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

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31 October, 2012

Hindsight bias

The economy, “super PAC” money, debate performances, the candidates’ personalities. Roll it all together, and it’s obvious who’s going to win.

Or, uh, it will be. Amid the many uncertainties of next Tuesday’s presidential election lies one sure thing: Many people will feel in their gut that they knew the result all along. Not only felt it coming, but swear they predicted it beforehand — remember? — and probably more than once.

These analysts won’t be hard to find. They will most likely include (in addition to news media pundits) neighbors, friends, co-workers and relatives, as well as the person whose reflection appears in the glare of the laptop screen. Most will also have a ready-made argument for why it was inevitable that Mitt Romney, or Barack Obama, won — displaying the sort of false, after-the-fact “foresight” that psychologists call hindsight bias.


OK: I'll make MY prediction beforehand, at the risk of being a "Nimrod". Romney will win as a beneficiary of the Bradley effect -- JR.


Does Obama Have White Voter “Problem”?

Some polls have found that white support for President Obama has dropped to unprecedentedly low levels, and this topic is getting no end of media attention. Gawker wrote “Gee, White Voters really don’t like Barack Obama. Huh.”

But this misses a central point: Since the mid-1970’s Democrats have had a white voter “problem.” Obama is a Democrat. This is by far the best lens through which to view white support for Obama. Conversely, it is also the best lens through which to view black support for Obama. For example, LBJ received essentially the same level of black support in 1964 as did Obama in 2008.

This is not to say that race doesn’t matter or that Obama’s race wasn’t important in 2008. It might have been. It’s just to say that party is much more important in understanding Obama’s white racial gap.

A recent Washington Post poll found a 21-point gap in white support between Romney and Obama. But we have to put this one poll in context. In 2008, Obama garnered about 43% of the white vote. This was the high water mark for Democratic presidential candidates since Jimmy Carter in 1976 – not coincidentally about the time in which party polarization starts to take hold in the U.S. Put differently, Obama received as much or more white voter support than Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter (1980), and even Bill Clinton (see the data here or see the historical chart in the Post piece here).

What about the white voter “gap?” From CNN’s article yesterday, “Obama in 08 became the first presidential candidate ever to lose whites by double digits and win,” suggesting Obama has a particular white voter problem separate from white Democratic candidates. First, this is not true. Clinton’s white voter gap in 1992 (including Perot supporters) was 21 points. In1996? 14 points. Second, Obama is the only other Democrat besides Clinton to win a national election since 1976. How did the Democratic losers do? Kerry’s gap was about 17 points. Gore’s gap was around 12 points. Obama’s gap in 2008? 12 points

Even in the South the data do not back up the white voter bias claim. Relative to Kerry, Obama did a little worse in some Southern states (Alabama, for example), but a little better or equally well in others (Georgia and North Carolina, for example).

What about the polls in 2012? Here is the Romney/Obama white voter gap in June: Gallup, 16-17 points; CNN, 14; Fox News, 16; Ipsos-Reuters, 15; Pew, 13. These are all in line with the historical pattern for Democrats. In October, as the race tightened, the gap widened, but has still been very much in line with past Democratic performance: IBD/TIPP, 15 points; ABC/WaPo, 21 (two weeks before it was 11 points), Fox News, 19; Pew, 21; CBS, 14.

Has Obama’s white support gone down since 2008? Probably. But does he have a white voter “problem?” Probably not. Even if he does, it is not an Obama problem. It has more to do with the fact that he is a Democratic incumbent running during a struggling economy. So how should we think about race and the 2012 election?

* Obama is likely get between 38% and 43% of the national white vote.

* This will fit within the historical pattern of Democrats since 1976.

* Racial attitudes are already baked into the partisan cake, thus racial bigots on the left and right made their partisan choices a long time ago and will dance with whoever brought them to the party on Election Day.

* Obama’s white voter problem is the Democrat’s white voter problem. Indeed, he has performed better with this group than any national Democrat since the era of party polarization began.



Should governments Be Allowed to Steal Your Property?

I’ve already written about the despicable practice of “civil forfeiture,” which allows governments to confiscate the property of innocent people who have not been convicted of any crime.

And I’ve cited great columns on the issue from George Will and John Stossel., as well a sobering report on the topic from the Wall Street Journal. Now the Institute for Justice has a video that should outrage any decent person.

It’s examples of government thuggery like this that make me a libertarian. You should be one as well. If you need more convincing, check out these horror stories of statist abuse.

* A story of vicious IRS persecution.

* A women jailed overnight because she let her kids play outside.

* Threatening to send a woman to jail because someone whistled at a whale.

* Two stories of innocent people who were victimized by the idiotic Drug War.

* A video about how the EPA tried – and fortunately failed – to destroy a family.

* A story about the Justice Department’s discriminatory attack on a hapless homeowner.

* The government treating child molesters more leniently than people who accidentally omit irrelevant info from forms

* Putting a store out of business for selling toy guns.

* Regulations making it difficult for trucking firms to weed out drunk drivers.

* Year-long sting operations by federal milk police.

* Rules harassing coffee shops with bikini-clad sales staff.

* OSHA requirements for expensive safety harnesses for people working 11 feet off the ground.

* Rules from the EEOC for “pee-shy” employees.

* The IRS making banks put foreign tax law above US tax law.

Remember, if government is the answer, you’ve asked a very strange question.

More HERE (See the original for links)


Obama’s War on Women… and Intelligence

When President Obama started talking about “shovel-ready jobs,” who knew he was talking about the shovels needed to dig a hole deep enough to lower the bar to a level his campaign could clear. As if his campaign of “Romnesia,” Big Bird and “binders” wasn’t desperate enough, the stench of desperation was turned up to 11 yesterday.

To Democrats it seems women are nothing more than hyper-fertile vaginas on a constant quest for sex, contraception and abortions. What else has the president’s campaign addressed? No appeals to women on jobs, even as they suffer an obscenely high unemployment rate. Despite all the talk of equal pay, no accountability or attempt to rectify or explain the Obama administration paying women 18 percent less than men.

They think women don’t care the administration ignored both pleas for more security before the attacks that killed four Americans in Libya and cries for help during the attack. They don’t think women care about Obama’s unwillingness to answer a direct question about it, or that he ordered an investigation into it while the seven-hour attack what happening. And they really don’t think women will find it odd he demanded those attacking Americans be brought “to justice” after the attack rather than bombing them beforehand when he had the chance.

Nope, for women it’s been, “Here’s some free birth control, now shut up and vote for me.” And “There’s a war on women, and Republicans are responsible.” Disgusting.

And now we have the latest salvo in the Democrats’ real war on women.

The Obama campaign released a new ad featuring actress Lena Dunham talking about her “first time.” For those of you who don’t know, Dunham is in HBO’s mildly amusing show “Girls,” which is set in Brooklyn and has been widely criticized for managing to not have any minority characters in the heart of America’s melting pot.

Her “first time” refers to her first time voting, and voting for Barack Obama. But it’s done in a double-entendre way that is beneath the office of the president.

I love a good double-entendre joke as much as anyone. But this is just trashy and exposes even further the lack of respect Democrats show women.

Dunham says your first time should be with “A great guy.” So what to her and the Obama campaign constitutes “a great guy”? It seems it’s “A guy who cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control.”

The use of the word “specifically” is what’s most telling. The ad is absurd and sickening, but that line takes the cake. Honestly, that’s what constitutes “a great guy” to liberals? “I know you don’t have a job, but I’m paying for your birth control, and we all know that’s what really matters to you. Here’s the pill, now let’s get it on.”

It’s like Democrats want women in the bedroom – barefoot but not pregnant. Women, real, intelligent women, want more from life.

So who does this ad target? Allahpundit at HotAir.com asks the question of a campaign that produces an ad like this, “Do they think women are too stupid to appreciate a straightforward pitch on the issues?” They must.

Dunham also lists Obama’s support for gay marriage as a reason why he should be your “first.” But the joke is on her, because the President told MTV, after raising millions off his support, that he’ll do exactly zero about it, that gay marriage is a state issue.

Ace over at the Ace of Spades website points out how this sort of superficial pap appeals to the president’s base. He writes, “It underlines the essential triviality of Obama and his Government Client & Upper Upper Class White Voter agenda. There is nothing to his campaign except very small social-progressive appeals to people who are simply not affected by the economy, whether they are too poor to notice a bad economy, immunized from the economy by being a government worker, or so rich they have nothing at all to fear from a bad economy.”

Most Americans, of course, don’t fit into those categories. Most are suffering in Obama’s economy.

But in an election when turning out the base could be everything, making an appeal to that group, particularly young people, makes sense. And considering the un-and-under-employment of recent college graduates is about 50 percent, an appeal on policy or accomplishment is out of the question. So you end up with something incredibly stupid and un-presidential like this ad that harkens back to a panned and quickly retracted campaign picture that implored women to “Vote like your lady parts depend on it.” Because, to Democrats, that’s all you are.

Come to think of it, considering the unemployment rate for the targeted group is 50 percent and the incredible, crushing debt they’ll inherit from this president, maybe birth control and contraception should be a priority for every young person. After all, if Barack Obama wins a second term and it’s anything like his “first,” we’re all getting completely screwed.



More than one cliff facing Americans

You’ve heard talk about “the fiscal cliff.” But that definite article is misleading. We’re headed towards more than one such cliff.

This coming January, if Congress and the president fail to take action, every American who pays income taxes will pay more. Also set to increase? Payroll taxes, which every worker pays.

And an increase in taxes is the very opposite of a “stimulus” to the economy. Hence “the cliff” metaphor.

But even if we can avoid falling off those cliffs, another threatens.

It has been identified by finance professors Robert Novy-Marx at the University of Rochester and Joshua Rauh at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who summarized for The Washington Post their recent research paper, “The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises,” in which they essayed to determine...
"how much additional money would have to be devoted annually to state and local pension systems to achieve full funding in 30 years, a standard period over which governments target fully funded pensions. . . . How much will your taxes have to increase? We found that, on average, a tax increase of $1,385 per U.S. household per year would be required, starting immediately and growing with the size of the public sector. An alternative would be public-sector budget cuts of a similar magnitude, or a combination of tax increases and cuts adding up to this amount."
But that $1,385 figure is only an average. “New York taxpayers would need to contribute more than $2,250 per household per year over the next 30 years,” according to their analysis. “In Oregon, the amount is $2,140; in Ohio, it is $2,051; in New Jersey, $2,000.”

If we don’t get the problem under control, this cliff keeps getting higher, making, as the professors put it, “the $1,385 per-household increase required today seem cheap.”

How did we find ourselves on top of such a steep fiscal cliff?

Well, that brings us back to politicians. These are the folks we vote into office at the state and local level. They face similar pressures that politicians in Washington, DC, face. Whatever their intentions when going into office, while there they are surrounded not by normal citizens, but by state functionaries, by “public servants.” And these are awfully nice people who any reasonable person wants to help. So, when politicians sit down with government employee union reps and the head bureaucrats, to determine rates of compensation, including “benefits,” it’s awfully tempting to be generous.

With our money. With money the politicians haven’t collected yet, in taxes, and we haven’t even made yet, in our salaries and profits and the like.




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


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


30 October, 2012

A Case Study In Incompetence

(Or was it cowardice -- fear of offending Muslims? Better for Americans to die? Appeasement? -- JR)

Myriad are the failures of the Obama administration, but none is more tragic, or more frightening, or more foreboding of catastrophe than the appalling mishandling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

Details continue to leak, but it’ll be hard to top the bombshell from Fox News at week’s end reporting that repeated urgent requests for military help during the attack were summarily denied — for hours.

In those hours, former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was killed after he chose to disobey an order to “stand down” — and rushed to aid his fellow Americans.

This is not explained by the “fog of war” excuse so lamely offered by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — or the “Monday-morning quarterbacking” whining of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

It’s well established that the Benghazi consulate had been denied adequate security in the days leading up to the attack. But the new report suggests an astonishing lack of competence, or maybe it was cowardice, as a US ambassador and his team were coming under a well-coordinated terrorist attack.

Jennifer Griffin, a veteran Fox News defense correspondent, reported Friday that there were two urgent requests — hours apart — for help during the attack.

Special-ops teams and air cover were readily available, and could’ve been on the scene in less than two hours. (The attack lasted for more than six hours.)

In fact, two surveillance drones were deployed — both capable of relaying real-time visuals of what was happening. But urgent requests for help were rejected — even when Woods and two others radioed that they had a laser fixed on the terrorists who were firing mortars and called in their coordinates.

Woods and another former SEAL, Glen Doherty, were killed by a mortar shell about six hours after the initial assault began.

“My son . . . responded to the cries for help and voluntarily sacrificed his life to protect the lives of other Americans,” says his father, Charles Woods. “This has nothing to do with politics,” he added. “This has to do with integrity and honor. My son showed moral courage.”

True enough, surprise attacks happen. But the failure to respond — leaving an American diplomat and his security team to their fate — defies comprehension.

This, even as e-mails show the State Department and White House Situation Room knew within the first couple of hours that an al Qaeda affiliate was publicly claiming responsibility.

But how could that be? Hadn’t al Qaeda been defanged by SEAL Team 6 when it took out Osama bin Laden — and didn’t the president have the victory laps to prove it? Well, apparently not.

So Obama & Co. stuck with the untenable claim that the Benghazi strike wasn’t a terrorist attack at all, but a “spontaneous” mob assault prompted by that anti-Muslim video.

Indeed, says Woods, Clinton vowed to him at a White House meeting that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” And don’t you just know, the “person . . . that did the video” is in jail, on a very dubious probation-violation charge. (So it seems the administration can follow through on some things when it chooses.)

Equally offensive was the bizarre remark at the same event by a “loud and boisterous” Vice President Joe Biden, who reportedly asked Woods, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” This man is a heartbeat away?

Compare that crudity with Charles Woods’ outraged dignity: “I wish that the leadership in the White House had the same level of moral courage and heroism that my son displayed.” He wants “the person or persons who made the decision to sacrifice my son’s life to stand up” — and accept responsibility.

Not going to happen. Not in this administration. Acknowledging what really happened in Benghazi would mean confessing to hubris, incompetence, amateurism and deceit. These are, sadly, Obama hallmarks.

So, what does the president have to say for himself? “Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” Obama told a reporter Friday. Forty-seven days late and four lives short, sad to say.

So add cluelessness to the bill of Obama particulars — which goes a long way toward explaining the clouds of acrid smoke hanging over the entire Middle East.

As does nature, statecraft abhors a vacuum. When one develops, adventurers and advantage-takers appear in short order.

Iran continues to build its bomb; Syria burns; Turkey awaits its fate, and Egypt is looking at a Muslim Brotherhood-enforced Sharia state. Think of it as Benghazi writ large.

Time to evict the deceiving amateurs.



Obama’s False Jobs Creation Claims

President Obama has lately been touting the amazing claim that he’s created 5.2 million new jobs as President. His fantastic claim is featured in a new TV. But FactCheck.org says, not so fast. Those claims are “inflated,” to say the least.

FactCheck notes that the 5.2 million claim is accurate, such as it is. But what makes it “inflated” is that the jobs number refers only to jobs created after 2010 and does not include the 4.3 million that were lost earlier in Obama’s term.

Further, according to FactCheck, Obama’s number counts only private-sector jobs and does not include the “continuing losses” of jobs in the government sector as state and local jurisdictions find their budgets so over spent that pink slips have resulted.

FactCheck goes on to note that far from an actual gain of 5.2 million, once earlier losses are removed, Obama has in fact only realized some 967,000 jobs which includes a credit of 453,000 private-sector jobs which will be added through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) benchmarking process.

FactCheck also slaps Obama for his website claim that Mitt Romney said he thought the end of the war in Iraq was “tragic.” Romney did not actually say this at all. What Romney actually said was that the pace of Obama’s troop withdrawal was tragic. He never said ending a war was tragic.

Here is what Romney actually said:

"The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate. It’s more than unfortunate. I think it’s tragic. It puts at risk many of the victories that were hard-won by the men and women who have served there. I hope the risk is not realized. I hope instead that the Iraqis are able to pick up the baton, and despite the fact that we will have walked away on a too-rapid basis."

Even The New York Times has this fact correct.

These aren’t the only outright lies Obama has been repeating ad nauseum both on the campaign trail and in his TV ads. Obama continues, for instance, to claim that Mitt Romney has proposed a “$5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy.” This is, of course, an outright fantasy as Patrick Brennan reported earlier this month.

That isn’t all. Obama has issued a passel-full of lies about Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals, as well.

For more, John Nolte has also explored Obama’s constant campaign trail lies about Mitt Romney.

It seems it’s been one lie after another for team Obama since the beginning.



Obama Calls Mitt Romney a BSer? Now That’s Funny!

Doug Giles

You know what’s funny? In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Obama called Mitt Romney a “bullsh*tter” … that’s what’s funny.

Now, it’s not funny in a ha-ha sense but funny in a you-gotta-be-kidding-me sense of the word. Obama accusing Romney of bunkum? Talk about the putz calling the kettle black.

Obama’s entire life and rise to power have been nothing more than a Texas-sized stockyard of ripe and foul compost. This man makes Machiavelli look lame. Hussein trades so heavily in BS that the Oxford Dictionary has now included his last name as a synonym for bollocks. I also hear OJ take notes when Obama speaks.

In addition, I’ve learned from reliable sources that a Las Vegas-based energy company is at work now trying to convert Obama’s gaseous rhetoric, his scat-laced hollow promises and his abysmal jobs record into an alternative fuel source to light up the Strip.

So exactly what is this thing called “bullsh*t” of which Obama is a ninja? Well, you can call it BS, bull crap, or the nicer sounding Latin term “stercore tauri,” or simply bull, bull roar, bull-pucky, bovine scat, horse feathers, horse hockey, poppycock, cow dung, Chris Matthews, bollocks, gobbledygook, gibberish, humbug, fisk, nonsense, evening news, tall tale, pseudo-intellectualism, propaganda, fiction, lie, bunkum, spin, or truthiness.

Whatever you want to call it, BS can be defined as communications in which reality and truthfulness aren’t nearly as vital as the ability to manipulate the audience to get it to do whatever one wants done. And here’s where Obama rocks with the tofu-brained masses.

BS is essentially all skewed, spun, knowingly dubious, carefully framed, pretentious, misleading or vacuous statements. Now, “BS” does not necessarily have to be a complete fabrication; with only basic knowledge about a topic, BS is often used to make the audience believe that one knows far more about the topic by feigning total certainty or making probable predictions. It may also merely be “filler” or nonsense that, by virtue of its style or wording, gives the impression that it actually means something:

"In popular explanations of philosophy, the word “bullsh*t” is used to denote utterances and speech acts which do not add to the meaning of the set of sentences uttered, but which are added purely to persuade goobers of the validity or importance of other utterances.

The accuracy of the information is irrelevant whilst “bullsh*tting.” Whether true or false, BS is the intention to distort the information or to otherwise achieve a desirable outcome, making BS a close cousin to rhetoric as Plato conceived it" (paraphrased from Harry Frankfurt’s book, On Bullsh*t).

Do you need a few examples of how Obama has piled it high, wide and deep on Americans’ noggins? You do? Check out these smelly bullet points from our innovative BSer-In-Chief from a recent email I received …

Obama’s the first President to:

- Apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

- Have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

- Go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayer.

- Preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.

- Have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

- Keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.

- Repeat the Holy Quran and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth.

- Violate the War Powers Act.

- Be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

- Defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

- Require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

- Spend a trillion dollars on “shovel-ready” jobs when there was no such thing as “shovel-ready” jobs.

- Abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

- Bypass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

- Order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.

- Demand a company hand over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

- Terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.

- Arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

- Threaten insurance companies if they publicly speak out on the reasons for their rate increases.

- Tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.

- File lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).

- Withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

- Fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

- Appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office.

- Golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office (100+ to date).

- Hide his medical, educational and travel records.

- Win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.

- Go on multiple global “apology tours.”

- Take a 17-day vacation.

And Romney’s a bullsh*tter? Please. Go sell crazy somewhere else. Even Letterman called him on it this week.

A juicy whopper missing from that list is how Obama loves the woman voter and yet strangely voted “present” (read against) in ‘99 for a bill that would protect sexual assault victims from having the details of their cases revealed publicly.

And lastly—and most ghastly—regarding how Obama has lied what’s left of his backside off to we the people comes the Benghazi massacre, which keeps growing grosser, more malevolent and insidious with each passing day.

For Barack to say Romney is a bullsh*tter in light of Obama’s own weapons-grade bullsh*t is, well … bullsh*t.


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 when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


29 October, 2012

The ugly face of Leftist Jew-haters

Yes, this cartoon is of a Jewish banker – as tired as it is poisonous. The caricatured features remind one of Nazi newspapers or any number of modern Arab publications. But, actually, this one wasn’t found in any of the obvious places. It was posted to a Facebook page set up to support Occupy Wall Street.

Remember those idiots? Naive, grubby, pathetic – but anti-Semitic as well? The answer is that, no, most of the Occupy activists were raging smelly bores rather than racists; but a minority did have a thing about Jews, and still do. In fact, if you search YouTube, you can find videos of protesters saying things like: “Those Zionist Jews that run our big banks? They need to be run out of this country.” Funnily enough, though, the Occupy-friendly mainstream media soft-pedalled this one.



America's Liar President

Dorothy Rabinowitz, one of the best writers of our time, encapsulated the Obama Presidency perfectly in Monday's Wall Street Journal. She wrote:
In the 1967 film "A Guide for the Married Man," a husband, played by a peerless Walter Matthau, is given lessons in ways to cheat on his wife safely: "Deny! Deny! Deny!" -- no matter what. In an instructive scene, he's shown a wife undone by shock, and screaming, with good reason: She has just walked in on her husband making love to a glamorous stranger. "What are you doing," she wails, "who is that woman?" "What woman, where?" the husband serenely counters, as he and the tart in question get out of bed and calmly dress.

So the scene proceeds, with the distraught wife pointing to the woman she clearly sees before her, while her husband, unruffled, continues to look blankly at her, asking, "What woman?" Confused by her spouse's unblinking assurance, she gives up. Two minutes later she's asking him what he'd like for dinner.
That is the Obama White House communications strategy exactly. I don't want to call the President a liar. I have used the term "Calculated Deception" many times before to describe it. But now it has come to the point where history will remember him as "the Liar President." That is not my fault. I am only discussing reality.

Dereliction of Duty

We can see this in the debates. In the second debate, he told the American people with a straight face that he had confessed the very next day in the Rose Garden that the murder of the Libyan ambassador and four other Americans in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Obama told the American people, with his straight Walther Matthau face, "The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime."

But the truth is that the State Department, the CIA, and the White House itself all had access to real time video of exactly what happened. No doubt as word spread as to what was happening, the top levels of the Administration all tuned into the events, watching them all unfold in real time. So why is he telling us in the debate that "we are going to find out exactly what happened?" Intelligence made a full report within 24 hours.

An incredulous Mitt Romney exclaimed, "I think [it's] interesting the President just said something which -- which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said this was an act of terror." "That's what I said," Obama lied in response. Romney seeing the discrepancy with reality, noted "I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the President 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror." Obama replied, "Get the transcript."

Then, as if in a pre-arranged ambush, the supposed moderator "Candy" Crowley piped up and said to Romney "He did in fact, sir." To further demonstrate his mastery over the Democrat party-controlled media, Obama ordered live in the debate for every American to see, "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" Crowley stood at attention and reported "He did call it an act of terror."

The reason this was so obviously pre-arranged is that the transcript in fact does not back up what Obama fantasized and Crowley "reported." The transcript shows Obama mentioned terrorism in regard to 9/11, not Benghazi. Talk about calculated deception!

It took Romney alone among the three to correct the record, saying, "The Administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.... It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group."

Obama interrupted, appealing for a further bailout, by his plant, "Candy?" But Romney cut off his interruption, "Excuse me. The ambassador of the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how this was a spontaneous..." But Obama interrupted again to appeal for help, "Candy, I'm happy to have a longer conversation about foreign policy." Crowley took her cue again, "I know you, absolutely, but I want to move you on...." For the first time honestly, a relieved Obama said, "OK. I'm happy to do that too."

We all saw for 14 days with our own eyes not only Obama but his whole Administration perpetuating the fairy tale that the Benghazi murders were all due to some amateur 14 minute film trailer on YouTube, just as Matthau's wife in the movie saw him in bed with another woman. We saw Obama's UN Ambassador Susan Rice repeat this myth on five Sunday talk shows almost a week after the event. We saw Obama at the UN telling the whole world that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to a previously unknown amateur video.

Obama continued his prevarication on this tragedy in the third debate Monday, saying about the Benghazi murders, "With respect to Libya, as I indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one, we did everything we could to secure those Americans still in harm's way...." We could use the White House phone logs on that one. Because while the attack that culminated in the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens went on for hours, the U.S. Air Force was just one hour flight time away, in Sicily. But it was apparently too much to rouse them for a rescue, attacking and scattering the terrorist attackers.

Moreover, whatever President Obama did order in response, it was not only way too little, but way too late, because the Administration had been receiving requests from the Ambassador for additional security in an increasingly dangerous environment since February. But the requests were denied. Even on the anniversary of 9/11, when the heightened danger should have been obvious, no additional security was provided. Obama and the liberal softies in his Administration did not want to offend Muslim sensibilities with additional show of force. That is why the American guards were denied even ammunition for their guns, and the Administration was relying on Libyan security, even when Ambassador Stevens had reported that government security forces were outmanned and outgunned by the Islamist extremists.

Ambassador Stevens and the Marines and other American personnel killed with him volunteered to serve their country. They did not volunteer to be abandoned and murdered. President Obama's failure to provide the requested security, or roust available U.S. forces for a rescue, can only be described as dereliction of duty.

Unilateral Disarmament

In Monday's debate, President Obama says that Governor Romney "wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military's not asking for." But the leaders of the military he is talking about serve at his pleasure, or may even have been appointed by him.

Romney again corrected the record, saying the under Obama's defense policies our Navy will be "smaller than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now down to 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration." Moreover, under Obama's policies our Air Force will be "older and smaller than any time since it was founded in 1947." In addition, "Since FDR...we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we're changing to one conflict." The problem with only being able to fight in one conflict at a time is that once America is embroiled in a conflict, it is vulnerable to attack on a second front from anyone else. That is why that policy has not been followed since America became a superpower.

But Obama countered:
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities.

Notice that Obama here did not deny that our Navy under his policies is down to the lowest level since 1916. But he fails to see that Navy ships do not hold the status in today's military of horses and bayonets. Under his policies, moreover, we will have fewer aircraft carriers as well.

The military does not want any more ships than we had in 1916? That is not what both of Obama's Secretaries of Defense have said. They both said that Obama's defense cuts would be devastating to our nation's defenses. That goes for an Air Force that is older and smaller than at any time since our Air Force was founded in 1947.

But even more scary is President Obama's plans for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Most people do not know that President Obama has asked the Pentagon for plans to cut America's remaining nuclear deterrent by up to 80%. I say remaining because that is from what is left after President Obama's disastrous nuclear arms treaty with Russia last year.

Obama is the one who is stuck in a Cold War mentality, still negotiating arms deals with the Russians as if we were still in a bipolar world. Under Obama's New Start Treaty with Russia, America's nuclear forces are slashed to 1500 warheads, with essentially no cuts from Russia in return, because after the Soviet Union's collapse and disintegration, it cannot maintain nuclear forces even close to the limits allowed. What was smart about that? Another cut of 80% would reduce total warheads to 300, little more than Great Britain.

But that is in a context where Russia is not the only potential foe that we must deter. China is rapidly developing a more modern nuclear force. Proliferation is spreading from Pakistan to North Korea to Iran. Once Iran gets a nuclear weapon, we can expect Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and probably Egypt will as well. Even Russia is rapidly modernizing a threatening nuclear force.

Moreover, with just 300 warheads left, are we enticing a first strike to remove the remaining nuclear assets? Our nuclear strategy has always been based on the Triad concept, with nuclear forces on land on missiles, at sea on ships, and in the air through aircraft bombers. But just 300 warheads can be deployed on just 30 missiles with modern, multiple warhead technology.

Reagan gave us Peace through Strength. War threatens America with War through Weakness. Indeed, what exactly did Obama mean when he told former Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev to tell Russian strongman Vladimir Putin that he would have more flexibility after the election? Is that why Putin has endorsed Obama for re-election?

You Didn't Build That

In the debates, Obama has repeatedly bragged that under his leadership America has increased production of oil and natural gas to record levels, while "we've cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades." But Romney pointed out that the oil and gas production gains had nothing to do with Obama's energy policies, which had aimed at just the opposite results. Those gains all came on state and local lands, where Obama's policies could not stop them.

Romney charged in the second debate, "In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal lands and waters in half." "Not true Governor Romney. The production is up," Obama replied. Romney responded, "Production on government land of oil is down 14%, and production of gas is down 9%." Romney here was just citing accurately official U.S. government statistics from Obama's own Administration. But that did not stop Obama from saying in response, before the whole nation, "What you're saying is just not true. It's just not true."

What else can be said about this dishonorable display of dishonesty before the American people, other than that Obama is The Liar President. As the Wall Street Journal said on October 18:
The problem for the President is that a government outfit called the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) compiles these statistics. That's where Romney got his accurate figures on oil and gas production on government land and permitting in Obama's first term. The EIA also reports that total fossil fuel production in public areas -- oil, gas and coal -- has plunged to a nine year low, to 18.6 quadrillion BTUs, from 21.2 quadrillion in 2003.

The real problem is not President Obama. It is his supporters and contributors who are willing to blindly support this dishonesty, after four years of accelerating decline and failure, which will only continue in the second term. Obama is Marxist royalty by heritage, born and bred. Check the public record. Under his leadership, the Democrat party has become a Marxist party as well. Is that what a majority of Americans want? Despite the lies, so well supported by the Democrat-controlled media, the American people seem to be waking from their dangerous slumber.



Expensive welfare: Over $60,000 in Welfare Spent Per Household in Poverty

Handing out other people's money is an expensive business

New data compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee shows that, last year, the United States spent over $60,000 to support welfare programs per each household that is in poverty. The calculations are based on data from the Census, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Research Services.

"According to the Census’s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795," the Senate Budget Committee notes. "If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011."

This dollar figure is almost three times the amount the average household on poverty lives on per year. "If the spending on these programs were converted into cash, and distributed exclusively to the nation’s households below the poverty line, this cash amount would be over 2.5 times the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, which in 2011 was $22,350 (see table in this link)," the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note.

To be clear, not all households living below the poverty line receive $61,194 worth of assistance per year. After all, many above the poverty line also receive benefits from social welfare sprograms (e.g. pell grants).

But if welfare is meant to help bring those below the poverty line to a better place, it helps demonstrate that numbers do not add up.

As for the welfare programs, the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee note:

A congressional report from CRS recently revealed that the United States now spends more on means-tested welfare than any other item in the federal budget—including Social Security, Medicare, or national defense. Including state contributions to the roughly 80 federal poverty programs, the total amount spent in 2011 was approximately $1 trillion. Federal spending alone on these programs was up 32 percent since 2008.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that almost 110 million Americans received some form of means-tested welfare in 2011. These figures exclude entitlements like Medicare and Social Security to which people contribute, and they refer exclusively to low-income direct and indirect financial support—such as food stamps, public housing, child care, energy assistance, direct cash aid, etc. For instance, 47 million Americans currently receive food stamps, and USDA has engaged in an aggressive outreach campaign to boost enrollment even further, arguing that “every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy… It’s the most direct stimulus you can get.” (Economic growth, however, is weaker this year than the two years prior, even as food stamp “stimulus” has reached an all-time high.)




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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)


28 October, 2012

American exceptionalism

To me it is glaringly obvious that the USA is exceptional. It is overwhelmingly the world's predominant military power and also the source of most of the world's innovations.

So the interesting question is not "if" but "why". WHY is America so dominant? In a recent article Podhoretz sets out most of the usual reasons, starting from the foundation of the USA in an independence revolution. He sees the principles set out by the revolutionaries at that time as having had an enduring influence.

I imagine that they did have an influence for a long time but only conservative intellectuals and activists seem to know of them now. Thanks to the Leftist takeover of the schools, the average American these days knows nothing substantial about the American founding, if anything at all. How much does the average black or Hispanic know? Yet they all have votes -- and there's a lot of them.

And America is now very socialist. As Romney rightly if imprudently pointed out, around half of the population now depend on government handouts. Not much rugged individualism there! Given the huge and unfunded Federal spending now happening, it could in fact be argued that America is in the midst of a socialist meltdown right now. Nothing Romney has proposed is capable of reining in the overspend.

But if none of the usual explanations of America's exceptionalism now work, what can it be that makes America so powerful in every sense? I think it is both extraordinarily simple and much more enduring than all of the other influences that have come and gone: The fact that there is a national election every two years. If the ruling party goes off the rails you only have to wait two years to give them a boot up the backside -- as we vividly saw in the 2010 mid-terms. There is only so much damage you can do in two years so the damage done by political folly is much less in America. Most governments are still getting into their stride at the two-year mark and they have to take into account the forthcoming election long before that.

Other countries have three or four year terms before a national government has to face a new election and Britain has horrific five-year terms. And huge messes can be created, and have been created, in five years. Just look at the problem created by the last British Labour Party government's "open door" immigration policy. Britain is now lumbered with millions of welfare-dependent parasites who have to be supported by the staggering British taxpayer. At least most of America's "illegals" come to work.

If ever the American socialists (so-called "liberals") wake up to the fact that two-year terms are their enemy, America might have a problem but until then there is hope. And even liberals might have difficulty in arguing that frequent elections are "unfair".


The more we learn about Benghazi...


Chick-fil-A laughing all the way to the bank

To misquote Liberace

Three months after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy voiced his support for 'Biblical families' - prompting one of the most intense and negative campaigns the fast food chain has ever seen - it has been revealed that the restaurant's bottom line couldn't be better.

Research specialist Sandelman & Associates report that customer numbers are up, profits are healthy, and media awareness of the brand is at an all-time high.

So much for the negative publicity. It seems that the months of protests, kiss-ins, calls for boycotts and fighting talk from both sides of the fence have actually been one big free advertisement for the company.

Sandelman figures showed consumer use of the chicken sandwich chain was up 2.2 per cent, compared with the same period in 2011, market share was up 0.6 per cent, and brand awareness was up 6.5 per cent.

The research firm interviewed more than 30,000 fast-food consumers in markets where Chick-fil-A is located.

Jeff Davis, president of Sandelman, told USA Today: 'There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-fil-A, but it actually helped the brand.

He added that, during the third quarter of this year, Chick-fil-A broadened its regular customer base in 28 of 35 media markets.



Obama debates truth

Thomas Sowell

It was a little much when President Barack Obama said that he was "offended" by the suggestion that his administration would try to deceive the public about what happened in Benghazi. What has this man not deceived the public about?

Remember his pledge to cut the deficit in half in his first term in office? This was followed by the first trillion-dollar deficit ever, under any president of the United States – followed by trillion-dollar deficits in every year of the Obama administration.

Remember his pledge to have a "transparent" government that would post its legislative proposals on the Internet several days before Congress was to vote on them, so that everybody would know what was happening? This was followed by an Obamacare bill so huge and passed so fast that even members of Congress did not have time to read it.

Remember his claims that previous administrations had arrogantly interfered in the internal affairs of other nations – and then his demands that Israel stop building settlements and give away land outside its 1967 borders, as a precondition to peace talks with the Palestinians, on whom there were no preconditions?

As for what happened in Libya, the Obama administration says that there is an "investigation" under way. An "on-going investigation" sounds so much better than "stonewalling" to get past Election Day. But you can bet the rent money that this "investigation" will not be completed before Election Day. And whatever the investigation says after the election will be irrelevant.

The events unfolding in Benghazi on the tragic night of Sept. 11 were being relayed to the State Department as the attacks were going on, "in real time," as they say. So the idea that the Obama administration now has to carry out a time-consuming "investigation" to find out what those events were, when the information was immediately available at the time, is a little much.

The full story of what happened in Libya, down to the last detail, may never be known. But, as someone once said, you don't need to eat a whole egg to know that it is rotten. And you don't need to know every detail of the events before, during and after the attacks to know that the story put out by the Obama administration was a fraud.

The administration's initial story that what happened in Benghazi began as a protest against an anti-Islamic video in America was a very convenient theory. The most obvious alternative explanation would have been devastating to Barack Obama's much heralded attempts to mollify and pacify Islamic nations in the Middle East.

To have helped overthrow pro-Western governments in Egypt and Libya, only to bring anti-Western Islamic extremists to power would have been revealed as a foreign policy disaster of the first magnitude. To have been celebrating President Obama's supposedly heroic role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the implication that al-Qaida was crippled, would have been revealed as a farce.

Osama bin Laden was by no means the first man to plan a surprise attack on America and later be killed. Japan's Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, and he was later tracked down and shot down in a plane that was carrying him.

Nobody tried to depict President Franklin D. Roosevelt as some kind of hero for having simply authorized the killing of Yamamoto. In that case, the only hero who was publicized was the man who shot down the plane that Yamamoto was in.

Yet the killing of Osama bin Laden has been depicted as some kind of act of courage by President Obama. After bin Laden was located, why would any president not give the go-ahead to get him?

That took no courage at all. It would have been far more dangerous politically for Obama not to have given the go-ahead. Moreover, Obama hedged his bets by authorizing the admiral in charge of the operation to proceed only under various conditions.

This meant that success would be credited to Obama and failure could be blamed on the admiral – who would join George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and other scapegoats for Obama's failures.



Are Leftists INCAPABLE of principle or even consistency?

NYT article:
The last mistake Dan Fredenberg made was getting killed in another man’s garage. It was Sept. 22, and Mr. Fredenberg, 40, was upset. He strode up the driveway of a quiet subdivision here to confront Brice Harper, a 24-year-old romantically involved with Mr. Fredenberg’s young wife. But as he walked through Mr. Harper’s open garage door, Mr. Fredenberg was doing more than stepping uninvited onto someone else’s property. He was unwittingly walking onto a legal landscape reshaped by laws that have given homeowners new leeway to use force inside their own homes.

Proponents say the laws strengthen people’s right to defend their homes. To others, they are a license to kill.

That night, in a doorway at the back of his garage, Mr. Harper aimed a gun at the unarmed Mr. Fredenberg, fired and struck him three times. Mr. Fredenberg crumpled to the garage floor, a few feet from Mr. Harper. He was dead before morning.

Had Mr. Fredenberg been shot on the street or sidewalk, the legal outcome might have been different. But on Oct. 9, the Flathead County attorney decided not to prosecute, saying that Montana’s “castle doctrine” law, which maintains that a man’s home is his castle, protected Mr. Harper’s rights to vigorously defend himself there. The county attorney determined that Mr. Harper had the right to fetch his gun from his bedroom, confront Mr. Fredenberg in the garage and, fearing for his safety, shoot him.
So let’s summarize – angry, drunk estranged husband of homeowner’s girlfriend charges into the home spewing threats. Homeowner responds with a trio of shots that dispatch the intruder into the next life. Frankly, I’ve got no problem with that – especially with the homeowner knowing that the intruder had a history of domestic abuse against his estranged spouse. The prosecutor was right not to bring charges in this situation.

The New York Times, of course, disagrees – as does most of its liberal-leaning commenters. That isn’t a surprise, and would not even elicit my notice However, it is the responses of those liberal commenters that are illustrative of how shallow the “pro-woman” stance taken by your average liberal really is. What I read was a veritable War on Women from the Left! Consider this comment, from commenter Jim Jones.
Is this what some people refer to as "freedom"? She has an affair, tells her husband, proceeds to take their young children to the home of this other man, in order to spend the day there, and finally asks this other man to drive her around the neighborhood, which ensures she is seen with the other man. The Victim returns home to find his wife & young children missing. The soon to be victim then goes looking for his family in one place he probably hoped they would not be. Upon the victim's arrival, the other man runs into his home, leaving the door open, so he can grab a gun and wait for the Vic to get within range.

The Vic was baited like a bear. What a bad law. So sad, so cold, so predictable. Someone else is sure to use similar tactics in order to legally take out an adversary.
Got that – it is all the woman’s fault. How dare she spend the day with a man not her husband? She even drove around in a car with him! Sounds like Mr. Jones would prefer the much more morally sound legal code of Saudi Arabia to guarantee that such immoral behavior is properly punished. And then there’s Merlin.
As tragic as this case is, it's never a good idea to confront the man having an affair with your woman, not even on neutral ground, and worst of all in his territory. It's always the woman's fault, just as it is the man's fault when he cheats. The only time you are right to confront your woman's lover is in your own home or territory.

Got that – she’s “your woman”. Chattel. I saw any number of comments in which some liberal commenter argued that Fredenberg had every right to enter Harper’s home because Harper had “trespassed” upon Fredenberg’s “property” by having an affair with his wife. So much for the notion of “her body, her choice”! I wonder if such liberals would be taking the same position if a drunk guy who abused his wife had shown up in the garage of the local abortionist to punch him out (or worse) for aborting his child? I doubt it – they would be celebrating him and the NYT article would have presented the doctor as a hero.

The number of comments by liberals arguing that Harper –who according to Fredenberg’s estranged wife was not involved in a sexual relationship with her, only an emotional one – deserved to be assaulted because of that relationship was just astounding. All these folks showing up to argue that it was inappropriate to respond to the threat of assault with violence, and indeed arguing that the assailant had every right to commit assault. I wish someone had posted a comment asking if it would have been acceptable for Fredenberg to knock around Heather Fredenberg because of her relationship with Harper -- it would have been instructive to see how many would have recoiled at the notion that domestic violence against an estranged wife could be acceptable even as they condoned violence against the boyfriend.

And I won’t get into the number of mewling anti-gunners who called for the reinstitution of criminal laws against adultery after decades of liberal efforts to overturn laws regulating sexual morality. Don’t they realize that, having fought and won the sexual revolution, incidents like the one in the article are inevitable as men and women exercise the freedoms that sprung from it? There’s no putting that genie back in the bottle.

Oh, and as for all the comments arguing that Harper should have retreated from the garage to hide while awaiting the police instead of standing his ground in his own home, I’d like to offer this undeniably true observation about such a course of action:

"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away"




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


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


26 October, 2012

About Those Horses And Ships and Bayonets

ALL troops still get bayonet training as far as I am aware. I certainly did in the Vietnam war era. Equating bayonets with horses is therefore ignorant. -- JR

At the foreign policy debate, President Obama thought he was putting something over on Mitt Romney when he acted as if the Republican was an imbecile for suggesting that the rapid decline in U.S. Naval strength was anything but a good idea:

You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

That was quite a zinger. In one fell swoop, he portrayed the Republican as ignorant about defense issues and established himself as the competent commander-in-chief. Except for the fact that he was dead wrong and did himself far more political damage than good.

Contrary to the president’s assertion, the creation of aircraft carriers and submarines did not mean that we needed fewer ships. Quite the contrary. Aircraft carriers need just as many if not more supporting vessels than the obsolete battleships that no are no longer under commission. So do subs. The decline in naval strength compromises America’s ability to project power abroad. That is particularly true in places like the Persian Gulf, where President Obama is trying to sound as tough with Iran as Romney.

Even more foolish is the president’s attempt to portray contemporary naval vessels with cavalry horses. That says more about his own lack of understanding of the military than Romney’s. It also may cost him some votes in a state that he still hopes to win: Virginia, home of the largest U.S. Naval base in the country and hotbed of support for a stronger military.

One more point about those horses and bayonets. For all of his contempt for them, it bears remembering that horses played a not insignificant role in the armed forces’ successful fight in Afghanistan, a point that Obama should have remembered. The Army and the Marines operating Afghanistan still use bayonets in close combat.

The more you think about this supposed zinger, the more it sounds as if Obama made a fool of himself, not Romney.



Department of Labor Denied

The other week a lady from the Department of Labor decided to audit the restaurant I worked for. I say “worked” for because I recently quit that job for a completely unrelated issue. Anyways, my employers were freaking out just a little bit. And can you blame them? Even though they do everything by the book, there is always something the state can trump up to extort money from you.

In the course of her audit she felt it was necessary to interrogate all of the employees. She walked into the kitchen one day, flashed her badge, and said she’d like to ask all of us some questions. She turned to me first. I politely said “one moment please.” Then I walked off and left the room. So, she began her questioning of others before she got to me. I made a B-line for my smart phone because I had zero intention of answering any of her questions. I also wanted to record the encounter.

You’ll note in this video how uncomfortable she is in front of a camera. No penalties were levied against me as a result of my refusal to participate. My employers even stayed cool. Their attitude was to just go along to get along. I made it clear to them and all of my colleagues that her job is to build a case against us to extort money, plain and simple. I think a lot of my colleagues were surprised that one could refuse to talk to the “authorities” and get away with it. I definitely see this as a victory since my colleagues have been shown, from somebody they know, that the state really is a paper tiger. Enjoy the video!



Fashion bigotry

By Bradley Scott, a young American designer from New York City

I was extremely disappointed and angry to read an article documenting a very serious controversy surrounding famed Vogue Fashion Editor Anna Wintour. It is being reported that she is discouraging designers, like myself, to stay clear of dressing Ann Romney because her politics do not align with the common place liberal beliefs in the fashion industry. That is pure discrimination which would result in a lawsuit against any employer should that be the reason behind excluding a prospective job application, or employee termination. How dare she…

It is widely known that Hollywood and Fashion take a far left position on politics and contrary to what you may believe, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, I welcome the difference in opinion because that’s the epitome of why America is by far, the greatest country in the world. We are a free people who can think and vote as we wish, without fearing professional consequences or having our freedoms being taken away.

It is these same freedoms that come under attack when people like Anna Wintour exert her pressure upon us. We should be allowed to operate our businesses, which we built, at our discretion, and under OUR leadership. Her sole job it is to promote fashion to ALL women, of every color, race, nationality, religion, etc. Pressuring designers to turn to the evil disease of discrimination is an horrendously wrong turn for the industry.

In the most challenging times, which include global unrest, changing value of the US Dollar, shrinking profit margins to accommodate stores, and most of all, the intense effort to keep craftsmanship right here in the wonderful city of NY, we shouldn’t be dictated to by the “Queen of Fashion” that our ambition of seeing our designs on a wonderful woman like Ann Romney should be put back in our notebook as an off limits concept. How offensive!

Fox News reports: “Over the past year, the Vogue matriarch – who many say has enough power to make or break fashion careers – has become one of President Obama’s leading financiers. Wintour has raised over half a million dollars for the incumbent, hosted numerous lavish dinners in his name and even enlisted designer pals like Marc Jacobs and Thakoon Panichgul to design pro-Obama products”

It is one thing to be a fund-raiser, deploying designers to design for President Obama’s re-election bid as reported by Fox News, but it is another, to actually pressure designers to “say no” to the possibility of being honored by the possible next first lady if she should grace us with wearing something that ultimately took all our blood, sweat and tears to create.

I for one want absolutely nothing to do with this attack on women. This pressure upon designers should offend every woman in this country, not just the conservatives. Women all over should ask themselves why they read Vogue Magazine and think about why a magazine editor should be dictating who is deserving of our designs.

So I will close this op-ed by saying I hope all women, of every belief, faith and political stance, see this for what it truly is; an un-American, undemocratic, and unladylike attack upon not only Ann Romney, but the millions of American conservative women she insulted with this decree. After all, while the Devil wears Prada to cover major flaws, Ann Romney is pure class and I would be proud to have her wear my clothing, as would most other designers.



Well, I never ....

About 6 soldiers pull up on a main street in Halifax , Nova Scotia on some holiday. They're in a standard issue WWII type Willys Jeep.

In the span of about 3 to 4 minutes they completely disassemble the vehicle And reassemble it with no power tools and drive off in it fully operable!

The idea being to show the genius that went into the making of the jeep: And its basic simplicity. Fantastic!


Supersize This!

As everybody knows by now, it was announced earlier this month that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to none other than the European Union.

This can only further burnish the luster added to the Prize when it was presented to Barack Hussein Obama back in 2009.

Both these momentous occasions were simply the latest in a long series of distinguished recipients, who include Al Gore (2007), Mohamed El-Baradei (2005), Jimmy Carter (2002), Amnesty International (1977), the United Nations and Kofi Annan (2001), Yasser Arafat (1994), Desmond Tutu (1984), and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (1985).

“But Baron,” you say, “none of this is news! Everyone knows the Nobel Peace Prize jumped the shark decades ago. Why, it’s become a dumping ground for progressive political hacks — as designated by progressive political hacks in Norway!”

And indeed it has. But let’s not give up on the much-maligned Prize just yet.

An unidentified entrepreneur has come up with an idea to merge Commerce with the Pursuit of World Peace ’n’ Justice:

If he’s willing to throw in a free 20-ounce Diet Pepsi, I just might take him up on the deal…



‘Wastebook’ unearths government excess

When Americans go to the polls we won’t just be making a decision about what kind of government we want. We will be making a decision about what kind of government we will tolerate. In recent elections politicians from both sides of the aisle promised to go through the budget line by line and make hard choices. That hasn’t happened. The only change Washington has been interested in is in your pocket.

This week I released my annual “Wastebook” report, featuring 100 examples of mismanagement, wasteful spending and special interest deals that illustrate just how far Washington continues to go to avoid setting priorities. Consider a few examples:

Instead of working to close the massive hole in our federal budget, our government spent $350,000 through the National Science Foundation to study how golfers are better when they imagine a larger golf hole.

While millions of Americans are struggling to put enough food on the table for their families, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $300,000 to tell Americans to eat caviar, one of the world’s most expensive delicacies.

At the same time, USDA and the Department of Commerce are spending more than $1.3 million to help PepsiCo Inc., the world’s largest snack food maker, build a Greek yogurt factory in New York.

As members of Congress complain about defense cuts, Congress split a new line of Navy littoral (near shore) ships between two completely different designs, needlessly increasing costs by $740 million while undermining the Navy’s capabilities.

The biggest waste of taxpayer dollars of all, however, was Congress itself, which I listed as the #1 waste of taxpayer dollars this year. With 23 million Americans unemployed and millions of others struggling to live within a budget, the Senate didn’t even bother to pass a budget for the third straight year.

Meanwhile, Washington spent much of the year talking instead of acting to avert a debt crisis and another downgrade. While members of Congress refused to back specific reforms and cuts, they were, however, very specific about what to fund. Robotic squirrels, Watermelon Queen Tours, climate change musicals, Moroccan pottery classes and pet shampoo products all received federal funding courtesy of future generations and potential foreign adversaries who are mocking us for our recklessness.

Wasteful spending matters because history has not been kind to great powers that lived beyond their means while wallowing in gratuitous excess. In Roman times, rulers used what was called “bread and circuses” — literally cheap food and entertainment — to pacify the populace in troubled times. Today, we make food stamps eligible at Starbucks and offer tax breaks for the NFL, NHL and the PGA (but not MLB). And instead of reforming Medicare for today’s seniors and near-retirees, we spend $1.2 million to see if encouraging them to play World of Warcraft, an online video game, will help them improve their cognitive function.

The purpose of detailing this waste isn’t just to remind the American people of what they already know — that Washington is doing less with more while they are doing more with less. The point is to remind taxpayers that they don’t have to accept the status quo. Every American has an opportunity to end spending behaviors in Washington that have become not just a punch line but the source of what Adm. Mike Mullen calls the greatest threat to our national security: our unsustainable $16 trillion national debt.

As I argue in “Wastebook,” each of the 100 entries highlighted in report is a direct result of Washington politicians who are preoccupied with running for re-election rather than running the country, which is what they were elected to do in the first place.

Some politicians and pundits try to rationalize excessive borrowing and spending as necessary until the economy gets back on track. But the fragile state of our economy is precisely why Washington must be more careful how tax dollars are spent. To do this Washington must set priorities, just like every family. The problem is Washington priorities are upside down. Important programs go bankrupt while outdated and outlandish projects continue to be funded.

The fact is advanced countries and economies like ours don’t stay advanced when we tolerate such silly spending decisions. Still, I believe We the People can cheat history and force Washington to make the hard decisions today that can give you and your children a brighter future tomorrow.




Pennsylvania desperation: ""A bill that landed on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) desk this week would give companies that hire more than 250 new workers a gobsmacking tax incentive: 95 percent of those workers’ state income taxes would be paid to the employer, and not the state. It’s a bizarre strategy meant to attract companies from other states, specifically designed to lure California-based software maker Oracle into Pennsylvania. It’s also, as Philadelphia City Paper put it, 'lavish corporate welfare' writ large across state government."

From “Hope and Change” to … “Smirk and Disdain”: "In the third, and mercifully last, presidential debate of this campaign, the candidates sliced razor-thin nuances in their foreign policy views. Romney was measured and presidential, and he avoided the trap being set for him as a warmonger. He actually seemed to be less interventionist than Obama, who ran against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who has since become the sheriff from Blazing Saddles. As usual, when Obama was asked a question he would ignore it and revert to his tired talking points, mocking Romney on his foreign policy experience as governor of Massachusetts. ... Because he is losing steam, and because he is a whiner by nature, Obama attacked."



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


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


25 October, 2012

Context, context!

As regular readers here will be aware, every now and again I get an unfortunate urge to revisit theological matters -- so I have been browsing through various scriptures today. And in all my comments on such matters I always stress how looking at the context of a Bible passage can be very enlightening in showing what is actually meant. And today I have noted a fairly hilarious thing that context does in Matthew 16.

Matthew 16 is of course home to the passage where Christ allegedly gave Peter keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Catholics base their claims about the Pope on that passage. I sent my son to a Catholic school so I have no animus against Catholicism but I have always seen the relationship between that passage and the Pope as poorly founded.

I have just noted, however, something that makes the Roman claim not only poorly founded but downright hilarious. Just a few verses after the "keys" passage Jesus says this to Peter:

"But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men"

So if Peter was the first Pope, we have the authority of Jesus himself that the Pope was Satanic -- plus some other unholy attributes!

Some old-time Protestants would agree -- JR



North Carolina voters who went to vote for Mitt Romney complained electronic voting machines recorded votes for President Barack Obama instead.

According to MyFox8 in North Carolina, the problems occurred at the Bur-Mil Park polling location in Guilford County.

Voter Sher Coromalis told the station she cast her ballot for Romney, but the machine entered a vote for Obama on two straight occasions. “I was so upset that this could happen,” Coromalis said, noting the machine correctly recorded her vote on the third attempt.

Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert told MyFox8 that such problems arise every election and can be resolved after machines are re-calibrated. “It’s not a conspiracy it’s just a machine that needs to be corrected,” Gilbert said.

Early voting in North Carolina ends November 3.



Obama’s lost generation

Since Barack Obama took office, the civilian non-institutional population has increased by 8.7 million, and yet only 437,000 people have been added to the civilian labor force — i.e. those working or seeking work. That’s an awful absorption rate of new population into the workforce of just 5 percent.

This has helped to keep the unemployment rate misleadingly low at its current 7.8 percent level. If the labor force participation rate had held steady since 2009, the jobless rate today would be more like 11 percent.

This has never happened before in modern U.S. history during peacetime, according to data by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics going back to 1900. Absorption of population into the labor force has historically averaged at a 59 percent rate.

At that rate, about 5 million people should have entered the labor force since the end of 2008, but have not. The question is why.

The only time population absorption by the economy contracted was from 1940 to 1944, when the population increased by 4.3 million but the civilian labor force shrank by 1 million.

But that came in World War II on the heels of 7.5 million of previously unemployed Americans — plus another 3.5 million who had other jobs — going off to fight overseas in Europe and the Pacific. They were not counted as part of the civilian labor force during those years.

But, after the war millions of servicemen left the military and were added back into the mix. Besides then, the absorption rate of new population by the labor force had never fallen below 32 percent.

Comparably, in the past four years, there was no major war to speak of that removed millions of Americans from the labor force to account for the precipitous drop in labor force participation.

While Baby Boomers retiring would be expected to lower the labor force participation rate, the population of those 65 years and older has only increased by about 4.4 million since Obama took office. So, a retirement boom alone cannot account for the anomaly.

To find the rest, one must observe the declining labor force participation particularly amongst those with some college and with college degrees, a population that grew by 9.4 million since Dec. 2008.

Since that time, the participation rate of college graduates has dropped significantly — from 77.6 percent to about 75.9 percent today. That accounts for about 1.1 million graduates who should have entered the labor force, but didn’t.

Another 1.7 million with some college or an associate’s degree should have also entered the labor force, but are nowhere to be found as the participation rate there dropped from 71.9 percent to 68.8 percent.

In addition, another 2 million or so folks lost their jobs and eventually gave up looking for another one.

All of which accounts for the 5 million individuals who should have entered the labor force in the past four years — Obama’s lost generation. It is an appalling state of affairs, and a trend that will not easily be reversed no matter who wins the White House in November.

The fact that it has never happened before in peacetime however should give particularly supporters of Obama pause. This is the worst labor market for new job seekers in modern history. And Obama has only made it worse by increasing eligibility for welfare by millions, creating a disincentive for Americans to return to the labor force.

To get back onto solid ground, the nation needs to get back to policies that will create jobs at a rate faster than the population grows. These include reducing the tax and regulatory burden on industry and strengthening the dollar to reduce the cost of doing business in the U.S., and in the meantime substantially decreasing welfare spending that discourages job-seeking.

The alternative is to continue to follow Obama down the road to serfdom we have been on for four years now. And good luck finding work there.



Can a conscientious liberal back Obama?

by Jeff Jacoby

YOU'RE A PASSIONATE and committed liberal. Four years ago, enthralled by Barack Obama's biography and inspired by his oratory, you voted for him with pride. You embraced his promise of hope and change. You were deeply moved by the racial progress he symbolized. But above all you voted for him because he expressed such enlightened views.

You didn't just want a Democrat back in the White House, you wanted one who would bring progressive clarity to US national policy.

For eight years, you'd fumed at George W. Bush's offenses against the Constitution; now at last, you believed, you were supporting a president for whom civil liberties would be an unshakable priority. A president who wouldn't be beholden to Wall Street and its rivers of cash. Who would prosecute the war on terror without abandoning core American values or trampling basic human rights. Whose administration would function in the sunlight, a jewel of transparency, accountability, and due process.

That was the president you expected. It wasn't the president you got.

"I will make clear that the days of compromising our values are over," Obama had said in 2007 as he campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an address to the Woodrow Wilson Center, he had excoriated Bush's approach to counterterrorism – the excesses of the Patriot Act, the warrantless wiretapping, the indefinite detention of terror suspects – for reflecting a "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand." In an Obama administration, he vowed, things would be different.

Yet the president you voted for hasn't abandoned Bush's antiterror legacy, not by a long shot. Since Obama took office, warrantless wiretapping of Americans' domestic communications has skyrocketed. According to a new report by the ACLU, "more people were subjected to [electronic] surveillance in the past two years than in the entire previous decade." Instead of repealing the Patriot Act, Obama signed a law extending it through 2015.

The president who was going to shut the US lockup at Guantanamo is now spending millions of dollars to upgrade it. Far from doing away with trials by military commission, he ordered them resumed. The eloquent progressive who vowed to roll back Bush's post-9/11 wartime excesses has become almost a caricature of what he used to condemn. He meets regularly to review a "kill list" of terrorist suspects and decide who should be targeted for death. He has drastically expanded the drone war that Bush began, raining down missiles on countries where we aren't at war, killing or maiming hundreds of innocent victims in the process. Astonishingly, he has even claimed – and exercised -- the power to order the extrajudicial killing of American citizensterrorist operatives. he believes to be

Neocon hawks may not blink at such things, but conscientious liberals like you were always appalled by them. "We have compromised our most precious values," Obama said as a candidate. Will you compromise your values by voting for him again?

And what about all those other values you counted on Obama to uphold?

On the campaign trail, his top priority was to codify Roe v. Wade. "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," he declared. Once in office, it dropped from his agenda.

You trusted Obama when he said his administration would be "the most open and transparent in history." Instead it launched an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers and leaks, and retreated into a "bubble of non-accountability."

When you voted for Obama in 2008, could you have imagined that he would extend the Bush tax cuts? That he would commit US forces to war in Libya without the congressional approval he himself had said the law required? That he would show so little concern for pro-democracy dissidents and protesters resisting tyranny? That he would expel 1.2 million undocumented immigrants in three years, more than any president since the 1950s? That he would load his administration with so many former lobbyists – after having promised that he wouldn't?

If a Republican president compiled such an atrocious record, you would do everything you could to prevent his reelection. Can you vote in good conscience for a Democrat with such a record?



Obama's Nameless War With a Nameless Enemy

In the final presidential debate on October 22, President Barack Obama spoke briefly about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on U.S. officials and personnel in Benghazi. He outlined why the U.S. had gone into Libya before the attack. He outlined the answers he is still seeking following the attack. But he did not say why this terrorist attack had occurred or why the U.S. had been ill-prepared to meet it in what is, after all, a volatile city alive with militias recently freed from dictatorial rule. Nor did he tell us why his Administration strenuously avoided calling it a terrorist attack for two weeks, preferring instead to speak of a spontaneous assault in the course of a demonstration of Muslims offended by an anti-Muhammad video.

Mitt Romney did not pursue the subject, so we got no closer to the heart of the matter, yet the implication of this apologetic gloss of the first two weeks is obvious: Ambassador Chris Stevens was not murdered by Islamists who hate America and its allies and mean to attack us again; he was the victim of the local reaction to one of the products of American freedom of speech. Once the attack was acknowledged as the handiwork of terrorists, however, followers of al Qaeda, virtually the only officially acknowledged extremists, were cited as the perpetrators. And here lies the problem: the Obama Administration will not acknowledge that an extreme and violent segment of the Muslim world ranging far beyond the confines of al Qaeda is at war with us. To do so would have required him to explain why the U.S. had been empowering Islamists, including in Libya, some of whom may have been responsible for leaking information that enabled the terrorists to locate and kill the Americans.

Just why and how has this refusal to name the Islamist enemy come to characterize the four years of Obama's presidency? Because President Obama agrees with the view that Islamists as a force in world affairs are not be shunned and that wisdom dictates coming to terms with those among them who are hot engaged in active hostilities at this moment. The idea is defective, because common to all Islamists is Muslim supremacism and the undeviating pursuit to subvert the non-Islamic world.

Yet, since Barack Obama took office, Islamist antagonists, other than those involved in active hostilities like al Qaeda and the Taliban, whose hostility cannot be denied or ignored, have gone unnamed. Presidential statements on the anniversaries of the 1983 killing of 242 U.S. servicemen in Lebanon by Hizballah or the 1979 seizure by Islamist students of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, to name two examples, failed to even mention the perpetrators of these acts, as it had become U.S. policy to propitiate both parties.

Indeed, the Obama Administration has refused to associate terrorists attacking America with Islam. Administration officials have spent four years speaking of particular terrorists at home and abroad as isolated "extremists," even when Islamist terrorist connections (for example, between Fort Hood sniper Nidal Hassan and the American-born al Qaeda in Yemen leader, Anwar al-Awlaki, who advised him) were readily traceable.

In a May 2010 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney-General Eric Holder only grudgingly and hypothetically conceded that radical Islam could be the inspiration for some individuals involved in recent acts of terrorism, before immediately asserting that such people were acting on a "version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it." Similarly, in March 2011, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough told a Muslim audience that extremists in their midst "falsely claim to be fighting in the name of Islam." When Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, held hearings on homegrown radical Islam the same month, the Administration publicly opposed it.

The Administration has also expressly disavowed the use of terms like "Islamism," "radical Islam," and "jihad." In May 2009, John O. Brennan, Obama's Chief National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism, contended that use of such terms "would lend credence" to the notion "that the United States is somehow at war against Islam.… Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself or one's community." Such refurbishment of the term 'jihad' -- war waged against non-believers to extend and secure the dominion of Islam, is a religious duty which, according to authoritative Muslim sources, may at least at times be waged against civilians on the opposing side -- at once sanitizes it and precludes its use. Nor has it been explained how ignoring the ideology animating the terrorists somehow renders America at peace with those jihadists who regard themselves at war with the U.S.




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


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


24 October, 2012

Democracy is at work in America

The decisions it produces are only as good as the quality of the average voter -- and now that the voter base is on average very poorly educated the decision-making must suffer in quality. With tens of millions of voters illiterate or barely literate, America is headed in the direction of Brazil

Elections supposedly prevent convulsions, serving as safety valves that vent social pressures and enable course corrections. November's election will either be a prelude to a convulsion or the beginning of a turn away from one.

America's public-policy dysfunction exists not because democracy isn't working but because it is. Both parties are sensitive market mechanisms, measuring more than shaping voters' preferences. The electoral system is a seismograph recording every tremor of public appetite. Today, the differences that divide the public are exceeded by the contradictions within the public's mind.

America's bold premise is the possibility of dignified self-government – people making reasonable choices about restrained appetites.

But three decades ago, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington postulated that America suffers regularly recurring political convulsions because the gap between the premise and reality becomes too wide to ignore.

Now Michael Greve, a constitutional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, argues: "We like to tell ourselves that all our constitutional stories must have a happy ending." The founders' foremost problem, Greve says, was debt. To establish the nation's credibility, they needed to replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution. "We," Greve says, "merely have to return to it, if we can." He wonders whether we can.

The official national debt of $16 trillion (growing $4 billion a day), plus what the government owes its various trust funds, is more than 100 percent of GDP. Ninety percent is where economic anemia seems to deepen. States' debts are about $3 trillion and their unfunded pension liabilities probably are another $4 trillion. "Debts of this magnitude," Greve says, "will not be paid."

Barack Obama's risible solution is to add 4.6 points to the tax rate for less than 3 percent of Americans. Some conservatives have the audacity of hope – expecting 5 percent economic growth (the post-1945 average: 2.9 percent) and planning to continue financing the debt by borrowing at negative interest rates. Of our long slide into financial decrepitude, Greve says: "The rate of deterioration does not correlate in any obvious way with political control over the presidency and Congress."

The housing debacle was not the result of "a spontaneous outbreak of private irresponsibility." Public institutions and policies provided occasions and incentives for the exercise of private vices. Washington pays up to 80 percent of state Medicaid expenses, so states' citizens demand more Medicaid services. Although the elderly consider Social Security and Medicare benefits earned, Greve says: "Most retirees could not have earned their expected payment streams if they had worked two or three jobs."

"Our politics," says Greve, "aims at inspiration on the cheap." We should reduce government's complicity in illusions by, for example, sending retirees "a statement showing the estimated present value of their old-age benefits; their lifetime earnings and contributions; and the earnings and contributions that it would have taken to 'earn' those benefits. We might then ask them who precisely should earn and remit the missing millions and in what sense it would be 'unfair' to modify the empty promises."

Rash promises were made, Greve says, "in an era of prosperity, when and because we thought we could afford them." Now they "are far too entrenched to be dislodged in the course of ordinary politics." Even granting Mitt Romney's embrace of something like his running mate's reforms, this year's politics are terribly ordinary. Although consensus is supposedly elusive, it actually is the problem. "Our operative consensus," says Greve, "is to have a big transfer state, and not pay for it."

Democracy is representative government, which is the problem. Democracy represents the public's preferences, which are mutable, but also represents human nature, which is constant. People flinch from confronting difficult problems until driven to by necessity's lash. The Claremont Institute's William Voegeli, commenting on Greve and the dubious postulate of continuous 5 percent growth, says: "There's good reason to fear that if the economy builds a 5 percent levee the polity will just come up with a 6 percent flood. We humans adroitly use scant and equivocal evidence to convince ourselves that the most congenial interpretation of events is also the most plausible and durable."

Writing in 1830, Thomas Babington Macaulay asked, "On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?" Greve's gloomy answer is: Because we actually see behind us protracted abandonment of the founders' flinty realism about the need to limit government because of the limitations of the people.



Obama Makes False Claim About Supreme Court Decision; Leftist "Fact-Checkers" Parrot It

Reading a Supreme Court decision is so hard! If you are a fact-checker, it’s much easier just to let President Obama, a critic of a Supreme Court decision, caricature the decision and then parrot the baseless caricature as if it were fact.

The Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., said employees who want to bring a pay discrimination lawsuit under Title VII (the federal antidiscrimination law with the shortest deadline) generally have to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days. But it specifically left open the possibility they could sue later on – even if they failed to file a timely EEOC complaint — if they did not discover the discrimination until later. The case involved Lilly Ledbetter, who waited more than five years after learning of a pay disparity between her and her male co-workers to file an EEOC complaint.

The White House falsely claimed “The Court ruled that employees subject to pay discrimination like Lilly Ledbetter must file a claim within 180 days of the employer’s original decision to pay them less . . . even if the employee did not discover the discriminatory reduction in pay until much later (check out Justice Alito’s arguments in the Court’s opinion).” In yesterday’s debate, Obama falsely claimed the Supreme Court said Ledbetter could not sue even if she had no way of discovering the discriminatory pay disparity. He said “the Supreme Court said that she couldn’t bring suit because she should have found about it earlier, whereas she had no way of finding out about it.”

These claims are utterly false. The Supreme Court specifically left open the possibility employees who learn of the discrimination later can sue under the “discovery rule” exception to the 180-day deadline. In footnote 10 of its opinion, the Court wrote, “We have previously declined to address whether Title VII suits are amenable to a discovery rule. . . .Because Ledbetter does not argue that such a rule would change the outcome in her case, we have no occasion to address this issue.”

Thus, since Ledbetter didn’t even claim in her lawsuit she hadn’t discovered the pay discrimination in time to sue, relaxing the deadline for her would have done her no good. In addition, if she truly had lacked knowledge of the pay disparity as a result of being deceived by her employer, she could have had the deadline extended under the Supreme Court’s doctrines of equitable tolling and estoppel, which are longstanding exceptions to the deadline that are a bit narrower than the discovery rule. But she didn’t allege either of these exceptions applied in her case.

In reality, Ledbetter knew of the pay disparity she later claimed was discriminatory for over five years before filing a legal complaint over it, as she admitted in her deposition in her lawsuit. But later, Ledbetter falsely claimed to the contrary in a speech to the Democratic National Convention.

It’s not true, as she claimed to the Convention, that she didn’t learn of it until “two decades” after she began working at the company. She had worked for the company since 1979. She learned of the pay disparity by 1992, as excerpts from her deposition, filed in the Supreme Court as part of the Joint Appendix, make clear. In response to the question: “So you knew in 1992 that you were being paid less than your peers?” she answered simply, “Yes, sir.” (See Joint Appendix at pg. 233; page 123 of Ledbetter’s deposition.) But she did not file a legal complaint over it until July 1998, shortly before her retirement in November 1998. See Ledbetter v. Goodyear, 550 U.S. 618, 621 (2007).

Politifact parroted Obama’s false claim in an Oct. 16 commentary entitled “Obama: Mitt Romney refused to say whether he supports Lilly Ledbetter Act.” It wrote:

In 2007, the Supreme Court had ruled in Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. that the 180-day statute of limitations started from the day an employer made the decision to discriminate — making it impossible for employees who learned of such discrimination later to get relief, such as back pay.

This is just wrong, and all PolitiFact had to do to debunk this claim was read the Supreme Court’s decision (which its commentary claims was one of the “sources” for its “fact check”), or various law review articles about it. Or just read my prior emails to them, which I sent to a legion of fact-checkers in September 2012, anticipating Obama would make this false claim, having made similar false claims in the past. This morning, I sent more emails — to each Politifact staffer listed as contributors to the Oct. 16 commentary. In response, I received an email from the principal author this morning, stating:

“Thanks for your email. I’ll look into it and talk about it with my editors. What I wrote was consistent with how we’ve described the case in the past.”

As of now, the error I identified has not been fixed. I suspect it won’t be, until it is too late to correct it in the print version of any newspaper that cites Politifact. So the error will live on in every news database as if it were fact.



How Leftist law has hijacked the U.S. constitution

What would those "dead white males" know? The constitution has clear provisions for its own amendment and updating but Leftist lawyers have repeatedly managed to slide around that by contemptuous "interpretation" of it -- JR

Each September, the assumptions and methodologies of law-school curricula are handed down as if from Sinai to tens of thousands of 1Ls. They are readily accepted by the students, who are under enormous pressure to assimilate and adjust to them quickly. Students are told nothing of progressive philosophy’s origins or ultimate purposes, and notice little of its hostility to the Founders’ Constitution. Such lack of awareness is evident even among many law-school faculty members, who act as Moses without self-knowledge, sensible only of the first commandment.

For those with the passion to rule — which describes most bright twentysomethings — such a sensibility is very useful. They see themselves doing God’s work, or something like it, for they do at least know that God is banished from the public square. In his recent book Schools for Misrule, Walter Olson recounts how the dean of one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools routinely greeted incoming students by welcoming them to “the republic of conscience.”

Of course, it’s a conscience to be imposed by the cognoscenti, through the mechanism of the courts, on the unwashed masses who still conceive of politics as something to be done the old-fashioned way, i.e., consensually. What the students quickly imbibe in the law schools is uniquely well suited to breaking the constraints imposed by self-government and the Constitution.

The modern law school came into existence largely as an adjunct of progressive ideology. It was to be the training ground for progressives dedicated to overcoming early-20th-century judicial resistance to the political assault on our Constitution of limited and enumerated powers. As with the modern discipline of political science, the modern law school was built around core progressive assumptions: a philosophy of history, a faith in the power of scientific intelligence to smooth the movement of history, and a deep suspicion of existing institutional forms.

By the 1920s, leading legal scholars were confident they had discovered a new science of jurisprudence — one that would emphasize evolutionary growth rather than black-letter law or theories of law rooted in the permanent nature of human beings. This melding of social Darwinism and philosophical pragmatism animated the growing legal professoriate to direct its attention to processes, functions, and change more than principles, rules, and continuity. The new approach to the study of law had many manifestations. It defined the aspirations of important legal movements such as sociological jurisprudence and legal realism, which sought to ensure, respectively, that legal interpretation would be informed by social data, and that legal outcomes would be determined by perceived social benefits rather than the strict construction of law. The old-fashioned common lawyer was out, to be replaced by a progressive social engineer with legal training.

By the 1920s, a plethora of disciplines were deemed relevant to law in ways they had not been before. The insights, real or alleged, of all the social sciences were increasingly brought to bear on the legal curriculum. As economic, sociological, psychological, or political circumstances changed, so must the law, and it inevitably did. Curricular revisions and new faculty followed. Casebooks appeared with titles such as “Cases and Materials on X” rather than simply “Cases on X.” For example, Yale Law School in the 1930s added significant social-science material to its library holdings, hired more social scientists for its teaching faculty, and created a joint institute for the study of law and psychology. The sheer number and specialized nature of course offerings and supporting materials increased markedly at the leading realist institutions, driven by an understanding of law as inseparable from social problems — particularly those addressed by the administrative state. Through the 1930s and 1940s, courses in public-law fields, including administrative law, burgeoned, and they continued to grow throughout the postwar period.

These courses promoted a view of law as the problem-solving tool of the new age rather than a set of constraints on human conduct. Law tended to be seen as a means of social control and of dealing with corporate groups, which were to have their interests harmonized by elite mechanism rather than spontaneous activities in a large republic.

Nowhere was this clearer than in the development of the field of labor law during the 1920s. The move from “constitutional” law to “public” law in the law schools followed, paralleling the progressive mind’s shift from constitutionalism to the administrative state and the new emphasis on regulatory and entitlement politics in the regime as a whole.

Whatever the theoretical roots or disciplinary orientations of the realists, all saw the Constitution as a fundamentally flawed document and decried any efforts to interpret it on its own terms. Statutory law, and even more the Constitution, was seen as an epiphenomenon of deep class biases and social forces unrelated to principles of right or justice. At the same time, it was assumed the best and brightest could extract themselves from the influence of these social phenomena that swept others along like tiny corks on a great river. Given a clear-eyed view of what law “really” is, along with sympathetic legislatures, the right kinds of sociological arguments, and, eventually, a less conservative judiciary, they could put themselves in the vanguard of history. Healthy evolution always lay just over the horizon for most of the realists, as it had for the earlier advocates of sociological jurisprudence.

The relationship between legal ideas and legal practice was central. In 1921, while a judge on the New York Court of Appeals, Benjamin Cardozo was arguing publicly and theoretically, in his Storrs Lectures at Yale, for the centrality of sociological jurisprudence to the law. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reduced law to questions of the management of social forces according to personal and class beliefs, academics worked out theories of the idiosyncratic role of judges. While Louis Brandeis concentrated on the role of social needs in deciding cases, Dean Roscoe Pound at Harvard formulated the same ideas in theory, writing that “the sociological movement in jurisprudence is a movement for pragmatism as a philosophy of law” and a movement away from “assumed first principles.”

By the time the New Deal hit Washington, there was a new sense of professionalism among law teachers, marked by a specialized knowledge of the new science of jurisprudence. The creation of the Association of American Law Schools at the dawn of the 20th century punctuated the importance of professionalism. Even today, the AALS website reminds students that lawyers once entered legal practice without — gasp — having gone to law school. The AALS did much to elevate the “educated” lawyer over the “trained” practitioner of yore, a key difference being the former’s knowledge of the latest trends in historicist jurisprudence.

As legal education through the 20th century transformed itself from a system of rules to be learned into principles or predictions to be gleaned from cases, and then into a vehicle for social change, American lawyers saw themselves as the facilitators of change and the formulators of public policy. Policymaking is always and everywhere a normative endeavor. It was a small step from a concern with policy to a concern with “values,” which quickly made their way into the law-school curriculum, particularly at elite institutions. This occurred largely in what is seen as the “post-realist” period commencing in the 1960s, a period better understood as an inevitable outgrowth of realism, or perhaps a realism that is simply clearer about its purposes.

Through this period and beyond, the case method persisted, but its function has come to be understood in an even more radicalized light. The inductive search for principles has fully given way to the search for strategies — rooted in various social-science disciplines — for winning policy outcomes. The “values” that guide the study and application of law come from outside the law. Law and constitutionalism itself are not to be revered for their reflection of eternal truths or their embodiment of the insights of the wise, but for what policy victories they can deliver to a variety of hungry constituencies.

Furthermore, while the early progressives concentrated on expanding the administrative state and its list of clients for the purposes of economic engineering, today’s progressives are far more enchanted by larger-scale social engineering best implemented through the prerogatives of the judicial branch. Progressive change is to be effected in courts of what now can only loosely be termed “law.”

And so it is that the chief justice of the United States [Roberts], schooled in the best “conservative” principles of today’s legally educated elites, could in good conscience declare constitutional a federal tax [Obamacare mandate] unlinked to any enumerated power that the Founders would have recognized. Careful reflection on the text and tradition of the Founders’ Constitution in its establishment of the national taxing power “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States” might have led him to decide otherwise.




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


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


23 October, 2012

Obama lied when people died

From Captain's Journal:

Too much focus has been given to whether the administration called the attacks on the American consulate at Benghazi an act of terror. Parsing the questions is important both to frame our objections to Obama’s behavior after this incident and to point out larger problems with his foreign policy.

It’s well known that the administration rejected requests for increased security at the consulate. The administration’s assumptions regarding the nature of the world has caused them to be unprepared for the Islamists at every turn over the last four years. But their refusal to protect Americans, as shameful and loathsome as that is, constitutes a different issue than the one I am addressing.

As I’ve pointed out before, I published an assessment within one day of the attacks in which, despite focusing on issues related mostly to how we move forward with increased security, my own military readers concluded that this was a well-planned, well-coordinated attack with ensconced fighters, involving a complex ambush with the use of combined arms.

Take careful note. The use of combined arms is deadly to your own fighters if it isn’t a well-rehearsed engagement. Firing mortars or light [or heavy] machine guns at your own fighters kills them, and you must know where they are and what they’re doing at all times.

My article was well-visited that day by the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, DoD network domains, and others that were in a position to make a difference with the administration. Glenn Reynolds linked the post, and the traffic his site drives isn’t the only interesting feature of his attention. The quality of his traffic is even more remarkable.

So within 24 hours everyone knew that this wasn’t the action of an angry mob. The administration also knew that very quickly from information to which only they would have been aware, as Former Spook points out:
"In recent posts, we’ve asked the fundamental question about the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans: what did the administration know, and when did they know it?

As we’ve noted, there was a steady stream of intelligence reporting on the attack, delivered at the FLASH/CRITIC level. Messages assigned that priority must be delivered to the President within 10 minutes of receipt. This traffic captured conversations between the Islamist factions responsible for the attack, before and during the assault on our compound. That’s why administration claims that incident was some sort of “demonstration gone bad” are nothing more than a lie.

Ditto for Joe Biden’s claim that Benghazi was some sort of intelligence failure. By all accounts, the spooks did their job, and it was apparent within minutes that our consulate was under attack by terrorists, not ordinary Libyans incensed over that internet video. If Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has any shred of integrity remaining, he should resign immediately in protest over how his community is being “used” to conceal leadership failures of the first magnitude.

But terrorist phone traffic wasn’t the only source of information on the night of September 11, 2012. According to Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt (who spent most of his Army career in special forces), various U.S. command centers–in the U.S. and overseas–received a running account of the attack –while it unfolded–from a State Department official inside the consulate. Hunt detailed who was listening in during a recent interview with Boston radio host Howie Carr."
See his article for a continuation of the discussion. So as we’ve observed, the administration knew. But then as I mentioned above, so did you. It didn’t take weeks or months of review, investigation and field work to know how this transpired. My military readers told you within 24 hours.

And yet … some two weeks after the attack on the consulate, Obama went before the United Nations and gave that silly, sophomoric speech.
That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.... There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy.

He very clearly blamed the attack on a video and pointed to mob-like behavior and outrage. This is his lie.

He knew better. Everyone knew better. Yes, he and his administration has four deaths for which to answer. They are on his conscience. His foreign policy is an abysmal failure. Furthermore, as my own readers pointed out within one day of the attack, we lacked an effective QRF (Quick Reaction Force). We were unprepared. This is yet another problem.

Those are problems indeed. But they belong in a different category, and parsing them is necessary when moderators and main stream media types talk about ridiculous things like when the administration used the word “terror.” The word means nothing. The attack would have inflicted terror regardless of whether it was a pre-planned attack or the actions of a mob. In pointing to a video, Obama lied. The lie demands an answer separate from the failures of Obama’s foreign policy.

UPDATE #1: Seeing the problems ahead, it appears that the administration is returning to the lie, as a dog to its own vomit.



Does Mitt Romney Want to Let People Die?

Have you noticed that The New York Times editorial page is becoming increasingly strident, increasingly emotional and increasingly irrational? Here is Paul Krugman in last Monday’s column:

Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan… want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.
No, that’s not a misprint. The Republicans actually want to let some people die so that they can reward their rich friends. It’s not an isolated comment either. Under the heading “Death by Ideology,” Krugman actually lists all of the ways in which a President Romney would proceed to kill people. For example:

* Mr. Romney wants…to repeal ObamaCare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death.

* And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage, too, leading to still more unnecessary mortality.

* [M]any, and probably most, older Americans — would be left with inadequate insurance, insurance that exposed them to severe financial hardship if they got sick, sometimes left them unable to afford crucial care, and yes, sometimes led to their early death.
So what, you may ask, is the basis for all this vitriol? Krugman is writing about health care — a subject about which he has proved time and again he knows virtually nothing. On this occasion he lets loose with this bold assertion:

The overwhelming evidence, however, is that [health] insurance is indeed a lifesaver, and lack of insurance a killer…there’s no real question that lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths of Americans each year.
Krugman claims to have reviewed the economics literature. If he has, then he is an embarrassment to the economics profession, despite his Nobel Prize. Then again, if he claims to have done so but really hasn’t, I suppose that’s equally embarrassing. (And remember, while all this is going on he is invariably calling everyone who disagrees with him a liar.)

Let me briefly set the record straight. Some studies actually have claimed that tens of thousands of people have died prematurely because they lacked health insurance. But these studies were not done by economists and were never accepted in any credible, peer-reviewed social science journal. They are basically junk science and they have been thoroughly discredited on several occasions, most notably by Richard Kronick, an economist who served in the Obama administration and actually helped design HillaryCare. Kronick writes that “there is little evidence to suggest that extending insurance coverage to all adults would have a large effect on the number of deaths in the United States.” I’ll get to the children below.

In general, the economics literature has found no evidence that lack of health insurance has any substantial effect on mortality. Prof. June O’Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, thoroughly investigated this issue and found that among Americans above 250% of poverty, lack of health insurance does not affect mortality. Below 250% of poverty, people without health insurance have an 11% higher probability of dying. But the probability drops to under 3% when you take into account demographic differences in the two populations. In fact, it is likely that the differential probability would disappear altogether with a complete inclusion of all the demographic differences between the two groups. (See her PowerPoint slides.)

The most recent evidence on children comes from a paper posted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It looks at the effects of Medicaid on mortality and finds:

* Medicaid insurance leads to a substantial decline in mortality in older black children.

* It has no effect on white children.

* It has no effect on children — black or white — in states with the most Medicaid expansion.

The last finding is the most important. Krugman claims that by expanding Medicaid, ObamaCare will save thousands of lives and that by repealing ObamaCare, Romney would cause thousands of people to die. The evidence says otherwise.



Is being less productive good for humanity?

It is not often that one comes across an article, especially one in arguably the most important newspaper in the country, that is so misguided across the board that one hardly knows where to begin in pointing out its errors. Unfortunately, such an article appears in the May 27 New York Times. Tim Jackson’s “Let’s Be Less Productive” argues that the quest for more and more productivity and efficiency has led us to make any number of mistakes with respect to priorities and policies. Furthermore, he suggests that whatever good that productivity gains have provided in the past, there may be “natural limits” to those gains that will eventually lead to the end of growth. He concludes that we should ease back on the quest for greater productivity as a way to ensure sustainable growth.

Would being less productive really be good for humanity?

Jackson’s problems begin with a profound misunderstanding of what economists mean by productivity and efficiency and the role that “output” plays in a market economy. His opening definition of productivity as “the amount of output delivered per hour of work” is perfectly serviceable. He also notes that it “is often viewed as the engine of progress in modern capitalist economies,” which is also accurate, although it is not the only or necessarily the primary engine. The trouble starts in the next sentence: “Output is everything.” Output for the sake of output is most certainly not what productivity is about. Producing what consumers want at the lowest cost possible is the goal.

Similar errors plague Jackson’s discussion of efficiency. Here too he seems to think the point is to just do things faster, regardless of what the thing is. He tries to show how silly that idea is by pointing to examples where doing things faster is strange, such as playing Beethoven’s Ninth faster and faster each year, or trying to do detailed craftwork faster and faster. These examples, however, knock over a straw man. In the very first weeks of Economics 101 teachers introduce the concept of efficiency by emphasizing that it cannot be understood outside of the end that is being pursued. It cannot be “more efficient” to play Beethoven faster because that is not what people want. The same is true of craft work: People want the care and detail that goes into such work, so it is not more “efficient” to get craft workers to work faster. It is inefficient given that what people want is a carefully produced, detailed piece of work (or to hear Beethoven’s Ninth more or less as he wrote it).

Jackson then points out how crafts, music, and other service industries are desirable because they are not about the “outpouring of material stuff” and therefore might promote sustainability. What Jackson fails to recognize here is one of the fundamental truths of economic history: The reason why cultural products and services are taking up such a large portion of economic activity is that we have become so very productive and efficient at making physical stuff.

Take agriculture. For most of human history, we have had to devote the overwhelming majority of human labor to just feeding ourselves. The incredible productivity growth of the agricultural sector has meant we can do that by employing, in the United States anyway, about 2 percent of the population. At first the labor no longer needed there went into manufacturing to produce the physical stuff we wanted. Of course we then got incredibly productive at making physical stuff. People claim that the U.S. manufacturing sector is stagnating because there has been little job growth, but when you look at what it actually produces, you see that it is stronger than ever—precisely because it is so productive that it doesn’t need more labor to make more stuff.

The combination of productivity gains, which produce higher wages, and declining costs of food and manufactured goods means that people have a great deal more disposable income. Some of it goes to buying more food and physical stuff, but much of it goes to buying services and enjoying culture, which people couldn’t afford before. The nonmaterial portion of “output” grew as we became increasingly productive. We consume more nonphysical stuff because we have continued to allow enough scope for the market that productivity gains are rewarded.

To commit, as Jackson would, to a low-productivity economy would cut this process short with two consequences he probably would not want. First, it would slow, if not stop, the very process that will enable us to have a smaller environmental footprint: more efficient ways of manufacturing things so we can increase the number of cultural and service jobs. Part of industrial efficiency is that producers learn how to turn what starts as “waste” products into productive inputs. The history of industry is full of such examples where efficiency considerations have reduced waste. (See Pierre Desrochers’s Freeman article “Saving the Environment for a Profit, Victorian-Style.”)

Second, restricting productivity growth would perpetuate poverty in the undeveloped world. The combination of markets and productivity growth has been a major engine of economic development across the globe. Jackson’s proposal to restrict productivity growth is but another example of Western eco-imperialism: We’ve got our wealth, but now you’ll have to stay poor longer to save the planet. I assume Jackson does not intend to consign billions to their current levels of poverty for longer than necessary, but that would be one major result of lower productivity; it would reduce exports and raise prices elsewhere in the world.

So why, in the end, does Jackson think productivity is a problem? Early in the essay he suggests there might be limits to our ability to grow. He presents no argument other than pointing to the financial crises, rising oil and other resource prices, and increasing ecological damage. He offers no explanation of why these are caused by, or reflections of, limits to growth. Apparently he assumes his readers will simply nod along.

Of course none of these problems results from growth or any supposed limits thereof. The financial crisis was the predictable result of excess money creation and of housing policies that fueled an artificial boom. Looked at over the long run, the real prices of natural resources are falling, not rising, and we have more proven oil reserves than ever before. Environmental damage has been reduced in the developed world through the very forces of productivity-generated wealth increases that Jackson rejects. None of these reflects “limits to growth.” In fact there are, as Julian Simon was quick to remind us, no limits to growth as long as we allow the human mind, what he called the “ultimate resource,” the necessary freedom to invent and create—and get more productive.

Jackson’s article is a sad reminder of how much work there is to do in communicating the larger story of economic history and the way in which market institutions have made possible a wealthier and cleaner world. Productivity gains are not the enemy of human progress but one of its central causes. To limit productivity is to limit our ability to continue the amazing story of better lives for more human beings.


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 when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


22 October, 2012


I really HATE Google's new blogging program and its war on indenting. I should have picked it up earlier on but my post below headed "Obama’s secret second term agenda revealed" was made VERY hard to follow by Google's brainless robotical elimination of most of my indenting. It's not hard to fix by going into the html but you have to notice the problem first and I was rather tired when I put up the posts below.

I presume that Google will fix the bug eventually as it makes absolutely no sense as an intelligent policy. I have now fixed the indenting in the post concerned.

The media master is on the move again

Should be good for conservatives. He keeps all his titles right of center

News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, two of the country's largest newspapers, from struggling media conglomerate Tribune Co, a source familiar with his plans told Reuters on Friday.

News Corp executives - including Murdoch's son James - flew into Los Angeles twice this month to take a preliminary look at the storied daily's books, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings were not publicized.

Rupert Murdoch is also eyeing the Chicago Tribune, whose publisher Tribune Co is now trying to exit bankruptcy.

News Corp executives are in early talks with Tribune Co debtholders, including hedge fund Oaktree Capital. The company wants to secure footholds in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the news.

Murdoch has long eyed the LA Times, the newspaper reported. Oaktree declined to comment, while News Corp did not respond immediately to requests for comment.



President Obama's Closing Act: An Epic Collapse

The ongoing collapse of President Obama's campaign may lead to some extraordinary stunts during Monday's last debate, but no matter what he tries, it is very unlikely that the president can reverse the enormous momentum behind Mitt Romney's campaign.

(One data point. Congressman John Campbell, a frequent guest on my radio show, polled his district this week. It is Califronia's 45. John McCain carried it by 4.7 points in 2008. Mitt Romney is almost 20 points ahead in this cycle. Campbell reports that this sort of result is showing up across the country.)

The nation is simply finished with a president whose rhetoric has never been matched by his actions, and whose performance has removed Jimmy Carter from the bottom of the rankings of the modern president.

The president of course has his passionate supporters. These are the same people that spent last Tuesdaynight declaring him the winner of his second meeting with Mitt Romney, and Wednesday and Thursday trying to infuse the word "binder" with game-changing significance.

They are the same people who spent Friday denying that "not optimal" was not a big deal.

"Binder" --big deal. "Not optimal" --no deal at all. That's the state of the Obama campaign: A nearly Orwellian effort at making some words matter and others disappear while facts are pushed aside It hasn't worked. It won't work..

Mitt Romney by contrast followed two very strong debate showings with a wonderful set of remarks at the Al Smith dinner, the third time in two weeks that he has reassured those just tuning into the presidential campaign that he will be a steady and reliable force for good in the Oval Office.

Romney was ready for his close up. This is the primary reasion behind his surge.

And what a surge. Romney was up seven points in Thursday's Gallup tracking poll, and even the very partisan Democratic polling firm PPP has Romney ahead in Iowa and New Hampshire on Friday. The president is hidng from reporters to avoid more Libya questions, and when he hand-picks a safe zone --a comedy show hosted by a huge ally-- he still falls on his face, and not just with the "not optimal" comment but with his doubling down on closing Gitmo.

The market shudders, the quesiness about earnings, the goofy jobs data --all this and more is fueling the growing, now urgent sense of a need for a big change. A U-Turn. And Mitt Romney is the beneficiary.

Every motorist who gases up between now and election day (especially those in California) should recall last Monday's debate and the direct question to the president about gas prices which he refused to answer



Obama’s secret second term agenda revealed

The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein has unearthed President Obama’s secret second term agenda. And it should scare the pants off anyone who doesn’t want the U.S. economy to tank this coming January. Klein writes:
I’ve criticized the Obama campaign for failing to detail much of a vision for a second term. But that’s not to say they don’t have one. They do. It’s just a hard one to campaign on.

After promising in 2008 to bring about a new era of cooperation in Washington, they’re campaigning in 2012 knowing that, if reelected, they will start their second term with a brutal, economy-shaking showdown with Republicans over spending and taxes.

If the Obama administration were to really lay out their plans, they would go something like this. In November, President Obama will reiterate, clearly and firmly, that he will veto any attempts to extend the high-income tax cuts or lift the big, dumb spending cuts without finding equivalent savings elsewhere.

That veto threat is the center of the Obama administration’s second-term strategizing. The Obama administration believes – and, just as importantly, they believe Republicans believe — that they’ve got the leverage here. … I’ve called this the GOP’s dual-trigger nightmare. It’s bad for the economy, but it also effectively ends our deficits with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts more progressive than anything any Democrat has dared propose. Republicans absolutely can’t let it happen. But the only way they can stop it from happening is to make a deal.
Obama and Klein are dead wrong: Republicans absolutely can let the fiscal cliff happen. Obama signed every law (either the original legislation or an extension of it), that has created the $500 billion tax hike/$100 billion spending cut fiscal cliff. It’s his economic disaster. He owns it. Why wouldn’t Republicans just love to make him sleep in the bed he made?

More importantly though, when you read Bob Woordward’s excellent new book, The Price of Politics, you can’t help but notice a common theme running through everyone of Obama’s failures.

* On the stimulus, Obama was certain he could get at least one Republican vote. He failed.
* On Obamacare, Obama was certain he could get at least one Republican vote. He failed.
* On the debt limit debate, Obama was certain he could strike a deal with House Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio, that raised taxes. He failed.

In the middle of the debt limit debate, Woodward reports:
“If the goal is to solve the problem,” Obama said, “I don’t understand why we don’t seize the opportunity. It would not violate either party’s positions. Revenues wouldn’t come from a vote. I understand this pledge that all these Republicans have taken.”

The Republicans thought he really didn’t understand at all. The scheme to decouple the middle- and lower-income tax brackets from the higher brackets was a transparent gimmick.
At every turn in his presidency, Obama believes he understands Republicans and can bully them into submission. And at every turn he has underestimated Republican resolve.

If Obama wins reelection he will no doubt try to govern in his second term the exact same way he tried to govern in his first. And he will get the exact same results. In other words, if Obama wins reelection, we are definitely going over the fiscal cliff.



Obama's 'war on women' canard is not fooling women

When President Obama speaks about women's issues, it's a safe bet he's telling tall tales. When Democrats talk of a "war on women," they are usually waging a war on facts. And women, it seems, aren't fooled.

In 20 seconds on Tuesday night, while discussing women's health during the presidential debate, Obama dissembled twice. First on birth control. Second on Planned Parenthood.

"Gov. Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the health care choices that women are making. I think that's a mistake," Obama said. It seemed an odd criticism from a president whose major domestic initiative injects government further into all aspects of health care. But Obama actually was attacking his health law's critics.

"In my health care bill, I said insurance companies need to provide contraceptive coverage to everybody who is insured. Gov. Romney not only opposed it, he suggested that in fact employers should be able to make the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage."

What is Obama talking about? What is this diabolical Romney plan that would force women to beg their bosses for birth control?

Romney only got a few seconds Tuesday night to rebut that argument: "The president's statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong."

Here's the policy issue: Before last summer, many employer-provided health insurance plans covered birth control. Some covered sterilization. Some covered the "morning-after pill," which may cause abortions by killing a fertilized egg.

Some insurance plans covered 100 percent of the cost of birth control. Some insurance plans required a co-pay on birth control, just as they require on almost all drugs.

But wielding an Obamacare provision on "women's preventive care," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius imposed a new rule requiring almost all employers to cover every penny of contraception, sterilization and morning-after pills.

That means if you offer health insurance that doesn't cover sterilization, you're breaking the law. If you offer health insurance that covers all contraception, but requires a $5-a-month co-pay, you're breaking the law. If you offer two plans, and the one that covers all contraception and sterilization carries a higher premium, you're breaking the law. Or at least Sebelius' law.

Mitt Romney doesn't think those things should be illegal.

Wages, commuter benefits and vacation time are all matters of negotiation between bosses and the people they want to hire. But if you offer someone a job, and promise to pay them in cash instead of contraception, you're violating Obamacare.

So how do Obama and his surrogates characterize opposition to his mandate? They say Romney wants employers to keep you from getting contraception.

When Republicans proposed a broader conscience exemption to the new mandate last year, Obama's campaign said the GOP was forcing women to get a permission slip from their boss.

The mock permission slip on Obama's campaign website read: "I have discussed the employee's contraceptive options with her, and I verify that her use of these methods (IS / IS NOT) in agreement with my personal beliefs. The employee (DOES / DOES NOT) have my permission to access birth control pills, intrauterine devices, or any other type of contraception."

At the Democratic National Convention, party-approved podium speeches rolled out this canard. Obama surrogate Sandra Fluke warned that Romney's America would be "an America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it." Obama fundraiser Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said Romney would "end access to birth control."

In the debate Tuesday, Obama was a bit more careful in his misleading talk, but seemingly tried to instill fear that Romney will take away women's contraception, rather than simply get the government out of this one aspect of the employer-employee relationship.

Will Obama next warn that Romney wants to let your boss "make the decision as to whether or not you get Starbucks coffee through your employer"?

Obama's also played loose with the facts while defending federal subsidies for Planned Parenthood. He stated that women "rely on [Planned Parenthood] for mammograms." But Planned Parenthood doesn't provide mammograms.

A federal law requires certificates for operating mammography equipment. When the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious liberty group, requested Food and Drug Administration documentation of Planned Parenthood's licensed mammography facilities, the FDA said it had no record of any certificates.

The notion that Romney and Republicans are waging a "war on women" has always been laughable. Now it appears to be failing: Romney has completely closed the gap among female voters in swing states, according to this week's USA Today poll. Obama, it seems, didn't believe women could tell when they're being lied to.



Black bully tries to protect voting fraud

Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings is using intimidation tactics against the voter integrity group True the Vote with AFL-CIO, NAACP and other far left groups following his lead.

On October 4, Cummings sent a letter to True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht on official House Oversight and Government Reform Committee letterhead, demanding she turn over documents and training material used by the group for people planning to volunteer as poll watchers on Election Day. Engelbrecht responded to Cummings' request by offering to meet with him in Washington D.C. to explain the mission of True the Vote and to address his concerns.

"I believe we agree on many common goals, such as the right of every American to have the opportunity to participate in a fair and legal electoral process. It was of great concern to me that you had suddenly requested a considerable amount of documentation on the basis of news reports which offered limited balance and an over-simplification of the facts. I find it regrettable that your office did not reach out to True The Vote directly before launching a personal ad-hoc investigation. Election integrity is a serious concern across the nation – the state of Maryland is no exception. In this year alone, as reported by The Washington Post, a federal congressional candidate seeking to join Maryland’s Congressional Delegation was forced to resign from her race by Democratic Party officials after alleged felony double voting was uncovered in her voting history,"

Engelbrecht wrote. "It is both obvious and unfortunate that you are not familiar with all of the details of the mission or methods of True the Vote. This letter serves as an effort to coordinate a convenient meeting time in your Washington, D.C. office, during which I can brief you and your staff about our program and help dispel any misconceptions you may have. In the interim, if you anticipate making any future comments about True the Vote, please do not hesitate to contact me directly so that I may provide you with accurate information. As always, you are welcome to join an upcoming training session before Election Day."

Despite what Cummings implied in his letter, True the Vote doesn't have an obligation to "produce a single document." Cummings is in the minority, lacks subpoena power and has no authority to force True the Vote to hand over anything and therefore, he is resorting to intimidation tactics against True the Vote, its leadership and its members as a result. He is abusing his power on the Oversight Committee by using these tactics, implying he has more power on the Committee than he actually does and is misrepresenting the committee headed not by him, but Chairman Darrell Issa.




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


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


21 October, 2012

Another Leftist bubble-head  -- at the NYT, no less

Someone named Chrystia Freeland wrote an article about income inequality, making some decent points about cronyism, but also reflexively regurgitating talking points on class-warfare tax policy. What caught my eye, though, was this incredible assertion about government funding of education.
Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising. The super-elite lavishes unlimited resources on its children, while public schools are starved of funding. …elite education is increasingly available only to those already at the top. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama enrolled their daughters in an exclusive private school; I’ve done the same with mine.

So “public schools are starved of funding”? That’s a strong statement. It implies very deep reductions in the amount of money being diverted from taxpayers to the government schools. So where are the numbers?

You won’t be surprised to learn that Ms. Freeland doesn’t offer any evidence. And there’s a good reason for that. As show in this chart, government spending on education has skyrocketed in recent years.

This data isn’t adjusted for inflation or population, but you can peruse this amazing chart put together by one of Cato’s education experts to see that per-pupil spending has skyrocketed even after adjusting for inflation.

In other words, Ms. Freeland has no clue what she’s talking about. Or, to be fair, she made a giant-sized mistake, perhaps because she’s lives in a statist bubble and blindly assumes that left-wing politicians tell the truth.

And it goes without saying that none of the editors or (non-existent?) fact checkers at the New York Times knew enough or cared enough to catch a huge blunder.



Is there any limit to Leftist reality denial?

The Campaign to Stop Gun Violence must be one of the sickest subsections of the Left

A man who broke into a home near Calera got a surprise Wednesday morning, when he was shot by a 12-year-old girl who was in the home alone.

According to Ladd Everitt and the CSGV, this girl has a 'duty to retreat'.  She locked herself in a closet.  But Ladd and his fellow cultists would still believe she was in the wrong because, when the scum tried to get into the closet, the girl fired through the door, hitting him. And what do the say about that?

"'Using armed violence in any context is flat out wrong..."

Now me personally, I think this girl did everything right. She called her mom (who obviously trained her daughter in the safe use of firearms), called 911, got a gun, went to a safer location and then shot the POS when he kept pursuing. Gun control advocates, however, believe we should trust in the good intentions of a criminal while they're in a home alone with a 12yr old girl.



A fatal Obama gaffe at Hofstra?

Missed by Romney, missed by the audience, missed by most of the commentariat, it was the biggest gaffe of the entire debate cycle: Substituting unctuousness for argument, Obama declared himself offended by the suggestion that anyone in his administration, including the U.N. ambassador, would “mislead” the country on Libya.

This bluster — unchallenged by Romney — helped Obama slither out of the Libya question unscathed. Unfortunately for Obama, there is one more debate — next week, entirely on foreign policy. The burning issue will be Libya and the scandalous parade of fictions told by this administration to explain away the debacle.

No one misled? His U.N. ambassador went on not one but five morning shows to spin a confection that the sacking of the consulate and the murder of four Americans came from a video-motivated demonstration turned ugly: “People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons.”

But there was no gathering. There were no people. There was no fray. It was totally quiet outside the facility until terrorists stormed the compound and killed our ambassador and three others.

The video? A complete irrelevance. It was a coordinated, sophisticated terror attack, encouraged, if anything, by Osama bin Laden’s successor, giving orders from Pakistan to avenge the death of a Libyan jihadist.

Not wishing to admit that we had just been attacked by al-Qaeda affiliates, perhaps answering to the successor of a man on whose grave Obama and the Democrats have been dancing for months, the administration relentlessly advanced the mob/video tale to distract from the truth.

And it wasn’t just his minions who misled the nation. A week after the attack, the president himself, asked by David Letterman about the ambassador’s murder, said it started with a video. False again.

Romney will be ready Monday.  "You are offended by this accusation, Mr. President? The country is offended that your press secretary, your U.N. ambassador and you yourself have repeatedly misled the nation about the origin and nature of the Benghazi attack.

The problem wasn’t the video, the problem was policies for which you say you now accept responsibility. Then accept it, Mr. President. You were asked in the last debate why more security was denied our people in Libya despite the fact that they begged for it. You never answered that question, Mr. President. Or will you blame your secretary of state?"

Esprit d’escalier (“wit of the staircase”) is the French term for the devastating riposte that one should have given at dinner but comes up with only on the way out at the bottom of the staircase. It’s Romney’s fortune that he’s invited to one more dinner. If he gets it right this time, Obama’s narrow victory in debate No. 2, salvaged by the mock umbrage that anyone could accuse him of misleading, will cost him dearly.

It was a huge gaffe. It is indelibly on the record. It will prove a very expensive expedient.



US creates wealth, not poverty

Here's a recent statement frequently suggested by leftist academics, think tank researchers and policymakers: "People were not just struggling because of their personal deficiencies; there were structural factors at play. People weren't poor because they made bad decisions; they were poor because our society creates poverty."

Who made that statement and where it was made is not important at all, but its corrosive effects on the minds of black people, particularly black youths, are devastating.

There's nothing intellectually challenging or unusual about poverty. For most of mankind's existence, his most optimistic scenario was to be able to eke out enough to subsist for another day.

Poverty has been mankind's standard fare and remains so for most of mankind. What is unusual and challenging to explain is affluence – namely, how a tiny percentage of people, mostly in the West, for only a tiny part of mankind's existence, managed to escape the fate that befell their fellow men.

To say that "our society creates poverty" is breathtakingly ignorant.

In 1776, the U.S. was among the world's poorest nations. In less than two centuries, we became the world's richest nation by a long shot. Americans who today are deemed poor by Census Bureau definitions have more material goods than middle-class people as recently as 60 years ago.

Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield give us insights in "Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor" (Sept. 13, 2011). Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. The average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K.

Ninety-six percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry during the year because they couldn't afford food. How do these facts square with the statement that "our society creates poverty"? To the contrary, our society has done the best with poverty.

Maybe the professor who made the statements about poverty – who, by the way, is black – was thinking that it's black people who have been made poor by society.

One cannot avoid the fact that average black income today is many multiples of what it was at emancipation, in 1900, in 1940 and in 1960, even though average black income is only 65 percent of white income.

There is no comparison between black standard of living today and that in earlier periods. Again, the statement that "our society creates poverty" is just plain nonsense.

What about the assertion that "people weren't poor because they made bad decisions"?

The poverty rate among blacks is 36 percent. Most black poverty is found in female-headed households, but the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994 and stands today at 7 percent.

Today's black illegitimacy rate is 72 percent, but in the 1940s, it hovered around 14 percent. Less than 50 percent of black students graduate from high school, and most of those who do graduate have a level of academic proficiency far below that of their white counterparts. Black men make up almost 40 percent of the prison population.

Here are my several two-part questions: Is having babies without the benefit of marriage a bad decision, and is doing so likely to affect income? Are dropping out of school and participating in criminal activity bad decisions, and are they likely to have an effect on income?

Finally, do people have free will and the capacity to make decisions, or is their behavior a result of instincts over which they have no control? As a black person, I'm glad that the message taught to so many of today's black youths wasn't taught back in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when the civil rights struggle was getting into gear. The admonishment that I frequently heard from black adults was, "Be a credit to your race."



Japan has a navy too

Admiral Togo (1905) is not forgotten as China's navy becomes aggressive.  Interestingly, when Togo led the eradication of the Russian navy in the straits of Tsushima, it was Togo's flagship that led the action, thus receiving more enemy hits than any other Japanese ship.  The Japanese are real warriors

On Sunday, Japan marked the 60th anniversary of the Maritime Self-Defense Force with a major naval exercise. Some 45 ships and 8,000 sailors - including state-of-the-art destroyers, hovercraft able to launch assaults on rough coastlines and new conventionally powered submarines - took part in Fleet Review 2012. About 30 naval aircraft, mostly helicopters, and warships from the US, Singapore and Australia also participated. Observers from 20 countries, including China, watched the maneuvers.

Surprising even military officials, Prime Minister Noda's address to the sailors and soldiers included an expression - "more strenuous efforts and hard work "(isso funrei doryoku) -- used by Admiral Togo of the Japanese Imperial Navy in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. The prime minister also took the unusual step of including in his speech the Five Mottos that have been recited by Japanese naval cadets since before World War II. The five mottos concern sincerity, discipline and hard work.

"The security environment surrounding our nation has become more difficult than ever before," Mr. Noda told the troops on the destroyer JS Kurama. "We have a neighbor that launches missiles disguised as satellites and engages in nuclear development. We are facing various disputes related to territory and sovereignty." The prime minister was wearing a tailcoat, the designated garb for top civilian government officials at formal military ceremonies.

The prime minister's office denied that the remarks included references to past days of glory for the Japanese navy.

The Japanese naval force is one of the best in the world. Defense of the homeland is its primary mission. Thus, when seven Chinese naval forces passed through Okinawa prefecture's waters today, a Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft tracked them, not a coast guard unit. The Chinese ships were said to be returning from exercises west of Japan.

Three points are worth noting. Japanese Fleet Reviews occur every three years, according to the Defense Ministry, but the size of the exercise with allied participation makes a statement that Japan has the capabilities to defend its island claims and will not back down in a confrontation with Chinese naval ships. In such a confrontation, Japan would win handily, provided the location was beyond the reach of Chinese land-based air support.

The second point is the Chinese are training east of Japan in the Pacific Ocean. This is not new but it is a reminder that Chinese naval goals reach beyond the nearest island chain, extending far into the western Pacific to Guam.

The third point is a reminder that Japan had a world-class navy when China was being occupied by foreign legations. It maintained that navy from 1905 until Pearl Harbor without a regional challenger. It has the capability to restore that navy. No one will thank China or North Korea if Japan decides to rebuild its navy in order to protect itself. China and its proxy North Korea are sowing the wind…




Society as an organic body:  "Karl Marx, in his posthumously published work Grundrisse identified his view of humanity very clearly. Humanity is an organic whole (or body). People aren’t individuals but the cells of this organic entity whose development and maturation Marx tried to chronicle in his works. When you have an organic body you are looking out for, if some part of this body is faltering, another part may need to be called upon or sacrificed so as to help mend it."

Veritas Non Grata Est:  "It seems to me after long experience that people in general don’t really want the truth. They only want that which comforts them. They have no desire to actually be right -- only to feel right. And this is, after all, the only reason government and politics exist in the first place."

Stupid Leftist teenager:  "A 19-year-old Pennsylvania councilman reportedly remains behind bars after allegedly stealing Mitt Romney campaign signs and damaging a farm field. The Express-Times reports that Alburtis Councilman Kyle A. Bower was arraigned Wednesday on charges stemming from the Oct. 3 incidents and sent to Lehigh County Prison. A judge set Bower’s bail at $5,000, but the teenager won’t be released from custody even if he posts it due to a probation violation. Bower, a Democrat less than a year into his first borough council term, is on probation after pleading guilty to escape and stalking charges on Jan. 4, the same day he took the oath of office, the newspaper reports."



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


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


20 October, 2012

The triumph of spin

On the stump and in the recent debates, the president has been taking credit for things that are symptoms of a bad economy and touting them as major accomplishments.

Obama boasts that illegal immigration is the lowest it's been in decades, but he leaves out that, in the words of the Associated Press, "Much of the drop in illegal immigrants is due to the persistently weak U.S. economy, which has shrunk construction and service-sector jobs attractive to Mexican workers following the housing bust." Indeed, Census data shows that many Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal, are heading home because they think the opportunities will be better south of the border.

Obama boasted at the Fordham debate Wednesday night that his policies "lowered our oil imports to the lowest levels in 16 years." And it's true they're the lowest in 16 years.

One reason for that is an explosion in domestic oil production on private lands thanks to the technological breakthrough of hydraulic "fracking," an industry the Obama administration has been slowing down with increased regulations. This is the biggest driver of the decline in net oil imports, and President Obama has no business taking credit for it. Fossil fuel production on federal lands, notes economist Mark Perry, hit a nine-year low in 2011, and crude oil production dropped 14 percent on federal lands -- the biggest decrease in a decade.

And, to be fair, another reason for the decline is the longstanding trend of increasing energy-efficiency standards, which Obama supports. Energy expert Jeff Miller writes at the Energy Collective website, that a whopping 1 percent of the total reduction in petroleum consumption can be chalked up to such measures. (Increased efficiency standards for cars, a frequent talking point for Obama, accounts for precisely 0 percent of the decline, according to Miller).

And then, of course, there's the unemployment rate. When the statistically odd drop in the unemployment rate for September was announced earlier this month, the president raced around the country celebrating the fact that we'd finally dropped below 8 percent unemployment. And you can hardly blame him.

But the reality is that the unemployment rate is only as "low" as it is because millions of Americans have given up looking for work. If you give up looking for work, you're no longer counted as part of the labor market. In other words, if everyone just gave up hope of finding a job, the unemployment rate would be zero!

The actual state of the labor market is miserable. More than 12 million Americans are out of work, and that number becomes 23 million if you include people who've stopped looking or can't find full-time work. The labor participation rate is the lowest it's been since the recession of 1981.

A few months ago, I wrote a column on how there were some silver linings to the dark cloud of a lousy economy, on the grounds that bad times often encourage good habits. Americans have been paying down their debts, building up their savings and having their tattoos removed -- all thanks in part to the bad economy and the financial crisis of 2008.

But there's something distinctly creepy about looking at the symptoms of a lousy economy and preening how you meant to do that.



Show vs. Substance

It was Clausewitz, the military strategist, who famously defined war as politics by other means. Politics in turn could be defined as history determined by other means. For each present political choice tends to come with its own view of the past. It would be hard to find a better example of that tendency than Tuesday night's presidential debate, which was not only a clash of candidates but of pasts. Which explains the competing narratives on display as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney came out of their respective corners and started swinging, each presenting a different past. You pays your money, or rather you cast your vote, and you takes your choice.

Our once and, he surely hopes, future president had a lovely past to narrate -- the story of a great young president who, after the worst economic downturn of this still young century, the worst since the Great Depression, set America aright during the past four years, lifted the economy out of this Great Recession, and put us on this golden course we're enjoying now, getting better every day in every way as we proceed with this Great Recovery.

Now that's the way to write history, or at least rewrite it.

The president's is a beautiful story, grand and uplifting, sweeping and inspiring, complete with brave hero and happy ending. Welcome to the Land of Hope and Change, where history is made to order before your eyes. (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.) In the president's telling, the past four years acquire a roseate glow.

Sound familiar? Isn't that the way we all see it? If not, maybe the rest of us just experienced a different four years. That doesn't mean the president is lying -- he may just have a different perspective. Maybe he had a better four years than the rest of us.

It was left to the president's challenger to spoil the story by introducing a few of those dull, gray facts that can drain the color from even the brightest of fancies. Mitt Romney had more than a few such details to relate. The man is a glutton for data, spreadsheets, stats, graphs, percentages ... you'd think he was some kind of investor, mainly the successful kind, an expert at turnarounds and reorganizations who now wants to turn around the whole, gigantic enterprise and experiment called the United States of America.

The man rolls out facts and figures like a pocket calculator, flooding the conversation with them, as if he were out to transform the historical romance his opponent has just produced into a tragedy by the numbers:

"Well, what you're seeing in this country is 23 million people struggling to find a job. And a lot of them, as you say, Candy, have been out of work for a long, long, long time. ... We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office. If the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when he took office, it's 7.8 percent now. But if you calculated that unemployment rate, taking back the people who dropped out of the workforce, it would be 10.7 percent....

"There are 3.5 million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office. ... How about $4 trillion of deficits over the last four years, $5 trillion? ... Women have lost 580,000 jobs. That's the net of what's happened in the last four years. ... An economy with 50 percent of kids graduating from college that can't find a job, that's not what we have to have....

"President Obama was right, he said that that was outrageous, to have deficits as high as half a trillion dollars under the Bush years. He was right, but then he put in place deficits twice that size for every one of his four years. And his forecast for the next four years is more deficits almost that large. ... He said that by now we'd have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work. I wasn't the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the president's plan. Didn't get there."

"He said he would have by now put forward a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security, because he pointed out they're on the road to bankruptcy. He would reform them. He'd get that done. He hasn't even made a proposal on either one. He said in his first year he'd put out an immigration plan that would deal with our immigration challenges. Didn't even file it.

"This is a president who has not been able to do what he said he'd do. He said that he'd cut in half the deficit. He hasn't done that, either. In fact, he doubled it. He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It's gone up by $2,500 a year. ... When he took office, 32 million people were on food stamps. Today, 47 million people are on food stamps. How about the growth of the economy? It's growing more slowly this year than last year, and more slowly last year than the year before...."

Enough. Enough! The president's story was better. This one hurts. Give us Barack Obama's version of the past four years any time. What a pity it doesn't exist outside his theater of the mind, a mind so fine that an unpleasant fact never penetrates it. We the People could listen to this president all day -- if only we didn't have to live in an economy that seems strangely different from the one on his beautifully appointed stage.

But what evidence is there that Mitt Romney would do any better? Well, his record as a successful governor of Massachusetts does, and the successful turnarounds he oversaw at Bain Capital, as well as the success he made of a deeply troubled Olympics. But this is a whole, vast country -- with the biggest economy in the world. Turning around an ocean liner would be child's play compared to turning around the American economy. Why would Mr. Romney's plan turn out any better than the president's? Answer us that. And he did Tuesday night:

"You might say, 'Well, you got an example of when it worked better?' Yeah, in the Reagan Recession where unemployment hit 10.8 percent. Between that period -- the end of that recession and the equivalent of time to today, Ronald Reagan's recovery created twice as many jobs as this president's recovery."

The Gipper did it by making tough decisions, risking rather than courting the bubble Popularity, and setting the American economy on one of its longest, most sustained periods of growth in American history. Point made.

But can Mitt Romney do as well as Ronald Reagan at getting us out of our economic malaise? There's one way to find out: Give him the chance, the opportunity. That's really the theme of his campaign anyway: Opportunity. As in the Land Of. As for the incumbent, it's pretty clear what he offers. Sadly clear from the history of the last four years, the real one.

Who won Round Two of this year's presidential debates Tuesday night? The verdict isn't as clear as it was after Round One, when Mitt Romney was his usual businesslike self and Barack Obama seemed to be somewhere else. But this time the president was back at the top of his game, and it was good to see him there. Ah, if only the future of the country were a game.

It was a good, hard-fought match. And quite a contrast in styles. While the president jabbed and feinted, Mr. Romney gave his usual power-point presentation, as if preparing us for a quiz the next morning. (Oh, what fun!)

He went down his five-point list of what he'd do in the Oval Office: Ramp up energy production of all kinds. Expand trade, especially in this hemisphere. Crack down on the way China, the Communist one, has been cheating when it comes to trade. Balance the government's budget and, perhaps most of all, encourage small business instead of taxing and red-taping it to death.

Given my many biases (free markets and a free press in a free country, just to start with), I imagine I'd be mighty critical of the president's agenda for the next four years. But I can't be, not in good conscience. Given the evidence of Tuesday night's debate, he doesn't have one.

Oh, yes, who won the bout? That's easy: Candy Crowley. Of course, she had an unusual advantage. She was supposed to have been the referee.



Banks Punished For Central Bank and Political Errors

In recent decades politicians have increasingly followed the Keynesian prescription of economic growth through continued government borrowing and the creation of undreamt of amounts of fiat money by central banks. To facilitate this process, the larger commercial banks have acted as the central banks' de facto distribution system, and as a result have grown ever larger while accepting progressively greater risks.

In 2008, potential catastrophe loomed as the entire international financial system was challenged with collapse. But, as the 'darlings' of the central banks, the "too big to fail" banks were saved  by taxpayer bailouts so that they could continue to play their role in the stimulus engine. But as a result of these distortions, the environment for those banks outside of the exclusive "too big to fail club" has been increasingly challenging. In the United States, the financial services industry is changing radically and many fear that the days of U.S. dominance will be coming to an end.

Public ire resulting from the 2008 financial crisis largely missed politicians and central bankers and landed squarely on "Wall Street." As a result, bankers have become easy political targets. Increased regulation of the banking sector has become the rallying cry for the political left.

In addition to direct assaults on the banks, the ill-designed 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law has raised considerably the cost of entry to small entrepreneurial financial companies. Already, it is forcing the business of smaller financial companies offshore to the benefit of other countries.

Daniel Tarullo, an influential executive at the Federal Reserve Board, has suggested curbing bank growth by demanding a limit on the non-deposit liabilities of banks. Too often, short-term debt comprises the majority of these liabilities and is a source of potential vulnerability in a credit crunch. Meanwhile, some politicians have urged higher capital requirements in order to curb increasing bank size. Even ex-bankers such as Sandy Weil who led the lobbying effort to abolish the Glass-Steagle Act are now calling for its effective restoration. As a result, many corporations are deciding to leave the banking sector.

Companies for whom banking services provide an added benefit to their non-bank clients are fearful of the threat of increased capital requirements and of new, as yet to be clarified, Federal Reserve banking regulations. As such, it is a classic example of how excessive and uncertain regulations are hurting American business and employment. A specific example is that of tax preparation firm H&R Block. Years ago the company launched a service that provides some banking services to its customers. Recently they re-evaluated that strategy and have engaged advisors Goldman Sachs to help them "evaluate strategic alternatives." In other words, they are looking to shed the unit.

Those large banks that remain, firmly entrenched and supported by government guarantees, see little reason to provide cost effective services for retail clients. Most people with bank accounts in the United States will likely agree that in recent years banking fees have gone up while the level of service has gone down. This has resulted in private enterprise proposing innovative solutions. Recent moves by retail giant Walmart provides one example.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) pointed out some weeks ago, some 51 million Americans are "under banked". Worse, about 17 million are "unbanked". This implies a massive potential need for banking services for individuals at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. Many such Americans do a great deal of their shopping at Walmart, which purveys a wide variety of merchandise at extremely low prices.

To provide a service to these potential customers, Walmart has announced an agreement with American Express to issue a prepaid debit card entitled 'Bluebird'. This will enable less well-off consumers to purchase products from Walmart without surrendering their paychecks to a bank, thereby exposing themselves to high banking fees, or to put their purchases on conventional credit cards, which are notorious for high fees. As the service involves no extension of credit, Bluebird should provide cost effective service to the poor while involving no financial risk to either Walmart of American Express.

While Walmart's efforts may be timely and successful, the move will not reverse the fading glory of the U.S financial services sector. In order to perpetuate its system of massive money distribution, the Fed has insured that American banking will become as competitive domestically and globally as American manufacturing, which is to say, not at all.  




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


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


19 October, 2012

Newsweak bites the dust

The penalty of aiming at a Leftist audience only. Rupert Murdoch has something for everyone and his outlets prosper. How rigid most of the American media must be to leave half of the market to Mr Murdoch.

But still -- it's nice to see a lot of Leftist journalists out of a job. Maybe they can get a job at the NYT. Whoops! They've been cutting back too

Newsweek has announced that it is going digital only, bringing an end to the magazine’s 79 year history in print.

The magazine’s editor Tina Brown said that due to the ‘challenging economics of print publishing’ it has decided to become an Internet only publication .

She admitted that saying goodbye to the ‘romance’ of the printed word was hard but the status quo could not continue.

Staff have been warned there will be redundancies ahead of the final edition on December 31.

The decision brings to an end the the publication of a magazine which was founded in 1933 with financing from the son of industrialist Andrew W. Mellon.

It has been one of the longest running magazines in American history, but in recent years it has struggled with declining advertising revenues.

In 2010 Newsweek merged with news and culture website The Daily Beast and last year the print edition underwent a redesign in the hope of bringing in more readers.

The new digital version of Newsweek, which will be called Newsweek Global, will be available on the web and e-reader and tablet format on a subscription only basis, with some content made free.



Obama at Hofstra: Relatively Alert, Ergo Big Winner

Ann Coulter

The best question at the second presidential debate came from Michael Jones, an African-American who said: "Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I'm not that optimistic, as I was in 2008. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive."

To which Obama said: "Are you my half-brother?"

Actually, all Obama could say was that he had ended the war in Iraq (while pointlessly escalating the war in Afghanistan) and that Osama bin Laden is dead (and so is our ambassador). Both of which must be a great comfort to Mr. Jones as he tries to pay his bills every month.

Jones was right: Since Obama has been president, everything you own -- your home, pension, savings accounts, weekly paychecks -- are all worth less.

Meanwhile, everything you need -- gas, food, and anything else that requires fuel to be transported to you -- costs more.

Obama can't talk his way out of his record. As Romney said in response to the president's allegation that he is gung-ho about drilling for oil to lower fuel prices: "But that's not what you've done in the last four years. That's the problem."

Obama also suddenly announced: "I'm all for pipelines. I'm all for oil production." But he vetoed the Keystone pipeline.

He explained that the price of gasoline was $1.80 when he took office because the economy was in the toilet. Apparently, prices have spiked to more than $4 a gallon because all Americans are back at work now and making big bucks!

Obama said the "most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country."

So now he's going to create jobs? Because, nearly four years into his presidency, 23 million Americans are out of work and more than half of recent college graduates can't find a job.

He claimed to believe that we should reward "self-reliance," "individual initiative" and "risk-takers." And yet, a few months ago, he ridiculed these self-reliant risk-takers for thinking they were "just so smart," sneering "if you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

Obama said we have to be "serious about reducing the deficit," calling it "a moral obligation to the next generation." But he's increased the deficit by $5 trillion -- more in four years than President Bush did in eight.

He also said he supported cutting corporate taxes. But only in odd-numbered years that don't start with "2."

The media will lie and say Obama won the debate -- he has stopped the bleeding, he's drawing huge crowds, the momentum is back! But as Romney said in response to many of Obama's promises Tuesday night, "I don't think the American people believe that."

The trend is set and Obama's voters are moving away from him in droves. People can see that Obama has to go to college campuses, the David Letterman show and "The Daily Show" to get a friendly audience these days. Even Lindsay Lohan is for Romney.

The media's campaigning for Obama isn't fooling Americans; it's just making Obama's obtuseness worse. If you're behind at halftime, you don't go to the cheerleading squad to ask what you're doing wrong.

Absolutely nothing! You're perfect! Don't change anything!

But we're behind by 7 points ...

You're great! You're the best team ever!

With Obama unable to compete in a fair fight, debate moderator Candy Crowley had to become Obama's wingman, injecting herself into the debate by declaring Obama the winner on the question of whether he had called the Benghazi attack an act of terror the day after the attack. Only after the debate, when everyone had gone home, did Crowley admit that Romney was right on Libya.

(If Obama called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" in his Rose Garden speech, then he also said the victims of that attack were buried in the "hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery" and that he had visited them at Walter Reed -- other comments in that speech not specifically referring to the Benghazi attack.)

Crowley stopped Romney from talking about Fast and Furious on the grounds that it had nothing to do with guns. She didn't take a single question on Obamacare -- the universally loathed monstrosity that fueled the 2010 Republican landslide and continues to be a thorn in America's side.

In the media room, journalists cheered Obama's cheap shot about Romney being rich, according to The Washington Times. Say, who did the Democrats run for president right before Obama? That would be the richest man in the U.S. Senate, John Kerry. But liberals believe Kerry acquired his fortune more honestly than by building businesses and creating jobs. He married a rich woman.

For all the media cheerleading, millions of Americans still know they're out of work. They know, as Michael Jones noted, that everything is more expensive, including even-handed moderators.



Obama-Biden: Playing the Liar Card

Within the first few minutes of the second presidential debate, Obama said "not true" more times than Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire and Baghdad Bob -- combined. Sure beats talking about the economy.

President Obama scored a big victory over Mitt Romney with this week's cover story in Time magazine: "Who is Telling the Truth?" How is this a victory for Obama? The silliness of sending out surrogates to call Romney a "liar" has become a Big Media Issue in 2012.

Breaking news: Almost all politicians obfuscate, sometimes shading or altering positions as political winds shift and even completely changing positions. Sometimes they admit changing positions (Obama on gay marriage). Sometimes they change while denying any change (Romney initially asserting that RomneyCare could and should be a "model" the federal government "can learn from").

Time magazine asks, for example, did Romney tell the truth when he accused Obama of saying that "if Congress approved his plan to borrow nearly a trillion dollars, he would hold unemployment below 8 percent." No, that's "misleading," Time tells us. "Obama never said that, but before he took office, two of his economists predicted that a large stimulus might have that effect."

Huh? OK, Obama himself never said that, but he has acknowledged his top economic advisors did. The statement therefore reflected the goals and expectations of the Obama administration. Is it "misleading" to say "Obama said" -- as opposed to "his top economic advisors predicted"?

How many times did the "Bush Lied, People Died" crowd accuse "Bush" or "the Bush administration" of warning about a "mushroom cloud"? Bush never said that. The speaker was then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Is it a "lie" to say that those words were "said" by Bush? Or was the Rice statement a reflection of the administration's view that Iraq represented -- to use Bush's actual words -- a "grave and gathering danger"?

Where was truth-busting, fact-checking Time magazine during one of the most scurrilous attacks on a sitting president -- that President George W. Bush "lied" us into the Iraq War?

Accusers included Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who voted for the war, then turned against it, saying the Bush administration "intentionally misled the country into war." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., shamefully called Bush "a loser" and "a liar." He apologized for the loser part, but allowed "liar" to stand. The late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said, "Week after week after week we were told lie after lie after lie." These are party leaders -- not a couple of beer-guzzlers holding up hand-painted signs at an Occupy rally in Zuccotti Park.

Now, what about the word "liar" -- and Vice President Joe Biden?

During his only debate, Biden denied voting for the "two wars on a credit card" (Obama's words) that supposedly contributed to the recession. Biden said: "And, by the way, they talk about this Great Recession if it fell out of the sky, like, 'Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?' It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. I was there. I voted against them (emphasis added). I said, no, we can't afford that."

Biden voted for the authorization for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. About Iraq, Biden said in 2002, "If we wait for the danger to become clear, it could be too late," and, "We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after."

Can we call liberal pundits "liars" when they claim the idea for an individual mandate came from the conservative Heritage Foundation?

Stuart Butler, Heritage's director of the Center for Policy Innovation, recently wrote: "Is the individual mandate at the heart of 'ObamaCare' a conservative idea? Is it constitutional? And was it invented at The Heritage Foundation? In a word, no. ... And make no mistake: Heritage and I actively oppose the individual mandate (emphasis added). ... The confusion arises from the fact that 20 years ago, I held the view that as a technical matter, some form of requirement to purchase insurance was needed in a near-universal insurance market to avoid massive instability. ... My idea was hardly new. Heritage did not invent the individual mandate."

The dictionary describes a "liar" as someone who intends to deceive. But to paraphrase economist Thomas Sowell, today the word "liar" means a conservative who is winning an argument with a liberal.



Economic Growth is good

Although some people look out from their centrally heated balconies, with their bathroom cabinets full of modern medications, and their refrigerators full of well- preserved nourishing foods, and affect to despise growth, growth fills life with more opportunities, not just material ones.

There is a certain temperament which dislikes progress because it is emblematic of change and struggle. They share the Elysian dream of Tennyson's Lotos Eaters for peace and contentment: "Is there any peace in ever climbing up the climbing wave?"

Such people disdain economic growth and advocate instead a contented life which does not seek to improve its lot. In fact some important studies on happiness suggest that it comes with the prospect of improvement rather than with a comfortable standard of living.

Adam Smith spoke of "The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition," and it applies equally to women. People are motivated to better their lot, and it is partly from this drive that large numbers of us do not now live near starvation and at the mercy of bad harvests and crop failures. We have learned how to generate surpluses that can tide us through bad times, and which can offer us greater opportunities than previous generations could conceive of.

We use wealth to invest in creating more wealth in the future. This is what economic growth is. It has enabled us to afford an improved diet, sanitation, clean water, education, healthcare, better transport, and has given us the means and the leisure to cultivate the arts.

There are those who say that enough is enough, without making clear why it is today's standard which is enough, rather than that of 50 years ago or of 50 years hence. Some suggest we are using up the Earth's resources, even though our ability to access new sources seems to increase faster than our use of them, which is why the price of most of them has fallen in real terms. Others suggest that we cannot produce sufficient energy to fuel more growth,even though recent technological innovation in gas extraction has increased the available reserves by decades, if not a century or more.

Growth means a higher standard of living. It means better and smarter goods and services. It means one generation having access to the choices that only the very rich of the previous generation could afford. Growth offers the chances of more leisure, of self-improvement, of raising the standards of education. It is what brings to millions the chance of a better life.



Free ObamaPhone: Facts and Fiction

It automatically rejects calls from people with a different opinion.

Every time you take a picture, it produces a grimmer image of America.

It doesn't have a plan; it just keeps telling you how bad the other guy's plan is.

When it crashes, it blames your previous phone.

All 3 AM calls go directly to voicemail.

It has a really useless app called "Biden."

Pairing it with another device sucks all the energy out of the other unit.

Type in "job search" and it gives you directions to the welfare office.

The navigation feature covers all 57 States.

The default ringtone for international calls is "I'm sorry, so sorry, please accept my apology."

The healthcare app downloads and installs itself without your permission.

When you make a call, a teleprompter pops up to help you speak.

Restaurant reviews are all written by Michelle Obama.

There are never any winners on Angry Birds.

Instagram takes two months to process a photo and you have to fill out 3 PDFs to do so.

Paypal app is replaced with ReceivePal app.

You can't find "Jerusalem" on Google maps.

It turns all your Facebook friends into enemies and all your enemies into friends.

Don't want to work? There's an app for that, too.

It automatically bows down to phones made by foreign companies.

When you watch a YouTube video, a US ambassador gets killed.

When you dial "home", it calls Kenya.

As opposed to the iPhone, it's called the mePhone.




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


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


18 October, 2012

Some current American Fascism

It could happen to any conservative. Remember: Fascism is Leftist

One man’s tropical paradise is another man’s prison. Imagine being “stuck” on Oahu. I’m sure you could think of worse situations, but really stop and think about the following true and evolving situation. You’re a “normal” 34 year-old guy, live on the U.S. mainland in Gulfport, Mississippi, and recently married a woman who is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy stationed in Okinawa.

You’re a citizen of the United States and possess a valid U.S. issued passport. You’re not a criminal and have no history of felony or misdemeanor convictions. In fact, you recently passed a background check to own and carry a firearm in Mississippi. You are, however, an outspoken patriot for the United States Constitution.

You miss your bride of eight months, and decide to fly to Okinawa to visit her. Because you are the “dependent” of an active duty member of the U.S. military, you make arrangements to fly from San Francisco to Okinawa on a military aircraft. You must still have a ticket, pass the screening procedures similar or even more stringent than those flying on normal commercial airlines. After the screening at the airport, you board the plane and settle in for your flight, counting down the hours until you are reunited with your wife.

The plane lands in Hawaii as scheduled for refueling and maintenance. It is here, after re-boarding the aircraft, that two heavily-armed military guards confront you and tell you that you must leave the plane. They take you to a small room at the military base and advise you that you are on the U.S. “No-Fly” list. You’re not under arrest, but you’re not free to go until they decide what to do with you. You watch as your plane, as well as your hopes of seeing your bride vanish into the air while under the careful watch of two heavily armed military police officials.

What’s going on?

As you sit in a small room, thoughts race through your mind. Why am I here? It must be some mistake. I’ve committed no crime. Like any “normal” American, You expect the matter to be resolved as there must be some mix-up. Then, an official with the Customs and Border Enforcement arrives and tells you that there is no mix-up. The official rattles off your name, date of birth, social security number and complete identifying information. It’s you alright, and you are officially on the “No-Fly” list.

“How did you get on that plane?” asks the Customs and Border Enforcement official. You reply that you had a normal ticket, passed through the screening process and boarded the plane normally and without incident. You are told that you should not have been permitted to fly. Again, you are on the “No-Fly” list. You reply that there has to be a mistake, and are met with the stern reply of the official: there is no mistake.

You then ask why you are on the “No-Fly” list and are told that you are not permitted to know. At this point, they tell you that you are free to go, but you cannot fly anywhere by orders of the United States government. And there you are, in “paradise” but unable to leave.

The above events took place on October 14, 2012. The victim in this case is one Wade Hicks, Jr., 34, a U.S. citizen and resident of Gulfport, Mississippi. I personally checked him out and verified his story. With his permission, I conducted a “basic” background check of Mr. Hicks, Jr. He has no criminal record. He is not a “wanted” man. By all normal and visible accounts, Mr. Hicks, Jr. appears to be a law abiding member of society. I did find, however, that he is an outspoken “patriot” and openly critical of the NDAA. He is a former talk-show host of a small, local radio station known for its “patriotic bias.” He is a member of “Patriots for America” and the Mississippi Preparedness Project. He is openly vocal about the erosion of our rights - and it certainly looks like he has been proven correct. Is that now a crime worthy of being denied the ability to travel freely within the United States?

Mr. Hicks detailed his plight on Monday’s edition of The Hagmann & Hagmann Report to a shocked and disbelieving audience. How can this happen in America? This is inter-STATE travel! There must be some mistake! Has he done anything to let his elected representatives know? The questions were many, and yes, Mr. Hicks, Jr. indeed pleaded for assistance from his elected officials and anyone who would listen during the last 36 hours. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” stated Mr. Hicks. Nothing. “I feel like a prisoner in my own country, but no one will tell me what I’ve done to be placed on the ‘No-Fly’ list. I’m not allowed to know.”

Although I’m tempted to insert a reference to “Gilligan’s Island,” I will refrain. If all of the facts presently known withstand more intense scrutiny and further investigation, we have a very big problem in this country. You might be next, and Hawaii might not be where you are inexplicably left on your own.

I am following the fate of Mr. Hicks and continue to search for a logical explanation. At this point, however, the only logical explanation I’ve found is a very disturbing one. Perhaps this is how it all starts. Stay tuned



Obamacare's Rationing by Another Name

How the Independent Payment Advisory Board gives sweeping powers to an unelected and unconstitutional board of bureaucrats

The stunning post-debate reversal in Mitt Romney’s fortunes may not last through the elections. But win or lose, he’ll do the country a big favor if he continues to expose the Independent Payment Advisory Board—the beloved center-piece of Obamacare—for what it is: An effort to give an unelected and unconstitutional board of bureaucrats sweeping powers to determine whether grandma gets her bypass surgery from Medicare, or a boot off the cliff.

Liberal fact-checkers have been working overtime to discredit Romney’s claim that this board will “ultimately tell patients what treatments they can receive.” PolitiFact, one self-appointed guardian of truth, rated Romney’s statement as “mostly false.” The board, it insisted, “can’t deny treatment” or “ration care” or “make health care decisions for individual Americans.” Rather it can only determine what doctors and hospitals are paid. Likewise, The Los Angeles Times maintained that the board could merely “recommend ways to reduce Medicare spending”—not cut benefits.

But the whole point of the board is to use price controls to discourage expensive treatments. Yes, it is possible that some good doctor will be willing to perform bypass surgeries for Medicare patients even when the board only allows, say, payment for aspirin. It’s also very unlikely. If the board decides to set payment for state-of-the-art dialysis at below cost, reasoning that the benefits of the procedure aren’t commensurate with the added expense, it isn’t rationing care directly. But it is indeed rationing care, because this would effectively consign patients to older treatments.

Before the recession, Medicare spending had been growing 2.6 percentage points faster than GDP. The program already pays out roughly $290 billion more in benefits than it receives in taxes, and it constitutes somewhere between $38.6 to $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities for the federal government.

The main reason for the government’s out-of-control Medicare spending is that Uncle Sam picks up most of the tab for seniors’ health care, giving them little incentive to curb consumption or shop for better prices. Instead of restoring this incentive, Congress has historically tried to curb spending by cutting reimbursement rates for providers. But this has repeatedly failed because providers are politically powerful. Every time automatic cuts have loomed, Congress has undone them by passing the so-called “doc fix.” But instead of solving this problem by exposing doctors to market accountability, Obamacare tries to solve it by shielding the IPAB bureaucracy from political accountability.

Here is how it would work: When ever Medicare inflation threatens to exceed GDP growth plus 0.5 percent—by historical standards, that’s probably every year there isn’t a recession—the 15-member board would develop a “detailed and specific” “legislative proposal” laying out which treatments Medicare would cover and at what rate. President Obama describes this as “institutionalizing best practices.” In plain English, it means determining whose ox gets gored.

What distinguishes the IPAB from the Environmental Protection Agency or the Federal Drug Administration is that those agencies give affected parties opportunities to weigh in before issuing their rules. This board would not be required to offer any avenue for patients and providers to air their concerns, nor could its decisions be challenged in court. Coaxing coverage out of heartless private insurers will seem like a piece of cake compared to confronting this all-powerful bureaucracy, which allows neither access nor appeal.

The IPAB’s proposals would automatically become law unless Congress came up with its own equivalent spending cuts—or both houses, including a three-fifths majority in the Senate, waived it and the president signed the waiver. This is an exceedingly high hurdle that would effectively turn the IPAB into a super legislature.

But the most troubling thing about the board is this: Under the constitution, the legislative power—the supreme power—is lodged in Congress along with a democratic check. Courts avoid the democratic check but forego legislative powers. But no government entity, not even the Federal Reserve, gets unchecked legislative powers. This is what the IPAB will have, contravening the core of the Constitution’s scheme of checks and balances.

Medicare spending is a pressing problem, no doubt. But the IPAB is a cure worse than the disease. It thwarts seniors’ treatment options, providers’ independence, and the constitutional balance of powers. The more Romney makes it an issue during his campaign, the more likely that the IPAB itself will be thwarted, whether he ends up in White House or not.



Death panels now official in Britain

GPs have been asked to select one in every 100 of their patients to go on a list of those likely to die over the next 12 months. The patients will be singled out for ‘end-of-life care’, potentially saving the NHS more than £1billion a year.

The listed patients may be asked to say where they would prefer to die and should be told they can draw up a ‘living will’ by which they can instruct doctors to withdraw life-saving treatment if they become incapacitated in hospital.

The ‘toolkit’ giving doctors and health and social workers new guidance on how to select candidates was launched by Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb at a conference on end-of-life care.

It states that ‘approximately 1 per cent of people on a GP’s list [of all patients] will die each year – this equates to an average of 20 deaths a year. Around 70 per cent to 80 per cent of all deaths are likely to benefit from planned end-of-life care.’

It said: ‘Have your local practices identified the 1 per cent of their practice population who may be likely to die in the next year?’

Doctors are told to pick out such patients during routine consultations that show ‘indicators of frailty and deterioration’ and are told that ‘older people are a priority to consider’.

They are also told to use feedback from district nurses or hospital consultants, while patients in care homes should be ‘actively considered for your register’, the advice states.

Information for GPs on what happens to such patients said they would be ‘less likely to be subject to treatments of limited clinical value’.

It added that a quarter of all hospital beds are occupied by dying people and said that four in ten have no medical need to be there.

If each had one less emergency admission into hospital in their last weeks and months, that would save the NHS £1.35billion a year, the material said.

The advice tells doctors: ‘After several years of falling, the death rate is about to increase again as the baby boomers reach old age. This is a bad situation, which is going to get worse unless we act now.’

The register plan emerged amid a growing controversy over the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), the method adopted by hospitals with the aim of easing the last hours of those judged to be dying.

Health ministers yesterday endorsed the LCP – which can involve sedation and the withdrawal of food, fluids and life-saving treatment from patients – releasing a report which said it was ‘best practice’ and recommended by the NHS.

The Health Department’s latest report also backs the campaign for GP ‘death lists’.

Over the past week, some families have told the Daily Mail that they believe their loved ones were wrongly put on the LCP by hospitals when they were not in fact dying.

One senior NHS consultant, Professor Patrick Pullicino, has criticised it as a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.

But Mr Lamb told the conference yesterday that he was delighted with the latest toolkit, saying that while ‘end-of-life care in hospital is often not as good as it could be’, it should be ‘as comfortable and dignified as we can possibly make it’.



For Every Person Added to Labor Force, 10 Added to Those Not in Labor Force

A new chart from the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee details the fact that, since January 2009, for every person added to the labor force, 10 have been added to those not in the labor force. Here's a chart showing the dwindling labor force:

"For Every 1 Person Added To Labor Force Since January 2009," the chart reads, "10 People Added To Those Not In Labor Force."

That is, in nearly the four years, since President Obama took office in January 2009, only 827,000 people have been added to the labor force, while during that same time period, 8,208,000 have been added to those not in the labor force.

The chart relies on data available from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The numbers represented in the chart are a measure of growth from January 2009 through September 2012," the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee explains. "The data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey, a sample of 60,000 households conducted by personal and telephone interviews. Basic labor force data are gathered monthly. The labor force consists of all people aged 16 and over either employed or actively seeking work. It does not include discouraged workers, people who have retired, or those on welfare or disability who are no longer looking for work. The 'not in the labor force' group is defined as the total civilian non-institutional population minus the labor force."
Since January 2009, the labor force has grown by 0.54 percent, or 827,000 people (from 154,236,000 to 155,063,000). Those not in the labor force grew by 10.2 percent during the same period (8,208,000 people), from 80,502,000 to 88,710,000. In other words, for every one person added to the labor force of the United States since January 2009, the size of the U.S. population not in the labor force grew by 10 people.




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


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


17 October, 2012

BOOK REVIEW of Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag -- by Marvin, C. & Ingle, D.

Review below by Richard A. Koenigsberg. I think this is a fair account of "progressive" and Fascist thinking up to WWII and there may be some survival of such thinking into the present era. It is certainly an unusual perspective today -- JR

Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle build upon several interrelated theorems:

* Blood sacrifice preserves the nation.

* The nation is the shared memory of blood sacrifice.

* Body sacrifice lies at the core of nationalism.

* To die for one's country is the ultimate expression of faith in social existence.

* Warfare is the most powerful enactment of the ritual of blood sacrifice.

The creation of sentiments strong enough to hold the group together periodically requires the death of a significant portion of its members. In short, society depends upon the death of sacrificial victims at the hands of the group. Warfare is a ritual that creates sacrificial victims. Nations come into being by virtue of their capacity to produce death.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants." Rudolph Hess declared, "The stream of blood which flows for Germany is eternal-the sacrifice of German men for their Volk is eternal-therefore Germany will also be eternal." This is the most succinct summation of Nazi ideology I've come across.

Nazism meant perpetual, never-ending death-bloodshed-for Germany. According to Hess, Germany lived insofar as it consumed the blood of sacrificial victims. What's more, if Germans had to shed blood for their nation-so would everyone else. Hitler initiated and enacted the most massive sacrificial ritual in human history-the "Second World War"-that claimed an estimated 60 million victims.

Blood sacrifice is undertaken for nations, but also in the name of valorizing any sacred ideology. Ali Benhadj-a revolutionary Islamist leader from Algeria-declared:

"If a faith, a belief, is not watered and irrigated by blood, it does not grow. It does not live. Principles are reinforced by sacrifices, suicide operations and martyrdom for Allah. Faith is propagated by counting up deaths every day."

Whereas the soldier dies for his country, suicide bombers die for Allah.

The First World War also generated a massive number of casualties: 9 million dead and over 21 million wounded. Some observers were gratified by the slaughter. Writing in 1916, P. H. Pearse, founder of the Irish Revolutionary movement, was thrilled to observe the carnage:

"The last sixteen months have been the most glorious in the history of Europe. Heroism has come back to the earth. It is good for the world to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. Such august homage was never before offered to God as this-the homage of millions of lives given gladly for love of country."

From Pearse's perspective, it didn't matter what country the soldier died for-whether France, Great Britain, Germany or Russia-as long as the world was warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. The First World War enacted a ritual of "august homage": millions of lives sacrificed for countries. As soldiers died, so nations came alive.

The war of 1914-1918 was called a world war, and also "the great war": No one wanted to be left out (it's a family affair). Based on this war, Australia was born as a nation, as was Canada. These nations claimed their space on the world stage by virtue of the fact that they delivered "heroes" who had the courage to die for their country. The soldier, Marvin points out, is the fundamental sacrificial victim: giving his life so his nation might live.

According to Rene Girard:

"Sacrifice accords the god all that he needs to assure his continued growth and vigor. If we neglect to feed the god, he will waste away; or else, maddened by hunger, he will descend among men and lay claim to his nourishment with unexampled cruelty and ferocity."

Nations are hungry gods whom we feed to keep alive. The dynamic of sacrificial death is structured as a blood transfusion: the life-sustaining substance of human bodies passes into the body politic. Warfare is "eternal" because we cannot resist feeding the hungry god, which requires a perpetual stream of blood to maintain its life. Thus does blood sacrifice create nations.

Received via email from Library of Social Science.


An hilarious video

Does emptyhead mean anything he says?

H/T Dennis Sevakis. Amazing that it needs Danes to skewer Obama like that. Where have the American media been?


Damned if you do and damned if you don't

The ACLU sued Morgan Stanley Monday, charging it engaged in racial discrimination by funding subprime mortgages. But it was government legislation that forced those loans to blacks -- by saying that the number of loans made to blacks had to be "proportionate"

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Morgan Stanley on Monday, charging the Wall Street firm discriminated against minority homeowners and violated federal civil rights laws by providing funding for risky mortgages.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, is the first lending discrimination case to go after the investment banks that funded the subprime mortgages. Previous suits of this kind targeted the lenders that made the loans.

Wall Street funded the subprime lending boom by bundling the risky loans into mortgage-backed securities. Those securities were then sold to institutional investors and pension funds.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Detroit residents, and asks the court to certify the case as a class action.
"With this lawsuit, real victims of the subprime lending scandal are stepping forward to hold investment banks like Morgan Stanley accountable for the devastation the banks wrought in their lives and in our economy," said Anthony Romero, ACLU executive director, in a statement.



Mother Nature And Good Luck, Not Big Government, Saved General Motors. For Now

There are lots of claims that the federal government saved the American auto industry by bailing it out. (Never mind Ford didn't get a bailout, and "foreign" companies such as Honda and Toyota make many of their cars in America.)

Critics of the bailout make the valid point "any company can be kept afloat indefinitely with taxpayer subsidies." They also say the bailouts have resulted in GM becoming politicized and "spending lots of money" on a politically correct car that consumers and car-buyers don't want "because of pressure from Washington rather than demand from consumers" (as even the liberal Washington Post has noted, discussing the GM Volt). But although these criticisms may be persuasive to newspaper editorialists and economists, they will be unpersuasive to an ordinary person in Ohio or Michigan who desperately wants a job, now, and does not care about how that happens or whether it costs taxpayers money. Such people are likely to be grateful for the bailout if no one explains to them that Mother Nature and good luck, not big government, saved the U.S. automakers.

General Motors never would have recovered as it did if not for the massive Japanese earthquake and Tsunami that devastated its rivals, such as Toyota. The tsunami so crippled Toyota that GM could regain market share despite the Obama administration leaving GM's uncompetitive, inefficient work rules and high labor costs largely intact.

General Motors also benefited from another factor that has often been overlooked: the massive Thai floods in 2011, which inundated and shut down Japanese car-parts factories in Thailand for many months, crippling Japanese automakers' global supply chains. On Dec. 8, Toyota "cut its profit forecast by more than half after Thailand's worst floods in almost 70 years disrupted output of Camry and Prius vehicles." The World Bank estimates the floods did $45 billion in damage to the Thai economy and left half its factories under water for substantial periods. By harming Japanese automakers, the Thai floods gave a huge boost to their competitor, General Motors, enabling it to survive despite the Obama administration's costly coddling of the UAW union in the bailout, which threatens the automaker with future losses in the billions.

GM also benefited from good luck - primarily the huge safety issues and recalls that befell Toyota in 2010. This helped GM and Ford move forward at a time when overall auto sales were rising rapidly. As The New York Times noted in March 2010 "Toyota Motor, estimating that it lost 18,000 sales in the United States last month while its chief competitors enjoyed big gains, introduced incentives Tuesday as it tried to restore consumers' confidence in its vehicles after three big recalls," as the company "acknowledged that the recalls had hurt Toyota's ability to attract new buyers." Toyota rebounded after it turned out its vehicles were safe, and that crashes of Toyota vehicles were the result of driver error, except for one crash that resulted from a dealer improperly installing a floor mat.

For a brief time, natural disasters so damaged the Japanese automakers that GM once again became the world's number one automaker. But when the Japanese companies recovered, Toyota once again surpassed GM as the world's biggest automaker.

The bailouts resulted in new, more inept and politicized management at GM (which replaced a pre-bailout CEO, Rick Wagoner, who had put in place changes that belatedly resulted in improved product lines coming out shortly after his ouster). Auto industry experts are horrified by GM's recent mismanagement of its European operations:

General Motors' plan to displace the venerable and respected Opel brand in Europe with a new Chevrolet "global" brand really is as insane as it seems, according to Keith Crain of Automotive News. "It will take decades for Chevrolet to establish anywhere near the recognition that Opel has," Crain argues.

GM now is concealing the depth of its problems by financing auto sales with risky loans that may never be paid back, resulting in GM's increasing reliance on selling cars to people who can't pay for them: "GM Ramps Up Risky Subprime Auto Loans To Drive Sales," noted Investor's Business Daily. "The automaker is relying increasingly on subprime loans, 10-Q financial reports shows. Potential borrowers of car loans are rated on FICO scores . . . Anything less than 660 is generally deemed subprime. GM Financial auto loans to customers with FICO scores below 660 rose from 87 percent of total loans in Q4 2010 to 93 percent in Q1 2012." GM's CEO has fired or driven away valuable employees and executives at its European branch in what looks like scapegoating for his own bad decisions - and a GM spokesman needlessly trashed departing employees.

Pension funds and non-union retirees were ripped off in the bailouts. (Veteran political commentator Michael Barone called the Obama administration's treatment of Chrysler and GM bondholders "gangster government." In The Wall Street Journal, law professor Todd Zywicki called it an attack on "the rule of law.")

That mistreatment may haunt the auto industry in the future, reducing employment in the auto industry, as companies find it more difficult to raise money through bonds and loans. In response to Obama's ripping off bondholders and lenders in the bailout, hedge funds said they would be less likely to lend to automakers or other unionized companies in the future. Even The Washington Post, which endorsed Obama in 2008, had unsuccessfully pleaded with the Obama administration to "stop bullying the company's bondholders" to avoid economic harm down the road.

The Obama administration has harmed U.S. automakers and endangered their long-run survival by radically ratcheting up federal CAFE fuel-economy standards, which affect U.S. automakers more than their foreign competitors. An estimated 50,000 jobs were predicted to disappear under earlier, less radical proposals, so the ultimate job losses will probably be well over 100,000. And Obama's climate-change regulations will destroy countless jobs and cut "household purchasing power," reducing auto sales and Chrysler's chances of survival. (In a January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, then-Senator Obama said that consumers' "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" under his planned regulations.)



Israel gets a big one

Egyptian security forces were on high alert in the Sinai Peninsula on Monday, following an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip that killed the commander of a Jihadi-Salafi terror group on Saturday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

Egyptian security officials told Ma'an Sunday night that authorities in Cairo warned troops in northern Sinai of a possible retaliatory attack on Egyptian bases or attempted attacks on Israeli targets.

The commander killed in the air strike has been identified as Hisham Al-Saedni, also known as Abu Al-Waleed Al-Maqdissi, believed to head the Jihadist Salafi group Tawhid and Jihad (One God and Holy War). Al-Saedni and his accomplice, who had been firing rockets into southern Israel, also took part in previous terror attacks on Israel from the Sinai Peninsula, and was in the final stages of plotting a new attack, an IDF source said.



We Are On The Road To Serfdom

A free society requires hard and apolitical money. But the reality today is that money is merely a political tool. Central banks around the world are getting ever bolder in using it to rig markets and manipulate asset prices. The results are evident: equities are trading not far from historic highs, the bonds of reckless and clueless governments are trading at record low interest rates, and corporate debt is priced for perfection. While in the real economy the risks remain palpable and the financial sector on life support from the central banks, my friends in money management tell me that the biggest risk they have faced of late was the risk of not being bullish enough and missing the rallies. Welcome to Planet QE.

I wish my friends luck but I am concerned about the consequences. With free and unlimited fiat money at the core of the financial industry, mis-allocations of capital will not diminish but increase. The damage done to the economy will be spectacular in the final assessment. There is no natural end to QE. Once it has propped up markets it has to be continued ad infinitum to keep ‘prices’ where the authorities want them. None of this is a one-off or temporary. It is a new form of finance socialism. It will not end through the political process but via complete currency collapse.

Not the buying and selling by the public on free and uninhibited markets, but monetary authorities – central bank bureaucrats – now determine where asset prices should be, which banks survive, how fast they grow and who they lend to, and what the shape of the yield curve should be. We are witnessing the destruction of financial markets and indeed of capitalism itself.

While in the monetary sphere the role of the state is increasing rapidly it is certainly not diminishing in the sphere of fiscal policy. Under the misleading banner of ‘austerity’ states are not rolling back government but simply changing the sources of state funding. Seeing what has happened in Ireland and Portugal, and what is now happening in Spain and in particular Greece, many governments want to reduce their dependence on the bond market. They realize that once the bond market loses confidence in the solvency of any state the game is up and insolvency quickly becomes a reality. But the states that attempt to reduce deficits do not usually reduce spending but raise revenues through higher taxes.

Sources of state funding

When states fund high degrees of spending by borrowing they tap into the pool of society’s savings, crowd out private competitors, and thus deprive the private sector of resources. In the private sector, savings would have to be employed as productive capital to be able repay the savers who provided these resources in the first place at some point in the future. By contrast, governments mainly consume the resources they obtain through borrowing in the present period. They do not invest them in productive activities that generate new income streams for society. Via deficit-spending, governments channel savings mainly back into consumption.

Government bonds are not backed by productive capital but simply by the state’s future expropriation of wealth-holders and income-earners. Government deficits and government debt are always highly destructive for a society. They are truly anti-social. Those who invest in government debt are not funding future-oriented investment but present-day state consumption. They expect to get repaid from future taxes on productive enterprise without ever having invested in productive enterprise themselves. They do not support capitalist production but simply acquire shares in the state’s privilege of taxation.

Much more HERE



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


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


16 October, 2012

Jos Meloen: A frantic Dutch melon-head

In "1984", a biting prophecy about socialism, George Orwell was particularly prescient in his comment that "He who controls the past controls the future". He saw future socialists as revising history to their own advantage.

Precisely that has happened. Via academe and Left-taught journalists, key events of the 20th century have been wiped from the general consciousness. Who today, for instance, is aware that the term "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist"?

And something that is NEVER said -- though undoubtedly true -- is that WWII was a fight between three socialist administrations. The key protagonists were the ultra-socialist Stalin, the National Socialist Hitler and the "progressive" administration of FDR. The only major difference between Hitler's policies and Roosevelt's policies was that Hitler applied German thoroughness to them. And BOTH men were antisemitic.

And anyone who knows Leftists well will know how fractious they are -- with the icepick Trotsky got in the head courtesy of Stalin being a major emblem of that. So Leftist administrations at war with one another is no surprise at all. And have we already forgotten Communist China invading North Vietnam to "teach them a lesson"? Or Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, for that matter.

So in the immediate postwar era it was a major embarrassment to the Left that in condemning Hitler's policies they were largely condemning their own. Given his defeat, they had a frantic need to dissociate themselves from old Uncle Adolf. Their ideas were so discredited that America might even get a Republican President! It did. Ike in 1952.

History revision was needed! So all efforts were put into portraying Hitler as "Right-wing", which was a Communist perspective. Hitler WAS to the right of Stalin in being less authoritarian. Germans mostly followed him willingly -- right to the bitter end. So the imperative was to detach Hitler from the Left and pin him to conservatives. No small task but there are no better distorters of history than Marxists and Marxists came to the rescue

So it was that a group of Leftist academics led by a prominent Marxist theoretican -- Theodor Adorno -- came to the rescue. They published research which purported to show that authoritarianism was fundamentally conservative. Stalin was just an unfortunate accident.

So how did they make their case? They took a group of interrelated statements (which psychologists call a "scale") that represented the conventional wisdom of the (progressive) pre-war era and showed that people who agreed with those statements also tended to agree with various conservative statements. Since conservatives tend to respect the past that was no surprise. The key assertion of the Adorno group however was that their list of conventional statements (the F scale) were representative of Fascist ideology. Ergo, if conservatives agreed with such statements then conservatives must be Fascist. And this great intellectual somersault was greeted like manna from heaven by the Left. Mission completed!

The first pesky thing was, however, that if the F scale represented a form of political conservatism, then high scorers on it should tend to vote Republican. But in general population samples there was/is little or no such tendency. Strike one against the theory.

Strike two was the finding that high scorers on the F scale did not seem to be authoritarian. They don't tend to boss other people around. But if they don't do that the meaning of "authoritarian" is gutted. The F scale becomes a measure of authoritarianism only in the Alice in Wonderland sense that words can mean whatever you choose them to mean.

But psychologists ignored the mismatch between the theory and the reality because they needed to. Ignoring reality is an essential Leftist skill and they hugged the Adorno theory to their bosom in the belief that it showed the evil authoritarians to be conservatives, not themselves.

As time went on, however, memories of what prewar Leftism had preached faded away and it became firmly established in the popular mind that Hitler was a "Rightist". So the Adorno theory was no longer much needed and faded out of consciousness for most pyschologists.

But as I observed some years ago, the theory clung on as bold and bright as ever in Dutch-speaking lands. I don't really know why but maybe memories of what Nazism actually was are stronger in those lands. And a leader in the Dutch crusade was Jos Meloen ("meloen" is Dutch for "melon"). So I had a few shots at him in the academic literature in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1998 (See link above).

The 1998 paper was a fully referenced critique of some of melonhead's research -- and the journal editor, as usual, gave melonhead a right of reply. And the reply concerned is why I am now being disrespectful of melonhead. In an amazing display for an academic journal, he started out his reply, not with a discussion of the evidence but with a personal attack on me. He did his best to portray me as a Nazi! Maybe they don't teach the informal fallacies of logic at Leiden university. Melonhead certainly would not seem to have heard of the "ad hominem" fallacy. For their own reputation, Leiden should take a closer look at him. It is too distinguished to stand behind such trash.

In part I ignored melonhead's frantic defense of his work at that time as I had retired from academic employment some 15 years earlier and was focused on bringing up kids instead. But mainly I thought his reply too gross and stupid to be dignified with a rejoinder. After four commentaries on melonhead's work that appeared to have completely bounced off his brain, I washed my hands of him. I would probably not have got a rejoinder published anyway. Seeing I was arguing against Leftist views, I did pretty well even to get my initial critique published.

I am now getting to an age where I like to tie up loose ends, however, so I don't want to leave melonhead's follies permanently without a reply. So a few comments on "Ray's Last Stand? Directiveness as Moderate Conservatism-A Reply to John Ray" by Jos Meloen and Hans De Witte, Political Psychology, 1998:

Melonhead's accuracy of statement is very Leftist --i.e. largely absent. He says that I once joined Nazi parties like the Australian Nazi party. I have never even came across anything called "the Australian Nazi party", let alone joined it. What Meloen is clutching at is that since boyhood I have always been interested in Jews, Nazis and racism (and I still write on those topics to this day) and I did for a number of years in my younger days have contact with two informal local groups of Australian neo-Nazis with a view to finding out what they thought and why. I published my findings in two Jewish journals (here and here), which melonhead has apparently glanced at. He knew of the matter because I publicized it.

Melonhead also seems to find it suspicious that I referred to Theodor Adorno and his merry band as Jewish. Since they were Jewish and since Jews and Nazis had a bit to do with one another, I would have thought that what I said was simply relevant. And I can't help noting the inconsistency: Referring to Adorno as a Jew is bad but referring to me as a Nazi is fine! He probably can't even see the inconsistency. Do personal characteristics matter or not?

And when he gets past the abuse and onto the facts, melonhead is even more hopeless. He refers to two scales which he used in his research and which I referred to in my critique. They are the Directivesness scale and a measure of "classic authoritarianism" -- presumably the Adorno F scale. In his heading he claims that I describe the Directiveness scale as measuring moderate conservatism and in the body of his article he claims that I describe the F scale as a measure of moderate conservatism. He doesn't seem to be able to make up his mind about which scale it is that measures moderate conservatism! Since they are uncorrelated it can hardly be both!

An even bigger problem: I have never referred to EITHER as a measure of moderate conservatism and both scales in fact have negligible correlation with vote in general population samples in the English-speaking countries for which they were designed. So he is setting light to a straw man.

Melonhead then goes on to note his finding that members of Belgium's Flemish independence party -- Vlaams Blok -- had slightly elevated scores on the F scale and related measures. But WHY do they have such scores? Melonhead thinks it is because they are authoritarian but that explanation fails because the F scale has been found NOT to measure authoritarianism in anything other than an Alice in Wonderland sense -- i.e. it measures authoritarianism because that is what it measures. Melonhead is firmly in Wonderland. That a scale which has been strongly validated as an ACTUAL measure of authoritarianism showed no elevated scores among Vlaams Blok cuts no ice with him!

So my explanation -- that Vlaams Blok is basically conservative as well as seeeking Flemish independence -- survives. Conservative people do show some respect for old-fashioned ideas. Whether they act on those ideas in any way is another matter.

At bottom, melonhead's folly stems from a refusal to let go the old Adorno theory of authoritarianism. No evidence against it seems to count with him. That it is a unicorn theory -- i.e. it describes something that does not exist -- he cannot admit. It is too real to his addled Leftist brain. It makes sense of his world. He probably believes in global warming too -- JR


Who Really Cares About the Poor?

Capitalism favors the rich. Socialism helps the poor. These are core beliefs of almost everybody on the left, including our president. Ah, but it turns out that this worldview is completely wrong.

Economists associated with the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute have actually found a way to measure "economic freedom" and investigate what difference it makes in 141 countries around the world. This work has been in progress for several decades now and the evidence is stark. Economies that rely on private property, free markets and free trade, and avoid high taxes, regulation and inflation, grow more rapidly than those with less economic freedom. Higher growth leads to higher incomes. Among the nations in the top fifth of the economic freedom index in 2011, average income was almost 7 times as great as for those countries in the bottom 20 percent (per capita gross domestic product of $31,501versus $4,545).

What about the effects on the poorest citizens? In the 2011 report, the average income of the poorest tenth of the population in the least free countries was around $1,061. By contrast, the the poorest tenth of the freest countries' populations earned about $8,735. If you are poor, it pays to live where capitalism is less hobbled.

What about equality of incomes? As it turns out there is almost no global relationship between the distribution of income and the degree of economic freedom. But in a way, that's good news. It means that the rich don't get richer and the poor poorer under capitalism. Everybody becomes better off.

There are also non-economic benefits to living in a free society. Comparing the bottom fifth to the top fifth, more economic freedom adds about 20 years to life expectancy and lowers infant mortality to just over one-tenth of its level in the least free countries.

What about within the United States? Some years back the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) calculated a "predicted poverty rate" based on economic growth alone. In other words, economic growth by itself lifts people out of poverty, even if nothing else is happening. The CEA results suggest that if there had never been a welfare state (no Aid to Families with Dependent Children, no food stamps, no Medicaid, etc.) the poverty rate would be lower today than it actually is! This adds to a wealth of evidence that the welfare state is subsidizing poverty, not eliminating it.

I don't like to get into partisan politics, because, like Milton Friedman, I believe in ideas and not politicians. But The New York Times editorial page is becoming increasingly partisan. The unsigned editorials these days are almost indistinguishable from the Obama campaign's talking points. Far from being thoughtful, they are vehicles for White House propaganda. Many of Paul Krugman's editorials read pretty much the same way.

So let's consider the two political parties. Think of Democrats as being primarily responsible for the structure of the welfare state (social insurance programs) and Republicans as being primarily responsible for tax policy (including the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC]-the embodiment of Milton Friedman's negative income tax). Which policies have been better for poor people? If you buy the CEA analysis and the work of Charles Murray, George Gilder and a host of other scholars, the welfare state has led to more poverty, not less of it. On the other hand, almost every Republican tax change has made tax code more progressive. That is, almost every time the Republicans change the tax law, the burden of the federal income tax is shifted from low-income people to high-income people! That's why almost half the population doesn't pay any income tax at all.

[As an aside, Democrats have been very reluctant to give money to poor people through means-tested social insurance programs. Whether it's food, housing, education or medical care, almost all the cash goes to a constituency that is definitely not poor. That's why it's hard to know how much anyone benefits from these programs. On the other hand, when the Republican-designed EITC delivers $1 to a poor family, the family gets $1 worth of benefit. Of course, the EITC may do other harm through its implicit high marginal tax rate, however.]

I'm not endorsing everything the Republicans have done. Rather, I simply note that under Republican policies we are likely to have less poverty.

All in all, the welfare state probably isn't the primary reason poor people are poor. The main obstacles to success are (1) bad schools and (2) barriers to good jobs in the labor market.

What is the biggest challenge in making bad schools better? The teachers' unions. They are dedicated to the idea that the school system is foremost a jobs program and only secondarily a place for children to learn. Teachers' unions have steadfastly opposed almost every reform idea that has any promise whatsoever in every city and town throughout the country. As for barriers to entry into the labor market, who is the foremost backer of minimum wage laws, Davis Bacon Act restrictions, medieval-guild-type occupational licensing laws and labor union monopolies everywhere? You guessed it: the labor unions themselves.

Yet who forms the backbone of the Democratic Party? The very same organizations that are most responsible for keeping poor people poor and closing off their opportunities to succeed in life. Further, their perverse political influence disproportionately affects minorities. That is one reason why the black teenage unemployment rate is almost 40%-double that of white teenagers! It is one of the reasons for the very large student achievement gap: black student test scores are 70% to 80% of the scores of white students.




Time to investigate the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Who needs the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), when you have Rush Limbaugh? Limbaugh predicted almost a year ago that the unemployment rate reported last Friday would fall below 8% for the first time since Obama entered office. Limbaugh by his own admission is no economist. So how did he know? Maybe because we are in the realm of politics now, rather than economics"

Free Health Care!: "That was the promise, made by politicos in the England of my youth; health care, they said, is a right, an entitlement. In Churchill's wartime cabinet, William Beveridge, whom I briefly met 15 years later, had designed a scheme by 1945, and it was rushed through and implemented in 1947. The exodus of British doctors to North America began shortly afterwards. I now much regret not having the libertarian understanding, in 1960, to ask His Lordship where exactly that 'entitlement' came from."

Clinton’s legacy: The financial and housing meltdown: "Bill Clinton is certainly full of himself these days. That might have something to do with the fact that no one is likely to ask why he hasn’t owned up to his share of the blame for the housing and financial bust. The former president is treated like an elder statesman whose tenure in office was so good that even some Republicans look back fondly on it."

EU wins Nobel Peace Prize; is this a joke?: "The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union itself is the latest grotesque act of self-indulgence by Old Europe’s political class. Morally equivocating elites will love it, but there are signs even many Europeans are losing patience. Why on Earth give a prize to the unaccountable bureaucrat jamboree in Brussels known at the European Union?"

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

I had a battle royal with Google's blogging program to get Chris's words up as written too -- so I hope someone reads it. The program determines it as an error if you want to indent more than one paragraph at a time. I refused to let the thing beat me so eventually I had to post fully-coded html and thus bypass the editor. Mega-pesky! The odd thing is that some of my other blogs don't call that editor so I can indent as many paragraphs as I want on those blogs! And I have one blog where nothing except paragraph breaks is interpreted. Google's blogging tentacle is a madhouse after their recent "improvements" but it was ever so. I hope they get it sorted soon.



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


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


15 October, 2012

The twisted values of American Jews

Caroline Glick below documents the political irrationality of American Jews (70% of them, anyway) but doesn't really understand it. One explanation is that Jews and Democrats share a hatred of Christians. Leftists hate a rival religion and most Jews cannot forgive or forget Christian persecution of their ancestors.

The main explanation that I see, however, is that Jews tend to be emotionally needy. They hunger and thirst after at least the appearance of righteousness. And Leftism slakes that thirst. It makes Jews (and others) feel good about themselves. And most Jews no longer get a belief in their own righteousness from their now mostly forgotten religion. Even if they go to shul, what they hear will usually have little in common with the god of Exodus. But in the Torah and the prophets the Israelites were much condemned for whoring after false gods so not much has changed

Decades ago, the sociographer Milton Himmelfarb coined the aphorism that "American Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans." And his words ring as true today as ever. Surveys show that roughly 70 percent of American Jews intend to cast their ballots for President Barack Obama's reelection next month.

Himmelfarb's quip indicated that American Jews abjure their economic interests in favor of their liberal values. Certainly it is true that for American Jews to vote for Obama next month they must act against their economic interests.

Obama's economic policies have taken a huge toll on the economic fortunes of American Jews who invest disproportionately in the stock market. His nationalization of the college loan business has given universities impetus to raise tuition rates still further, thus dooming more young American Jews to start their adult lives under a mountain of debt. And it isn't at all clear how they will be able to pay off this debt since under Obama half of recent college graduates cannot find jobs.

Obama's gutting of Medicare to pay for Obamacare has harmed the medical choices for older Jewish Americans.

His war on tax deductions for charitable contributions has placed synagogues, Jewish schools and nursing homes in financial jeopardy.

So with economics ruled out as a reason to support Obama we are left with American-Jewish values.

But is Obama really advancing those values? What are those values anyway? Well, there's civil liberties.

American Jews like those. But Obama doesn't.

Take freedom of speech. Obama is the most hostile president to freedom of speech in recent memory. He has advocated implementing the so-called "fairness doctrine" for radio to stifle the free speech of his political opponents on talk radio.

He has sought to undermine the freedom of the Internet through federal regulations and intimidation of Internet companies such as Google.

He has made repeated and outspoken attempts to intimidate individuals, groups and businesses including Google to bar freedom of speech as relates to criticism of Islam. He has purged the lexicon of the federal government of all terms necessary to describe jihad, Islamic radicalism and terrorism, and so made it impossible for federal employees to examine, investigate, discuss or understand the nature of the greatest national security threat facing the US.

Then there is the cause of good governance. American Jews like that.

But here, too, Obama fails to live up to liberal values of clean politics. Every day seems to bring with it another scandal related to the Obama administration.

This week we learned that the Obama campaign is illegally soliciting funds from foreigners.

According to a report published by the Government Accountability Institute, some 20% of visitors to the Obama campaign's fund-raising site "my.barackobama.com" are foreigners, barred by US law from contributing to political campaigns. So, too, the Obama.com website was registered by Robert Roche, a US businessman living in Shanghai with ties to Chinese state-owned companies. Roche is an Obama campaign bundler. Sixty-eight percent of the traffic on the site comes from foreign users. Obama.com is currently managed by a Palestinian rights activist in Maine.

Finally, there is the cause of Israel and US-Israel relations that American Jews are assumed to care about.

After the fiasco at the Democratic National Convention when the widespread antipathy for Israel raging in the Democratic Party was broadcast on primetime television, the Obama administration has stopped even trying to hide its contempt for the Jewish state and its American Jewish supporters.

Whereas the US refused to walk out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's obscene address to the UN General Assembly last month, US Ambassador Susan Rice chose to absent herself entirely from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's address before the body.

Adding insult to injury, last week Obama appointed Salam al-Marayati to represent the US at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's annual 10-day human rights conference. Marayati is the founder and executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. As Robert Spencer recalled this week, on September 11, 2001, Marayati gave an interview to a Los Angeles radio station accusing Israel of being responsible for the jihadist attacks on the US.

He is an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. And Obama appointed him to represent America at a major human rights conference.

American Jewish Democratic partisans have taken a leading role in blocking dissenting voices from their midst.

For instance, this past May B'nai Emet Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, invited Amb. Susan Rice to address the congregation. Synagogue officials not only rejected offers to have Rice debate opponents of Obama's treatment of Israel. They barred community members known for their opposition to Obama from attending the speech. For these synagogue officials, the idea that their partisan prejudice might be challenged was simply unacceptable.

For 70% of American Jews, party loyalty trumps all of their conceivable rational interests. For them, partisan loyalty is more important than facts. They do not want to use independent judgment. They just want to be Democrats.



The destructive folly of class war


A government not worthy of respect

If you’re like me you’re tired of a trillion dollars in so-called stimulus spending that went to mob-connected asphalt contractors rather than the pockets of working families who own businesses and pay taxes and do all the working and dreaming in this country.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of a $2.6 million program that teaches Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly while unemployment soars across the country.

If you’re like me, you're tired of an arrogant federal government which pays out $47 billion in fraudulent claims in Medicare every year while they lecture the rest of us about healthcare economics.

If you are like me, you’re tired of the US Postal service wasting $30 million on a program that pays 1100 employees to do nothing. Yes, today, the US Post Office sat 1100 employees in empty rooms, as they do every day, and literally paid them to do nothing. They can’t play cards; they can’t watch TV, in fact they can’t do anything at all. To the tune of $30 million per year.

Yet this very same federal government comes to us now and proposes to manage our healthcare, our retirement, the education of our children, the auto industry, the oil industry, pharmaceuticals, the mortgage industry and lectures the American people that they are under-regulated.

If you’re a middle American like me, from the grassroots, I bet you know someone who owns their own business; if you’re like me you probably know someone who has paid employees of that business on time every week, but hasn’t been able to pay themselves a dime. Yet these very same people who provide half the new jobs in our economy, who have lost money over the last few years, still owe the government tens of thousands of dollars in taxes every year. People wonder where our jobs have gone? They’ve been crushed by a system that doesn’t honor job creation; by a system that doesn’t honor liberty; a system that gives no respect.

And if you are like most of the voters I speak to, you are tired of insiders from Washington and Wall Street on both sides of the aisle, and their wasteful spending schemes that don’t even propose to solve the very issues facing Main Street and working families.

Let’s suppose global warming is real; I don’t think it is, but let’s say it's so for the sake of argument. Show me please how the Renewable Electricity Standard-- which will cost American families $1800 per year-- please show me how it’s going to lower the earth’s temperature. They can’t because the Renewable Electricity Standard wasn’t created to combat global warming and it won’t lower the earth’s temperature.

Ok, so let’s suppose the issue is carbon emission; that carbon is really bad and we have to get it out of our atmosphere. Show me please how the Renewable Electricity Standard is going to reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere. They can’t. It wasn’t designed to do that and it won’t do that.

The government doesn't write legislation with solutions in mind, but rather with power and control of your very lives. And it is inside of your lives where you will wrestle back that control.

I’m often reminded that it’s with readers just like you where many of the seminal events of our country happened. It’s in rooms just like you’re in right now that a small group of patriots in Massachusetts planned the Boston Tea Party; it’s in groups just like you are a part of today that was born the Mayflower Compact; it’s in the free association of our citizens, for the common good and with common respect, that the greatness and goodness of our country will always be found.

We have all these new tools available for citizens to communicate that just a few years ago we didn’t have. A few years ago readers wouldn’t have been as energized and as informed because we didn’t have the ability to communicate as we do now. We have been so fractured and fragmented all around the country and around the nation that we feel like we can’t do anything, that Washington is so big and out of touch that we can’t do anything.

In fact, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now is the time we really do have the opportunity. For the first time in our history ordinary citizens have the ability to communicate with one another over the heads of the media in publications like Townhall. We are networked on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter that expose us to thousands of people for free.

But when I was growing up there were three TV stations and two newspapers in every town that decided what the news was. There were probably a dozen people in any town that picked our news for us. Those days are over.



Ryan’s Benghazi Surprise

The irony of ironies: The Biden-Ryan debate was more about foreign policy than the economy and jobs. And yet another irony: Paul Ryan, an expert on all things fiscal, revealed a much better knowledge base of foreign policy than anyone thought existed. Shows how smart and well-rounded he really is.

In fact, Ryan’s Benghazi slam, right out of the chute, won him the debate. This terrorist attack is going to be a huge presidential-race issue. Americans are furious at the Obama-Biden-Clinton stupidity and mismanagement surrounding the tragic Benghazi deaths. They are enraged at the Benghazi cover-up. Ryan accused Biden of malfeasance in every aspect of this tragedy. It was a tremendous body slam right from the start.

And Biden mislead everyone with a string of falsehoods. He said the administration did not have complete intelligence at the start of the crisis. But we now know they did have sufficient intelligence to realize that the killing of Ambassador Stevens and three others had nothing to do with spontaneous reactions to a YouTube video, and that it was a planned al-Qaeda attack.

Then Biden denied that the State Department asked the White House for stronger Benghazi security and was turned down on several occasions. But we know this to be true from various sources. We even know that State Department officials saw the Benghazi attack in real time. These untruths will dog Biden on the campaign trail.

The Benghazi round clearly went to Ryan. And later in the debate, when the discussion turned to Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria, Ryan went toe-to-toe with Biden, the supposed foreign-policy expert. He was every bit Biden’s equal and more, which is one of the surprising outcomes of this debate. The confidence factor in young Paul Ryan will rise as a result.

On the economy, not surprisingly, Biden adopted Obama’s redistributionist, tax-the-rich, go-after-the-millionaires approach. Ryan, the free-market capitalist, pounded hard for Mitt Romney’s tax-reform plan, which would lower tax rates across-the-board, provide new incentives for growth, and put limits on special deductions in order to balance-out revenues.

A clear choice emerged: Biden is for a government-directed economy. He blathered on about a non-existent, $5 trillion Romney tax cut for the rich, which Ryan easily parried. Heck, even the Brookings institute has pulled back from that charge. Biden also proudly touted a $1 trillion tax hike on successful earners. Now there’s a great idea to solve the worst economic and jobs recovery in modern times.

Ryan, in contrast, came out for free-enterprise, rewarding success, and creating opportunity, growth, and jobs. He was the candidate for lower tax rates, increased take-home pay for the middle class, and incentivizing investment and risk-taking for successful entrepreneurs.

However, Ryan should have said what Romney said a week ago: There will be a strict dollar cap on special tax deductions, probably a $20,000 limit that will be even lower for top earners who get a marginal tax-rate cut. This would have been a good specific to include in the tax-reform argument. It’s a huge revenue-raiser, at lower tax rates.

On the other hand, Ryan echoed a key Romney point: Obama’s leadership failure. Obama failed last year to get a grand-design deal, as chronicled in Bob Woodward’s book, The Price of Politics. This year, Obama was too busy campaigning and appearing on daytime TV to hash something out with John Boehner and the Republicans to avoid the recessionary fiscal tax cliff.

Ryan also emphasized Romney’s successful bi-partisanship point: A Romney administration will be willing to reach across the aisle to get a grand-design package of spending reduction, pro-growth tax reform, and entitlement reform, exactly where Obama failed. Actually, I think the Romney bi-partisanship offer is big reason why the Romney-Ryan ticket is doing so well in the polls, particularly among undecideds and independents. These people want to see the parties work together to get these problems solved before America goes bankrupt and lapses into permanent, European-like stagflation.

Another key point: Obama has yet to provide a real reason why he should be reelected, and Biden failed completely to construct one. What is Obama’s raison d’être for reelection? No one knows. Including Barack Obama.

Finally, there was Biden’s snarky smile. His demeanor during the debate was very off-putting. It was like he was forcing his aggressiveness, attempting to make up for Obama’s lack of it a week ago. The fierce grins, the Ryan put-downs, the interruptions, the inappropriate laughter -- it really hurt Biden.

But the big point is this: Mitt Romney’s march to the White House continues, and it was helped mightily by Paul Ryan on Thursday night.




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


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


14 October, 2012

An interesting tweet from a person whom some call the world's most influential man

GWB honors the wounded warriors

He's out of politics now so this is from the heart. Can you imagine America's egotist in chief doing anything similar?

On April 26-28, 2012, nineteen servicemen and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan joined President George W. Bush for a 100 kilometer mountain bike ride in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. As part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Military Service Initiative, the W100 highlights the bravery and sacrifice of the warriors wounded in the global war on terror, as well as those organizations that have made continuing commitments to supporting America’s heroes.

The photo was taken of President Bush and First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell U.S. Army Retired during festivities after the Warrior 100K Ride. According to her bio, Stockwell was on deployment on April 13, 2004 when the HUMVEE she was in "was hit by a roadside bomb and Melissa suffered the loss of her left leg above the knee."


Biden the clown

Fred Thompson is disgusted but not surprised by Biden's lack of manners and decorum.


GM Bailout Could Be Undone By Same Judge That Allowed It

From the “how’s that for irony” file comes a report that the judge that signed off on the GM bailout has been having second thoughts, because — surprise, surprise, surprise — he wasn’t informed about part of the deal. The Washington Free Beacon reports:

As GM teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in June 2009, it cut a $367 million “lock-up agreement” with several major creditors in order to prevent its Canadian subsidiary from going under. The move spared the subsidiary from fulfilling the $1 billion debt it owed the creditors—major hedge funds—ensuring that GM would not have to face bankruptcy courts in two nations, which could have delayed the company’s recovery.

The trustee for (old GM) creditors shortchanged by the government-driven bankruptcy are now suing the hedge funds in a move that could undo the bailout.

“Many U.S. creditors waived their rights to object because the government wanted to push through the bailout for political reasons,” risk analyst Chris Whalen said. “If they had continued through normal channels, they could have easily been in bankruptcy for five years. So they made sure these issues were not adequately briefed before the court.”

The GM that exited bankruptcy was radically different than the one that entered. The Treasury Department arranged for the company to split into Motors Liquidation Co., known as “old GM,” and created a “new GM” with the help of $30 billion from American taxpayers.

Judge Robert Gerber, who approved the sale with little hesitation, could now reverse the entire auto bailout—and overturn one of President Barack Obama’s signature achievements.

“When I approved the sale agreement and entered the sale approval order I mistakenly thought that I was merely saving GM, the supply chain, and about a million jobs. It never once occurred to me, and nobody bothered to disclose, that amongst all of the assigned contracts was this lock-up agreement, if indeed it was assigned at all,” Gerber said in July.

Well, what do you know, the Obama Administration didn’t reveal all the details to the judge. Is anyone surprised that this gang of Chicago thugs decided that the judge didn’t need to know the sweetheart deal that would save their union buddies?

It sounds like Judge Gerber is ready to reopen the whole thing, essentially forcing GM into a real bankruptcy, including having to pay back the $27 billion to the Treasury… which, given that they only have about $30 billion on hand, could spell the end of GM.

If we’re lucky, this will come apart very soon… just in time for the non-political-wonks to read the news as they’re deciding whether or not Obama deserves a second term.



British Marxist historian shows how history is whitewashed by the Left

Anyone who remembers his American history courses in grade and high school - when American history was still being taught, because very little of it is today - will also remember all the glowing, adulatory accounts in standard textbooks of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. One encountered nary a disparaging word about them. They "saved the world," were "forward looking," or "ahead of their time," and "served selflessly" the cause of "democracy" and "social justice." These particular presidents appeared in those textbooks as squeaky clean, literal saints, and were held up as models of political and national leadership.

They could do no wrong, and if these real-life Dudley Do-Rights failed in their missions to reorient the electorate to be more easily led to moral adventures, the New Frontier, and Great Societies, it was all the fault of greedy obstructionists and other Snidely Whiplash villains in Congress or the Supreme Court.

Worse still, it was implied ever so subtly that we the people didn't deserve to have them as leaders. They were too good for us. We'd be punished for not living up to their expectations, for eschewing the need for "leaders."

And we have been punished: We got Barack Obama.

Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy were not totalitarians, but their basic political agendas, at first interventionist and regulatory, are the groundwork for eventual total government. It was not for lack of trying. A statist principle cannot be applied only half-way, not in the long term. Sooner or later, if not checked and repudiated, it must be fully applied, across the board and over everyone and everything. As statist policies are implemented incrementally, the electorate must be made incrementally receptive to them, surrendering their liberties piecemeal over time in exchange for ever-dwindling but more expensive messes of pottage.

School textbook portrayals of historical persons are based on what respected historians have written about them. What students have read in textbooks about the forenamed presidents is but a thin gruel distilled from approving weighty biographical tomes and sycophantic histories of movers and shakers. And of destroyers.

Recently, Eric Hobsbawm, a respected British historian, died and received glowing obituaries in Britishand American newspapers.

Eric who? When I first read the surname in aDaily Mail article, I immediately presumed it was either a name borrowed by J.R.R. Tolkien for a character in his The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or one invented by J.K. Rowling for a character in her Harry Potter series. Then, to my surprise and dismay, I learned he was an actual person, that he was an unrepentant Communist, that he taught history from the Marxist perspective in the best British schools, and that he wrote a number of histories from an unapologetic Communist standpoint.

Then I saw the Daily Mail's photograph of him. I immediately nicknamed him The Horrible Hobgoblin of History.

As he was revered, so were his books. At least they were in Britain. The New York Times ran a long article on him, while The Washington Post ran two, one an extended obituary, another a fond retrospective of his work.

A.N. Wilson, writing for The Daily Mail, enlightened me about Hobsbawm and just how revered he was:
On Monday evening, the BBC altered its program schedule to broadcast an hour-long tribute to an old man who had died aged 95, with fawning contributions from the likes of historian Simon Schama and Labour peer Melvyn Bragg.

The next day, the Left-leaning Guardian filled not only the front page and the whole of an inside page but also devoted almost its entire G2 Supplement to the news. The Times devoted a leading article to the death, and a two-page obituary.

You might imagine, given all this coverage and the fact that Tony Blair and Ed Miliband also went out of their way to pay tribute, that the nation was in mourning. Yet I do not believe that more than one in 10,000 people in this country had so much as heard of Eric Hobsbawm, the fashionable Hampstead Marxist who was the cause of all this attention. He had, after all, been open in his disdain for ordinary mortals.
Yet the nation was not in mourning. Wilson suggests that most Britons were left scratching their heads trying to recollect just who this person was and why well-known persons such as Blair and Miliband were shedding tears over his passing.

Unlike Wilson at The Daily Mail, William Grimes of The New York Times penned a nonjudgmental, praising article about Hobsbawm, subtly implying that if Americans hadn't heard of him until now, then they ought to have, because he was a very important person.
Eric J. Hobsbawm, whose three-volume economic history of the rise of industrial capitalism established him as Britain's pre-eminent Marxist historian, died on Monday in London. He was 95....Mr. Hobsbawm, the leading light in a group of historians within the British Communist Party that included Christopher Hill, E. P. Thompson and Raymond Williams, helped recast the traditional understanding of history as a series of great events orchestrated by great men. Instead, he focused on labor movements in the 19th century and what he called the"pre-political" resistance of bandits, millenarians and urban rioters in early capitalist societies.
Grimes thought it apropos to quote an admiring professor of history from 2008:
"Eric J. Hobsbawm was a brilliant historian in the great English tradition of narrative history," Tony Judt, a professor of history at New York University, wrote in an e-mail in 2008, two years before he died. "On everything he touched he wrote much better, had usually read much more, and had a broader and subtler understanding than his more fashionable emulators. If he had not been a lifelong Communist he would be remembered simply as one of the great historians of the 20th century."
To judge by Hobsbawm's political prejudices, had he not been a lifelong Communist, he might not have been an historian at all. Where's the fun in reporting and narrating facts? In discussing real causes and real effects? No, the Communist philosophy of history is to fit it all into a cockamamie ideology, and to dispense with facts if they won't cooperate. Very much the philosophy of Nazi history, and Islamic history, as well.

Christopher Hitchens, in a 2003 book review of Hobsbawm's autobiography, neatly distilled the author's life as others did or would not:
Eric Hobsbawm has been a believing Communist and a skeptical Euro-Communist and is now a faintly curmudgeonly post-Communist, and there are many ways in which, accidents of geography to one side, he could have been a corpse. Born in 1917 into a diaspora Jewish family in Alexandria, Egypt, he spent his early-orphaned boyhood in central Europe, in the years between the implosion of Austria-Hungary and the collapse of the Weimar Republic.

This time and place were unpropitious enough on their own: had Hobsbawm not moved to England after the Nazis came to power in 1933, he might have become a statistic. He went on to survive the blitz in London and Liverpool and, by a stroke of chance, to miss the dispatch to Singapore of the British unit he had joined. At least a third of those men did not survive Japanese captivity, and it's difficult to imagine Hobsbawm himself being one of the lucky ones.
No, it is unlikely Hobsbawm would have survived Japanese captivity. He was an intellectual snob who would have been an abrasive fellow prisoner-of-war. As Wilson writes:
Hobsbawm came to Britain as a refugee from Hitler's Europe before the war, but, as he said himself, he wished only to mix with intellectuals. ‘I refused all contact with the suburban petit bourgeoisie which I naturally regarded with contempt.' Naturally.
Naturally, but not so inevitably. Hobsbawm must have witnessed the turmoil in Berlin and the street battles between the Communists, Nazis and other political groups vying for power in the expiring Weimar Republic. Spartacus, a self-educational blogsite connected with the left-wing Guardian, noted:
When Adolf Hitler gained power in 1933, what was left of Hobsbawn's [sic] family moved to London. He later recalled: "In Germany there wasn't any alternative left. Liberalism was failing. If I'd been German and not a Jew, I could see I might have become a Nazi, a German nationalist. I could see how they'd become passionate about saving the nation. It was a time when you didn't believe there was a future unless the world was fundamentally transformed."
It must have been hard choosing sides in Germany then, one gang of thugs battling another gang of thugs, both gangs fighting for the right to impose their brand of totalitarianism on a whole nation. Hobsbawm must have tossed a mental coin and it came up tails: Communism. After all, the Nazis allowed businesses and industries to keep their property, if only to have it serve Nazi purposes. The Communists were more thorough in such an expropriation; they took it all.

Douglas Murray, writing for Gatestone, is just as scathing as A.N. Wilson in his appraisal of Hobsbawm:
A writer in the Times recalled the dead Communist to have been - "a man of deep intellect, humility and charm" - on his only meeting with him; going on to claim that the talent the man had shown had "superseded" the ideology.

I do not see how this could be so. This man's career was spent whitewashing, minimizing, excusing and stooging for some of the worst crimes in human history. Having been given ample years to recant his views, he resisted the call, instead holding them to the end. The system he supported prevented many people reaching even a quarter of the age he was fortunate enough to live to. But for him human life always took an - at best - secondary importance. The really crucial thing was communist ideology -surely, along with Nazism, the most bankrupt and destructive ideology the world has ever seen? Asked in a BBC television interview in 1994 whether the creation of a communist utopia would be worth the loss of "15, 20 million people," he replied clearly, "Yes."
But Nazism, or fascism, lost the coin toss. Communism lost it, too, at least in Russia. Murray hypothesizes:
Had he joined the Hitler youth voluntarily in 1933 and stayed inside fascist movements until his death; had he denied the Holocaust and said that the death of six million Jews and many millions of others would have been worth it for the achievement of the ideal Nazi state he would have died in ignominy. He would not have been celebrated in his life and he would not have been celebrated after death. Irrespective of any consideration of his works he would not have had plaudits from politicians of any stripe, let alone the leaders of political parties of the right.
Formal Communism is certainly dead. China has a "communist" ruling elite, which is more fascist than communist. Britain is nominally "socialist," but is governed by a kind of watered-down, kid-gloves brand of fascism subscribed to and disguised by both major parties. The United States has been creeping unopposed, yet ever so cautiously, in the direction of fascism ever since FDR's first term in the White House. The current occupant has deliberately albeit pragmatically accelerated America towards a full national socialist polity.

But, in the end, it matters little which brand of totalitarianism governs men, because the results are always the same: slavery and death and destruction. Historians like Eric Hobsbawm- and there are more of his ilk in academia, pale pinks and flagrant reds and retiring grays - give short-shrift to that slavery and death and destruction. They claim it's all part of a price to pay to shepherd the survivors - the meek, the humble, the morally lame and the halt - in the direction of that collectivist City on the Hill that is actually a prison built to save mankind.

Hobsbawm preferred one style of totalitarian architecture; Howard Zinn another.




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


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


12 October, 2012

Cooking the Books – The Liberal Way

Dick McDonald

In 2007 the workforce in America was 147 million and today that figure has dropped to 143 million its lowest level since 1981 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s “Industrial Survey” of 400,000 businesses). That decline by itself doesn’t give us the whole story because approximately 150,000 new workers have to be added monthly to the workforce to account for population growth. That means without considering retirements the workforce today should total 156 million or 13 million more than today’s total (60 months times 150,000). So who is cooking the books?

The government tells us the unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% of the workforce to 7.8% in the last two months. That means .5% of 143 million or 7.1 million new jobs were added to the workforce in July and August. But according to the same government agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 163,000 were added in July and a pathetic 120,000 were added in August. So who is cooking the books?

The question is how do Obama and the Democrats pull off lies like these just before an election. Well folks I hope it isn’t news to you but the bureaucrats in the BLS are Democrats and they make up the team that calls and visits 60,000 Americans every month to determine the unemployment rate (the “Household Survey”). If a person surveyed has worked one day out of the month he is considered “employed” for the whole month including a one-day stint babysitting for a neighbor.

Let’s see. Do you believe the 7.8% figure now? Do you think the bureaucrats were unbiased in asking the Household Survey questions? If you do you are just another one of the fools the “unbiased” media calls their useful idiots. You’ll believe anything they say – or don’t say..

Received via email


An editorial from Nevada

After the debate

"[T]he president's top-down interventions have virtually paralyzed our economy -- and [Mitt Romney has] presented a solution. ... The answer is pro-growth tax and regulatory reform. The answer is tax and regulatory certainty for businesses. The answer is growing our way out of the budget deficit with a broader, simpler tax base and reduced rates and deductions for all -- especially the risk-taker, the job creator and the entrepreneur. ...

Mr. Obama has a much different recipe for lifting the middle class: higher taxes on investors, job creators and small businesses; borrowing money to fund more public-sector jobs and government construction projects; borrowing money to fund more green energy enterprises and projects...; and pushing more young people to seek a debt-funded college education when they have little hope of landing a job upon graduation.

The suggestion that tax increases and higher energy prices will lift the middle class defies logic. But it's not terribly surprising coming from an administration that's completely lacking in business experience and openly hostile to free-market capitalism. ...

Mr. Obama has never been the uniting agent of change he promised to be. His two biggest initiatives, the economic stimulus and his health care reform law, were rushed through a Democratic Congress without a single Republican vote, and the electorate responded in 2010 by giving Republicans control of the House. ...

Mr. Romney, however, is a Republican who was elected governor of heavily Democratic Massachusetts. He had to work with Democrats to get things done. His leadership and ability to bring people together saved the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. As a businessman, his management skills turned failing companies into profitable ones. Mr. Romney vows to do that, again, in Washington.

If we are to avoid a lost decade and a future calamity created by inaction on entitlements and government growth, this nation needs a team of turnaround experts. ...

Mr. Romney is a fine family man who donates millions of dollars to his church and charity every year. There is not a whiff of scandal about him. This is why his opponents have tried to turn his very successes against him. ...

The choice is clear. Only Mitt Romney has the principles and experience needed to put America back on the road to prosperity."



The Monument Society Versus the Free Society

Ben Shapiro

Last week, after the first presidential debate, I spoke at an architecture school in downtown Los Angeles. One of the questions the moderator asked was about American exceptionalism. The foam flecked to his lips at the very phrase. What, pray tell, was American exceptionalism, he asked?

I answered by referencing the Founding Fathers and the freedoms they guaranteed us via the American Constitutional System of checks and balances. What makes us unique guardians of liberty, I said, is that our system is designed to counterbalance interest against interest -- we only act together with the full power of unity when we're actually unified. We prize the individual over the collective.

He scoffed at that suggestion. He derided the founders and the Constitution -- "a 200-year-old document written by dead white slave owners!" -- and suggested an alternative vision of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism, he said, was characterized by "the things we do together." When he thought of an exceptional America, he thought of certain images: American footprints on the moon, the interstate highway system, Hoover Dam, nationalized health care.

The moderator's perspective was that of President Obama, too. He prizes reliance on the collective because no man can alone build roads or bridges or skyscrapers. As President Obama said, "You didn't build that." Government, says Obama, is the only thing we all belong to. We're "stronger together."

These are two fundamentally different ways of viewing the world. One is based on the value of freedom. The other is based on the value of monuments.

The monument society looks at the Chinese high-speed rail and says: "Let's build one of those." The freedom society looks at the Chinese high-speed rail and says: "At what cost to individual freedom?" Sometimes, collective projects do outweigh the needs of the individual -- see, for example, World War II, in which we mobilized collectively to preserve individual freedom. But the monument society always errs on the side of building the monument, of activating the collective; the freedom society always errs on the side of individual liberty.

We are now at the tipping point in America between these two visions. We must make a choice. Do we want to give our children monuments -- tremendous buildings, vast bureaucracies, bulwarks of human collectivism? Or do we want to give them freedom? Do we want to build pyramids? Or do we want to build families?

These two visions are in opposition now because we have moved too far in the direction of the monument society. And that diminishes human happiness.

It is remarkable how little the monument society left talks about human happiness and fulfillment. Instead, they prefer to talk about a "better tomorrow."

They talk about moving "forward." They imply that we must be miserable today to be happy tomorrow -- or, alternatively, that our children must be miserable tomorrow so that we can be happy today.

That's what the monument society is all about. Jewish Midrash teaches about the Biblical Tower of Babel, the monument society. The tower became so tall and so grand that it supposedly took a year to shuttle bricks from the bottom of the tower to the top. People wept when a brick fell, but did not care if a man died. There were always more workers. But bricks were invaluable.

The builders of that tower would have given their children a magnificent site. But those children would have been slaves to the monument. There would have been no happiness. Just a vast tower, crumbling to dust over generations.

The founders recognized that Americans, given freedom to pursue their own goals, made self-reliant, are happy. The power of the collective is magnificent, but only when the people agree on utilizing it. That is the balance the founders drew, and that is why they were so wise. Our liberties must be preserved from the collective, but in times of crisis, we must all come together. The collective must not be hijacked for particular interests, forcing men to labor for the selfish benefit of powerful interests. The collective must only be activated when absolutely necessary. Anything less destroys human freedom, and turns us into the monument society.

Only a society that prizes individual freedom over collective mobilization can hand that freedom to its children. It can make monuments -- living monuments. Children who grow up free. Who inhabit those great skyscrapers. Who visit Mount Rushmore, not as a relic of an ancient civilization, but as a tribute to the values of those whose faces are carved into it.

That is American exceptionalism. That's what we seek to give to the world. We are the monument. Our families are the monument: a monument to God and to liberty. Because, in the end, all towers crumble to dust. All that matters is the living. Monuments mean nothing if there are no free people to honor them



Ending the War on Kidneys

Government authoritarianism is condemning thousands to needless death

It’s an oft told tale how drug prohibition has led to the promotion of organized crime, skyrocketing violence here and abroad, and a simultaneous increase in potency and decrease in safety. (See here and here for examples.) The solution to these perhaps unintended but predictable negative consequences is legalization. So it is, too, with the sale of organs–kidneys in particular.

Meanwhile in Iran…

Since 1984, under the leadership of Senator Al Gore, the United States government has made it illegal to buy or sell kidneys and in so doing has effectively launched a “war on kidneys.” Again, the consequences, unintended but predictable, are mostly if not wholly bad.

According to the Human Resources and Services Administration there are currently over 93,000 persons in the United States on the waiting list for a donated kidney. Another source estimates that the list grows by 3,000 to 4,000 candidates a year. Between 1988 and 2008 yet another source reports that the number of kidney transplants performed in the United States has ranged from 8,873 (in 1988) to a high of 17,091 (in 2006) for an average of about 13,847 per year. While that may indicate a dwindling list of candidates, the reality is that the number who die each year still runs into the thousands.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services, for instance, claims that 18 people die each day waiting for a kidney donor. That’s 6,570 deaths a year, and though their figure for the waiting list is considerably higher than the HRSA’s, they are in the same ballpark.

Kidney sales are legal in Iran, which offers a mix of private and government financing for kidney transplants. Not surprisingly, waiting lists there are practically nonexistent (because of a larger supply), and so is the number of people dying while waiting for one.

Moreover, the incidence of black markets and of “medical tourism”—in which relatively wealthy foreigners travel to relatively poor countries to buy local kidneys or have other procedures performed at lower cost than in the United States—would probably fall, much as legalization of alcohol after Prohibition saw the downfall of speakeasies and bathtub booze.

What’s the Downside?

And although some estimate that the cost of a kidney may be as high as $100,000—which would make the total cost of the transplant procedure around $350,000—keep in mind that in addition to the value of the lives saved, the savings from unnecessary kidney dialysis is about $70,000 per person per year. (See also this article from The Economist.)

Some argue that only the rich would get organs and only the poor would die giving them up. Existing black markets and medical tourism already reinforce any such tendency by keeping prices high. Would a free market in organs mean that the relatively poor would supply the relatively rich? Perhaps. More generally, would abuses occur? Yes, they would, just as they do in other aspects of organ transplantation—such as in shabby hospitals or lousy medical care. Nobody suggests banning hospitals or doctors because some hospitals and some doctors occasionally screw up. The cure lies largely in greater competition, the prerequisite of which is making organ sales legal.

Some are put off by the very idea of a market in kidneys, and many who aren’t might have some reservations about extending the list to other parts of our bodies. Some of this can be attributed to a socio-ethical resistance to “commoditizing the human body.” Perhaps this is a valid concern. Interestingly, there is a legal market for cadavers, so it seems to be OK to pay for bodies but not for organs.

What about other organs or body parts? The thing about kidneys—or eyes, ears, hands, and feet—is that removing them from our bodies does not entail death or, in the case of kidneys, any significant decline in the quality of life to the donor. But what about selling something vital such as a heart, which would spell certain death? That’s a difficult question that we may not have to settle just yet. Let’s start with kidneys.

The Moral Alternative

I confess to being uncomfortable with the thought of selling off body parts. In the same way, I would never recommend to anyone, including myself, taking cocaine for fun. But I would stop short of banning cocaine, and my qualms about selling body parts doesn’t keep me from staunchly supporting legalization, especially when a strong case can be made (as in this video by Professor James Stacey Taylor) that banning it would itself be immoral. Selling body parts for money should be no more illegal than letting people make a living fishing for crabs on the high seas or give up their lives for a cause they believe in. I may disapprove of a practice that harms the practitioner, but that by itself doesn’t give me the right to stop it, especially if it harms no one else.

Finally, today it’s considered perfectly legal and moral to allow husband A to give up his kidney to his wife B without compensation. Or, if A’s kidney is not a match for B, it’s okay for A to donate to C, whose husband D could then donate to B. That is like trading a goat to Jack to get a pile of bricks to trade to Jill for a sack of grain, which is what you wanted for your goat in the first place. While the Internet and creative websites have made organ bartering of this kind easier than in the past, humans long ago developed another institution that gets the job done much more easily: buying and selling for money.

Crimalizing activities—whether drugs, prostitution, or organ sales—typically generates consequences that are usually unintended but, with the aid of some basic economic knowledge, mostly predictable. After decades and over a trillion dollars spent and countless lives ruined, a summit of Latin-American politicians earlier this year declared that “the war on drugs has failed,” a sentiment echoed around the world.

It’s time that our government ended the war on kidneys, too.




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


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


11 October, 2012

Nude photos that look very much like Obama's mother

In late 2008, there were some offensive speculations being made by Leftists about Sarah Palin's family (claims that Trig was really her daughter's baby etc., etc.) so, being something of an Old Testament type, I thought it fair for me to return fire by speculating about Obama's family. I put online links to some nude pictures that had already appeared on American internet porn sites. I was alerted to the pictures by an American correspondent. The pictures bear a striking resemblance to Obama's mother. In the run up to the election this year, the pictures are again getting a lot of attention so I thought I might offer some further comment here on them.

I note that, although the pictures have subsequently been widely circulated, the person in the best position to identify them -- President Obama -- has never denied that they were of his mother.

Ann Dunham had a distinctively long face and the woman in the pictures I linked to did also. Below is a Bowderlized copy of one of the the pictures that I made more accessible, followed by the Wikipedia picture of the young Ann Dunham

Leftists such as Snopes have of course disputed the identification and suggested certain models as the person in the pictures. Snopes suggested Marcy Moore. I see, however, little similarity between the pictures I put up and the pictures of Moore. Amusingly, Snopes no longer have an article on the subject. They seem to have pulled it. Rather a clear confession of failure, I think.

Snopes does however have a successor. We see here an attempt that has popped up this year. Unlike Snopes it is an outright fraud. It claims that my original post has been taken down when it has not. See here. See also here and here for two other posts on the subject by me at that time.

The fraud also makes much of some reference numbers appearing at the bottom of one of the pictures. He claims that the reference numbers include the initials of the model, and the initials given are YA rather than AD. That a woman posing nude might have used a pseudonym and not her real name has obviously not occurred to him.

He also reproduces two copies of one photo, from one of which the identifying code has been erased. He implies that he has "discovered" the one with the codes and that the previously circulated photos had the codes erased in order to deceive. The truth is that the photos I put up DID have the identifying codes. He has probably erased them himself.

And slurs against me were of course predictable. For instance, One writer claimed that "Ray was formerly associated with Majority Rights, a large pro-Nazi White Supremacist site". It is indeed true that I did for a while contribute to that site but characterizing it as "pro-Nazi" is wrong. It covers a variety of views but NOT explicitly pro-Nazi ones. It does/did include antisemitic posts but I put up with that for the sake of reaching the more reasonable part of its large audience. More to the point, however, I was eventually kicked off the site because I MOCKED and disparaged antisemitism.

A matter that does not directly concern me but which I thought I might note: I originally put up three photos that were unmistakeably of the same woman. At the moment, however, there seem to be about a dozen nude photos circulating that are alleged to be of Obama's mother. To my eye, none of the additional photos are persuasive. They look like quite different women to me.

I finally note that the photos I put up were clearly an amateur job. They were just snaps taken in someone's living room. Had the photos been of a model, we would have expected a more professional job.


Tom Sowell gets it right again

He's been doing so for decades


Obama Flunks Economics 101, Turns Desperate and Dishonest

Finally, a pollster asked voters the one question that matters in this presidential election: Does Barack Obama know how to fix the economy?

When the Pew Research Center asked that question in the days following Mitt Romney's strong performance in last week's presidential debate, a majority of the voters answered, no.

The central failure of Obama's presidency centers on his demonstrated inability to restore the economy to full health and vigor after trillions of dollars in job stimulus spending that created few jobs but added $5 trillion to the federal debt.

Pew put the question to likely voters this way: Do you agree or disagree with the criticism that "Obama doesn't know how to turn the economy around?"

A 54 percent majority agreed that he didn't know how to rebuild our economy while 44 percent diehard supporters disagreed.

While Romney voters were nearly unanimous with this dim view of Obama's questionable capabilities, 11 percent of Obama voters "share this view," Pew reported Monday.

Notably, a sizable share of swing voters, by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, agreed Obama does not know how to strengthen the economy and get it back on track.

The Pew poll, and other post-debate surveys, found that Romney's performance in the debate erased Obama's lead and dramatically changed the way voters perceived his Republican challenger.

A whopping 66 percent of voters said Romney turned in a far better performance than Obama in Wednesday's debate, compared to 20 percent who said that about Obama.

Romney "is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September," Pew said. He "is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit."

If there was any question of Obama's incompetence on economic policy, it was reconfirmed in Friday's weak jobs report. The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, fewer than the 142,000 jobs in August, and fewer still than the jobs created in July.

While the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, it did not indicate the economy was suddenly getting stronger or growing at a faster rate. A chief reason behind the rate's decline was the number of self-employed jumped dramatically, says business economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland.

"With the economy growing so slowly, many of these [newly self- employed Americans] are likely workers laid off during the economic collapse who have established home-based businesses," Morici writes in his latest analysis.

The paramount reason the unemployment rate has fallen from its 10 percent peak in October 2009 "has been accomplished through a significant drop in the percentage of adults participating in the labor force -- either working or looking for work," Morici said.

If the labor participation rate were the same today, as it was four years ago, the real unemployment rate would be 10 percent.

The truth is the economy has dramatically slowed down in the past year and Obama doesn't have a plan at present to turn it around anytime soon. The jobs plan he proposed earlier this year was a rehash of his 2009 plan to spend more money on public works infrastructure and temporary tax credits. The plan was dismissed even by his own party in the Senate.

Obama is running on the fictitious claim the economy is moving "forward," when our chief economic measurement -- the gross domestic product -- shows GDP's been falling backward since January.

GDP grew at 2.0 percent in the first quarter of this year, then declined to 1.7 percent in the second quarter which was revised down to 1.3 percent at the end of September as consumers pulled back on spending, and factory orders fell. The third quarter growth rate is likely to be somewhere north of 1 percent.

Obama is still telling voters in his stump speeches that factory jobs are coming back under his economic policies, but manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs last month after falling by 22,000 jobs in August.

Who's being dishonest now?

"Even at 7.8 percent, the joblessness rate remains high by any historical standard. And it could be years before the economy returns to full employment," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

The economy's precipitous decline has shaken Obama's high command and there's a tone of desperation and even dishonesty in the president's speeches and TV ads.

"Now Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he'd double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place," says a new Obama TV spot.

But the notion that the Bush tax cuts "led" to the 2008 financial crisis doesn't hold water. When the Post's Fact Checker Glenn Kessler sought the source for this claim, the Obama campaign pointed to a column by the Post's liberal economic writer Ezra Klein who told Kessler, "I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there's no evidence of that."

Kessler gave the Obama ad three Pinocchios, saying "the president really stretches the limits here."

But dishonesty permeates Obama's economic claims from beginning to end. While he touts last month's 114,000 jobs, as he has previous small job gains, the truth is these are very weak gains and nowhere near turnaround levels.

The economy would have to produce over 375,000 jobs a month for three years to reduce the employment rate to a more normal range of about 6 percent. That's not going to happen under his anti-job policies.

"This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney said after the unemployment report came out. He should know because turnarounds were what he did for a living throughout his successful business investment career.

This is what failure looks like when the president doesn't know what he's doing.



Basic freedoms being eroded

Our first freedoms—those freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment—are being recklessly discarded by the ruling class in favor of government ideology. It seems that America’s citizenry has become so numb to outrageous political acts that even trampling our constitutional rights barely raises an eyebrow.

If we remember back to when schools actually taught such things, the linchpin of the American Constitution is the Bill of Rights. Those were the rights the founding fathers of this great nation felt were necessary to spell out in the Constitution in order to safeguard us and our democracy from intrusive government. Thomas Jefferson and others would not ratify the document without the 10 Amendments that specified specific rights of citizens in order to limit for all time the power of the central government.

Some, like Alexander Hamilton, worried that actually specifying rights could be dangerous. In Federalist Paper No. 84, Hamilton wrote, “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?” Today, living in a country without First Amendment rights—freedom of speech, assembly, religion, the press, and the right to petition the government for redress—would seem horrifying.

But that is the dangerous path we are on: Hamilton now seems naïve and Jefferson a visionary.

The executive branch has taken to picking and choosing which laws duly enacted by Congress will be enforced or ignored. Immigration and customs agents are directed not to enforce all immigration laws. The president has “evolved” in his opinion of homosexuality, so the Department of Justice will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton.

When it comes to Planned Parenthood tax funding, we are told it would be better to shut down the government than cut one penny from the federal budget earmarked for Planned Parenthood. All this is done under a legislative maneuver called continuing resolutions since Congress has not actually fulfilled its constitutional duty and passed a budget in three years.

This is the same abortion giant that lobbied for Obamacare to mandate that employers and employees must have health insurance that pays for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Failure to comply means potentially crippling financial tax penalties—even if your faith or conscience bars you from helping kill preborn babies by helping to fund abortions.

Unknown to most citizens, Obamacare also funnels an estimated $1 billion in insurance premiums each year to an abortion superfund. As the largest provider of abortions in America responsible for over 332,000 babies terminated, Planned Parenthood stands to gain another $250 million.

The unelected Secretary Sebelius of HHS has imposed rules that redefine religious freedom to the point that, as Cardinal Wuerl explained, “HHS’s conception of what constitutes the practice of religion is so narrow that even Mother Teresa would not have qualified.” That’s why over 30 lawsuits have been filed based on religious freedom rights.

But all this was only made possible by our own Supreme Court. While Congress told citizens that this penalty was not a tax, they argued differently in court. Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “And Congress’s choice of language—stating that individuals ‘shall’ obtain insurance or pay a ‘penalty’—does not require reading §5000A as punishing unlawful conduct. It may also be read as imposing a tax on those who go without insurance.”

Although the word tax never appeared in the individual mandate, the Roberts’ majority substituted the word “tax” for the word “penalty” 18 times and ruled that Congress has the power to tax not just income—but also lawful activities.

How ironic: In 1819, Chief Justice Marshall, reportedly Roberts’ hero, agreed with Daniel Webster in writing for the majority in the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland: “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

History tragically teaches us that if our government can abrogate or penalize one constitutional right, then all constitutional rights are put in jeopardy. So no, it’s not just the economy. We are not stupid.



Obama Stimulus Jobs Created/Saved: 76% In Government

More than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by President Obama's economic stimulus in the first year were in government, according to a new study.

In early 2009, Obama economic adviser Jared Bernstein and the Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer stated, "More than 90% of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector."

That hasn't borne out, according to an analysis by Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor.

Under the $821 billion stimulus any entity, public and private, receiving grants, loans or contracts from the stimulus had to report back to the federal government the number of full-time equivalent jobs that were created or saved.

The data were all posted at Recovery.gov. Dupor found that of the roughly 682,000 jobs saved or created in the first year of the program, only 166,000, or 24%, were in the private sector.




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


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


10 October, 2012

Phony in Chief

Thomas Sowell

When President Barack Obama and others on the left are not busy admonishing the rest of us to be "civil" in our discussions of political issues, they are busy letting loose insults, accusations and smears against those who dare to disagree with them.

Like so many people who have been beaten in a verbal encounter, and who can think of clever things to say the next day, after it is all over, President Obama, after his clear loss in his debate with Mitt Romney, called Governor Romney a "phony."

Innumerable facts, however, show that it is our Commander in Chief who is Phony in Chief. A classic example was his speech to a predominantly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007. That date is important, as we shall see.

In his speech -- delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn't use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience -- he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.

Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.

Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be "part of the American family." But the people in New Orleans -- predominantly black -- "they don't care about as much," according to Barack Obama.

If you want to know what community organizers do, this is it -- rub people's emotions raw to hype their resentments. And this was Barack Obama in his old community organizer role, a role that should have warned those who thought that he was someone who would bring us together, when he was all too well practiced in the arts of polarizing us apart.

Why is the date of this speech important? Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.

Truth is not a job requirement for a community organizer. Nor can Barack Obama claim that he wasn't present the day of that Senate vote, as he claimed he wasn't there when Jeremiah Wright unleashed his obscene attacks on America from the pulpit of the church that Obama attended for 20 years.

Unlike Jeremiah Wright's church, the U.S. Senate keeps a record of who was there on a given day. The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against -- repeat, AGAINST -- the legislation which included the waiver.

When he gave that demagogic speech, in a feigned accent and style, it was world class chutzpah and a rhetorical triumph. He truly deserves the title Phony in Chief.

If you know any true believers in Obama, show them the transcript of his June 5, 2007 speech at Hampton University (available from the Federal News Service) and then show them page S6823 of the Congressional Record for May 24, 2007, which lists which Senators voted which way on the waiver of the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans.

Some people in the media have tried to dismiss this and other revelations of Barack Obama's real character that have belatedly come to light as "old news." But the truth is one thing that never wears out. The Pythagorean Theorem is 2,000 years old, but it can still tell you the distance from home plate to second base (127 ft.) without measuring it. And what happened five years ago can tell a lot about Barack Obama's character -- or lack of character.

Obama's true believers may not want to know the truth. But there are millions of other people who have simply projected their own desires for a post-racial America onto Barack Obama. These are the ones who need to be confronted with the truth, before they repeat the mistake they made when they voted four years ago.



Scary: Obama Appointed the Jobs Number Cruncher; Scarier: Her Resume

That unemployment rate number on Friday was a total farce, but even if it was completely honest, 7.8% is way too high for an economy that supposedly turned the corner a long time ago.

The number doesn't jibe, with an economy growing at 1.3%. The only honest aspect of the report was that more people were entering the work force, but I guarantee a new line of questioning accompanied the Household Survey. Few people know that President Obama placed a former contract negotiator and union steward to run the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Erica Groshen taught Statistical Methods for Economists, Trade Unions, Collective Bargaining, and Public Policy at Harvard. Although she calls herself "nonpartisan," rumblings about sending her children to a communist summer camp coupled with her left-leaning teachings have many worried. Of course, the Left uses the victim-race card, saying Nixon pushed all the Jews out of BLS, so it's about time. This is scary stuff.

What was real in the Friday number was private sector job creation at 104,000, below consensus and less than half where it was a year ago.

Manufacturing continues to shed jobs, and temp work is exploding. This is a shadow of what America is really all about. But, this is how nations morph when the focus is on squeezing the gap between rich (and the so-called rich) and poor, by browbeating the former, while spreading crumbs to the latter.



Obama’s Bible Issue

So why isn’t a publisher of Bibles eligible for a religious exemption from HHS?

‘Tyndale was left with no alternative but to go to court,” explains Mark D. Taylor, president and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers. On the day before the first presidential debate, the company, which Taylor’s parents started when he was eleven years old, filed the 31st lawsuit over the Department of Health and Human Services’ abortion-drug, sterilization, and contraception mandate.

Tyndale publishes Bibles. But that doesn’t make it a religious endeavor. Not in the federal government’s book. Not as of August 1, anyway. That was the day that the HHS mandate — a regulation further defining the health-care legislation that then–Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was right to tell us Congress would be passing before anyone knew what it actually contained — went into effect. Family businesses like Tyndale — which happen to be run by religious folk who want to live their lives true to what they believe — don’t qualify for any kind of “accommodation” or exemption.

“The law does not give any religious-freedom exemption to faith-based operations like Tyndale,” Taylor, who is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, points out. “Instead, it imposes crushing fines on employers who are doing nothing more than following their consciences against abortion-inducing pills.

The government is supposed to promote conscience protection, not attack it. The best solution is for Congress or the administration to respect the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by eliminating the abortion-pill mandate. But if they refuse to do their duty, we hope the courts will rule that the mandate is unlawful.”

Tyndale, Taylor says, has always existed “for an explicitly religious purpose — to publish the Bible and other Christian publications, and direct the proceeds to ministry and charity.” And this is quite evident from a visit to Tyndale’ s website or to the religion section of most bookstores.

“The government’s policy that publishing the Bible is not a religious activity is disconnected from reality,” he says, echoing conversations I’ve had with other plaintiffs in recent months, including the president of the evangelical Wheaton College, who — like most Americans — wasn’t particularly animated on the issue of religious liberty until he realized how fragile our liberties are if we’re not vigilant. “Never before has the federal government had the nerve to insist that all for-profit businesses are purely secular and cannot have a religious purpose,” Taylor continues. “Americans today clearly agree with America’s founders: The federal government is not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”

The mandate became a practical issue for Tyndale on October 1, the first day of the plan year for the company’s health insurance. (Most companies’ plans start in January, or we’d be seeing right now more injunction requests like the ones filed by Tyndale and by the Hercules HVAC company in Denver, a business run by a Catholic family.) “Out of our religious conscience we have chosen not to comply with aspects of the mandate that promote abortion-inducing pills,” Taylor explains. “But no organization could deal with the crippling, draconian financial and legal penalties on faith that this mandate imposes” — fines of $100 per day per employee. “That is why Tyndale was left with no alternative but to go to court.”

Despite the cogent explanations of people like Taylor, the Department of Justice has been arguing (for example, in pushing back against Hercules in court) that Americans surrender their religious liberty when they choose to participate in “the marketplace of commerce” as employers. And a judge in Missouri has announced in the case of another Catholic business owner, Frank O’Brien, that the HHS mandate is not a religious-liberty violation because O’Brien “is not prevented from keeping the Sabbath, from providing a religious upbringing for his children, or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion.” That’s a pretty restrictive view of religious liberty.

Taylor is not deterred by the Missouri ruling or the administration’s posture. “The Obama administration is simply wrong to argue that one’s faith may be exercised only in private or in churches. We are confident that courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, will uphold and affirm our God-given religious freedom,” Taylor says.

When, in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked what his idea of the role of government was, he replied: “The role of government: Look behind us. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents. First, life and liberty. We have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people.” These are not new ideas for Romney. He has brought up religious liberty many times over the years — on the campaign trail, in speeches, and in campaign commercials. When he first ran in the 2008 Republican primaries, he addressed the issue of “Faith in America” in depth, remembering that our first president considered religion the “indispensable support” for the health of the republic, and pointing out our obligation to protect religious freedom as the first freedom, provided by God, not the government.

The Tyndale case is a reminder of why this is not just talk. The current administration has taken steps that are eroding Americans’ religious freedom. And that ought to be a concern for all of us, regardless of whether or not we’re Bible readers.

“According to the Declaration of Independence,” Taylor reminds us, echoing the Republican presidential candidate, “the role of government is to secure for the people those freedoms endowed to us by our Creator. The Bill of Rights enumerates many of those freedoms, including religious liberty. I would hope voters would evaluate whether the present administration is defending freedom or trampling on it.” If they do, their electoral choice will be clear. This is about more than party politics. It’s about foundations: Tyndale’s, and ours as citizen stewards of liberty.



The $5 trillion tax-cut myth

After 47 percent, the presidential campaign’s most incendiary number is $5 trillion. That’s the tax cut planned by Mitt Romney with most benefits going to the wealthy, according to President Obama and his campaign. The president has used the figure repeatedly, as have his surrogates and ads. In Wednesday’s debate, Romney vehemently denied that there ever was a $5 trillion tax cut for the rich. He’s right. The figure is a partisan construct that, somehow, has been given a pass by most of the media as one plausible version of the truth. It isn’t.

To be sure, the Obama campaign’s enthusiasm for the $5 trillion figure is easily understood. It perfectly fits its spoken and unspoken narratives about Romney. He’s not just wealthy and indifferent to the needs of average Americans; he’s also an eager tool of the wealthy. He’d use his office to cut their taxes and advance their interests at everyone else’s expense. He’s not running for president so much as Leader of the Filthy Rich.

Here’s Obama at one rally: “My opponent, he believes in top-down economics, thinks that if you spend another $5 trillion on a tax cut skewed towards the wealthy, that prosperity will rain down on everyone else.”

It’s a powerful argument, marred only by the fact that the $5 trillion tax cut is a fiction. Let’s see how this happened.

Some blame belongs to Romney. He has made many vague, inconsistent and contradictory promises. He would cut all individual income tax rates by 20 percent and then offset lost revenue by eliminating tax breaks — but he doesn’t say which ones. He would reduce government spending from today’s 23 percent of gross domestic product to 20 percent, a $450 billion annual cut — but he doesn’t say how. He would balance the budget and raise defense spending. And so on.

On taxes, uncertainties abound. If you cut everyone’s tax rates by 20 percent, the rich — with the highest rates and the biggest tax bills — get the biggest breaks. The present top rate of 35 percent drops to 28 percent; the lowest rate falls only from 10 percent to 8 percent. (Each reduction is one-fifth, or 20 percent.) If that were all, Romney’s plan would indeed represent a windfall for the wealthy. Those with annual incomes exceeding $1 million would save an average of $175,000, estimates the Tax Policy Center (TPC), a research group. (By the TPC’s estimates, the 0.8 percent of taxpayers with incomes of more than $500,000 currently pay 28 percent of federal taxes.)

But there’s also Romney’s pledge to recoup losses by trimming tax deductions, credits and other tax breaks. The package would be “revenue neutral.” The tax system would then end up with lower rates, which would arguably spur faster economic growth. Workers and companies would keep more of any increased earnings; they’d have stronger incentives to work and invest. Although it’s contestable, that’s the theory of “tax reform.”

The trouble is that there’s a major snag, the TPC said in an August report. In practice, the tax breaks affecting the rich (generally, those with incomes exceeding $200,000) aren’t sufficient to offset all of their tax savings from lower rates. Achieving revenue neutrality would compel Romney to raise taxes on the middle class — something he has also vowed not to do.

To justify its $5 trillion figure — the estimated tax loss over a decade — the Obama campaign had to cherry-pick Romney’s proposal and the TPC analysis. It had to ignore any revenue raised by reducing tax breaks and assume that, faced with a conflict between the rich and the middle class, Romney would automatically side with the rich — as opposed to shielding the middle class from any tax increase. On Wednesday, Romney promised to protect the middle class.

The TPC report was widely interpreted as saying Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class. It didn’t, says the TPC’s Howard Gleckman. It simply pointed out that he couldn’t keep all “his ambitious campaign promises.” He’d have to make choices and modifications. So what else is new?

Politicians exaggerate and simplify. They make more promises than can be kept. They take inconsistent positions. Romney is guilty of this, but so is Obama. Obama says he favors tax reform but would also raise the top income tax rate from 35 to 39.6 percent. That’s the opposite of what most economists consider reform: cutting rates and broadening the tax base. Similarly, Obama has said he would maintain a strong military while rapidly reducing defense spending.

The media are rightly hounding Romney about how he’d offset revenue losses from his proposed cuts in tax rates. But the hounding ought to be evenhanded. Obama needs to be pressed on the many inconsistencies of his promises and policies.




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


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


9 October, 2012

Apology to commenters

Most of my blogs are set up to require a word-matching task before a comment is accepted. There is too much automated comment spam otherwise. The character matching task is however run by Google and is presumably the same on all blogspot blogs.

I tried today however to leave a comment on a hate-filled rant from libertarian Timothy Taylor and found that no matter how many attempts I made my character matching was rejected. As Taylor's blog is also a blogspot blog, that suggests to me that the whole system is faulty at the moment and may affect this blog too.

Neither I nor Taylor can do anything about it but I do (unlike Taylor) give my email address at the foot of each post so if the comment system has bugged you, feel free to email me.


Will Big Bird ever leave the government nest?

If Sesame Street is not commercially viable, then nothing is, and we should just cut to the chase and bail out everything


Apparently, Frank Sinatra served as Mitt Romney's debate coach. As he put it about halfway through "That's Life":

"I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly ... ."

That's what Mitt did in Denver. Ten minutes in, he jumped right on Big Bird, and then he took off – and never looked back, while the other fellow, whose name escapes me, never got out of the gate. It takes a certain panache to clobber not just your opponent but also the moderator. Yet that's what the killer Mormon did when he declared that he wasn't going to borrow money from China to pay for Jim Lehrer and Big Bird on PBS. It was a terrific alpha-male moment, not just in that it rattled Lehrer, who seemed too preoccupied contemplating a future reading the hog prices on the WZZZ Farm Report to regain his grip on the usual absurd format, but in the sense that it indicated a man entirely at ease with himself – in contrast to wossname, the listless sourpuss staring at his shoes

Yet, amidst the otherwise total wreckage of their guy's performance, the Democrats seemed to think that Mitt's assault on Sesame Street was a misstep from whose tattered and ruined puppet-stuffing some hay is to be made. "WOW!!! No PBS!!! WTF how about cutting congress's stuff leave big bird alone," tweeted Whoopi Goldberg. Even the president mocked Romney for "finally getting tough on Big Bird" – not in the debate, of course, where such dazzling twinkle-toed repartee might have helped, but a mere 24 hours later, once the rapid-response team had directed his speechwriters to craft a line, fly it out to a campaign rally and load it into the prompter, he did deliver it without mishap.

Unlike Mitt, I loathe Sesame Street. It bears primary responsibility for what the Canadian blogger Binky calls the de-monsterization of childhood – the idea that there are no evil monsters out there at the edges of the map, just shaggy creatures who look a little funny and can sometimes be a bit grouchy about it because people prejudge them until they learn to celebrate diversity and help Cranky the Friendly Monster go recycling. That is not unrelated to the infantilization of our society. Marinate three generations of Americans in that pabulum, and it's no surprise you wind up with unprotected diplomats dragged to their deaths from their "safe house" in Benghazi. Or as J. Scott Gration, the president's Special Envoy to Sudan, said in 2009, in the most explicit Sesamization of American foreign policy: "We've got to think about giving out cookies. Kids, countries – they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes." The butchers of Darfur aren't blood-drenched machete-wielding genocidal killers but just Cookie Monsters whom we haven't given enough cookies. I'm not saying there's a direct line between Bert & Ernie and Barack & Hillary ... well, actually, I am.

Okay, I may be taking this further than Mitt intended. So let's go back to his central thrust. The Corporation of Public Broadcasting receives nearly half-a-billion dollars a year from taxpayers, which it disburses to PBS stations, who, in turn, disburse it to Big Bird and Jim Lehrer. I don't know what Big Bird gets, but, according to Sen. Jim DeMint, the President of Sesame Workshop, Gary Knell, received in 2008 a salary of $956,513. In that sense, Big Bird and Sen. Harry Reid embody the same mystifying phenomenon: they've been in "public service" their entire lives and have somehow wound up as multimillionaires.

Mitt's decision to strap Big Bird to the roof of his station wagon and drive him to Canada has prompted two counter-arguments from Democrats: 1) half a billion dollars is a mere rounding error in the great sucking maw of the federal budget, so why bother? 2) everybody loves Sesame Street, so Mitt is making a catastrophic strategic error. On the latter point, whether or not everybody loves Sesame Street, everybody has seen it, and every American under 50 has been weaned on it. So far this century it's sold nigh on a billion bucks' worth of merchandising sales (that's popular toys such as the Subsidize-Me-Elmo doll). If Sesame Street is not commercially viable, then nothing is, and we should just cut to the chase and bail out everything.

Conversely, if this supposed "public" broadcasting brand is capable on standing on its own, then so should it. As for the rest of PBS's output – the eternal replays of the Peter, Paul & Mary reunion concert, twee Brit sitcoms, Lawrence Welk reruns and therapeutic infomercials – whatever their charms, it is difficult to see why the Brokest Nation in History should be borrowing money from the Chinese Politburo to pay for it. A system by which a Communist Party official in Beijing enriches British comedy producers by charging it to American taxpayers with interest is not the most obvious economic model. Yet, as Obama would say, the government did build that.

(Full disclosure: Some years ago, I hosted a lavish BBC special, and, at the meeting intended to sell it to PBS, the executive from "Great Performances" said he could only sign off on the deal if I were digitally edited out and replaced by Angela Lansbury. Murder, he shrieked. Lest I sound bitter, I should say I am in favor of this as a more general operating principle for public broadcasting: for example, "A Prairie Home Companion" would be greatly improved by having Garrison Keillor digitally replaced by Paul Ryan.)

The small things are not unimportant – and not just because, when "small" is defined as anything under 11 figures, "small" is a big part of the problem. If Americans can't muster the will to make Big Bird leave the government nest, they certainly will never reform Medicare. Just before the debate in Denver, in the general backstage melée, a commentator pointed out Valerie Jarrett, who is officially "Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs," a vital position which certainly stimulates the luxury-length business-card industry. Not one in 100,000 Americans knows what she looks like, but she declines to take the risk of passing among the rude peasantry without the protection of a Secret Service detail. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a private jet to fly him home from Washington every weekend.

The Queen of the Netherlands flies commercial, so does the Queen of Denmark. Prince William and his lovely bride, whom at least as many people want to get a piece of as Valerie Jarrett or Leon Panetta, flew to Los Angeles on a Royal Canadian Air Force boneshaker. It is profoundly unrepublican when minor public officials assume that private planes and entourages to hold the masses at bay are a standard perk of office. And it is even more disturbing that tens of millions of Americans are accepting of this. The entitlements are complicated, and will take some years and much negotiation. But, in a Romney administration, rolling back the nickel'n'dime stuff – ie, the million'n'billion stuff – should start on Day One.

Mitt made much of his bipartisan credentials in Denver. So, in that reach-across-the-aisle spirit, if we cannot abolish entirely frivolous spending, might we not at least attempt some economies of scale? Could Elmo, Grover, Oscar and Cookie Monster not be redeployed as Intergovernmental Engagement Assistant Jarrett's security detail? Could Leon Panetta not fly home on Big Bird every weekend?

And for the next debate, instead of a candidate slumped at the lectern like a muppet whose puppeteer has gone out for a smoke, maybe Elmo's guy could shove his arm up the back of the presidential suit.



Some profound Leftist ignorance

Tim Worstall

A very puzzling call contained in the latest little pamphlet from Compass. You know the sort of thing, the call to arms about what we must do to make this a more caring, sharing and wondrous society. And yes, I read these things so you don't have to.

They insist that there should be a European minimum wage: "Europe should therefore move towards a continent wide minimum wage, based on the respective average income."

There's an awful lot of weight that rests upon that word "respective". There are two possibilities. One is that there should indeed be a European minimum wage. One single rate that applies to all jobs in the EU. Which would be either irrelevant or entirely crazed. If it's based on some sort of average of European wages then just about every job in the poorer countries would disappear overnight. Insisting on, say, 50% of German wages in Romania when that's some multiple of average wages in Romania would indeed be crazed. Insisting that Germany meet the Romanian minimum wage would simply be irrelevant.

The other meaning possible is that they think that there should be a minimum wage in each country, based on the relevant wages for that country. The problem with this is the following:
Germany, Cyprus and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have statutory minimum wages that do not apply to all or the large majority of employees but are restricted to specific groups which are defined e.g. by sectors or by professions. These are excluded from the data collection. Also excluded are countries where there are no statutory national minimum wages: Denmark, Italy, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. In these countries, wages are either determined by negotiations between the social partners, at company level or at the level of each individual contract. Typically, sectoral level agreements are widely applied and have erga omnes applicability, thus constituting de facto minimum wages.

Insisting on a statutory minimum wage in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland.....what effect does anyone think this will have in any manner at all?

Which leaves me really rather puzzled. I'm not sure which box to put Neal Lawson and his band of merry social democrats in. It could be that they're simply ignorant, in that they don't know that there are already minimum wages in most EU countries. It could be that they're stupid in that they don't realise that having them where they do not already exist isn't going to make a damn bit of difference as the same end is achieved in other ways.

Or it could be that they really are crazed loons and that they want to impose a minimum wage based on some average of European wages. Which would immediately close down large parts of the economies of the poorer countries.

Which leaves me even more puzzled. Given that these are the only three boxes that they can be put in as a result of this call then why is it that anyone pays any attention to them at all?



Twitter Explodes After Black Actress Endorses Romney as the ‘Only Choice for Your Future’‏

Actress Stacey Dash, who has starred in everything from the 90′s hit Clueless to CSI, prompted a firestorm on Twitter after publicly endorsing Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and then standing by her opinion.

“Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @mittromney @teamromney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney,” Dash wrote on her official Twitter page, accompanied by a photo of herself with an American flag.

Not long after, presumed Obama supporters began insulting Dash for her opinion, saying she isn’t “black” enough, several even asking if the actress would just “kill herself.”

One man wrote: “This hurts but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself to the white man only proves why no black man married u @REALStaceyDash.”

But Dash was apparently undeterred by the cruel reaction, and sent a number of sarcastic responses to the worst offenders, wrote a tweet reminding that she is entitled to her own opinion, and– to top it off– re-tweeted a Romney campaign message.

“Women have had enough of @BarackObama’s disappointment. We need new leadership to get our economy growing again…” the re-tweeted message reads.

More HERE (Including tweets)


The inverted racism of Elizabeth Warren draws attention to the enduring racism of "affirmative action"

For months [Massachusetts] Republicans have had a field day with Warren's claim to be Cherokee on the strength of unverified "family lore" about her great-great-great grandmother. Brown's TV spot milks the "Fauxcahontas" angle with clips of news stories reporting on the story. "Warren admitted to identifying herself as Native American to employers," one broadcast journalist says. "Something genealogists said they have zero evidence of," intones another.

None of this would matter if it weren't for the fact that nearly half a century after the 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, racial discrimination – in the form of affirmative action – is entrenched in American society.

Warren insists that she "never got any benefit because of my heritage," and that the only reason she listed herself as an American Indian in professional law-school directories was to be invited to lunches "with people who are like I am." Her explanations provoked so much ridicule because they were ridiculous. Everyone knows that minority status can confer serious advantages when employers place a premium on "diversity," and use racial preferences and set-asides to achieve it.

Martin Luther King memorably dreamed of a nation in which people would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, and in much of American life his dream has become a reality.

But not within the contemporary diversity industry, where individual men and women are first and foremost members of categories, to be grouped by race, by ethnicity, by color. That's the logic behind a directory of "minority law teachers." It was also the mindset behind Jim Crow and "separate but equal."

The real significance of Warren's supposed Native American heritage isn't that she lacks proof that one of her 32 great-great-great grandparents was a Cherokee. It isn't that she believes the stories she was told as a girl. It isn't that by identifying herself as a racial minority she may, in Brown's words, have seized "an advantage that others were entitled to."

It is that in 21st-century America, no such advantage should exist. Racial preferences should by now be artifacts of history, not tools for hiring law professors. Two generations ago Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP declared that "classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society."


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 when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


8 October, 2012

Anti-Israel, Pro-Hamas Muslim Leader Is US Delegate to Warsaw Human Rights Conference

His most infamous statement was during a radio interview on September 11, 2001, accusing Israel of the attack on the WTC

Great teeth

For two weeks every year, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds what it refers to as the world's largest human rights and democracy conference, called the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. Organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, this year's meeting is taking place in Warsaw, and it began last week. Special attention is focused this year on freedom of religion and belief, the rights of Roma (formerly called gypsies) women and the rights of national minorities in OSCE countries.

The head of the U.S. delegation to the conference this year is Ambassador Avis Bohlen, a retired foreign service officer whose career included serving as Ambassador to Bulgaria from 1996 - 1999.

There are three public members of the U.S. delegation. Nida Gelazis, of the Woodrow Wilson Center, is a scholar of international human rights, international law and citizenship policies and protection of national minorities.

Dr. Ethel Brooks, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, is the second representative of the U.S. at the conference. Brooks has published many articles on her research areas which include child labor in third world countries, globalization and political economies.

The third public member chosen to attend the human rights conference as a representative of the U.S. is Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

While two out of three of the U.S. representatives are scholars whose fields suggest expertise in human rights and democratization, and are entirely consistent with the themes of the OSCE and, specifically, human rights and democracy, Al-Marayati's appointment raises serious questions.

Counter-terrorism expert Steve Emerson told The Jewish Press that
Al-Marayati's appointment is not just scandalous but also does incalculable damage to our values as a nation whose core principles categorically reject the legitimization of a racist supporter of terrorism, and an incendiary proponent of paranoid conspiracies that provides the motivation for radical Muslims to carry out terrorism.

Al-Marayati is not a scholar. His only graduate degree is in business and his undergraduate degree is in science. He has been involved with MPAC since its founding in 1986. Without any scholarly article to his credit, his expertise is in matters concerning the role of Islam and Muslims in America and elsewhere.



Jobs, Taxes, Oil, Investment and Debt

This week Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post writes that cutting taxes has no effect on economic growth. Hit the rich she says. Larry Kudlow of National Review writes that cutting taxes expands economic growth and creates jobs through private investment. Who is right?

Kudlow. Hands down. Slam dunk. Ms. Marcus fails to examine a simple proposition: when did the past four recoveries begin, when did tax rate cuts kick in, and how many jobs were thus created by new private investment.

Mr. Kudlow connects the job growth with the tax rate cuts and makes the case. Let's look it up.

In 1983, Reagan's tax rate cuts fully kicked in. Private investment soared to $177 billion or by 33%, and exceeded the previous four years by a factor of ten. 4.9 million Jobs were created over the next year. 11 million over 3 years. Government spending was kept at 20% of GDP. Reagan eliminated price controls on oil and prices dropped $17 a barrel.

In 1997, the Clinton administration cut taxes on capital gains, increased the child tax credit, reformed welfare and adopted a plan to cut government spending to 18% of GDP and balance the budget. In 1997, private investment increased by $148 billion, the largest amount in the eight years of the Clinton administration. 3.3 million jobs were created that year. Oil production increased and oil prices averaged $16 a barrel.

In 2003, President Bush secured a cut in tax rates, with 80% of the cuts occurring in that year. Private investment into the economy soared to $250 billion, a record, and next year 2.3 million jobs were created. By 2009, spending was 21% of GDP, at the historical average.

But oil prices reached $145 a barrel in 2008 and as Secretary of the Treasury Geithner explains, that killed the US economy. Fracking technology was just beginning to take hold but not soon enough to rescue the US economy.

In 2009-10, private investment into the US economy increased only a combined $100 billion. Government spending soared to 25% of GDP, far above the historical average. Since the June 2009 recovery began, a paltry 100,000 jobs a month have been created over three years. If one combined 1983, 1997 and 2004, job creation hit 11.5 million, more than three times faster than 2009-12.

Oil production on Federal lands declined 40%. Yet state and private lands-using American fracking technology-- have doubled gas production.

But the regulators want to kill fracking. And fracking is banned on Federal lands. Trillions of barrels of oil remain right beneath our feet and we cannot touch it. And oil tops $100 a barrel, an increase of $70 since January 2009.

The n Senator Obama campaigned in 2008 in Ohio and charged the Bush administration was immoral to have increased our debt by $4 trillion and cut household income $2000. He said we were buying too much oil from overseas. And thus no Republican deserved to be elected to the White House.

Since the 2009 recovery began, US household income is down 8% or over $4000. The national debt has climbed nearly $6 trillion. Oil has averaged near $100 a barrel, nearly triple what it was in 2009, and we are sending $300 billion overseas to buy it. While OPEC is getting rich, we are going broke.

The administration's policies are driving spending up to trillions of new debt. Today's spending of $3.8 trillion is projected to rise to $5.5 trillion in ten years. This is driven in part by Obama Care, which will cost $2.7 trillion, with only $500 billion in new taxes to pay for it. Yet 30 million will remain uninsured.

By 2020, deficits remain over $1 trillion according to the administration's own budget numbers. Oil and energy costs are being deliberately increased, because this administration believes we consume too much energy. His Energy Secretary wants the US to have European gas prices-that's $10 bucks a gallon.

More people have been added to the welfare and poverty rolls since 2009 than have been put to work. 591,000 people left the work force last month, giving up looking for work, losing hope.

The President says the private sector is doing fine. He says the deficit is only a problem for the "long term". He says "shovel ready"" jobs really were never available.

Washington Post writer Bob Woodward says that we are in a period of maximum peril, that our debt is "beyond unsustainable", and the President remains ambivalent even though his Treasury Secretary warns him "You have to fix it". There was a bipartisan deal on the table in 2011, but the President said no.

Under the President's own rules he used in the 2008 campaign, his policies have failed, they have not worked. Doing over the next four years what he has done in the past four years will not turn failure into success. As his Secretary of the Treasury said to Congress: "We have no plan but we do not like yours".



Government training , included exercise in which employees were told to chant "our forefathers were illegal immigrants."

The U.S. government paid a Chicago consultant hundreds of thousands of dollars to put on diversity training workshops that, according to one watchdog, included an exercise in which employees were told to chant "our forefathers were illegal immigrants."

Conservative group Judicial Watch made the claim this week as it released a handful of documents pertaining to the program -- and alleged that the sessions held by the Department of Agriculture ended up enforcing political views more than promoting tolerance.

"Instead of being diversity-oriented or tolerance-oriented, it's more about adopting a mindset," said Lisette Garcia, a senior investigator with the group. "It seemed to go so far as to encourage illegal immigration."

But the USDA denied that the workshop was anything more than a training exercise to "examine stereotypes."

"Participants did not chant during these workshops," a department official said. "In one portion of the session, the presenter had participants repeat provocative and potentially offensive phrases as part of an exercise to examine stereotypes. The statements were not reflective of USDA or its policy."

Judicial Watch began to investigate the sessions earlier this year after being approached by a tipster at USDA who was "offended" by them, Garcia said. Judicial Watch claims it has identified at least $200,000 spent by the USDA over the last two years on the company Souder, Betances & Associates.

The USDA later confirmed that amount.

The tipster, Garcia said, described one session in which the speaker led workers in chanting "our forefathers were illegal immigrants" while pounding on the table and getting others in the room to join in. "How does that fit into the USDA mission at all?" she said. "The price tag makes it more egregious."


‘Mainstream’ Media Making A Desperate Last Stand?

In a particularly noxious September 30 article entitled "Tired Cries of Bias Don't Help Romney," New York Times columnist David Carr made a ludicrous effort to deflect conservative animosity towards the "mainstream" media. He contended that it is misplaced, and likely just an outgrowth of the frustration ostensibly felt by those on the right who want to see Barack Obama defeated in November. Carr attempts to make a case that the abundance of modern alternative media somehow negates the total lack of objectivity by "reporters" in the nation's major newspapers and on the nightly news. But by his very methodology in articulating his case, he proves the indictment of the decidedly liberal press.

Nor is Carr alone. On a PBS broadcast the following day, commentators Mark Shields and Nina Totenberg did their best to ridicule anyone who would dare contend that liberal bias exists among prominent media figures. Their scorn (embellished with forced laughter), represented a flailing version of the standard Alinsky tactic of mocking an argument that cannot be substantively refuted. This approach has often worked in the past. Act like it is an absurd point, and that those who ascribe to it are dim-witted, and hopefully others will be dissuaded from publicly agreeing with them.

Unfortunately for leftists, the ruse is no longer even remotely credible. Their attempts to execute a preemptive strike are becoming embarrassingly obvious. A pattern is emerging of media liberals seeking to bolster their integrity in the midst of a presidential campaign in which they have been anything but believable. Like the proverbial kid who cries out from the rear of the classroom with an unsolicited declaration of his total innocence, the rising fervor with which they try to exonerate themselves makes them look increasingly guilty. Indeed this is an old debate, but it is one that liberals are dredging up with a degree of coordination suggesting an agenda.

Even a cursory glance at the New York Times' evaporating circulation yields ample evidence that the numbers who find Carr, Shields, and their kind believable are dwindling. Yet this is a critical time for those on the left, who consider this November's elections to be game, set, and match. A loss by Barack Obama will represent an absolute repudiation of every aspect of the liberal/socialist utopia that society's most gullible have been eagerly anticipating since the days of Karl Marx. An electoral rout will put liberals in full retreat, not only on the political front, but in the ideological and philosophical realm as well. It is not surprising that, with so much at stake, they are making every effort to sway the outcome in their favor, and in particular, they are working overtime to thoroughly control the flow of information to the public.

Nevertheless, to their dismay, the conservative media flourishes. Though it takes more effort to root out information on the Internet or other alternative sources, for those who are sufficiently motivated, the avenues to truth exist. So it is incumbent upon the liberal/Democrat political propagandists to rail and accuse with sufficient volume to drown out all other information among those who still passively receive their daily news and accept it at face value.

That liberal "journalists" are able to engage in such behavior while professing, with totally straight faces, to embody objectivity and professionalism is a testament to their consuming devotion to their real cause, which is a wholly political one. They simply cannot be so pathologically naive or delusional to not recognize the bias that permeates every sentence they utter. So they must be deliberately and purposefully lying.

Entire organizations, such as Reed Irvine's "Accuracy In Media" and Dr. Brent Bozell's "Media Research Center" have been established for the purpose of calling the "mainstream news outlets" to account. And the incriminating evidence of their shady reporting exists in abundance. Yet they still cling tenaciously to their assertions of neutrality, and caterwaul with indignation at the merest suggestion that they might be less than such.

Though it may be stating the glaringly obvious to assert liberal media bias, their constant professions of angelic innocence must be countered. The many successes of the liberal propaganda onslaught during the last several decades has inarguably proven that a lie incessantly repeated must be just as diligently refuted, or it will eventually be accepted as "self-evident" truth. So a few examples of their ongoing moral and ethical bankruptcy should serve to remind Americans of just who they are, and more importantly, what manner of leaders they consider worthy to govern the nation.

Imagine how devastating Barack Obama's "You didn't build that" comment would be to his reelection efforts, if the nightly news anchors had delivered it with even a fraction of the fervency and outrage with which they relentlessly excoriated Mitt Romney for his "Forty Seven Percent" remark. Yet the major networks were at first virtually silent on Obama's outlandish assertion, though later, upon realizing how severely Real America was outraged by it, they felt compelled to defend their dear leader on the standard grounds that he was "taken out of context."

Going all the way back to Nancy Reagan's tenure as First Lady, the press has kept a sharp eye on Republican Presidents' wives and children, gleefully informing the public of any supposed lapses in decorum. In Nancy Reagan's case, a huge and ongoing "controversy" was concocted after her decision to upgrade White House dinnerware, as if that episode constituted an unforgivable breach of the public trust. In contrast, the lavish and exorbitantly expensive lifestyle enjoyed by Michelle Obama, involving innumerable vacations with enormous supporting "staff," are rarely discussed by liberal "reporters."

What if the media were to pursue the truth of the "Fast and Furious" disaster and the obvious complicity of Attorney General Erik Holder with a determination similar to their efforts to indict George Bush advisor Karl Rove over the manufactured Valerie Plame ruckus? It is noteworthy that Rove was fully exonerated of any wrongdoing in the affair. Yet in the wake of his acquittal, those "unbiased" news reporters refused to accept such a verdict. In contrast Holder, and indeed the entire Obama Administration, have clearly stonewalled every effort to get to the bottom (or, more accurately, the "top") of Fast and Furious. This time however, the media yawns.

Only the constraints of space impose a limit on the number of other examples that could be given, though a cursory mention of the treasonous Benghazi cover-up, and its implications to national security, is definitely warranted. In short, an unbiased media, primarily concerned with honestly informing the American people, would long ago have declared Obama's tenure in office a dismal failure. Instead, they rally to him and in the process make his shortcomings their own.

The people of the Heartland are correct to recognize that the dangers posed to them by a deceitful press are no less grave than those of an unscrupulous and ideologically blinded leftist administration whose sedition is empowered by their media minions.




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


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


7 October, 2012

IQ linked to levels of happiness

This is to be expected when we realize that IQ is a measure of GENERAL problem solving ability. High IQ helps with just about everything. More speculatively, it is consistent with high IQ being one aspect of general biological good functioning

People with lower intelligence are more likely to be unhappy than their brighter colleagues, according to UK researchers.

Their study of 6,870 people showed low intelligence was often linked with lower income and poor mental health, which contributed to unhappiness.

The researchers are calling for more help and support to be targeted at people with lower IQs.

Their findings were published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

The researchers, at University College London, analysed data from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in England.

One of the questions was: "Taking all things together, how would you say you were these days - very happy, fairly happy or not too happy?" People's verbal IQ was also assessed.

The highest proportion saying they were "very happy" was found in people with an IQ between 120 and 129 - 43% said they were very happy.

However, the highest proportion saying "not too happy" - 12% - was found in people with an IQ between 70 and 79.

Dr Angela Hassiotis said: "People in the lower end of the normal spectrum are more likely to consider themselves not happy."

The study said lower intelligence was linked to lower income, worse health and needing help with daily life, such as shopping or housework - all of which contributed to unhappiness.

Dr Jonathan Campion, a consultant psychiatrist and director of public mental health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The study suggests that higher IQ appears to be associated with improved wellbeing, but that this relationship between IQ and wellbeing is partly due to higher IQ being linked with better income, health and less mental illness."



Job increase mainly part-timers -- if you can believe it at all

Is this the Obama October Surprise? Only in an era of depressingly diminished expectations could the September jobs report be called a good one. It really isn’t. Not at all.

1. Yes, the U-3 unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, the first time it has been below 8% since January 2009. But that’s only due to a flood of 582,000 part-time jobs. As the Labor Department noted:
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

2. And take-home pay? Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by just 1.8 percent. When you take inflation into account, wages are flat to down.

3. The broader U-6 rate — which takes into account part-time workers who want full-time work and lots of discouraged workers who’ve given up looking — stayed unchanged at 14.7%. That’s a better gauge of the true unemployment rate and state of the American labor market.

4. The shrunken workforce remains shrunken. If the labor force participation rate was the same as when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.7%. If the participation rate had just stayed steady since the start of the year, the unemployment rate would be 8.4% vs. 8.3%. Where’s the progress? Here is RDQ Economics:
Such a rapid decline in the unemployment rate would be consistent with 4%–5% real economic growth historically but much of the decline is accounted for by people dropping out of the labor force (over the last year the employment-population ratio has risen to only 58.7% from 58.4%). We believe part of the drop in the unemployment rate over the last two months is a statistical quirk (the household data show an increase in employment of 873,000 in September, which is completely implausible and likely a result of sampling volatility). Moreover, declining labor force participation over the last year (resulting in 1.1 million people disappearing from the labor force) accounts for much of the rest of the decline.

5. As the chart at the top of the post shows — a chart originally produced by Team Obama — even the artificially depressed 7.8% unemployment rate is way above the 5.6% unemployment rate the White House predicted for September 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus package back in 2009.

6. The 114,000 jobs created would have been a good number … but for 1962, not 2012. The U.S. economy needs 2-3 times that number every month to close the jobs gap (which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.) At 114,000 jobs a month, the jobs gap would not close until after 2025, according to the Hamilton Project.

7. We are still on pace to create fewer jobs this year than last year. In 2012, employment growth has averaged 146,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.

8. White House economist Alan Krueger says the jobs numbers are ”further evidence” the economy is healing. But he’s wrong.

The employment-population ratio, which merely shows how many folks have jobs as a share of the civilian population, was 58.7%. Now that’s up from last month. But it is still far below where it was in June 2009, 59.4%,when the recession officially ended. And it’s even further below the 63% level before the downturn.

Bottom line: The U.S. labor market remains in a deep depression with virtually no recovery since the official end of the Great Recession. But the Long Recession continues unabated.



Obama’s 13 million jobs gap

In this recession, the economy has lost a net 3.4 million jobs from its 2008 peak that have not yet been recovered. Meanwhile the working age population has grown by more than 11.1 million since then — creating a 13.5 million and widening jobs gap that will not be filled easily no matter who wins the election on Nov. 6

At the Oct. 3 presidential debate, Barack Obama tried to put a nice spin on this dismal situation, claiming millions in private sector jobs growth in the past 30 months. But this is false comfort.

Since the job market’s bottom in Dec. 2009, the meager jobs growth we are currently seeing at about 150,000 a month is still not keeping up with population growth of about 200,000 a month.

Therefore, it is had little effect on the unemployed rate, which had been above 8 percent for 43 straight months, the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression. 7.8 percent is still not where we need to be.

For new entrants into the workforce, the hiring prospects out there are particularly grim, especially for recent college graduates, about half of whom alarmingly cannot find work according to a Rutgers study.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data bears this out. Since Jan. 2009, the labor force participation rate of college graduates has dropped significantly — from 77.6 percent to about 75.9 percent today. That accounts for about 1 million graduates who should have entered the labor force upon graduation, but didn’t.

Another 1.58 million with some college or an associate’s degree who should have also entered the labor force are nowhere to be found.

Together, that means 2.6 million Americans post-college have promptly joined the ranks of the unemployed. That’s at a rate of 59,581 a month or 714,000 young Americans a year who are falling through the cracks — creating a lost generation.

All of which means the jobs picture is simply going from bad to worse. We’re still bleeding.

To get out of this hole, the economy will need to produce in excess of 200,000 jobs a month just to begin eating into 13.5 million jobs gap and significantly reduce the unemployment rate. But this will not be easy. Even if the economy were to suddenly start creating 400,000 jobs a month, it would take nearly six years just to get back to full employment.

At the current 150,000 new jobs a month, we’ll never get there.

That is why whoever wins in Nov. will have their work cut out for them to make it more conducive for businesses to set up shop here as opposed to overseas. We’ll need to lower or eliminate the corporate tax, unwind unnecessary regulations in health care, the environment and labor, and strengthen the dollar to make it cheaper to do business here again.

In the meantime, systemic, high unemployment creates a tremendous political challenge for Obama. It is he who must face the 22.7 million Americans who can’t find full-time work at the polls, plus 5 million more who have simply given up.

These disenchanted may no longer be willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and will likely find themselves with a little extra time on their hands on Nov. 6 to add one more person to the ranks of the unemployed.



Romney left Obama on the ropes

If Obama has lost the New Yorker...

by Jeff Jacoby

BARACK OBAMA hasn't been in a high-stakes, nationally televised presidential debate in nearly four years. Mitt Romney was in plenty of them over the past 18 months. Last night, it showed.

Heading into yesterday's encounter at the University of Denver, polls showed that voters by a wide margin were expecting Obama to win the three debates that he and Romney have agreed to. But not only did the president fail to knock out his challenger last night, there were long stretches when it wasn't even clear he had remembered to lace up his gloves. On issue after issue, in exchange after exchange, Romney was focused, clear, interesting, and engaged, while Obama repeatedly came across as distracted, irritated, and vague. The former Massachusetts governor was plainly enjoying himself. The president seemed to want nothing more than to run out the clock and bring a painful evening to an end.

I didn't hear any devastating zingers, but Romney came equipped with memorable lines. The Obama economic philosophy, he said early on, amounts to "trickle-down government." The tens of billions of dollars the administration has sunk into failed "green" energy companies, he quipped, shows that "you don't pick winners and losers, you just pick the losers." To the president's repeated claim that Romney's tax proposals would inevitably result in higher taxes on middle-class earners, the GOP nominee replied affably that as a father of five sons, he was used to people saying something untrue over and over in the hope that repetition would make it more convincing.

When asked for examples of federal spending he would like to cut, he cheerfully cited subsidies for PBS. "Sorry, Jim," he smilingly told moderator Jim Lehrer, who is practically a PBS icon. "I like PBS. I like Big Bird – I even like you!" A humorless Obama, by contrast, snapped at Lehrer when he thought the moderator had cheated him out of five seconds of response time.

Romney channeled Muhammad Ali last night, floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee. He left Obama on the ropes.



The Undoing Of The Storybook Man

CNN ditched coverage of the speech after Romney's line about Chicago

Jonah Goldberg

If you've seen the "Shrek" movies or the spin-off cartoon starring the storybook cat voiced by Antonio Banderas, you know what I'm talking about. Whenever Puss in Boots really needs something from someone, he flashes these enormous kitten eyes that melt anyone in their path. Whenever my daughter really wants something, she tries to lay them on me, and I have to say, "Stop trying to give me the Puss in Boots eyes ... you can't have chocolate cake for dinner."

I knew Barack Obama was miserable when he tried to give debate moderator Jim Lehrer the Puss-in-Boots eyes. "You may want to move on to another topic," Obama implored Lehrer, a bit like a motorcycle thief begging a cop to take him into custody rather than let him stay with the surly biker gang that caught him.

I expected Romney to beat expectations and win the debate (though I had no clue how decisive his victory would be), not because I thought Romney was such a fantastic debater, but because Obama is the single most overrated politician of my lifetime.

That's not to say he's a bad politician. He's not. He's fine, even pretty good. But he's not the master so many people claim he is.

The Irish have a saying: "Hunger makes the best sauce." And it's true. If you're hungry enough, roadkill will make for a king's feast. Liberals were so hungry for someone like Obama, he seemed like so much more than he really was.

You could hear indications of this fact in the way some of the more crotchety members of the Democratic establishment described Obama.

Sen. Harry Reid was blown away by the potential of this "light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

In 2007, Joe Biden said of his then-opponent, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." He added: "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Storybook Man, indeed.

While such comments could be described as racially insensitive, they weren't necessarily racist. They simply reflected the fact that even cynical Democrats understood that the Democratic Party -- and, to be fair, much of the country generally -- craved a mainstream black presidential candidate. Jesse Jackson was too polarizing, some would say too embarrassing, for the job. Obama, meanwhile, was "storybook, man."

The problem for Obama was that he always believed the most ludicrous version of Storybook Man. He once told a reporter, "You know, I actually believe my own [bovine excrement]."

For a guy who supposedly gives wonderful speeches, he rarely persuades the un-persuaded or inspires those he didn't already have at "hello." That's partly the fault of his speechwriters, who always did him the disservice of producing the kind of pedantic and clichéd boilerplate that Obama mistook for soaring oratory. He thought he smashed through the Democratic primaries like a battering ram through concrete when he mostly pushed on open doors.

As president, he's convinced himself that he is a policy wonk with a deeper understanding of the machinery of government and the mysteries of the economy than even his advisors. And yet he had to learn on the job that "shovel-ready jobs" were magic beans sold to him by party hacks hungry for pork. He bought a stimulus that only stimulated political cronies. In the debate, he touted windmills and solar power as the energy sources of the future as if he still honestly believes that.

The media's infatuation with Obama and/or their contempt for his critics only served to reinforce his delusions. When the press laughs at all of your jokes and takes your glib excuses as profound insights, the inevitable result is a kind of flabby narcissism. Kings can be forgiven for thinking they are the greatest poets when the court weeps at their clunky limericks.

The Obama who delivered a shockingly lackluster convention speech last month is the same man who walked into that Denver stadium in 2008 to rapturous approval. The man who lost the debate Wednesday night is the same man who never managed to make Obamacare popular after more than 50 speeches and pronouncements on it in his first year.

The key difference now is that the hunger for Obama has been replaced with the indigestion that follows after four unimpressive years in office. In sales, they say you sell the sizzle, not the steak. In 2008, the man was all sizzle, and the ravenous throng was sold. Now he must sell the steak itself, and it's full of gristle, fat and bone. He may yet still close the deal, but only if people fall for his Puss in Boots eyes.




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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)


5 October, 2012

A most articulate black Christian

One can only hope that his clear-thinking sincerity and true Christianity become contagious. He in fact has a powerful message for all Christians, black or white. I salute him


Univision Exposes Fast and Furious' Rising Body Count

From ABC, CBS and NBC? Crickets

A Univision special documents how weapons provided by the administration to Mexican drug cartels repeatedly have taken a deadly toll as families on both sides of the border wait for true answers and accountability.

We may never know how many deaths, kidnappings and other criminal activities were facilitated by more than 2,000 weapons that were allowed to "walk" into Mexico under the Obama administration's Fast and Furious program, but a Univision special aired Sunday exposes more of the carnage.

The special, put together by Univision's investigative unit and aired as a special edition of Univision's "Aqui y Ahora" ("Here and Now") identified massacres committed using guns from the ATF operation, including the killing of 16 young people attending a party in a residential area of Ciudad Juarez in January 2010.

In addition to fueling increased gun violence in Mexico, guns from Fast and Furious previously unreported by congressional investigators found their way into the hands of drug traffickers across Latin America in countries such as Honduras and Colombia, as well as the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Kudos to Univision, which regrettably will not have a reporter at Wednesday's presidential debate to ask the tough questions the administration's media sycophants will not, for pursuing the truth on Fast and Furious with more vigor than most American media outlets.

"I think up to 100 Mexicans might have died (in Operation Fast and Furious) and also American agent Brian Terry," Univision reporter Jorge Ramos said to President Obama during a recent interview.

"There's a report that 14 agents were responsible for the operation, but shouldn't the attorney general, Eric Holder ... have known about that? And if he didn't, should you fire him?"

We hope but doubt that President Obama will be asked such a question at Wednesday's debate by the network talking heads or that they'll be asked this challenging follow-up question by Ramos' co-host Maria Elena Salinas: "Why don't we have ... an independent investigation that is not done by the Justice Department?"

As we have noted, the recent report by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz was largely a whitewash that, while citing 14 officials as potential scapegoats and admitting Fast and Furious represented a "pattern of serious failures" by various agencies, let the buck stop short of where it belongs — with Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama White House.

Univision found 57 Fast and Furious weapons in addition to 122 specifically mentioned in a congressional report. They included weapons used in the massacre at a party just one year after President Obama's inauguration and less than a year before Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 at the hands of an illegal immigrant working for the Sinaloa Cartel just 10 miles from the Mexican border near Nogales, Ariz.

"On Jan. 30, 2010, a commando of at least 20 hit men parked themselves outside a birthday party of high school and college students in Villas de Salvarcar, Ciudad Juarez," according to a version of the Univision report in English, on the ABC News website.

Citing a Mexican Army document it obtained and published, Univision reported that three of the high-caliber weapons were traced to Operation Fast and Furious.

The report also reveals the botched operation may have played a role in a 2009 massacre, where 18 young men were killed at a rehabilitation center also in Juarez. The massacre was reportedly ordered and carried out by Mexican hit men.

Current estimates put the number of Mexican nationals murdered by Fast and Furious weapons at 300. More such evidence will be found and the Fast and Furious body count will rise, ignored by the administration and its media protectors.



Darrell Issa Does the Work American Reporters Won’t Do (again)

He pushed "Fast & Furious" to the point of a White House coverup too

Ever since the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, the Obama administration has been stalling, obfuscating and outright lying in order to avoid taking responsibility for the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador. To a considerable degree, they have gotten away with that strategy. But Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has stepped into the breach.

Issa's committee has been approached by whistle-blowers within the State Department, and the stories they tell about the department's malfeasance are shocking. Today Issa wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, outlining information his committee has received and announcing his intention to hold hearings on what happened in Benghazi:

"Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the Ambassador's life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest. In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington."

This is, obviously, a bombshell. Issa goes on to itemize no fewer than 13 attacks and other incidents involving diplomatic personnel in Libya, including at least two attacks on the consulate in Benghazi.



Capital Gains Taxes

Thomas Sowell

One of the many false talking points of the Obama administration is that a rich man like Warren Buffett should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. But anyone whose earnings come from capital gains usually pays a lower tax rate.

How are capital gains different from ordinary income?

Ordinary income is usually guaranteed. If you work a certain amount of time, you are legally entitled to the pay that you were offered when you took the job. Capital gains involve risk. They are not guaranteed. You can invest your money and lose it all. Moreover, the year when you receive capital gains may not be the same as the years when they were earned.

Suppose I spend ten years writing a book, making not one cent from it in all that time. Then, in the tenth year, when the book is finished, I may sell it to a publisher who pays me $100,000 in advance royalties.

Am I the same as someone who has a salary of $100,000 that year?

Or am I earning $10,000 a year for ten years' work?

It so happens that the government will tax me the same as someone who earns $100,000 that year, because my decade of work on the book cannot be documented. But the point here is that it is really a capital gain, and it illustrates the difference between a capital gain and ordinary income.

Then there is the risk factor. There is no guarantee to me that a publisher will actually accept the book that I have worked on for ten years -- and there is no guarantee to the publisher that the public will buy enough copies of the book to repay whatever I might be paid when the contract is signed.

Even the $10,000 a year -- which is less than anyone can earn on an entry level job -- is not guaranteed. If my years of work produced an unpublished manuscript, I would not even have been among the first thousand writers who met this fate.

Very similar principles apply to businesses. We pay attention to businesses after they have succeeded. But most new businesses do not succeed. Even those businesses that eventually turn out to be enormously successful may go through years of losing money before they have their first year of earning a profit.

Amazon.com spent years losing money before turning a profit for the first time in 2001. McDonald's teetered on the edge of bankruptcy more than once in its early years. Desperate expedients were resorted to by the people who ran McDonald's, in order to just keep their noses above the water, while hoping for better days.

At one time, you could have bought half interest in McDonald's for

$25,000 -- and there were no takers. Anyone who would have risked $25,000 at that time would be a billionaire today. But there was no guarantee at the time that they wouldn't be just throwing 25 grand down a rat hole.

Where a capital gain can be documented -- when a builder spends ten years creating a housing development, for example -- then whatever that builder earns in the tenth year is a capital gain, not ordinary income. There is no guarantee in advance that the builder will ever recover his expenses, much less make a profit.

There are whole industries where no one can expect to make a profit the first year -- publishing a newspaper for example. Virtually every major American airline has lost money in some years, and some of the biggest and most famous airlines have ended up going bankrupt.

If a country wants investors to invest, it cannot tax their resulting capital gains the same as the incomes of people whose incomes were guaranteed in advance when they took the job.

It is not just a question of "fairness" to investors. Ultimately, it is investors who guarantee other people's incomes in a market economy, even though the investors' own incomes are by no means guaranteed.

Reducing investors' incentives to take risks is reducing the jobs their investments are likely to create.

Business income is different from employees' income in another way. The profit that a business makes is first taxed as profit and the remainder is then taxed again as the incomes of people who receive dividends.

The biggest losers from politicians who jack up tax rates are likely to be people who are looking for jobs that will not be there, because investments will not be there to create the jobs.



Obama's Old-World Arrogance

When President Obama came to the U.N. General Assembly on September 25, his arrogance was on full display. He skipped meeting any world leaders, but did find time to sit down and talk about his lover moves on ABC's "The View." Topics included how he's a "romantic husband," how he "tucks in" his wife at night and how his first kiss with Michelle is now memorialized by a monument in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for war against a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. Yawn.

Obama also skipped the traditional luncheon, leaving U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon looking like "a jilted prom date," reported CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I think he must be busy with something at this moment," Moon said at the lunch, drawing laughs. "Or perhaps he must be stuck somewhere in traffic."

But the arrogance was also there in Obama's U.N. speech. In one passage, he flagrantly drew a straight line from blasphemers of Jesus Christ to his own critics, as if those two groups are similar in their willingness to offend messianic figures.

"Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet, we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs," he declared. Then it was all about him: "As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so." Anyone who has heard him diss the Supreme Court for the Citizens United verdict, affirming political free speech, knows that's baloney.

Our Obama-worshipping media played the second half of that clip as if Obama were somehow being humble, which thoroughly distorts the picture. The media coverage of Obama's speech overlooked Obama's bizarre statement that "we not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe."

No one in the liberal media thought it sounded ridiculous after the Obama administration doubled down on the Catholic Church with Obamacare, insisting that faithful Catholics must fund insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. No one blinked after the "filmmaker" who made the Muhammad-mocking YouTube video was suddenly jailed in California (perhaps for years) for, ahem, "violating probation."

The media certainly skipped the Obama sound bite that rocketed around Twitter within minutes, the pandering passage about Muhammad. "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," he proclaimed.

Then he did his typical triangulating with religions: "But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated or churches that are destroyed or the Holocaust that is denied."

Our media failed to report the obvious: Obama is AWOL when it comes to condemning desecrations of Christianity. Where is he with the constant, obscene attacks against Catholics at home? Where is he on the assault on Christianity all across the Muslim world? How about Israel?

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) recently called on the president to "stand up for America's values and beliefs and denounce the 'Piss Christ' that has offended Christians at home and abroad." The urine-soaked crucifix image (funded by the National Endowment for the Arts) is once again being honored in a gallery, the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery on West 57th Street in Manhattan, a short cab ride from the United Nations.

Obama had nothing to say. There were no calls to the gallery the way Team Obama called YouTube and asked for censorship. There were no $70,000 advertising buys in Christian countries to pacify rioters. There was just silence.

But in his speech, Obama employed New York City as a model of religious tolerance. "For as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith," except the Christians who are always fair game for mockery.

William Donohue of the Catholic League protested the exhibit at the gallery scene. He also made a video where he put a bobble-head doll of Obama in a jar with "faux feces" and asked for a federal grant like the one Andres Serrano received. ''It's brown Play-Doh," he explained. "You get the point, right? The cultural and political elite are basically secularist. They don't believe in God. This is their god. Liberalism is their god," he said, pointing at the Obama jar.

At the center of that secularist elite is our very politicized media, the ones who are rigging this election and allowing Obama to say all sorts of ludicrous things about religion and to skip all sorts of meeting with world leaders.




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


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


4 October, 2012

Is Barack Obama a Compulsive Liar?

Barack Obama has lied about the terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Libya for over 15 days, even going so far as to overtly imply that this attack was prompted by an obscure internet movie trailer in his speech at the United Nations two weeks after it was confirmed the White House knew it was an Al Qaeda sponsored attack. Additionally, during the current campaign the lies and obfuscations about Mitt Romney and the Republicans have been so fast and furious that it is nearly impossible to keep up with them.

The administration's reaction to what went on in Libya is not a surprise, as reliance on prevarications and the attendant dishonesty is part and parcel of Obama's normal behavior. There rarely has been a speech or an off the cuff comment since he entered the national stage that does not contain some deliberate or insinuated falsehood. This tendency is exemplified in his recent interview with Univision wherein Obama lied about why he never introduced immigration reform and when the ill-fated Fast and Furious program was raised, he began blaming the Republicans and George Bush respectively.

There is now a near universal mistrust of Obama among world leaders as well as many members of Congress who candidly admit they cannot deal with Barack Obama, as he has proven himself to be untrustworthy and unbelievable -- particularly as he refuses to accept any responsibility for the outcome of his actions and policies. The diminished status of the United States around the globe and the greatly eroded standard of living for the vast majority of Americans are testament to these character flaws.

At times even the most diehard of his sycophants in the mainstream media are forced to report on this disturbing trait in their hero. This past spring the Washington Post ran a lengthy front page article on Obama's machinations during the debt ceiling debate. The highlight of the piece: Barack Obama deliberately lied to the American people concerning the intransigence of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. It was an amazing admission for a pillar of the sycophantic mainstream media to write a story claiming that their hero lied. A further example of the media's awakening to the deceit and fabrications of the Obama administration is the recent reporting on the Libyan scandal which is actively pursuing the lies and cover-up.

However, there has been five years of outright lies and narcissism that have been largely ignored by the media, including some in the conservative press and political class who are loath to call Mr. Obama what he is in the bluntest of terms: a liar and a fraud. That he relies on his skin color to intimidate, either outright or by insinuation, those who oppose his agenda only adds to his audacity. It is apparent that he has gotten away with his character flaws his entire life, aided and abetted by the sycophants around him; thus he is who he is and cannot change.

In an earlier column I asked the question is Barack Obama a compulsive liar or a sociopath?

A Sociopath:

"A sociopath is typically defined as someone who lies incessantly to get their way and does so with little concern for others. A sociopath is often goal-oriented (i.e., lying is focused--it is done to get one's way). Sociopaths have little regard or respect for the rights and feelings of others. Sociopaths are often charming and charismatic, but they use their talented social skills in manipulative and self-centered ways."

A compulsive liar:

"A compulsive liar is defined as someone who lies out of habit. Lying is their normal and reflexive way of responding to questions. Compulsive liars bend the truth about everything, large and small. For a compulsive liar, telling the truth is very awkward and uncomfortable while lying feels right. Compulsive lying is usually developed in early childhood, due to being placed in an environment where lying was necessary."

While Barack Obama exhibits traits from both categories, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is primarily a compulsive liar. How else to explain the lies and obfuscations that so easily come forth regardless of whom he may be talking to or the subject matter. His sociopathic skills come to the fore in his ability to manipulate others to join him in his these prevarications, or to exploit the celebrity culture that has overwhelmed a deliberately ill-educated American society.

In the United States there is great deference paid to the occupant of the White House. Justifiably so, as that person is the chief operating officer of the country, but more importantly he or she is the head of state representing the nation around the globe. The President's actions and demeanor set the tone for not only the political class but the country as a whole. Over the centuries there have been many exceptional but also a few inept men to hold the office of President.

Today so much power is vested in the Office of President that honor and integrity must be a hallmark of a president's character. It is not with Barack Obama; he is perhaps the most dishonest and disingenuous occupant of the oval office in history, and has the potential to do more long-term damage to the United States than all his predecessor combined.

His failings can no longer be excused by this historical deference or timidity fostered by race with the euphemisms of spin or politics as usual being used to avoid the truth. It is extraordinarily difficult to run against someone such as Barack Obama -- a stranger to truth and integrity willing to do anything to win -- but Mitt Romney must do so by candidly admitting who he is dealing with.

While the future of the country depends on dramatically altering the economic and governing landscape, it cannot do so unless the opposition politicians and average citizens recognize and forcefully challenge the lies and machinations of Barack Obama and his allies without fear of what may be said about them or to them by either the Obama machine or their sycophants in the media.



More of Obama's effortless lies -- swallowed whole by the media

The best response to all that's strange, mysterious or just surprising may be a smile. But the news of late has reduced me to the one-word question and expletive favored by "Mad Men's" Don Draper whenever he's confronted by anything that doesn't make sense:


Take the sheer number of fabrications Barack Obama managed to pack into one response to a simple question on CBS' "60 Minutes." To swallow them all would require a boxcar of salt. And the whole enchilada came packaged in our president's usual condescending style -- as if he were still addressing a class of first-year law students at the University of Chicago, their notebooks at the ready to capture every pearl of wisdom he might drop, however artificial.

All it took to unleash this Niagara of falsehoods was a simple question about the explosion of the national debt on this president's watch. (It's now 60 percent higher than when he took office.) The president's response went on for some time, but the biggest whopper had to be his claim that "when I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history."


The biggest annual deficit the federal government has ever run turns out to have been in 1943 in the midst of the Second World War, the next biggest in the wartime years 1944 and 1945. As the Wall Street Journal was quick to point out.

It took the Journal two whole, heavily footnoted columns to go through the various snares-and delusions contained in the president's extended answer to a simple question. And the Washington Post awarded him four Pinnochios, its Oscars for dissembling, on the basis of this performance.

Here's the text of the president's statement in all its sprawling fraudulence:

"When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren't paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren't paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially slower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush."

Beginning with that bogus claim about inheriting the biggest annual deficit in American history, the president went on to make a number of other dubious assertions that needed clearing up:

1. The Bush tax cuts actually increased government revenues, as tax cuts tend to do, rather than add to the federal deficit. Those awful Bush tax cuts worked so well that President Obama now proposes keeping them for most Americans.

2. The Bush administration's drug insurance plan under Medicare may not have been paid for, but that doesn't mean this president wants to drop it. On the contrary, ObamaCare would extend it. On a vast scale.

3. The war in Iraq was already being won by the time President Obama came into office, and American involvement there was starting to wind down -- thanks to the Surge of troops that Sen. Obama had said would never work. (So did Hillary Clinton, then a U.S. senator and now his secretary of state.) The Surge proved so successful that President Obama adopted the same tactic in Afghanistan. And if it works as well there, it will also reduce this country's military expenditures, and therefore the federal deficit -- not increase it.

4. This president was willing to take responsibility for "only" 10 percent of the federal deficit, a figure that has no discernible basis in fact. His stimulus package back in 2009 cost $830 billion, and still failed to do much to stimulate the economy. The unemployment rate remains above 8 percent. The recession formally ended in June of 2009, yet his administration has been driving up the national debt by trillion-dollar deficits every year since he was sworn in. Where he got that 10 percent figure is anybody's guess, probably his.

5. When the president says the deficit is growing at the slowest rate since the Eisenhower administration, he's just having some fun with numbers. Because he's measuring its rate of growth from the end of his first fiscal year in office -- after he had increased government spending by $535 billion a year. Given that inflated base, of course the rate of increase would appear smaller -- however ruinous.

And so trickily on. Bill Clinton did this kind of thing much better. And is still doing it much better, to judge by his ring-tailed roarer of a speech at the Democratic National Convention this year, which may have been just as deceptive but was so much slicker.

What was most remarkable about our president's extensive mix of the misleading and just plain false wasn't so much its web of falsehoods, semi-falsehoods and numbers games. Most of us are accustomed to that kind political gamesmanship by now. (Oh what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practice to deceive.)

What was unusual about his long-winded speech of an answer to a simple question was that it elicited not the slightest dissent from the country's liberal (now called progressive) intelligentsia. There's no point in looking for any criticisms of the president's preposterous claims from a columnist like, oh, Paul Krugman, to cite the most blatant example of the deterioration of thought on the American left.

Didn't there used to be a creature known as the honest liberal? What ever happened to the liberal conscience? Where are the Lionel Trillings and Murray Kemptons and Dwight Macdonalds of today? The kind of liberals who, despite their political leanings, saw through Alger Hiss' cover story from the first, and were never afraid to challenge left-wing orthodoxies in general.

Something seems to have died in the American soul. Now whatever our own presidential candidate says, no matter now outrageous, it sparks no outrage, while everything the other party's candidate says must be a lie.

What a sorry comedown for American political commentary when obvious falsehoods have to be pointed out by the fact-checking, bean-counting, Pinnochio-awarding number crunchers at the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Rather than the kind of commentators who offer thought, not just rows of figures. What has been lost is the eloquence that makes political commentary not just a public service but an art.



The World's Most Dynamic Religion Is ...

For at least the last hundred years, the world's most dynamic religion has been neither Christianity nor Islam. It is leftism.

Most people do not recognize what is probably the single most important fact of modern life. One reason is that leftism is overwhelmingly secular (more than merely secular: it is inherently opposed to all traditional religions), and therefore people do not regard it as a religion. Another is that leftism so convincingly portrays itself as solely the product of reason, intellect, and science that it has not been seen as the dogma-based ideology that it is. Therefore, the vast majority of the people who affirm leftist beliefs think of their views as the only way to properly think about life.

That, in turn, explains why anyone who opposes leftism is labeled anti-intellectual, anti-progress, anti-science, anti-minority and anti-reason (among many other pejorative epithets): leftists truly believe that there is no other way to think.

How successful has leftism been?

It dominates the thinking of Europe, much of Latin America, Canada, and Asia, as well as the thinking of the political and intellectual elites of most of the world. Outside of the Muslim world, it is virtually the only way in which news is reported and virtually the only way in which young people are educated from elementary school through university.

Only the United States, of all Western countries, has resisted leftism. But that resistance is fading as increasing numbers of Americans abandon traditional Judeo-Christian religions, lead secular lives, are educated by teachers whose views are almost uniformly left-wing and are exposed on a daily basis virtually exclusively to leftist views in their news and entertainment media.

And when there is resistance, the left declares it "extremist." Merely believing that marriage should remain defined as it has been throughout recorded history, as between a man and a woman, renders you an extremist. So, too, belief that government should be small -- the Tea Party position -- renders one an extremist. Last week, the managing editor of Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, said on MSNBC that the Salafis, the most radical Islamist sect, are "the Tea Party of Muslim democracy."

Even Christianity and Judaism, the pillars of Judeo-Christian values, the moral value system upon which America was founded and thanks to which it became the world's beacon of liberty, have been widely influenced by leftism. Many priests, ministers, rabbis and many Jewish and Christian seminaries are leftist in content and Jewish or Christian only in form.

Years ago, I debated one of the most prominent rabbis in the Conservative movement of Judaism on the issue of whether morality must be God-based. The Ivy League Ph.D., yarmulke-wearing rabbi argued that God was not morally necessary. If you want to understand why so many Jews vote left while nearly all the Western world's opposition to -- and frequently hatred of -- Israel emanates from the left, one explanation is this: For most American Jews, their religion is leftism, while Judaism is their ethnicity and culture. The Reform, and increasingly the Conservative, movements have, to a large extent, become political movements that use Hebrew and Jewish rituals to equate Judaism with progressive politics.

Within mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism, the same dominance of leftist values exists. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops largely holds the same social and economic views as the Democratic Party and The New York Times editorial page. It differs with the left with regard to same-sex marriage, abortion and religious freedom issues such as those pertaining to Catholic hospitals and government-funded contraception. As for mainstream Protestant denominations, they, too, are largely indistinguishable from leftism. Proof? Ask a liberal Protestant minister to name one important area in which he and leftism differ. Ask a liberal Reform or Conservative rabbi the same question. Their silence will be telling.

The truth is that the left has been far more successful in converting in converting Jews and Christians to Leftism than Christianity and Judaism have been in influencing leftists to convert to Christianity or Judaism.

Finally, leftism has even attained considerable success at undoing the central American values of liberty, "In God We Trust," and "E Pluribus Unum," supplanting liberty with egalitarianism, a God-based society with secularism, and "E Pluribus Unum" with multiculturalism. (I make this case at length in "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph" [HarperCollins].)

This triumph of the twentieth century's most dynamic religion -- leftism -- is why, even in the midst of an ongoing recession, the leftist candidate may win. As I wrote in my last column, it's not just the economy, stupid.




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


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


3 October, 2012

Foreword to The Socialist Phenomenon by Igor Shafarevich

by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

It seems that certain things in this world simply cannot be discovered without extensive experience, be it personal or collective. This applies to the present book with its fresh and revealing perspective on the millennia-old trends of socialism.

While it makes use of a voluminous literature familiar to specialists throughout the world, there is an undeniable logic in the fact that it emerged from the country that has undergone (and is undergoing) the harshest and most prolonged socialist experience in modern history. Nor is it at all incongruous that within that country this book should not have been produced by a humanist, for scholars in the humanities have been the most methodically crushed of all social strata in the Soviet Union ever since the October Revolution. It was written by a mathematician of world renown: in the Communist world, practitioners of the exact sciences must stand in for their annihilated brethren.

But this circumstance has its compensations. It provides us with a rare opportunity of receiving a systematic analysis of the theory and practice of socialism from the pen of an outstanding mathematical thinker versed in the rigorous methodology of his science. (One can attach particular weight, for instance, to his judgment that Marxism lacks even the climate of scientific inquiry.)

World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis, features which the author of this volume points out repeatedly and in many contexts.

The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct--also laid bare by Shafarevich--these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach.

The twentieth century marks one of the greatest upsurges in the success of socialism, and concomitantly of its repulsive practical manifestations. Yet due to the same passionate irrationality, attempts to examine these results are repelled: they are either ignored completely, or implausibly explained away in terms of certain "Asiatic" or "Russian" aberrations or the personality of a particular dictator, or else they are ascribed to "state capitalism."

The present book encompasses vast stretches of time and space. By carefully describing and analyzing dozens of socialist doctrines and numerous states built on socialist principles, the author leaves no room for evasive arguments based on so-called "insignificant exceptions" (allegedly bearing no resemblance to the glorious future).

Whether it is the centralization of China in the first millennium B.C., the bloody European experiments of the time of the Reformation, the chilling (though universally esteemed) utopias of European thinkers, the intrigues of Marx and Engels, or the radical Communist measures of the Lenin period (no wit more humane than Stalin's heavy-handed methods)--the author in all his dozens of examples demonstrates the undeviating consistency of the phenomenon under consideration.

Shafarevich has singled out the invariants of socialism, its fundamental and unchanging elements, which depend neither on time nor place, and which, alas, are looming ominously over today's tottering world. If one considers human history in its entirety, socialism can boast of a greater longevity and durability, of wider diffusion and of control over larger masses of people, than can contemporary Western civilization.

It is therefore difficult to shake off gloomy presentiments when contemplating that maw into which--before the century is out--we may all plunge: that "Asiatic formation" which Marx hastened to circumvent in his classification, and before which contemporary Marxist thought stands baffled, having discerned its own hideous countenance in the mirror of the millennia. It could probably be said that the majority of states in the history of mankind have been "socialist." But it is also true that these were in no sense periods or places of human happiness or creativity.

Shafarevich points out with great precision both the cause and the genesis of the first socialist doctrines, which he characterizes as reactions: Plato as a reaction to Greek culture, and the Gnostics as a reaction to Christianity. They sought to counteract the endeavor of the human spirit to stand erect, and strove to return to the earthbound existence of the primitive states of antiquity.

The author also convincingly demonstrates the diametrical opposition between the concepts of man held by religion and by socialism. Socialism seeks to reduce human personality to its most primitive levels and to extinguish the highest, most complex, and "God-like" aspects of human individuality. And even equality itself, that powerful appeal and great promise of socialists throughout the ages, turns out to signify not equality of rights, of opportunities, and of external conditions, but equality qua identity, equality seen as the movement of variety toward uniformity.

Even though, as this book shows, socialism has always successfully avoided truly scientific analyses of its essence, Shafarevich's study challenges present-day theoreticians of socialism to demonstrate their arguments in a businesslike public discussion.


To cut to the conclusion of Shafarevich's book, he argues that socialism is basically nihilistic. It aims only at destruction


Dancing on the Grave of Keynesianism (money printing)

The alternative is "Austrian" economics -- the view that government meddling in the economy is always bad and that economic decisions should be left up to the individual

The collapse of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 was the best news of my lifetime. The monster died. It was not just that the USSR went down. The entire mythology of revolutionary violence as the method of social regeneration, promoted since the French Revolution, went down with it. As I wrote in my 1968 book, Marxism was a religion of revolution. And Marxism died institutionally in the last month of 1991.

Yet we cannot show conclusively that "the West" defeated the Soviet Union. What defeated the Soviet Union was socialist economic planning. The Soviet Union was based on socialism, and socialist economic calculation is irrational. Ludwig von Mises in 1920 described why in his article, "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth." He showed in theory exactly what is wrong with all socialist planning. He made it clear why socialism could never compete with the free market. It has no capital goods markets, and therefore economic planners cannot allocate capital according to capital's most important and most desired needs among by the public.

Finally, when it became clear in the late 1980s that the Soviet economy was bankrupt, a multimillionaire socialist professor named Robert Heilbroner wrote an article, "After Communism," for the New Yorker (September 10, 1990), which is not an academic journal, in which he admitted that throughout his entire career, he had always believed what he had been taught in graduate school, namely that Lange was right and Mises was wrong. Then, he wrote these words: "Mises was right."

The Soviet Union was always economically bankrupt. It was poverty-stricken in 1991. It was, in conservative journalist Richard Grenier's magnificent phrase, Bangladesh with missiles. Outside of Moscow, Russians in 1990 lived in poverty comparable to mid-19th-century America, but with far less freedom. Yet this was never told to students during the years that I was in school, which was in the 1960s. There were a few economists who did talk about it, but they got little publicity, were not famous, and their books were not assigned in college classrooms. The standard approach of the academic community was to say that the Soviet Union was a functioning economy: a worthy competitor to capitalism.

Paul Samuelson was the most influential academic economist of the second half of the 20th century. He wrote the introductory textbook that sold more than any other in the history of college economics. In 1989, as the USSR's economy was collapsing, he wrote in his textbook that the Soviet Union's central-planning system proves that central planning can work. Mark Skousen nailed him on this in his book Economics on Trial in 1990. David Henderson reminded readers in the Wall Street Journal in 2009.

Samuelson had an amazingly tin ear about communism. As early as the 1960s, economist G. Warren Nutter at the University of Virginia had done empirical work showing that the much-vaunted economic growth in the Soviet Union was a myth. Samuelson did not pay attention. In the 1989 edition of his textbook, Samuelson and William Nordhaus wrote, "the Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive."

The creator of the so-called Keynesian synthesis and the first American winner of a Nobel Prize in economics was blind as a bat to the most important economic failure of the modern world. Two years later, the USSR was literally broken up, as if it had been some bankrupt corporation. Samuelson never saw it coming. People who are conceptually blind never do.

The Keynesian Era Is Coming to a Close

I say this to give you hope. The Keynesians seem to be dominant today. They are dominant because they have been brought into the hierarchy of political power. They serve as court prophets to the equivalent of the Babylonians, just before the Medo-Persians took the nation.

They are in charge of the major academic institutions. They are the main advisers in the federal government. They are the overwhelmingly dominant faction within the Federal Reserve System.

There was no overwhelming outrage among staff economists at the Federal Reserve when Ben Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) cranked up the monetary base from $900 billion to $1.7 trillion in late 2008, and then cranked it up to $2.7 trillion by the middle of 2011. This expansion of the money supply had no foundation whatsoever in anybody's theory of economics. It was totally an ad hoc decision. It was a desperate FOMC trying to keep the system from collapsing, or at least they thought it was about to collapse. The evidence for that is questionable. But, in any case, they cranked up the monetary base, and nobody in the academic community except a handful of Austrians complained that this was a complete betrayal of the monetary system and out of alignment with any theory of economics.

The problem we are going to face at some point as a nation and in fact as a civilization is this: there is no well-developed economic theory inside the corridors of power that will explain to the administrators of a failed system what they should do after the system collapses. This was true in the Eastern bloc in 1991. There was no plan of action, no program of institutional reform. This is true in banking. This is true in politics. This is true in every aspect of the welfare-warfare state. The people at the top are going to be presiding over a complete disaster, and they will not be able to admit to themselves or anybody else that their system is what produced the disaster. So, they will not make fundamental changes. They will not restructure the system, by decentralizing power, and by drastically reducing government spending. They will be forced to decentralize by the collapsed capital markets.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, academics in the West could not explain why. They could not explain what inherently forced the complete collapse of the Soviet economy, nor could they explain why nobody in their camp had seen it coming. Judy Shelton did, but very late: in 1989. Nobody else had seen it coming, because the non-Austrian academic world rejected Mises's theory of socialist economic calculation. Everything in their system was against acknowledging the truth of Mises's criticisms, because he was equally critical about central banking, Keynesian economics, and the welfare state. They could not accept his criticism of Communism precisely because he used the same arguments against them.

The West could not take advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union, precisely because it had gone Keynesian rather than Austrian. The West was as compromised with Keynesian mixed economic planning, both in theory and in practice, as the Soviets had been compromised with Marx. So, there was great praise of the West's welfare state and democracy as the victorious system, when there should have been praise of Austrian economics. There was no realization that the West's fiat-money economy is heading down the same bumpy road that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The present value of the unfunded liabilities of the American welfare state, totaling over $200 trillion today, shows where this nation's Keynesian government is headed: to default. It is also trapped in the quagmire of Afghanistan. The government will pull out at some point in this decade. This will not have the same psychological effect that it did on the Soviet Union, because we are not a total military state. But it will still be a defeat.

The welfare-warfare state, Keynesian economics, and the Council on Foreign Relations are going to suffer major defeats when the economic system finally goes down. The system will go down. It is not clear what will pull the trigger, but it is obvious that the banking system is fragile, and the only thing capable of bailing it out is fiat money. The system is sapping the productivity of the nation, because the Federal Reserve's purchases of debt are siphoning productivity and capital out of the private sector and into those sectors subsidized by the federal government.

After the Crash

There will be a great scramble ideologically among economists and social theorist as to why the system went down, and what ought to replace it. On campus, there will be no coherent answers whatsoever. The suppression of the truth has gone on so systematically on campus for half a century, as manifested by the universal praise of the Federal Reserve System, that the reputation of campus will not recover. It shouldn't recover. The entire academic community has been in favor of the welfare-warfare state, so it will not survive the collapse of that system. It will become a laughingstock.

It is not clear who is going to come out the victors in all this. That could take a generation to begin to sort out. There will be many claimants, all pitching their solutions, all insisting that they saw the crisis coming. But that will be hard to prove for anybody except the Austrians.

The analysts with the best arguments are the Austrians. As to whether they are going to be able to multiply fast enough, or recruit students fast enough, or train them fast enough, with some of them going into positions of authority, is problematical. But we do know this: there has been no systematic criticism of Keynesian theory and its policies except by the Austrians over the past 70 years.


I offer this optimistic assessment: the bad guys are going to lose. Their statist policies will bring destruction that they will not be able to explain away. Their plea will be rejected. "Give us more time. We just need a little more time. We can fix this if you let us get deeper into your wallets."

In the very long run, the good guys are going to win, but in the interim, there is going to be a lot of competition to see which group gets to dance on the grave of the Keynesian system.


I have savagely simplified both Keynesian and Austrian thinking in my headings above but for those not familiar with the ideas concerned it should be a useful guide


Democrat Senate Hopeful Warren Exposed As Complete Fraud

Democrat Elizabeth Warren has framed her race in Massachusetts against Sen. Scott Brown around integrity and intellect, as if she's a cut above other pols. In fact, she's beneath even the sleaziest.

On top of fraudulently claiming minority Indian status without any documented ancestry, the Harvard law professor has now been busted practicing law in Massachusetts without a state license.

Worse, her client list includes the type of corporations that Ms. Populist has demonized on the campaign trail as greedy polluters and exploiters of the "little guy."

Turns out working-class champion Warren in 1995 hired herself out as a legal gun for LTV Steel to help the conglomerate fight thousands of retired coal miners who wanted more health and pension benefits, the Boston Herald says. She pocketed a cool $10,000 in the case. Records show in 2009 she also defended insurance giant Travelers against asbestos victims.

She's also written scholarly papers on health care and bankruptcy without showing her data, and crafted federal health and banking regulations without a brain. Warren is the intellectual architect of the massively unpopular Dodd-Frank Act and ObamaCare, both of which are dragging down the U.S. recovery.

She's been accused by several law professors of "repeated instances of scientific misconduct" in authoring papers that have provided the academic underpinnings for financial and health reforms. Peer reviews have dismissed her research as "deeply flawed."




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


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


2 October, 2012

Tribe of Liberty

Jonah Goldberg

We like tribalism for the same reason we like to eat fatty foods: We evolved that way.

Homo sapiens didn't survive long on the African savannas as rugged individualists. Alone, they couldn't scare away the scarier animals and, for the most part, they couldn't catch or kill the tastier ones. But in groups, humans rose to the top of the food chain thousands of years ago and have been passing down their tribe-loving genes ever since.

Customs and practices that ensured the survival of the species were worked out through trial and error and passed from one generation to another. Over time, and with many setbacks, the knowledge accumulated until we hit the critical mass required for modernity.

Indeed, the story of modernity is the story of how we moved away from traditional, non-voluntary, forms of tribalism based on familial, ethnic or even nationalistic lines and toward voluntary forms of tribalism.

The American founding was revolutionary in its embrace of the universality of human rights (even as it fell so short of its own ideals with the institution of slavery). Since then, the West has fought several civil wars to break away from various tribal ideologies, including not just monarchism and imperialism but Nazism (racial tribalism), Communism (economic tribalism) and fascism (national tribalism).

In fits and starts, we've moved toward ever greater voluntarism, which is a fancy way of saying we've moved toward greater individual liberty. According to the American creed, no one, and no thing, is the boss of me unless I agree to it. To a certain extent, that's even true -- at least in theory -- about the government, which is a representative institution created solely by and for the people, who are sovereign.

But the instinctive attraction of tribalism endures. The same drives that once pushed tribes to kill the villagers downriver still reside in us. We've just learned to channel and check them better. Bowling leagues, football franchises, high school rivalries, motorcycle clubs, Goth clubs: you name it, these free associations -- what Edmund Burke called "little platoons" -- satisfy our innate desire to belong to "something larger than ourselves," as so many politicians like to say.

Now, in the context of American politics, I would (and often do) argue that the left has grown confused about all this. They've tried to turn government itself into tribal enterprise of some kind. Democratic politicians tell us "government is just the word we use for those things we do together." "We're all in it together!" has become at once a rationalization and battle cry for larger government and higher taxes.

At their recent convention, the Democrats rolled out a video proclaiming that government is "the one thing we all belong to." This, to me, is pernicious nonsense. The government belongs to us, not the other way around.

But that is an argument for another time.

What got me thinking about all of this is the recent effort from various Muslim leaders at the United Nations lecturing us about free expression. Leaders who abuse and torture their own citizens for expressing their ideas or faith seem to think they have standing to lecture us about the limits of freedom.

Well, the tribe of barbarism doesn't get to lecture the tribe of liberty about what freedom means. A few years ago, Dinesh D'Souza wrote a book, "The Enemy at Home," in which he argued that American conservatives and Muslim conservatives should find common cause against liberals and leftists. The book was predictably denounced by liberals, but it was also rejected by conservatives.

Why? One reason, I think, is that whatever our differences with American liberals may be, conservatives understand that our argument with them is still within the family. The fighting is intense, but we're all trying to figure out what it means to live in the country bequeathed to us by the American Revolution and the Enlightenment.

Well, the thugs haranguing us about the proper limits of free expression aren't members of that tribe. They haven't paid the dues.

Because the moral superiority of liberty is irrefutable, totalitarians often feel the need to wrap barbarism in the language of freedom. (For example, North Korea calls itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.) Similarly, the Muslim Brotherhood stooge running Egypt doesn't care about free speech or tolerance; he cares about his own theocratic will to power -- and making Americans grovel.

There are more practical reasons not to hold our liberties hostage to the bloodlust of a foreign mob, but underneath them all is the instinctual tribal refusal to let marauders tear down what we've built.



Economic Conservatives and Traditional Conservatives Are – or Should Be – Natural Allies in the Fight against a Bloated Federal Government

Daniel J. Mitchell

It’s not uncommon for there to be debate and discussion about the degree to which libertarians and social conservatives are allies and enemies.

I think they’re mostly allies, in part because there is wide and deep agreement on the principle of individual responsibility. They may focus on different ill effects, but both camps understand that big government is a threat to a virtuous and productive citizenry.

That being said, I also realize that a libertarian who thinks drug legalization is the most important issue in the world is probably not going to feel much kinship with a social conservative who focuses on spiritual treatment of drug addiction (even though I would argue they should share policy views).

I’m contemplating this topic because of a recent New York Times column by David Brooks. He is concerned that traditional conservatives (which I think would overlap with, but not be identical to, social conservatives) have lost influence in the conservative movement and Republican Party. Let’s start with this excerpt.
…the conservative movement…was a fusion of two different mentalities. On the one side, there were the economic conservatives. …there was another sort of conservative, who would be less familiar now. This was the traditional conservative, intellectual heir to Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, Clinton Rossiter and Catholic social teaching. This sort of conservative didn’t see society as a battleground between government and the private sector. Instead, the traditionalist wanted to preserve a society that functioned as a harmonious ecosystem, in which the different layers were nestled upon each other: individual, family, company, neighborhood, religion, city government and national government. …they were intensely interested in creating the sort of social, economic and political order that would encourage people to work hard, finish school and postpone childbearing until marriage.

So far, so good. As a self-described libertarian, I like these concepts. Indeed, I support liberty in part because I think it will both enable and encourage people to experience good lives in the kind of ecosystem David describes.

But then he has a sentence that rubs me the wrong way.
Ronald Reagan embodied both sides of this fusion, and George W. Bush tried to recreate it with his compassionate conservatism.

Let me first stipulate that it’s unfair to equate “compassionate conservatism” with “big government conservatism.” That may have been the end result, but the goal – as was explained to me on several occasions – was to reform the way government did things, not to make it bigger.

But even if we accept that goal, I think Reagan and Bush represented different strains of conservatism. Reagan wanted to shrink the federal government because he viewed Washington as a threat to David’s “harmonious ecosystem.” In other words, Reagan-style conservatism is (was?) based on the notion that Washington could only make things worse, not better.

The Bush people, by contrast, had a more optimistic view of the federal government’s capabilities.

Indeed, Brooks is explicitly willing to make government bigger in hopes of achieving certain goals.
There are few people on the conservative side who’d be willing to raise taxes on the affluent to fund mobility programs for the working class. There are very few willing to use government to actively intervene in chaotic neighborhoods, even when 40 percent of American kids are born out of wedlock. There are very few Republicans who protest against a House Republican budget proposal that cuts domestic discretionary spending to absurdly low levels. The results have been unfortunate. Since they no longer speak in the language of social order, Republicans have very little to offer the less educated half of this country. …The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.

Here’s where I think he lets hope triumph over experience. What makes him think that the federal government is capable of successfully creating and operating “mobility programs”? It’s been operating dozens of such programs and they’ve all failed.

Or why does he think the federal government can reduce out-of-wedlock births when the evidence suggests that the welfare state has played a non-trivial role in enabling such misguided behavior?

Brooks also makes a ridiculous claim about what’s happened to domestic discretionary outlays. Here’s the data, adjusted for inflation, from the Historical Tables of the Budget.

Granted, David is talking about the plans in the Republican budget, not what’s actually happened. But the most the GOP wants to achieve is to put domestic discretionary spending back at 2008 levels. That’s not exactly an “absurdly low level,” particularly compared to existing post-stimulus outlays.

The more relevant question is why he thinks federal spending is associated with good results. There’s certainly no positive evidence from Obama’s stimulus. We also know the War on Poverty backfired. And entitlements are a ticking time bomb in the absence of reform.

By the way, this doesn’t negate what Brooks says about the GOP’s inability to articulate a message that resonates with (as he calls them) the “less educated half of this country.”

All I’m arguing is that results should matter. If we care about making life better for these people and we want the “harmonious ecosystem” David mentions, then we should be making government smaller rather than larger.



Obama and the Power of Propaganda

Those who study propaganda know that propagandists cannot dictate what we think, but they can strongly influence what we think about.

In other words, propagandists can get you to think about baseball or golf rather than about health care or the economy, but they cannot really alter your views about baseball, golf, health care or the economy.

When President Obama fails in his predictions and forecasts on the economy or on foreign affairs, good propagandists can get us to focus instead on Obama’s picks for the NCAA basketball tournament or his appearance on a late-night comedy show.

Obama’s health care plan looks like it will cost much more than expected and may drive many doctors to quit practice. So, let us change focus from the hard numbers into a debate about Republicans stealing the birth control methods used by women.

From Sixth Avenue to Hollywood, and from Wolf Blitzer to Jay Leno, our TV hosts parrot the Obama party line about “the war on women.”

We have a similarly skewed view on the “war on terror:” Obama says there is no terror and no war, while the media assure us Obama won the war. Both are wrong. There were more actual and abortive terror attacks in the U.S. in the last three years than in the previous eight.

There were 30 assaults or plots on army bases, transportation hubs, and synagogues: from Little Rock to Seattle, from Riverdale to a New York air base, from Fort Hood Texas (the massacre and a later copy-cat plot), to New York’s subways, from a plane over Detroit to a Times Square car bomb.

Most plots are not on the scale of 9-11, but there is a pattern of growing danger, not a diminishing threat. Most media prefer to show Obama as the sheriff who got Bin-Laden and ended the threat. They do not want to examine how the terror threat has grown with new generations of Islamic terrorists who were born here or converted here

Team Obama prefers to make or encourage “documentary” films using sensitive information. This makes Obama look good, but it makes all of us a little less safe.

President Barack Obama is an able and attractive politician commanding government and Democratic Party public relations machines. He enjoys a pliant press steering focus away from the bad economy to the personal portfolio of Mitt Romney.

Obama’s foreign record is as bad as his economic one. He bet he would find common ground with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, selling out U.S. friends in Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic. We lost those bets, but the media pretend that Romney “really blew it” with a remark about the Olympics inLondon.

Obama and Joe Biden made Israel their personal punching bag from 2009-2011. They forced an Israeli building freeze inJerusalemand theWest Bankthat led to a freeze in Arab-Israeli talks for the first time in 20 years.

President Obama undermined Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a strong U.S. friend, while boosting the Muslim Brotherhood—a group that spawned Al-Qaeda. Our media did not really examine how much the U.S. lost on those bets or Obama’s support of Bashar Assad in Syria, sending an ambassador there against the express wishes of Congress.

Obama and Hillary Clinton ignored Iranian dissidents’ pleas for help during Iran’s rigged 2009 elections. They delayed dealing withIran’s atom bomb plans. That is a quite a resume for the people who promised hope and change at home and abroad.

Have the media probed the gap between Obama promises and his results—from Cairo to Istanbul, from Libya to Syria? They report how Romney criticizes Arab culture, for being anti-peace and tribal—all of which is absolutely correct.

Our media scoff at Romney for being “clumsy.” That angle suits the propaganda line that Obama-Biden-Clinton are deep thinkers and doers on foreign policy. Better to have us consider Romney’s tone than to examine Obama’s foreign policy record.

The media agenda is to lacerate Romney rather than doing real journalism: checking how Obama-Clinton were criminally negligent to leave U.S. diplomats unguarded on the anniversary of 9-11.

Have we noticed how the sophisticated terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya disappeared from the front page of The New York Times, and have we noticed how the Associated Press gave us a half-cocked “timeline” to show Romney was hasty?

Maybe the propaganda will distract us long enough for Obama to get re-elected, but then again, maybe not. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln will be proved right again when he said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”


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 when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


1 October, 2012

A Jew thinks the unthinkable

In addition to the history outlined below, see the scenario I have suggested here

There is a sense of déjà vu, a parallelism between America’s ten years and counting policy “containing” Iran, and America having ignored Germany’s emergence as a military power; Hitler’s graduated policy of isolating, then murdering the Jews.

All agree that antisemitism in 1933 was intense in both Germany and the United States. What lessons have we taken away from the fact that in the course of less than a decade Germany transformed from “merely” racist to homicidal so, while the United States remained “traditionally” antisemitic? Is 2012 safer for the Jewish people than we were in 1932, the year Germany voted for a Nazi-led government, and Hitler became the country’s chancellor?

There is, of course, no simple answer. First, we already know that ten years after that election Auschwitz was operational and had adapted 20th century technology to assembly-line mass murder. So, while we can know what occurred in the past, we cannot predict definitively the future. But we can, based on history, make an educated guess.

Holocaust Denial is typically assumed to be a product of non-Jews, its motive somewhere between serving as defense of Christianity, to inciting anti-Jewish violence. But Holocaust denial also takes a Jewishform. According to this narrative the Holocaust happened “over there” and not “here.” Reasons proffered are both social acceptance and our system of legal protections. For more than a century Jews have considered America our Diaspora’s long-sought Exception, our Goldene Medina.

But this posits the United States as “exceptional.” On what do we base this assumption; how do we come by our faith that the colonial description of America as the “city on the hill,” the “New Jerusalem” extends also to ourselves? Just how secure, how accepted are Jews in the United States?

For three hundred years Jew, Muslim and Christian participated in Spain’s Golden Age: before Islam was forced back across the Straight of Gibraltar. Five hundred years later King Boleslav of Poland invited Jewish settlement, guaranteed their security resulting on the next Golden Age for Jews. And even Lithuania rose to that description as Vilnius was called the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.”

On the eve of the Shoah the Jewish community of Vilna [Vilnius] was the spiritual centre of Eastern European Jewry, the centre of enlightenment and Jewish political life, of Jewish creativity and the experience of daily Jewish life…” On 24 June, 1941 Germany, until 1933 also considered “exceptional” by its Jews, arrived at Vilna.

Since there were so many past “exceptions” in the history of our experience in the Diaspora, some spanning several centuries, American Jewry’s claims regarding our homeland deserve closer examination.

One clear argument is the number of Jews who achieved high government office. As far back as the Civil War a Jew was appointed Attorney General for the Confederacy; during the Vietnam war Richard Nixon, whose White House tapes demonstrate strong antipathy towards Jew, appointed a Jew as his Secretary of State. Since 1916 eight Jews were appointed to the US Supreme Court. And in 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore selected a Jew for his running mate. These and other such facts inspire pride, reassure of our acceptance as “Americans.”

And our sense of comfort and acceptance is reflected in our high rate of intermarriage. In 2001 the rate was 47%; today the rate is higher. And while many factors determine choice of a mate, I suggest that one of the most salient and perhaps least acknowledged (at least by ourselves) is our long history of persecution in the Diaspora: we yearn for acceptance, to belong. According to Alan Dershowitz,

American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality.”

The German comparison: I wrote above that Germany, at least until 1933, was also considered “exceptional” by that Jewish community. How does the American model compare to pre-Holocaust Germany?

For me the comparison is very uncomfortable. In Germany as in the US Jews were over-represented among the elites, also rose to high levels of government and politics. A Jew wrote the constitution for Germany’s first venture into democracy; another Jew served as foreign minister in the Weimar government. Jews were prominent in the arts and the sciences: numbering fewer than .08% of the population, Jews represented 24% of Germany’s Nobel recipients.

In an effort to explain, to comprehend how their beloved fatherland, their German identity evaporated so quickly, women survivors almost mantra-like repeatedly told interviewers, “We were so German… so assimilated!”

During the Weimar Republic, strictly religious education and practices were on the decline and mixed marriages on the rise. In the large cities, marriage to Christians was becoming so common – especially among Jewish men – that some Jewish leaders actually feared the complete fusion of their community into German society by the end of the twentieth century.”

“[I]n 1927, 54% of all marriages of Jews were contracted with non-Jews,” a statistic even greater than the American 47% in 2001! If, as I suggest, intermarriage correlates to “level of comfort” in our respective communities, German Jewry in the years immediately before the rise of Hitler were more comfortable, more assimilated than are we in America today.

There is no evidence to suggest that either president, Obama or Roosevelt, pursue(d) policies intentionally intended to harm the Jews. Yet by the passivity of their responses to global challenges Jewish lives were placed at risk and lost. Obama’s failure to date to more assertively block Iranian hegemonic ambitions, including its nuclear weapons program, has placed America’s interests in the Middle East (the oil monarchies, the Suez Canal, etc) at risk; it also placed at risk the security of our traditional dependencies and allies, including Israel.

By failing to stand by Israel in face of Turkey’s support of the Mavi Marmara provocation Obama allowed to fester a rupture in relations between two of America’s most important allies protecting American interests in the Middle East.

The president’s intervention to remove Hosni Mubarak as president of Egypt as well as numerous other policy decisions, whether intended or not, contributed to regional instability, harmed America’s standing in the region and in the world and, most importantly for this discussion, materially contributed to Israel’s present state of isolation and threat.

There is a sense of déjà vu, a parallelism between America’s ten years and counting policy towards containing Iranian ambitions, and Roosevelt passively standing by as the Third Reich publicly and determinedly grew its armed forces in violation of Versailles; failed to forcefully respond to Germany’s hegemonic ambitions, its emergence as a military power. His failure also to confront Hitler’s graduated policy of isolating, then murdering the Jews.

Like Obama, there is no evidence that Roosevelt pursued a “policy” tointentionally harm Jews. But neither does his response to the escalating persecution indicate any intention to materially interfere with that persecution. This detached attitude is evident in his unwavering adherence to the 1924 Immigration Restriction Act as “response” to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws; to the 1938 Krystallnacht pogrom; even to early and persistent reports of einsatsgruppen massacres two years before the US entered the war.

Before 1941 Roosevelt insisted the US does not interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation; after that date the excuse was that the victims were citizens of an “enemy” nation! Each of these situations were given extensive coverage in the US press, so the president could not claim absence of intelligence.

While America’s response to each of these may not rise to the level of apolicy of antisemitism, neither did they demonstrate concern for the fate of the Jews, or America’s claim to be haven to the oppressed. Even today Roosevelt apologists insist he was no antisemite, that the president’s “hands were tied” by the 1924 Law!

Whatever the reason, clearly his hands were not tied when, with daily newspaper headlines reporting on the unfolding Final Solution the president steadfastly refused to halt or even slow the slaughter of the still living dead by ordering a few bombs be dropped on killing centers as American aircraft overflew them en route to industrial targets. And were his “hands tied” when he denied refuge to Jewish children made homeless by the Krystallnacht pogrom? He even defended not doing so in a radio address, “that [refuge] is not in contemplation, we have the [1924] quota system.” But when Britain appealed for refuge for London children facing the Battle of Britain, children who could as well have found refuge in the countryside, they were immediately welcomed. Even London’s “threatened” dogs were more acceptable for refuge than Jews! In fact in no year during this horrible period did Roosevelt’s State Department even fill allowable quotas for Jews.

If American policy in general was passively complicit in the Holocaust, Roosevelt’s State Department was actively supportive in the murder of Europe’s Jews.

With this background to the question (and I’ve limited the discussion to government policy, not popular antisemitism) how secure are America’s Jews today, how likely that the Holocaust was just the single and unique occurrence we like to believe, that such recurring is rarely even considered, at least not, “over here”? Is Never Again more than just a rhetorical flourish, a palliative the sole purpose of which is our desire for self-reassurance?

Put another way, will Denial preserve us if we are living but a reassuring lie?



Benghazi-gate – Obama Knew

In the days following the assassination attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three aides dead it was appalling to watch the Obama Administration's painstaking efforts to deny any connection to radical Islamic terror. A week later, the White House was forced to admit a connection to al Qaeda after the Director of the National Counterterrrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, testified to a Senate Committee that Benghazi was indeed a "terrorist attack on our embassy" with likely "connections to al Qaeda."

The week long contortions and denials by the Administration became even more befuddling when Eli Lake at the Daily Beast raised the stakes with this bombshell disclosure on September 26:

"Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya."

Anderson Cooper at CNN disclosed on September 23 that Ambassador Steven's journal indicated he believed he was targeted by al Qaeda, yet apparently the State Department took no steps to protect his safety. That added to the questions….why?

Instead of coming clean, the State Department attacked CNN calling the disclosure "disgusting" and "not a proud moment in CNN's history." Again, raising more questions.

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) was the first to mention the "c" word - cover up. "There has to be something they're trying to hide or cover up," he said. "We just want answers."

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) gave the growing scandal a name; Benghazi-gate.

Lake's newest revelation raises the stakes yet again. Jennifer Rubin in her "Right Turn" column in the Washington Post today asks the newest most obvious question – "Did Obama lie?"

"Obviously the report (Eli Lake's in the Daily Beast), if true, suggests that the White House lied to the American people by insisting for over a week that this was a spontaneous attack. It is one thing for the president to be so benighted as to think a video sets off multiple attacks on Sept. 11. It is quite another to send out his advisers, including his own spokesman, to mislead voters."



Obama's snub of Netanyahu speaks louder than words

Thomas Sowell

During the same week when the American ambassador to Libya was murdered and his dead body dragged through the streets by celebrating mobs, the President of the United States found time to go on the David Letterman show to demonstrate his sense of humor and how cool he is.

But Barack Obama did not have time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of a nation repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iranian leaders, who are working feverishly toward the creation of nuclear bombs.

This was an extraordinary thing in itself, something that probably no other President of the United States could have gotten away with, without raising a firestorm of criticisms and denunciations. But much of the media sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Barack Obama -- especially during an election year.

Nor was this public rebuff of a publicly requested meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu unique in its expression of disrespect, if not contempt, for both the man and his country. Despite his glowing assertions of his commitment to Israel, especially in speeches to American Jewish groups, Barack Obama has been working against Israel's interests from his first day in the White House. As in many other contexts, Barack Obama 1 speaks but Barack Obama 2 acts -- often in the opposite direction.

The vision in which Obama has been steeped is one in which white Western nations have oppressed and exploited non-white, non-Western nations, becoming rich and arrogant at other people's expense. It is a vision that calls out, not for justice, but for payback.

When Jeremiah Wright said, "white folks' greed runs a world in need" -- and Obama, by his own account, was moved to tears -- this captured in a few melodramatic words what a whole series of Obama's mentors and allies had been saying for decades. No wonder it resonated with him.

Despite hopes that Barack Obama's election as President of the United States would mark the beginning of a post-racial era in America, no hope was ever so completely doomed from the outset. Anyone who looks beyond Obama's soothing words about race to his record, from his joining self-segregated black students in college to his appointing Al Sharpton as a White House adviser, can see the contrast between rhetoric and reality.

Barack Obama is not the first leader of a nation whose actions reflected some half-baked vision, enveloped in lofty rhetoric and spiced with a huge dose of ego. Nor would he be the first such leader to steer his nation into a historic catastrophe.

In Barack Obama's case, the potential for catastrophe is international in scope, and perhaps irretrievable in its consequences, as he stalls with feckless gestures as terrorist-sponsoring Iran moves toward the production of nuclear bombs.

The rhetoric of Obama 1 says that he will protect Israel but the actions of Obama 2 have in fact protected Iran from an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities -- until now it is questionable whether Iran's deeply buried nuclear facilities can be destroyed by the Israelis.

Those deeply buried facilities took time to build, and Obama's policies gave them that time, with his lackadaisical approach of seeking United Nations resolutions and international sanctions that never had any serious chance of stopping Iran's movement toward becoming a nuclear power. And Barack Obama had to know that.

In March, "Foreign Policy" magazine reported that "several high-level sources" in the Obama administration had revealed Israel's secret relationship with Azerbaijan, where Israeli planes could refuel to or from an air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The administration feared "the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran," according to these "high-level sources." Apparently the risks of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel are not so much feared.

This leak was one of the historic and unconscionable betrayals of an ally whose very existence is threatened. But the media still saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil.

The only question now is whether the American voters will wake up before it is too late -- not just for Israel, but for America.




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


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


Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.


It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” -- Thomas Jefferson

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

“Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics.” -- C.J. Keyser

“Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell’s Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state – capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931–2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted.

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

“How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.” ― John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

Freedom needs a soldier

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR"

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