations.

The laws governing how sensitive, personal information such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, immigration records, tax returns, etc. must be treated are very stringent, and thus it seems as if ACORN may have committed serious violations in that department alone, with thousands upon thousands of potential plaintiffs.

Over the weeks and months ahead, will continue to release information from this shocking document dump by ACORN, slowly revealing the ugly truth of ACORN: the fact that their stated mission of helping the poor and downtrodden is just a ruse and a cover for an organization that is highly partisan and highly political, and thus rotten to the core.




TX: Palin book signing draws 4000: "Sarah Palin drew a crowd of over 4,000 on Monday to her book signing at Fort Bragg, though the former Alaska governor kept her appearance from turning into the kind of ‘political platform’ that some military officials were concerned about. Palin did not give a speech during her three-hour stop at the North Carolina Army base, apparently living up to her pledge to tone down the event after Fort Bragg officials expressed concern that the visit could prompt grandstanding against the Obama administration. … The Fayetteville Observer reported that about a dozen people had been waiting since Sunday. More than 1,200 people were lined up outside the Fort Bragg store where Palin was signing books by the time she arrived Monday morning.”

No new taxes?: "With the Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2010 and both health care reform bills calling for increased tax revenue, the Obama Administration and Congress are about to saddle the American people one of the largest tax increases in history. The standard liberal litany for such a raid on taxpayers' pockets is that working Americans have a "moral obligation" to "feed the poor" -- or in the case of health care, pay their medical bills.

Huge debt burden incurred by Democrats A page one, top-of-the-fold New York Times report Monday warns that U.S. debt is rising so fast that the federal government is careening toward a "payment shock" in the not-too-distant future. The Times lead headline read: Federal Government Faces Balloon in Debt Payments: At $700 Billion a Year, Cost Will Top Budgets for 2 Wars, Education, Energy. The national debt now stands at over $12 trillion and the White House estimates that the cost of servicing the debt will rise to more than $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year. The Times suggests that $700 billion annual payment cost may be conservative. The additional $500 billion a year in interest payments would surpass the combined budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security, plus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Times observes. "Even as Treasury officials are racing to lock in today's low rates by exchanging short-term borrowings for long-term bonds, the government faces a payment shock similar to those that sent legions of overstretched homeowners into default on their mortgages," The Times reported on Monday. Interestingly, the alarming Times analysis comes as the nation is in the midst of a debate over healthcare reform proposals that could add many billions of dollars to the overall debt.

Malign neglect at Ft. Hood: "Holder promised a ’sound investigation’ of the shooting. It was a nice try, but Holder’s tone did little to disguise the speciousness of his words. We already know the answer to the three questions Holder posed. There were flags that were missed. There was miscommunication. And there was a lack of communication. The relevant question is not whether there were errors, but why — after eight years of restructuring our national security and intelligence infrastructure to prevent such failures — there were grave errors that cost 13 people their lives. The answer to that question is becoming all too clear: a deadly combination of political correctness and institutional stupidity. And in the days since the Fort Hood attack, those characteristics have remained on prominent display — both at the top of the Justice Department and in its ranks.”

Conservatives seek “Reagan litmus test” for RNC funding: "Eager to ensure that ‘tea partiers’ don’t undermine GOP candidates, conservative members of the Republican National Committee are pursuing the creation of a Reagan rule that would bar the Republican Party from funding candidates who fail a conservative litmus test. The group is circulating a petition among committee members that would enshrine former President Ronald Reagan’s proposition that his 80 percent friend was not his 20 percent enemy. The rule would require Republican candidates to share at least 80 percent of the party’s main tenets to be eligible for party aid.”

White House lied about why honest auditor was fired: "Just hours after Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa released a report Friday on their investigation into the abrupt firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, the Obama White House gave the lawmakers a trove of new, previously-withheld documents on the affair. It was a twist on the now-familiar White House late-Friday release of bad news; this time, the new evidence was put out not only at the start of a weekend but also hours too late for inclusion in the report. The new documents support the Republican investigators' conclusion that the White House's explanation for Walpin's dismissal -- that it came after the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, unanimously decided that Walpin must go -- was in fact a public story cobbled together after Walpin was fired, not before. Walpin was axed on the evening of June 10, when he received a call from Norman Eisen, the special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, who told Walpin he had one hour either to resign or be fired. The next day, congressional Republicans, led by Grassley, objected, charging that Walpin's dismissal violated a recently-passed law requiring the president to give Congress 30 days' notice before dismissing an inspector general.

Plundering California. Public-sector unions have brought the state to its knees: "The economy is struggling, the unemployment rate is high, and many Americans are struggling to pay the bills, but one class of Americans is doing quite well: government workers. Their pay levels are soaring, they enjoy unmatched benefits, and they remain largely immune from layoffs, except for some overly publicized cutbacks around the margins. To make matters worse, government employees—thanks largely to the power of their unions—have carved out special protections that exempt them from many of the rules that other working Americans must live by. California has been on the cutting edge of this dangerous trend, which has essentially turned government employees into a special class of citizens. When I recently appeared on Glenn Beck’s TV show to discuss California’s dreadful fiscal situation, I mentioned that in Orange County, where I had been a columnist for the Orange County Register, the average pay and benefits package for firefighters was $175,000 per year. After the show, I heard from viewers who couldn’t believe the figure, but it’s true. Firefighters, like all public-safety officials in California, also receive a gold-plated retirement plan: a defined-benefit annual pension that offers 90 percent or more of the worker’s final year’s pay, guaranteed for the rest of his life (and the life of his spouse)."


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


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


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

China Alone?

By GORDON C. CHANG (Reviewing "When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order", by Martin Jacques)

This book says we can expect, in the near future, the loss of American preeminence, the fall of the West, and the global dominance of a Chinese civilization-state. China will not just take its place at the top of the international order, it will fundamentally change it. “We stand on the eve of a different kind of world,” author Martin Jacques asserts.

And what is the motor of this epochal change? Rapid economic growth that will continue for decades. Following cousins and neighbors, hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants will leave farms, migrate to cities, and become prosperous. This inexorable process could see the industrious Chinese develop the world’s largest economy, probably by 2027 (Goldman Sachs’s latest prediction). And the recent global downturn, now barely a year old, will hasten the erosion of America’s strength and accelerate China’s rise.

Has Jacques correctly interpreted the broad sweep of events? No. He is an extrapolationist; and, unfortunately for him, he is assuming the indefinite continuation of trends just when history is making a sharp turn. As a consequence, almost every important prediction in this long book is wrong. We are, as Jacques writes, standing on the eve of a world that will be different, but it is not the one he foresees.

China, the author forgets, prospered during an extraordinarily benign time, the post–Cold War period of seemingly never–ending globalization and economic expansion. But that era is over. This year, according to the normally sunny World Bank, the global economy will shrink for the first time since World War II, and global trade will decline more than it has in any of the last 80 years. Economies are delinking from one another and, in all probability, will continue to do so for some time.

That’s extraordinarily bad news for China, which has an economic model particularly ill-suited to current conditions. The country’s economy — now and for the foreseeable future — is dependent on exports, but sales to customers abroad are falling precipitously in this dismal environment. As we saw in the Great Depression, it was the export powerhouses that had the hardest time adjusting to deteriorating economic conditions and, consequently, suffered the most. That is proving to be the case now as well. Jacques notes China’s dependence on exports but then shows that he does not comprehend its significance.

Therefore, it is no surprise that he does not understand the barriers to the restructuring of the Chinese economy. He says the economy will remain competitive “for many years” because “the condition on which it rests, the huge migration of rural labor into the cities, is destined to continue for several decades.” China’s problem, however, is not keeping manufacturing costs low, which is what Jacques is getting at by focusing on the continual enlargement of the labor force. The problem is that foreign customers are no longer buying Chinese goods in the quantities they did in the past. As a result of quickly declining global demand, the pattern of China’s migration is reversing for the first time in the history of the People’s Republic. Tens of millions of Chinese migrants who used to work in the country’s coastal factories have returned to the countryside in the past year. Many, if not most, of them remain out of work today.

Jacques, to his credit, acknowledges the existence of unemployment and other factors, but he then makes the same mistake almost every other China analyst does: He assumes that Beijing will succeed in stimulating domestic consumption to take up the slack. In fact, owing to Beijing’s recent policies, consumption’s role in the economy has slid from an average of about 60 percent throughout the People’s Republic era to around 30 percent today — no country has a lower rate — and almost all of the government’s measures to jump-start the economy dampen consumption.

Furthermore, Jacques fails to see that Beijing, because of the demands of China’s political system, is renationalizing the Chinese economy and closing the door to foreign investment. Chinese leaders are reversing policies responsible for the growth of the past three decades. The implications of these trends are profound, and Jacques should have examined them. It is simply not good enough to note concerns, dismiss them, and devote just seven pages of text — out of 435 — to the sustainability of the country’s economic growth, the assumption on which his entire book rests.

This shortcoming is a symptom of a larger problem with the book: It minimizes the flaws inherent in Beijing’s one-party state. China’s economy has progressed about as far as it can within the country’s political system, and the Communist party is limiting the further development of Chinese society. For instance, Jacques writes about the rise of China’s universities but never mentions the severe — and worsening — ideological constraints that have held them back. Similarly, he discusses China’s cultural power but never mentions the party’s strict censorship of movies, books, blogs, and every other form of expression, including karaoke songs.

And then there is demography. At the heart of Jacques’s argument is that Beijing’s geopolitical dominance will be overwhelming because it governs a state with far more people than the other nations that have sat atop the international system. “China, as the world’s leading country, will enjoy a demographic weight that is qualitatively different from that of any previous hegemonic power in the modern era,” he writes. Yet Jacques fails to look at demographic trends. Beijing’s one-child policy has caused some of the most abnormal gender patterns on the planet and will result in a rapidly shrinking population in about two decades. Sometime around 2030, China’s archrival, India, will take over the No. 1 ranking in population.

Fertility rates are never set in stone, but Chinese ones cannot rise much as long as the Communist party is around. Why? Although virtually every demographer, Chinese and foreign, will tell you the one-child policy is misguided, the party cannot repeal it because to do so would eliminate a crucial element of control over the population, especially in restive rural areas. Moreover, Beijing’s leaders, during a time of skyrocketing unemployment, will not dismantle an enormous bureaucracy that reaches into virtually every hamlet in the country. And why does this matter? Because China will get old before it gets rich. No one has figured out how Beijing will care for a rapidly aging population with a quickly shrinking workforce.

Jacques underestimates the dislocations that Communist rule has caused and overestimates the ability of the country’s political leaders to remedy them. Worse, he completely misses the significance of striking changes in Chinese society during the three decades of the so-called reform era, which began when Deng Xiaoping grabbed power at the end of 1978.

The reforms Jacques credits to the Communist party were, in fact, started by common folk who circumvented its strict rules. Deng, now credited with beginning the process of transformation, began his tenure as China’s paramount leader by adhering to orthodox Communist economics. Peasants and entrepreneurs, however, sparked growth by doing things their own way in defiance of central-government prohibitions on private activity. Deng, in short, succeeded because the Chinese people disobeyed his rules. His genius, if we can call it that, was to have the good sense not to obstruct them when he finally learned what they were doing.

Yet Deng’s successors have not been so wise. Today, there’s unimaginable social change at unheard-of speed thanks in large part to economic growth and social engineering, yet at the same time China’s rulers are standing in the way of meaningful political change. They have become more repressive just as the Chinese people are demanding political liberalization. Read When China Rules the World, and you will see none of this crucial history.

And you will see almost nothing about how the forces of modernization almost always overwhelm intransigent political institutions, whether we examine 18th-century France or 20th-century Taiwan. Jacques’s failure to examine this issue is a major problem. If asked, he would probably answer that China is unique and that the Chinese people stand behind their leaders because they believe in the unity of the country.

He portrays the Chinese people as supporting Beijing’s brand of authoritarianism. But while they may be nationalistic, they are also defiant. Given the turbulence in Chinese society — there are perhaps as many as 90,000 major protests a year — we have to wonder what a radical change in form of government would mean for China’s place in the world. Many fondly hope that transformation in Chinese society will be gradual and peaceful; if it is, China will have a chance of eventually dominating the international system as Jacques predicts. Yet the scenario of evolutionary adaptation, which he argues is the most probable, appears inconsistent with the last 2,000 years of Chinese history — and unlikely in the current hardline system. It is much more probable that the clashes between the Chinese people and their government — the demonstrations appear to have been larger, more frequent, and more violent in recent years — will eventually result in a complete failure of the one-party state.

Perhaps China can avoid revolutionary turmoil, but Jacques does not say much on this topic beyond declaring that “the rule of the Communist party is no longer in doubt.” He never explains how a country that has trouble governing itself at this moment — and that has a history of radical change — will soon be able to dominate the rest of the world.



Eternal Gratitude

Carolyn Blashek was in shock, like many of us, on 9/11. She was searching to find something that would assuage her concerns. Her decision was to enlist in the Army. The Army recruiter took one look at this then-46-year-old, 5’ 5”, and 115 lb. woman, and suggested she find another way to channel her energies. That recruiter definitely saved Islamic terrorists from a severe thrashing.

Looking for something to fulfill her commitment to help, she volunteered at the military lounge at Los Angeles Airport. Ms. Blashek had a unique experience with a particular soldier on leave, one who really had no family at all. It became clear what the soldiers in war zones really needed – which then became her mission – was to help our best men and women believe that someone here in the homeland actually cared.

Starting in her home, Carolyn created something different – and special. Her objective was to send each soldier an individually addressed box that included not only helpful items, but also a handwritten note. This is not an easy task to accomplish. She has to get the names and the locations of our soldiers which is something the military does not hand out willy-nilly. The decision to release this information is left to the commanders in the field or on the ships. You see, these packages are meant for the men and women in harm’s way -- those that most need to know that we sincerely care – and deeply appreciate what they are doing for us.

From the days in 2003 and 2004 when you would visit Carolyn’s house and be greeted by a wall of boxes, the operation has really changed. Operation Gratitude has taken over the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California. I stopped by recently and what I saw there made me particularly proud to be American.

At first glance, it looks like Santa’s workshop three days before Christmas. You are stunned by the mass of people hard at work on an assembly line. Almost 1,000 volunteers (no one at Operation Gratitude gets paid) are busy working away on this season’s goal of sending 70,000 boxes to our brave souls in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who would have thought this could happen in California, the heart of blue-state America?

While looking at the line, I asked Carolyn: “Who organized this? You have many talents, but an operation of this scale clearly required someone with real skills in mass production.” She led me to one of their 70 supervisors, Charlie Othold, who holds the title of Director of Operations. Charlie is your definition of grizzled, old guy. He did 20 years in the Air Force and then another 20 at Lockheed as a logistics engineer. He detailed to me how they are set up to package 1,200 boxes an hour.

Since 2004, Charlie has worked essentially a full-time job for Operation Gratitude. He spends at least 30 hours per week at the Armory because there is such a tremendous amount of work required to get the donated products -- lip balm, sunscreen, CDs, hats, t-shirts, flash drives and myriad other items -- into the boxes, along with a personalized letter from a child or adult from across America. Charlie served in Viet Nam. When I asked him what it would have meant to him to receive one of these boxes, I had to stop and compose myself as I was overwhelmed by the moment. Charlie told me what he thought the difference would be from the generous yet impersonal bag from the USO. I noticed a tear in the eye of this tough guy and I knew what it would really have meant.

Not all of the volunteers are military veterans. I spoke with Gregg Contreras, a self-employed security contractor, who has a second job working as a supervisor at Operation Gratitude. He came on board in 2005. We discussed “the corner,” which is where the personalized label goes on the box, and the moment that the whole process becomes real because it now has a soldier for which it is designated. From there volunteers then complete hand-addressed customs forms as required for each box to reach its destination. Contreras, who never served in the military, now has found his calling. He gets up every day personally committed to do what he does for Operation Gratitude. Yes, he says, he has to do it.

The Armory has become a magical place. Volunteers have taken a thought, a concept and made it happen. Because there is no staff and no meetings and no bureaucracy, they succeed on their mission. They are just ordinary citizens doing an exemplary job for people who do something extraordinary for this country and for the free people of the world every day. It is an unbelievable convergence of people doing good for people who are doing greatness. You walk out of the armory wondering who is benefiting more – the volunteers or the soldiers - and the answer is both.

As we enter this week of unique American experience of giving of thanks for all we have and for all of those who came before us to make this the wonderful country it is, remember Operation Gratitude. Despite the incredibly generous donations of products, they still need $11 to cover the cost of mailing each of those 70,000 soldiers receiving boxes this holiday season (the packages can only go by USPS). Remember that whatever you are suffering is nothing compared to what they are enduring for us. So please go to and help make sure that America’s finest people know we are thinking of them daily and that we appreciate what they are doing for free people everywhere.




Army allows media at Palin event at Fort Bragg: "The U.S. Army said Friday it would open Sarah Palin’s appearance on Fort Bragg to media, a reversal from earlier in the week when the military wanted the event closed out of fears it would prompt political grandstanding against President Barack Obama. The attempt to ban media at the event scheduled for Monday was met with protests from The Associated Press and The Fayetteville Observer. The military then proposed limited media coverage, but lifted that plan Friday.”

Sarah Palin dines with Rev. Billy Graham in NC: "Sarah Palin arrived for Sunday dinner with the Rev. Billy Graham a day before a planned stop on her book tour in eastern North Carolina. The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee flew into Asheville and then went to Billy Graham's mountaintop home in Montreat for dinner, said Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for Graham's son, Franklin. Franklin Graham invited Palin. The elder Graham has never met Palin, who is scheduled to stop at Fort Bragg on Monday to promote her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life." Franklin Graham got to know Palin early this year in Alaska. She accompanied him as Samaritan's Purse, a Boone-based international relief agency he heads, delivered 44,000 pounds of groceries to Alaskan families who had been hit by a harsh winter in villages along the frozen Yukon River. Samaritan's Purse has an office in Alaska, and Franklin Graham owns a cabin in the state. Graham also leads the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which his father founded decades ago."

Three Mile Island radiation not significant: "The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the small amount of radiation detected at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is not significant. Specialist John White told ABC News that there was no indication that radiation at the plant exceeded or even approached regulatory limits. The commission sent investigators to the central Pennsylvania plant after a small amount of radiation was detected.”

Report: UK documents detail Iraq war chaos: "Leaked British government documents call into question ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s public statements on the buildup to the Iraq war and show plans for the U.S.-led 2003 invasion were being made more than a year earlier, a newspaper reported Sunday. Britain’s Sunday Telegraph published details of private statements made by senior British military figures claiming plans were in place months before the March 2003 invasion, but were so badly drafted they left troops poorly equipped and ill-prepared for the conflict.”

Five cities that will rise in the New Economy: "In Houston, the Texas Medical Center is expanding so quickly that it will soon become the seventh largest downtown in the US. By itself. … In Seattle, the erector-set cranes along the waterfront and big forklifts at the airport are loading exports into containers with the constancy of a piston: plywood to Beijing, halibut and crab to Tokyo, Granny Smith apples to Moscow. … In Fort Collins, Colo., town fathers are aggressively transforming the heart of the city into a zone that generates as much electricity as it consumes. … As the United States emerges from the worst recession in 80 years, a new economy is taking root that will help create the next tier of powerhouse cities in America.”

Obamanomics 101: "During the Depression, President Roosevelt demonized business and the wealthy (’economic royalists’) and raised their taxes. When they declined to invest and stir economic growth, he accused them of staging a ‘capital strike.’ The Obama equivalent, if it comes to that, would be a ‘hiring strike.’ We haven’t gotten there yet. But Obama has made clear in his 10-month presidency that he has minimal respect for business or the profit motive. Ambitious, talented young people should work for nonprofits. Last summer, he criticized doctors who gouged by insisting on expensive tonsillectomies to cure simple sore throats. They reflected a ‘business mentality,’ he said. And what the president doesn’t understand — or, to be more charitable, refuses to acknowledge — about free markets, the economy, and competition could fill a book, or at least an Obama speech.”


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


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


Monday, November 23, 2009

"The Death of Conservatism": A Premature Burial

It must be difficult to work at The New York Times. Luckily for the rest of us Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the paper’s “Book Review” and “Week in Review” sections, has emerged from that hothouse to write for us, the little people, a small book titled “The Death of Conservatism.” More in sorrow than in anger, Tanenhaus begins by claiming that, in the realm of ideas and argument, “conservatism is most glaringly disconnected from the realities now besetting America.” Oh? “Conservatives remain strangely apart, trapped in the irrelevant causes of another day, deaf to the actual conversations unfolding across the land, in its cities and towns, in red and blue states, in the sanctuaries of the privileged and tented ‘Bushvilles,’” he writes.

Indeed, I drove my 1930 Chrysler Imperial through a “Bushville” just the other day. It was filled with lean hobos heating tins of lima beans over open fires. Very sad. Most of them used to be Chrysler stockholders, apparently, until they lost their fortunes when the Obama administration raced that company through an extra-legal bankruptcy and turned 55 percent ownership of it over to the UAW.

But speaking of tins, Tanenhaus seems to have a tin ear. It’s liberals, after all, who are disconnected from the conversations going on around the country. For example, media elites assure us that the economic worst is behind us. “Some companies came through the recently ended recession with flying colors,” opened a story on Slate magazine on Nov. 7. Break out the bubbly; the recession is over! Except -- it doesn’t feel over. Unemployment is 10.2 percent. Americans aren’t living in “Bushvilles,” but most worry about jobs.

How have liberals in Congress reacted? They’ve passed bills that destroyed valuable assets (cash for clunkers), would implement new taxes in an effort to stop phantom global warming (cap and trade legislation) and would impose expensive new burdens on employers and workers (through mandatory health insurance). Not to worry, though. Once they’ve dealt with health care and saved the planet, they’ll tackle employment. “During the Senate Democrats’ lunch Tuesday (Nov. 17),” The Hill newspaper reported, “Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announced that an initiative focusing on jobs would soon be a priority.” No hurry, apparently.

Conservatives, of course, have opposed most liberal measures. They voted in lockstep against the 1,900-plus page House health care bill, for example. While this should please ordinary Americans (polls show a majority of us oppose Obamacare), it irks Tanenhaus. “Conservative opponents of Barack Obama have applied the epithet ‘socialism’ to his ambitious plans to exert greater federal control over health care and energy policy, even though the Bush administration, the most conservative in modern history, itself orchestrated a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street,” he writes.

It’s worth noting that Bush, despite accomplishing some conservative goals, was no patron saint for conservatism. His administration rammed through Medicare Part D, the first new entitlement program in a decade, and jacked up federal spending year after year. Still, Tanenhaus isn’t arguing honestly if he says conservatives should support Obama’s big tax-and-spend programs because of Bush’s TARP, since many (if not most) of us opposed TARP, too.

Tanenhaus urges conservatives to bow to “the politics of consensus.” Yet later in his book he explains exactly why we need to try to block bad legislation now: Once a big federal program is in place, it’s almost impossible to repeal it. “Not even the most ardent hater of government was about to scale back a federal civilian workforce that had quadrupled (from 630,000 to 2.5 million) since the GOP had last been in power or slash a budget that had multiplied by twenty-two,” he writes.

He’s explaining why Dwight Eisenhower’s victory in 1952 solidified the policies of the New Deal. But that also serves as a prediction that, if (for example) the government takes over health care this year, it’ll be impossible for a conservative congress to ever roll back the clock, just as Republicans of the 1950s weren’t able to reverse the mistakes of the New Deal.

“The movement conservatives of our time seem the heirs of the French rather than of the American revolution,” Tanenhaus claims. “They routinely demonize government institutions, which they depict as the enemy of the people’s best interests.” Really? How many heads have tea partiers lopped off? In reality, conservatives are the most polite protesters in memory. And as far as revolutions go, the American Revolution was explicitly about escaping an out-of-touch, overbearing government that wanted to tax Americans without listening to them.

Just watch. Far from being dead, conservatism will eventually lead our country back to the ideals laid out by the ultimate conservatives -- our Founding Fathers.



Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model – by David Horowitz

Since taking office Barack Obama, who promised during his campaign to create a moderate, inclusive administration, has engaged in actions that have created division and fear because they are meant to radically change America, not improve on what has always worked. As a result, David Horowitz writes in Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model, “Many Americans have gone from hopefulness, through unease, to a state of alarm as the President shows a radical side only party visible during his campaign.”

Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model provides an understanding of the roots of the current administration’s effort to subject America to a wholesale transformation by looking at the work of one of the President’s heroes—radical Chicago “community organizer” Saul Alinsky. The guru of Sixties radicals, Alinsky urged his followers to be flexible and opportunistic and say anything to get power, which they can then use to destroy the existing society and its economic system. Alinsky died in 1972, but left behind an organization in Chicago dedicated to his malicious ideas. This team hired Barack Obama in 1986 when he was 23 and taught him how to organize for radical transformation.

In this insightful new booklet, Horowitz discusses Alinsky’s work in the 60s—and his advice to radicals to seize any weapon to advance their cause. This became the philosophy of Alinskyite organizations such as ACORN and to Alinsky disciples Van Jones, a self described “communist” who served as President Obama’s “Green Czar” until he was forced to resign when his extremist ideas became public.

After his analysis of Saul Alinsky, Horowitz points out what the grandfather of “social organizing” created “is not salvation but chaos.” Then he asks the crucial question: “And presidential disciples of Alinsky, what will they create?”



Feds still supporting shaky home loans

San Francisco: In January, Mike Rowland was so broke that he had to raid his retirement savings to move here from Boston. A week ago, he and a couple of buddies bought a two-unit apartment building for nearly a million dollars. They had only a little cash to bring to the table but, with the federal government insuring the transaction, a large down payment was not necessary. “It was kind of crazy we could get this big a loan,” said Mr. Rowland, 27. “If a government official came out here, I would slap him a high-five.”

In its efforts to prop up a shattered housing market, the government is greatly extending its traditional support of real estate, including guaranteeing the mortgages of middle-class and even upper-class buyers against default. In 2007, the government did not insure a single mortgage in this city, one of the most expensive in the country. Buyers here, as well as in Manhattan, Santa Monica and every other wealthy area, were presumed to be able to handle the steep prices and correspondingly hefty down payments on their own.

Now the government is guaranteeing an average of six mortgages a week here. Real estate agents say the insurance is such a good deal that there will soon be many more.

Policy changes like the shift in insurance, while often introduced on a temporary basis, are becoming so popular that they could prove difficult to undo. With government finances already under great strain, the policy expansions are creating new risks for American taxpayers.

The Internal Revenue Service is giving tax rebates to first-time buyers, and soon to move-up buyers, in a program beset by accusations of fraud. And the government agency that issues mortgage insurance, the Federal Housing Administration, is underwriting loans at quadruple the rate of three years ago even as its reserves to cover defaults are dwindling. On Thursday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said more than one in six F.H.A. borrowers was behind on payments.

F.H.A. insurance was created for minority and low-income families who could not come up with the traditional down payment of 20 percent required by private lenders. Buyers receive loans from government-approved lenders and are required to document their income and assets. They must pay a substantial insurance premium of 1.75 percent of the loan. But in return, their down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent. For decades, most F.H.A. loans were in low-cost states like Texas and Michigan. Under the agency’s loan limits, houses along the coasts were usually too expensive to qualify. In 2007, fewer than 4,400 F.H.A. loans were made in California, according to the research firm MDA DataQuick, and none were in San Francisco.

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 helped change that by temporarily doubling the maximum loan the F.H.A. insured, to $729,750. A two-unit property like the one bought by Mr. Rowland and his friends can be insured for up to $934,200.

“F.H.A. financing was a lost language in San Francisco, the real estate equivalent of Aramaic,” said Michael Ackerman, the agent who represented Mr. Rowland and his friends. “Once the limits were raised, smart buyers started calling.” The F.H.A. has insured more than 107,000 loans so far this year in the state, according to DataQuick, about 270 of them in San Francisco.

Condominium buildings approved for F.H.A. financing — a relative handful — trumpet the news on their Web sites. The Soma Grand, a new 246-unit building downtown where one-bedrooms cost in excess of $500,000, received F.H.A. certification early in the summer. A half-dozen buyers since then used F.H.A. insurance.

At Guarantee Mortgage Corporation, which has 150 mortgage brokers in the Bay Area, Seattle and Portland, Ore., F.H.A. loans have grown to about 15 percent of its business, from less than 3 percent a few years ago. “It sure has helped us put a lot of deals together,” said Guarantee’s chief sales officer, Bob Siefert. He predicts that a quarter of Guarantee’s deals will soon be guaranteed by the F.H.A.

Some F.H.A. borrowers here say they have the cash for a full down payment but would rather invest it in the stock market or use it for remodeling. Others, like Mr. Rowland and his friends, simply do not have the money required by private lenders — which would have been nearly $200,000, in their case.



City facilitates sexual predators

The city council of Tampa, Fla., voted unanimously last week to include "gender identity and expression" as a protected class under the city's human rights ordinance, leading some to fear the council has opened the city's public bathroom doors to sexual predators masquerading as protected transsexuals.

A statement from the American Family Association explained, "Tampa Police arrested Robert Johnson in February 2008 for hanging out in the locker room–restroom area at Lifestyle Fitness and watching women in an undressed state. The City of Tampa's 'gender identity' ordinance could provide a legal defense to future cases like this if the accused claims that his gender is female."

The council's decision, which won't be codified as law until a final vote is taken Thursday night, defines gender identity and expression as "gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth."

The city's current ordinance forbids discrimination on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, handicap, familial status or marital status mostly in areas of labor and employment.

But the section that makes it illegal to "segregate any person at a place of public accommodation, or to segregate any person in regards to … facilities" leads some to worry about the consequences of forbidding discrimination "regardless of the individual's sex at birth."

"This ordinance will give lawful protection to cross-dressing males to patronize women's restrooms," the Florida Family Association said in a statement. "And men dressed as women or women who perceive themselves as men can also use men's restrooms."

More here


Armed Pilots and Dead Terrorists

There are many lessons to be learned from the terrible events which happened on September 11, 2001. For the airline industry, a rude awaking into the new age of terrorism and an end to the previous threat of peaceful hijackings that pilots had been taught to deal with. The aviation community must adapt to fight the new threat.

The FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) program was implemented by the Bush Administration working with law enforcement, airline management and pilot unions. Pilots with guns were a way to augment the Federal Air Marshall Service which was already in place and quickly expanded. Recent rumors indicate that the Obama administration will attempt to de-fund the FFDO program. I think it would be a huge loss to security and a big mistake.

With regards to an aircraft accident, there are multiple layers of protection to prevent a crash. Most of the layers formulated from previous incidents, utilizing Air Traffic Control, dispatch, mechanics and redundant aircraft systems along with two highly trained pilots. The same logic in preventing a crash is to be used for arming pilots in flight. We must learn from the current terrorist strategy and implement solutions. A final layer of security is absolutely necessary to prevent another tragedy like 9/11.

The mainstream media continues to use one main reason to not arm the pilots; a rapid decompression in the airplane caused by a bullet exiting the aircraft at altitude. My Mom has mentioned that one after reading the typical misinformation reported as news by the media. I explained to her, in the first place, a decompression is the least of my worries as a pilot with a terrorist trying to take over the cockpit by force and then attempting to fly the plane into a building. Secondly, the exploding plane theory has been debunked, most recently on an episode from the show MythBusters on Discovery Channel in which the crew does a test by shooting a gun inside a pressurized plane in the desert with basically no damage as a result. For additional proof, this summer a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 had a structural problem at altitude when a football sized hole occurred during a flight. The aircraft landed safely and no one was injured.

Of course politics is part of the problem as well. The anti-gun organizations effecting policy decisions of Congress and the President have unlimited access to the White House. These liberal groups just can’t stand the Second Amendment or when good people successfully use guns to defend themselves. Have you ever read an article in the paper or seen a video on TV of a citizen being interviewed who had used his rifle or handgun to stop a crime or save a life? I’m reminded of a story from an NRA magazine: Liberals in a neighborhood were so proud of their progressive thinking that they put up anti-gun signs in their yards. So guess whose houses got burglarized? The signs came down. Why would the anti-gun crowd be against arming pilots when they travel on airplanes too? They think emotionally and not logically so there is no way to present a reasonable answer. It is sad to let politics interfere with decisions regarding safety.

The military uses a strategy of peace through strength with a multiple force deterrence to prevent an attack on the United States. Nuclear and tactical weapons, modern/upgraded ships, vehicles, and jets along with well trained troops. Many of the pilots flying today are ex-military and understand the concept. We have to be pro-active in defending the traveling public while considering the current global threats affecting the world today. Exhibiting a strong deterrence on commercial aircraft by means of Federal Air Marshalls and FFDO’s will be continually required. There is something about the possibility of looking down the barrel of a Heckler and Koch pistol during an unauthorized opening of the cockpit door will keep a terrorist from repeating another 9/11 type event.

At the front of my company’s flight manual it states that safety is the number one priority for the operation of our aircraft. The U.S. and the Obama administration must uphold safety as a priority as well. The final layer of safety and security of commercial airplanes relies on having armed pilots in the cockpit.


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


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


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


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stanford Study purports to demonstrate that racism is a reason why Obama policies are failing

The journal article is: "Racial Prejudice Predicts Opposition to Obama and His Health Care Reform Plan" by Eric D. Knowles, Brian S. Lowery, and Rebecca L. Schaumberg, in: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2009.

This is another "negative associations" test. Such tests are very problematical for a number of reasons -- one of which is that some actively anti-racist people score highly on them -- so claims that they measure racism are extravagant. What they most usually "measure", if anything, could well be past bad experiences with blacks.

Further notes: 1). It could be quite rational to trust in a plan authored by Clinton rather than Obama -- as Clinton was the centrist that Obama only claims to be; 2). The fact that Prof. Lowery is black may have influenced the results; 3). There seems to be no claim that the people quizzed were a random sample of any known group so the generalizability of the results is unknown. One word summary: Crap

Does racism affect voters' responses to President Barack Obama’s policies? In September, former president Jimmy Carter argued yes in an interview with Brian Williams of NBC. A Democracy Corps focus-group study published on Oct. 16 disagreed, concluding that racial issues do not affect voters' beliefs, and that it was time for those who think otherwise to "get over it."

Recent research from the Stanford Graduate School of Business finds that Carter is correct –– race does matter. People's implicit racial prejudices corresponded with a reluctance to vote for Obama and with opposition to his health care reform plan, the study finds. In fact, when a description of a health care reform proposal was attributed to former President Bill Clinton rather than Obama, reactions suggested that individuals high in non-conscious anti-black prejudice tended to oppose Obama, at least in part because they dislike him as a black person.

"Many people are influenced by race, and either will not admit it or don't know it," says Brian Lowery, an associate professor of organizational behavior. To find evidence for "implicit," or non-conscious prejudice, he and two other investigators ran a computer-based test on more than 200 subjects prior to the 2008 presidential election. Individuals were asked to quickly pair "black" names (Aisha, Jamal, and so forth) and "white" names (Brett, Jane) with good words such as "beauty" and "friendly," or bad words such as "evil" and "hate."

Non-conscious prejudice was measured according to how quickly and easily people could identify the "bad" words after seeing African-American names (Aisha, Jamal, and so forth) as opposed to Anglo names (Brett, Jane). Lowery and his coauthors found [asserted?] that fewer errors, when African-American names (as opposed to Anglo names) were paired with a negative word, indicated that individuals had internalized negative associations with black people –– and served as a measure of non-conscious prejudice.

In the month after the election, participants were asked how they had voted. Those who made few errors on the black/bad pairings were nearly 43% less likely to have voted for Obama than those with average scores. "As implicit prejudice increased, the likelihood of voting for Obama decreased," explains Lowery.

Nearly a year later, in October 2009, some of the same participants rated their attitudes about Obama's approach to health care reform. Others were randomly assigned to read a description of health care reform framed either as being President Obama’s plan or Bill Clinton's plan.

Once again, increasing implicit prejudice was associated with negative attitudes toward Obama and decreasing support for his health care policy. Prejudice scores did not correlate with favorability toward the plan when it was described as coming from Clinton, but they did result in a more negative assessment when it was described as coming from Obama.

"This study represents a powerful demonstration of the fact that racial attitudes still operate in the political arena," says Lowery, who conducted the research with Stanford doctoral student Rebecca Schaumberg and Eric Knowles, assistant professor at the University of California at Irvine. "It also suggests that Obama is likely to encounter some degree of prejudice-fueled opposition to his policies across the board."



Palinophobes Hate First, Ask Questions Later

by Jonah Goldberg

Slate magazine is just one of the countless media outlets convulsing with St. Vitus' Dance over that demonic succubus Sarah Palin. In its reader forum, The Fray, one supposed Palinophobe took dead aim at the former Alaska governor's writing chops, excerpting the following sentence from her book: "The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn't work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle."

Other readers pounced like wolf-sized Dobermans on an intruder. One guffawed, "That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest. It could have a chance at winning a (sic) honorable mention, at any rate." But soon, the original contributor confessed: "I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It's taken from the first paragraph of 'Dreams From My Father,' written by Barack Obama."

The ruse should have been allowed to fester longer, but the point was made nonetheless: Some people hate Palin first and ask questions later. My all-time favorite response to John McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate was from Wendy Doniger, a feminist professor of religion at the University of Chicago. Professor Doniger wrote of the exceedingly feminine "hockey mom" with five children: "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman." The best part about that sentence: Doniger uses the pronoun "her" -- twice.

Just this week, a liberal blogger at the Atlantic who has dedicated an unhealthy amount of his life to proving a one-man birther conspiracy theory about Palin's youngest child (it's both too slanderous and too deranged to detail here) shut down his blog to cope with the epochal, existential crisis that Palin's book presents to all humankind. The un-self-consciously parodic announcement seemed more appropriate for a BBC warning that the German blitz was about to begin, God Help Us All.

Indeed, some of us will always be sympathetic to Mrs. Palin if for nothing else than her enemies. The bile she extracts from her critics is almost like a dye marker, illuminating deep pockets of asininity that heretofore were either unnoticed or underappreciated.

In fairness, just as there are people who hate Palin for the effrontery she shows in daring to draw breath at all, there are those who love her with a devotion better suited for a religious icon. I hear from both camps, often. And while I don't think both sides are equally wrong (after all, the acolytes of the Doniger school openly reject reality more than any so-called creationist), I don't think either position is laudable or sufficient.

Sarah Palin is neither savior (that job has been taken by the current president, or didn't you know?) nor is she satanic. She is a politician, a species of human like the rest of us. I'm fairly certain that if you read many of her public-policy positions but concealed her byline, many of her worst enemies would say "that sounds about right," and some of her biggest fans would say "that sounds crazy." But most people would say that her views are perfectly within the mainstream of American politics. She may be more religious than coastal elites in the lower 48, but that is something some bigots need to get over anyway.

I'm happy about the books she's selling thanks to the controversy over her, but that doesn't mean I think these controversies are justified. Palin holds no public office and, as of yet, is not running for one. But the Associated Press assigned 11 reporters to "fact-check" her book, while doing nothing like that to fact-check then-candidate Obama's or current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's no doubt riveting book.

As it stands, my sense is that Palin is good for the Republican Party but not necessarily great. She generates enthusiasm among, and donations from, the base. But she also turns off many of the people the GOP needs to persuade and attract. That could change with this book tour, and I hope it does. Whether she's ready or qualified for the presidency is another matter. But the presidency is a long way off, and besides, that's what primaries are for.



Andrea Mitchell of NBC News Tries to Ambush Sarah Palin at Book Signing

The dark shirted Security guy on the left and the white shirted Security guy have no intentions of letting Andrea Mitchell cut in line and get closer to Gov. Palin. For her part, Gov. Palin rightfully just ignores Andrea.

A picture is worth a thousand words... One lady has a smile, one does not. One is happy in her skin, one is not. One is attractive, one is not. One is a conservative, one is not. One is a positive, one is a negative. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Comment above from a reader. Pictures from Weasel Zippers


America's Best Place to Raise Your Kids

BusinessWeek has just put out its fourth annual survey of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids. Some wicked person has constructed the graph below of the winning localities -- with the challenge: "See if you can see the common denominator"

More here



Could we have more jobs than we ever hoped for?: "The federal government has put the unemployment rate at 10.2 percent as of November 2009, but if one includes those who would like to work but have forsaken job search, and those who are underemployed, the jobless amount to about a fifth of the labor force. Thus there is political pressure for the president to appear to be doing something. A gathering to discuss the problem will be splashed in the media and create buzz. But asking how to create jobs has it backwards. The fundamental question is not how to create more jobs, but how to stop government from destroying jobs. It is like hunters who go into a field and shoot every deer in sight, and then hold a meeting on why the deer have disappeared.”

UK: Common sense isn’t common anymore: "The more a government legislates on our day to day activities, the less we take ownership of those activities ourselves. We begin to lose the ability of self-determination in our responsibilities, and as a consequence we have nothing else to fall back on apart from the rigid framework of state diktat. The disempowerment suffered by individuals under the thumb of the state leads to a stupefaction of social intercourse, and a learned helplessness that infects an ever increasing number of our daily interactions. These observations do not lead me to a negative conclusion in regards to the human condition and our potential for creating autonomous order in a stateless society. Far from it, the same human characteristics that lead to seemingly defeatist and subservient social patterns, are the very characteristics that will enable our liberation from this malaise.”

On poverty, interest rates, and payday loans: "Payday borrowers do not necessarily turn to payday lending out of ignorance; a majority of them seem to be aware that this is a very, very expensive form of financing. They just have no better options. The biggest problem with payday loans is not the one-time fee, though that is steep; it’s that people can get trapped in a cycle of rolling them over. Paying $15 to borrow a few hundred bucks in an emergency is bad, but it’s probably manageable for most people. Unfortunately, since payday borrowers are credit constrained, have little savings, and are low-to-moderate income, they often have difficulty coming up with the principal when the loan is due to pay off. The finance charges add up, making it difficult to repay the loan.”

Welfare without the state: "Although the rise of government welfare has had a similar impact on US private welfare as in the UK, the case of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) has survived the onslaught and is insightful in considering how private welfare can function outside of the state. Members of the church fund the program; on the first Sunday of every month everyone skips two meals and donates the saving from those meals. If a member loses income, becomes unemployed, etc. they meet with their local leader and together they determine the needs of that individual or family, and assistance is given accordingly.”

Nixing of Panthers complaint starts probe: "Two senior House Republicans want the Justice Department to make public any reports or statements given to internal investigators by the career department lawyers who brought a civil complaint against the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) that later was dismissed by President Obama's political appointees. Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, said the "American people deserve a full accounting" of what they called the "incomprehensible dismissal" of a complaint charging the NBPP and three of its members with voter intimidation at a Philadelphia polling place during the November 2008 presidential elections. The demand is contained in a Nov. 16 letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., referring to an ongoing inquiry in the matter by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which investigates accusations of misconduct involving department lawyers. Mary Patrice Brown, acting OPR counsel, confirmed in August that her office had "initiated an inquiry into the matter," although no information about the probe has been released since."

Many Jobs Gone Forever: "Many American investors may think the worst of the economic downturn is over, but they are completely wrong, writes Clinton administration economist and NYU professor Nouriel Roubini. “Conditions in the U.S. labor markets are awful and worsening,” writes Roubini in The New York Daily News. “While the official unemployment rate is already 10.2 percent and another 200,000 jobs were lost in October, when you include discouraged workers and partially employed workers the figure is a whopping 17.5 percent.” ... The long-term outlook for workers and is even worse than current job loss numbers suggest.... This is very bad news but we must face facts. Many of the lost jobs are gone forever, including construction jobs, finance jobs and manufacturing jobs.” Recent studies suggest that a quarter of U.S. jobs can be outsourced over time to other countries."

More background to the Walpin firing: "A congressional investigation of the volunteer organization AmeriCorps contains charges that D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee handled "damage control" after allegations of sexual misconduct against her now fiance, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star and a prominent ally of President Obama. The investigation began after the AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, received reports that Johnson had misused some of the $800,000 in federal AmeriCorps money provided to St. Hope, a non-profit school that Johnson headed for several years. Walpin was looking into charges that AmeriCorps-paid volunteers ran personal errands for him, washed his car, and took part in political activities. In the course of investigating those allegations, the congressional report says, Walpin's investigators were told that Johnson had made inappropriate advances toward three young women involved in the St. Hope program -- and that Johnson offered at least one of those young women money to keep quiet.... Johnson offered her $1,000 a month for the duration of her time with St. Hope. Once investigators learned about that, the report says, they had "reasonable suspicions about potential hush money payments and witness tampering at a federally funded entity." Walpin included the allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, along with evidence of misuse of federal money, in a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento. The acting U.S. Attorney, Lawrence Brown, reached a settlement with Johnson under which St. Hope was obligated to pay back some of the money, but took no action on the other matters. The White House fired Walpin on June 10. The sexual misconduct allegations he was investigating have been secret until now."

US to drop shooting case against Blackwater guard: "The Justice Department intends to drop manslaughter and weapons charges against one of the Blackwater Worldwide security guards involved in a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting, prosecutors said in court documents Friday. The shooting in busy Nisoor Square left 17 Iraqis dead and inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad. It touched off a string of investigations that ultimately led the State Department to cancel the company's lucrative contract to guard diplomats in Iraq. Five guards, all military veterans, face charges in the shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead. Prosecutors say the shooting was unprovoked but Blackwater says its convoy was ambushed. A sixth pleaded guilty, turned on his former colleagues, and pleaded guilty to killing one Iraqi and wounding another. The case against the remaining four guards is set for trial in February. The trial likely will hinge on whether the Blackwater guards were provoked. Iraqi witnesses say Blackwater fired the only shots. Some members of the Blackwater convoy said they saw gunfire. Others said they didn't. Radio logs of the shooting indicate the guards were fired on."


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


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


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Liberals' Establishment of Religion

One of the reasons liberals are so hostile to public expressions of Christianity is because it threatens the monopoly that the religion of liberalism enjoys in the public square. The late Ted Kennedy was more than a leading senator, to liberal supporters. He was a secular saint. His appeal was essentially religious. He made it fairly explicit in his famous concession speech to the Democratic National Convention that re-nominated President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy reduced thousands of liberal delegates to tears with this emotional peroration:
May it be said of our Party in 1980 that we found our faith again.

And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

"I am a part of all that I have met

[Tho] much is taken, much abides

That which we are, we are --

One equal temper of heroic hearts

Strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

Not for Ted Kennedy the cool rationalism of his party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had famously said “if I had to go to Heaven in a political party, I would not go at all.” For Ted Kennedy and for those weeping delegates, the Democratic Party holds that place that used to be reserved for church and church alone. It’s no wonder that those teary believers—more than 90 percent of whom tell researchers they never go to church—end their search for the meaning of life in political activism.

Analyze Kennedy’s Epistle to the Gentiles and you will see that the concern, the work, the cause, the hope, the dream that is the subject of his panegyric is government. Government giveth and Government taketh away. The only Government worthy of that capital G is one that provides health, education, and welfare. All Americans are invited into the Democratic Church. Only the heretical conservatives are excluded.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was at the Kennedy School at Harvard last week. Liberals go to Harvard the way Muslims go to Mecca. Pelosi was basking in liberal approval for having been the first Speaker to deliver on the promise of universal health care. She established her bona fides early in her sermon. “For thirty years I’ve been an advocate of single payer,” she said. Single payer is liberal speak for socialized medicine, run entirely by the state, paid for by the state. But we have to make some tactical compromises, she said. Well, there may have to be a few little detours on the road to the Heavenly Liberal City.

“We all have our theology in politics,” she said to murmurs of approval from her audience. When Gov. George W. Bush said in a Republican debate in 2000 that Jesus Christ was his favorite political philosopher, liberals were aghast. But when Nancy Pelosi speaks of “theology,” we must assume she uses the word the way Webster defines it: “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world.”

For Pelosi, God commands universal health care without a restriction on funding abortion. And God apparently also commands the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Pelosi invoked the patron saint of San Francisco. She recited the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. It was probably the first time in history that that gentle saint was dragged in to bless the slaughter of innocents and the abolition of matrimony.

Predictably, there were no ACLU protests. And no atheizers ran to MSNBC to deplore her breaching the Wall of Separation between Church and State.

Pelosi was perfectly free not only to preach her religious ideas, but to impose jail time and fines on those who dissent. In the Gospel According to Nancy, the liberal Preacher of the House promises to bring the liberal Heaven to Earth. Is it any wonder growing numbers of Americans think it’s a living hell?



Conning the conservatives

Growing up, I always thought Jesus' admonition in the Book of Matthew, "The poor you will always have with you," wasn't meant to be taken literally as a directive to ignore the poor, but that's exactly what a prominent Roman Catholic charity believes.

As this Sunday's "second collection" approaches, most Catholics planning to donate to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development probably think their money will be used to help the poor by funding soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Well, the joke's on them. CCHD has never provided direct relief to the poor. That's not its purpose.

It is an extreme left-wing political organization created to feed and foster radical groups like ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Most Catholics are blissfully unaware of its true mission, though it says right on its Web site that it aims to support "organized groups of white and minority poor to develop economic strength and political power."

Long mocked as the "Catholic Campaign to Help Democrats," CCHD is the charitable arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its creation in 1969 - the year before ACORN was founded - CCHD says it has given more than $290 million to fund what it calls more than 8,000 "low-income-led, community-based projects that strengthen families, create jobs, build affordable housing, fight crime, and improve schools and neighborhoods." Some say the grand total is closer to $450 million.

Both ACORN and CCHD were inspired by radical agitator Saul Alinsky, the Marxist Machiavelli who dedicated his activism opus, "Rules for Radicals," to Lucifer, whom he called "the first radical." The late Mr. Alinsky developed the concept of "community organizing" in order to mobilize poor neighborhoods to make demands, long and loud, on public officials and the private sector.

CCHD gives generously to the Industrial Areas Foundation, which Mr. Alinsky himself founded, and to similar leftist groups including the Gamaliel Foundation, People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO), and Direct Action and Research Training Institute (DART).

Over the years, some Catholics have called out CCHD for its Marxist radicalism. Former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon, a Catholic layman, complained in the late 1980s that CCHD was a "funding mechanism for radical left-wing political activism in the United States, rather than for traditional types of charities." Catholic writer Paul Likoudis observed that CCHD could be considered "a political mechanism bonding the American Church to the welfare state."

But President Obama is a big believer in CCHD. In 1985-88 he ran the Developing Communities Project from an office in Chicago's Holy Rosary Church. The project was part of the Gamaliel network. "I got my start as a community organizer working with mostly Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago that were struggling because the steel plants had closed," Mr. Obama told Catholic Digest. CCHD "helped fund the project, and so very early on, my career was intertwined with the belief in social justice that is so strong in the church." Mr. Obama has said he "tried to apply the precepts of compassion and care for the vulnerable that are so central to Catholic teachings to my work [such as in] making health care a right for all Americans."

CCHD only cut off ACORN, whose ties to Mr. Obama have been exhaustively documented, as a grant recipient a year ago under intense pressure. It must have been excruciating for CCHD to disown ACORN, its own flesh and blood in the class struggle, in November 2008 after critics raised concerns that some of parishioners' money might have been used for illegal partisan activities.

After years of complaints by conservative Catholics, CCHD finally gave ACORN the heave-ho after channeling $7.3 million in churchgoers' money to the group over the last decade. The bishops acted only after Catholics outraged by reports of legal and ethical improprieties involving ACORN let their views be known.

Bishop Roger Morin announced at the time that ACORN would no longer receive grants "because of serious concerns about financial accountability, organizational performance and political partisanship." A nearly $1 million embezzlement within ACORN, first revealed in the summer of 2008, and its subsequent cover-up by ACORN officials, had been the last straw. At the time, Bishop Morin said CCHD and the Bishops Conference had hired forensic accountants "to help determine if any CCHD money was taken or misused." A forensic audit has been completed, but its findings have not been disclosed.

CCHD director Ralph McCloud admitted some of the funds that CCHD "contributed to ACORN in the past undoubtedly were used for voter registration drives." Most, perhaps all, of the voter drives ACORN conducted were "in support of politicians who support abortion-on-demand and other policies that most Catholics oppose," notes conservative Catholic activist Richard Viguerie. Both CCHD and ACORN have yet to be held to account.



Obama's attorney general does not know even basic law

Mr. Holder the Attorney General was being cross-examined by Senator Graham of the Judiciary Committee, who posed a simple question: “If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?”

The answer is so simple that even a 1L could get it (Of course, we have no time to say the whole phrase “first-year law student” in Law School, so we call them "1L").

The person in custody is entitled to a Miranda Warning at the moment of custody. Custody is defined as the moment when the party either is or feels he is not free to leave, because he is being detained by an officer of the law acting under the color of legal authority. The defendant must be informed of his Miranda Rights before any questioning, and must be reminded of them periodically, otherwise his testimony (including any evidence springing from his testimony) cannot be admitted as evidence in court.

Got it? The question is “When do Miranda Rights attach?” The answer is: “At the moment of custody.”

Holder flubbed the question. His answer was, “Again I'm not -- that all depends. I mean, the notion that we –“ Wrong. Even the Asparagus Mascot of the William and Mary law school could tell you that. Even I, who graduated lower in class ranking than the Asparagus, Pocahontas and Tribe Guy put together, could tell you that.

Mr. Graham again provided the correct answer: “Well, it does not depend. If you're going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.”

So why could Mr. Holder, the Attorney General — a title that implies he wears a bicorn hat and waves a gold sword, commanding whole legions and battalions of Attorney Majors, Attorney Captains, and Paralegal Paratroopers — why could the Attorney General not answer a question any 1L could have aced?

Mr. Graham also asked, “Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?” A standard question. Every law professor at some point asks every law student to cite the precedent to support his case.

Mr. Holder’s answer: I don’t know. I’d have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I’ve made --

Mr. Graham: “I’ll answer it for you. The answer is no.”

I’d have to look at that? You mean you did not read the textbook, the outline, or the CrimLaw 101 Nutshell book? Don't have your notes ready, do you? Here I must quote what any prof from my school would have said. These are the words of crusty old Professor Kingsfield from THE PAPER CHASE. “Mister Holder, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.”

I should also mention that Senator Graham served in the Judge Advocate General’s office – the JAG corps. GO NAVY!

More here. Background here.



Some Lutherans still respect the Bible: "Conservative members of America's largest Lutheran denomination announced that they are splitting from the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, making it the second mainline Protestant church to undergo a major schism over the issue of homosexuality and related matters of biblical authority. The U.S. Episcopal Church has experienced a similar split, with whole dioceses attempting to leave, new Anglican churches formed and a series of property fights in the years since the 2003 consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. On Wednesday, an 11-member steering committee of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal), meeting in New Brighton, Minn., said it cannot remain inside the 4.7-million-member ELCA after the denomination agreed at its August churchwide assembly in Minneapolis to ordain partnered gay clergy. That decision, CORE said in a statement, created "a biblical and theological crisis throughout the ELCA and conflict in local congregations. "We are not leaving the ELCA. The ELCA has left us," said Ryan Schwarz"

Army to keep media from covering Palin at Fort Bragg: "Army officials plan to prevent media from covering Sarah Palin’s appearance at Fort Bragg on Monday, saying they fear the event will turn into political grandstanding against President Obama, the Associated Press reports. Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum tells the AP that Army officials had decided to keep media away from Palin’s book promotion at the North Carolina base. Other members of the public would be permitted to attend.”

Want job growth? Cut taxes: "Unemployment continues to rise, and it is painfully clear that the so-called stimulus bill Congress passed earlier this year has failed. In fact, President Obama has called for a summit on jobs next month and Democrats in Congress are scrambling to hurry through yet another massive spending bill under the guise of job creation. Apparently, they think the stimulus bill didn’t spend enough money.”

New CO politics in Israel: "Driving through the West Bank recently, I picked up two hitchhikers. Both wore the long, thick sidelocks and extra-large skullcaps that have become the mark of young men on the religious right, especially among settlers. Since they were what Israelis call army age (what Americans would call college age), the conversation turned to military service. Despite Israel’s universal draft, the hitchhiker in the back seat said he didn’t intend to serve. The Israel Defense Forces, he argued, hurts Jews — a point he presumed was obvious from the ‘uprooting’ of settlements in Gaza four years ago and the occasional dismantling of tiny, illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank more recently. Besides that, he said, the IDF ‘doesn’t want to kill Arabs because it wants to look nice in the world.’ He didn’t want to die because commanders were too concerned with Arabs’ lives.” [Using the army against settlers is insane. That is police work. It undermines support for the entire IDF]

Palin Derangement Syndrome: When it’s time for a long, long rest: "[Andrew] Sullivan’s continuing, unrelenting obsession with Palin is bizarre in the extreme. I would also suggest to The Atlantic that they do no good service for Sullivan or themselves by allowing this to continue. Episodes of this kind are the sort of thing one might encounter in a textbook on psychology, one with a heavy emphasis on aberrant behaviors. It is not behavior one expects or hopes to find in a mainstream publication; I say that even as someone with a notably low opinion of the content of all such publications. Still, to hope for certain limits would not seem to be beyond the bounds of reasonable expectations.”

Choking the Blue Dogs: "The political collars continue to tighten around Blue Dogs and other Democrats representing Republican-leaning congressional districts. Recent election results in Virginia and New Jersey, as well as a bevy of new polls, all suggest these vulnerable lawmakers face an increasingly hostile environment entering the 2010 election year. At-risk Democrats are experimenting with different voting strategies to achieve political survival. Some support the White House, calculating that cozying up to the president and liberal interests groups will yield electoral dividends. Others are distancing themselves from a president rapidly losing altitude with swing voters. Time will tell which strategy works better. Yet a return to normal voting patterns — after GOP under performance in 2006 and 2008 in some of these districts — could swamp many Democrats next year, no matter how they posture themselves in Washington.”


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


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


Friday, November 20, 2009

The black stain in Brazil -- as Brazilians see it

Even a small amount of African ancestry causes Brazilians to classify themselves as black. This may be peculiar to Brazil, however, where skin colour and social class are intertwined. One might also note that "white" in Brazil mainly means Portuguese and the Portuguese can be rather swarthy

A new study compares personal perceptions of race, color and ancestry of Brazilian high school students with the results of genetic ancestry tests, with the aim of investigating the tensions between cultural and scientific conceptions of race. The research, led by Ricardo Ventura Santos of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Oswaldo Cruz foundation, appears in the December issue of Current Anthropology.

Modern genetics can provide detailed information about a person’s geographic ancestry. But most scientists agree that human genetic variation doesn’t correspond neatly with traditional notions about race. “In recent decades biologists, especially geneticists, have repeatedly stated that the notion of race does not apply to the human species,” Santos and his team write. “On the other hand, social scientists claim that race is highly significant in cultural, historical, and socioeconomic terms because it molds everyday social relations and because it is a powerful motivator for social and political movements based on race differences.”

The tension between scientific and cultural conceptions of race is on full display in Brazil. Brazilians pride themselves on their mixed European, African and Amerindian ancestries. But in recent years, racial inequalities —especially for blacks— have spurred controversial government policies, including racial quotas for government jobs and university admissions. “At the same time,” the researchers write, “the results of genomic studies that emphasize the considerable extent of biological admixture in the Brazilian population have been widely reported in the media …, bringing up further questions about the implementation of public policies based on race.”

In that context, Santos and his team worked with a group of students from a technical high school just outside Rio de Janeiro. The students were asked in a series of questionnaires to categorize their race or color, and to estimate by percentage their geographic ancestry. The students also gave DNA samples that were used for genetic ancestry tests. The researchers then discussed the results with the students. “The results of the genomic ancestry tests are quite different from the perceived ancestry estimates,” the researchers report. In general, the genomic results showed that the students had far more European ancestry than they had thought.

For example, students who categorized themselves as “black” perceived their ancestry to be, on average, were 63 percent African, 19.8 percent Amerindian and 17 percent European. But the genetic tests showed that European ancestry actually dominates among the black students. The tests showed average ancestry as 51.7 percent European, 40.9 percent African and 7.4 percent Amerindian.

Students who saw themselves as “brown” perceived themselves as having roughly equal European, African, and Amerindian ancestry. The genetic test again, however, came out more European—in fact, over 80 percent European. White students, who perceived themselves as having substantial African and Amerindian descent, were shown by the tests to have very little of either.

The students’ reactions to the results varied. “Students who had classified themselves as white generally declared themselves ‘disappointed’ with the low percentages of African and Amerindian ancestry in their genomic reports,” the authors write. Others were “disconcerted” when their test results showed high European ancestry. Some were even defiant. “In spite of that high percentage of European ancestry I won’t cease to be ‘black’; never!” one student said.

One student greeted the news with humor. “One girl, who had classified herself as brown, talked about her ambition to become a ballet dancer; but, according to her, the admission process of ballet companies, especially classical ballet, favored girls with whiter skin,” the researchers write. “She said jokingly that at the next admission exam she was going to dance with the genomic test results glued to her forehead, proving her predominately European ancestry.”

Some addressed issues of public policy and race directly. “Mine is 96 percent European, 1 percent Amerindian, 3 percent African,” one student said. “I guess the only thing that changes is that I don’t have a chance of getting on the quota.”

There is little doubt the influence of genomics on societies will continue to grow. This study, the authors say, “is pertinent to understanding the complex ways in which information about genetics may be interpreted by the lay public, and why it pervades the politics of race and/or racism affecting national policies designed to promote social inclusion.”



Obama's phony federalism

Friends of federalism cheered last month when the Obama administration reversed the Bush policy of prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states that have legalized the practice. Welcome though that change was, let's hold the applause. Not yet a year into his administration, Obama's record on 10th Amendment issues is already clear: He'll let the states have their way when their policies please blue team sensibilities and he'll call in the feds when they don't. Thus, he'll grant California a waiver to allow it to raise auto emissions standards, but he'll bring the hammer down when the state tries to cut payments to unionized health care workers.

That's not how it's supposed to work. As Madison explained in Federalist 45, the powers delegated to the federal government were "few and defined," to be exercised mainly on "external objects" like foreign policy and international trade. All else -- criminal law, marriage, social policy -- remained with the states or the people.

Of course, No. 45 also contains one of the Federalist's saddest sentences, in which Madison predicts that federal tax collectors will be "principally on the seacoast, and not very numerous." (Sometimes the Framers weren't all that prescient.) Indeed, the federal government's massive power to tax and spend has increasingly allowed it to trample state prerogatives. As the $786 billion stimulus package came online this year, for the first time ever, federal aid surpassed the sales tax as the largest source of revenue for the states. "This money isn't manna from heaven," warned Indiana state Sen. Jim Buck, "it comes with a price."

California learned that lesson back in May. Struggling to close a $40 billion budget gap, the state government lowered payments to home health care workers, but the Obama team threatened to withhold billions of dollars in stimulus money unless the wage subsidies were restored. Officials in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office accused the Service Employees International Union, a longtime Obama ally, of improper influence.

Just a few years back, the Republicans -- nominally the party of federalism -- were busily wielding federal power to enforce red state values -- prosecuting medical marijuana patients, punishing doctors participating in Oregon's "Death with Dignity" initiative, and trying to overturn Florida court decisions that allowed Terry Schiavo to be removed from life support. In that odd political climate, you often heard liberals lamenting the decline of states' rights.

That strange new respect for the 10th Amendment lasted roughly as long as the blue team's exile from power. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said recently that "if we accomplish one thing in the coming years, it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America." Diversity is bad, uniformity double-plus good; get with the program, comrade.

But one of federalism's core virtues is the enormous diversity it allows. Decentralization makes it easier for Americans to escape unwelcome state experiments with fiscal and social policy. It enhances the political power of individual citizens by allowing important decisions of governance to be settled closest to where Americans live and work. And it avoids making politics a centralized war of all against all, where each contested issue is settled in a one-size-fits-all fashion at the level furthest from the people.

Our federal system shouldn't be a red team/blue team issue, respected or flouted depending on who's up and who's down. Conservatives are learning to rue their abandonment of federalist principles during the last administration; liberals may come to regret their rush toward centralization during the next.




Palin's book tour boosts Michigan spirits: "Sarah Palin apparently had a point to make when she chose economically ravaged Michigan as the first stop on her heavily promoted book tour. "We're Americans. We don't give up on each other," she had written in the conclusion of "Going Rogue," which shot to the top of best-seller lists upon its release Tuesday. Breaking out in intermittent cheers of "Palin, Palin, Palin," hundreds stood in line for hours inside the Woodland Mall for a glimpse of the former vice-presidential candidate and Republican superstar. Supporters called her a fierce defender of families with solid potential for a White House run in 2012. Mrs. Palin arrived at Barnes & Noble bookstore at about 5:40 p.m. aboard a massive blue tour bus emblazoned with her image and the book's cover. It was a celebrity-worthy entrance as flags waved, cameras flashed and Mrs. Palin arrived all smiles in a red blazer and black skirt to briefly address the crowd. Hundreds had camped out overnight for just a few seconds with the vivacious party darling, who resigned as Alaska's governor earlier this year. Mary Ellen Oleniczak, a mother of six from Grand Rapids, said she understood the outpouring of interest. "I think she's a pioneer. She's daring. She's not afraid to speak out on issues that aren't popular," said Mrs. Oleniczak, 59."

Palin’s popularity vs. media mania: "There seems to be a media competition at work, a sort of championship tournament. Every reporter, anchor, and pundit in America is engaged in a frantic effort to be the hero who fires the silver bullet that slays the Republican werewolf from Wasilla. Whether or not Sarah Palin is the last, best hope of the GOP, she is inarguably the worst nightmare of crusading liberal journalists. Not since Oliver North showed up for a key congressional hearing in his Marine Corps uniform has the Washington press corps been so spectacularly vexed at its inability to destroy an intended victim.”

Yuk! " Talk about Washington and London's special relationship. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted she has a "crush" on Britain's youthful-looking, 44-year-old Foreign Minister David Miliband, according to an interview published in US Vogue magazine. "Oh my God!" she told a Vogue journalist in the December issue. "If you saw him it would be a big crush." Ms Clinton, who is married to former US president Bill Clinton, described Mr Miliband as "vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He's a really good guy - and he is so young!" According to Britain's Sun daily, Mr Miliband reciprocated the gushing feelings, calling Ms Clinton, 62, "delightful" and a "tease".

The French will be glad to hear this: "Germany could be home to as many as 17 million fewer people in 50 years' time, official statistics showed today, laying bare the scale of the demographic crisis in Europe's top economy. At the same time, Germans are greying rapidly, with one in three set to be over 65 by 2060, compared to one in five now, the federal statistics office said. One in seven will be over 80. The total population, currently 82 million, will slump to between 65 and 70 million and neither immigration nor an increase in the birth rate - currently 1.4 children per woman - can do much to ease the crisis, the office added. Like other advanced economies, Germany is facing a snowballing population crisis, leaving the country short of workers and adding to the strain on already stretched public coffers." [At 2.1, France has the highest birthrate in Europe]

Obama prejudges a court case: "President Barack Obama on Wednesday predicted that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be convicted and executed, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified in the Senate to defend the strategy of civilian trials for the alleged Sept. 11 plotters. In an interview with NBC News, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it ‘offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.’”

Just what it is that this capitalism thing is good at?: "From $3 billion to $1,000 in only 12 years: yes, the thing which capitalism is so good at is making things cheap. This is why it works as a socio-economic system. Leave aside all the morality plays of exploitation and the like for a moment and think purely as an entirely hard hearted pragmatist. We’ve got cheap food now, we can all fill our bellies at the expenditure of trivial, by historical standards, amounts of labour. Cheap clothing: it’s within the memory of those alive that Sunday Best really did mean one’s second and only other set of clothing. Even housing which seems so expensive has increased in quality so much that it is cheap by any long term comparison. Add medicine, transport, heating, alomst any sector of the eonomy or consumption that you wish to mention. All are incredibly cheap by the only standard that really matters: how long and how hard must we labour to get them.”

Democracy denied in DC: "A measure to let voters decide whether to ban same-sex marriages in D.C. cannot go on the ballot because it would violate a city human rights law, the Board of Elections and Ethics ruled Tuesday. The D.C. City Council is expected to approve gay marriage next month, but opponents wanted voters to weigh in. The elections board said allowing residents to vote on a ban would conflict with the city’s 1977 Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination.”

NY: Hospital aids, abets kidnappers — then demands payment from victim: "In a previous Libertarian News Examiner article … [Julian] Heicklen explained how he was never arrested, handcuffed, or received a citation or summons for handing out pamphlets on public property but was nevertheless transported to Bellevue Hospital where he was confined in the psychiatric ward. ‘It was an out-and-out kidnapping,’ Heicklen insisted then and still insists now. When he demanded to know when he would be released he was injected with Thorazine …. Nearly two weeks later Heicklen unbelievably received a letter from Bellevue offering to help him settle his hospital bill if he would provide his identification and medical insurance information.”

Hate filled nut finally going to jail: "Disbarred civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, convicted four years ago of shuttling messages from imprisoned Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman meant for senior members of an Egypt-based terrorist organization, was ordered to prison Tuesday by a federal appeals panel to begin serving her sentence. … Stewart was convicted of using her status as Abdel-Rahman’s lawyer to violate federal rules that barred him from communicating from his high-security imprisonment.”

Push to curb credit card rates fades: "Efforts in Congress to cap credit-card interest rates are faltering because of opposition from Democrats and a lack of specific support from the White House, despite growing consumer outrage over a rush by banks to impose rates as high as 30 percent. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama vowed to back a strict limit on credit-card interest rates. But the White House is not yet behind any particular plan this year. While Obama has chastised credit-card companies, his spokeswoman declined to say this week how he planned to follow through on his campaign pledge.”

SIEU thugs again: "A Pennsylvania union leader has come under fire after threatening legal action against the city of Allentown for allowing a Boy Scout to voluntarily clear a walking path in a local park. Nick Balzano, president of the Service Employees International Union’s Allentown chapter, said last week that the union might file a grievance against the city for allowing 17-year-old Kevin Anderson to clear the hiking trail, instead of paying some of the 39 recently laid-off SEIU members to do the work. Balzano’s office did not return messages left by, but the Morning Call quoted him as telling the city council that the union would be ‘looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails … There’s to be no volunteers.’”

TN: Fedgoons raid Gibson Guitar plant: "An international crackdown on the use of endangered woods from the world’s rain forests to make musical instruments bubbled over to Music City on Tuesday with a federal raid on Gibson Guitar’s manufacturing plant, but no arrests. Agents of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service made a midday appearance and served a search warrant on company officials at Gibson’s Massman Drive manufacturing plant, where it makes acoustic and electric guitars. … Federal officials declined to say whether anything was removed from Gibson’s plant or what specifically the agents were trying to find. But some exotic hardwoods traditionally used in making premium guitars, such as rosewood from the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil, have been banned from commercial trade because of environmental concerns under a recently revised federal law.”

The “stimulus” for unemployment: "When you subsidize something, you get more of it. Extending unemployment benefits from 26 to 79 weeks was guaranteed to leave many more people unemployed for many more months. And longer unemployment translates to higher unemployment rates — because the relatively small numbers of newly unemployed are added to stubbornly large numbers of those who lost their jobs more than six months ago. Until benefits are about to run out, many of the long-term unemployed are in no rush to make serious efforts to find another job — or to accept job offers that may involve a long commute, relocation or disappointing salary and benefits.”


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


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


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Zimbabwe anarchy an unforeseen blessing

Most interesting from a libertarian viewpoint

In February 2009 Zimbabwe was the only country in the world without debt. Nobody owed anyone anything. Following the abandonment of the Zimbabwe Dollar as the local currency all local debt was wiped out and the country started with a clean slate.

It is now a country without a functioning Central Bank and without a local currency that can be produced at will at the behest of politicians. Since February 2009 there has been no lender of last resort in Zimbabwe, causing banks to be ultra cautious in their lending policies. The US Dollar is the de facto currency in use although the Euro, GB Pound and South African Rand are accepted in local transactions.

Price controls and foreign exchange regulations have been abandoned. Zimbabwe literally joined the real world at the stroke of a pen. Money now flows in and out of the country without restriction. Super market shelves, bare in January, are now bursting with products.

I recently visited Zimbabwe in the company of a leading Australian fund manager. As a student of monetary history, I was interested to see what had happened to a country that had suffered hyperinflation. How did the people cope? How is the country progressing now? The current Zimbabwean situation is complicated by the fact that President Robert Mugabe is determined to stay in power whatever the cost....

The worst trauma for ordinary people during the hyperinflation was lack of food. This was due mainly to the imposition of price controls. If the cost of production of an item was $10 and the price controllers instructed that the item could only be sold for $5, the business would soon go bankrupt if they sold at the controlled price. The result was that production and imports just dried up, hence the empty shelves in the supermarkets.

People survived by shopping in neighboring countries and relied on assistance from South Africa and the aid agencies. Companies survived the hyperinflation with great difficulty and often by ignoring laws. Although companies were left without debt post February 2009, they were also left deficient in working capital and had dilapidated plant and equipment. Regular repairs and maintenance could not be afforded. Most companies now require urgent recapitalization.

There has been a major exodus of Zimbabweans over the years, estimated at about 3 million prior to 2008. Many of these were qualified people who were subjected to Mugabe’s campaign of terror. During the latter stages of the hyperinflation there was a further exodus because people were starving. Most of these people went south into South Africa. The current population of Zimbabwe is estimated to be between 10 and 12 million people, so the numbers that have fled the country are significant relative to the total population.

Current economic activity is strongly supported by remittances from Zimbabwean migrants to their families in Zimbabwe. Once the political situation settles down, it is likely that many of these migrants will wish to return to Zimbabwe. Some have already done so. Many activities that perished in the hyperinflation, such as insurance, are now starting to resuscitate.

Credit financing activities are starting to revive. Visa credit cards are once again operating successfully in Zimbabwe, others will surely follow. Banks have had both sides of their balance sheets devastated by hyperinflation and now have no lender of last resort to call on. They are understandably cautious in lending the deposits that are slowly filtering back into the system. Banks also lost much of their equity capital. Barclays Bank survived because it had 40 branches where the bank owned the real estate and had a strong parent. These properties plus some foreign currency holdings represent the equity capital on which the bank currently operates.

In a country with no debt, only assets, people and companies are under geared. With the ultra cautious lending policies of the banks, there is a huge opportunity for foreign investors in the credit purveying industry.

There has been a sharp rise in economic activity since February. Real wages have risen substantially compared to a year ago. Whatever workers were paid in Zimbabwe Dollars during the hyperinflation bought virtually nothing. Now even the minimum wage of around $100 per month allows for basic purchases. A 10kg bag of maize meal, a staple in the local diet, costs $3.50 and lasts for two weeks. Demand for products and services is increasing rapidly. Corporate profits are rising, leading to greater tax revenues for the Government, augmented by rising VAT taxes. Greater Government revenue allows for greater Government spending.

This self-reinforcing loop will continue. The improvement in the economy will become dramatic once Mugabe leaves the scene. At that time aid agencies, NGO’s, Charities and foreign governments will start injecting large volumes of funds and assistance into the country. They refuse to commit any meaningful funds while Mugabe is still the President.

With Mugabe out of the way and the economy recovering strongly, one could reasonably anticipate that a large proportion of the Zimbabweans living overseas will return to the country bringing welcome skills and capital. Indeed foreigners will also be attracted to investing in the country in those circumstances.

It is fascinating to see how rapidly the economy is recovering. It is a great testament to what can be achieved in a free enterprise environment by the elimination of controls combined with the institution of new money that people trust. It needs to be money that their Government cannot create via the printing (or electronic) press.

The economic future of Zimbabwe is likely to be in mining, agriculture, tourism and service industries, especially those providing infrastructure and maintenance facilities. There remain many problems, not the least being chronic unemployment, but the future looks bright beyond the Mugabe horizon. The population is amongst the best educated in Africa and most people can speak English. With the Zimbabwe’s natural assets, there is scope for realistic optimism about the economic future, especially once the current political difficulties are overcome. The population has been brutally traumatized by the hyperinflation and the political situation. They really deserve a decent change of fortune.

Much more HERE


Stop lying about those stimulus jobs

Give the mainstream news media some credit: They have diligently dug into President Obama's fanciful boasts of job creation. When Obama claimed earlier this month that his $787 billion economic stimulus package had "saved or created" 640,000 jobs, a dozen news organizations pounced. They soon highlighted some of the most egregious cases of sketchy job creation in about 20 states.

From their reports, The Examiner has created an online interactive map for tracking exaggerated stimulus claims. So far, more than 75,000 jobs -- exceeding 10 percent of the total -- are either highly doubtful or clearly imaginary. In the coming weeks, we expect to add many thousands more to that total as other media organizations scrutinize stimulus grants in their areas.

Obama and his senior aides have sought to downplay the importance of exact numbers, but they invited close scrutiny earlier this year by setting dramatic expectations for the effect the stimulus program would have on employment. If his stimulus program was approved, Obama promised, unemployment would not go above 8 percent this year. The reality is that it passed 10.3 percent in October. So now the stimulus books are being cooked to mollify an anxious public worried that real-world jobs continue to disappear and angry that Obama has thrown almost $1 trillion down the stimulus rathole.

With his political advisers in a panic, Obama is now planning a State of the Union policy pivot intended to stave off a disastrous congressional election in 2010. After running up the nation's first-ever $1.4 trillion annual budget deficit for 2009, Obama will strike a new pose in January as the man who will stop government extravagance. Budget Director Peter Orszag says Obama will offer new suggestions for budget cuts and "revenue raisers," aka "tax hikes."

Obama's previous budget-cutting masquerade was laughable. In July, he called for a pathetic $265 million in cuts. But with a $3 trillion annual budget, Washington blows that much in about two blinks of an eye. Besides, most of the Obama "cuts" were proposed in full knowledge that Congress would never approve them. No doubt, Obama will present the same sort of faux budget cuts in 2010. But Obama's "concern" about excessive government spending likely will be no more credible to voters next November than the thousands of phantom stimulus jobs he claims to have created this year.



BrookesNews Update

The US economy is beginning to resemble a Japanese economic tragedy : Inflation is the disease, not the cure. Using inflationary policies as counter recessionary-weapons will - depending on the circumstance - create stagflation or generate another boom followed by another crash. Right now it looks like stagflation
The Treasury wants to impose the fallacious rental resource tax on mining companies : Despite the fact that the concept of economic rent has been refuted a number of times the Treasury is now proposing to use this dangerous fallacy as an excuse to impose more taxes on the mining industry. Treasury officials seem to think of the mining industry as a magic cow that can keep on giving no matter how much you milk it
Will a constant money supply generate economic stability? :The whole idea that money could be neutral is ridiculous. Neutrality means that money would cease to be the medium of the exchange. However, then it would no longer be money
Headed towards defeat in Afghanistan : The Democrats really are the Party of Defeat. The administration's loathing for America is reflected in its callous treatment of US troops, treatment that is killing them
When our military is attacked, Obama is a Nowhere Man : Obama loves his wife, children, dog Bo, and himself - especially himself. And he relishes his far left ideology. But the working stiff, the heart and soul of this country? I don't see it. The United States? I don't think so. And that's why Obama should never have been elected president
The Fort Hood massacre: Time to jump to some conclusions : Political correctness is murdering American troops and Obama refuses to stop it in the name of diversity. An army is held together not by diversity but discipline, unity of purpose and patriotism - especially patriotism. Is that why Democrats loath the military?
The Berlin Wall: 20 years on : The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall finds millions of human beings still under recalcitrant communist tyrannies that have defied the historical 'inevitability' of totalitarianism's demise. We owe it to the inhabitants of Cuba, North Korea, Laos and Cambodia to take a fresh look at what happened on Nov. 9, 1989



Jobs 'Saved or Created' in Congressional Districts That Don't Exist: "Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says. There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts. And ABC News has found many more entries for projects like this in places that are incorrectly identified."

Bernanke offers grim job outlook: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke waded Monday into the debate among policymakers over the vigor of the economic recovery, offering a sobering view of what lies ahead in his most detailed comments on the economy in months. Bernanke's focus on the weak job market and his opinion that inflation will remain subdued show that he is looking to keep the Fed focused on supporting growth for quite a while longer by leaving interest rates at rock-bottom levels. Financial markets may be soaring and the economy expanding. But, he said, "the best thing we can say about the labor market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly."

South Korea gains as global bidder to build nuclear power plants: "South Korea is emerging as an unexpected contender in the global race to build nuclear power plants, turning up as a finalist for one of the industry's most-coveted projects. The Korean bid has surprised more-established competitors -- including industry leader Areva of France -- as well as officials in the United Arab Emirates, who are examining bids for a contract that could be worth as much as $US40 billion to build and run the Arab world's first nuclear-power plants. UAE officials could award the contract as early as the next few weeks. Three groups have been short-listed for the UAE deal, according to people familiar with the situation. Early in the bidding process, many observers expected a two-horse race between a French consortium including Areva, GdF Suez, Electricite de France and Total and a US-Japanese consortium including General Electric and Hitachi. But the Korean bid has emerged as "far more competitive than anyone first thought," according to a person familiar with the situation. The UAE deal calls for the winner to spearhead the development, construction and operation of nuclear reactors and supporting facilities in Abu Dhabi, the biggest and richest of the UAE's seven semiautonomous emirates."

Your patriotic and economic duty: Fire a Democrat: "If you are an employer who will be forced to fire employees (or not hire) because of the damage done to your business either by the weak economy (made much weaker by the Democrats’ policies) or by Democrat-passed legislation, such as if health care ‘reform’ or cap-and-trade were to pass, fire Obama supporters first. Of course, you can’t actually say that’s your reason.”

The media as enablers of government: "Why do politicians so easily get away with telling lies? In large part, because the news media are more interested in bonding with politicians than in exposing them. Americans are encouraged to believe that the media will serve as a check and a balance on the government. Instead, the press too often volunteer as unpaid pimps, helping politicians deceive the public. In 1936, New York Times White House correspondent Turner Catledge said that President Roosevelt’s ‘first instinct was always to lie.’ But the Washington press corps covered up Roosevelt’s dishonesty almost as thoroughly as they hid his use of a wheelchair in daily life.”

Andrew Cuomo should leave Intel alone: "New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on November 4 that he is suing Intel for antitrust violations. Cuomo’s lawsuit is a mistake. He should drop it for two simple reasons. First, Intel’s alleged behavior is pro-competitive, not anti-competitive. Second, Cuomo has severely underestimated the extent of the relevant competitive market. The primary charge against Intel is that the chipmaker has given out billions of dollars in payments and rebates to its customers in exchange for exclusivity agreements. Dell alone received nearly $2 billion in 2006. Cuomo calls this practice ‘bribery.’ But in economic terms, this is exactly the same as lowering prices — and lower prices always help consumers.”

Utter folly: British army tells its soldiers to 'bribe' the Taleban: "British forces should buy off potential Taleban recruits with “bags of gold”, according to a new army field manual published yesterday. Army commanders should also talk to insurgent leaders with “blood on their hands” in order to hasten the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. The edicts, which are contained in rewritten counter-insurgency guidelines, will be taught to all new army officers. They mark a strategic rethink after three years in which British and Nato forces have failed to defeat the Taleban. The manual is also a recognition that the Army’s previous doctrine for success against insurgents, which was based on the experience in Northern Ireland, is now out of date. Addressing the issue of paying off the locals, the new manual states that army commanders should give away enough money to dissuade them from joining the enemy. The Taleban is known to pay about $10 (£5.95) a day to recruit local fighters.... Britain’s early experience of handing out cash in Afghanistan proved abortive. About £16 million in cash was given to farmers to stop them growing poppy crops for the heroin trade, which helps to fund the Taleban. The money is believed to have had little impact on the opium yields." [They tried "Danegeld" once before in their history but found that they still had to fight in the end]

British speed camera INCREASES crashes: "A motorway speed camera responsible for raking in more than a million dollars in fines has been blamed for increasing accidents since it was installed. The camera, which monitors a busy stretch of the M11 near London, results in 9000 tickets a year, but figures released by police show crashes have risen by a quarter at the site. A Freedom of Information request made by campaigners who oppose what they see as revenue-based penalty tickets also showed casualties have almost doubled since 2001 when the camera was set up. Paul Pearson, who runs motoring website, said: 'No wonder they haven't removed the camera that is causing these accidents. 'It is just raising too much money and they clearly want to keep it there.' The data showed that in the five years before the camera was installed, there were 13 accidents and 14 casualties in the area. In the following five years, the number of accidents rose to 16 and casualties to 24." [In the usual British way "safety" is the rationale for such cameras but that is clearly not the real motive]

British rail travel: "A tour of the worst stations in the country was never going to be a glamorous or uplifting assignment. Pretty soon it turned into an exercise in extreme travel. Mine was an odyssey of wind-swept platforms and urine-soaked floors. Old ladies struggled over footbridges, travellers shivered in the elements as they waited to get home. They talked of parking rage and waiting for taxis in the rain. Many refused to use the fetid facilities. It became a journey of headaches and hunger; inedible food provided from vending machines. There was the stench of disinfectant, rubber floors that gave the feel of hospital waiting rooms, peeling paint and pigeons picking through litter. Disgrace, dismal, dreadful, dingy: just some of the words my companions used to describe the stations. Britain deserves better. Surely the country that developed the first railways should aspire to an infrastructure worthy of the 21st century, not a dilapidated relic of what it had 100 years ago? Anyone who spends enough time on our trains runs the risk of falling out of love with the railway."


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


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


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A soprano worth listening to:

Although there are some marvellous arias for sopranos, I usually find contraltos much more pleasant to listen to. My favourite contralto aria is "Quae moerebat et dolebat" from the Pergolesi "Stabat Mater" (See here for a beautiful rendition of it as a duet). But about an hour ago Anne and I were listening to "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" sung by Yvonne Kenny and I was rather mesmerized by her performance. Such a strong pure voice.



By Mark Steyn

For the purposes of argument, let's accept the media's insistence that Major Hasan is a lone crazy. So who's nuttier? The guy who gives a lecture to other military doctors in which he says non-Muslims should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats? Or the guys who say "Hey, let's have this fellow counsel our traumatized veterans and then promote him to major and put him on a Homeland Security panel? Or the Army Chief of Staff who thinks the priority should be to celebrate diversity, even unto death? Or the Secretary of Homeland Security who warns that the principal threat we face now is an outbreak of Islamophobia?

Or the president who says we cannot "fully know" why Major Hasan did what he did, so why trouble ourselves any further? Or the columnist who, when a man hands out copies of the Koran before gunning down his victims while yelling "Allahu akbar," says you're racist if you bring up his religion? Or his media colleagues who put Americans in the same position as East Germans twenty years ago of having to get hold of a foreign newspaper to find out what's going on?

General Casey has a point: An army that lets you check either the "home team" or "enemy" box according to taste is certainly diverse. But the logic in the remarks of Secretary Napolitano and others is that the real problem is that most Americans are knuckledragging bigots just waiting to go bananas. As Melanie Phillips wrote in her book Londonistan: "Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority."

To the injury of November 5, we add the insults of American officialdom and their poodle media. In a nutshell: "The real enemy — in the sense of the most important enemy — isn’t a bunch of flea-bitten jihadis sitting in a cave somewhere. It’s Western civilization’s craziness. We are setting our hair on fire and putting it out with a hammer."



A trial that will betray America

In the string of amazing decisions made during the first year of the Obama administration, nothing seems more like sheer insanity than the decision to try foreign terrorists, who have committed acts of war against the United States, in federal court, as if they were American citizens accused of crimes. Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States. Terrorists have never observed, nor even claimed to have observed, the Geneva Convention, nor are they among those covered by it.

But over and above the utter inconsistency of what is being done is the utter recklessness it represents. The last time an attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a matter of domestic criminal justice was after a bomb was exploded there in 1993. Under the rules of American criminal law, the prosecution had to turn over all sorts of information to the defense-- information that told the Al Qaeda international terrorist network what we knew about them and how we knew it.

This was nothing more and nothing less than giving away military secrets to an enemy in wartime-- something for which people have been executed, as they should have been. Secrecy in warfare is a matter of life and death. Lives were risked and lost during World War II to prevent Nazi Germany from discovering that Britain had broken its supposedly unbreakable Enigma code and could read their military plans that were being radioed in that code. "Loose lips sink ships" was the World War II motto in the United States. But loose lips are mandated under the rules of criminal prosecutions.

Tragically, this administration seems hell-bent to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war. The very phrase "war on terrorism" is avoided, as if that will stop the terrorists' war on us. The mindset of the left behind such thinking was spelled out in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, which said that "Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way-- the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation's adherence to the rule of law." This is not the rule of law but the application of laws to situations for which they were not designed.

How many Americans may pay with their lives for the intelligence secrets and methods that can forced to be disclosed to Al Qaeda was not mentioned. Nor was there mention of how many foreign nations and individuals whose cooperation with us in the war on terror have been involved in countering Al Qaeda-- nor how many foreign nations and individuals will have to think twice now, before cooperating with us again, when their role can be revealed in court to our enemies, who can exact revenge on them.

Behind this decision and others is the notion that we have to demonstrate our good faith to other nations, sometimes called "world opinion." Just who are these saintly nations whose favor we must curry, at the risk of American lives and the national security of the United States?

Internationally, the law of the jungle ultimately prevails, despite pious talk about "the international community" and "world opinion," or the pompous and corrupt farce of the United Nations. Yet this is the gallery to which Barack Obama has been playing, both before and after becoming President of the United States.



Five Terrible Cruelties of Liberalism

Liberalism is an extraordinarily deceptive, ruinous and cruel ideology. That's because liberalism comes, arms wide open, whispering sweet words of compassion and pity, even as it forcefully slams down a boot upon the neck of people it's "helping." It's bad enough to see people's lives ruined by those who make no pretense about their intentions, but to see human beings destroyed by those who claim to have only their best interests at heart...well, let's just say it's a hell of a thing.

What liberalism does to minorities: Liberalism falsely convinces minorities in America that they are widely hated and despised for their skin color. How terrible it must be to spend your days seeing racial slights that don't exist, feeling despised by people who don't give you a second thought, and expecting that you will be treated unfairly by people, most of whom think no more of your skin color than they do the color of the carpet they're standing on.

Believing these lies leads to a sense of victimhood that liberalism offers to "fix" with more destructive solutions like Affirmative Action. How many white Americans have doubted the achievement of a black American because of Affirmative Action? How many black Americans have doubted their own worthiness because they thought they may have been given a helping hand because of their race? How many black college students who would have graduated with honors at UNC-Chapel Hill flunked out of Harvard because Affirmative Action got them into a college that was over their head? In the wildest dreams of the Ku Klux Klan, they could have never come up with an ideology as deviously destructive to minorities in America as liberalism.

What liberalism does to children: One of the great ironies of modern life is the constant liberal refrain of "do it for the children." That's true, not only because liberalism is directly responsible for the death of more than 40 million children via abortion, but because liberal policies have descended like a plague of locusts upon the inheritance that America's sons and daughters would have otherwise received. Generations after everyone who went to Woodstock is in the ground, Americans will still be paying off their spending. What better thing could we do for the children than to safeguard the country we grew up in so that they'll have an opportunity to live the American dream, too?

What liberalism does to Africa: Liberalism's smothering paternalism has arguably done considerably more damage to Africa than European colonialism. "The Western world has given Africa 'about a trillion dollars in aid in the past 50 years' and yet as a whole, the continent could be fairly said to have gone backwards over the last 10-15 years." Obviously our aid is doing little for Africa, but we can't stop, even if it would be better for them to learn to stand on their own two feet, because liberalism says it’s better to ruin millions of lives than to risk making liberals feel bad.

If only liberalism similarly prioritized the lives of African children over those of song birds. In another great irony, it's conservatives who argue that DDT should be used in Africa to kill mosquitoes and wipe out malaria, while liberals are willing to watch millions die because they're afraid that to do otherwise -- might put a few birds at risk.

What liberalism has done to the American family: Oh, the intentions are always liberalism says. They just don't want anyone to feel bad or be judged negatively. They want everyone to have a good time and they believe the government should be there to pick up the pieces if things don't go well. So, we get...

Welfare checks. Gay marriage. No fault divorce. The sexual revolution. Attacks on Christianity. Lauding hedonism and single mothers in Hollywood. "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

But, when inevitably divorce rates skyrocket, our prisons fill up with children who never had fathers living in the home, and our society starts to fray around the edges, no one wants to admit that liberalism is at the heart of the entire problem.

What liberalism does to the poor: What mother dreams that her child will grow up to be on food stamps? What decent father wants to see his son eating free breakfast at school? How can you care about a person and want to see him living in a government housing project, collecting welfare, and nursing a grudge against the people in our society who have succeeded in life, instead of trying to become a success himself?

Liberalism says its adherents should pat themselves on the back for their compassion because they're making it possible for people to live that way. How many men's pride have they stolen with that "compassion?" How many lives has that "compassion" helped mire in misery? How many people, who could have made good lives for themselves, in the end, became dependent on the government and chose lives of mediocrity? If someone views that as "compassion," then his moral compass is shattered.




I mentioned recently that I had updated my pictorial homepage -- a page which is mainly for fun. I have now done a bit more and updated my personal homepage. I also have a more boring academic home page. I think one thing you will note in my homepages is general good cheer. I see lots to criticize in the world about me but I leave the whining and miserabilism to Leftists.

Obama bow a low blow, say critics: "Photos of Barack Obama bowing to Japan's emperor have incensed critics in the US, who said the President should stand tall when representing America overseas. Mr Obama is in China, having wrapped up the Japan leg of his Asia trip. But Washington commentators are still weighing whether or not the US president disgraced his country by making a deep bow at the waist while meeting Japan's Emperor Akihito. Conservative pundit William Kristol said: "I don't know why President Obama thought that was appropriate. Maybe he thought it would play well in Japan. "But it's not appropriate for an American president to bow to a foreign one." He told the Fox News Sunday program the gesture spoke of a United States that had become weak and overly-deferential under Mr Obama. Another conservative voice, Bill Bennett, said on CNN's State of the Union program: "It's ugly. I don't want to see it. "We don't defer to emperors. We don't defer to kings or emperors. The president of the United States - this coupled with so many apologies from the United States - is just another thing." Some conservative critics juxtaposed the image of Mr Obama with one of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who greeted the emperor in 2007 with a firm handshake but no bow."

GOP weighs filibuster of anti-Christian judge appointment: "Republicans who decried Democrats' filibusters of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees are debating whether they should use the same tactic against one of President Obama's nominees, a candidate who they say has an antipathy toward Christianity and pro-life legislation. With conservative activists cheering them on, some Republicans said Democrats set a new standard by filibustering nine of Mr. Bush's appeals court nominees and said Republicans will have the chance to turn the tables on one of Mr. Obama's own appeals court nominees. "The new rule is filibusters are legitimate, but only if there are extraordinary circumstances," said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said he'll vote to block Judge David Hamilton for the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. "That's where we are." A vote on Judge Hamilton, currently the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, is expected Tuesday afternoon."

Obama will push additional tax hikes next year: "Buried in this Friday story on Obama's future plans is a curious statement, attributed to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, which didn't get nearly enough attention: Orszag has said the spending blueprint, for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, 2010, would put the nation "back on a fiscally sustainable path" and suggested it would include a mix of spending cuts and new revenue-producing measures. "New revenue-producing measures." In other words, more tax increases -- increases beyond the dozen or so that are already planned in the health care reform package. President Obama's advisors understand that they have to counter the perception that deficit spending is out of control. But that doesn't mean Americans want to pay higher taxes."

Taxpayers on hook as some bailed-out firms prove frail: "A year ago, the financial system was tottering and government officials arranged a $2.3 billion emergency cash infusion into CIT Group, a troubled lender to small businesses. Today, CIT is in bankruptcy court, and the taxpayers’ investment is on the brink of being wiped out. It would be the largest loss so far from the government’s massive rescue of the financial system, but it isn’t likely to be the last.”

Why drug makers are raising prices: "In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992. The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year. Drug makers say they have valid business reasons for the price increases. Critics say the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in coming years.”

ACORN considering bankruptcy: "As its financial resources dwindle, radical advocacy group and organized crime syndicate ACORN may have to file for bankruptcy protection before Christmas, ACORN insiders say. "They may have to file for bankruptcy if they don't have several big pending grants approved or get emergency loans," a highly placed ACORN source told me over the weekend. This information bolsters Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) claim last week that ACORN is in turmoil amidst internal power struggles and on the verge of bankruptcy. Given that ACORN is a network of hundreds of affiliated nonprofits, it's not exactly clear how a bankruptcy filing would work, but the idea is under serious consideration by ACORN's leadership. It was discussed at length at the group's most recent national board meeting, which took place in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., during the Oct. 14-15 weekend, ACORN sources told me. But even if ACORN were to go bankrupt, that doesn't mean it would disappear. ACORN may dissolve and then re-emerge as a new organization, the group's lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz says. As of Nov. 11, ACORN and its affiliates owed at least $2,328,596 in long overdue back taxes to all levels of government."

NOW President O’Neill Slams Catholic Bishops: "Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, accused Catholic bishops of “smelling blood” and deciding to get involved as backers of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. She added that their actions to remove abortion coverage from health care legislation recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives equates to overturning Roe v. Wade. Of course, O’Neill isn’t one to let truth get in the way of her feminist viewpoints. She made that clear while speaking before a group of single-payer health care advocates during the opening session of the 2009 National Strategy Conference Saturday in St. Louis."


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


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


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obama's psychopathic detachment

I never thought I would find myself wistfully remembering President Clinton and wishing he were still around to inject some heart into the Oval Office (I know, I know, he may have injected some other things as well). However, after listening to President Obama's passionless words in poignant moments over the past ten months, I now yearn to hear the oratory of President Clinton. After Obama's reactions and comments to the Islamic massacre at Ft. Hood, I could only remember the good old days when our president inspired us and spoke passionately after a tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing. At least when President Clinton spoke, you knew he cared about the people he addressed.

Obama's poor crisis leadership skills revealed themselves in June when Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad murdered Private William Long outside a military recruiting center in Little Rock. Two full days passed without even a word from the president. Finally, President Obama issued a terse statement of “sadness” and never mentioned the incident again. Quite a contrast to his swift, strongly worded response and his statement of “shock” and “outrage” at the “heinous” murder of abortion doctor, George Tiller, just days before in Wichita, Kansas.

In August, at the funeral for Sen. Ted Kennedy, again President Obama's coldness and aloofness raised red flags. Others, like Peggy Noonan, have also noted Obama's cold distance as he arrived, nodded, shook hands and spoke to the family and friends of the Kennedys. In watching the funeral, I was struck by how the president could simultaneously be so completely appropriate and so emotionally vacant. He was polite to be sure, but exhibited a total absence of warmth.

Last week, in his remarks via telecast, at the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, President Obama recognized no other presidents before himself and also failed to mention either Margaret Thatcher or Pope John Paul II . Worse still, he failed even to utter the words “communism,” or the “Soviet Union,” or “Russia.” A major moment arrives, the president speaks, and he whiffs entirely. He exhibits no knowledge of history, no sense of poignancy or America's contribution to the world, and no passion for the freedoms that arrived with the fall of the wall. An utterly cold and vacuous moment.

Finally, the Islamic massacre at Ft. Hood occurs, and President Obama's initial instincts are to warn us all “not to jump to conclusions.” He urges us to react in direct contrast to his own hasty reaction in Gates-gate at Cambridge, and his comments there that the police “acted stupidly.” More strikingly, Obama is unable to state the simple, obvious truth: we have had another incidence of Islamic terror on our own soil. Islamic terror does not occur in a vacuum; jumping to conclusions is very different from reading the pattern of having 63 other Muslim men charged, convicted, or sentenced on terror in our own country just in 2009. Obama again totally misses the point. His trademark coolness belies a glaring ignorance of the matter at hand and his total lack of passion for the American people.

Worse still, his remarks at the memorial service at Ft. Hood fell flat. Does anyone remember a word he said? Years later, I can still remember the warmth and grace exhibited by President Clinton in the aftermath of Oklahoma City. In contrast, Obama's presence and comments at Ft. Hood were utterly forgettable. He failed to show up emotionally in any way. Were one to listen to the president's comments regarding the terror deaths of 13 Americans on an American military base at the hands of an Islamic jihadist, one would notice no difference whatsoever in modulation, tone, or posture from any other speech he has ever given. They have all begun to sound the same. He is everywhere, speaking on everything, and thereby speaking on nothing. No one listens anymore. He speaks as if he is just passing through, a mere observer on the events of life. The hollowness is unsettling.

All in all, Obama's impassioned speeches are reserved for fund-raisers and for healthcare addresses, for which he has no shortage of energy. Line up a pile of dead Americans, and he can barely muster an inflection or an exclamation point. Fill the room with wealthy donors, and the man comes alive. For a mercenary, that may be an admirable thing, but for a president, the vacancy is disturbing.



U.S. troops battle both Taliban and their own rules

Army Capt. Casey Thoreen wiped the last bit of sleep from his eyes before the sun rose over his isolated combat outpost. His soldiers did the same as they checked and double-checked their weapons and communications equipment. Ahead was a dangerous foot patrol into the heart of Taliban territory. "Has anyone seen the [Afghan National Army] guys?" asked Capt. Thoreen, 30, the commander of Blackwatch Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment with the 5th Stryker Brigade. "Are they not showing up?" A soldier, who looked ghostly in the reddish light of a headlamp, shook his head.

"We can't do anything if we don't have the ANA or [the Afghan National Police]," said a frustrated Capt. Thoreen. "We have to follow the Karzai 12 rules. But the Taliban has no rules," he said. "Our soldiers have to juggle all these rules and regulations and they do it without hesitation despite everything. It's not easy for anyone out here." "Karzai 12" refers to Afghanistan's newly re-elected president, Hamid Karzai, and a dozen rules set down by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, to try to keep Afghan civilian casualties to a minimum. "It's a framework to ensure cultural sensitivity in planning and executing operations," said Capt. Thoreen. "It's a set of rules and could be characterized as part of the ROE," he said, referring to the rules of engagement.

Dozens of U.S. soldiers who spoke to The Washington Times during a recent visit to southern Afghanistan said these rules sometimes make a perilous mission even more difficult and dangerous. Many times, the soldiers said, insurgents have escaped because U.S. forces are enforcing the rules. Meanwhile, they say, the toll of U.S. dead and injured is mounting.



Media's Long Knives Unsheathed on Palin

The long knives of the media have truly been unsheathed for Sarah Palin of late. Exhibit A: demonstrating all the class and balance of its owner Al Gore, the failing "Current TV" network slimed the erstwhile Vice Presidential candidate with some genuinely nasty references. Days after announcing another huge layoff, Al Gore's Current TV referred to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a "Gun-Ho" and a "TWILF."

These disgraceful, sexually-charged epithets were part of an attack on prominent conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and came in the form of a cartoon ironically titled "The Stupid Virus"... In the end, this was just a lot of conservative bashing in very bad taste, especially the shot of Palin's Twitter page and her astonishingly offensive screen name "Gun-Ho".

Given that Current TV's Nielsen ratings fall somewhere between airport radar and sonograms, this sort of attack is as feeble as it is distasteful.

And I'll patiently await the cries of protest from the National Organization of Women and other groups that claim to protect the fair treatment of women.

Exhibit B: The dying periodical Newsweek offered its own form of attack, helpfully informing the Republican Party that Palin is "bad news".

As for "bad news for everybody else," Palin is obviously "bad news" that people are hungry for. Palin’s book is going bonkers on the bestseller list and is proving to be one of the best stimulus programs the book industry has had in a good while — and Newsweek’s subscription rate is falling and they’re laying off employees by the dozen.

The only immediate “bad news” is for Newsweek — and when they do gratuitiously negative pieces on a figure who is looked up to by a demographic that spends a fortune on books… not to mention magazines, Newsweek’s death spiral makes all the more sense. This is why the mainstream newspaper business is dying too — you simply can’t dismiss a huge slice of the news consuming public with your bias without ultimately suffering economically.

Never mind that a woman -- who fought corruption both inside and outside her own party, managed a multi-billion-dollar oil deal, ran an entire state government and was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight -- became an overnight political sensation. Never mind that she attracts immense crowds wherever she goes.

She is despised by the Left for two reasons named Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, who sandbagged Palin with interviews that were shocking in their naked attempts to humiliate the Governor.

Simply compare and contrast Gibson's interview questions for Barack Obama and those for Sarah Palin. Gibson's Interview Questions for Obama:

• How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
• How does it feel to “win”?
• How does your family feel about your “winning”, breaking a glass ceiling?
• Who will be your VP?
• Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
• Will you accept public finance?
• What issues is your campaign about?
• Will you visit Iraq?
• Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
• What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton's] speech?

Gibson's Interview Questions for Palin:

• Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking?
• Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
• Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
• Questions on foreign policy...
• ...territorial integrity of Georgia
• ...allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
• ...NATO treaty
• ...Iranian nuclear threat
• ...what to do if Israel attacks Iran
• ...Al Qaeda motivations
• ...the Bush Doctrine
• ...attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
• ...Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric both intentionally attacked Palin with questions designed to embarrass. Had Obama been queried with the same devious intentions, he'd have been reduced to the blubbering teleprompter-less soul we saw yesterday in Japan.

When confronted with the question of whether the U.S. did the right thing in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his response was "stumbling and ill-prepared." One need only watch the video to appreciate how pathetic his performance was, not to mention the fact that he -- once again -- refused to stick up for his own country.

It is clear that had Gibson and Couric attacked Obama with similar vigor, the Presidential candidate would have been reduced to the "Homina, homina, homina" filibuster he employs when his teleprompter takes its occasional cigarette break.

And here's something else to consider: The fear and anxiety that Sarah Palin generates among the elitist snobs of the Left is truly something to behold. It reminds me of the insecurity and animosity they once reserved for the former Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan.

SOURCE (See the original for links & graphics)



Eleven AP Reporters Turn Up Little in Palin 'Fact Check': "The Associated Press recently assigned eleven of its writers to fact-check Sarah Palin's new book "Going Rogue." AP's team of truth-seekers only found six errors the former Alaska Governor's book, most of which were trivial and presumably not worth the time of a team of reporters. "AP writers Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine contributed to this report", reads the sign-off of Calvin Woodward's fact-check. Even with this impressively large crew, the AP seemed to stretch to find objectionable statements in "Going Rogue"."

MSNBC Uses Fake, ‘Sexy’ Photos of Sarah Palin on Air: "On Friday's edition of Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan featured fake photos of Sarah Palin during a mocking segment on why Americans are fascinated with the former vice presidential candidate. While listing the show’s top ten reasons, Ratigan showed a doctored photo of Palin’s head on the bikini-clad body of a woman holding a weapon. The host never admitted or addressed the fact that his network was passing off counterfeit pictures to his viewers. Earlier in the segment, Ratigan displayed an image of Palin in a short, black mini-skirt. This photo is also not real. MSNBC should immediately apologize for presenting such false information." [How they hate her!]

Obama kisses — not kicks — ass in Asia: "When prices rise steeply month-after-month, a buying panic will set in. People will hoard and scarcities will occur. I don’t know exactly how the American government will react; all I know is how other governments in the past have reacted — e.g. rationing of some commodities, anti-hoarding laws, devaluation of the dollar, seizing of banks, the outlawing of gold, etc. I do not mean to be a Chicken Little and I take no pleasure in wearing the costume but no other economic scenario makes sense to me given the perfect storm that is now brewing around the dollar. The American government has only 2 basic ways to forestall the downpour. It can print more money, which will make the collapse more brutal but which may ‘kick the can down the road.’ (I’m hearing that phrase more and more these days.) Or it can induce others — especially governments — to buy more American debt. Predictably, the Obama administration is doing both.”

Castros afraid of the truth: "Paz y amor. Peace and love. That was the message that 200 young people chanted in Havana while holding placards calling for ‘no more violence’ as passing cars honked their horns. Not among them: Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who was on her way to the Friday demonstration when she and another blogger, Orlando Luis Pardo, were hauled into a car by three men, likely state security agents. The pair was dragged into the car, beaten black and blue in the head and chest before being dumped miles away from the demonstration as if they were trash. (You can watch a short video of the protest at In a Sunday blog post, Ms. Sanchez, who is walking with a crutch because of back pain post beating, summed up the ‘blame the victim’ attitude that permeates after 50 years of dictatorship: ‘The dozens of eyes that watched as Orlando and I were forced into a car with blows would prefer not to testify, and so they put themselves on the side of the criminal.’”

That good ol' double standard: "If politicians stopped meddling with things they don’t understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates. It was fascinating to see Barack Obama warning us not to leap to conclusions about the killings at Fort Hood, Texas — after the way he leaped to conclusions over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, when he knew less about the facts than we already know about the massacre at Fort Hood.”

We can’t sit back and allow the loss of our freedoms: "We elect the government. It works for us. As we watch the Democrats’ plans for health care take shape, we can only ask how did our government get so removed, so unbridled, so arrogant that it can tell us how to live our personal lives? Last Saturday, at 11 o’clock in the evening, the House of Representatives voted by a five vote margin to have the federal government manage the health care of every American at a cost of $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years.”

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


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


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


Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama and 'The Great I Am'

by Jeff Jacoby

PRESIDENT OBAMA was too busy to attend the celebrations in Germany this week marking the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. But he did appear by video, delivering a few brief and bloodless remarks about how the wall was "a painful barrier between family and friends" that symbolized "a system that denied people the freedoms that should be the right of every human being." He referred to "tyranny," but never identified the tyrants -- he never uttered the words "Soviet Union" or "communism," for example. He said nothing about the men and women who died trying to cross the wall. Nor did he mention Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan -- or even Mikhail Gorbachev.

He did, however, talk about Barack Obama. "Few would have foreseen," declared the president, "that a united Germany would be led by a woman from [the former East German state of] Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent. But human destiny is what human beings make of it."

As presidential rhetoric goes, this was hardly a match for "Ich bin ein Berliner," still less another "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." But as a specimen of presidential narcissism, it is hard to beat. Obama couldn't be troubled to visit Berlin to commemorate a momentous milestone in the history of human liberty. But he was glad to explain to those who were there why reflections on that milestone should inspire appreciation for the self-made "destiny" of his own rise to power.

Was there ever a president as deeply enamored of himself as Barack Obama? The first President Bush, taught from childhood to shun what his mother called "The Great I Am," regularly instructed his speechwriters not to include too many "I's" in his prepared remarks. Ronald Reagan maintained that there was no limit to what someone could achieve if he didn't mind who got the credit. George Washington, one of the most accomplished men of his day, said with characteristic modesty on becoming president that he was "peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies."

Obama, on the other hand, positively revels in The Great I Am. "I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters," he told campaign aides when he was running for the White House. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that . . . I'm a better political director than my political director."

At the start of his presidency, Obama seemed to content himself with the royal "we" -- "We will build the roads and bridges . . . We will restore science to its rightful place . . . We will harness the sun and winds," he declaimed at his inauguration.

But as the literary theorist Stanley Fish points out, "By the time of the address to the Congress on Feb. 24, the royal we [had] flowered into the naked 'I': 'As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress.' 'I called for action.' 'I pushed for quick action.' 'I have told each of my cabinet.' 'I've appointed a proven and aggressive inspector general.' 'I refuse to let that happen.' 'I will not spend a single penny.' 'I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves.' 'I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half.'" In his speech on the federal takeover of GM, Obama likewise found it necessary to use the first-person singular pronoun 34 times. ("Congress" he mentioned just once.)

At this rate, it won't be long before the president's ego is so inflated that it will require a ZIP code of its own. Then again, how modest would any of us be if we were as magnificent as Obama knows himself to be? "I am well aware," he told the UN General Assembly of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world." in September, "

In 1860, writes Doris Kearns Goodwin in her celebrated biography Team of Rivals, an author wishing to dedicate his forthcoming work to Abraham Lincoln received this answer: "I give the leave, begging only that the inscription may be in modest terms, not representing me as a man of great learning, or a very extraordinary one in any respect."

Obama has often claimed Lincoln as a role model. Apparently it only goes so far.



Leftist fauxtography goes back a long way

According to Robert Hughes, author of "The Shock of the New" (1980), during World War I's nation-shattering and culture-shredding carnage, no photograph of a dead soldier appeared in a German, French or British newspaper. But the Sept. 23, 1936, issue of the French magazine Vu published (as did Life magazine 10 months later) what became perhaps the century's iconic photograph -- "Falling Soldier." It was taken by, and launched the remarkable career of, a 22-year-old Hungarian refugee from fascism, photographer Robert Capa.

It supposedly shows a single figure, a loyalist -- that is, anti-fascist -- soldier, at the instant of death from a bullet fired by one of Franco's soldiers. The soldier is falling backward on a hillside, arms outstretched, his rifle being flung from his right hand. This was, surely, stunning testimony to photography's consciousness-raising and history-shaping truth-telling, the camera's indisputable accuracy, its irreducibly factual rendering of reality, its refutation of epistemological pessimism about achieving certainty based on what our eyes tell us.

Probably not. A dispute that has flared intermittently for more than 30 years has been fueled afresh, and perhaps settled, by a Spanish professor who has established that the photo could not have been taken when and where it reportedly was -- Sept. 5, 1936, near Cerro Muriano. The photo was taken about 35 miles from there. The precise place has been determined by identifying the mountain range in the photo's background. The professor says there was no fighting near there at that time, and concludes that Capa staged the photo.



Medicalizing Mass Murder

by Charles Krauthammer

What a surprise -- that someone who shouts "Allahu Akbar" (the "God is great" jihadist battle cry) as he is shooting up a room of American soldiers might have Islamist motives. It certainly was a surprise to the mainstream media, which spent the weekend after the Fort Hood massacre downplaying Nidal Hasan's religious beliefs.

"I cringe that he's a Muslim. ... I think he's probably just a nut case," said Newsweek's Evan Thomas. Some were more adamant. Time's Joe Klein decried "odious attempts by Jewish extremists ... to argue that the massacre perpetrated by Nidal Hasan was somehow a direct consequence of his Islamic beliefs." While none could match Klein's peculiar cherchez-le-juif motif, the popular story line was of an Army psychiatrist driven over the edge by terrible stories he had heard from soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They suffered. He listened. He snapped. Really? What about the doctors and nurses, the counselors and physical therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who every day hear and live with the pain and the suffering of returning soldiers? How many of them then picked up a gun and shot 51 innocents?

And what about civilian psychiatrists -- not the Upper West Side therapist treating Woody Allen neurotics, but the thousands of doctors working with hospitalized psychotics -- who every day hear not just tales but cries of the most excruciating anguish, of the most unimaginable torment? How many of those doctors commit mass murder? It's been decades since I practiced psychiatry. Perhaps I missed the epidemic.

But, of course, if the shooter is named Nidal Hasan, whom National Public Radio reported had been trying to proselytize doctors and patients, then something must be found. Presto! Secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, a handy invention to allow one to ignore the obvious.

And the perfect moral finesse. Medicalizing mass murder not only exonerates. It turns the murderer into a victim, indeed a sympathetic one. After all, secondary PTSD, for those who believe in it (you won't find it in DSM-IV-TR, psychiatry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), is known as "compassion fatigue." The poor man -- pushed over the edge by an excess of sensitivity.

Have we totally lost our moral bearings? Nidal Hasan (allegedly) cold-bloodedly killed 13 innocent people. In such cases, political correctness is not just an abomination. It's a danger, clear and present.

Consider the Army's treatment of Hasan's previous behavior. NPR's Daniel Zwerdling interviewed a Hasan colleague at Walter Reed about a hair-raising Grand Rounds that Hasan had apparently given. Grand Rounds are the most serious academic event at a teaching hospital -- attending physicians, residents and students gather for a lecture on an instructive case history or therapeutic finding.

I've been to dozens of these. In fact, I gave one myself on post-traumatic retrograde amnesia -- as you can see, these lectures are fairly technical. Not Hasan's. His was an hour-long disquisition on what he called the Koranic view of military service, jihad and war. It included an allegedly authoritative elaboration of the punishments visited upon nonbelievers -- consignment to hell, decapitation, having hot oil poured down your throat. This "really freaked a lot of doctors out," reported NPR.

Nor was this the only incident. "The psychiatrist," reported Zwerdling, "said that he was the kind of guy who the staff actually stood around in the hallway saying: Do you think he's a terrorist, or is he just weird?" Was anything done about this potential danger? Of course not. Who wants to be accused of Islamophobia and prejudice against a colleague's religion? One must not speak of such things. Not even now. Not even after we know that Hasan was in communication with a notorious Yemen-based jihad propagandist. As late as Tuesday, The New York Times was running a story on how returning soldiers at Fort Hood had a high level of violence.

What does such violence have to do with Hasan? He was not a returning soldier. And the soldiers who returned home and shot their wives or fellow soldiers didn't cry "Allahu Akbar" as they squeezed the trigger.

The delicacy about the religion in question -- condescending, politically correct and deadly -- is nothing new. A week after the first (1993) World Trade Center attack, the same New York Times ran the following front-page headline about the arrest of one Mohammed Salameh: "Jersey City Man Is Charged in Bombing of Trade Center." Ah yes, those Jersey men -- so resentful of New York, so prone to violence.




There is Obama toilet paper in Japan. See above

Putting terrorists on trial in NYC?: "On Cavuto this evening, Rudy Giuliani underscored the obvious. We tried prosecuting terrorists as criminals after the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. It got us the second attack. What is it that the Obama doesn’t understand about the word “war?” How can he wish to inflict this nightmare on the families of 9/11 and the City of New York? Senator Sestack on Fox this morning was absolutely pathetic, meandering on about how we need to defend our “ideals” and therefore try terrorists as though they were American citizens gone wild. No we don’t. Foreigners who hate us so much they are willing to kill tens of thousands of indiscriminately at a clip need to be tried as enemies of our country not as ordinary perps. This decision coming on the heels of the collective blindness of Democrats and so-called liberals to the obvious fact that Major Hasan’s atrocity was an act of war sends a message to the rest of us that is both ugly and alarming: 0ur commander in chief and his lieutenants at Justice and Homeland Security present a danger to all of us unlike any we have ever faced from domestic sources. The days ahead are uncharted and will not be pretty."

Palin retakes center stage on book tour: "This time, she makes her public entrance as the headliner, not the pretty and vivacious warm-up act that brought bounce and backlash to the 2008 McCain presidential campaign. As Sarah Palin re-emerges onto the national stage with a new book and a tour to promote it, the polarizing one-time vice presidential candidate gets to sell her story her way. Even the book's title, "Going Rogue," suggests that after delivering messages under the careful watch of Republican handlers a year ago, she's now calling her own shots as she travels the nation to set up what some say is a certain run for the White House in 2012. Even as some on the left attack her credibility, others say that to dismiss her as a political flash in the pan would be folly. No other veep candidate in recent decades, they say, has generated such ongoing fascination. "Sarah Palin may be the one rock star that the Republican Party has for the moment," says Larry Jacobs, the director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota. He cites the intense demand for her at national fundraising events as "a symbol of her potency and potential as a presidential candidate."

Breathtaking -- And Not in a Good Way: "This report from Politico discusses President Obama's plans to theme his State of the Union address around cutting the deficit. What jumps out is the following gasp-inducing statistic: Obama has spent more money on new programs in nine months than Bill Clinton did in eight years, pushing the annual deficit to $1.4 trillion. Given this fact, the push for "fiscal responsibility" that the President is going to talk-talk-talk (and talk some more) about is a joke. Really care about not exploding the deficit? There are two easy ways to avoid it: (1) Redirect the unspent "stimulus" money to payroll tax cuts. That will have the added benefit of actually stimulating employment. (2) Call off plans to jam a mind-bogglingly expensive, freedom-stealing, unpopular health care "reform" down the American people's throats."

Irwin Stelzer: Dollar outlook isn't golden: "Buy gold," we are told by no less an authority than G. Gordon Liddy. "It's value has never gone to zero", says an official once in charge of America's gold hoard, including the bars stored at Fort Knox. Why investors should find that reassuring is not obvious, but never mind. They have bid the price steadily up past the $1,100-per-ounce mark, from around $270 at the beginning of this decade, and about $700 when the current crisis in financial markets hit the value of stocks and property. And a very rich and very shrewd investor is telling friends that he expects the current price to more than double in the next five years. It seems that investors, or at least many of them, have decided that the Obama administration and the Bernanke Fed are combining to depreciate the dollar, the former willingly to encourage exports, the latter warily. Talk of the devaluing of other nations' paper currencies at one time produced a flight to the dollar, deemed safe from the depredations of rulers trying to shore up their struggling economies by printing money. But times have changed. There is now so little faith in the value of the dollar that investors are fleeing to Brazilian reals and Russian rubles...."

CNN’s War on Lou Dobbs: "Accuracy in Media's blogs have already acknowledged Lou Dobbs' resignation from CNN, but the story here requires a little more delving. Reading about the situation, I cannot help but remember someone else's recent resignation-which turned out to have a lot more behind it. As it turns out, leftist organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Media Matters have been working hard to get Dobbs off the air for months. On July 24, 2009, SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote to CNN President Jonathan Klein to complain that Dobbs was "questioning" the verity of President Obama's birth certificate and "push[ing] racist conspiracy theories [and] defamatory falsehoods about immigrants." On the other hand, Media Matters' George Soros funded the Drop Dobbs website, which since September 2009 has been featuring charming pages on Dobb's "History of Hate." This Drop Dobbs campaign has been taken up by a number of radical organizations, including the National Council of La Raza, and the Center for New Community. For those who don't know, La Raza is a far left, racist radical group."

Time to be Heard: Black Conservatives Speak Out: "Glenn Beck's Fox show ran a kind of special today that you will not see anywhere else. In the episode, entitled "Time to be Heard", Beck and his audience presented a portrait of black conservatives in America. Watch the full episode at the link, courtesy of Fox News Channel"

Terrorists smuggle fatwas out of "secure" British prisons: "Some of Britain’s most dangerous Al-Qaeda leaders are promoting jihad from inside high-security prisons by smuggling out propaganda for the internet and finding recruits. In an authoritative report, Quilliam, a think tank funded by the Home Office, claims “mismanagement” by the Prison Service is helping AlQaeda gain recruits and risks “strengthening jihadist movements”. Abu Qatada, described by MI5 as “Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, has published fatwas — religious rulings — on the internet from Long Lartin prison, in Worcestershire, calling for holy war and the murder of moderate Muslims, it reveals."


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


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


Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Stimulus Equals More Unemployment

"Stimulus" is in the process of turning a nasty recession into a genuine depression. The evidence is in the "Employment Situation" report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on November 6th. The "headline" unemployment rate shot up to 10.2%, the highest in more than 26 years. But the report was much worse than most people realize.

The "household survey data" showed that 589,000 jobs vanished during October. This is bad enough, but the three-month moving average of changes in total employment (current month and prior two months) shows that job losses are actually accelerating. The three-month moving average (TMMA) of changes in total employment began a serious decline in February 2007. It went into negative territory two months later. This indicator has now been negative for the past 21 months. During this time, total employment has declined by more than 8 million jobs.

As the financial crisis gathered momentum in late 2008, the TMMA fell continuously, reaching a bottom of 853,000 jobs lost per month in January 2009. Then this indicator began improving. By June 2009, when stories about "green shoots" were common in the financial press, the TMMA was "only" 230,000. However, it then began falling again. The October BLS numbers pushed the TMMA down to 589,000 jobs lost per month.

Economic growth is supposed to create jobs. However, the U.S. economy shed twice as many jobs (1,332,000) in the third quarter of 2009, when GDP grew at a robust 3.5% annual rate, than it did in the second quarter (691,000), when the economy contracted at a 0.7% rate. How can this be? To paraphrase the 1992 Clinton campaign, "It's the bonds, stupid!"

The massive sales of U.S. Treasury bonds to finance "stimulus", bailouts, and other government spending is sucking capital out of the private sector and destroying jobs. Once again, the October 6th BLS report tells the tale. The BLS "household survey" showed job losses of 589,000, while their "establishment survey" showed a reduction of payrolls of only 190,000. This shows that most of the damage is being done in small business, "under the radar screen" of the BLS.

Small businesses-especially new small businesses-account for essentially all net job growth. However, business creation and expansion requires capital, and more and more of the nation's capital is being commandeered by the U.S. Treasury in the name of "stimulus". The FY2009 Federal deficit was $1.4 trillion. This was almost a trillion dollars higher than FY2008. The capital to buy this additional debt had to come from somewhere, and much of it was squeezed out of business. Here are some indicators, both statistical and anecdotal:

• During FY2009, "Gross Domestic Private Investment" fell by 25% (almost $500 billion/year). It would have needed to grow by 5% to keep the unemployment rate from rising from an already-too-high 6.2%.

• Many venture capital firms are informing entrepreneurs that there is no money available for new startups. The firms say that they must husband their capital to meet the needs of their existing portfolio companies.

• The 500 largest U.S. non-financial companies now hold more than $1 trillion in Treasury bills, amounting to more than 10% of their total assets. Corporate cash flows are rising, but the money is being invested in government bonds, rather than growth.

• Banks have cut credit card credit lines by 25%, or $1.25 trillion. Because small businesses are often financed with personal credit cards, this has a direct impact on small business survival and growth.

If you divide the total real capital employed in the U.S. ("produced assets") by total employment, you get about $313,000. That is, for $313,000 in capital, the private economy can create one real, permanent, self-supporting job. In contrast, there are estimates that each of the jobs that the administration claims that "stimulus" has "created or saved" is costing about $1.2 million. If so, this means that selling the bonds required to fund one temporary "stimulus" job will take enough capital out of the private sector to destroy four "real" jobs. This explains why, as the "stimulus" spending has ramped up, job losses have accelerated.

Unfortunately, the Administration, the mainstream media, and much of the economics profession are responding to the worsening unemployment with calls for even more "stimulus". This would compound the tragedy. Each $313,000 of bonds sold to fund the additional spending could be expected to extinguish one private sector job. In addition, we can expect that the next increment of stimulus would be even more wasteful than the first $787 billion. The "best" projects would have been included in the first stimulus bill.

The "headline" (U-3) unemployment rate of 10.2% vastly understates the magnitude of the jobs crisis in America. John Williams' "Shadow Government Statistics" unemployment number for October is 22.1%. Williams estimates that we would have to create 22.6 million new jobs in order to get to "true" full employment. At $313,000 each, the private sector would have to invest an incremental $7.1 trillion to accomplish this.

Every year for the past 58 years, real GDP has been very close to 30% of total capital employed (real "produced assets"). Accordingly, an additional $7.1 trillion in private business investment could be expected in increase GDP by about $2.1 trillion/year. Most of this income would go to the 22.6 million new job holders and their families, but about a quarter of it would be captured by governments at all levels.

Canceling the job-destroying "stimulus" program would be a good first step toward providing the private sector with the additional capital required to achieve full employment. However, this would provide only about 10% of the money required. The rest would have to be mobilized by increasing incentives for real savings and investment.

The two most effective measures toward this end would be to stabilize the dollar and to repeal the corporate income tax. The corporate income tax brought in only $138billion in FY2009. This amounts to less than 1% of GDP, and less than a fifth of the cost of the "stimulus" bill. Repealing it now would produce higher employment and higher Federal revenues within months.



The job-killing president and Congress

By: Newt Gingrich

Last Friday, the unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent. The underemployment rate -- including part-time workers who want full-time jobs and those who have simply quit looking for work -- reached 17.5 percent. How did Washington react? The next day the Democratic-controlled House passed a trillion-dollar increase in government disguised as a health care bill. In the face of the worst jobless rate in 26 years, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats don't seem to realize that adopting bad policies kills jobs.

What's most remarkable about this is that the president should know better. We now have proof that the Obama administration's job-killing policies are hurting America. In an interview with CNBC last January, when he was still trying to sell his massive $787 stimulus bill, President Obama predicted, "If we do nothing, things will get much, much worse. With the plan that we have, we will do better than we would otherwise have done." At the time, the Obama White House predicted that unemployment wouldn't get worse than 8 percent if the stimulus was enacted. By the middle of 2009, they promised, the massive spending bill would be having a positive effect on employment.

So much for promises. By the White House's own standards of success, its economic recovery policies have been an abject failure. That doesn't mean they don't keep touting the stimulus as a success, of course, aided by that most meaningless of economic metrics, "jobs created or saved." As recently as the end of October, Vice President Biden claimed that the stimulus act "saved or created" one million jobs. But consult a more objective source -- like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government's official job counter -- and you'll find that 3.2 million Americans have lost their jobs since February when the stimulus act was signed. In fact, the most accurate measure of jobs under the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress isn't jobs "saved or created," it's jobs "lost and dislocated."

American Solutions calculates that the 1 million jobs number cited by the administration as gains for employment actually represents future, additional unemployment. The one million jobs supposedly funded by the stimulus bill -- overwhelmingly in government -- will necessarily end when their government funding ends. Add these one million dislocated workers to the 3.2 million Americans who have lost their jobs since the stimulus was passed and you have an astonishing more than 4 million jobs lost and dislocated since the beginning of the Obama administration's policies.

Democratic economic policies aren't simply ineffective, they are affirmatively job killing. And they're about to get worse. The health care bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi bribed, cajoled and threatened through the House last weekend imposes a 5.4 percent income tax "surcharge" on any tax filer who makes more than $500,000 a year. The Joint Tax Committee has found that fully one-third of this new tax will be paid by small businesses, the engines of American job creation. What about 4 million jobs lost or dislocated don't Washington Democrats get?

The first thing to do is to take the approximately $500 billion in stimulus funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect it toward cutting the payroll tax in half for two years. Social Security and Medicare would be protected, and every single American who works would get a take home pay raise. Every single small business would have more money available to create more jobs. (This and other solutions for creating jobs and prosperity now can be found at

Unless, of course, the point of the Obama economic policies isn't to create jobs, but to increase Democratic political clout by increasing the size of government. If that's the case, Democrats will find out soon enough that killing jobs in order to grow the Democratic Party by growing government isn't a bargain the American people are ready to make.



BrookesNews Update

US jobless hits 10.2 per cent and government supporters blame rising productivity : The same media types who screamed blue murder with undisguised glee when unemployment hit 5 per cent under Bush are now telling us that the current 10.2 per cent rate is being driven by rising productivity and so there is little that can be done about it in the near future. This is utter nonsense
Could a new resource boom doom Australian manufacturing? : A sustained increase for a country's products can bring about a rise in the exchange rate. If this is not offset by a sufficiently large monetary expansion then the country's manufacturing base could be seriously damaged. And the theory of comparative advantage won't have a damn thing to do with it. Will this happen to Australia?
George Soros: crisis and myth :George Soros is at it again. This fanatical enemy of the market is misleading people as to the real cause of the financial crisis
Gore's Profits of Doom : Financial disclosure documents released before the 2000 election put the Gore family's net worth at $1 million to $2 million. Thanks to the global warming scam that Gore was instrumental in establishing his net worth is now $200 million. So why isn't he keeping Bernie Madoff company?
Having a little buyer's remorse? Hmm : American is now run by 'Czars' who are not checked on or responsible to anyone. But, they want to share the wealth. Have you noticed, however, that the politicians who want all of this, sure don't plan on giving up any of those wonderful perks that they get from their wonderful job related health policies in the House and Senate. And Pelosi has no intention of sharing any of her wealth
The vilification of Rush Limbaugh : I believe with all my heart that minorities, especially African-Americans, will never be free until they stop allowing people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to insist they adopt the mentality of victims. Likewise, they will not be free until they take the next bold step: start thanking God for America, and stop condemning the white male.
Before Dreams, there was Roots :As evidence mounts that Obama did not exactly write Dreams unassisted, Landesman gives us a good indication of how America's cultural honchos will react. For a century, in fact, they have been heaping uncritical praise on undeserving artists of a certain political stripe, especially minority artists. And for a century, they have been pulling the curtain shut behind their pet wizards when anyone questions their wizardry
How to become a 'Citizen Of The World' : Obama has bestowed instant cachet on the growing ranks of Americans who revel in the thought of being the first in their own social set to be considered cutting edge 'citizens of the world.' Especially since joining this community of global citizens confers upon them automatic virtue, along with instant and unassailable moral stature



Now Obama wants to put an ACORN fund-raiser on the federal bench: "David Hamilton was the first person nominated for a judgeship after President Obama took office. On Mar. 17, President Obama nominated Hamilton, who is currently a federal district judge in Indiana, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which encompasses several Midwestern states. The main problem many senators have with Judge Hamilton is his controversial decisions. Hamilton ignored a felony conviction on a man’s record when being prosecuted for his third felony drug crime to avoid imposing a life sentence, for which Hamilton was unanimously reversed on appeal. Hamilton also struck down a law requiring convicted sex criminals from reporting information to police to track their whereabouts. He also petitioned the White House for clemency for a police officer who produced child pornography. He has also shown surprising hostility to people of Christian faith. He ruled that any prayers uttered in the Indiana statehouse that invoke the name of Jesus Christ are unconstitutional and cannot be permitted. Nor can anyone offer a prayer that is “sectarian” or “pervasively Christian.” Oddly, although prayers mentioning Jesus are somehow a threat to the republic, Judge Hamilton said that it’s okay to offer prayers to Allah."

ACORN say it has a constitutional right to your money: "Activist group and organized crime syndicate ACORN has a constitutional right to defraud the people of the United States, it claims in a federal lawsuit. Actually, the lawsuit, filed with the assistance of the allegedly terrorist-funded Center for Constitutional Rights, doesn't use the word fraud, but that's what it amounts to because ACORN argues in the document that it has a right to taxpayer dollars. I kid you not. ACORN claims the congressionally approved cutoff of federal funding that expires Dec. 18 violates the Constitution's prohibition on bills of attainder, along with ACORN's free speech and due process rights. Of course, due process is a rather specific legal concept that applies to judicial proceedings, rather than the lawmaking process. A bill of attainder singles out an individual or group for punishment without trial. Is it punishment for ACORN to be denied public funds? That implies the group has the right to receive those funds."

The "stimulus" that didn't stimulate: Ten States Face Looming Budget Disasters: "In Arizona, the budget has grown so gloomy that lawmakers are considering mortgaging Capitol buildings. In Michigan, state officials dealing with the nation's highest unemployment rate are slashing spending on schools and health care. Drastic financial remedies are no longer limited to California, where a historic budget crisis earlier this year grew so bad that state agencies issued IOUs to pay bills. A study released Wednesday warned that at least nine other big states are also barreling toward economic disaster, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services. The report by the Pew Center on the States found that Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are also at grave risk, although Wisconsin officials disputed the findings. Double-digit budget gaps, rising unemployment, high foreclosure rates and built-in budget constraints are the key reasons."

Cold cash Jefferson (above) given 13 years for corruption: "Former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson stood motionless in U.S. District Court in Alexandria Friday as he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for corruption - the longest prison term ever imposed on a former member of Congress. The nine-term Democrat from New Orleans - found with $90,000 stuffed in his freezer - lost his re-election bid last year while under indictment - a result that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis found satisfying. "Public corruption is a cancer on the body politic," the judge said after an afternoon of delays and long recesses had turned to blustery evening. "It eats away and destroys the function of that body. It needs to be surgically removed."


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


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


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jihad's 5th Column

The Fort Hood terrorist is being portrayed as an "anomaly," an "aberration," a "lone wolf." Sadly, he's just one of many examples of jihadist traitors in the ranks of the military. Together they form a dangerous Fifth Column, and the Pentagon — thanks to institutionalized political correctness — is doing next to nothing to root them out .

Instead, brass are actively recruiting Muslim soldiers — whose ranks have swelled to more than 15,000 — and catering to their faith by erecting mosques even at Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va. More, they're hiring Muslim chaplains endorsed by radical Islamic front groups, who convert and radicalize soldiers.

In the wake of the worst domestic military-base massacre in U.S. history, this is an outrage to say the least. And the PC blinders explain how Fort Hood commanders could have failed so horrifically in protecting their force from the internal threat there.

The terrorist suspect, an Islamic fanatic, penetrated deep into the Army's officer corps before gunning down, execution-style, more than 40 of his fellow soldiers. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly killed 13 at the Texas post, which boasts some 40 Muslims.

Witnesses say he shouted "Allahu Akbar" — Allah is great! — before opening fire in a crowded building where troops were sitting ducks, waiting to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, both wars that Hasan angrily opposed. "Muslims should stand up and fight the aggressor," he reportedly said earlier this year, referring to the U.S. — the country he swore to protect.

During the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, another devout Muslim in the Army had a similar conflict. Sgt. Hasan Akbar also resorted to violence, fragging 17 fellow soldiers, killing two. Why? He opposed the killing of fellow Muslims. "You guys are coming into our countries, and you're going to rape our women and kill our children," he was overheard by soldiers who survived the grenade attack as saying.

Clearly, his loyalties lay elsewhere. And he's hardly alone:

• Navy Signalman Hassan Abujihaad last year was convicted of tipping off al-Qaida to battle group movements in the Persian Gulf, including disclosing classified documents detailing the group's vulnerability to terror attack.

• Army reservist Jeffrey Battle in 2003 pleaded guilty to conspiring to wage war against the U.S., confessing he enlisted "to receive military training to use against America."

• Army reservist Semi Osman in 2002 was arrested for providing material support to al-Qaida and pleaded guilty to weapons charges after agreeing to testify against other terror suspects.



Interesting repentance from some "Hillary Democrats"

We know absolutely no one in Bush family circles and have never met former President George W. Bush or his wife Laura. If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of “Dubya” nearly every day…parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker.

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000…and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day. We were convinced that ANYONE who was president would have done what Bush did, and would have set that right tone of leadership in the wake of that disaster. President Gore, President Perot, President Nader, you name it. ANYONE, we assumed, would have filled that role perfectly.

Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush. We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11. He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone. More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don’t think President Gore would have been much better that day. The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day…and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.


The Bushes went and met privately with these families for HOURS, hugging them, holding them, comforting them.

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks…you tell them that a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes… and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people.

You may be as surprised by this as we are ourselves, but from this day forward George W. and Laura Bush are now on the same list for us as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and the other political figures we keep in our hearts and never allow anyone to badmouth.

Criticize their policies academically and intelligently and discuss the Bush presidency in historical and political terms… but you mess with the Bushes personally and, from this day forward, you’ll answer to us.

We hope someday to be able to thank George W. and Laura in person for all they’ve done, and continue to do. They didn’t have to head to Ft. Hood. That was not their responsibility. The Obamas should have done that. But didn’t. Wouldn’t.

Thank goodness George W. is still on his watch, with wonderful Laura at his side. We are blessed as a nation to have these two out there…just as we are blessed to have the Clintons on the job, traveling the world doing the good they do.

And we are blessed to have Dick Cheney, wherever he is, keeping tabs on all that’s going on and speaking out when the current administration does anything too reckless and dangerous. Cheney’s someone else we villainized and maligned in the past who we were also wrong about. There has never been a Vice President, including Gore, Biden, or Mondale, who was more supportive of gay rights than “Darth Cheney”. There has never been a Vice President more spot-on right about the dangers facing this country from Islamic terrorism.

We live in strange, strange times indeed. We are now officially committed fans of George W. and Laura Bush. We are fans of Dick Cheney. Our gratitude for them makes us newly protective of them, and the continued role they play in this country.

After the primary battle of 2008, we never thought we’d go back to Texas for anything, but sometime in 2010 we want to find some event in Dallas the Bushes will be at so at least one of us can go up to them, tell them we are deeply sorry for ever thinking ill of them, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their service to America.

We’re sure they will just stare at us and wonder why these gay Chicagoans are crying, but we don’t think we can get through a meeting with them without being emotional. What they did at Ft. Hood for those families humbles us. Every day, the Bushes are most likely doing something just like it behind the scenes. We hope if any of you encounter them you will let them know this is deeply appreciated beyond partisan lines.

We will never look at the Bushes, the Bush presidencies, or their legacies the same again… and someday when his presidential library is built, we will be so proud to visit there and tell anyone will listen about November 10th, 2009, the day we finally appreciated former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura.

Thank you for your service, Mr. President. We’re sorry we didn’t appreciate you while you were in office, but we thank Heaven we’ve wised up and can see the good you are out there doing, under the radar, today.


The writers above were greatly moved by the human feelings that GWB and Laura showed at Ft. Hood but people who followed GWB carefully throughout his Presidency will be aware that he is a man of deep and kind-hearted feelings who did similar things often -- though always privately. My own perception was always that GWB is simply a Christian gentleman -- which shows what hate-addled crazies the Bush=Hitler crowd are


On vacation with Mr. Dithers

Every modern president takes refuge abroad when the going gets rough at home. (Before the jet airplane life was simpler and presidents could get respite with a train trip to Cleveland or Buffalo.) So President Obama is off to Asia, where never will necessarily be heard an encouraging word, but he won't have to listen to criticism in the Queen's English. His approval ratings are continuing to sink -- down now to 46 percent, measured by reliable Rasmussen Reports. Nancy Pelosi's euphoria over her razor-thin passage of the fanciful House version of Obamacare is fading in the wake of rising Senate opposition to the thousand pages of Mzz Pelosi's poisoned mush. The president continues to dither over what, if anything, to do about the war in Afghanistan, which he once called "the necessary war." Soon he won't be "Mr. President" so much as "Mr. Dithers." (Blondie and Dagwood would recognize him at once.)

The president's dithering on what to do in Afghanistan leads only to more opportunities to dither. He now has a controversy in his own house, with his ambassador in Afghanistan scoffing that sending more troops to Kabul will only prop up a corrupt nothingburger government. His commander in Kabul, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wants thousands more troops for a surge similar to the surge that won the war in Iraq. This is the kind of controversy no president needs, particularly when he's off to impress the world with what a great leader he is. He wouldn't have to suffer such indignities if he could make up his mind. Mr. Dithers has Dagwood Bumstead to blame for his stumbles, but a president doesn't have the luxury of a Dagwood.

Mr. Obama could have arrived in Beijing riding authentic momentum if he had only taken his teleprompter to Berlin for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He was invited by Angela Merkel, the chancellor of the reunited Germany, to join her and Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms hastened the collapse of the old Soviet Union. But Mr. Obama, who found a way to work in a quick trip to Copenhagen to lobby (unsuccessfully) for a Chicago Olympics, was too busy. He sent a videotaped speech in which he studiously avoided mentioning Ronald Reagan, whose flinty resolve to win the Cold War eventually erased that hideous scar of steel and concrete across the Berlin landscape. It's impossible to imagine Barack Obama, as eloquent as he can be, as John F. Kennedy ("ich bin ein Berliner") or Ronald Reagan ("Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall").

More here



Did Obama snub eastern European victims?: "The collapse of the Soviet Union apparently has not been all that welcome by Mr. Obama’s political base, the extreme Left Wing of American liberals. These folks have always had a soft spot in their hearts and minds for experiments in collectivism. Any anti-individualist polity is for these folks a progressive undertaking since by their lights humanity makes progress when it moves toward lumping all of us into a huge mass to be guided by the likes of Stalin, Hugo Chavez, or Fidel Castro, all of whom want to impose on it a one-size-fits-all way of life. So it is very likely that skipping the celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall was a calculated decision.”

Black Supremacist Murders White Cop: No mention of "hate crime": "While a massive memorial service for slain Officer Timothy Brenton neared its finish at KeyArena on Friday afternoon, fellow officers with the Seattle Police Department shot a man they believe to be responsible for Brenton’s death. The shooting occurred in Tukwila around 3 p.m., shortly before the memorial service concluded. Sources say the man is Christopher John Monfort. Law-enforcement sources said Monfort also is suspected of the Oct. 22 bombing and arson of a Seattle maintenance yard, where three police cars and an RV used as a mobile precinct were damaged. Before Monfort was identified, police found distinct evidence that leads them to believe the same person was involved in that crime and the Brenton shooting, sources said. A note threatening to kill police officers was left at the bombing site... Monfort provided this title for his project with the McNair program: “The Power of Citizenship Your Government Doesn’t Want You to Know About: How to Change the Inequity of the Criminal Justice System Immediately, Through Active Citizen Nullification of Laws, As a Juror.” In an abstract of his project, Monfort said he planned to “illuminate and further” the scholarship of Paul Butler, a law professor at George Washington University. Butler is a proponent of jury nullification. Butler has argued that such nullification may be particularly appropriate in cases where black defendants are charged with nonviolent crimes. “It is the moral responsibility of black jurors to emancipate some guilty black outlaws,” Butler wrote."

Obama Administration Intends to Purge Republicans From the Civil Service: "Remember how the Democrats reacted when the Bush Administration started replacing U.S. Attorneys? At least they were actually political appointees employed at the will and whim of the President.... It is a typical Washington process that many political appointees are able to take jobs within the civil service once their political appointment expires — usually at the conclusion of one administration. What often happens as well is Congressional staffers, before an election or shortly thereafter, will move over to the Executive Branch placed into the civil service, in effect, by appointment. So, for example, when George Bush became President in 2001, a number of Clinton political appointees became civil service employees. As a result, they became subject to civil service hiring and firing rules, which meant they could no longer be replaced simply for having been a Democratic appointee. Barack Obama is changing that. He intends to purge all Republicans from the federal bureaucracy retroactive to five years ago. Under his new rules, made retroactive for five years, the Office of Personnel Management will examine civil service employees who got their start as political appointees in the Bush administration and terminate those employees."

Pro-abortion Episcopalians: "Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose about-face on abortion prompted her to resign her job, says she's gotten flack for her decision from an unexpected quarter: her own church. Her Oct. 6 decision to leave Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas - after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion of a 13-week-old fetus two weeks earlier - made headlines, especially when she ended up volunteering at the Coalition for Life center a few doors away. Her former employer filed a restraining order to silence Mrs. Johnson, but a judge threw out the case on Tuesday. Now she is facing a different kind of music at her parish, St. Francis Episcopal in nearby College Station, the home of Texas A&M University. Whereas clergy and parishioners welcomed her as a Planned Parenthood employee, now they are buttonholing her after Sunday services. "Now that I have taken this stand, some of the people there are not accepting of that," she told The Washington Times. "People have told me they disagree with my choice. One of the things I've been told is that as Episcopalians, we embrace our differences and disagreements. While I agree with that, I am not sure I can go to a place where I don't feel I am welcome." [More evidence that Episcopalians are Christian in name only: "Thou shalt not kill"?]

Bush warns of too much government: "Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that America must resist the "temptation" to allow the government to take over the private sector, taking a subtle shot at his Democratic successor by warning that too much state intervention and protectionism will squelch the economic recovery. As the Obama administration has made far-reaching moves into the auto, real estate, health care and financial sectors to fight the economic recession, Mr. Bush, without mentioning the president by name, said, "The role of government is not to create wealth but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive. "As the world recovers, we will face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much," said Mr. Bush, who has remained out of the limelight since leaving office and rarely criticizes his successor."


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


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


Friday, November 13, 2009


Consider these photos of two different snakes, which share a common territory and habitat. They look similar, but are 2 species-is it important to identify which is which? Well, one of them is utterly harmless, even beneficial as a predator of rodents. The other one is very dangerous, with an exceedingly deadly venom.

Is it important to identify which is which? If we are going to kill any snake we come upon, identification is not important. But if we hope to live and let live, we had better be able to identify them accurately.

In the wake of the Fort Hood jihadi massacre. our military and security authorities would do well to at least TRY to identify hostile or unreliable individuals amongst their personnel. This is obviously made more difficult considering the position of our elected Traitor-in-Chief, but these people have human lives in their hands, and need to think about protecting loyal Americans from jihadi "colleagues." And damn the careerist consequences.

A good place to start is just one little question: How many uauthorized e-mails is acceptable for a US Army major to exchange with an al-Qaeda-affiliated imam in Yemen?



Paralysed by political correctness

From a press release from NPR:

NPR News has learned that key officials from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) held a series of meetings and conversations between spring 2008 and spring 2009 to discuss Nidal Hasan, and at one point questioned whether he was psychotic and mentally fit to be an Army psychiatrist. NPR correspondent Daniel Zwerdling has spoken with several officials and military psychiatrists from both institutions who are familiar with the meetings; one official who worked closely with the committee tells Zwerdling: “Put it this way. Everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your fox hole.”

Excerpts of Zwerdling’s report are below; the complete story is available now at [Here] Zwerdling will also have a report this evening on All Things Considered.
Zwerdling reports that a group of key officials from Walter Reed and USUHS met in spring 2008, as they do every month, to discuss issues surrounding the psychiatrists and other mental health professionals training at the institutions. One of the most perplexing items on their agenda: What should we do about Nidal Hasan? Participants in that meeting and subsequent conversations about Hasan reportedly included John Bradley, Chief of Psychiatry at Walter Reed; Robert Ursano, chairman of the psychiatry department at USUHS; Charles Engel, assistant chair of the psychiatry department and director of Hasan’s psychiatry fellowship; Dr. David Benedek, another assistant chair of psychiatry UHUHS; and Scott Moran, director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed, according to colleagues and other sources who monitor the meetings.

Update: From a reader:
This quote from the NPR report sickened me: “Put it this way. Everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your fox hole.” Isn't that pretty much the numero-uno criterion for being a soldier?

These doctors didn't want to serve alongside Hasan. But when they had the opportunity to stop him from serving with others, they chickened out. They should be dishonorably discharged and given the opposite of a Congressional Medal of Honor, whatever that is. I'll tell you what the real psychosis is: political correctness.



Military brass wallow in 'diversity' fetish that caused Fort Hood tragedy and betrayed our troops

As we and the Manchester Union-Leader noted earlier, the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, escaped any preventive action because of a politically-correct obsession with "diversity," which made officers reluctant to report Hasan's extremist remarks in favor of terrorism and against non-Muslims, lest they be accused of discrimination or insensitivity.

Some military leaders, catering to liberal Congressional leaders and the Obama Administration, continue to cling tightly to the "diversity" dogma, demanding that those in the military keep silent rather than saying things that might call into question their "diversity" obsession: "Naval Academy senior commanders decided during the World Series to remove two Midshipmen from the color guard that appeared. What was their offense? The color guard was deemed too white and too male. There was accordingly a push to make the color guard more 'diverse.' Two members of the color guard were removed and replaced by a Pakistani and a woman to achieve the requisite 'diversity.' The Pakistani unfortunately forgot his cap and shoes. He himself had to be replaced at the last minute by one of the two middies removed earlier. The midshipmen have reportedly been ordered not to speak of these events."

Our government's obsession with "diversity" also created the climate in which officers were afraid to report the suspicious behavior of the Fort Hood shooter, Nidal M. Hasan. Although his anti-American, pro-terrorist views were common knowledge, "a fear of appearing discriminatory . . . kept officers from filing a formal written complaint," reports the Associated Press. As a result, he escaped any disciplinary action or review of his fitness.

The Fort Hood shooter had previously said that Muslims should rise up against the military, "repeatedly expressed sympathy for suicide bombers," was pleased by the terrorist murder of an army recruiter, and publicly called for the beheading or burning of non-Muslims, talking "about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire." But thanks to a politically-correct double standard, nothing was done to remove him from a position where he could harm others.

The lesson of the Fort Hood shootings is that applying politically-correct double standards, rather than treating people equally, can be lethal.

(Intelligence officials knew that Nidal Hasan, the soldier who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, was trying to contact Al Qaeda. He once attended the same mosque as 9/11 terrorists.)

In a desire to curry favor with the liberal Congress that funds it (and the Obama Administration), the military has increasingly adopted politically-correct policies that abandon equal treatment. One example is racial preferences in admissions to the military academies, imposed in the name of “diversity.” (In practice, “diversity” seems to mean crude “racial proportionality”: it is harder for Asians to be admitted to the academies than for whites and Hispanics, and harder for whites and Hispanics to be admitted than for African-Americans. Such preferences are of dubious legality under Supreme Court precedent.)

In this climate of political correctness and double standards, it is understandable that officers were afraid to file complaints about Hasan, for fear that they would incur the wrath of the “diversity” police.

Even now, the Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, denies that the military failed to pick up the obvious warning signs about Hasan, and he is more concerned that the shootings will undermine the army’s commitment to “diversity,” than he is about the tragedy itself. He claims that a backlash against diversity would be an even "worse" tragedy than the one that took place at Fort Hood. He remains wedded to a policy of "zero tolerance" for criticism of "diversity," i.e., double standards. He seems more concerned that “diversity” will become a “casualty” of such shootings than that American soldiers will.

President Obama’s initial response to the tragedy last Thursday was embarrassing, even for some liberal journalists. Obama’s initial remarks about the tragedy came buried in the middle of a speech laced with “wildly disconnected” ramblings about an unrelated topic, starting with a “joking shout-out.” Even the liberal Boston Globe chided the president for a speech lacking in ”empathy” for the victims.

In an absurd display of political correctness, early media reports chose to harp on the false claim that the killer had PTSD (which he didn’t: he never even served overseas) or the unsupported claim that he had been subjected to harassment (support groups for Muslim soldiers say they have received no recent reports of harassment).




By Neal Boortz

Thanks to a little Supreme Court decision we know as Kelo v. New London ... private property rights in America are basically nonexistent ... at least when it comes to government. Just like many freedoms and liberties we thought our government would never infringe upon, property rights got the proverbial guillotine chop in the Kelo decision. For those of you who are government educated, here's a quick reminder. Kelo v. New London essentially established that the government can seize private property and sell it to another private individual or corporation to develop. The reason? Increasing tax revenue. Simple as that.

Years later, the Kelo case is finally seeing some semblance of finality. The whole debacle started when Pfizer decided that it wanted to expand its facilities in New London. So the city of New London won the battle and was able to seize private homes and turn the property over to Pfizer. It was perhaps the worst Supreme Court decision we've ever seen. Years later, the condemned homes have been destroyed and the site is nothing but a bunch of weeds. That, it seems, is the way it will stay. Pfizer has decided that it is going to close up shop in New London and move elsewhere.

So there you go. The property that became the symbol of private property rights - the property that was seized by the government and turned over to a private entity for development - is now nothing but a pile of weeds with no plans for development

Don't you just love watching the power of government at work?




I am putting up today on EDUCATION WATCH an article that sets out how extensive was the support for Nazism on pre-war American university campuses. The "Anti-Zionism" that flourishes there today is part of an old-old story -- as is the support for socialism among ivory-tower intellectuals. Nazism was the exciting new form of socialism in the 30s and American universities lapped it up.

Fort Hood killer contacted Muslim extremists: "Fort Hood shooting suspect Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been in contact with numerous Muslim extremists -- some of whom are under federal investigation -- before last week's rampage, two U.S. officials told The Washington Times on Wednesday. Maj. Hasan made some of the contacts while visiting known jihadist chat rooms on the Internet, according to one of The Times' sources, a senior FBI official. He said that several people with whom Maj. Hasan was in contact had been the focus of investigations by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force. The other source, a military intelligence official, said those in contact with Maj. Hasan are located both in the U.S. and overseas. The official said they are "broadly known and characterized as Islamic extremists if not necessarily al Qaeda." Both officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, said some of the names of those with whom Maj. Hasan was in contact will likely be released soon.

Will this brave black intellectual be charged with a hate crime?: "A prominent Columbia architecture professor punched a female university employee in the face at a Harlem bar during a heated argument about race relations, cops said yesterday. Police busted Lionel McIntyre, 59, for assault yesterday after his bruised victim, Camille Davis, filed charges. McIntyre and Davis, who works as a production manager in the school's theater department, are both regulars at Toast, a popular university bar on Broadway and 125th Street, sources said. The professor, who is black, had been engaged in a fiery discussion about "white privilege" with Davis, who is white, and another male regular, who is also white, Friday night at 10:30 when fists started flying, patrons said. McIntyre, who is known as "Mac" at the bar, shoved Davis, and when the other patron and a bar employee tried to break it up, the prof slugged Davis in the face, witnesses said. "The punch was so loud, the kitchen workers in the back heard it over all the noise," bar back Richie Velez, 28, told The Post. "I was on my way over when he punched Camille and she fell on top of me." McIntyre had squabbled with Davis several weeks earlier over issues involving race, witnesses said. As soon as the professor threw the punch Friday, server Rob Dalton and another employee tossed him out."

British defence bureaucrats pocket £300m as British soldiers die in Afghanistan for lack of equipment: "Ministry of Defence bureaucrats have pocketed nearly £300million in bonuses while soldiers have been dying from lack of equipment. The civil servants have seen 'good performance' payments - including rewards for saving money - double. The pen-pushers also won extra cash for hitting targets for promoting diversity and improving health and safety. In one shocking example, two mandarins collected bonuses of £17,000 each - more than a year's basic pay for a squaddie in Helmand. But on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers have accused the Government of putting lives at risk by scrimping on military essentials including helicopters, radios and night goggles. MPs, soldiers' families and campaign groups condemned the 'scandalous' waste of money. They said it could have been used to refit six Chinook troop carrying helicopters, desperately needed in Afghanistan, which have been confined to their hangers since 2001 after a massive MoD contract blunder."

Government health care: Back to the plantation: "Black leaders constantly remind Americans of our racism. Should not these same leaders protest the expansion of government control contained in the health-care reform bill currently working its way through Congress? Here’s why. Notwithstanding their rhetoric of freedom and empowerment, many prominent black leaders appear content to send blacks back to the government plantation—where a small number of Washington elites make decisions for blacks who aren’t in the room. Why do minority leaders not favor alternatives that demonstrate faith in the intelligence and dignity of people to manage their own lives?”

Military discipline slipping: "The armed forces guard individual rights, but they are governed by different rules from civilian organizations. In the 1986 Goldman v. Weinberger case, the Supreme Court upheld military regulations barring Jews from wearing yarmulkes while in uniform. Constitutional rights and freedoms guaranteed to civilians are subordinate to military necessity. Now the Army is inviting more petitions from individuals seeking specal accommodations on a "case-by-case basis". Having abandoned sound practice without justification, the Army will have no principle on which to stand. These accommodations will erode military culture, fueling doubts about the judgment of leadership and resentment of special treatment for religious minorities. This would be the case even if there were no reports of a Muslim extremist shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar!’ while murdering fellow soldiers at Fort Hood.”


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


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


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time to Jump to Some Conclusions

Thirteen brave soldiers are dead today because the United States Army decided to put the tender sensibilities of radical Muslims above the personal safety of the American people. An overstatement? Not hardly. And to make matters worse, it is now clear that under Commander in Chief Barack Hussein Obama, the Army intends to continue this lunacy -- no matter how many innocent lives are lost. And no matter how thoroughly it devastates our army's ability to combat terrorism both abroad, and at home.

Lest there be any doubt about the Obama policies, consider his admonition immediately following Nidal Malik Hasan's terrorist attack on U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood. No sooner had Hasan finished mowing down the unarmed "infidels" ... no sooner had the assassin's screams of "Allah Akbar" faded from his lips ... than Barack Obama warned the American people “don’t jump to conclusions.”

Now, lest anyone think that by this, Obama meant not to jump to the conclusion that Hasan was the shooter, such, unfortunately, is not the case. Said the President shortly after the massacre, "This past Thursday, on a clear Texas afternoon, an Army psychiatrist walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, and began shooting his fellow soldiers."

No, what this President meant is clear to any who listened as he soft-peddled radical Islam throughout his presidential campaign. His words are clear to any who heard his speech to the Egyptian parliament apologizing for America’s intolerance. They are clear to all who know that his first call to a foreign leader was to Palestinian strongman Mahmoud Abbas They are clear to those who recall that his first formal interview was to Al Arabiya, when he condemned, not Islamic terrorism, but Israeli settlements. And they are abundantly clear to any who remember Obama’s own words from page 261 of his self-adulating autobiography Audacity of Hope. Apologizing for what he considers the horror Muslims have suffered at the hands of everyday Americans, he writes:
“They [the Muslims] have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

Little wonder, then that Obama has, at best, consented with his silence as his Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and his top military commanders clear Nidal Malik Hasan of any radical Islamic motives. And even less wonder that he has allowed his Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey, to take such patent idiocy a far step further.

Indeed, asked by ABC’s George Stephanopolous if the Amy had “dropped the ball” by not recognizing any of a hundred and one different warning signs that Hasan had become a dangerous radical, Casey recited the Obama Administration’s official mantra. We shouldn’t “jump to conclusions,” he intoned, based on “early tidbits.”

And what were those “early tidbits?” In 2001, Hasan attended the notorious Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, where he listened in rapt attention as the fiery, anti-American imam Anwar Al-Awlaki encouraged his followers to attack the infidels. Not so coincidentally, among Hasan’s fellow attendees at the Center were two of the September 11 terrorists.

During his time at Walter Reed Hospital and the Uniformed Services University, Hasan, according to the New York Times, became increasingly hostile towards the War on Terror and Americans who defended it. Wrote the Times:
“A former classmate in the master's degree program said Major Hasan gave a PowerPoint presentation about a year ago in an environmental health seminar titled "Why the War on Terror Is a War on Islam." He did not socialize with his classmates, other than to argue in the hallways on why the wars were wrong … [S]ome students complained to their professors about Major Hasan.”

Even more recently, according to an ABC News Online article, intelligence sources had a level of knowledge that Hasan was in communication with al Qaeda assets abroad. And according to the highly reliable web site, the Northeast Intelligence Network, “this and information similar but not directly related to such communications became a ‘political issue’ between government agencies and officials ‘at the policy making levels’ of the administration.”

So, in view of all this – and the 13 martyred soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas -- are the Obama Administration and the U.S. Army, at last, ready to start heeding reports of radical activity among Muslim soldiers – before more shots are fired and additional lives are lost?

Not a chance. Here is the Obama Administration’s official response, as enunciated by Gen. Casey on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning: “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.” That, of course, is sheer idiocy. And it is time for Barack Hussein Obama to step to the fore and declare once and for all – honestly and openly – whether he still intends to “stand with” the radical Muslims even to the extent of protecting “diversity” over American lives. If not, we have every right to “jump” to our own conclusions.



Obama's arrogance of power

Last year's financial meltdown rightfully destroyed former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's reputation as an infallible "wise man," but he said something wise in his 2007 memoirs, describing a constitutional amendment he'd been "pushing for years." Wrote Greenspan: "Anyone willing to do what is required to become president of the United States is thereby barred from taking that office. I'm only half joking."

It's no laughing matter. After all, what sort of person wants the job badly enough to spend years living out of a suitcase, begging for cash, glad-handing through primary states, and saying things that no intelligent person could possibly believe? Greenspan's point was that people who seek the presidency today display a pathological power lust that ought to make us uncomfortable, given the powers the modern president enjoys.

George Washington was called "the American Cincinnatus," after the Roman hero who took power reluctantly and returned humbly to his plow when crisis passed. That's the model Americans once expected presidents to follow. Things have changed, and not for the better.

The last candidate to pay tribute to the Cincinnatus model was 1996 GOP contender Bob Dole, who praised the virtues of his birthplace, Russell, Kan., insisting it was either the White House or "home." It turned out that Dole left "home" deliberately vague. After losing, he returned to his condo at the Watergate, making bucks as a lobbyist and Viagra pitchman.

As for the current POTUS, "he's always wanted to be president," according to Obama's longtime friend and advisor Valerie Jarrett. No surprise, then, that, as Newsweekeditor Jon Meacham put it in a profile of Obama earlier this year, he "likes and enjoys power," even "revels" in it.

In a fascinating article, presidential scholar Richard Ellis writes that "in the beginning, the presidency was envisioned not as an office to be enjoyed but as a place of stern duty." "Powerful cultural norms" told 19th-century presidents to approach the role humbly, with a keen awareness that power corrupts. In public and in private, early presidents often acknowledged their deficiencies. "No event could have filled me with greater anxieties," Washington said of his election. Likewise, in his first inaugural, Jefferson worried that the task he'd undertaken was "above my talents."

Today, Ellis explains, the public demands greater confidence from presidential aspirants. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tells us that when he congratulated Barack Obama for a "particularly fine" speech Obama made as a freshman senator, Obama "said quietly, 'I have a gift, Harry.'" Reid reports that Obama said that with "deep humility." We'll have to take his word for it.

Calvin Coolidge, a genuinely humble man and a fine president, wrote in his autobiography that it was "a major source of safety to the country" for the president "to know that he is not a great man." Few of our recent presidents display Coolidge's self-awareness.

Newsweek's Meacham reports that Barack Obama relishes "the capacity to shape reality in his image and by his lights." An interesting phrase, that -- reminiscent of the Bush aide who bragged to reporter Ron Suskind that "we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." And yet, as we learned during the Bush years, reality has a way of fighting back.

Obama's supporters have embraced the epithet Suskind's source coined. They fancy themselves members of the "reality-based community." Yet they doggedly defend a president for whom the word "hubris" might have been invented -- one who thinks that the government, under his direction, can rationally reshape the one-sixth of the U.S. economy devoted to health care.

Our president describes his budget as a "blueprint" for America's future, and believes that, with the proper mix of social workers and soldiers, we can bring orderly governance to Afghanistan, which has never enjoyed it. We'd do far better if our presidents had Coolidge's sense of his own limitations and of government's as well. It's easy enough to blame the overconfident, self-aggrandizing characters who seek the office. But at the end of the day, we're the ones who reward them. Unless and until we seek out candidates who share Coolidge's modesty, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.



Jobs, jobs, jobs

The news will always return to unemployment when other topics fade. "Any time you have unemployment this high, it is the number one story, whether it's being written about or not," says David Winston, a Republican pollster who for months has urged GOP officeholders to focus steadily on the issue. Double-digit unemployment is the default top story of the year; whatever else happens, the national conversation will come back to unemployment as long as the jobless rate remains unacceptably high.

You don't have to be a Republican strategist to agree. "Obama's focus on health care rather than jobs, when the economy is still so fragile ... could make it appear that the administration has its priorities confused," writes Robert Reich, former Clinton secretary of labor and a supporter of nationalized health care. "While affordable health care is critically important to Americans, making a living is more urgent."

Reich wrote those words nearly a week before we learned, last Friday, that unemployment had hit 10.2 percent. And on that Friday, the news about President Obama was that he had delayed, by a day, his pep talk to House Democrats preparing to pass the health care bill. Obama stayed in the news over the weekend with highly visible statements on health care.

What a difference from the first days of his administration when -- with unemployment at 7.6 percent -- the president seemed totally focused on jobs. "Experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits," Obama said in his weekly address on Jan. 24, urging Congress to quickly pass a proposed $1 trillion stimulus bill. The nightmare "double digit" scenario became Obama's mantra. "If we don't act immediately ... the national unemployment rate will approach double digits," he said in early February at a town hall in Florida. "Approach double digits," he repeated at a speech in Indiana. "Double digits," he wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

The only way to prevent unemployment from approaching 10 percent, Obama said, was to pass the stimulus, which in the end cost $787 billion. With the stimulus, the administration claimed, unemployment would stay below 8 percent. Without it, joblessness could climb to 9 percent.

Now, with the stimulus passed and unemployment at 10.2 percent, the White House is not only distracted by health care but divided on its own record. On one hand, Obama and Vice President Biden say the stimulus is working, and will work more in the future. On the other, top economic adviser Christina Romer suggests the stimulus has run its course and unemployment will likely "remain at severely elevated levels" through 2010.

The stimulus is the one big issue that is entirely Obama's, and he's losing support on it. "He has not managed to accomplish the basic thing that the American people want, and that is to provide some sense that the economy is going in the right direction," says David Winston.

On Monday, Biden -- who famously admitted that the Obama economic team didn't really understand the depth of the economic crisis -- headed to Detroit to headline fundraisers for two Democratic congressman at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel. It cost $5,000 to get into the VIP reception. Biden was met by a Republican ad, "Get Back to Work." "We've lost 178,000 jobs [in Michigan] since Congress passed the massive spending bill President Obama promised would help with jobs," the ad says. "While he's here, will the vice president be working on ways to reduce an unemployment rate of 15.3 percent, the highest of any state in the country?" The question answered itself; there were fundraisers to attend.

In coming weeks, Obama will be involved in contentious Senate fighting over health care. He may travel to Copenhagen for international global-warming talks. And he'll be in Oslo to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize -- a few days after the next set of unemployment numbers are due. There will be a lot of news. But for millions of Americans, joblessness will remain the big story, no matter what the president does.




I have been doing some revisions to my home page lately -- mainly putting up more pictures. See here (Backup here).

Obama Fail is an interesting blog. From them I learned that Obama is seen as "weak" in China. The only people he threatens are Americans.

Airport rules changed after Ron Paul aide detained: "An angry aide to Rep. Ron Paul, an iPhone and $4,700 in cash have forced the Transportation Security Administration to quietly issue two new rules telling its airport screeners they can only conduct searches related to airplane safety. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union is dropping its lawsuit on behalf of Steve Bierfeldt, the man who was detained in March and who recorded the confrontation on his iPhone as TSA and local police officers spent half an hour demanding answers as to why he was carrying the money through Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The new rules, issuedin September and October, tell officers "screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security" and that large amounts of cash don't qualify as suspicious for purposes of safety. "We had been hearing of so many reports of TSA screeners engaging in wide-ranging fishing expeditions for illegal activities," said Ben Wizner, a staff lawyer for the ACLU, pointing to reports of officers scanning pill-bottle labels to see whether the passenger was the person who obtained the prescription as one example. He said screeners get a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches, strictly to keep weapons and explosives off planes, not to help police enforce other laws."

UT: Salt Lake City passes gay rights laws with Mormon backing: "With a historic endorsement from the Mormon church, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed a pair of ordinances making it illegal to discriminate against gays in housing and employment. Tuesday’s action was the first time the Utah-based church — which has been steadfast in its opposition to gay marriage — has publicly supported gay rights legislation.” [A Mormon crackup?]

A nightmare for the American dream: "As Members of Congress consider whether to retain federal death taxes, they should ponder the principal reasons why they should join prior Congresses and repeal this tax, says William W. Beach, Director of the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation. Death taxes discourage savings and investment: For those Americans who think that their estates may one day pay federal death taxes, the tax sends a signal that it is better to consume today than invest and make more money in the future. Instead of putting their money in the hands of entrepreneurs or investing more in their own economic endeavors, Americans are encouraged to consume it now rather than pay taxes on it later.”

Big business hearts regulation: "It’s commonly supposed that big business dislikes regulation. Intuitively, the idea seems plausible enough. There’s only one problem: it’s wrong. Almost exactly wrong. Big business can absorb pernicious regulation fairly easily: they have in-house legal departments, they have various economies of scale working in their favor, and the cost of compliance with regulation per unit of output is trivial when compared to what their smaller competitors suffer. Big businesses, all too often, love regulation. They especially love rules and restrictions that shaft their competition.”


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


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


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LOL! Leftist philosophers tie themselves into a knot

Philosophy is a rather vague term used to cover a lot of loose thinking. I belong to the tradition called Anglo-Saxon empiricism, though some of the most notable exponents of Anglo-Saxon empiricism were not Anglo-Saxon. Ludwig Wittgenstein, for instance, was an Austrian Jew. Anglo-Saxon empiricists restrict their task to something quite akin to science. They look for order and regularity in discourse and try to clear up what people are saying and implying when they say certain kinds of things. And that is, of course, no easy task.

Such thinking was once dominant in Anglo-Saxon philosophy schools but the great expansion of tertiary education in recent decades has meant that many less rigorous thinkers have been employed as philosophers, some even being third-rate enough to find enlightenment in the words of an obsolete economist called Karl Marx. So philosophy schools are now replete with people who seem to think they are being profound when they say: "There is no such thing as right and wrong" or "There are many realities". To an Anglo-Saxon empiricist, such statements are simply confused.

Such confused thinking is usually described (rather fancifully) these days as "postmodernism" but for historical purposes it is probably best subsumed under the broad category of "existentialism" -- and there were many prominent existentialist thinkers in the first half of the 20th century, particularly in Germany. And many existentialist thinkers at that time were sympathetic to National Socialism (Nazism), just as their counterparts today are solidly in favour of all sorts of Leftist thinking. So existentialist thinking and Leftism have always been intimately associated among many who call themselves philosophers. And it should therefore be no surprise that prewar existentialists sound very profound to existentialists today.

The Nazi connection is however embarrassing. Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, DeMan and others sound very good and wise and profound to Leftist philosophers today so how do you cope with the Nazi connection? Easy: In the traditional Leftist way of dealing with all inconvenient facts -- by ignoring it.

One of the holier of today's existentialists has however recently upset the applecart by pointing out that the great god Heidegger was a Nazi and calling for all Heidegger's thinking to be denounced and renounced. Leftists are not letting go of such an inspiring (to them) figure as Heidegger, however. What Heidegger says is central to what they say, so to denounce Heidegger would be to denounce most of their own thinking. And there the matter rests at the moment. A small excerpt from a NYT story about the matter below. That Nazi thinking is one subset of socialist thinking is, of course, never acknowledged:
For decades the German philosopher Martin Heidegger has been the subject of passionate debate. His critique of Western thought and technology has penetrated deeply into architecture, psychology and literary theory and inspired some of the most influential intellectual movements of the 20th century. Yet he was also a fervent Nazi.

Now a soon-to-be published book in English has revived the long-running debate about whether the man can be separated from his philosophy. Drawing on new evidence, the author, Emmanuel Faye, argues fascist and racist ideas are so woven into the fabric of Heidegger’s theories that they no longer deserve to be called philosophy. As a result Mr. Faye declares, Heidegger’s works and the many fields built on them need to be re-examined lest they spread sinister ideas as dangerous to modern thought as “the Nazi movement was to the physical existence of the exterminated peoples.”

First published in France in 2005, the book, “Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy,” calls on philosophy professors to treat Heidegger’s writings like hate speech. Libraries, too, should stop classifying Heidegger’s collected works (which have been sanitized and abridged by his family) as philosophy and instead include them under the history of Nazism. These measures would function as a warning label, like a skull-and-crossbones on a bottle of poison, to prevent the careless spread of his most odious ideas, which Mr. Faye lists as the exaltation of the state over the individual, the impossibility of morality, anti-humanism and racial purity.

The book is the most radical attack yet on Heidegger (1889-1976) and would upend the philosophical field’s treatment of his work in the United States, and even more so in France, where Heidegger has frequently been required reading for an advanced degree. Mr. Faye, an associate professor at the University of Paris, Nanterre, not only wants to drum Heidegger from the ranks of philosophers, he wants to challenge his colleagues to rethink the very purpose of philosophy and its relationship to ethics.

At the same time scholars in disciplines as far flung as poetry and psychoanalysis would be obliged to reconsider their use of Heidegger’s ideas. Although Mr. Faye talks about the close connection between Heidegger and current right-wing extremist politics, left-wing intellectuals have more frequently been inspired by his ideas. Existentialism and postmodernism as well as attendant attacks on colonialism, atomic weapons, ecological ruin and universal notions of morality are all based on his critique of the Western cultural tradition and reason.

I go into some detail about the confusions of "postmodernist" thinking here


An inadvertent admission

In January of 2009, President Obama sent Valerie Jarrett to represent him at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Her speech was supposed to be on “The New US Agenda.” However, she spent half the speech talking about who Barack Obama is. (Side note: so half of the US agenda is the President himself?) And the one thing the audience understands clearly about Barack Obama after her speech can be summed up in one word: Chicago.

“I think knowing Chicago is essential to knowing America and our new President,” she told them. Chicago was the city where he got his start as a community organizer. And since, she claimed, all that most of the audience (at the World Economic Forum, no less) knew about Chicago was Oprah and Michael Jordan, she proceeded to tell them that it is the heartland of America, with a hardworking, pragmatic populace. She neglected to mention that it is also infamous for its widespread culture of political corruption.

She passed over the fact that in the past 30 years 79 local officials have been convicted of corruption. That would have sounded awkward given her claim that “Chicago was a natural for the president.”

The panegyric continued, “In so many ways, he embodies those timeless values that sum up the spirit of the city.” For example, the persistent tradition of machine and thug politics (mostly extinct elsewhere in the country) in the midst of which the President got his start in politics, evident in his electoral tactics: prior to the 2008 presidential election, the only election in which his opponents were not either thrown off the ballot because Obama’s campaign challenged their required signatures, or hit by scandals from sealed divorce records, was his 2000 primary challenge against Democrat Bobby Rush (which resulted in a resounding defeat for the President). Or perhaps his espousal of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, a book the author dedicated to Lucifer, aka, Satan and the Devil.

Thank you, Mrs Jarrett. Your admission, ahem, insight has been illuminating.




The full speech recently given in NYC to the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu can be found here. He covers a lot of ground and does it well.

Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan: "President Barack Obama is nearing a decision to add tens of thousands more forces to Afghanistan, though not quite the 40,000 sought by his top general there, as Pentagon planners work to make room for the influx. Administration officials told The Associated Press on Monday the deployment would most likely begin in January with a mission to stiffen the defense of 10 key cities and towns. An Army brigade that had been training for deployment to Iraq that month may be the vanguard. The brigade, based at Fort Drum in upstate New York, has been told it will not go to Iraq as planned but has been given no new mission yet."

Make banks small enough to fail: "An unusual alliance of conservatives and liberals is pushing to break up or downsize banks deemed "too big to fail," rather than create a new regulatory regime led by the Federal Reserve to try to keep them from getting into trouble again. Public anger toward bailouts and the central bank's role in rescuing big institutions like American International Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. are fueling growing opposition to the Fed-led oversight plan advocated by the Treasury Department and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat. In Europe, regulators are moving to break up megabanks like ING Group, KBC and Lloyds that became government wards after last year's global financial meltdown. An increasing number of legislators, political activists and financial specialists in the U.S. want to move in the same direction for troubled institutions such as Citigroup and Bank of America."

Officials: US Army told of Hasan’s contacts with al Qaeda: "U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda, two American officials briefed on classified material in the case told ABC News. According to the officials, the Army was informed of Hasan’s contact, but it is unclear what, if anything, the Army did in response. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that he requested the CIA and other intelligence agencies brief the committee on what was known, if anything, about Hasan by the U.S. intelligence community, only to be refused.”

Framed for child porn by a PC virus?: "Of all the sinister things that Internet viruses do, this might be the worst: They can make you an unsuspecting collector of child pornography. Heinous pictures and videos can be deposited on computers by viruses — the malicious programs better known for swiping your credit card numbers. In this twist, it’s your reputation that’s stolen. Pedophiles can exploit virus-infected PCs to remotely store and view their stash without fear they’ll get caught. Pranksters or someone trying to frame you can tap viruses to make it appear that you surf illegal Websites. Whatever the motivation, you get child porn on your computer — and might not realize it until police knock at your door.”

She’s back!: "Ayn Rand, the Russian-born novelist and philosopher, died in 1982. But in this Bush-Obama season of fantastical government growth and encroachment into all areas of human activity, Rand has become a Banquo’s ghost at the banquet of politics, an antistate spirit haunting politicians and commentators who thought her free-market worldview was safely buried by the fall 2008 financial collapse. Signs of the Rand revival abound. The surprisingly large anti-government Tea Party protests have been chock-a-block with signs such as ‘Atlas Is Shrugging’ and ‘The name is Galt. John Galt.’ Sales of Rand’s classic Atlas Shrugged have soared in 2009, above a level that was already extremely impressive for a 1,000-page, critically unloved, 52-year-old novel. Two major publishing houses brought out new biographies of Rand almost simultaneously this fall. And after decades of Hollywood development limbo, Atlas Shrugged may finally be hitting the screen soon in the form of a cable mini-series starring Charlize Theron.”

The two Americas: "Could Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards actually be right about something? Not where to go to get a haircut, mind you, I mean about there being two Americas. There is the vibrant America … and the stagnant one. There is the America of ever-increasing wealth, innovation, creativity, new products and services. Choices galore. And there is the politician’s America: The regulated America, the subsidized America, the earmarked America. The failing America.”

Big Brother is getting bigger: "In George Orwell’s classic ‘1984,’ Big Brother was the personification of Big Government. He was always there to protect citizens and to steer them in the ‘right’ direction ‘for their own good.’ To maintain the status quo (i.e. government as the ultimate authority), Orwell’s Big Brother did everything from rewriting history and redefining language to engaging in constant prophylactic surveillance of citizens on the streets and in their homes. In the world of ‘1984,’ thorough records were kept on each and every citizen, and paranoia and fear alone ensured that Big Brother’s control was absolute even when his technological eyes might randomly be turned elsewhere.”

Nancy Pelosi: The General Custer of our time: "Speaker Pelsosi is the General Custer of our time. She is leading her troops to slaughter at the polls in 2010. The Speaker is vastly outnumbered by a majority of Americans do not want the healthcare reforms dictated by House Bill passed Saturday evening. According to a poll by Rasmussen Reports, 52% of Americans are opposed to the Democrats’ plans for healthcare reforms. A majority of Americans believe that the legislation will increase costs and will result in a lower standard of healthcare to boot. … Like Custer, Pelosi refuses to see what there is to be seen. The Democrats have manufactured a ‘crisis’ on healthcare when we have an honest to goodness national economic crisis they refuse to deal with.”

Hell, No! We won’t send our tax $$$ to China: "Taking candy from a baby: A consortium of Chinese and American companies goes to Washington and announces plans to build a $1.5 billion windmill farm in West Texas using $450 million in U.S. stimulus funds, which will create 2,330 jobs — 2,000 of them in China. The baby — Washington — doesn’t cry or whine or spit in the consortium’s face. That’s what’s really wrong with this story. So accustomed to being bought and sold, Washington simply begins processing forms so it can hand over your tax dollars to create jobs in a turbine factory in the city of Shenyang, China at a subsidy of $193,133 each. It’s like these bureaucrats live in Wonderland. Or an America where the unemployment rate isn’t 10.2 percent.”

The dead zone: The implicit marginal tax rate: "To say that antipoverty programs in the United States are perverted may be an understatement. When you take into account the loss of means-tested benefits (e.g., cash assistance, food stamps, housing subsidies, and health insurance), and the taxes that people pay on earned income, the return to working is essentially zero for those in the lower two quintiles of the income distribution. For many of the working poor, the implicit marginal tax rate is greater than 100 percent.”

Seven reasons why Congress should repeal, not fix, the death tax: "The House and Senate may soon begin debate on what to do with the federal estate tax. If Congress fails to act before January 1, 2010, current law calls for death taxes to disappear entirely for one year before returning in 2011 at a top rate of 55 percent and a $1 million exemption of taxable estate. The 2009 tax rate is 45 percent, and the exemption stands at $3.5 million per taxpayer. What should Congress do?”

Sued for success: "Computer chip maker Intel is back in court. On Wednesday, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the firm. The suit follows a record-shattering $1.5 billion antitrust fine levied on Intel by the European Union last May. Going after Intel might allow Cuomo to score political points — never mind the inconvenient fact that Advanced Micro Devices, Intel’s arch-rival, is building a massive new factory in New York — but this legal assault will only stymie innovation in the computer chip market.”

The control imperative: "That is why the easiest way to transform purely visual or informational control into physical control is to cede the task of creating the latter onto external forces, especially those working at the behest of an impersonal and de facto ownerless entity. No other institutions are better suited for such a cession than the institutions of representative democracy — their character allows an envious and greedy individual to merge his own envy and greed with that exhibited by millions of others, and then use it as the material to forge a redistributionist system by the hands of those who can no longer be called robbers hired by Mr. Lazybones to loot the resources of Mr. Diligent, but should be called the executors of the common will instead. As soon as this happens, all potential pangs of conscience and fears of ostracism disappear — acts of plunder and predation (henceforth known as acts of rectification) are no longer committed by any particular, individual person, but only by a vast, collective immaterial entity, whose corporeal representatives are to be regarded as tools of historical justice. The whole process is complemented by far-reaching ritualization of the actions of the abovementioned entity, as well as by the attendant series of semantic distortions, which make unequivocal identification of aggression, violence, coercion, theft and enslavement (let alone successful elimination of these phenomena) incomparably more difficult than it was before.”

The GOP’s civil “civil war”: "I have been thoroughly amused by all this talk about a ‘civil war’ within the Republican Party, supposedly due to divisive ‘conservative’ factions who, going rogue, are disturbing the Newtonian equilibrium of ‘mainstream’ party regulars. What balderdash. The present tension between conservative, moderate and liberal branches of the GOP, not to mention the differing relative priorities of the components of the Reaganite triad of economic, national security, and social conservatives, is at least as old as the struggle between the old Taft and Eisenhower struggle, and even more relevant to today’s discussion, Ronald Regan’s challenge to Gerald Ford, then a sitting president, albeit by appointment of the departing, defeated Richard Nixon. Reagan then followed up his defeat with a victory over George Bush, Senior, in 1980, another classic contest between conservative ‘insurgents’ and mainstream, blue-blood Republicans.”


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


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


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Must not portray Hitler as human

The official wisdom is that he was an abnormal monster or freak. They are afraid that people will find out that he was a fairly mainstream socialist by the standards of his day

When intimate colour film of Adolf Hitler cuddling a pet dog and smiling as a baby reached out to play with his moustache was shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival 36 years ago, a scuffle broke out in the audience and the screening had to be abandoned.

The documentary, Swastika, by the Australian director Philippe Mora, contained never-before seen footage of Hitler entertaining friends, family and his inner circle - including Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels. Much of it was shot by his lover Eva Braun at Hitler's mountain home in Obersalzberg, Bavaria.

The documentary later opened in several countries, including the US, Britain and France, but despite widespread critical acclaim from the art critic Robert Hughes in Time, The Washington Post and Le Monde, it was mothballed and Germany banned it.

Last week, however, Swastika - and Mora - were warmly welcomed back to Berlin. Championed by the German documentary maker, Ilona Ziok, the film was shown in the cinema used by the Nazis in Berlin, opened the Biberach Film Festival in Munich and special screenings are planned in Dresden this week.

Mora, who is Jewish, has lived in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. He was just 22 and living in London when he proposed documenting the making of Albert Speer's book Inside the Third Reich into a US-backed feature movie by the British producers, David Puttnam and former Fox boss, Sandy Lieberson.

When Hollywood pulled out of the Speer project, its producers agreed to back Mora and his research partner, the German filmmaker Lutz Becker, to finish their own film about the Nazification of Germany. Four months into production in 1972 they had managed to unearth the startling new footage in Pentagon archives.



Free Enterprise— Time for Respect instead of Envy

Milton Friedman said with passion: “The record of history is absolutely clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activity that is unleashed by the free enterprise system.” American capitalism, as imperfect a system as it is, has made America the “shining city on the hill” where immigrants still stand in line and cross borders to find opportunity.

Those who worked hard to earn their American Dream used to be respected. They were a source of inspiration and jobs for those who aspired to their own success. Americans took pride in being the land of opportunity where anyone could better their position in life.

How then have those who have worked hard to achieve success now become the subject of envy and derision? When did it become acceptable for Americans to embrace candidates who could openly brag about redistributing the wealth of the top 5% of wage earners to subsidize their supporters?

A recent trip to the UK surfaced some clues. In Europe, many hold wealthy in such contempt that vandalism against the rich is growing.

In hopes of providing rich urban Paris commuters an alternative bicycle-rental system to match this age of global warming hysteria, the French have provided 20,600 sturdy bicycles—a low-cost, low-carbon alternative to using cars. In a blow to Parisian civility, 80% of the bicycles have been stolen, trashed or damaged. The stylish bicycles are seen as symbols of the “bobos,” the “bourgeois-bohemès,” the rich and trendy urban class. A sociologist reported in the International Herald Tribune commented: “They stir resentment and covetousness. They are often vandalized in a socially divided Paris by resentful, angry, or anarchic youth.”

At one of my leadership programs in Edinburgh, an international sales manager pointed to a beautiful, silver Porsche in the parking lot, “You don’t see many here anymore. Not because people can’t afford them, but because if you own one, you are likely to have the hood keyed by vandals. They don’t think the rich deserve what they own; they must have taken it from someone else to get to where they are. It’s tragic. I hope it never becomes that way in America. The American Dream isn’t just important to your country; it’s important to the world. In the past, America has been living proof that anyone can better themselves.”

Certainly media news has played a role, and some dishonest business people have given them all the ammunition they need to paint all “rich” achievers with the same brush. Whether it’s the Enron’s debacle, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, or the sub-prime derivative abuses, some highly-visible executives failed to live up to the values they had on their walls. Rightfully, many have and continue to pay for their ethical lapses. Unfortunately, the good bosses, the ethical managers, the charitable rich benefactors and the job-creating entrepreneurs don’t make the headlines. Most of the rich earn their wealth from hard work. Many hire workers, support charities and provide dividends to stockholders.

Hollywood adds to the negative image of free enterprise and business executives. Robert Lichter and others have found that the negative portrayal of businesspeople has grown over the years. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, businesspeople were three times more likely to exhibit characteristics of rampant greed than were other characters in identifiable occupations. In the 1980s, business characters where 10 times more likely to exhibit greedy behaviors than were other characters. In the 1990s, Lichter found that 81 percent of the shows that addressed the question of whether business were honest and honorable or unfair and corrupt, portrayed business dealings as dishonest and corrupt.

Rather than a reward for offering valued goods and services, profit was ordinarily portrayed as the result of exploitation and fraud. Hollywood has no interest in showing the power of free enterprise to generate prosperity, to tap the human spirit’s pursuit of excellence and to create innovative products and services that make a difference to us all.

The church also does its part to create envy and chastise the “rich.” Pastors pray for “social justice” which has come to provide justification for redistribution and government services for the poor. Yes, Biblical passages make it clear that being “rich” has its challenges. Faith trumps wealth. How one uses one’s riches is crucial, but Jesus didn’t come to call Rome to institute universal healthcare. He called believers to be good stewards of their gifts and their money. Believers were to give to the poor, not to elect politicians to take from others to do the giving for them. As Margaret Thatcher once said, "No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions; he had money, too."

Then, of course, we have President Obama and his liberal Democrat leaders who have declared “war on wealth.” They’ve promised not to renew the Bush tax cuts on the top 5% of wage earners. The top 5 percent already pay 60.63 percent of all the individual income taxes collected, even though they earned only 37.44 percent of the money. The President wants them to give even more because they are not paying their “fair share.”

Lincoln believed in the American Dream for all Americans, but he never condoned any attack on the rich. He said, “I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war on capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.” Lincoln understood what Obama and other class warriors never do. When American freedom and free enterprise is working, there’s no war between capital and labor. Capital and labor are the same people at different stages of their lives. Workers work to save, then to invest and ultimately to become owners of capital and entrepreneurs themselves.

Margaret Thatcher had another warning we should heed, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money." It’s time we start showing a little respect to those that have and are making America work. Instead of trying to take from them and punish achievement, it’s time to learn from what they do and emulate it. President Obama is looking for new strategies that will unleash private economic growth. As Steve Forbes new book, How Capitalism Will Save Us, reminds us—we don’t need a new idea! The President can unleash a tried-and-true strategy—stop throwing money away on losing companies “too big to fail” and start rewarding companies willing to invent the future and hire more Americans to do it. Whether you want to believe it or not, the American Dream can still work if we let it.




Obama will meet Netanyahu at White House: "The White House announced Sunday that President Barack Obama will be meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli prime minister’s trip to Washington, ending days of uncertainty. Netanyahu was to arrive in the U.S. capital Sunday night for a speaking engagement at the three-day 2009 General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America. He will meet with Obama on Monday evening.”

Lieberman: Senate will investigate Army shootings: "The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee says he plans to begin a congressional investigation of the shootings at Fort Hood. An Army major, Nidal Malik Hasan, is suspected of killing 13 people and wounding 29 others at the Army post in Texas. Sen. Joe Lieberman says he wants to determine whether the shootings constitute a terrorist attack. He says he also wants to find out whether the Army missed warning signs that Hasan was becoming extreme in his Islamist views.”

Obama sitting out Berlin Wall Anniversary: "President Obama squeezed in a trip to Copenhagen last month to lobby, unsuccessfully, for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. He plans to travel to Oslo next month to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that even Obama has said he does not deserve. And this coming week, he sets out on a weeklong tour of Asia. But the president does not plan to travel to Germany to attend the 20th anniversary celebration Monday of the fall of the Berlin Wall, drawing heated criticism from those who say he’s ignoring a shining triumph of American-inspired democracy.”

Jobless: 10 percent is tougher than it used to be: "It hurts more to be unemployed now than the last time the jobless rate hit 10 percent. Americans have more than triple the debt they had in 1982, and less than half the savings. They spend 10 weeks longer off the job. And a bigger share of them have no health insurance, leaving them one medical emergency away from financial ruin. For these reasons, the unemployed are more vulnerable today to foreclosure and bankruptcy than they were a generation ago.”

Truer U.S. unemployment rate hits recent high of 17.5%: "Each month, as regular readers know, I like to unpack the new unemployment number and get behind the data. The news this month continues to be grim. Indeed, it is climbing rapidly toward record-grim territory. The official U.S. unemployment rate in October rose to 10.2 percent from 9.8 percent in September, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But the truer measure of unemployment -- a total count of everyone who should be working full time but is not -- hit 17.5 percent in October, the highest level in modern times. The Labor Department changed to its new unemployment survey method in the mid-'90s, moving to the narrower count that gives you the official number, or today's 10.2 percent. Which, by the way, is nothing to sneeze at. It's the highest rate since 1983. Counts were obviously cruder during the Great Depression, but the 25 percent rate, reached during 1933, is analogous to our 17.5 percent today. Both numbers include the widest possible measure of unemployment."

Will Obama ever become President?: "Folks, we’re at the one year mark. It’s been exactly a year since Barack Obama was elected president and the question must be asked: How is Brand Obama doing? Take a look through the marketing lens and you’ll see that there are really two brands that make up today’s Brand Obama: Obama the candidate and Obama the president. Even though the election is long over, Obama the candidate is still hanging around. … Meanwhile, Obama the president has not really arrived. Barack Obama has not transitioned into the White House. Even his staunchest supporters don’t really feel like the man in the oval office is the change they have been waiting for. After all, Obama the president is so unlike Obama the candidate. Where Obama the candidate was bold, fresh and new, Obama the president seems like a big helping of big-government Democratic leftovers served cold. This is a dish virtually none of the electorate wants to eat and no one voted for"

A deadbeat Congress: "Jaws dropped when the government announced recently that the national debt would increase by $14,000,000,000,000 over the next decade. Right now, roughly every third dollar the government spends is one it does not have. Even more worrying is how politicians are reacting to the news. Few are talking about cutting spending, which would be politically difficult. Instead, Congress and the administration could resort to spending off-budget through a neat trick known as the unfunded mandate.”

Lousy jobs, in such small portions: "Two dissatisfied customers comment about a restaurant. One says, ‘The food here is terrible.’ The other replies, ‘I know, and such small portions!’ In many ways, they could be describing our current employment picture. Not only are the portions shrinking, but the jobs themselves are steadily losing quality.”

Does background count?: "In its November 7, 2009 (Saturday’s), issue The New York Times ran an editorial tutoring its readers in how they ought to ignore the background of the accused murderer of the soldiers in Texas. All that matters is what he did, not what groups he joined in the past. So, his being Muslim should be ignored and nothing should be concluded about any Muslims in the light of his actions. Now this advice has a ring of truth to it except that it is wrong. Certainly not all Muslims may be suspected of bad intentions in light of what one Muslim does. Not without some additional information. Did the shooter’s motivation stem from his Islamic convictions? Maybe a version of Islam, a radical variety, had something to do with how he felt or what he believed about his victims. If so, then his ‘background’ certainly needs to be attended to. It all depends what aspect of his background one has in mind.”

Bailout promises, Mao’s famine and bad incentives: "I suspect a lot of people are shocked by the blatant falsification of statistics by various government bureaucrats, at different levels, which gives a pretense to the Obama administration to claim their stimulus package created, or saved, jobs. I’m not sure why people are surprised at all. One of the problems with the bureaucratic system of management is that such self-reporting is often the criteria used to measure ’success.’ The problem is that the incentives for the bureaucrats are such that they pushed to fudge the numbers, in whichever direction necessary, to please their superiors. In the bureaucratic system pleasing the overlords, is necessary for advancement. So it’s best to tell them what they want to hear.”

Thugocracy: Another SEIU Beating Reported -- in CA: "A state worker is recovering after a bloody brawl at a union hall. He says members of the local SEIU 1000 beat him up and sent him to the hospital all because he wanted to expose alleged corruption within the union. Ken Hamidi is a state worker at the California Franchise Tax Board. Last night he walked into a union hall in Sacramento for an SEIU local 1000 meeting. "We had every right to be here, very simple; it wasn't anything private or anything exclusive," said Hamidi. But Hamidi says the union members did not want him there. "Three, four people jumped at me, wrestled with me, then did all that," said Hamidi. "I was covered in blood and then over to the emergency room." So why did this happen? Besides being a state worker, Hamidi says he's an unpaid reporter for a cable access show and a vocal critic of the SEIU. He calls the state workers' union corrupt. "This is a union hall that is leased and is being furnished and equipped and everything with our money," said Hamidi. Hamidi says he came to the hall to expose how he says SEIU union leaders are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a political race"

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


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


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


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Leftist media coverup continues

The media coverage of the Ft. Hood massacre may now be the most significant part of the story. They are desperate to avoid implicating Islam

Those who seriously follow journalism today, or what passes for it, will not be surprised by what follows but it's something that needs to be discussed and passed on nevertheless.

Despite reports of Major Nidal Malik Hasan's Muslim devoutness, videos of him in traditional martyr's garb the morning of the shooting, eyewitness reports of his screaming "Allahu Akbar" before murdering and injuring his victims, claims by those present at a professional conference detailing his references to unbelievers needing to be beheaded, burned, etc. according to the Koran, despite all these tell-tale items, members of the media are hell-bent on reporting on anything but the truth, and I do mean anything. Let's first briefly excerpt this Tim McGirk piece up at Time:
As an army psychiatrist treating soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Major Nidal Malik Hasan had a front row seat on the brutal toll of war. It is too early to know exactly what may have triggered his murderous shooting rampage Thursday at Fort Hood — Hasan is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 32 others before he was wounded by a police officer — but it is not uncommon for therapists treating soldiers with Post Trumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) to be swept up in a patient's displays of war-related paranoia, helplessness and fury.

In medical parlance it is known as "secondary trauma", and it can afflict the families of soldiers suffering from P.T.S.D. along with the health workers who are trying to cure them.

Fascinating. Hasan's murderous rampage not in any way related to Islamofascism but instead to P.T.S.D. And it's not just therapists that are on the brink of similar behavior... according to Andrew Bast at Newsweek, the entire military may be on the brink:
What if Thursday's atrocious slaughter at Fort Hood only signals that the worst is yet to come? The murder scene Thursday afternoon at the Killeen, Texas, military base, the largest in the country, was heart-wrenching. Details remained murky, but at least 13 are dead and 30 wounded in a killing spree that may momentarily remind us of a reality that most Americans can readily forget: soldiers and their families are living, and bending, under a harrowing and unrelenting stress thatwill not let up any time soon. And the U.S. military could well be reaching a breaking point as the president decides to send more troops into Afghanistan.

Read these pieces (if you can stomach it) and be convinced that what passes for reporting today is anything but. Instead, be persuaded that what we are witnessing is a study in denying reality to further an ideology, an ideology that enables and will hurry Western demise, an ideology that emboldens and strengthens Islamic hegemony.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Why didn't the Mad Muslim Major just Resign his Commission?

I just watched Fox's Julie Banderas and Greg Jarrett embarrass themselves trying to talk a leading psychiatrist into a newfangled idea of "vicarious" post traumatic stress disorder. Being that Major Muslim Nidal Hasan never saw combat, he vicariously suffered its effects from his patients (while he was attempting to convert them). What could be the motive? I don't know, Greg, what could it be?

Worse was Neena Reenan interviewing Hasan's Palestinian family members, giving a platform for such lies and deception, I will not report them here (they said he loved America). That jihad pig is not the story. The victims are the story. The pregnant girl, the heroine who took that woman hating jihadi down, Kim Munley.

It is criminal, the twisting and gyrating the media is contorting to provide the taqiya for Islamic jihad. If the attack on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and the White House and or Capital building happened today, this is how the media would cover it.

Fort Hood was the military's 911.

Major Hasan's cousin said Hasan joined the Army "right after college" (assuming of course that his cousin wasn't lying). Hasan is 39, so assuming that he waited until he was 21 years old that would give him 17 - 18 years inthe Army . I remember a commentator on Fox news said that Hasan's time in college would have been counted as time in service. You have a mandatory 8 years that you have to serve your country. By my calculations Major Hasan should have had more than enough time in service to have resigned his commission and gotten out ofthe Army without having had to resort to going Jihadi. So what's going on? Something is fishy. Raise the question on Atlas please. The media is buying into this BS that he wasn't being allowed to leave the Army and that will lend credibility to the argument that "he was under stress" and "it wasn't his fault".



Understanding Fort Hood: Nothing ‘Sudden’ About ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’

The horrible massacre should have come as a surprise to no one

“Shock” and “horror” are the words being used to describe the massacre at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Malik Hasan. But while the events were “horrible,” they should have come as a “shock” to no one — at least if by “shock” they mean “surprised that Hasan would turn so violent.”

Hasan was a devout Muslim who, prior to his transfer to the Texas base, attended a conservative mosque on a daily basis and was known by associates to occasionally rant about U.S. involvement in the War on Terror. Press accounts also claim that Hasan had at one time been the subject of an FBI investigation because of an internet posting bearing his name which justified suicide bombings.

No one should be shocked that Hasan would turn to murder and terror. The only thing shocking about Hasan’s actions is the amount of carnage. Who would have guessed that a man armed only with handguns could kill and injure so many?

Radical Islamists — or those who believe that Islam offers a total legal and political system rather than just a moral guide for individual lives — have been engaged in a holy war against the United States for decades. Luckily, most plots involving groups of would-be terrorists have been detected early and disrupted. Like all criminal conspiracies, the more people involved, the more likely detection becomes.

Since 9/11, only individuals have successfully carried out acts of violence in the name of political Islam against domestic targets. Daniel Pipes has used the term “sudden jihad syndrome” to describe, somewhat facetiously, individual Muslims who suddenly turn violent and, in the name of Islam, go on a killing spree.

I say “somewhat facetiously” because it is the mainstream press that usually creates a narrative in which no one could have seen this coming, and therefore these individual acts of jihad seem”sudden.” But scratch the surface of these reports and one finds a pattern in which these acts of jihad are not so sudden. Sure, there may have been an event which set off the violence — in Hasan’s case, he was set for deployment to Afghanistan — but underlying this trigger is a deeper commitment to an ideology, to a total political program and a worldview which sees America as an aggressor and Muslims around the world as victims.

For instance, reports in the press claim that Hasan had been under investigation for posting about suicide bombings on the internet. A person with a name matching Hasan’s wrote the following in refutation to moderate Muslims who condemned suicide bombing: "Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy if you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam."

And if this is what Hasan is writing under his own given name, one is left to wonder just how extreme any other thoughts belonging to him but written under a nickname — the norm on the internet — would be.

Ironically, one person being quoted repeatedly in media reports as “shocked” at Hasan’s behavior is Faisal Khan, the former imam at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Springs, Maryland, where, the imam says, Hasan attended mosque on a daily basis. I say ironic because while there is no indication that Khan condones violence as a means to an end, there is evidence that Khan is an Islamist who shares the same political goals as the most notorious of terror organizations.



Bloodless President Barack Obama makes Americans wistful for George W Bush

Further to the comments below note that the Fort Hood shootings happened in the early afternoon of 5th. George and Laura Bush made a private visit to Fort Hood to offer condolences and comfort to those affected on the evening of 6th. Obama has yet to visit. He doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself

During the election campaign, Barack Obama's cool detachment was a winning quality, the "No Drama Obama" a welcome contrast with the "Mr Angry" John McCain, never mind the hot-headed "I'm the decider" President George W Bush. A year into his presidency, however, Mr Obama seems a curiously bloodless president. If he experiences passion, he seldom shows it. It is often anyone's guess as to whether an event or issue truly moves him. He has spent more than two months considering a troop increase but do we know how he really feels about the Afghan war?

In a sign that the Obama honeymoon truly is over, I began to hear this week the first stirrings of a wistfulness about Mr Bush. "I never thought I'd hear myself say it," one Democrat told me. "But Obama makes you feel that at least with Bush you knew where he was on something." When Mr Bush's Republicans were defeated in the 2006 mid-term elections, it was the President himself who stepped up and declared that his party had received "a thumpin'". The Democratic defeats on Tuesday were not on anything like the same scale but Mr Obama acted as if nothing at all had happened.

Mr Obama had campaigned for Jon Corzine, New Jersey's Democratic governor, five times, twice just last Sunday. But when Mr Corzine lost by four points in a state Mr Obama won by 15 last year - a 19-point swing to Republicans - White House aides just shrugged. In Virginia, which Mr Obama won by six points last year, prompting Democrats to declare an historic political realignment in the state, the Democratic candidate went down by 17 points in the biggest landslide since 1961 - a 23-point swing to the Grand Old Party.

It took Senator Mark Warner of Virginia to admit that his party "got walloped". For three days, Mr Obama maintained a studied silence about the results while his aides blamed them on local factors that had nothing to do with the President. And to think that it was Mr Bush who was always accused of being "in denial".

More serious perhaps was Mr Obama's strange disconnectedness over the Fort Hood massacre of 13 soldiers by an Army major and devout Muslim who opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, had praised suicide bombing and shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he opened fire. Maybe Mr Obama had been reading the American press, much of which somehow contrived to present the atrocity as a result of combat stress due to soldiers going on repeated war deployments (though Major Nadal Hasan had not been on any) and therefore, no doubt, Mr Bush's fault.

When the television networks cut to the President, viewers listened to him spend more than two surreal minutes talking to a gathering of Native Americans about their "extraordinary" and "extremely productive" conference, pausing to give a cheery "shout out" to a man named Dr Joe Medicine Crow. Only then did he briefly and mechanically address what had happened in Texas.

On Friday, when most of the basic facts were available, Mr Obama tried again. It was scarcely any better. He began by offering "an update on the tragedy that took place" - as if it was an earthquake and not a terrorist attack from an enemy within - and ended with a promise for more "updates in the coming days and weeks". Completely missing was the eloquence that Mr Obama employs when talking about himself. Absent too was any sense that the President empathised with the families and comrades of those murdered.



Nightmare On Wall St.

Washington is quietly preparing a hostile takeover of Wall Street with a new bill that would put regulators in control of managing asset prices

While all eyes are fixed on the cobra poised to strike the health care industry, a python is wending its way through Hill banking panels that would squeeze the life from the whole economy.

By Christmas, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank hopes to pass legislation that would create an uber-regulatory body called the Financial Services Oversight Council. It would give the Treasury secretary power to pick which large finance firms are "systemically critical," or too big to fail. He'd have the final call when the government steps in to save or unwind a troubled firm.

The bill would "essentially turn over control of the financial system to the government and seriously impair competition in all areas of finance," says former Treasury official Peter J. Wallison. It would put the government permanently in the business of picking winners and losers, he adds, creating a kind of permanent TARP.

The Kansas City Fed agrees. In a rare public rebuke, the branch issued a study concluding the bill "could lead to greater political interference." Indeed, such heavy-handed regulation would breed corruption, loopholes, lobbying and the very kind of perverse incentives and distortions in the market that led to Fannie and Freddie securitizing $1 trillion in bad social loans. "It's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all over again," said Wallison.

The new regulatory agency can regulate banks, bank holding companies, insurance companies, hedge funds, finance companies and any other kind of company that might be designated too big to fail. "The existence of these designated companies will impair competition in every market they are allowed to enter," says Wallison, "and will force the consolidation of competitors so that markets become dominated by government-backed giants like themselves."

Under the new regime, designated companies will not be able to finance their affiliates' sales, putting them at a severe disadvantage against foreign competitors. GE Capital, for example, would not be able to finance GE sales of aircraft engines.

In effect, designated companies will fall under the control of the feds, unable to start new activities or enter new markets or perhaps even open new offices without federal approval. "This is a degree of political control of business that has never been attempted before," Wallison says.

And with politics comes favoritism. Bailouts and preferences will go to favored firms, and healthy companies will pay for the cost of propping up their sick competitors. Bad decisions will be rewarded, draining taxpayers. And once the market comes to expect that government takeovers and bailouts will occur, they will have to go forward, lest surprises trigger market crashes. It will be a political free-for-all. R&D money devoted to new product lines and innovations will be shifted to lobbying. Before long, Wall Street will operate like K Street. Crony capitalism will be the name of the game. "Washington and the political system -- rather than competition and effective financial performance -- will have become central to what happens in the financial industry," Wallison says.

In short, the regulatory regime Democrats want would be disastrous for future economic growth and living standards. "Governments that regulate away risks destroy the growth engine of their nation," warns Swiss money manager Axel Merk. "The U.S. is the most prosperous nation because it has embraced risk taking. When we evaluate our love-hate relationship with investment banks, let's not forget that as one of their key roles, they facilitate the aggregation and deployment of risk takers' capital."

Democrats call that "greed" and are hellbent on tinkering with the American growth engine. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd is close to releasing a companion bill to Frank's. The pair of New England liberals are the chief congressional architects of the regulations that created FrankenFreddie and FrankenFannie and the banking disaster that caused the Great Recession. Now they have license to create a new monster -- with President Obama's full blessing.

If we are seeing a far-left coup against capitalism in this country, this bill could deliver the death blow, marching Wall Street down a road to serfdom in the name of "social justice."



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


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


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Politically-correct double standard spawned mass murder at Fort Hood by Muslim soldier

A Muslim soldier shot dead 11 soldiers and two civilians at Fort Hood yesterday, shouting the Muslim expression "Allahu Akbar." But in an absurd display of political correctness, media reports barely mentioned the religion angle, choosing instead to highlight the fact that he was an "army psychiatrist" or the false claim that he was a veteran with PTSD (which he wasn't: he never even served overseas). Oh, those violent psychologists!

Now, we read that he had previously said that Muslims should rise up against the military, "repeatedly expressed sympathy for suicide bombers," and engaged in hate-speech against non-Muslims, publicly calling for the beheading or burning of non-Muslims, and talking "about how if you’re a nonbeliever the Koran says you should have your head cut off, you should have oil poured down your throat, you should be set on fire." But nothing was done to remove him from a position where he could harm others.

The military is not like the outside world. In the civilian world, hate speech, and often even incitement to commit violence, are protected speech under the First Amendment (under Supreme Court decisions like R.A.V. v. St. Paul, Brandenburg v. Ohio, and Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement, and appeals court decisions like Dambrot v. Central Michigan University).

But in the military, soldiers get punished for bigotry all the time -- except for this guy. The courts have held that hate-speech or speech that "discriminatorily harasses" others can generally be criminally punished in the military, unlike in the outside world, and accordingly, white supremacists get disciplined for their views. (So, too, do soliders who express disloyalty to their country or even to the Commander in Chief.) But not this soldier, who was more dangerous than your typical white supremacist.

In court cases like Goldman v. Weinberger and Brown v. Glines, the Supreme Court has said that soldiers have less free speech rights, and less freedom of religion, than in the civilian world. The military cites this all the time when it wants to punish soldiers for bigotry, like the soldier who was convicted for uttering a sexist insult about liberal Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) in the aftermath of the Tailhook Scandal. (The Air Force Court of Appeals did overturn one military "harassment" regulation as too vague, in an unpublished ruling, but it held that such bigoted speech could be banned under a clearer regulation, and most such regulations have been upheld).

But the military was too chicken to apply its standard policy against hate-speech and bigotry to this soldier, presumably because political correctness exempts Muslims from the rules that members of other religions have to follow, in the eyes of the liberal Obama Administration officials and lawmakers to whom the military is accountable.

Even if his hate-speech and anti-American views had been protected speech in the sense of not being punishable, the speech would still be circumstantial evidence of unfitness for his position counseling injured American veterans, warranting his departure from the military for a more appropriate line of work.

Obama could barely bring himself to mention the incident, much less express sympathy for the victims, in his remarks today, in which he buried any expression of sympathy in the middle of a speech filled with "wildly disconnected" ramblings about Native Americans. (If he had wanted to talk about Native Americans, he should expressed gratitude for the role Navajo code talkers played in the U.S. victory in the Pacific in World War II).

I am not arguing for a ban on Muslims in the military. The military has a critical shortage of, and need for, translators who speak languages like Pashto (spoken in Afghanistan), Urdu (spoken in Pakistan) and Arabic. These translators are often Muslim, and they should be welcome in the military. But neither should the military exempt Muslims from the rules of conduct imposed on soldiers of other religions. That is an insult to the principle of equality under the law.



Journalism and the Left

There has always been concern among fiscal conservatives that their common sense approach to government expenditures never receives a fair representation in the mainstream media. Even when their ideas are enacted and prove to be very successful, they are derided by the news media. The policies enacted by the Reagan Administration produced a decade of economic growth and ended many years of uncontrolled inflation, yet those policies were labeled as “trickle down economics” by the left and the news media.

The left tries to invoke egalitarianism when discussing their policies, however in the words of Winston Churchill, “The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”. This may explain the reasons for media bias better than any thoughts of egalitarianism.

The left has been described as a “coalition of competing parasites”. For trial lawyers, labor unions and investment banking firms, the close association of their groups with a left leaning government means that they can circumvent the invisible hand of free enterprise to obtain greater financial rewards for their members.

For others in the left, it is the fact that they spend many years in academia that makes them arrogant enough to believe that the average citizen should be allowed to make decisions that affect his or her future. They believe that the enlightened few, not “we the people” should make policy decisions for the country. The fact that the enlightened few will enjoy elevated social status and financial rewards also motivates to this group.

For the news media, the situation is slightly different. The members of the news media have spent years in college generally far removed from quantitative subjects such as math, science and economics. In the words of one reporter discussing perceived media bias, “if we enjoyed math, we would have gone to school for engineering not for journalism”.

Of the competing parasites that comprise the left, journalists share many of the ideas from the enlightened few, however they can not translate their promotion and support for a leftist government into financial gain the way that labor unions, investment banks and trial lawyers can. The media still needs to sell advertising to pay the employees of newspapers, magazines and television networks.

Thus for many in the news media, the support for the left is based upon envy not egalitarianism. Journalism is a demanding profession with long hours, oppressive deadlines and relatively low pay. Those that did study math and science in college go into professions where the starting pay may exceed the median earnings for an experienced journalist.

Just as the college professors in FDR’s cabinet resented that the economic growth of the 1920’s allowed industrials to earn far more than their years of education afforded them, the real issue of many on the left is just envy that society values the products and services of others more than the particular skills that they possess.



Congress may stifle recovery before it grows

By: Irwin M. Stelzer

There are times when the economic data point in one direction, and businessmen in the privacy of their boardrooms point in another. A case in point is the recent report that the recession is over: The housing and manufacturing sectors are recovering, and retailers have sheathed the hara-kiri knives they sharpened in anticipation of a gloomy holiday season as major categories of goods sell at the most robust pace in a year.

"I'll believe it when I see it on my top line," seems to be the attitude of most businessmen, who are hoarding cash in record amounts. The Wall Street Journal estimates that corporate cash hoards now total over $1 trillion, or about 11 percent of assets, compared with $846 billion, or less than 8 percent of assets not much more than a year ago.

Show us the demand, not statistics about the demand, corporate executives seem to be saying, and we will dip into our ample treasuries and begin investing and hiring.

Which might in the end be very good news indeed, and add to other bits of evidence about the durability and speed of the recovery that seems to be under way.

The pieces seem to be in place for a rapid recovery. The pile of cash on which corporations are sitting is available for investment and hiring at the first signs of a durable recovery in consumer demand.

Inventories are low enough to encourage restocking. The dollar is weak and weakening, which should encourage exports and discourage imports, meaning more jobs for American workers.

The Federal Reserve Board's monetary policy gurus met earlier this week and the inflation doves routed the inflation hawks, meaning that interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future. Good news for housing and other interest-rate sensitive industries.

All of that should add up to a decent recovery -- unless. ... There is a nagging fear among those who closely watch not only the economy but government policy that these nascent economic forces might be murdered in their crib by the current administration.

Small-business men I met with this week tell me they are in a state of paralysis as they watch the debate over the health care "reform" bill wending its way through Congress. Lurking in its 1,502 pages (the Senate version) are provisions that will markedly raise their costs, and their personal taxes. So even as business gets better, they won't take on more staff because they can't figure out what it will cost them to do so.

Then there is the turmoil over all aspects of the financial services industries. The bonus brawl is the most widely publicized, with bankers somehow stunned that the public should resent their record takings after being bailed out by the government and, in cases such as Goldman Sachs, continuing to benefit from government guarantees of their debt.

More important, indecision on how to reform the financial sector continues to weigh on growth, as banks develop ever more stringent restrictions on credit availability while they wait to see who wins the battle between the Obama White House, which wants to give more power to the Fed, and the Congress, which wants to give the Treasury Department authority to close down any financial institution it deems unfit.

This is no small matter, as the at-least partly nonpolitical Fed is less likely than the completely political Treasury to move against an institution for purely partisan political reasons.

Then there is that old bogey taxes. Economists who have the administration's ear just do not believe that higher marginal tax rates will slow economic growth.

They are flirting with such things as an effective 60 percent rate on the incremental income of very high earners or, in the case of congressmen searching desperately for a way to fund the president's $1 trillion health care plan, a "millionaire's tax" on the order of a 5 percent surcharge on the taxes of anyone earning that sum.

They are convinced that markets don't work the way that traditional economists believe, that money incentives do not drive risk taking and hard work, and that therefore appropriating a larger portion of national income for the state will not affect the growth rate.

So when deciding whether you believe we are headed for a rapid recovery, or a tepid one, or none at all, weigh the positive signals from the economy against what some, myself included, believe to be the effect of the policy errors that are in store for us.



Democratic civil war: MoveOn raises $3.6 million to attack party moderates

A few days ago, the left-wing activist group began sending out emails seeking contributions to fund primary challenges against any Democratic senator who does not fully support "health care reform with a public option." Now there's an update: MoveOn executive director Justin Ruben says the group has raised $3,578,117 for the project and is thinking of new ways to punish errant Democratic lawmakers.

"It's a huge sum, and the clearest signal yet that any Democrat who helps Republicans filibuster health care reform will face an enormous backlash from the grassroots," writes Ruben. And now, working in conjunction with Howard Dean's old organization Democracy for America, MoveOn is starting a drive to take away the committee chairmanships of any Democrat who fails to live up to MoveOn's progressive standards. "Many of these senators hold coveted committee chairmanships that give them significant power within the Senate," Ruben writes. "Our friends at Democracy for America have launched an open letter urging Senate Democrats to strip committee chairmanships from any Democrat who filibusters health care." Ruben says that more than 66,000 MoveOn and Democracy for America members have pledged to contribute.

"Chairing a committee is a privilege, not a right," Ruben continues. "So if a member of the Democratic Congress joins with Republicans in the most important vote in a generation, then they certainly don't deserve a position of power controlled by Democrats."

The latest statements from MoveOn and Democracy for America come amid continued media analysis of divisions in the Republican party. MoveOn's threats -- backed by millions of dollars and tens of thousands of progressive activists -- have received far less attention.



Heartburn for Obama

On Tuesday evening, the disparity between Fox News' ratings and those of its cable news competitors was remarkable: More people watched Fox News than all of its cable news competitors combined, and CNN came in a dismal fourth. CNN's ratings have been in a tailspin. Shockingly, CNN finished October out of the list of the top 30 cable channels. Fox News, meanwhile, was the third highest-rated cable channel in prime time, after USA and ESPN.

Some might argue that Tuesday's ratings were skewed because it was mostly Republicans who were fired up about that day's elections. True enough, as the election results showed. But lots of Democrats watch Fox too--in fact, around 30 percent of Fox's audience are Democrats. A couple of nights ago we were watching Bill O'Reilly's show, and he pointed out that more Democrats watch Fox News than CNN and MSNBC combined, even though those networks cater almost exclusively to the left--one more reason why the Obama administration's attacks on Fox are painfully stupid.



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


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


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fascist Russia

Obamaphiles aren't the only statists who long for mandatory absorption into a scary collectivist herd. Yesterday was Russia's Day of People's Unity. While the Ditherer in Chief loses the war in Afghanistan and maneuvers our economy toward eventual collapse with unsustainable spending, this is what's going on in Russia, which has the firepower to blow up most of the solar system:

It's a scary world out there. Too bad our government is more interested in "fundamentally transforming" America than defending it.



The Israeli difference

People forget how small Israel is. Its entire population is a little over 7 million - smaller than Lima, Peru. Its land area is about 8,000 square miles, smaller than New Jersey or Belize. By comparison, Jordan, its neighbor to the east, occupies 35,000 square miles; Egypt, its neighbor to the West, covers 386,000 square miles....

Defenders of Israel argue that it is despised for different reasons, not least because it is an outpost of Western values in a region, the broader Middle East, engaged in a long-term project of religious and ethnic cleansing. One country after another has become inhospitable toward its minorities. As a result, Jews, Christians, Baha'i's and Zoroastrians are among the minority groups that have been eliminated, decimated or compelled to flee to more tolerant corners of the world.

There also is the fact that, economically, Israel punches way above its weight. As Dan Senor and Saul Singer describe and document in a fascinating new book, "Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle," the "greatest concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world today" is found in the Jewish state: a higher percentage of GDP devoted to research and development than anywhere else in the world; more high-tech start-ups per capita than any other country; 80 times as much venture capital investment per capita as in China; more companies on NASDAQ than all of Europe combined.

What's more, Senor and Singer believe the conventional and sometimes stereotypical explanations for this success - e.g. Jews work hard, Jews are smart - are either wrong or insufficient.

An overlooked and key contributing factor, they theorize, is that virtually all Israelis serve in the military where a specific set of skills and values are pounded into them. They learn for example, "that you must complete your mission, but that the only way to do that is as a team. The battle cry is ‘After me': there is no leadership without personal example and without inspiring your team to charge together and with you. There is no leaving anyone behind. You have minimal guidance from the top and are expected to improvise..." The Israeli military encourages a kind of entrepreneurship: the assumption of both responsibility and risk at a young age, coupled with on-the-job experience making life-and-death decisions.

European troops, by contrast, rarely venture onto battlefields and, when they do, as in Afghanistan, too often are instructed to serve as peacekeepers -- where there is no peace to keep. What does that teach?

In recent years, American military men and women have been facing - and overcoming - daunting challenges. Senor and Singer suggest that upon return to civilian life they should not "de-emphasize their military experience when applying for jobs," and that employers should recognize the skills and habits that young Americans are now acquiring while fighting for their country and to ensure that freedom has a future...



The “Stimulus” Stopped the Recession? Not So Fast!

I don’t intend for this column to be a weekly response to Paul Krugman, but there are times he writes such outrageous things that I won’t be silent. The New York Times column of November 2 is one of them. Krugman declares that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “stimulus”) has “worked,” but still is “not enough.” Its supposedly curative economic powers are described as such:
…not that long ago the U.S. economy was in free fall. Without the recovery act, the free fall would probably have continued, as unemployed workers slashed their spending, cash-strapped state and local governments engaged in mass layoffs, and more.

The stimulus didn’t completely eliminate these effects, but it was enough to break the vicious circle of economic decline. Aid to the unemployed and help for state and local governments were probably the most important factors. If you want to see the recovery act in action, visit a classroom: your local school probably would have had to fire a lot of teachers if the stimulus hadn’t been enacted.

Unfortunately, there is more from where that came: “The good news is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a k a the Obama stimulus plan, is working just about the way textbook macroeconomics said it would.”

Unfortunately, according to this star of Princeton University’s all-star faculty, the near-trillion dollars of this program, which came entirely from borrowing and printing money, must have a sequel — or the U.S. economy will have high unemployment for years to come. The only thing that can “save” us is another round of borrowing and printing.
The effects of the stimulus will build over time — it’s still likely to create or save a total of around three million jobs — but its peak impact on the growth of G.D.P. (as opposed to its level) is already behind us. Solid growth will continue only if private spending takes up the baton as the effect of the stimulus fades. And so far there’s no sign that this is happening. So the government needs to do much more.

Stuff like this demonstrates just how much the Times editorial page has fallen since the days when Henry Hazlitt was penning editorials for the Gray Lady. So where do we begin? We begin by explaining something about a real economy, not a creation of the Keynesian textbooks.

An economy is not a “blob” into which people pour money, the Keynesian view. It is an intricate combination of factors of production which individuals harness to meet the real needs of real people. It is a process constrained by the law of scarcity, which means that the workings of an economy – if individuals are permitted the freedom necessary to make it work – are going to be directed toward individual needs.

Factors used for one purpose cannot simultaneously be used for something else, and it matters that these scarce factors be directed properly. Unfortunately, the dominant thinking among professional and academic economists is that the economy is an empty tank into which one pours the fuel of money and magically it “creates jobs” and goods. This is as nonsensical as Aaron’s explanation to Moses that the Golden Calf simply rose out of a fire after he threw a bunch of gold jewelry into it.

The “stimulus” has not “saved” anything. It has been a huge misdirection of resources from things that would meet real-live individual needs to those things that meet the “needs” of politicians to be reelected. As I noted in an earlier column, where I live almost half a million dollars was spent rolling sod onto a narrow median strip on I-68 near my home, an unnecessary and wasteful project if ever one existed.

Our economy is moribund because for many years the government and the Federal Reserve misdirected resources into lines of production that never could be sustained. While the boom lasted, things seemed to be great, but it now is time to pay the piper. Unfortunately, the politicians and intellectuals seem to believe that the “solution” is even more wasteful spending.




Democrats in denial: "Neither Barack Obama nor Nancy Pelosi can be as clueless as they want us to think they are. The White House said the president was so uninterested in the results on election night that he watched a documentary on the '08 presidential campaign, no doubt eager to see who won. Mzz Pelosi, as oblivious of the scoreboard as a ditzy cheerleader unaware of which team has the ball, insists her side won the night. Mr. Obama continues to campaign for the job the rest of us thought we gave him a year ago. The day after the Republicans sent wake-up calls from Virginia and New Jersey, he was back on the stump, working up a sweat -- or at least a gentlemanly perspiration -- and breathing hard against George W. Bush.... But like it or not, Mr. Obama is the president now, and the opportunities and failures at the White House are his. George W. is back home in Texas, where he no longer frightens women and horses. We've still got record deficits, two wars and now our allies don't know what to believe. Someone should break the news, gently, to the president that the election is over and he won."

Obama’s Pet-Goat Moment: "We still don’t know what was behind the killings at Ft. Hood this afternoon, in which 11 soldiers and the killer died, but President Obama’s rushed press conference was surprising in its flippancy nonetheless. Before he got to the issue on everyone’s mind — namely the deaths of Americans in uniform — the president gave a “shout-out” to government bureaucrats gathered for a previously scheduled conference at the Interior Department, complete with appreciative chuckles. He treated the event like a pep rally rather than a tragic occasion with a wider audience than those gathered in the room. I wonder how many media outlets will compare Obama’s performance to President Bush’s “Pet Goat” moment on 9/11. I won’t hold my breath." [The latest info is that the murderer was a Muslim with open Jihadi sympathies. Why nothing was done about that is the question. More here and here]

Celebrating limits: "The single biggest myth in American politics is that advocacy of limited government is a fringe position. The way to attract ‘moderates’ and ‘independents,’ we are told, is for conservatives to adopt some sort of stratagem that involves using government actively but wisely and efficiently, for the right ends, in order to attract the target audience du jour: suburbanites, exurbanites, Bobos, soccer moms, Hispanics, metrosexuals, or any number of other strata of supposedly poll-tested exotica. Balderdash. As Tuesday’s elections showed, support for limited government remains a mainstream position.”

EU’s Deafening Silence Over Russian Threat to Poland: "EU elites have been lining up in euphoric droves to celebrate the passage of the Lisbon Treaty. Having fudged, connived, bullied and browbeaten the final hold-outs, the creation of an EU super-state will now take its greatest leap forward. Contrast the throngs of headlines over Lisbon’s passage with the EU’s response to Russia’s simulation of a nuclear attack on Poland. A Polish newspaper recently revealed that Moscow simulated a war game in which Russian armed forces invaded Poland and nuclear missiles were fired. Eerily similar to the propaganda methods adopted by Moscow during the Russia-Georgia war, Poland was labeled an aggressor country. Speaking in Washington this week, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski drew attention to Russia’s gamed deployment of 900 tanks during this exercise. Brussels’ silence has been deafening; not a word of condemnation has escaped the lips of the elites who have manically pursued the suprantionalization of foreign policy within the EU. With wanton appeasement, Brussels has made it clear that it has no intentions of coming to Poland’s defense over this massive provocation. Polish MP Karol Karski has formally protested to the European Commission over this matter."

KY: Census worker hanging may have been suicide: "Investigators probing the death of a Kentucky census worker found hanging from a tree with the word ‘fed’ scrawled on his chest increasingly doubt he was killed because of his government job and are pursuing the possibility he committed suicide, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. … In recent weeks, investigators have grown more skeptical that 51-year-old Bill Sparkman died at the hands of someone angry at the federal government. The officials said investigators continue to look closely at suicide as a possible cause of Sparkman’s death for a number of reasons. There were no defensive wounds on Sparkman’s body, and while his hands were bound with duct-tape, they were still somewhat mobile, suggesting he could have manipulated the rope, the officials said.”

The double standard about journalists’ bias: "I made The New York Times last week. It even ran my picture. My mother would be proud. Unfortunately, the story was critical. It said, ‘Critics have leaped on Mr. Stossel’s speaking engagements as the latest evidence of conservative bias on the part of Fox.’ Which ‘critics’ had ‘leaped?’ The reporter mentioned Rachel Maddow. I wouldn’t think her criticism newsworthy, but Times reporters may use MSNBC as their guide to life. He also quoted an ‘associate professor of journalism’ who said my speeches were ”pretty shameful’ by traditional journalistic standards.’ All this because I spoke at an event for Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a ‘conservative advocacy group.”

Agreeing with Jesus’ general on sex offenders: "It is heartening to see a growing backlash against the hysterical and destructive sex-offender laws that do nothing to protect victims. Indeed, the laws themselves victimize innocent people, who are often children, while placing violent sex-offenders in circumstances that maximize chances of their re-offending. Current sex-offender laws are written to promote careers in politics, academia and law enforcement. The cry of the ambitious, the experts, and the well-paid enforcers is always for more laws! Stiffer sentences! No tolerance … even toward children whose lives are ruined by being placed on registries for crimes like sexting their own photos or mooning a school bus.”

Remember remember the 9th of November (the fall of the Berlin Wall): "It is precisely now, when the public mood is so bitter towards bankers, so hostile to profit, so seemingly brassed off with the very idea of wealth creation that we should remember how ghastly, grim and unworkable was the alternative — state-controlled socialism. It was a moral disaster, a system that extolled equality but entrenched the privileges of an unelected elite who luxuriated in their dachas and their Zil limos, roaring down their reserved lanes and splashing the people with contemptuous sludge. It was a cultural and artistic wasteland, a regime that promoted the kitsch and camp of socialist realism and whose only literary legacy is the handful of books by authors brave enough to denounce the regime. It was a complete and utter environmental catastrophe, as anyone who travelled behind the Iron Curtain will remember.”

Time to reform the British Parliament — or blow it up?: "If Guy Fawkes came back today and blew up Parliament, would we notice any difference? In a new briefing published today, ASI fellows Tim Ambler and Keith Boyfield say they’re not so sure. The EU writes our most important laws, and ministers are more accountable to the media than to MPs. New regulations, like those giving councils the power to search our homes and freeze our bank accounts, are never even debated. MPs vote as the party whips tell them, not as their constituents want. No wonder 80% of Brits think that Parliament has lost the plot.”

British taxpayers give £20m benefits to Polish children - even if they have never stepped foot in Britain: "Taxpayers are funding child benefit for more than 50,000 children of migrant workers - even though the youngsters still live in their home countries. Treasury figures show that Poles make up the vast majority of the payments made under a loophole in EU legislation. Benefits are paid to 37,941 children in the former Eastern Bloc country, who have one or both parents working in the UK. The cost is estimated at more than £24million a year. The number of Polish children being subsidised by British taxpayers has jumped by 6,542 in two years despite a slowdown in immigration because of the recession. Under 'social responsibility coordinating regulations' drawn up in Brussels, EU migrant workers who pay taxes in their host country are able to claim benefits and tax credits as soon as they start work, even if they have left their families behind. British handouts are much higher than many other countries' payments - particularly in Eastern Europe. Migrants living and working in the UK claim the benefit in their home country, but if that works out to be less than the UK allowance, the Treasury tops up the difference. Where a family is ineligible for child benefit in their homeland - possibly because they earn too much - they can claim the full UK rate of £20 a week for the first child and £13.20 for others. In Poland, the equivalent of child benefit amounts to between £3 and £5 a week."


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


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


Friday, November 6, 2009

America needs some true Realpolitik

Israel's edge in hi-tech makes it an essential ally; China is a potential friend

It is easy to confuse "realism" with a widely shared delusion. In the parlance of American foreign policy, "realism" means accepting a howling lie if it is accepted by a large enough number of people. The "realists" during the Ronald Reagan administration insisted that the Soviet Union was a successful, stable and permanent fixture in the world power equation. Reagan and his advisors saw in Soviet aggression a symptom of imminent internal breakdown. The head of plans at Reagan's National Security Council, Norman A Bailey, told me in early 1981 that American rearmament would overstrain the Soviet economy and bring about the collapse of communism by 2007. I thought him a dangerous lunatic and, like Tertullian, signed up forthwith.

Why pursue detente with a Soviet Union that inevitably would collapse of its own incompetence and corruption? And why ally with Muslim countries sinking into irreversible decline, in some cases civil war? Iran, Turkey and Algeria will age as rapidly as Western European countries, but without the wealth buffer to deal with a burgeoning cohort of dependent elderly.

Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan seem ungovernable. Among the largest Muslim countries only Bangladesh and Indonesia seem stable, but they have little relevance to American policy in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia's influence in the region is expressed mainly by financing fundamentalist madrassas (seminaries) in neighboring countries and writing checks to compliant former American presidents as well as "realist" academics. The Saudis will sell us the oil; we do not need to wash their feet in return.

Reality presented itself to the White House in the course of the current give-and-take over Israel and Palestine in the person of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, perhaps the last functioning realist in the Obama administration. The Pentagon, as I noted two weeks ago, views with realistic horror the possibility that Israel might exchange military technology with Russia and India. An immediate concern is the Russian-Indian joint venture to produce a fifth-generation fighter, but drone, anti-missile, and other technology are also a concern. That, there is reason to believe, explains why the US administration abruptly dropped its demand for a complete Israeli freeze on settlement construction and accepted the Israeli offer of a freeze on acquiring new land, once 3,000 homes at present under construction are complete.

That, contrary to Mearsheimer and Walt, is realism: in a world of weapons of mass destruction, very large numbers of poorly educated people make no contribution to military power. Even in the age of edged weapons, Persia's advantage in numbers at Gaugamela posed little threat to Alexander the Great. Despite its declining population, Russia is determined to exercise military power on a world scale through its edge in key military technologies.

Israel's contribution might be decisive in a number of fields, for example avionics and especially drone technology. Among the million Russians who emigrated to Israel during the breakdown of the Soviet Empire are more than 10,000 scientists, including some who designed Russia's best weapons systems. Moscow's impulse to reunite the old team is understandable. Throw Israel into the briar patch, and America might not like the result.

It seems a long and drafty walk down the corridors of time since Richard Perle, the chairman of Bush's Defense Policy Board, and David Frum, the speechwriter who coined the term "axis of evil", joined to write a book with the grandiose title, An End to Evil. That was only five years ago. Never were policy wonks more full of themselves, or more challenged theologically, or more likely to be forgotten. And it seems like an eternity since Obama set out to dismantle American strategic superiority.

Unlikely as it sounds, there is no "realist" school of foreign policy at work in Washington, just the idiot twins of idealism and the majority-rule fantasists. Gates seems capable of realism, at least when the intelligence reports smack him in the face like a dead mackerel. No one in Washington seems to ask the obvious questions:

# Which countries are inherently friendly, which are inherently hostile, and which are neither friendly nor hostile, but merely self-interested?

# Which countries are viable partners over a given time horizon, and which are beyond viability?

# Where can we solve problems, and where must we resign ourselves to contain them at best?

# Where can we make agreements in mutual self-interest, and where is it impossible to make agreements of any kind?

# What issues affect American national security in so urgent a fashion that we should employ force if required?

A few suggestions:

China is the fulcrum of American strategy. The world's two largest economies have a natural self-interest in strengthening each other. Francesco Sisci and I proposed an economic alliance between America and China in this space a year ago (see US's road to recovery runs through Beijing Asia Times Online, November 15, 2008).

It goes without saying that the political implications of such an economic alliance would be profound. Forget about the Uyghurs of Xinjiang or the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama: China is an empire in constant risk of provincial rebellion and cannot show mercy to any regional separatist without risking internal dissolution. That is the last thing the West should want; were China to descend into internal instability, America's economic prospects would turn sour for a generation.

If America wants to promote human rights in China, it should promote open capital markets, immigration of Chinese entrepreneurs, and other benign ways of opening Chinese society to more individual power. China also wants America to remain a power in Asia: China and its neighbors distrust each other more than ever they distrusted the United States.

Russia is a spoiler, but a bargainer. America has no interest in color revolutions in the Russian "near abroad" (just what is the strategic significance of the "Tulip Revolution" in Kyrzgyzstan?). Georgia and the Ukraine are respectively last and second-to-last in the world fertility tables and will cease to exist as national entities by mid-century. Why should America make commitments there?

The notion that the United States can contribute substantially to energy independence by running pipelines around the edge of Russian borders seems fanciful. These are all bargaining chips. America should trade away what it does not require (democracy in the "stans") for what it does require, for instance Russian strategic cooperation in non-proliferation, especially where Iran is concerned. This may be the one thing that the Obama administration has done right, although it remains to be seen whether it has done anything at all.

India is a prospective friend. The precedent of nuclear cooperation with India as well as India's common interest in suppressing Muslim terrorists brought the world's largest democracy close to the American camp during the Bush administration. India's economic boom, moreover, increases its links to the American economy.

Iran is past bargaining with; it must be ruined.



Fall Of The Wall? U.S. Sends Regrets

The White House has announced our absence at ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Meanwhile, Russia has been practicing a nuclear invasion of an abandoned Poland.

The Berlin Wall has been a famous backdrop for American presidents sounding the battle cry of liberty in the struggle against tyranny. It was there that John F. Kennedy expressed our solidarity with the encircled residents of that outpost of freedom with his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner." And it was there that Ronald Reagan, with a defiant "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," voiced our determination not to merely contain or get along with Soviet Communism, but to defeat it. On Nov. 9, 1989, the people of Berlin did just that, secure in the knowledge that an economically and militarily revived America had their back. But that was then and this is now.

Today, American leaders travel the world expressing their regrets for our alleged past transgressions, and American exceptionalism is no longer part of our vocabulary. We're just another one of the gang, sandwiched alphabetically between Uganda and Upper Volta, whose votes cancel ours in an international community to which we pledge our fealty. On the 20th anniversary of this triumph of freedom, it appears than no American president will be there to celebrate, much less remember, the day that the "evil empire" was consigned to the ash heap of history.

Words have consequences and dates have significance. It did not escape the notice of the Poles and indeed the rest of Europe when we chose the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland on Sept. 17, 1939, to tell the Polish government in a midnight phone call that we were pulling the plug on our commitment to place ground-based missile interceptors in Poland.

Documents obtained by Wprost, one of Poland's leading news magazines, reveal that at that same time the Russians were conducting war games in which nuclear missiles were fired and troops practiced amphibious landings on the coast of a "potential aggressor." In the exercises, the potential aggressor was Poland.

As the London Telegraph reports, the Russian air force practiced using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland on the northeast, forces stormed a "Polish" beach and attacked a gas pipeline. "It's an attempt to put us in our place," said Marek Opiola, a member of Poland's parliament. "Don't forget all this happened on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland."

Before we reneged on our commitment to place ground-based interceptors in Poland, Soviet President Medvedev threatened to deploy SS-26 Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, right between our NATO allies Poland and Lithuania. In the 1980s, when the Soviet Union targeted Europe with its SS-20s, a first-strike weapon of unmatched power, President Reagan responded quite differently, upping the ante by deploying Pershing missiles in West Germany.

In July, leading European freedom fighters, including Poland's Lech Walesa and the Czech Republic's Vaclav Havel, wrote an open letter to President Obama warning that the Russia of Medvedev and Putin "is back as a revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods."

In March, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red "reset button" to symbolize improved ties, but the gift drew smiles as the word "reset" was mistranslated into the Russian word for "overcharge." Something else was apparently lost in the translation. We need to press the reset button again, back to the days when American presidents stood in Berlin and echoed the cry of Scottish patriot William Wallace: "Freedom!"




Israel seizes Iranian arms shipment: "ISRAELI commandos and warships yesterday intercepted a ship carrying weapons from Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah militia in a raid dozens of miles off its coast. The pre-dawn seizure near Cyprus was a rare interception of a suspected arms shipment by Israel, which has long accused Iran of arming its enemies. "During the night a special marine force intercepted a ship that was supposed to be carrying cargo around 100 miles from our shore," a military spokeswoman said last night. Photographs of the ship being searched in Israel's Ashdod port identified the vessel as the Francop, sailing under an Antigua flag. "We suspected it was carrying weapons and when we inspected it that turned out to be true," the spokeswoman said. President Shimon Peres said it appeared to be ferrying weapons from Iran to Lebanon. "The IDF successfully seized a boat that apparently came from Iran and was heading to Syria and Hezbollah," Mr Peres said. "All those involved deny involvement, but the world is witness today to the huge gap between what Iran and Syria say and their actions." Local media reported that the vessel was carrying a shipment of several tonnes of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, and Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told army radio that Katyusha rockets were among the cache."

Salary raise counted as saved job: "President Barack Obama's economic recovery program saved 935 jobs at the Southwest Georgia Community Action Council, an impressive success story for the stimulus plan. Trouble is, only 508 people work there. The Georgia nonprofit's inflated job count is among persisting errors in the government's latest effort to measure the effect of the $787 billion stimulus plan despite White House promises last week that the new data would undergo an "extensive review" to root out errors discovered in an earlier report. About two-thirds of the 14,506 jobs claimed to be saved under one federal office, the Administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, actually weren't saved at all, according to a review of the latest data by The Associated Press. Instead, that figure includes more than 9,300 existing employees in hundreds of local agencies who received pay raises and benefits and whose jobs weren't saved".

Be careful what you say: "If you hang around teenagers enough you notice they say some real interesting things. ‘I can kick his ass with my bare hands’ is high up on the list. ‘I’m going to get that little fag, he just stole my girlfriend,’ is another. That second one just turned a fight between two guys because one stole the other’s girlfriend into a hate crime under the defense appropriation bill Obama just signed.”

WTO 'could challenge internet censorship': "Internet censorship is open to challenge at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as it can restrict trade in online services, a forthcoming study says. A censorship case at the WTO could raise sovereignty issues, given the clear right of member states to restrict trade on moral grounds - for example, by blocking access to child pornography websites. The study could hold implications for the Australian government, which is planning to introduce a national web filter against "unwanted material". But a WTO ruling could set limits on blanket censorship and compel states instead to use more selective filtering, according to the study, to be published this week by European think-tank ECIPE. "Many WTO member states are legally obliged to permit an unrestricted supply of cross-border internet services," Brian Hindley and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama wrote in the report. Many countries censor the internet for political or moral reasons. China has developed one of the most pervasive systems, in Cuba all unauthorized surfing is illegal, and the Australian Government is planning a mandatory filter for national rollout."

Tamil Tigers look to regroup in wishy-washy Canada: "The Tamil Tigers organization hopes to use Canada as a strategic base to continue the fight against the government of Sri Lanka, according to an authority on the alleged terrorist group. "I cannot think of any other country that is more important for the Tamil Tigers as Canada, to regroup and continue their campaign against Sri Lanka," said Prof. Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, a Singapore-based think-tank. Gunaratna is advising the Canadian government as it investigates the 75 Tamil migrants currently in immigration custody in Vancouver. The men were found aboard a ship seized off the coast of British Columbia on Oct. 17. Lawyers for the men have said they are not Tamil Tigers, but Gunaratna disagreed. "There are many members of the Tamil Tigers on board that vessel," Gunaratna said in an interview from Singapore. The Tigers — banned in Canada as a terrorist organization — were defeated in May 2009 after a 23-year insurgency."

Mortgage crisis shows that government regulation doesn’t work : "Headlines like this drive me nuts: Mortgage Crisis Shows Why Financial Regulation is Needed. Yes, regulation is needed. Market regulation, that is. At every turn, the government and its accomplices in the financial industry — the politically-connected players — have undermined the free market’s ability to self-regulate. But, of course, this is not the sort of regulation to which the author is referring. No, the market is to blame and our benevolent protectors in government must come to our aid through enlightened regulation.”

Daylight saving not helpful: "Although daylight-saving time was sold politically as an energy-conservation measure, it does no such thing. Studies conducted in Indiana prior to 2006, when that state operated under three different time regimes, show either no difference in energy consumption or a small increase in power usage during the months after clocks were moved one hour ahead. The annual ritual of springing forward and falling back thus possibly produces no energy savings and may be counterproductive. It also requires those who live in places where daylight-saving time is observed to waste time twice a year adjusting their clocks and watches. Yet the costs of switching between daylight-saving and standard time go far beyond the hassles of ‘losing’ an hour in the springtime and ‘gaining’ it back in the fall.”


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


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


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Junk Science Returns to the White House

Regardless of your tribal affiliations, were you cautiously optimistic when our new president promised to "restore science to its rightful place" in the formulation of public policy? Were you embarrassed by the prior occupant's politicization of issues that should have been decided on a more scientific basis? Did you assume that Barack Obama would surround himself with apolitical science advisors unencumbered by embarrassing anti-science baggage and free of culture-war axes to grind?

To paraphrase a once famous mayor of New York - So how's he doing so far?

You're probably aware that the H1N1 swine flu vaccine supply has fallen dangerously short of the level required to protect the most vulnerable among us. In the spring Federal officials predicted that as many as 120 million doses would be available by now, as opposed to the 16 million doses that actually arrived. Flu vaccine is tricky to make under the best of circumstances, but there are scientifically safe and proven ways to stretch supplies. Are you aware that the Federal Government refuses to allow the use of adjuvants that can be used to produce twice as many doses from the same vaccine stock? This despite the fact that over 40 million doses of flu vaccine containing adjuvants have been dispensed in Europe over the past dozen years without any indication of a safety issue. Some people denied shots because of this decision are going to die. Does this policy sound scientific or political?

You're probably aware that a mercury-containing preservative called thimerosal was removed from children's vaccines in 2001 to mollify activists promoting the theory that thimerosal causes autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there was then and is still now no scientific evidence linking thimerosal to autism. Despite numerous peer-reviewed studies as well as the empirical fact that autism rates have not plunged since the 2001 thimerosal ban, as one would expect if the preservative were a leading cause of this heart breaking illness, the administration recently made a decision that further reduced the supply of H1N1 vaccine. It switched our country's emergency H1N1 vaccine order from multi-dose to single-dose vials, causing production chain backups as vendors scrambled to accommodate the last-minute switch. Why the change? Because single-dose vials contain a lower concentration of thimerosal. Some people denied shots because of this decision are going to die. Does this policy sound scientific or political?

Did you know that despite the melting ice cap there are estimated to be five times as many polar bears wandering the northern regions of our planet today than there were fifty years ago? Studies indicate that the biggest threat to polar bears are not present climate conditions but forecasts of future conditions made by climate models. These are the same models that have been unable to explain why the hottest year on record was actually 11 years ago despite increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and that the world's oceans appear to be cooling. This has not stopped the administration from proposing that 200,000 square miles of land, sea, and ice along the northern coast of Alaska be designated as "critical habitat for this iconic species." Does reading this statement make you wonder whether polar bears are genuinely endangered or merely charismatic? Does this policy sound scientific or political?

Did you catch the recent peer-reviewed article by Princeton's Tim Searchinger in Science magazine on the impact of biofuels on global warming? The authors found that "corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%." Has the White House called for a halt on ethanol subsidies and blending mandates? Is Obama asking legislators to heed the scientific evidence and pull back from this widely recognized economic and ecological blunder? No. Does this policy sound scientific or political?

Have you looked at the background and track record of the chief scientist the president chose to advise him? In a book co-authored earlier in his career with Population Bomb alarmist Paul Erhlich, Presidential science advisor John Holdren discussed the merits of adding a sterilant to public drinking water supplies to reduce population growth. The book goes on to note that "compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution." You see we, dear readers, are not citizens meant to be served by our government. We are pollutants. Does this policy sound scientific or insane?



The Obama Gang: Tyranny by a Thousand Cuts

Never have so few wreaked so much havoc on so many in so little time.

As Americans continue their dalliance with redistribution and collectivism—policies now being reversed or even shunned in other parts of the world—the process takes on the aura of a car wreck, an out-of-body experience seemingly taking place in slow motion. Yet the pace at which we are surrendering our fundamental rights is not a protracted deterioration but instead is breathtakingly quick, considering the fundamental damage visited upon our democratic system by the Obama administration in its brief tenure of less than ten months. Never have so few wreaked so much havoc on so many in so little time.

The free Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia is a too-convenient tool to illustrate a point and this column usually (but not always) resists the temptation. In the Age of Obama, however, its definition of the phrase "Death by a thousand cuts" is just too perfect to ignore: "The political tactic of making gradual changes over time so that nobody notices or those that do notice do not raise much of a protest."

Creeping normalcy —the way a major negative change, that happens slowly in many unnoticed increments, is not perceived as objectionable. And, for those Americans not blissfully unaware of the seismic political shifts taking place: Slow slicing, a form of torture and execution originating from Imperial China. Thus is the current state of Washington politics -- a case of what the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have called "defining deviancy down."

The very audacity —a characteristic held in high regard by the president —with which the administration has attacked groups of private citizens exercising their right to speak out is perhaps unprecedented in American politics. During the government's massive bailout of the car companies, bondholders who complained that their private property was being precipitously expropriated so that valuable interests could be delivered to Obama's union enablers were publicly vilified as malefactors who were erecting obstacles to the "rescue" effort. In fact, these genuine company creditors were protesting actions by which the administration turned centuries of bankruptcy law on its head, thereby wiping out important private property rights in order to repay a political debt.

The administration and its congressional acolytes have in similar fashion attacked citizens who have exercised their free speech rights at the numerous health care town meetings held all over the country. Administration officials and the Democratic congressional leadership have demonstrated a remarkable ability to selectively ignore opinion polls that do not support their objectives, and they have responded to the rising chorus of objections to their health care "reform" plans by calling into question the motives and integrity of plain citizens who are not falling in line. The Obama gang prefers to meet these objections with ridicule and contempt rather than concern and respect, with the obvious objective of bullying Americans into silence on the subject. Meanwhile, every effort is being made to ramrod through a plan—almost any plan, at this point, no matter how wrongheaded—before more Americans realize what is happening and speak up. These are the politics of intimidation, coercion and menace, Chicago writ large on a national scale.

The administration's thin-skinned and vindictive nature is perhaps best reflected in its rabid attacks on the Fox cable network, something so unseemly, petty and undignified that it sets a standard in political overkill not seen since Nixon's enemies list. It took Nixon far longer than ten months to develop the bunker mentality so evident within the Obama team.

Along with these attacks on freedom of expression has come significant erosion in property rights. At the same time the aforementioned bondholders were being stripped of their assets, hundreds of automobile dealers, some in business for several generations, woke up one morning to a government proclamation that they were no longer in business, instantly reducing to ashes some franchises that had been valued in the millions of dollars. This totally opaque process was overseen by one of many "czars" appointed by the president to conduct large-scale government business, people who were neither vetted nor approved by any other branch of government. Shareholders in public companies suddenly have found their boards of directors circumvented or completely made irrelevant by government fiat. Hapless taxpayers underwrite countless bailouts of favored industries, seemingly without end, often propping up for purely political purposes companies with outmoded business models that would quickly fail in a free enterprise environment. Just today the government announced its third—count them—bailout of GMAC, one of many instances of throwing good money after bad.

While busy muzzling Americans and redistributing their wealth, the administration has been hyperactive on the international front. Its activities include abandoning long-time allies like Israel as it "reaches out" to hostile governments in places like Iran and North Korea. It has double-crossed countries like Poland, whose government took significant risks in agreeing to a missile-shield deal largely disavowed by the president and his advisors. The administration has forsaken principles of democracy by ignoring a brave and persecuted opposition in Iran and attempting to reinstall an ousted tyrant in Honduras. And all the while the president has shamed his country by courting tyrants and offering apologies for the supposed injustices America has heaped upon the rest of the world.



Featherbedding stimulus job numbers

Featherbedding occurs when paychecks are issued for nonexistent employees and the money goes directly into union coffers. Thousands of the jobs Obama officials say were saved or created by the stimulus program are no more real than those invisible positions invented by unions to bulk up their treasuries. We know this to be the case because as Obama’s chief economist, Christina Romer, admitted several weeks ago, “It’s very hard to say exactly because you don’t know what the baseline is, right, because you don’t know what the economy would have done without [the economic stimulus program].”

Even if we take at face value the White House claim that it created or saved all these jobs with approximately $150 billion of the economic stimulus money, a little simple math shows the taxpayers aren’t getting any bargains here: $150 billion divided by 650,000 jobs equals $230,000 per job saved or created. Instead of taking all that time required to write the 1,588-page stimulus bill, Congress could have passed a one-pager saying the first 650,000 jobless persons to report for work at the White House will receive a voucher worth $230,000 redeemable at the university, community college or trade school of their choice. That would have been enough for a degree plus a hefty down payment on a mortgage.

Actually, taxpayers would be better off with such a deal, too, compared with the reality of the Obama stimulus program. Among the top 10 stimulus contracts awarded, there is the one for nearly $339 million that allegedly created or saved 41.19 jobs, or about $8.3 million per position. It was even worse with the $258 million contract to Brookhaven Science Associates in New York, where 25 jobs were saved or created, at a cost of $10.3 million per position. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the ranking House minority member of the Joint Economic Committee, said it best: “What we know for certain is that 2.7 million payroll jobs have been lost since the Obama stimulus was signed into law, hundreds of thousands of more jobs are being lost each month, and America is so deep in debt, China and France are lecturing us to get our financial house in order.”




I have just put up on my home page a collection of what I think are some California toons. You can access them directly here or here. They are some of the funniest I have seen.

Iran: Regime thugs beat, gas protestors : "Iranian police fired teargas during clashes with opposition supporters trying to stage a demonstration in central Tehran on Wednesday and made several arrests, witnesses said. … Witnesses said police beat the opposition supporters in a bid to break up the rally but the crowd of several hundred refused to move. Opposition supporters have since June been staging protests in Tehran against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a presidential they claim was massively rigged.”

No queer marriage in Maine: "Maine voters have repealed a state law that would have allowed gay couples to marry. With 84% of the precincts reporting, those against gay marriage had 53% of the vote last night. The outcome amounts to a heartbreaking defeat for the gay rights movement, particularly as it occurred in a north-eastern New England state, the corner of the country most supportive of gay marriage. On the ballot in the state was a ‘people’s veto’ of a law passed this spring, that made Maine the sixth state to extend marriage to same-sex couples. The law was put on hold after conservatives launched a petition drive to repeal it in a referendum.”

Buffett thinks the worst is over: "Berkshire Hathaway has announced plans to acquire the 77.4 per cent of Burlington Northern it doesn't already own in a deal that values the railroad operator at $US34 billion ($38bn), plus $US10bn in debt. The deal, priced at a 31.5 per cent premium to Burlington's most recent close, would mark Berkshire chief Warren Buffett's largest acquisition, boosting his minority stake in the second-largest US railroad by revenue in what he termed an "all-in wager" on the US economic recovery. Berkshire Hathaway, which already owns 22.6 per cent of Burlington Northern, is placing the bet at the tail end of a five-year "rail renaissance" that saw rail volume and pricing soar, only to have the recession cut deeply into traffic and profitability.... Burlington and the other top railroads, including Union Pacific, CSX and Norfolk Southern, are considered barometers of overall economic activity because of the breadth of goods they ship. Mr Buffett has said in the past that he uses weekly railroad carload data by railroads as a proxy for the health of the economy."

Claude Levi-Strauss dies: "French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, who helped shape Western thinking about human civilisation, has died at the age of 100. Trained as a philosopher, Levi-Strauss shot to prominence with his 1955 book Tristes Tropiques (A World on the Wane), a haunting account of travels and studies in the Amazon basin and one of the 20th century's major works. Paying tribute, President Nicolas Sarkozy gave “homage to a tireless humanist, a curious academic who was always in search of new knowledge, to a man free of any sectarianism or indoctrination. Levi-Strauss was a leading proponent of structuralism, which sought to uncover the hidden, unconscious or primitive patterns of thought believed to determine the outer reality of human culture and relationships. Among the more striking conclusions of his work was the idea that there is no fundamental difference between the belief systems and myths of so-called “primitive” races and those of modern Western societies. Levi-Strauss was born in Brussels in 1908, the son of French Jewish parents from the German-speaking region of Alsace." [More here]

Man jailed over pointing lasers at airliners: "A California man who aimed a handheld laser at two passenger jets arriving at John Wayne Airport south of Los Angeles has been jailed for two-and-a-half years, justice authorities said yesterday. Dana Welch, 38, was sentenced after being convicted at a trial in April where he was accused of shining a laser at two Boeing jets as they approached the airport in May last year. The first plane, a United Airlines jet, was carrying more than 180 passengers and crew while the second, an Alaska Airlines aircraft, was carrying more than 80 people, a US Justice Department statement said. A pilot of the United flight was struck in the eye by Welch's green laser beam and suffered "flash blindness." One of the pilots of the Alaska Airlines plane was forced to duck under a glare shield after the beam was shone into the cockpit. Welch was the first person in the United States to be convicted at trial of interfering with aircraft pilots by shooting lasers at their planes."

Tory Mayor of London saves film-maker from girl gang attack: "The Mayor of London has saved a woman who was being attacked by a group of hoodies. One of the gang was brandishing an iron bar, but that didn't stop Mr Johnson going to the aid of Franny Armstrong when he heard her cry for help. Documentary film-maker Miss Armstrong was walking home in Camden on Monday night when she was surrounded by a group of young girls. She was sending a text message and did not notice the girls until they pushed her 'quite hard' against a car. She said she feared they were about to mug her. 'I noticed that one had an iron bar in her hand - it was frightening,' she added. She called out for help to a passing cyclist, who turned out to be Mr Johnson. He approached the girls, shouting: "What do you think you are doing?". The girls dropped the iron bar and ran off. Mr Johnson picked up the iron bar and chased after them on his bike. He returned to the woman a few minutes later and insisted on walking her home. 'He was my knight on a shining bicycle,' she said."

Dangerous Airbus fault still not fixed: "A Jetstar plane may have last week suffered the same malfunction that brought down an Air France jet over the Atlantic, killing all on board, five months ago. At 1.30am on October 29 the pilot of the Jetstar Airbus 330-200 reported an instrument blackout as the jet carrying 200 passengers passed through storm clouds midway between Japan and the Gold Coast. During the six-second blackout, the automatic pilot malfunctioned and fluctuating readings were transmitted by one of the jet's three airspeed indicators - a similar situation to what the pilot of the Air France jet is said to have reported in his final radio message before his aircraft broke up and plunged into the ocean. Jetstar said last night that early indications were the airspeed sensing system suffered a momentary interruption, after which the instruments returned to normal. "The crew remained in full control of the aircraft at all times and responded in accordance with training and procedure," an airline spokesman said. "We are also liaising closely with Airbus." He said several parts were replaced during a detailed examination of the jet before it was allowed to resume flying. The Jetstar and Air France jets were similar models - Airbus 330-200 jetliners."


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


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


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excerpts from an interview with Charles Krauthammer about Obama

The interviewers are German and if you read the whole interview you get the impression that they think Krauthammer is from outer space. As you see, however, Krauthammer has some good answers

SPIEGEL: Why do Europeans react so positively to him?

Krauthammer: Because Europe, for very understandable reasons, has been chaffing for 60 years under the protection, but also the subtle or not so subtle domination of America. Europeans like to see the big guy cut down to size, it's a natural reaction. You know, Europe ran the world for 400 or 500 years until the civilizational suicide of the two World Wars. And then America emerged as the world hegemon, with no competition and unchallenged. The irony is America is the only hegemonic power that never sought hegemony, unlike, for example, Napoleonic France. Americans are not intrinsically imperial, but we ended up dominant by default: Europe disappeared after the Second World War, the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991, so here we are. Of course Europeans like to see the hegemon diminished, and Obama is the perfect man to do that.

SPIEGEL: Maybe Europeans want to just see a different America, one they can admire again.

Krauthammer: Admire? Look at Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly: "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." Take the first half of that sentence: No nation can dominate another. There is no eight year old who would say that -- it's so absurd. And the second half? That is adolescent utopianism. Obama talks in platitudes, but offers a vision to the world of America diminished or constrained, and willing to share leadership in a way that no other presidency and no other great power would. Could you imagine if the Russians were hegemonic, or the Chinese, or the Germans -- that they would speak like this?

SPIEGEL: Is America's power not already diminished?

Krauthammer: Relative to what?

SPIEGEL: To emerging powers.

Krauthammer: The Chinese are rising, the Indians have a very long way to go. But I'm old enough to remember the late 1980s, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" by Paul Kennedy and the prevailing view that America was in decline and Japan was the rising power. The fashion now is that the Chinese will overtake the United States. As with the great Japan panic, there are all kinds of reasons why that will not happen.

Look, eventually American hegemony will fade. In time, yes. But now? Economically we now have serious problems, creating huge amounts of debt that we cannot afford and that could bring down the dollar and even cause hyperinflation. But nothing is inevitable. If we make the right choices, if we keep our economic house in order, we can avert an economic collapse. We can choose to decline or to stay strong.

SPIEGEL: Do you really believe that Obama deliberately wants to weaken the US?

Krauthammer: The liberal vision of America is that it should be less arrogant, less unilateral, more internationalist. In Obama's view, America would subsume itself under a fuzzy internationalism in which the international community, which I think is a fiction, governs itself through the UN.

SPIEGEL: A nightmare?

Krauthammer: Worse than that: an absurdity. I can't even imagine serious people would believe it, but I think Obama does. There is a way America will decline -- if we choose first to wreck our economy and then to constrain our freedom of action through subordinating ourselves to international institutions which are 90 percent worthless and 10 percent harmful.

SPIEGEL: And there is not even 1 percent that is constructive?

Krauthammer: No. The UN is worse than disaster. The UN creates conflicts. Look at the disgraceful UN Human Rights Council: It transmits norms which are harmful, anti-liberty, and anti-Semitic among other things. The world would be better off in its absence.

SPIEGEL: And Obama is, in your eyes, …

Krauthammer: He's becoming ordinary. In the course of his presidency, Obama has gone from an almost magical charismatic figure to an ordinary politician. Ordinary. Average. His approval ratings are roughly equal to what the last five presidents' were at the same time in their first term. Other people have already said he's done and finished because his health care plans ran into trouble; but I say they're wrong. He's going to come back, he will pass something on health care, there's no question. He will have a blip, be somewhat rehabilitated politically, but he won't be able to pass anything on climate change. He will not be the great transformer he imagines himself to be. A president like others -- with successes and failures.

SPIEGEL: What major mistakes has Obama made?

Krauthammer: I don't know whether I should call it a mistake, but it turns out he is a left-liberal, not center-right the way Bill Clinton was. The analogy I give is that in America we play the game between the 40-yard lines, in Europe you go all the way from goal line to goal line. You have communist parties, you have fascist parties, we don't have that, we have very centrist parties.

So Obama wants to push us to the 30-yard line, which for America is pretty far. Right after he was elected, he gave an address to Congress and promised to basically remake the basic pillars of American society -- education , energy and health care. All this would move America toward a social democratic European-style state. It is outside of the norm of America.

SPIEGEL: Yet, he had promised these reforms during the campaign.

Krauthammer: Hardly. He's now pushing a cap-and-trade energy reform. During the campaign he said that would cause skyrocketing utility rates. On healthcare, the reason he's had such resistance is because he promised reform, not a radical remaking of the whole system.

SPIEGEL: So he didn't see the massive resistance coming?

Krauthammer: Obama misread his mandate. He was elected six weeks after a financial collapse unlike any seen in 60 years; after eight years of a presidency which had tired the country; in the middle of two wars that made the country opposed to the Republican government that involved us in the wars; and against a completely inept opponent, John McCain. Nevertheless, Obama still only won by 7 points. But he thought it was a great sweeping mandate and he could implement his social democratic agenda.

SPIEGEL: Part of the problem when it comes to health care is the lack of solidarity in the American way of thinking. Can a president change a country?

Krauthammer: Yes. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it. Back then, we didn't have a welfare state, we didn't have old age pensions, we didn't have unemployment insurance. This country was the Wild West until FDR. Yes, you can change the spirit of America.

SPIEGEL: If Obama is so radical, why is the left wing of the Democratic Party so unhappy with him?

Krauthammer: They are disillusioned because he has ignored some of their social agenda, such as gay rights; continued some of the Bush policies he had once denounced, such as the detention without trial for terrorists; and on his large agenda for education and energy, where he has had no success.

SPIEGEL: You have called him a "young Hamlet" over his hesitation about making a decision on Afghanistan. However, he's just carefully considering the options after Bush shot so often from the hip.

Krauthammer: No. The strategy he's revising is not the Bush strategy, it's the Obama strategy. On March 27, he stood there with a background of flags, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on one side and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the other, and said: "Today, I'm announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan." So don't tell me this is revising eight years of Bush, he's not. For all these weeks and months he's been revising his own strategy, and that's okay, you're allowed to do that. But if you're president and you're commander-in-chief, and your guys are getting shot and killed in the field, and you think "maybe the strategy I myself announced with great fanfare six months ago needs to be revised," do it in quiet. Don't show the world that you're utterly at sea and have no idea what to do! Your European allies already are skittish and reluctant, and wondering whether they ought to go ahead. It's your own strategy, if it's not working, then you revise it and fix it. You just don't demoralize your allies.

SPIEGEL: Is Afghanistan still a war of necessity, still a strategic interest?

Krauthammer: The phrase "war of necessity and war of choice" is a phrase that came out of a different context. Milan Kundera once wrote, "a small country is a country that can disappear and knows it." He was thinking of prewar Czechoslovakia. Israel is a country that can disappear and knows it. America, Germany, France, Britain, are not countries that can disappear. They can be defeated but they cannot disappear. For the great powers, and especially for the world superpower, very few wars are wars of necessity. In theory, America could adopt a foreign policy of isolationism and survive. We could fight nowhere, withdraw from everywhere -- South Korea, Germany, Japan, NATO, the United Nations -- if we so chose. From that perspective, every war since World War II has been a war of choice.

So using those categories -- wars of necessity, wars of choice -- is unhelpful in thinking through contemporary American intervention. In Afghanistan the question is: Do the dangers of leaving exceed the dangers of staying.

SPIEGEL: General Stanley McCrystal is asking for more troops. Is that really the right strategy?

Krauthammer: General Stanley McCrystal is the world expert on counterterrorism. For five years he ran the most successful counterterrorism operation probably in the history of the world: His guys went after the bad guys in Iraq, they ran special ops, they used the Predators and they killed thousands of jihadists that we don't even know about, it was all under the radar. And now this same general tells Obama that the counterterrorism strategy in Afghanistan will fail, you have to do counterinsurgency, population protection. That would seem an extremely persuasive case that counterterrorism would not work.

SPIEGEL: You famously coined the term "Reagan Doctrine" to describe Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. What is the "Obama Doctrine?"

Krauthammer: I would say his vision of the world appears to me to be so naïve that I am not even sure he's able to develop a doctrine. He has a view of the world as regulated by self-enforcing international norms, where the peace is kept by some kind of vague international consensus, something called the international community, which to me is a fiction, acting through obviously inadequate and worthless international agencies. I wouldn't elevate that kind of thinking to a doctrine because I have too much respect for the word doctrine.

SPIEGEL: Are you saying that diplomacy always fails?

Krauthammer: No, foolishness does. Perhaps when he gets nowhere on Iran, nowhere with North Korea, when he gets nothing from the Russians in return for what he did to the Poles and the Czechs, gets nowhere in the Middle East peace talks -- maybe at that point he'll begin to rethink whether the world really runs by international norms, consensus, and sweetness and light, or whether it rests on the foundation of American and Western power that, in the final analysis, guarantees peace.

SPIEGEL: Do you basically think Obama is going to be a one-term president?

Krauthammer: No, I think he has a very good chance of being reelected. For two reasons. First, there's no real candidate on the other side, and you can't beat something with nothing. Secondly, it'll depend on the economy -- and just from American history, in the normal economic cycles, presidents who have their recessions at the beginning of their first term get reelected (Reagan, Clinton, the second Bush), and presidents who have them at the end of their first term don't (Carter, the first Bush). Obama will lose a lot of seats in next year's Congressional election, but the economy should be on the upswing in 2012.

SPIEGEL: Is the conservative movement in the United States in decline?

Krauthammer: When George W. Bush won in 2004, there was lots of stuff written that about the end of liberalism and the death of the Democratic Party. Look where we are now.

SPIEGEL: A Democrat is back in the White House, the party also controls Congress.

Krauthammer: Exactly. We see the usual overreading of history whenever one side loses. Look, there are cycles in American politics. US cycles are even more pronounced because we Americans have a totally entrepreneurial presidential system. We don't have parliamentary opposition parties with a shadow prime minister and shadow cabinets. Every four years, the opposition reinvents itself. We have no idea who will be the Republican nominee in 2012. The party structures are very fluid. We have a history of political parties being thrown out of the White House after two terms -- as has happened every single time with only one exception (Ronald Reagan) since World War II. The idea that one party is done in the US is silly. The Republicans got killed in 2006 and 2008, but they will be back.

More here


BrookesNews Update

A rejoinder: Why cap and trade will devastate the US economy :Irrespective of green claims to the contrary Obama's energy policy would devastate the US economy and savage living standards.
US economy and credit contraction: Has the Fed reversed monetary policy from inflation to deflation? : "The pace of monetary pumping by the US central bank is starting to fall sharply, there is a growing likelihood that the fall in commercial-bank lending out of thin air will cause actual deflation
Obama's tax and spend policies are dooming sustained economic growth:Given the administration's horribly irresponsible budget policy, its destructive energy proposals and the flood of taxes it plans to let loose on the economy I cannot for the life of me see how the US can restart the process of capital accumulation
A wave of Marxist tyrants is rising in Central America : So long as Obama and his leftwing cronies see evil only in those who resist becoming democratic zombie states - and there's worse on the horizon. Tiny Honduras, which stood alone to prevent dictatorship, remains ostracized, bullied and reviled by the Obama administration. So why is Obama fostering tyranny?
Obama uses tax payer money to destroy the free market :America became a great country by letting its people be all they can be without interference from government. In just less than a year all this has changed. We have seen the government dictate everything from toilets to light bulbs and take ownership interests in private enterprises in major segments of our economy
Rednecks : Many of the traits that are associated with the redneck culture have since died out in England, and many parts of the south. But many of the black Americans who chose to follow the media anointed spokespersons for blacks, Revs. $harpton and Jackson, have kept the redneck culture alive in many parts of America's inner-cities and ghettos



TX: Planned Parenthood director quits after watching abortion on ultrasound: "The former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in southeast Texas says she had a ‘change of heart’ after watching an abortion last month — and she quit her job and joined a pro-life group in praying outside the facility. Abby Johnson, 29, used to escort women from their cars to the clinic in the eight years she volunteered and worked for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. But she says she knew it was time to leave after she watched a fetus ‘crumple’ as it was vacuumed out of a patient’s uterus in September. … Johnson said she became disillusioned with her job after her bosses pressured her for months to increase profits by performing more and more abortions, which cost patients between $505 and $695.”

Death penalty case returns to high court: "The US Supreme Court is considering, for the third time, the case of a California man who was sentenced to die in 1982 for the brutal killing of a young woman. The California Supreme Court affirmed a death sentence for Fernando Belmontes 20 years ago, but since then the case has bounced back and forth in the federal courts. Three times this decade, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Belmontes’ death sentence. The case is the latest skirmish in the battle between California prosecutors and the Ninth Circuit over the death penalty — and it helps explains the oddity of capital punishment in California. While death sentences are common, executions are rare.”

GOP eyes 3-state sweep of key contests: "Voters on Monday prepared to cast ballots in the first major elections since President Obama took office, offering a glimpse into how they think the president and his party have handled issues such as health care and the economy. Republicans and their conservative allies were buoyed by late polls showing they could sweep the three biggest electoral prizes of 2009: the Virginia and New Jersey governors' mansions and New York's 23rd Congressional District seat."

Is the Music Industry Biting the Hands that Feed Them?: "A new survey has taken one big step toward breaking a (perhaps) misapplied industry association — that music file sharers and downloaders are stealing music instead of buying it. The survey, commissioned by a UK-based firm called Demos, shows that those who share files tend to spend 75 percent more on music than the non-sharing types that the industry tends to embrace. It may indeed be the case that file sharers are just more interested in music."


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


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


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The British Leftist government helps Muslim extremists

The FCO is Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, handling Britain's relations with other countries. It is a powerful and elite Department but one of its insiders was shocked at how it and its government were abetting Islamofascists -- so he has done his best to tell the world about it

The FCO was not and is not standing up to the totalitarian ideas of the Islamist extreme Right, as it stood up to the totalitarianism of the socialist extreme Left in the second half of the 20th century. On the contrary, the establishment has appeased political Islamism abroad and interfered in the domestic affairs of its own country by mounting a covert operation to aid and abet it at home.

Pasquill betrayed the institutions of liberal democracy by standing up for liberal democracy. He defended it from its enemies, who were not only in far-away countries but closeted in the Cabinet Room of 10 Downing Street and the offices of Whitehall. As striking a difference between Pasquill and the establishment renegades of the 20th century (indeed, from every other whistleblower I have known) is that he wanted to be caught. He wanted the police to take him to the cells and arraign him at the Old Bailey for breaking the Official Secrets Act. He did not regard jail as a punishment he hoped to avoid, but sought out the risk of imprisonment the better to highlight the scandal. When the police came to his Pimlico home, he admitted everything. In truth, they did not have a hard job finding him. By the end, he was sending documents from his work email to his home computer and the dullest copper in England could have collared him.

"The Observer and the New Statesman were printing my revelations," he told me, "but they were not having an effect. I thought that being caught would be useful because the FCO would have to prosecute. That was part of my strategy, to get publicity in open court; to make people realise how bad it had got. What is so maddening about our attitude to radical Islam is that it is a classic example of group-think. Cognitive dissonance is stopping serious engagement. Leaking documents was my attempt to break the dissonance, my form of engagement."

I am sure you can understand why he so frightens the FCO. The normal threats an employer can make against an employee — the loss of home, salary, position and, in Pasquill's case, liberty — could not intimidate him. He was a man with the inner freedom the Stoics so valued. He had trained himself to be indifferent to the threats and blandishments of official society. Even though governments around the world read his revelations with varying degrees of horror, the FCO dropped the prosecution. Legally, its case was watertight. Pasquill had admitted leaking official secrets with pride. But Whitehall knew all too well that he would use the dock as a platform to appeal to the jury and the wider public.

Now Pasquill is bringing what to my unqualified eyes looks like a hopeless claim of unfair dismissal. On the face of it, a civil servant who passed a filing cabinet full of official secrets to the press cannot seriously claim that the state exceeded its powers by firing him. Yet if you look at his revelations, his claim makes more sense.

As his affidavit to the employment tribunal dryly remarks, "The documents that I disclosed showed that the FCO and other UK government departments were continuing to work with and assist organisations that promote extreme Islamist politics. My concern was that this policy would have the effect of legitimising and supporting groups with extreme Islamist politics and that such an effect was entirely contradictory to FCO and UK government policy of attempting to prevent the radicalisation of young British Muslims. Furthermore, I believe that the FCO and other government departments pursue a policy of portraying these organisations as mainstream and moderate."

Who is the traitor and who the patriot in these circumstances: the dissident civil servant or the two-faced government? Who, to be blunt, is more deserving of summary dismissal? ...

The FCO seconded him to its "Engaging with the Islamic World" unit. From the moment he arrived, everything felt wrong. He was standing in for Mockbul Ali, an allegedly non-political civil servant. Yet, with official approval, Ali had taken time off to help Labour fight the 2005 general election campaign. Specifically, he was trying to persuade Muslim leaders to support Labour, when many of them were in no mood to do so after the second Iraq war. There has always been a Tammany Hall streak in Labour. Many an aspiring politician has found that buying off ethnic block votes by dropping a few principles is a small price to pay for his advancement in inner-city politics. A refusal to condemn the Ayatollah Khomeini's death threat against Salman Rushdie, for instance, saved several cowards' seats.

Pasquill found something more than ordinary compromises, however. Ali was hardly a loner. The entire FCO hierarchy from Jack Straw, then the Foreign Secretary, downwards was supporting a policy of encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies.

The usual gap between rhetoric and reality had become a dizzying gulf. On the one hand, Labour pretended that it was upholding the 1997 mission statement Robin Cook gave the FCO "to spread the values of human rights, civil liberties and democracy which we demand for ourselves". On the other, it was bending over backwards to appease movements which believed in the subjugation of women, the racist conspiracy theories of the Okhrana and the SS, the murder of homosexuals and apostates, the denial of democracy and the dismissal of human rights as an imperialist imposition on the godly.

Before moving into the unit, Pasquill decided to research the Muslim Brotherhood in the British Library. A small step, perhaps, but as he investigated its totalitarian ambitions it proved to be a decisive one, not because of what he found but because of how he found it. When he left the FCO for the library's reading rooms, he left the received wisdom of his hierarchy behind and returned to work ready to think for himself.

As he went through the files Ali had left in his desk, he realised that the FCO under a left-of-centre government was classifying an organisation founded by the admirers of European fascism and sustained by the adherents of a brutish theocracy as "moderate". The result was a policy at once sinister and naïve. The decayed autocracies of the Middle East were producing an Islamist rather than a liberal opposition, the FCO argued, which Britain must "engage" with at any price. The FCO did not ask how Arab liberals and democrats would feel if Britain embraced men who would happily kill them. Nor did it sigh and say with regret that religious reaction was a deplorable reality Britain had to learn to live with. Instead, it actively sought to promote and fund extremism. As an official argued, "Given that Islamist groups are often less corrupt than the generality of the societies in which they operate, consideration might be given to channelling aid resources through them, so long as sufficient transparency is achievable." In its enthusiasm for appeasement, the FCO did not know or want to know that theocracy is inherently corrupt. By soaking society in piety, it can present its demands for money as the demands of God. As the examples of Saudi Arabia and Iran show, the more Islamist a country is, the more corrupt it becomes.

As his superiors betrayed the liberal Muslims of the Middle East, Mockbul Ali worked to marginalise their counterparts in Britain. Although the domestic affairs of our country are not any of the FCO's business, it sponsored a road show, which purported to be representative of British Muslim voices but was in reality a Muslim Brotherhood front. Ali followed up by lobbying the Home Office to allow extremists into Britain. Eric Taylor, of the India-Pakistan Relations Desk, was one of the few officials to protest. He pointed out that a gruesome Bangladeshi politician Ali was recommending had provoked riots on his last visit and, according to a report from a Bangladeshi human rights organisation, Drishtipat, had compared Bangladeshi Hindus to excrement, while appearing to defend attacks on the country's persecuted Ahmadiyya Muslim community, regarded as apostates by the Islamists.

The more Pasquill read, the more driven he became. He roamed the FCO's corridors picking up Ali's files, first taking them to Soho to copy and post, then just emailing them home and printing them out. I won't say that his leaks had no effect. The story went round the world. In Britain, Hazel Blears, Ruth Kelly and Jacqui Smith — all women, significantly, who were appalled by the official endorsement of misogyny — read Bright's reports and tried to save what was left of the honour of the British Left by fighting back. But I cannot pretend that their stand was anything other than an isolated example. Pasquill's revelations had no impact on a wider liberal society. It did not want to see how hypocritical it had become or to survey the damage it had wrought. The achievement of political Islam in Britain has been to suborn the liberal Left and cut off the most promising escape route for dissidents in the process. An abused woman, a young man fighting religious authoritarianism, an Iranian exile seeking to gain support for the campaign against the Archbishop of Canterbury's and Lord Chief Justice's endorsement of Sharia law or a British Bangladeshi trying to bring the Islamist criminals who massacred civilians in the war of independence to justice, would once have looked left for succour. If they do so now, they will find that progressives take their cue from the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami, rather than the best of the liberal Left's traditions, and dismiss Muslims who fight for values they profess to hold as being at best irrelevances and at worst stool-pigeons for imperialism.

Do not make the mistake of believing that such attitudes are confined to the FCO. Only recently, the supposedly left-wing Institute for Public Policy Research was trumpeting "non-violent" Islamism as "the best organised and most popular opposition to existing authoritarian regimes in the Middle East". What "non-violent" Islamists would do to Arab liberals when they achieved power was not a question that detained the British leftists of the IPPR for a second.

As his illusions about the benign nature of the FCO crumbled, Pasquill tried a thought experiment. He asked himself, "Is the Foreign Office a Muslim Brotherhood front organisation?" Obviously, it was not, he replied, although looked at in a certain light, it might as well have been. The light metaphor stayed with him until "one day I was looking at the ivy growing in my garden and it struck me that it was phototropic — growing in the direction of the sun. I realised that the FCO is Islamotropic: it grows towards Islamic extremism, always searching for reasons to excuse it." At the age of 50, Derek Pasquill is now on the dole with no pension, no savings and no prospects. The FCO responded to his revelations by promoting Mockbul Ali. Like ivy on a wall, the liberal establishment still creeps towards the reactionary forces that despise it, entwining itself with its enemies and leaving its friends to wilt in the dark.

More HERE. Another comment on the decline of the FCO here


Why Liberal Journalists are Joining the Obama Administration’s Attack on Fox News

While the Obama administration continues its war against its media critics, well-known liberal journalists — instead of defending freedom of the press — are joining the attack on a news network they despise as much as does the administration. Gone is any seeming concern for the right of commentators to voice their own opinion, because mainstream liberal editorial writers are sure their opponents are both extremists and wrong.

Take, as our first example, Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of The Slate Group. Writing in last week’s Newsweek, Weisberg explained at the start that anyone who watches Fox News knows immediately that Anita Dunn’s charge that Fox has a “right-wing bias” is correct, since Fox always confirms “it with its coverage.” Referring to Fox’s own reporting on the administration’s attacks on the network, he notes that Fox showed what he calls a “textbook example of a biased journalism.” If it is true, it is hardly surprising, since the very network under attack might be expected to come to its own defense.

Next, he refers to its commentators as “platinum pundettes and anchor androids.” He offers no names. Could he be referring to Chris Wallace, whose weekly Sunday broadcast is widely acclaimed as one of TV’s best weekend programs, and who publicly complained that never in his decades of broadcasting has he come across more of a bunch of “whiners” than he has seen in the Obama administration? Is he referring to Megan Kelly, who did a yeoman’s job questioning ACORN founder Wade Rathke in a long and exclusive interview? Wouldn’t he want a defender of ACORN to speak on the one network that reported on its scandals? Is he upset, perhaps, that Kelly came off better than Rathke did?

He thinks it is a silly comparison to their charge that the war on Fox is similar to Nixon’s enemies list. Of course, he gives no reason why the analogy is false — perhaps because to most observers, it isn’t.

Next, he attributes the success of the many “tea parties” as due to Fox’s sponsorship of them — ignoring the fact that it was an internet created phenomenon that Fox alone chose to cover when others ignored them. Evidently, Weisberg can’t distinguish between paying attention to events it finds newsworthy and sponsoring them. [I acknowledge that Glenn Beck anchored his show’s special coverage of the Washington DC tea party, which he supported.] Weisberg’s fear is that now “ideologically distorted news” drives ratings up, and that others will soon imitate them in order to gain more viewers.

Not one word by Weisberg about MSNBC’s equally tilted drift to the precincts of the far left. Chris “thrill up my leg” Matthews is an unabashed liberal whose brand of politics stands at the left end of the Democratic spectrum, and its mainstays in prime time, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, are as far Left as O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck are on the right end of the conservative spectrum. If Fox reports critically about ACORN, for example, one can count on Maddow and Olbermann to offer unabashed defenses of the group presented as accurate news analysis.....

Finally, writing in The New Yorker in the Nov.2nd issue, the brilliant academic literary intellectual Louis Menand argues that Fox has cornered “the market on anti-Administration animus,” and he is concerned that the administration’s opposition “is not likely to put a dent in the ratings.” Indeed, as recent polls have showed, it has done just the opposite. CNN is losing its viewers at a rapid pace, MSNBC is way behind them, and Fox alone stands far ahead of all the other news outlets.

Menand argues that when Fox people charge that they have filled the administration “with Nazis, Maoists, anarchists and Marxist revolutionaries,” they are revealing that they are only “the voice of the fringe.” Look at Menand’s language. We all know that in fact, no one at Fox has made such an argument. When and where has anyone said that they are filling the administration with Nazis, for example? They reported that Anita Dunn told school children that she looked to Mao as an example. No one claimed that she was herself a Maoist. Can Menand name one person at Fox who has said that? Of course not. What he is trying to do with ridicule and made-up claims is to discredit Fox, since it successfully and accurately pointed to appointees who indeed do have a radical pedigree, and forced the most prominent of them, Van Jones, to resign....

More here



Comment from Les Bates: "How a Progressive can turn into a Fascist in three easy steps. 1. Take a bath or shower. 2. Get a haircut. 3. Put on a clean party uniform. That's it. That's all it takes."

Socialism Kills: "What would have happened in India if that country had liberalized its economy ten years earlier than it did? Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar does a commendable job supplying a plausible, if gruesome, answer. He finds that with earlier reform, 14.5 million more children would have survived, 261 million more Indians would have become literate, and 109 million more people would have risen above the poverty line. The delay in economic reform represents an enormous social tragedy. It drives home the point that India’s socialist era, which claimed it would deliver growth with social justice, delivered neither."

A real RINO: "House Republican leader John Boehner said Sunday that the GOP wants moderates in the party and that the special election for a New York congressional seat in which the party’s candidate dropped out — and threw her support behind the Democrat— is an unusual situation. Dierdre Scozzafava, the Republican nominee in the Upstate New York district, stopped campaigning Saturday, days ahead of the Tuesday election. On Sunday, she endorsed the Democrat in the race, not the Conservative Party candidate favored by fellow Republicans. Scozzafava, a state legislator, had been losing support to Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, a former Republican. Hoffman drew endorsements from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other prominent Republicans.”

But will they collect? "“A U.S. District Court judge in San Jose has awarded Facebook $711 million in damages in an anti-spam case the social-networking giant filed against online marketer Sanford Wallace, who is known as the ‘Spam King.’ The Palo Alto company claimed Wallace and two associates registered as Facebook members in November 2008 to start a spam and phishing scheme. According to court documents, the firm said Wallace sent numerous Facebook members a link to a Web site that tricked them into revealing their login information. Some messages sent the Facebook user to other sites that paid Wallace for that traffic.”

Using the criminal justice system to reward political support : "Last Wednesday, President Obama signed a bill into law which adds acts of violence against the disabled, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folks to the list of federal hate crimes. This increases coverage of the federal hate crimes protections which previously only included race, religion, and national origin. In typical Obama euphoria, activist instantaneously proclaimed the measure to be the most important since the civil rights acts empowering blacks were passed in the 1960s. Of course, those of us with clearer, less emotional heads on our shoulders know that hate crime legislation is nothing more than politicians pandering to their base of support by providing them with a special interest perk in an effort to energize that base for widespread support at the next election.”

The welfare state corrupts absolutely: "Let’s begin at the beginning. Medical care is not a free good found in nature. Of course, no one really thinks it is. But that doesn’t keep most people from wanting to pretend otherwise, and the current institutional setting makes that possible. After a while, one forgets one is pretending. Yet medical care goes on being a collection of produced goods and services — subject to the laws of supply and demand, and requiring resources and labor that come with opportunity costs. Therein lies the problem.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc. He has a lot to say this time about the appearance of the British National Party on BBC TV.


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


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


Monday, November 2, 2009

The latest "Conservatives are stupid" accusation

This is of course an old chestnut and I have myself previously reported research on it. I found that LEFTISTS were dumber. So what are we to make of the latest research report below? Not much. Following a pattern that is all too common among psychologists, the author seems never to have heard of the concept of sampling. A group of college students or even college applicants is NOT representative of the population as a whole. And young people are notoriously Left-leaning. They have so little experience that they know no better. So if Left-leaning people among a Left-leaning group are smarter, it probably just means that smarter people are better able to pick up what is required for acceptance in that group. It has no wider implications than that.

Even if the results were generalizable, however, there would still be problems with the inferences to be drawn from them. There is in fact some generalizable evidence on the topic drawn from general population sampling. I discuss it here
Conservatism and cognitive ability

Lazar Stankov


Conservatism and cognitive ability are negatively correlated. The evidence is based on 1254 community college students and 1600 foreign students seeking entry to United States' universities. At the individual level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with SAT, Vocabulary, and Analogy test scores. At the national level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with measures of education (e.g., gross enrollment at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels) and performance on mathematics and reading assessments from the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) project. They also correlate with components of the Failed States Index and several other measures of economic and political development of nations. Conservatism scores have higher correlations with economic and political measures than estimated IQ scores.



Blokhin: History's worst mass murderer

The fact that virtually nobody in the West has heard his name speaks volumes about the domination of the media and the educational system by Leftists

Vasili Mikhailovich Blokhin (1895 – February 1955) was a Soviet Major-General who served as the chief executioner of the Stalinist NKVD under the administrations of Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Yezhov and Lavrenty Beria. Hand-picked for the position by Joseph Stalin in 1926, Blokhin led a company of executioners that performed the majority of executions carried out during Stalin's reign (most during the Great Purge). Claims by the Soviet government put the number of NKVD official executions at 828,000 during Stalin's reign,[1] and Blokhin is recorded as having personally executed tens of thousands of prisoners by his own hand over a 26-year period—including 7,000 condemned Polish POWs in one protracted mass execution[1][2]—making him ostensibly the most prolific official executioner in recorded world history.[1] He was awarded both the Order of the Badge of Honor (1937) and the Order of the Red Banner (1941).

Blokhin, born into a Russian peasant family, had served in the Tsarist army of World War I, and had joined the Cheka in March 1921. Though records are slim, he was evidently noted for both his pugnaciousness and his mastery of what Stalin termed "black work"; assassinations, torture, intimidation, and execution conducted clandestinely. Once he caught Stalin's eye, he was quickly promoted and within six years was appointed the head of the purpose-created Kommandatura Branch of the Administrative Executive Department of the NKVD. This branch was a company-sized element created by Stalin specifically for "black work" missions. Headquartered at the Lubyanka in Moscow, they were all approved by Stalin and took their orders directly from his hand, a fact that ensured the unit's longevity despite three bloody purges of the NKVD. As senior executioner,[4] Blokhin's official title was that of Commandant of the internal prison at the Lubyanka, which allowed him to perform his true job with a minimum of scrutiny and no official paperwork.

Although most common executions were delegated to local Chekists or subordinate executioners from his unit, Blokhin personally performed all of the high-profile executions conducted in the Soviet Union during his tenure, including those of the Old Bolsheviks condemned at the Moscow Show Trials and two of the three fallen NKVD Chiefs (Yagoda in 1938 and Yezhov in 1940) he had once served under.[5] He was awarded the Badge of Honor for his service in 1937.[6]

Blokhin's most notable performance was the April 1940 mass execution by shooting of 7,000 Polish officers, captured following the Soviet invasion of Poland, from the Ostashkov POW camp, during the Katyn massacre.[7] Based on the 4 April secret order from Stalin to NKVD Chief Lavrenti Beria (as well as NKVD Order № 00485, which still applied), the executions were carried out in 28 consecutive nights at the specially-constructed basement execution chamber at the NKVD headquarters in Kalinin (now Tver), and were assigned, by name, directly to Blokhin, making him the official executioner of the NKVD.[8]

Blokhin initially decided on an ambitious quota of 300 executions per night, and engineered an efficient system in which the prisoners were individually led to a small antechamber—which had been painted red and was known as the "Leninist room"—for a brief and cursory positive identification, before being handcuffed and led into the execution room next door. The room was specially designed with padded walls for soundproofing, a sloping concrete floor with a drain and hose, and a log wall for the prisoners to stand against. Blokhin—outfitted in a leather butcher's apron, cap, and shoulder-length gloves to protect his uniform[9]—then pushed the prisoner against the log wall and shot him once in the base of the skull with a German Walther Model 2 .25 ACP pistol.[10] He had brought a briefcase full of his own Walther pistols, since he did not trust the reliability of the standard-issue Soviet TT-30 for the frequent, heavy use he intended.[9][11] The use of a German pocket pistol, which was commonly carried by Nazi intelligence agents, also provided plausible deniability of the executions if the bodies were discovered later.

Between 20 to 30 local NKVD agents, guards and drivers were pressed into service to escort prisoners to the basement, confirm identification, then remove the bodies and hose down the blood after each execution. Although some of the executions were carried out by Senior Lieutenant of State Security Andrei M. Rubanov, Blokhin was the primary executioner and, true to his reputation, liked to work continuously and rapidly without interruption.[9] In keeping with NKVD policy and the overall "black" nature of the operation, the executions were conducted at night, starting at dark and continuing until just prior to dawn. The initial quota of 300 was lowered by Blokhin to 250 after the first night, when it was decided that all further executions should take place in total darkness.[5] The bodies were continuously loaded onto covered flat-bed trucks through a back door in the execution chamber and trucked, twice a night, to Mednoye, where Blokhin had arranged for a bulldozer and two NKVD drivers to dispose of bodies at an unfenced site. Each night, 24 to 25 trenches, measuring eight to ten meters total, were dug to hold the night's corpses, and each trench was covered up before dawn.[12] Blokhin and his team worked without pause for ten hours each night, with Blokhin executing an average of one prisoner every three minutes.[2] At the end of the night, Blokhin provided vodka to all his men.[13]

On 27 April 1940, Blokhin secretly received the Order of the Red Banner and a modest monthly pay premium as a reward from Joseph Stalin for his "skill and organization in the effective carrying out of special tasks".[14][15] His count of 7,000 shot in 28 days remains one of the most organized and protracted mass murders by a single individual on record.[6]

Blokhin was forcibly retired following Stalin's death, although his "irreproachable service" was publicly noted by Lavrenty Beria at the time of his departure.[6] After Beria's fall from power (June 1953), Blokhin's rank was eventually stripped from him in the de-Stalinization campaigns of Nikita Khrushchev. He reportedly sunk into alcoholism, went insane, and died in February 1955 with the official cause of death listed as "suicide".[7]



Are politicians today as wise as those who produced the U.S. Constitution?

Suppose we rephrase our debate topic: "Are today's [select a field of endeavor or expertise] as wise as their counterparts in 1787?" The indisputable answer for a long, long list of professions would be, "You must be joking." The eighteenth century's doctors, scientists, and engineers had more in common with practitioners from thousands of years ago, who relied on primitive superstitions, than they do with their counterparts today, who are highly specialized, dauntingly well informed, and expert in the use of rigorous methodologies for rejecting false hypotheses and second-best practices.

The default assumption, then, is that there is no reason to believe the steady and often startling advances in our understanding and capabilities apply to science or medicine but not to politics. None of us would hire George Washington's dentist. Why, then, should we shrink from rewriting his Constitution in light of everything we have learned in the past 222 years?

Remember, though, that the story of progress is the story of trial and error. Progress will often require modifying or discarding old ideas, but not because they are old. New ideas are better ones only if they do a better job of explaining the world or improving the circumstances in which we live. The ones that fail those tests need to be set aside, not embraced simply because they were coined more recently.

What sets the politicians of 2009 apart from the ones of 1787 is the pervasive modern denial that human nature is something we can understand and a basis on which we can found a political order. The Americans who wrote and ratified the Constitution believed in certain truths about human nature. These included our fundamental equality, the securing of our inalienable rights as the government's raison d'ˆtre, and the need to channel the natural selfishness that engenders factionalism through a constitutional mechanism that protects individual rights and promotes the public good.

The modern belief, instead, is that what matters is human history, not human nature, our evolution rather than our essence. As the historian Richard Hofstadter wrote in 1948, "[No] man who is as well abreast of modern science as the [Founding] Fathers were of eighteenth-century science believes any longer in unchanging human nature." Having discarded the concept of human nature as a fixed star by which to navigate, modern political actors and thinkers can only fall back on "the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society," as the Supreme Court said in 1958.

If a politics based on human history makes more sense and produces better outcomes than one based on human nature, then modern politicians deserve to be considered wiser than the authors of the Constitution. But only if. There are two problems with the politics of the evolving standards of decency. First, time and reflection show that some standards embraced with confidence turn out to be shockingly indecent. One hundred years ago, for example, many of the practitioners of the politics of progress were also enthusiastic supporters of the eugenics movement, which resulted in policies of compulsory sterilization and the explicit denial of rights based on racial categorization. The day may come when the standards of our own age, which treat abortion as the legal and moral equivalent of an appendectomy, are also regarded with incomprehension and disgust.

Second, apart from the bland and baseless confidence that our standards can only grow more decent and mature, is the hopeless circularity of appealing to the more enlightened standards just over the horizon to settle today's political arguments. C. S. Lewis wrote that those who frame political and moral dilemmas by asking whether a particular course is consistent with history's direction ask questions that are "of course, unanswerable; for they do not know the future, and what the future will be depends very largely on just those choices which they now invoke the future to help them make."

In 1885, when he was a prodigious young scholar, Woodrow Wilson wrote that we must replace "blind worship" with "fearless criticism" of the Constitution. It's good advice, but not because the Constitution is especially deserving of skeptical inspection. The point, rather, is that our wisdom and welfare are always better served by approaching ideas and institutions with fearless criticism rather than blind worship.

Fearless criticism of the long-standing project to supplant politics based on human nature with politics that tracks and keeps a step ahead of human history will show that disdaining the truths self-evident to America's founders has rendered us less wise, less happy, and our experiment in self-government less secure. C. S. Lewis stated the question simply but powerfully in Mere Christianity: "Progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."



ObamaCare Supporter Punches Man, 67, Over Sign He Carried at Anti-Socialism Rally Near St. Louis

A 67-year-old St. Charles County man taking part in an anti-socialism rally was punched in the face by an ObamaCare supporter who took offense at the sign he was carrying during a rally at the intersection of Highways K and N in O’Fallon, Mo., 30 miles west of St. Louis on I-70.

The altercation took place at approximately 1:45 p.m. Central and involved a liberal 60-something, red-headed female who, according to Jay Harris, the conservative 67-year-old male involved, struck him with her fist after she became enraged over the sign he was carrying. It’s message, “Forget the Tea Party, Get the Tar and Feathers,” alluded to the feelings many conservatives hold about many members of the Obama Administration and Congress. It’s also historic in that the practice of tarring and feathering people — including crooked politicians — dates back more than 200 years.

Apparently not a student of history, however, Harris’ female attacker interpreted the sign as being directed at her and the three-dozen other public option supporters who marched across the street from some 200 people opposed to ObamaCare, bailouts and other un-Constitutional approaches to governance by liberals now in the White House and on Capitol Hill. After the woman punched Harris, he said he instinctively grabbed her and pulled her to the ground so as to keep from being struck again.

As soon as an O’Fallon police officer arrived at the scene, the pro-ObamaCare protesters — mostly union members — began hurling accusations and calling names at conservative ralliers. A court date has been set for Dec. 7 in the O’Fallon Municipal Court.

More here


Job One is to Tell the Whole Jobs Story

Whenever government throws billions of dollars at the economy, one would certainly expect to find some jobs at the end of those dollars. President Obama has worked hard to convince the nation that the mega fiscal stimulus he signed into law produced some 650,000 jobs. This PR blitz is amazing in the face of an economy that has shed 3.4 million jobs since Obama was sworn in, the unemployment rate is pressing toward 10 percent, and the Obama jobs gap – the gap between where he promised we would be and actual employment — rises monthly.

Political chutzpah aside, the numbers Obama is tossing around are grossly misleading. The problem is not the calculation itself. This is a political guesstimate and no doubt the duly tasked bean counters are doing their level best to count every last bean job. For that matter, the problem is not government inefficiency and waste. That was assumed from the outset, so it should not surprise anyone that according to the government’s own data some $173 billion has been spent thus far and all they can point to is a relative handful of jobs. The problem is the Obama figure only tells half the story.

The Obama jobs figure is a guesstimate of the number of jobs created from the spending. It is analogous to the gross income a company earns on sales. But what matters, of course, is net income, on in this case, net jobs, and that requires an estimate of the net cost.

The net cost in this case derives from the simple fact that the federal government is borrowing money to spend money. Government borrowing subtracts purchasing power from the economy just as government spending adds it back in. Absent the government borrowing and spending, consumers and businesses would have borrowed the funds and spent the funds. The same mechanisms that supposedly created the jobs from the government spending would have created jobs from private spending.

At best, the jobs created and destroyed are a wash. Of course, the jobs that are destroyed are scattered across the economy and across the country and cannot be identified specifically, though wouldn’t that be interesting. Imagine the pictures and story of the worker who lost a job because government borrowed money. However, the destruction of those jobs by borrowing is every bit as certain as the creation of jobs by deficit spending.

It is possible to calculate with fair precision the net jobs created by Obama’s attempt at fiscal alchemy. Adding jobs gained to jobs lost produces a big fat squadoosh, nada, zippo, zero. It’s also possible to show the increase in the national debt that produced this outstanding government policy result – by last count it was $173 billion.



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


Sunday, November 1, 2009

More on Obama at Columbia

An email from a regular correspondent below:

I worked at the Columbia University bookstore in the early 1980s. For part of the time I worked there, I was a student there, and for part of the time I worked there I wasn't. I have distinct memories of Obama regularly coming into the bookstore in the late afternoons to browse. I have the vaguest recollections of him browsing sections that were political, perhaps also the "Marxism" section, but it was totally normal and unexceptional for students to browse those sections.

Why do I remember Obama? To be very frank, most African-American young men didn't come in to the bookstore to browse but only to get books that were specifically assigned for their coursework. So it was unusual to see him browsing. Also, I kept an eye on African-Americans as they more frequently tried to shoplift. I never saw Obama try to shoplift. He was quiet and appeared to be a loner. I only remember him from the bookstore.


Interaction between genes and culture

The explanation offered below for the correlation between genes and culture is highly speculative and need not detain us. What is interesting is the demonstration that there is a genetic influence on behavioural traits that have clear political importance. There is plenty of existing research to show that genetic inheritance has a large influence on political orientation but the research below goes one step further by identifying specific genes that appear to be involved.

The findings fit well with what we already know: People with genes that promote negative emotions tend to live in authoritarian societies such as China and it is Leftists who build such societies. Leftists everywhere promote big government. And Leftists are also full of the premier negative emotion: Hate. They hate a great range of what is in the world about them. And people with the opposite genetic pattern are happier and therefore more likely to be spontaneous individualists -- as in the USA. Many surveys have shown conservatives to be much happier than Leftists overall

Culture, not just genes, can drive evolutionary outcomes, according to a study released Wednesday that compares individualist and group-oriented societies across the globe. Bridging a rarely-crossed border between natural and social sciences, the study looks at the interplay across 29 countries of two sets of data, one genetic and the other cultural.

The researchers found that most people in countries widely described as collectivist have a specific mutation within a gene regulating the transport of serotonin, a neurochemical known to profoundly affect mood. In China and other east Asian nations, for example, up to 80 percent of the population carry this so-called "short" allele, or variant, of a stretch of DNA known as 5-HTTLPR.

Earlier research has shown the S allele to be strongly linked with a range of negative emotions, including anxiety and depression. Critically, it is also associated with the impulse to stay out of harm's way.

By contrast, in countries of European origin that prize self-expression and the pursuit of individual over group goals, the long or "L" allele dominates, with only 40 percent of people carrying the "S" variant.

The study, published in Britain's Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, offers a novel explanation as to how this divergence might have come about. Setting aside discredited ideas linking genetics and race, the researchers suggest that culture and genes may have interacted over time to shape the process of natural selection, helping individuals -- and the societies in which they lived -- to survive and thrive.

Ancient cultures in Asia, Africa and Latin America highly exposed to deadly pathogens, they conjecture, may have tended toward collectivist norms in order to better combat disease. That social transformation, in turn, could have favoured the gradual dominance of the risk-avoidance S allele. "We demonstrate that evolution is operating at least two levels," said Joan Chiao, a professor at Northwestern University in Chicago and lead author of the study. "One is biological, which is well understood. But there is also a level where cultural traits may have been selected for themselves, emerging in congruence with the selection of different types of genes," she explained by phone.



Things look gloomy for long term


It has been a long time since the economic data have been flashing positive signals, and an equally long time since consumers, businessmen and occupants of the White House have been so gloomy. It's worth considering why this disjunction of fact and perception is dominating the economic news.

Start with the data. The economy grew at a quite satisfactory annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter. The Federal Reserve's survey of business conditions around the United States reports "either stabilization or modest improvements in many sectors. ... Reports of gains in economic activity generally outnumber declines." There follow the usual warnings that improvements are from low levels, and that setbacks remain possible, but the news is better than it has been for some time.

Retail sales are showing a bit of strength, and the news from the housing market is no longer one of unrelieved gloom. Although sales of new homes fell slightly last month, inventories of unsold homes are well below their peak, and sales of existing homes are up, as are prices.

And some corporate news is actually good: IBM is so confident that business is picking up that it is increasing the purchase of its own shares, Verizon Wireless reports the highest increase in its customer base since 2005 and -- most important -- Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction equipment, is signaling a revival of the manufacturing and construction sectors by rehiring some of the 34,000 workers it has laid off in the past two years.

None of this seems to matter to the psyches of the businessmen with whom I speak, the consumers about whom I read or the White House. Businessmen tend to look further ahead than most participants in the economy -- consumers worry about paying the rent or the mortgage next month, and politicians worry about tomorrow's polling numbers and the November congressional elections.

Corporate executives fear that a new banking crisis will emerge when commercial property loans come due and consumer credit card defaults mount. They see an administration and Congress that are spending the U.S. into such a deep debt hole that the dollar will continue to decline, perhaps at an accelerating rate, forcing the Fed to raise interest rates to depression-inducing levels to prevent a collapse of the currency. They think taxes will have to soar to bring the deficit under control. They also see in the White House a man whom they believe has no use for a market economy, preferring instead to turn the management of the country over to a series of czars who set bankers' compensation, run the domestic automobile industry, take over the health care sector and issue some 85 percent of the nation's mortgages.

Small-business men are more concerned about the Obama administration's emerging $1 trillion health care plan, which will drive up their costs, and with the new taxes that are aimed squarely at the income groups into which small-businessmen generally fall. So they won't expand or hire. Which is why the White House is so unhappy. The president's priorities are jobs, jobs, jobs, another way of saying votes, votes, votes. Which is why he is considering a program that would give tax credits to employers who added to their work forces.

Consumers are the other unhappy member of the business-political-consumer troika. Consumer confidence fell in October for the second consecutive month, no surprise given the weakness of the job market.

What is one to make of all of this? In my view, the recent 3.5 percent growth rate is sustainable in the near term. Inventory building, the increased exports resulting from the declining dollar, stimulus money that is only starting to hit the economy and other spending created by Congress in anticipation of the November elections will combine to provide a boost.

In the longer run, however, the pessimism of the business community seems justified. The White House and the Congress are dominated by politicians with little understanding of what makes an economy grow sustainably, and a devotion to spend-and-tax that bodes ill for the future of the dollar as a reserve currency, and for future generations whose living standards will be reduced by the need to pay the bills Obama will leave in his wake.

However -- there is always a however. What politicians have created, other politicians can put asunder. The problems that have so many so gloomy are reversible. As Lawrence of Arabia tried to persuade his fatalistic Arab allies, "Nothing is written."



BrookesNews Update

Will Obama's economic policies destroy the US dollar? : One is left wondering whether Obama and his leftwing crew are just incredibly ignorant or incredibly malevolent. Whichever one it is, don't be fooled by accusations that evil Republicans, greedy banks and incompetent capitalists are responsible for the diving dollar and the consequences of his ideologically-driven spending program. Look no further than the Obama White House
Cap and trade would sink the US economy and permanently change the political landscape : Once Americans realise that Obama's energy program will savage their living standards there will be a very nasty electoral backlash that could permanently change America's political landscape to the detriment of the Democrats, assuming they survived the political repercussions of their collective stupidity. At the moment it all depends on how many Congressional Democrats are prepared to support his green lunacy
Why profits and markets are good for you :What has to be stressed is that nearly everyone benefits market exchanges but not always immediately. Obviously, for example, candlestick makers were not happy with the advent of gas and kerosene lighting. But even they and their descendants eventually benefited in the long term
Why compromising on the carbon tax equals defeat: What happens in Australia and USA in the next few weeks is crucial. If the warmist wing of the Liberal Party, in an attempt to postpone their own dismissal, allows Rudd to arrive in Copenhagen waving the Ration-N-Tax Scheme bill like peace-in-our-time Chamberlain returning from his compromise with Hitler, Australians will give great comfort to the green mafia pushing the US senate to do the same
Is Obama turning us into the next Evil Empire? :Obama's support for the Honduran ex-president who would be king, Manuel Zelaya, is without American precedent. Zelaya is Hugo Chavez' mini-me, as he, like the vitriolic Venezuelan, sought to subvert his nation's constitution and extend and expand his power. And of this there is no doubt. The Honduran constitution prohibits a president from serving more than one term, and Zelaya, aided and abetted by Chavez and a mob of thugs, was using illegal methods to circumvent the prohibition. So what do Obama's actions tell us about what he really believes?
Burying the Paul Robeson myth : Robeson's admirers claim he was 'destroyed by the anti-communist hysteria' of Joe McCarthy. Rubbish. Robeson's relentless support for one of history's most vicious tyrants is what undid him, not Senator McCarthy. This article gives the details
Don't punish those who protect us : In an effort to satisfy his country America-hating left and with the full support of Obama Attorney General Eric Holder has targeted several CIA agents for personal destruction. However, it is the corrupt Holder who needs to be investigated. For example, there is the corrupt deal done to obtain Marc Rich a pardon. Then there was the Black Panther intimidation case that he killed. Perhaps his firm should also be asked why it is so keen to defend terrorists. A genuine investigation would find more skeletons in this mountebank's closets than in a cemetery



US politicians face inquiry into arms deals: "More than 30 US politicians, among them seven members of a defence procurement committee, are being investigated in congressional ethics inquiries into influence-peddling, according to a document leaked accidentally on to the internet. The disclosure sheds light on a process by which billions of dollars a year are spent on defence projects that the Pentagon does not want and which limits funds available for US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. House Representatives named in the document include John Murtha, the chairman of the House Defence Appropriations Sub-committee, who added so-called “earmarks” worth more than $100 million (£61 million) to last year’s defence budget and received $743,000 in campaign contributions from defence contractors. The contributions were funnelled through the PMA Group, a lobbying company set up by a former aide to Mr Murtha which closed after being raided by the FBI this year. Five of the seven members named in the leaked document are Democrats, which is an embarrassment for Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who pledged to “drain the swamp” of corruption and excessive corporate influence on Capitol Hill. This week President Obama signed a Defence Authorisation Bill providing $680 billion in military spending for the coming year, including $2.5 billion for ten transport aircraft even though the Pentagon said that it has enough of them. The Bill authorises funding for an alternative engine for the F35 joint strike fighter that the Air Force says it does not need and a destroyer that the Navy says is obsolete."

Edward Chen: Son Of Sotomayor: "The nominee for a California federal district court is an ACLU activist and another advocate for the empathy standard of jurisprudence. He also has a problem with "America the Beautiful." The nomination of Edward Chen is the latest in a series of nominations of people who have no particular fondness for the traditions of law and justice. These nominees see racism everywhere, and believe the courts should be used as instruments of social justice and not to discern the intent of the Founding Fathers who wrote the U.S. Constitution. They believe their "life experience" should be the final arbiter of justice. Chen's nomination was forwarded by the Senate Judiciary Committee to the full Senate last Friday. He currently serves as a federal magistrate in San Francisco and is a lawyer with a long history working with the American Civil Liberties Union."

Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands: "An early progress report on President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports. The government's first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts. The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced."

Shortage of Vaccine a Test for Obama: "The moment a novel strain of swine flu emerged in Mexico last spring, President Obama instructed his top advisers that his administration would not be caught flat-footed in the event of a deadly pandemic. Now, despite months of planning and preparation, a vaccine shortage is threatening to undermine public confidence in government, creating a very public test of Mr. Obama’s competence."

DEA crackdown hurts nursing home residents who need pain drugs: "Heightened efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on narcotics abuse are producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication, according to two Senate Democrats and a coalition of pharmacists and geriatric experts. Tougher enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, which tightly restricts the distribution of pain medicines such as morphine and Percocet, is causing pharmacies to balk and is leading to delays in pain relief for those patients and seniors in long-term-care facilities, wrote Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). The lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. this month, urging that the Obama administration issue new directives to the DEA"

AMTRAK’s Per-Passenger Subsidy Higher Than Cost of Airline Ticket from New Orleans to LA: "This morning, I went online and found I could purchase a one-way adult-fare airline ticket on Southwest Airlines that would allow me to fly from New Orleans to Los Angeles today for $405. Similarly, I found I could purchase a ticket on Amtrak for $439 (morning departure) or $133 (afternoon departure). The difference between these travel options: According to analysis by Pew’s Subsidyscope, the federal government subsidizes each passenger fare on Amtrak to the tune of $462.11."


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)