Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The French have got more balls than Obama

President Obama wants a unified front against Iran, and to that end he stood together with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh on Friday morning to reveal the news about Tehran's secret facility to build bomb-grade fuel. But now we hear that the French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America's handling of the announcement.

Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.

President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been "frustrated" for months about Mr. Obama's reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn't want to "spoil the image of success" for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.

Le Monde's diplomatic correspondent, Natalie Nougayrède, reports that a draft of Mr. Sarkozy's speech to the Security Council Thursday included a section on Iran's latest deception. Forced to scrap that bit, the French President let his frustration show with undiplomatic gusto in his formal remarks, laying into what he called the "dream" of disarmament. The address takes on added meaning now that we know the backroom discussions.

"We are right to talk about the future," Mr. Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. resolution on strengthening arms control treaties. "But the present comes before the future, and the present includes two major nuclear crises," i.e., Iran and North Korea. "We live in the real world, not in a virtual one." No prize for guessing into which world the Frenchman puts Mr. Obama.

"We say that we must reduce," he went on. "President Obama himself has said that he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons. Before our very eyes, two countries are doing exactly the opposite at this very moment. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council Resolutions . . .

"I support America's 'extended hand.' But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations. What are we to do? What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions."

We thought we'd never see the day when the President of France shows more resolve than America's Commander in Chief for confronting one of the gravest challenges to global security. But here we are.



A successful conservative governor

He says that he avoids ideology. But that is of itself a very conservative thing to do. Ideology is for the Left. Conservatives look at what works

The Indiana governor is answering a question he gets asked a lot these days. Will he run for president? He keeps saying no, but the collapse of such GOP notables as Sarah Palin and Mark Sanford has people looking north. Mr. Daniels is today something rare indeed: a popular Republican.

President Barack Obama eked out an upset in Indiana last year, but Mr. Daniels's re-election was almost as notable. Amid a Democratic wave, the Republican beat his opponent by 18 percentage points and received more votes than anyone who had ever run in the state. He swept 79 of 92 counties, nearly 60% of independents and 25% of Democratic voters. His approval rating is near 70%.

At a time when the GOP has done so much wrong, strategists are asking what Mr. Daniels is doing right. Hoosiers would point to his tough fiscal discipline and his overhaul of state government. The governor summed up his approach in a Washington speech earlier this year, saying that a conservatism "that will be credible in the years ahead will be active, will be forward-looking, constructive, intimately connected with the lives of average citizens, and friendly."

If this sounds a bit fuzzy and Midwestern, a colleague of Mr. Daniels puts it more concisely: "It's the old formula: ideas and a big tent. Mitch's success has been in aggressively pushing conservative reform, but not alienating folks along the way." Whether Mr. Daniels's particular brand of reform politics would work nationally—and whether he is the guy to do it—are big questions. But for now, he's in the spotlight.

"We are the initiators, we are always in motion." "Activism works, and we have to drive the agenda." "There is nothing inconsistent about having a conservative outlook and being vigorous."

These statements fly at me within 10 minutes of a two-hour interview in Mr. Daniels's cavernous office. Sitting in his shirt sleeves, the governor looks easygoing but earnest. Mr. Daniels's career has included working for Sen. Dick Lugar (R., Ind.), as an adviser to Ronald Reagan, a think-tank head (The Hudson Institute), a pharmaceutical executive, and budget director for George W. Bush. His fervor for cutting waste in that last post earned him a nickname from President Bush: The Blade.

The 60-year-old won in 2004 by promising to achieve one goal. "Every successful enterprise has a very clear strategic purpose. . . . So, we said, all right, the strategic purpose of our administration is to raise the net disposable income of Hoosiers," which has fallen dramatically in recent decades. "Everything else is just a means to that end."

Mr. Daniels's first step toward that goal was cleaning up a state balance sheet that 16 years of Democratic rule had left in bad shape. He turned what was a $700 million hole into a $1 billion surplus, making Indiana one of a handful of states that today remain in the black.

How? "Well, prepared to be dazzled," he says, with his trademark dry wit. "The answer is that we spent less money than we took in." This underplays the governor's high-profile budget fights with a spendthrift legislature—fights that he won—which allowed him to halve the state's rate of spending growth to 2.8% from 5.9% annually. That restraint has allowed Mr. Daniels to forgo the recent tax hikes of most states.

His approach works well in a state where, as Mr. Daniels puts it, "fiscal prudence never went out of style." He's earned high marks for his willingness to spar with his own party (this year's budget went into special session after he refused to let the GOP-run Senate spend away the surplus), and for his fight against pork. With the help of a power called "allotment"—the right not to spend money appropriated by the legislature—Mr. Daniels trimmed $800 million from state government in fiscal 2009. Allotment had in the past "been used very sparingly," says Mr. Daniels, smiling. "We don't use it sparingly."

He also hasn't spared state government. He axed $190 million renegotiating state contracts, bid out services, cut $250 million in unnecessary spending, and dropped 5,000 government positions. Austere as his budgets have been, they have directed more money to "priorities" like 800 new child-protection case workers, 250 more state troopers, and education spending. This approach has allowed the governor to deflect Democratic gripes that he is gutting the state in a recession. "You can invest in things, even with modest revenue growth, so long as you are willing to do a lot less of things that are a lot less important," he says.

Perhaps most appreciated was the governor's overhaul of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It's gone from one of the worst in the country—a place, he says, "where people would take a copy of 'Crime and Punishment'"—to one of the best, with an "average visit time of seven minutes and 36 seconds."

In 2006, Mr. Daniels gave all state employees the option of switching to health plans with health-savings accounts. A year later, he signed bipartisan legislation creating the Healthy Indiana Plan, which puts those same HSAs at the center of a plan covering 130,000 uninsured. Participants contribute to their account based on income; the state picks up the rest, up to $1,100 per adult, after which private insurance kicks in.

"It's subsidized, yes," says Mr. Daniels, but it's "designed to make sure everybody, with a few exceptions, has skin in the game." It also "doesn't expose taxpayers to the catastrophe in Tennessee or Massachusetts of an entitlement program." More than half of the state's employees have switched to the HSA plan, and Healthy Indiana is fully subscribed.

All this, says Mr. Daniels, serves as a necessary "foundation" for the state to attract jobs and fulfill that goal of raising Hoosier income. "Spend as little as you can consistent with necessary public service, leave the rest in private hands, and you get more jobs in the end." Indiana, with its business-friendly tax environment, has attracted $8 billion in foreign investment in the past two years.

Policy is one thing; selling it another. And Mr. Daniels knows how to sell. Relatively unknown in the state before his 2004 run, he toured all 92 counties—at least twice—in an RV. He bypassed hotels, staying in Hoosier homes. He debuted "Mitch TV," a reality show that pictured, warts and all, the candidate meeting wary Indiana voters.

"We have, I think, tried to face a Republican reality, which is the stereotype that Republicans are disconnected from the lives of average people. It's unfair. It's untrue. A Democrat can be a blue-blood billionaire who wouldn't recognize a working family if his limousine ran over one, but still, they benefit from the presumption that their hearts are in the right place, and we bear the opposite burden," he says.

He's also studiously avoided ideological debate. Most would say that "what we've done was animated by conservative principles," he says. "But I leave the labels out. I rarely mention party names, ours or theirs. I don't use the i-word [ideology] or the c-word [conservative]. I don't use the p-word [privatization]. Because I don't think most people think in those categories."

He uses the example of smaller government. "Our principal goal is not to cut government spending for the sake of cutting government spending. . . . If the goal is 'what can we do, or do more quickly, or stop doing, to make it more likely the next job comes to Indiana,' well, of course that means squeezing tax dollars, it means keeping taxes down. I just don't tend to present it as an ideological imperative, but rather the smart things to do if we are trying to be a more prosperous, free state."




As regular readers here know, I do from time to time put up pictures and cartoons to illustate some news story. Every now and again I also look through the pictures in past postings to see which have an interest beyond their immediate use. I then put up a gallery of such "best" pictures. I am afraid that I have left it rather a long time to do that this time. The last gallery was of 2007 pictures. I have caught up a little however and have just posted a gallery of pictures and cartoons that appeared on my various blogs between January and June 2008. You might like to have a glance at them here. I will try to get up a gallery or two for more recent periods as soon as I get time.

ACORN's Man in the White House: "Newly discovered evidence shows the radical advocacy group ACORN has a man in the Obama White House. This power behind the throne is longtime ACORN operative Patrick Gaspard. He holds the title of White House political affairs director, the same title Karl Rove held in President Bush's White House. Evidence shows that years before he joined the Obama administration, Gaspard was ACORN boss Bertha Lewis's political director in New York. Lewis, the current "chief organizer" or CEO of ACORN, was head of New York ACORN from at least 1994 through 2008, when she took over as national leader of ACORN. With Gaspard at work in the White House, Lewis might as well be speaking to President Obama through an earpiece as he goes about his daily business ruining the country." Erick Erickson of the website RedState recently did an excellent job explaining the relationship of Gaspard to Lewis and President Obama."

Bank of America suspends dealings with ACORN housing entity: "Bank of America Corp. is suspending its work with the housing affiliate of embattled community organizing group ACORN. The decision comes as three Republicans in Congress ask Bank of America and 13 other financial institutions to give Congress a complete accounting of their dealings with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or its affiliates. In a statement, Bank of America said it would not enter into any further agreements with ACORN Housing Corp. until the bank is satisfied all issues have been resolved. ACORN Housing Corp. and Bank of America have worked together for years on mortgage foreclosure issues.”

Why Obama will throw ACORN under the bus: "The spotlight of scrutiny is shining brightly on ACORN these days and rightly so. Where ACORN’s defenders have the audacity to insist that the employees caught on undercover videotape giving advice to a perceived ‘pimp’ and ‘prostitute’ on how to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and internationally traffic in underage Guatemalan prostitutes were simply ‘a few bad employees,’ anyone with a brain recognizes that the problem is systemic in the organization. But what some are misdiagnosing or not completely understanding is how President Obama could be so nonchalant about the issue in recent interviews.”

What are they hiding? Minutes missing in OK City bombing footage: "Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday. ‘The real story is what’s missing,’ said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting into the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Trentadue gave copies of the tapes to the Oklahoman newspaper, which posted them online and provided copies to the Associated Press.”

Iran’s missile tests create new standoff: "The United States, Israel and its allies are condemning Iran’s missile tests, conducted a few days after world leaders called out the country for building a secret underground nuclear facility. But Iran refuses to cave under world pressure, continuing its dangerous provocation instead. In a show of defiance, Iran tested short- and long-range missiles today and Sunday, including its longest-range missiles yet, which U.S. experts said are capable of hitting Israel and U.S. bases in Europe.”

Bumper-Sticker philosophy: "The following has apparently been making the rounds on Facebook lately: ‘No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.’ It’s a nice, pretty idea, until you sit down and consider the implications. No one should die because they cannot afford health care. Tell me, please, how are you going to provide this health care to people who cannot afford it? Are you going to steal the money from other people and use it to pay for those who cannot afford it? Or Are you going to force health care professionals to work without compensation?”

The old standby : "Florida taxpayers should be forewarned that the huge drop in cigarette sales due to the state’s cigarette tax hike will come back to bite them. These taxes are borne by a small base that gets smaller as the tax goes up, because people quit or, more likely, find ways to circumvent the tax. That is already happening in Florida. This tax hike will burden Florida businesses and taxpayers, especially in the northern half of the state. Not to mention that such taxes fall predominantly on low-income earners.”


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


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


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Obama ignores reality


Half a decade or so back, I wrote: "It's a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice cream and a quart of dog feces and mix 'em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That's the problem with the U.N."

Absolutely right, if I do say so myself. When you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn't that they'll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way.

That's what happened in New York last week. Barack Obama is not to blame for whichever vagary of United Nations protocol resulted in the president of the United States being the warm-up act for the Lunatic-for-Life in charge of Libya.

But it is a pitiful reflection upon the state of the last superpower that, when it comes to the transnational mush drooled by the leader of the free world or the conspiracist ramblings of a terrorist pseudo-Bedouin running a one-man psycho-cult of a basket-case state, it's more or less a toss-up as to which of them is more unreal. To be sure, Col. Gadhafi peddled his thoughts on the laboratory origins of swine flu and the Zionist plot behind the Kennedy assassination. But, on the other hand, President Obama said: "No nation can or should try to dominate another nation."

Pardon me? Did a professional speechwriter write that? Or did you outsource it to a starry-eyed runner-up in the Miss America pageant? Whether any nation "should try" to dominate another, they certainly "can," and do so with effortless ease, all over the planet and throughout human history.

And how about this passage? "I have been in office for just nine months — though some days it seems a lot longer. I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted, I believe, in a discontent with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences ... .."

Forget the first part: That's just his usual narcissistic "But enough about me, let's talk about what the world thinks of me" shtick. But the second is dangerous in its cowardly evasiveness: For better or worse, we are defined by our differences — and, if Barack Obama doesn't understand this when he's at the podium addressing a room filled with representatives of Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Venezuela and other unlovely polities, the TV audience certainly did when Col. Gadhafi took to the podium immediately afterward.

They're both heads of state of sovereign nations. But if you're on an Indian Ocean island when the next tsunami hits, try calling Libya instead of the U.S. and see where it gets you.

This isn't a quirk of fate. The global reach that enables America and a handful of others to get to a devastated backwater on the other side of the planet and save lives and restore the water supply isn't a happy accident but something that derives explicitly from our political systems, economic liberty, traditions of scientific and cultural innovation, and a general understanding that societies advance when their people are able to fulfill their potential in freedom.

In other words, America and Libya are defined by their differences. What happens when you pretend those differences don't exist? Well, you end up with the distinctively flavored ice cream I mentioned at the beginning. By declining to distinguish between the foreign minister of Slovenia and the foreign minister of, say, Sudan, you normalize not merely the goofier ad libs of a Gadhafi but far darker pathologies.

The day after the U.S. president addressed the U.N., the prime minister of Israel took to the podium and held up a copy of the minutes of the Wannsee Conference at which German officials planned the "Final Solution" to their Jewish problem. This is the pathetic state to which the U.N. has been reduced after six decades: The Jew-hatred of Ahmadinejad and others is so routine that a sane man has to stand up and attempt to demonstrate to lunatics that the Holocaust actually happened.

One sympathizes with Benjamin Netanyahu. But he's missing the point. Ahmadinejad & Co. aren't Holocaust deniers because of the dearth of historical documentation. They do so because they can, and because it suits their own interests to do so, and because in the regimes they represent, the state lies to its people as a matter of course and to such a degree that there is no longer an objective reality, only a self-constructed one. In Libya and Syria and far too many "nations," truth is simply what the thug in the presidential palace declares it to be.

But don't worry, Obama assures them, we're not "defined by our differences." Hey, that's great, isn't it? Yet if you can no longer distinguish between the truth and a lie, why be surprised that the lie metastasizes and becomes, if not yet quite respectable, at least semi-respectable and acceptable in polite society?

Some Western nations walked out of Ahmadinejad's speech: Canada was first; Austria stuck around; America left somewhere in between. "It is disappointing that Mr. Ahmadinejad has once again chosen to espouse hateful, offensive and anti-Semitic rhetoric," huffed U.S. spokesman Mark Kornblau. Oh, come off it, you ludicrous poseur. President Obama's position is that he's anxious to hold talks "without preconditions" with his Iranian colleague. How can you do that if you're going to flounce out like a big drama queen at the first itsy-bitsy pro forma Judenhass?

Although he affects a president-of-the-world manner, I don't think Barack Obama cares much about foreign affairs one way or the other. He has a huge transformative domestic agenda designed to leave this country looking much closer to the average Continental social democracy. His principal interest in the rest of the planet is he doesn't need some nutjob nuking Cleveland before he's finished reducing it to a moribund socialist swamp. And so, like many European nations, when it comes to the global scene, Obama has attitudes rather than policies. If you're on the receiving end — like Israel, Poland, Honduras — it's not pleasant, and it's going to get worse.

It was striking to hear Gadhafi and Chavez profess their admiration for Obama, call him "our son." and declare their fond hope that he remain president for life. The Chinese and Russians are more circumspect in public, and laughing their heads off in private. As for the saner members of the U.N., many Europeans still think they've got the American president they've always wanted: They would agree with John Bolton's indictment — that this was a post-American speech by a post-American president — but mean it as high praise.

As the contours of the post-American world emerge, they will have plenty of time to reconsider their enthusiasm.



Proof conclusive that Obama is a robot

Just watch the smile

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.



Media trying to shoot the messenger: "Every journalism inquiry from the mainstream media continues to focus on the successful operation that exposed ACORN, not on ACORN itself, as if there is no evidence to sift through or common traits to be found in the videos. Why is the story about journalistic process rather than institutional corruption? The Washington Post and the Associated Press have had to issue embarrassing retractions for falsely implying Mr. O'Keefe's motives were racist. The New York Times, too, had to issue a retraction on an issue raised to impugn his tactics."

The French think pedophilia is OK: "France's political elite has rallied to the defence of Roman Polanski, calling on Switzerland to free the 76-year-old film director rather than extradite him to the United States. Artists and film makers also urged the release of Polanski, who faces charges of having sex with a girl of 13 in 1977, accusing Switzerland of being overzealous in pursuing such an old case and bowing to US demands. Polanski was due to receive a prize for his life's work at the Zurich Film Festival on Sunday, but was arrested on a 1978 US arrest warrant after arriving in Switzerland on Saturday. "I think this is awful and totally unjust," French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand told reporters. "Just as there is an America which is generous and which we like, so there is an America which is frightening, and that is the America which has just revealed its face," he added. The culture ministry said French President Nicolas Sarkozy was following the case closely and wanted the swift release of Polanski, while Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he had expressed his concerns to his Swiss counterpart." [Details of the crime here]

Two troops for every civil servant in Britain's defence ministry: "Britain has more military bureaucrats for every active serviceman than any of its Nato allies, it can be disclosed. Figures obtained by the Daily Telegraph show that the 27 other western alliance countries, including the United States, all employ proportionately fewer civilians in their defence ministries. While Britain has just two active troops for every civil servant in the Ministry of Defence, France has almost five, Spain has almost eight and several smaller countries have many more. The MoD employs 85,730 civil servants. Separate figures showed that the MoD spent more than £61 million on public relations last year – enough to pay the annual wage bill for 3,656 new privates in the Army. The Conservatives last night accused Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, of running a “bloated administration” while troops in Afghanistan faced equipment shortages. The bureaucracy figures will put pressure on Mr Ainsworth to divert funds to the front line or cut the MoD’s budget by reducing the number of officials in his department."

Obama rudely twists the lion's tail: "Barack Obama, as my Examiner colleague Byron York has noted, has been snubbing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. This strikes me as highly regrettable and foolish in the extreme. Does Obama have some gripe against the British related to his Kenyan colonial heritage? If so, it’s time to get over it. Britain has been by and large an exemplary ally. It is one of the few nations in the world with a significant out-of-area military capacity, it maintains constructive ties with its former colonies through the Commonwealth, it shares with us an Anglospheric heritage based on common law and individual freedom which is of priceless value."

William Safire, 1929-2009: "Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist, language expert and former White House speechwriter William Safire died Sunday, his assistant said. Safire, who was 79, had been diagnosed with cancer and died at a hospice in Maryland, assistant Rosemary Shields said. She declined to specify the type of cancer Safire had or say when he had been diagnosed.”

Job losses, early retirements hurt Social Security: "Big job losses and a spike in early retirement claims from laid-off seniors will force Social Security to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes the next two years, the first time that’s happened since the 1980s. The deficits — $10 billion in 2010 and $9 billion in 2011 — won’t affect payments to retirees because Social Security has accumulated surpluses from previous years totaling $2.5 trillion. But they will add to the overall federal deficit.”

Kelo battle ends in farce: "Weeds, glass, bricks, pieces of pipe and shingle splinters have replaced the knot of aging homes at the site of the nation’s most notorious eminent domain project. There are a few signs of life: Feral cats glare at visitors from a miniature jungle of Queen Anne’s lace, thistle and goldenrod. Gulls swoop between the lot’s towering trees and the adjacent sewage treatment plant. But what of the promised building boom that was supposed to come wrapped and ribboned with up to 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues? They are noticeably missing. Proponents of the ambitious plan blame the sour economy. Opponents call it ‘poetic justice. … They are getting what they deserve. They are going to get nothing,’ said Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the landmark property rights case. ‘I don’t think this is what the United States Supreme Court justices had in mind when they made this decision.’”

The common good = collectivism: "Politically-structured collectivism, in whatever form it manifests itself, debilitates and disables individuals, depriving each of us of our biological and experiential uniqueness. This, of course, is its purpose. As long as men and women think of themselves as little more than fungible units in a group-think monolith, they and their children will continue to be ground down into a common pulp useful only to their masters. Collectivism is a religion for losers; a belief system that allows the state to marshal the wealth and energies of people for a coerced redistribution to those it favors. Barack Obama did not invent this vulgar, anti-life concept that he works so assiduously to expand. The collectivist proposition had long been in place when George W. Bush echoed its sentiments in the phrase ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us.’ Nor are the protoplasmic units (i.e., you and I) to be heard questioning the purposes or the costs of our subordination to what is the basic premise of every political system. The state shields itself from such inquiries under the pretense that ‘national security’ would be threatened thereby.”

How to lose friends …: "Instead of reaffirming the importance of our relationship with Israel, Obama has renewed our membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council, presided over by exemplars of self-determination and human dignity, such as Libya, Syria, and Angola. The hobbyhorse of this organization is accusing Israel of war crimes, which isn’t surprising. Noted intellectual George Gilder argues in his most recent book, The Israel Test, that where you stand on Israel — not always, but in general — is an indication about how you feel about the ideals of liberty and capitalism. The debate over Israel, he claims, is the manifestation of a deeper moral and ideological war around the world.”

California reports on excessive regulation: "A report was recently released by the State of California detailing the cost of regulation to the state’s economy. The results are damning. Regulation costs just under half a trillion dollars annually. It costs the state four million jobs. It costs the state twelve billion in taxes. The cost to the state’s economy is equal to what is currently one third of the state’s GDP. The twelve billion in taxes would close the existing budget gap without resorting to fancy accounting. The four million jobs would put the state’s unemployment rate below, instead of above, the national average.”

If you want to know what's true of Leftists, see what they say about conservatives: "One of the best lines in Sam Tanenhaus’s wonderful little book on The Death of Conservatism comes in its opening chapter. Surveying intellectual life on the right in the opening months of the Obama administration, Tanenhaus concludes that too many conservative intellectuals ‘recognize no distinction between analysis and advocacy, or between the competition of ideas and the naked struggle for power.’ Quite so, as one can see from the response (or non-response) of the right to Tanenhaus’s own book. Tanenhaus is a tough critic of the conservative movement, but he is also a deeply informed one.”


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


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


Monday, September 28, 2009

Barack Obama’s Dance with Despots

Here’s the lead from the Associated Press’ Havana bureau feed early on the morning of September 23, 2009: “HAVANA - Barack Obama's call for action on climate change and his admission that rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead has received strong praise from an unusual source - U.S. nemesis Fidel Castro.”

Now, here’s the problem with that lead: we now have a President of the United States whose most avid plaudits come from two-bit, tin-horn Marxist dictators who have spent their entire adult lives imprisoning, murdering, and maiming their enslaved minions.

And to make matters worse, that President – Barack “Sorry-to-be-an-American” Obama – is in lockstep agreement with all of what Castro says and much of what Castro does. How do we know that? Well, let’s look at the record.

In August of this year, Obama delivered a 53-minute medley of his favorite apologies to what amounted to a pep rally for Latin American dictators. Included among his supine we-a culpas was this gem in reference to the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion: “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”

Well, so much for the brave Cuban freedom fighters who died at the Bay of Pigs vainly attempting to rescue their country from the bloodied hands of Fidel Castro. So much for JFK’s declaration that “We will support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.” And so much for the truth: Barack Obama wasn’t even born when the invasion occurred.

As if to make sure his amigo bueno Fidel got the bouquet, Obama then proceeded to pull the plug on the highly popular “Freedom Message” ticker on the US mission building in Havana. Twenty-five feet long, its bright red letters emblazoned in the sky, the ticker’s inspiring words of encouragement from democratic leaders like Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, and Lech Walesa had served as a beacon of hope for the Cuban people. But, alas, that was clearly not the kind of “hope” Barack Obama intended to foster.

No wonder, then, Obama felt compelled to warmly embrace the Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez at the same Latin America Despots Dance at which he cuddled up to Danny and Fidel. In return, Chavez lauded Obama as “more of a Marxist than Fidel and me.” He enthused that “the changes that started in Venezuela in the last decade of the 20th century have begun to reach North America.” And he warned his compadre Barack not to go too fast in socializing the US lest he create a backlash.

Obama, for his part – ever the faithful amigo intimo ¬– repaid Chavez loyalty first by appointing Arturo Valenzuela as the Obama Administration’s “Western Hemisphere Czar.” Sr. Valenzuela, it should be noted, considers Chavez one of the history’s greatest Latin American leaders. He has even gone so far as to praise Chavez’ crackdown on Venezuela’s formerly free press.

Not content with putting Hugo’s good buddy in charge of everything Latino, Obama added injury to insult by appointing Chavez’ lickspittle Mark Lloyd as the Federal Communications Commission’s “Diversity Officer.” Not only does Mr. Lloyd agree with Mr. Valenzuela that Venezuela’s free press was an anathema, he has even gone so far as to praise Chavez for his “incredible revolution” that gutted the country’s democratic institutions top to bottom.

So, it’s little wonder that we now have “a President of the United States whose most avid plaudits come from two-bit, tin-horn Marxist dictators who have spent their entire adult lives imprisoning, murdering, and maiming their own people” kowtowing to like-minded despots at every opportunity. And creating opportunities where none exist.

Which, of course, is exactly what he did in the UN speech that won Castro’s praise. In essentially apologizing (once again) for all things American and declaring that “rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead” in de-industrializing the world, Obama has shown (once again) that he can tout Marxist dogma with the best (no, make that the worst) of them.

It is, of course, the “rich” nations that gave the world such onerous commodities as electricity, transportation, modern communications, and advanced medicine. Not to mention food, potable water, the clothes on our backs, and the roofs over our heads. And it is the rich nations of the world that brought hope from despair, light from darkness, and dreams of a better tomorrow to the nightmarish lives of hundreds of millions of Third World minions.

That’s the message the President of the United States should have delivered to the Two-Bit Tyrants of Turtle Bay, who huddle in the lap of luxury to denigrate democracy while swilling its largesse. But, unfortunately, it is not what this President of the United States believes. So, he bellows his own bellicose denunciations of all who have labored long and hard to build a better world – while basking in the glow of Fidel Castro’s poisonous approval.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, a posturing, preening Barack Obama piously advised the American people to “Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself.” We are, Mr. Obama. Yes, sadly, we finally are.



Don't regulate banking – liberalise it

Comment from Britain: It's ludicrous to call the current financial system in Britain or the USA laissez-faire

Barack Obama's speech on Monday to Wall Street outlines an overhaul of the regulatory regime. On the anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, politicians from both sides of the Atlantic are looking to remodel capitalism. The thirst for greater regulation is strong, united around Gordon Brown's judgment that "laissez-faire has had its day … the old idea that the markets were efficient and could work themselves out by themselves are gone".

The notion that the present financial system is "laissez-faire" is, of course, ludicrous. At present, we have a nationalised organisation that holds a state-granted monopoly on the issuance of currency. If this were any industry other than finance, the Bank of England would be seen as the Soviet-style planning board that it is.

Defending laissez-faire is therefore not a defence of the status quo; it is a positive prescription for a totally new regime. Here are three courses of action that would liberalise the banking system:

1. Legalise insider trading. The regulators have failed spectacularly. They did not foresee the systemic risk created by excess credit creation and over-leveraging, and it would be naive to expect any single organisation to steward an entire industry. Demonising hedge funds and banning short-selling miss the point since these are the ultimate protest vote for market participants. The meltdown of a year ago would not have happened had protesters been truly able to act on their knowledge; legalising insider trading would allow asset prices to integrate as much information as possible.

2. Repeal legal tender laws. When sovereigns control currency, they debase gold coins to augment their own coffers. When politicians control currency, they print money to monetise their debts. Even by giving control to independent central banks, we haven't found a way to protect the value of money, since there is still a monopoly provider with an incentive to inflate. The best form of consumer protection is competition, and commercial institutions should be allowed to offer currency to allow markets to determine the most effective medium of exchange.

3. Eradicate crony capitalism. The official narrative is that when Lehman Brothers failed, it sparked a crisis of such proportions that state action was the only way to prevent another Great Depression. But as we start to learn more about what went on behind closed doors, things become murkier. The haphazard manner in which some banks went bankrupt and others were bailed out probably has more to do with personal networks than economic necessity. But even if you have faith in the government to exercise its powers in the public interest, it simply doesn't have the knowledge to act. It's understandable that Hank Paulson put more emphasis on Wall Street than on conservative banks that spend less on lobbying, because that's the world he lives in. For the rest of us, these deals create regime uncertainty and weaken the power of markets.

These radical proposals challenge conventional wisdom and, in doing so, manifestly demonstrate that the present system is not laissez-faire. We have just scratched the surface of a free-market alternative, and critics have an intellectual obligation to admit this. Let's open the debate to a free market in money.



In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors

There was an international uproar when, on Sept. 4, in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, an American fighter jet under NATO command bombed a group of Taliban fighters who had hijacked two fuel tanker trucks. The trucks exploded, the fighters were killed, and so were a still-undetermined number of Afghan civilians.

The civilian deaths sent shudders through the American military command, already fearful that civilian casualties would further alienate the Afghan public. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, was said to be angry and determined to tighten the U.S. force's already-strict rules of engagement even more to avoid future civilian deaths.

Then something odd happened. When McChrystal met with local leaders in Kunduz, a few days after the bombing, he got an earful -- but not what he expected.

According to a detailed account in The Washington Post -- a story that has received too little attention in the ongoing debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan -- the local Afghan leaders told McChrystal to stop being so fussy and to go ahead and kill the enemy, which they said would help bring stability to the region.

Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran was given extraordinary access to the bombing investigation. According to his account, McChrystal began the meeting with a show of sympathy for those who had been killed or wounded. The general didn't get very far before he was interrupted by the provincial council chairman, Ahmadullah Wardak.

The security situation has been getting worse in Kunduz, Wardak told McChrystal. American and NATO troops haven't been aggressive enough in pursuing and killing the Taliban. In Wardak's view, the bombing of the fuel tankers, rather than a mistake, was the right thing to do.

"If we do three more operations like was done the other night, stability will come to Kunduz," Wardak said, according to the Post account. "If people do not want to live in peace and harmony, that's not our fault."

Chandrasekaran reported that McChrystal "seemed caught off guard." Wardak clarified a bit more: "We've been too nice to the thugs," he said.




Net neutrality is theft: "In an article for the Associated Press, reporter Daniel Lovering describes soon-to-be-proposed rules on ‘Net Neutrality’ as ‘prohibit(ing) Internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks.’ The cries of ‘interference’ are standard rhetoric from those who support regulation of the Internet, intentionally ignoring the fact that Internet infrastructure isn’t free. The very term, ‘neutrality’, is a nice-sounding but intentionally misleading description of the policy.” [See also here and here]

Volcker Says Obama Plan Leaves Opening for Bailouts: "Paul A. Volcker, a top White House economic adviser, said Thursday that the Obama administration’s proposed overhaul of financial rules would preserve the policy of “too big to fail” and could lead to future banking bailouts. Mr. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, told Congress that by designating some companies as critical to the broader financial system, the administration’s plans would create an expectation that those companies enjoy government backing in tough times. That implies those financial companies “will be sheltered by access to a federal safety net,” he said. He urged lawmakers to make clear that nonbank companies would not be saved with federal money."

Obama pursues arms control treaties; Iran builds the bomb: "The President brought his soaring sermon about "a world without [nuclear] weapons" before the U.N. General Assembly. He called for a new arms control treaty and won Security Council support for a vague resolution on proliferation. On cue yesterday, Iran showed the world what determined rogues think about such treaties. On the evidence of his Presidency so far, Mr. Obama will not let that reality interfere with his disarmament dreams. The disclosure that Iran has a second facility to make bomb-grade fuel, the latest of many Tehran deceptions, isn't exactly surprising. Administration officials say U.S. intelligence has known about the secret underground plant near the city of Qom for years. Iran sought other hidden sites after the Natanz facility was discovered in 2002, and now officials say they suspect there are other facilities too."

A property rights victory in New Jersey, of all places: "Last week saw a major victory for property rights, as besieged homeowners in New Jersey claimed victory against politicians and developers trying to seize their land. This continues the nationwide grassroots effort to stop government abuse of eminent domain power since the Supreme Court's misguided 2005 Kelo ruling. This story began back in the mid 1990s, when the city of Long Branch marked the well-kept neighborhoods of a cottagy beach community "in need of redevelopment." Residents were told that their homes and property were "blighted" and were to be handed over to real-estate developers for a more than $100 million condo project. The families, represented by the Institute for Justice, protested but the confiscation was initially allowed to proceed by state judge Lawrence Lawson. In August 2008, a three-judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division unanimously reversed and remanded that decision, saying that the city did not have enough evidence to declare the area blighted. And last Tuesday the city of Long Branch agreed to drop their eminent domain claims."

The law-ignoring lawyer: "As reported two weeks ago in The Patriot Post (and practically nowhere else), Indiana Treasurer Richard Murdock filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the legality of the Obama-forced bankruptcy of Chrysler, LLC. Murdock is petitioning the Court to rule on Barack Obama's blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, which explicitly authorizes Congress, and not the president, to determine bankruptcy laws. In particular, Murdock is challenging the president's unashamed indifference to more than 220 years of bankruptcy precedent, which puts senior, or secured, creditors ahead of junior, or unsecured, creditors during bankruptcy proceedings."

Federal Reserve Scandal Bigger than ACORN: "But the question of what the Federal Reserve is doing with trillions of taxpayer dollars makes the ACORN scandal look like peanuts. For the first time, a hearing is being held on Rep. Ron Paul's Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 (H.R. 1207) by the House Committee on Financial Services. Grass-roots pressure has been credited with forcing the hearing into what has happened to trillions of dollars supposedly spent by the Federal Reserve on the stabilization of the financial system... While the ACORN scandal involves tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and became a national scandal because of the videos, some other videos that examine what has happened to trillions of dollars involving the Federal Reserve have become increasingly popular. These videos, however, don't involve undercover footage. Rather, they show Rep. Alan Grayson trying to pin down government officials at congressional hearings on what has happened to the missing money."

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


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


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


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Barack Obama, College Administrator

Our commander-in-chief seems to think he’s president of the University of America

By Victor Davis Hanson

If you are confused by the first nine months of the Obama administration, take solace that there is at least a pattern. The president, you see, thinks America is a university and that he is our campus president. Keep that in mind, and almost everything else makes sense.

Obama went to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard without much of a break, taught at the University of Chicago, and then surrounded himself with academics, first in his stint at community organizing and then when he went into politics. It shows. In his limited experience, those who went to Yale or Harvard are special people, and the Ivy League environment has been replicated in the culture of the White House.

Note how baffled the administration is by sinking polls, tea parties, town halls, and, in general, “them” — the vast middle class, which, as we learned during the campaign, clings to guns and Bibles, and which has now been written off as blinkered, racist, and xenophobic. The earlier characterization of rural Pennsylvania has been expanded to include all of Middle America.

For many in the academic community who have not worked with their hands, run businesses, or ventured far off campus, Middle America is an exotic place inhabited by aborigines who bowl, don’t eat arugula, and need to be reminded to inflate their tires. They are an emotional lot, of some value on campus for their ability to “fix” broken things like pipes and windows, but otherwise wisely ignored. Professor Chu, Obama’s energy secretary, summed up the sense of academic disdain that permeates this administration with his recent sniffing about the childish polloi: “The American people . . . just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” Earlier, remember, Dr. Chu had scoffed from his perch that California farms were environmentally unsound and would soon disappear altogether, “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.”

It is the role of the university, from a proper distance, to help them, by making sophisticated, selfless decisions on health care and the environment that the unwashed cannot grasp are really in their own interest — deluded as they are by Wal-Mart consumerism, Elmer Gantry evangelicalism, and Sarah Palin momism. The tragic burden of an academic is to help the oppressed, but blind, majority.

In the world of the university, a Van Jones — fake name, fake accent, fake underclass pedigree, fake almost everything — is a dime a dozen. Ward Churchill fabricated everything from his degree to his ancestry, and was given tenure, high pay, and awards for his beads, buckskin, and Native American–like locks. The “authentic” outbursts of Van Jones about white polluters and white mass-murderers are standard campus fare. In universities, such over-the-top rhetoric and pseudo-Marxist histrionics are simply career moves, used to scare timid academics and win release time, faculty-adjudicated grants, or exemption from normal tenure scrutiny. Skip Gates’s fussy little theatrical fit at a Middle American was not his first and will not be his last.

Obama did not vet Jones before hiring him because he saw nothing unusual (much less offensive) about him, in the way that Bill Ayers likewise was typical, not an aberration, on a campus. Just as there are few conservatives, so too there are felt to be few who should be considered radicals in universities. Instead everyone is considered properly left, and even fringe expressions are considered normal calibrations within a shared spectrum. The proper question is not “Why are there so many extremists in the administration?” but rather “What’s so extreme?”

Some people are surprised that the administration is hardly transparent and, in fact, downright intolerant of dissent. Critics are slurred as racists and Nazis — usually without the fingerprints of those who orchestrated the smear campaign from higher up. The NEA seems to want to dish out federal money to “artists” on the basis of liberal obsequiousness. The president tells the nation that his wonderful programs are met with distortion and right-wing lies, and that the time for talking is over — no more partisan, divisive bickering in endless debate.

That reluctance to engage in truly diverse argumentation again reveals the influence of the academic world on Team Obama. We can have an Eric Holder–type “conversation” (a good campusese word), but only if held on the basis of the attorney general’s one-way notion of racial redress.

On most campuses, referenda in the academic senate (“votes of conscience”) on gay marriage or the war in Iraq are as lopsided as Saddam’s old plebiscites. Speech codes curb free expression. Groupthink is the norm. Dissent on tenure decisions, questioning of diversity, or skepticism about the devolution in the definition of sexual harassment — all that can be met with defamation. The wolf cry of “racist” is a standard careerist gambit. Given the exalted liberal ends, why quibble over the means?

Some wonder where Obama got the idea that constant exposure results in persuasion. But that too comes from the talk-is-everything mindset of a university president. Faculties are swamped with memos from deans, provosts, and presidents, reiterating their own “commitment to diversity,” reminding how they would not “tolerate hate speech,” and in general blathering about the “campus community.” University administrators instruct faculty on everything from getting a flu shot, to covering up when coughing, to how to make a syllabus and avoid incorrect words.

Usually the frequency of such communiqués spikes when administrators are looking for a job elsewhere and want to establish a fresh paper trail so that their potential new employers can be reminded of their ongoing progressive credentials.

Obama has simply emulated the worldview and style of a college administrator. So he thinks that reframing the same old empty banalities with new rhetorical flourishes and signs of fresh commitment and empathy will automatically result in new faculty converts. There is no there there in health-care reform, but opponents can be either bullied, shamed, or mesmerized into thinking there is.

Czars are a university favorite. Among the frequent topics of the daily university executive communiqués are the formulaic “My team now includes . . . ,” “I have just appointed . . . ,” “Under my direction . . . ” (that first-person overload is, of course, another Obama characteristic), followed by announcement of a new “special” appointment: “special assistant to the president for diversity,” “acting assistant provost for community affairs and external relations,” “associate dean for curriculum enhancement and development.”

Most of these tasks are either unnecessary or amply covered by existing faculty, department chairs, and deans. Czars, however, proliferated on campuses for fairly obvious reasons. First, they are spotlights illuminating the university administration’s commitment to a particular fashionable cause by the showy creation of a high-profile, highly remunerative new job. When loud protests meet the university’s inability to create a new department or fund a trendy but costly special program, administrators often take their loudest critics and make them czars — satisfying the “base” without substantial policy changes.

Second, czars are a way to circumvent the usual workings of the university, especially faculty committees in which there is an outside chance of some marginalized conservative voting against putting “Race, Class, and Gender in the Latina Cinema” into the general-education curriculum.

Special assistants for and associates of something or other are not vetted. Czars create an alternative university administration that can create special billets, hire adjuncts (with de facto security), and obtain budgeting without faculty oversight. The special assistant or associate rarely is hired through a normal search process open to the campus community, but rather is simply selected and promoted by administrative fiat.

One of the most disturbing characteristics of the new administration is a particular sort of whining or petulance. Dissatisfaction arises over even favorable press coverage — as we saw last weekend, when Obama serially trashed the obsequious media that he had hogged all day.

Feelings of being underappreciated by the public for all one’s self-sacrificial efforts are common university traits. We’ve seen in the past a certain love/hate relationship of Professor Obama with wealthy people — at first a Tony Rezko, but now refined and evolved much higher to those on Wall Street that the administration in schizophrenic fashion both damns and worships.

Michelle Obama during the campaign summed up best her husband’s wounded-fawn sense of sacrifice when she said, “Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics.”

Academic culture also promotes this idea that highly educated professionals deigned to give up their best years for arduous academic work and chose to be above the messy rat race. Although supposedly far better educated, smarter (or rather the “smartest”), and more morally sound than lawyers, CEOs, and doctors, academics gripe that they, unfairly, are far worse paid. And they lack the status that should accrue to those who teach the nation’s youth, correct their papers, and labor over lesson plans. Obama reminded us ad nauseam of all the lucre he passed up on Wall Street in order to return to the noble pursuit of organizing and teaching in Chicago.

In short, campus people have had the bar raised on themselves at every avenue. Suggest to an academic that university pay is not bad for ninth months’ work, often consisting of an actual six to nine hours a week in class, and you will be considered guilty of heresy if not defamation.

University administrators worship private money, and then among themselves scoff at the capitalism that created it. Campus elites, looking at a benefactor, are fascinated how someone — no brighter than they are — made so much money, even as they are repelled by a system that allows those other than themselves to have pulled it off. No wonder that Obama seems enchanted by a Warren Buffett, even as he trashes the very landscape that created Berkshire Hathaway’s riches. No president has raised more money from Wall Street or has given it more protection from accountability — while at the same time demagoguing it as selfish and greedy.

Many of the former Professor Obama’s problems so far hinge on his administration’s inability to judge public opinion, its own self-righteous sense of self, its non-stop sermonizing, and its suspicion of sincere dissent. In other words, the United States is now a campus, we are the students, and Obama is our university president.



Who does he think he's kidding?

On Wednesday, Barack Obama addressed the UN. If this was supposed to be a triumphant projection of the wonders of his foreign policy, his timing was singularly unfortunate. It was as if he had unveiled his shiny new bus after the wheels had come off and the engine had fallen out.

His speech set out the approach that we all know by now: soft power, apologising for America, hand of friendship extended to enemies of America, upholding human rights for enemy combatants, desire to channel foreign policy through the club of terror UN, ‘engaging with the world’ and ‘leading by example’ -- particularly by apologising for America. This approach was to be the antidote to the supposed gung-ho militarism of George W Bush. Swords would be beaten into ploughshares, genocidal lunatics would swap recipes and holiday snaps with their erstwhile victims and there would be peace on earth and the brotherhood of man. But we can see that everywhere Obama has applied this policy approach it has failed, humiliating America by revealing it to be weak, incompetent and naive to the point of imbecility and thus strenghtening the enemies of America and the free world.

In the Middle East, his policy has collapsed. Obama’s giant grovel to the Muslim world in Cairo failed to shift any belligerents or impress the rest.

His extended hand of friendship to Iran’s murderous regime had the effect of abandoning those Iranians who are fighting and dying for freedom from tyranny, while failing to stop, delay or in any way deter Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

He made America less safe by abandoning the central European missile defence shield against Iran, showing contempt for Poland and the Czech Republic along the way.

He has rewarded North Korea for its continued belligerency by agreeing to its demand for bilateral talks.

His engagement with Syria has failed to end its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

As far as Israel and the Palestinians are concerned, Obama marched his troops to the top of the hill only to have to march them down again with their tail between their legs. In response to his bullying over the settlements, Israel faced him down by agreeing to a Palestine state; but stipulating that for this to happen the Palestinians must accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. With the Palestinians loudly refusing to do so, thus demonstrating that it is they who refuse to accept a two-state solution, Obama has nevertheless forced ‘peace process’ negotiations to restart between Israel and a Palestinian leadership which refuses to accept the existence of Israel and says there is nothing to discuss. While he grovels to America’s enemies, Obama continues to treat its ally, Israel, as an enemy. As former UN ambassador John Bolton observed:
The most significant point of the speech was how the president put Israel on the chopping block in a variety of references, from calling Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegitimate to talking about ending ‘the occupation that began in 1967.’

On TV Bolton also said:
As I say, I think it’s the most anti-Israel speech I can remember by an American president, and the important thing is, when you have the Palestinians in as a weak of a position as they are now, and to have Barack Obama be their lawyer in effect, puts them in a very strong bargaining place.

Meanwhile, Obama is now dithering disastrously over his own policy in Afghanistan which he is trying to ditch. Having previously announced a ‘surge’ there of more troops he is now refusing to provide them, thus causing a major rift with the American commander in Afghanistan....

Then there is the catalogue of Mr. Obama's embarrassing moments on the world stage, a list which includes: giving England's Queen Elizabeth II an iPod with his speeches on it; giving British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a collection of DVDs that were not formatted to the European standard (by contrast, Mr. Brown gave Mr. Obama an ornamental desk-pen holder made from the oak timbers of Victorian anti-slaver HMS Gannet, among other historically significant gifts); calling ‘Austrian’ a language; bowing to the Saudi king; releasing a photo of a conference call with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which the president was showing the soles of his shoes to the camera (an Arab insult); saying ‘let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s’; saying the United States was ‘one of the largest Muslim countries in the world’; suggesting Arabic translators be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan where Arabic is not a native language; sending a letter to French President Jacques Chirac when Nicolas Sarkozy was the president of France; holding a town-hall meeting in France and not calling on a single French citizen; and referring to ‘Cinco de Cuatro’ in front of the Mexican ambassador when he meant Cinco de Mayo.

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening that the leader of the western world, in the face of a war to destroy that world, should be so utterly incompetent and out of his depth.



BrookesNews Update

Stock market crashes and market efficiency: Despite the remarkable explanatory power of the Austrian theory of the boom bust cycle the vast economists insist on looking elsewhere for an explanation of market 'bubbles', speculative frenzies and depressions. They completely overlook the obvious: only sustained credit expansion can inflate share prices and fuel lengthy speculative frenzies
Why the Fed's monetary pumping is inflationary : The Fed's new monetary set-up to counter any threats to the economy without compromising the goals of price stability and full employment will result in a reckless monetary expansion that will destabilize the economy. In short, it will have the reverse effect
China's growth is no threat to the world's resources: The greens and their media stooges are at it again. China is going to ruin the planet by raping her resources and poisoning the atmosphere. Baloney. There is something vaguely obscene about comfortably placed Western intellectuals objecting to Third World peasants aspiring and striving to reach a Western standard of living. Obama appoints a radical
Muslim to top position in the Department of Home Security : Obama has appointed Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Arif Alikhan as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy Development at the Department of Homeland. The same Arif Alikhan who derailed the LAPD's plan to plan to monitor pro-terrorist activities the Los Angeles Muslim community, making the anti-terrorist program dead on arrival. The same man who hates Israel, supports its destruction and publicly defends the terrorist group Hamas. Under Obama Americans are becoming less safe by the day
Missile defence and Obama's abject surrender to Moscow and Tehran : On the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Soviet troops Obama broke a promise, destroyed US credibility, betrayed Central Europe, the NATO alliance and the American people by surrendering missile defence to Moscow and the islamo-Nazi regime that rules Iran. By doing so he signaled to Moscow, Tehran, North Korea and their allies that they now have a free hand. Only a leftwing ideologue who thinks America is the root of the world's problems could do something so incredibly stupid
Obama and the stakes in Honduras : Why did Obama and his advisers side with Zelay, a leftwing thug and a Chavez stooge, the man who wanted to turn Honduras into a Marxist dictatorship? No wonder Castro, Ortega and Chavez are happy. Obama is doing their dirty work for them. It seems that this administration is intent on legitimizing America's enemies at the expense of her allies.
The question is - why Is the US Government bankrupt? : Americans must either accept responsibility for their own lives and reduce the role of government in their most important affairs, or a chaotic future with citizen against citizen and neighbor against neighbor will be their fate. The founders and many great leaders warned Americans of the dangers of unlimited government
Color Me Racist :I'm in awe of the left. Though they have admitted not knowing the details of the 1,000 plus pages of the Obama health care 'reform', they have managed to divine what is in my heart. And the hearts of millions of others. And it's called racism. Despite having elected a black president, the left would have us believe that the millions of whites who voted for Obama still hate black people


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


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


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beware the Stalin in progressive hearts

If nothing else, the Obama eruption in American politics is steadily revealing the stark reality behind the progressive movement - the totalitarian temptation is always there and, for more than a few, possessing the official power to compel sooner or later becomes irresistible.

Not everybody on the left, of course. Some of the folks I most admire in this town are liberals whose work on behalf of values like transparency in government and protecting civil liberties is remarkable and essential.

Still, that this danger is real and growing becomes more obvious as public opposition grows to the president's across-the-board campaign to turn Washington into the all-powerful, centralized behemoth that Woodrow Wilson and FDR could only dream about. Consider: Nowhere does the Constitution grant Congress authority to require every American to buy a particular private service or product on pain of forfeiture of a significant portion of their wealth. Yet, every version of Obamacare currently being discussed in Congress requires just that.

Forcing all of us to buy officially approved health insurance is essential to a functioning government-run system. As Obama told Congress, "many of insurance reforms we seek - especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions - cannot be achieved" without the individual mandate.

Why? Because the politicians and bureaucrats who will manage the government-run health care program know that, without the force of government behind them, they won't be able to make the rest of us do what they tell us to do.

Once the power is granted, the question becomes how severe will the enforcement be. Fines will suffice, for Obamacare, for now. For Stalin, the first choice was usually the Gulag, or a bullet. It's just a matter of degree.

But that is what government always does as it becomes more costly, intrusive and intolerant of dissent. As if to drive the point home, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a gag order this week telling all private companies participating in the Medicare Advantage program to shut up. Violators would face fines and jail time. Forget the First Amendment. The gag order was issued after Humana Corp. sent a letter to its policyholders who participate in Medicare Advantage telling them the facts about Obamacare's effect on the program. The companies were ordered "to end immediately all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your website."

The bureaucrats added this blunt threat: "Please be advised that we take this matter very seriously and, based upon the findings of our investigation, will pursue compliance and enforcement actions. ...." Those, my friends, are the words of soft tyranny. How much longer before it becomes a hard tyranny?

History - and the words of progressives themselves - suggest not long. Consider New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's telling admiration for the communist thugs who run the Chinese government: "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonabley enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."

That in a nutshell is the totalitarian temptation that plagues all who would use the power of the state to impose their vision of the good society on the rest of us. It's the ever-present Stalin whispering in the progressive ear: "Ignore those reactionary, loud-mouthed, ignorant Tea Party protesters and decree Obamacare, Waxman-Markey, and all the rest of it. Do it now while you have the power!"

And if the dissenters won't be quiet, Bill Ayers, Obama's once-and-future colleague, can always dust off his copy of that old Weather Underground plan for FEMA re-education camps in the desert southwest.

You think I exaggerate? Read National Review Editor Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," or historian Paul Johnson's "Modern Times," two books without which you cannot understand where we've been or where we are headed. We may have only two more chances to turn things around, in 2010 and 2012.



Can the Republicans win the House in 2010?

By: Michael Barone

There’s starting to be some speculation that Republicans might recapture a majority in the House in 2010. That would require them to gain 40 seats—the exact number they needed to gain in 1994, the last time they recaptured a majority from the Democrats. Interestingly, I don’t recall anyone predicting the Republicans would win a majority, much less gain the 52 seats they actually did that year, until July 1994, when I wrote an article in U.S. News & World Report suggesting there was a serious possibility they would do so. One reason the commentariat was so late in making such a prediction was that almost no one had been around the last time the Republicans won a majority of House seats, in 1952. In contrast, today’s commentariat remembers that there was a Republican majority in the House just three years ago.

One reason it’s hard to predict who will win which party will win a majority of House seats is that it’s impossible, or at least impracticable, for national pollsters to ask respondents in each of the 435 congressional districts which of the two major party candidates they’ll vote for. Challengers are typically little known even in the weeks just before the election, much less 14 months before—when most challengers haven’t even been picked and many haven’t started running. So pollsters ask the generic ballot question—which party’s candidate will you vote for in the election for House of Representatives. Currently Real Clear Politics reports that Democrats lead Republicans by only 41%-39% in the generic ballot. But there’s a clear difference between the results shown by pollster Scott Rasmussen, who limits his surveys to those he determines to be likely voters, and other pollsters. Rasmussen currently shows Republicans leading 42%-38% and has had them ahead every week since the results he reported June 28—just about the time the House was passing the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill by a 219-212 margin. Other pollsters during the same period have, on average, shown Democrats ahead 44%-39%, with Democrats leading in nine of ten such polls and Republicans ahead by just 1% in the other.

Now comes political scientist Andrew Gelman, on the blog run by the Obama enthusiast and gifted numbers cruncher Nate Silver, saying that the generic polls suggest that Republicans could recapture a House majority in 2010. I have noticed that over the years generic vote questions have tended to understate the ultimate Republican percentage of the popular vote for the House; Gelman says his research indicates “the out-party consistently outperforms the generic polls.” Gelman says that in current generic polls Democrats get 52% of the two-party vote, comparable to what they got in 1946, 1994 and 1998—all years in which Republicans got more popular votes and won more House seats than Democrats.

Wisely, Gelman notes it’s still early; opinion which has shifted away from the Democrats during the first eight months of the Obama term could shift the other way in the next 14 months. He also notes, again I think wisely, “the general unpopularity of the Republicans.” But I think there’s less to his third caveat, that “it will be year 2 of the presidential term, not year 6 which is historically the really bad year for the incumbent party.” Historically, yes, but not in recent times. Ronald Reagan’s Republicans and Bill Clinton’s Democrats lost more seats in year 2 than in year 6; only George W. Bush of the presidents of the last 30 years saw his party do worse in year 6 than year 2. Reagan’s Republicans suffered from recession and high unemployment; Clinton’s Democrats suffered from liberal overreach. Both factors could—not necessarily will, but could—work against Barack Obama’s Democrats next year.

Having said all that, I think the chances of the Republicans recapturing the House have to be rated now at well below 50%. But I think they’re not as negligible as I thought even a few weeks ago.



At the U.N., Terrorism Pays

It was my duty as defense minister to stop Hamas rockets, says EHUD BARAK below

This week the United Nation's Human Rights Council produced a 600-page report alleging that Israel carried out war crimes in Gaza. The Goldstone Report —named for its chief investigator Richard Goldstone— also asserts that Israel's motives for its operation against Hamas nine months ago were purely political. I am outraged by these accusations. Let me explain why.

It is the duty of every nation to defend itself. This is a basic obligation that all responsible governments owe their citizens. Israel is no different. After enduring eight years of ongoing rocket fire —in which 12,000 missiles were launched against our cities, and after all diplomatic efforts to stop this barrage failed— it was my duty as defense minister to do something about it. It's as simple and self-evident as the right to self-defense.

While such logic eluded Mr. Goldstone and his team, it was crystal clear to the thousands of Israeli children living in southern Israel who had to study, play, eat and sleep while being preoccupied about the distance to the nearest bomb shelter. When I accompanied then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on his visit to the shelled city of Sderot, he said "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." Too bad the Human Rights Council wasn't listening.

Whenever we are forced to defend our own lives, it is our obligation to do so in a way that ensures that the lives of innocent civilians on the other side are protected. This duty becomes extremely difficult when we have to face an enemy that intentionally deploys its forces in densely populated areas, stores its explosives in private homes, and launches rockets from crowded school yards and mosques. In Gaza, we reached out to the civilians via millions of leaflets, telephone calls and text messages urging them to leave areas before we acted.

So when the Goldstone mission gathers testimony from local residents in Hamas-ruled Gaza, but forgets to ask them whether they happened to notice any armed Palestinians during the Israeli operation, or didn't realize that its impartially chosen witnesses happened to be known Hamas operatives according to Israeli intelligence, I begin to question the methodology of such a "fact-finding" effort.

Although I am incensed by the Goldstone Report, I must admit that I was not surprised. It is, more than anything else, a political statement —not a legal analysis. This shameful document was produced by the Human Rights Council, a body whose obsession with Israel has led it to produce more resolutions condemning Israel than all other countries combined. By its lights, the evils of Israel far outweigh those of countries like Burma, Sudan and North Korea.

In its blind zeal to demonize Israel, the council has produced a document that undermines every other democracy struggling to defend itself against terrorism. The message broadcast by this report to the new world order? Terrorism pays.

Yet, an accusation, however ludicrous, is still an accusation, and it mustn't remain unanswered. If the U.N. or anyone else has complaints, they should direct them towards the Israeli government. I have in-depth knowledge about the extent of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) efforts to reduce civilian casualties, and I am convinced that the actions our government took are equal to or exceed actions taken by the armed forces of any other democratic nation. Strikes against extremely valuable Hamas targets were aborted in mid-operation due to the unexpected presence of civilians.

Hundreds of thousands of warnings of impending IDF activity were provided to the population by leaflet, radio, telephone and text messages. Humanitarian supplies were allowed to flow into Gaza despite the fact that Hamas shelled the convoys and confiscated the aid they carried.

Israel is not perfect. As much as we as a society try to uphold the IDF's ethical code, mistakes sometimes happen and deviations from procedure occur. Whether we like it or not, Israel is one of the most scrutinized countries in the world. And when we are told that things may not be right, we check it out and, when necessary, prosecute those involved. We are now pursuing two dozen criminal investigations regarding events that occurred in Gaza. We don't need the Human Rights Council, Richard Goldstone, or anyone else to teach us how to maintain the democratic principles which are our lifeblood.

As sobering as the thought may be, terrorists will welcome this report. It has made their work much easier, and the work of their potential victims more difficult. I believe that the time has come for us to put an end to this calculated erosion of common sense. The nations that share democratic values must not allow themselves to be handcuffed by the abusive application of lofty ideals. Democracies should be concentrating on defending themselves from extremism —not from accusations by kangaroo courts.




Veterans' promised tuition checks AWOL: "The U.S. government failed to send promised college tuition checks to tens of thousands of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars before they returned to school this fall, even after being warned that it was inadequately staffed for the job. The Veterans Affairs Department blamed a backlog of claims filed for GI Bill education benefits that has left veterans who counted on the money for tuition and books scrambling to make ends meet. Out of more than 277,000 veterans who have filed for the college tuition benefits this semester, more than 200,000 claims have been processed and approved, but fewer than 11 percent of the veterans have received the funding, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). The group says it has been contacted by thousands of veterans who have not received their benefits and that they are forced to take out loans or pay the money out of their pockets. "This is absolutely unacceptable," the group said. "The men and women who so courageously served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve better." A VA spokeswoman did not return a call for comment, but in a statement the agency said employees are working overtime to deliver the checks and that retired claims processors have been rehired." [And Obama wants such bunglers to look after your healthcare!]

Jury rejects family's FEMA trailer claims: "A federal jury on Thursday rejected a New Orleans family's claims that the government-issued trailer they lived in after Hurricane Katrina was defective and exposed them to dangerous fumes. A jury of five men and three women decided that a trailer made by Gulf Stream Coach Inc. and occupied by Alana Alexander and her 12-year-old son, Christopher Cooper, was not "unreasonably dangerous" in its construction. The jury also concluded that Fluor Enterprises Inc., which had a contract to install FEMA trailers, wasn't negligent in doing so. The federal government wasn't a defendant in this first of several "bellwether" trials. Gulf Stream denied its trailer jeopardized the health of Alexander and her family. Andrew Weinstock, a lawyer for the Nappanee, Ind.-based company, said FEMA had purchased thousands of trailers from Gulf Stream since 1992 without receiving any formaldehyde complaints until 2006." [Great! The lawyers have lost a goldmine]

Glenn Beck: Probe of ACORN 'bogus': "Conservative commentator Glenn Beck said Thursday the ethics investigation into the community activist group ACORN will yield no meaningful findings unless it reaches into the top levels of the organization or the White House gets involved. "I think this whole thing is bogus," said Mr. Beck, a Fox News talk-show host. ACORN on Wednesday named former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, a Democrat, to lead an independent inquiry into the liberal group's social-services program. The inquiry follows the recent release of videotapes showing undercover operatives posing as a prostitute and pimp seeking tax and housing advice at five ACORN offices. "It's a show," Mr. Beck told The Washington Times' "America's Morning News" radio show. "They moved too fast, too quietly. The president is not involved. Until you start going to the people at the top ... the people connected to the White House, you cannot clean up this mess."

Obama at the U.N.: "Barack Obama's excellent New York adventure was all he hoped it would be. He got to make a speech, pave the streets of Manhattan with harmless platitudes, bask in the admiration of various Third World mediocrities and hear himself nominated to be president of the United States for life. "It was an excellent day," he said as night fell, as it always must. All in all, he did no particular harm, and we can all be grateful for that. The messiah had a rough summer, and he was entitled to the pleasure of presiding, if only for a day, over the Children's Hour. With President Obama presiding over "the historic session," the U.N. Security Council approved unanimously an American resolution committing all nations to work for - please sit up straight for this - a world free of nuclear weapons. Somewhere in the fine print was a clause praising small babies, little puppies and chocolate candy. The resolution was so harmless that even Russia, China and several "developing" nations (the usual euphemism for the socialist satraps) voted for the resolution. A good time was clearly had by all."

Spanish Judge expels woman wearing burqah: "A Spanish judge overnight expelled a Muslim woman wearing a burka from his court for refusing to show her face when testifying in the trial of a group of Islamic extremists. "Seeing your face, I can see if you are lying or not, if you are surprised by a question or not," Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez told the woman, the sister of an Islamic radical killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2005. The woman said that her religion forbade her from appearing in public without her burqah, the all-covering article of clothing worn by some Islamic women. When she refused to reveal her face, the judge expelled her from the courtroom. But after speaking to the judge later in his chambers, a compromise was reached. She said she had agreed to testify on Tuesday minus the part of her burqah which normally covers the face "between the chin and the eyebrows" and with her back turned to the public and journalists in the courtroom".


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


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


Friday, September 25, 2009

A conservatism hater

David Greenberg, a professor of history at Rutgers, has a very self-satisfied and sneering essay in Slate which admits his failure to understand conservatism at great length. Apparently inspired by the latest "Time" magazine, he dredges up the old Marxist nonsense of Hofstader, Adorno & Co. and seems to think that there is something in it, but ends up admitting that none of them give a useful explanation of modern-day American conservative politics. Rather amusing really.

It is difficult to fisk something as lightweight as Greenberg's essay but maybe I should make two points:

In typical Leftist style, he projects onto conservatives the very thing that most moves Leftists: Hate. The title of his essay is "The Obama haters". That people might violently disagree with Obama's policies without hating him seems to be a combination outside Greenberg's limited emotional range. Again in good Leftist style he offers no evidence that ANYBODY hates Obama. He just asserts it. He KNOWS! Obama is personally a very agreeable personality so I find it hard to imagine that anyone hates him. Obama's extremely limited understanding of economics (e.g. his claim that he can give healthcare to more people with less money) does reduce one to despair at times, but despair is a long way from hate.

But I suppose the main defence mechanism that keeps Greenberg's sense of superiority alive is not so much projection as denial. He just cannot see that people like Glenn Beck have reasonable points to make: Points reasonable enough to cause at least one Obama appointee to resign. So if the words of Beck & Co. are not reasonable, there must be something other than reason behind them. Frustratingly for Greenberg, he just cannot figure out what that might be. Again, quite amusing.

If Greenberg reads this, he will probably accuse me of "psychologizing" or some such. That would be amusing too as that was precisely what Greenberg tried to do, but could not convince even himself. But I do after all have over 100 papers in the academic literature on the psychology of politics so I probably have a more useful background for "psychologizing" about politics than he does.

Some excerpts that might interest Prof. Greenberg:

Secret protocols of Beck’s legions

Grassroots conservative enthusiasm notwithstanding, the talk-radio host and Fox News personality is under attack this week, with the liberal establishment's favorite weapon, a Time magazine cover: "Mad Man: Glenn Beck and the angry style of American politics." This continues a long tradition of weekly newsmagazine covers demonizing conservative figures like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich... After a few more paragraphs, Von Drehle plays his trump card: "The old American mind-set that Richard Hofstadter famously called 'the paranoid style' -- the sense that Masons or the railroads or the Pope or the guys in black helicopters are in league to destroy the country -- is aflame again…" Von Drehle's invocation of "the paranoid style," a trope that Hofstadter derived from Theodor Adorno's "authoritarian personality," is intended to clearly signal the reader that Beck is a kook, a conspiracy theorist, a demagogue pandering to the dangerous emotions of the ignorant mob.

Having never met Beck, I am not qualified to speak of whether he is representative of the "paranoid style." However, my friend and fellow American Spectator contributor Matthew Vadum has been a studio guest on Beck's Fox News program and did not mention any "roiling mix of fear, resentment, and anger." If Beck rants off-camera about black helicopters and Masons, it eluded Vadum's notice.

While my acquaintance with Beck is limited to occasionally catching a few moments of his TV or radio shows, I did have the opportunity to speak to many of the people at the Sept. 12 Capitol rally. My Arizona blogger friend Barbara Espinosa was there, and I spent many hours before, during and after the event talking to the organizers, attendees and speakers, including Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and author Mason Weaver. None of these people seemed to think that Glenn Beck represented a menace to public safety or the conservative movement.

They're all in on it together -- the grandmother and teenagers, Pence and Vadum and Weaver! It's all a clandestine conspiracy to conceal the hidden agenda for global domination by the Secret Legion of Beck! And if you don't believe it, then you're obviously a paranoid kook.

More here.

Why the left hates Glenn Beck : "For the last few years the left and the press would take shots at Beck, but never in a concerted fashion. He simply could be ignored, and they had bigger fish to fry, like the long-reigning king of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh. Things changed when Beck shifted from CNN to Fox News, just in time to comment on the policies of a new Democratic administration. Beck caught fire, both with his commentaries and with his growing fan base. He even took to the road for another comedy tour, blending mainstream humor with his political jabs. A few Beck bestsellers later, and he officially became a media empire. But the talker’s ability to take down his targets changed the dynamics — and the ferocity of the attacks against him.”


Strangers to dissent, liberals try to stifle it

It is an interesting phenomenon that the response of the left half of our political spectrum to criticism and argument is often to try to shut it down. Thus President Obama in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress told us to stop "bickering," as if principled objections to major changes in public policy were just childish obstinacy, and chastised his critics for telling "lies," employing "scare tactics" and playing "games." Unlike his predecessor, he sought to use the prestige of his office to shut criticism down.

Now, no one likes criticism very much, and most politicians would prefer to have their colleagues and constituents meekly and gratefully agree with them on pretty much everything. And yes, Rep. Joe Wilson does seem to have broken the rules and standards of decorum of the House (though not of the British House of Commons) when he shouted "You lie!" in the middle of Obama's speech.

But none of this justifies the charges, passed off as cool-headed analysis, that Obama's critics are motivated by racism. There are plenty of nonracist reasons to oppose (or to support) the Democrats' health care proposals.

I would submit that the president's call for an end to "bickering" and the charges of racism by some of his supporters are the natural reflex of people who are not used to hearing people disagree with them and who are determined to shut them up. This comes naturally to liberals educated in our great colleges and universities, so many of which have speech codes whose primary aim is to prevent the expression of certain conservative ideas and which are commonly deployed for that purpose. (For examples see the Web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends students of all political stripes.) Once the haven of free inquiry and expression, academia has become a swamp of stifling political correctness.

Similarly, the "mainstream media" -- the old-line broadcast networks, the New York Times, etc. -- presents a politically correct picture of the world. The result is that liberals can live in a cocoon, an America in which seldom is heard a discouraging word. Conservatives, in contrast, find themselves constantly pummeled with liberal criticism, on campus, in news media, in Hollywood TV and movies. They don't like it, but they've gotten used to it. Liberals aren't used to it and increasingly try to stamp it out.

"Mainstream media" tries to help. In the past few weeks, we have seen textbook examples of how MSM has ignored news stories that reflected badly on the administration for which it has such warm feelings. It ignored the videos in which White House "green jobs czar" proclaimed himself a "communist" and the "truther" petition he signed charging that George W. Bush may have allowed the Sept. 11 attacks.

It ignored the videos released on Andrew Breitbart's showing Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now employees offering to help a supposed pimp and prostitute evade taxes and employ 13- to 15-year-old prostitutes. It downplayed last spring's Tea Parties -- locally organized demonstrations against big government that attracted about a million people nationwide -- and downplayed the Tea Party throng at the Capitol and on the Mall on Sept. 12.

Actually "mainstream media" is doing its friends in the Obama administration and the Democratic party no favors, at least in the long run. Obama comes from one-party Chicago, and the House Democrats' nine top leadership members and committee chairmen come from districts that voted on average 73 percent for Obama last fall. They need help in understanding the larger country they are seeking to govern, where nearly half voted the other way. Instead they get the impression they can dismiss critics as racist or "Nazis" or as indulging in (as Sen. Harry Reid said) "evil-mongering."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned us that there was a danger that intense rhetoric could provoke violence, and no decent person wants to see harm come to our president or other leaders. But it's interesting that the two most violent incidents at this summer's town hall meetings came when a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri and when a liberal protester bit off part of a man's finger in California.

These incidents don't justify a conclusion that all liberals are violent. But they are more evidence that American liberals, unused to hearing dissent, have an impulse to shut it down.




ACORN sues over video as IRS severs ties: "A community organizing group stepped up efforts to defend its tainted reputation on Wednesday, filing a lawsuit in Maryland against a conservative activist, as yet another government agency sought to distance itself from the group. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, has faced a deluge of criticism after a series of videos from hidden cameras caught staff members giving advice about tax evasion, human smuggling and child prostitution to James E. O’Keefe III and a partner, who were wearing disguises. Acorn announced it would sue Mr. O’Keefe and others involved in the video on Thursday in Maryland District Court, charging that he recorded the staff members without their consent, which is illegal. … Also on Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would no longer include Acorn in a groups approved to offer free tax preparation.”

Ex-MA AG to oversee ACORN review: "Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger was chosen yesterday to oversee an internal review of ACORN, placing him in the middle of a politically charged national controversy fueled by videotapes showing counselors from the grass-roots group giving advice to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Harshbarger said he believes the organization chose him for the national review because of a reputation to ‘call them like I see them.’ Speaking several hours after the chairwoman of ACORN’s board of directors announced his appointment yesterday, the 67-year-old lawyer said he has long specialized in advising corporations, nonprofit groups, and government agencies about their practices, and he was eager to play a similar role amid the controversy surrounding the community advocacy group.”

Luxury carmaker wins $529 million government loan: "The Energy Department awarded a $529 million low-interest government loan to a California-based start-up luxury automaker to fund the development of an $88,000 plug-in hybrid vehicle and a future ‘family oriented’ sedan. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the loan to Irvine-based Fisker Automotive for the development of two lines of plug-in hybrids that will save hundreds of millions gallons of gasoline and offset millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.”

Poll: Americans angry at Feds: "Americans are overwhelmingly angry at the U.S. government and is nearly as let down by the lack of ideas from both political parties, a new poll by Rasmussen Reports revealed Tuesday. Sixty-six percent of voters in a national poll said they’re angry at the policies of the federal government, including 36 percent who counted themselves as very angry. Thirty percent are not really angry, including 10 percent of whom say they aren’t angry at all. Among those most angry are Republicans — 90 percent of whom say they are somewhat or very angry. Seventy-seven percent of independents are angry and just 44 percent of Democrats are peeved. Among those suggesting anger abounds falls a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents — 59 percent overall — who say the anger is greater now than it was during the Bush administration. But few believe that the political parties have an answer. Of those surveyed, 60 percent said neither Republicans nor Democrats understand what is needed and among those who claimed to be very angry, that number rises to 80 percent.”

“Capitalism: A propaganda story”: "Michael Moore, the professional freedom-hating socialism-hugging documentary filmmaker strolled onto the Jay Leno show to push his latest misnomered movie, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story.’ Not only did he show up but he showed off his utter ignorance of economics in general and capitalism in particular. And he, like many people on the political right and virtually everyone on the left, labeled capitalism as evil even as he clearly demonstrated that the evil belongs to government.”

UN: A-Jad speech prompts US walkout: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the U.S. and Israel in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly late today, prompting a walkout of American diplomats. ‘It is disappointing that Mr. Ahmadinejad has once again chosen to espouse hateful, offensive and anti-Semitic rhetoric,’ Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the UN, said in an e-mail issued as the Iranian leader spoke. … Ahmadinejad repeated criticisms of the U.S.-led military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and drew attention to what he saw as American complicity in the international financial crisis. The ‘engine of unbridled capital’ has stopped working and ‘liberalism and capitalism that have alienated human beings from heavenly and moral values will never bring happiness for humanity,’ he said.”

Obama regime to set higher bar for state secrecy (allegedly): "The Obama administration will announce a new policy Wednesday making it much more difficult for the government to claim that it is protecting state secrets when it hides details of sensitive national security strategies such as rendition and warrantless eavesdropping, according to two senior Justice Department officials. The new policy requires agencies, including the intelligence community and the military, to convince the attorney general and a team of Justice Department lawyers that the release of sensitive information would present significant harm to ‘national defense or foreign relations. …’ That claim was asserted dozens of times during the Bush administration, legal scholars said.”

Iran: No curvy mannequins in shop windows: "Iranian police warned shopkeepers Tuesday not to use mannequins without headscarves or which exposed body curves, official news agency IRNA reported. ‘Using unusual mannequins exposing the body curves and with the heads without Hijabs (Muslim veil) are prohibited to be used in the shops,’ Iran’s moral [sic] security police in charge of Islamic dress codes said in a statement carried by IRNA. Iranian police have stepped up a crackdown on both women and men, boutiques and small companies which fail to enforce strict religious dress codes since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to office in 2005. The measures are the latest in a country-wide campaign against Western cultural influences in the Islamic Republic, where strict dress codes are enforced.”

John Stossel on going to Fox II: "When I announced last week that I was leaving ABC for Fox, some readers complained about my ‘bias.’ I replied: ‘Every reporter has political beliefs. The difference is that I am upfront about mine.’ Look at today’s burning issue: President Obama’s pledge to redesign 15 percent of the economy. Virtually every reporter calls his health care plan ‘reform.’ But dictionaries define reform as ‘improvement.’ So before they present any evidence, reporters pronounce Obama’s plan an improvement. Isn’t that bias?”

Did Cash for Clunkers “revitalize” the auto industry?: "Contrary to what Automotive News breathlessly declared, the Cash program pretty much was what anyone with common sense and decent economic training could have predicted. It spurred sales for a while, but after the money dried up, so did the new car sales. I contend, however, that where Automotive News saw ‘momentum’ for the auto industry, in reality this program has brought long-term economic damage.”


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


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


Thursday, September 24, 2009

So ACORN Doesn't Have Tax Issues?

If you watched any of this embarrassing performance by ACORN mob boss Bertha Lewis Sunday you couldn't help by conclude the woman is a pathological liar. The most egregious lie she told was that ACORN pays all its taxes. Whoops. Would you like to have that one back, Bertha?

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday that her group "absolutely pays its taxes." Not true: The IRS and Louisiana's taxmen have imposed nearly $2 million in liens against ACORN for failing to fork over taxes at its New Orleans national headquarters. The IRS recently filed a $548,000 lien against the group, and Louisiana state tax officials have slapped $334,000 in liens on ACORN since last October.

Evidence that ACORN ignored its tax obligations may be less exciting than its branch offices' eagerness to help a self-professed pimp break multiple laws, or the voter-registration fraud for which various of its workers have been convicted.

But the tax mess shows that the lawlessness starts at its headquarters. (ACORN actually has three national HQs -- in the Big Easy, Washington, DC, and New York City.)

Another New Orleans group, the free-market Pelican Institute for Public Policy, uncovered official records that confirm ACORN's deadbeat tax status. (Full disclosure: Pelican hosted my visit to New Orleans last May.) At the Orleans Parish Clerk of Courts Office, Pelican researcher Steve Beatty found a Sept. 3 IRS filing showing that "Elysian Fields Corp., Inc., Alter Ego of ACORN" skipped five quarterly withholding-tax payments -- covering income, Social Security and Medicare levies -- in 2005-08, and made no federal unemployment-tax payments for the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008.

"We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," reads IRS form 668(Y). So the federal taxmen have placed liens on ACORN's New Orleans offices at 2609 Canal St. and 2610 Iberville St. This follows a $1 million invoice that the IRS already had handed ACORN, as Pelican reported last August. The group's in trouble with the state, too.

"We have a full-scale investigation into ACORN and all of its subsidiaries," Tammi Arender, spokeswoman for Louisiana Attorney General Bobby Caldwell, said recently. "No stone will be left unturned. We're still looking into their recent activities." Caldwell subpoenaed ACORN, former ACORN head Wade Rathke and the group's financial institution, Whitney Bank. Caldwell seeks information stretching back to 1998 on ACORN and some 361 tax-exempt and non-tax-exempt outfits in its universe.

Citizens Consulting, Inc. -- ACORN's bookkeeping arm, no less -- scored a Louisiana "Notice of State Tax Assessment and Lien" on Oct. 29, 2008. It details 66 withholding-tax payments that Citizens Consulting skipped in 2002-08, totaling more than $300,000.

These documents are online at American taxpayers have to struggle to pay their taxes in full and on time. Meanwhile, ACORN routinely has ignored its duty -- even as it has continued to collect millions of taxpayer dollars from the government.

Be sure to visit the Pelican Institute link and view the PDFs of the tax liens.

Bertha Lewis is lying through her teeth, that much is obvious. Why most of the media is ignoring her criminal activities remains a mystery. Watch how she can't even look at Darrell Issa. It's no wonder she's desperately avoiding appearing before Congress.



ACORN rotten from the head down

The liberal political organizing group ACORN faced internal chaos and allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud long before two young conservatives embarrassed the group with undercover videos made at field offices in Washington and across the country.

Internal ACORN documents show an organization in turmoil as last year's presidential election approached, with a board torn over how to handle embezzlement by the founder's brother and growing concern that donor money and pension funds had been plundered in the insider scheme.

Minutes from a meeting ACORN held in Los Angeles last summer reveal a group then on the brink of financial collapse. "Currently owe over $800k to IRS," the minutes note. "Haven't paid medical bills of over $300k. We are essentially 'broke' nationally and lots of offices are struggling."

Some top ACORN officials tried to shield the scheme, which involved Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. "Leadership has no faith in staff. Wade betrayed them," the minutes said.

More here


Obama won’t win by calling opponents cowards

During his current media bombardment, President Obama is wisely downplaying the charges of racism his allies have been making. He told CNN’s John King that race wasn’t “the overriding issue” for the opponents of his health care plan. Not exactly an exoneration of his critics’ racial attitudes, but at least an acknowledgment that there is more than bigotry at work. What Obama says is really driving the negative response to his policies is fear. Fear of “big changes.” Fear of “uncertainty.”

The president likes to equate the resistance he’s facing with that met by Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. It’s nice that Obama wants to put himself in such elite presidential company, but Roosevelt’s first year saw the passage of at least 10 major pieces of domestic legislation and two constitutional amendments. Obama has so far managed to produce two very large spending bills, keep his predecessor’s bailouts going and little else.

Roosevelt actually changed the country in his first eight months. And did it with a quarter of the work force idled and the banks out of money. People were afraid that the republic might fail and mostly welcomed FDR’s boldness. Today, Americans aren’t so much afraid as they are tired of treading water economically and pessimistic that anything the government can do will make it better.

Even so, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last week compared the president’s detractors to Father Coughlin, the racist, populist radio priest whose anti-Roosevelt rants were the targets of some of the first free-speech restrictions on the airwaves. Coughlin actually wanted more changes and more socialism than Roosevelt, not less. But you get where Team Obama is coming from. It sees demagogues leading flocks of fearful followers away from the bright light of progress.

Emanuel pictures a nation of modern-day Joads. He sees victims of the foreclosure dust bowl huddled around their laptops, hanging on Glenn Beck’s every blog post and too panic-stricken to see the wisdom of Obamacare.

First, we were told it was fear of the unknown. Once we understood the plan, we would cease to be afraid. When the president was selling a nonexistent plan this summer, it did sound pretty sketchy. At his July 22 news conference, when asked about what people would have to sacrifice for the sake of universal coverage, Obama said: “They’re going to have to give up paying for things that don’t make them healthier.”

So yes, Dr. Obama’s Traveling Medicine Show did not inspire confidence. But it is rational to be skeptical of a politician who proposes huge changes and promises only good results. The president, though, blamed the peddlers of “myths” and “distortions” of his imaginary plans for droopy polls and the outrage being expressed at town hall meetings.

The White House said the anxieties would begin to fade when Obama came forward with his own robust plan and sold it aggressively. And the president did just that Sept. 9, including all of the elements his liberal supporters wanted in a rousing speech. And again he saw fear, not disagreement, as the problem. “It has never been easy, moving this nation forward. There are always those who oppose it and those who use fear to block change,” Obama told a joint session of Congress.

There was a brief bounce in support for the plan based on the delivery of the speech. And then people found out that the president was really proposing federally mandated coverage, cuts to popular existing programs and new financial burdens on middle-class families.

Now, Obama is trying to recapture the momentum by assaulting the airwaves like a buttoned-down Billy Mays, pitching national health care instead of synthetic chamois cloths. He says he is on TV to battle fear at a time “of transition,” as if all roads lead in the direction of government health care but foolish fears can delay the inevitable.

The best liberal thinkers, including Obama, have been working for years to bring working-class whites back into the Democratic Party and re-create the unbeatable coalition of the New Deal. FDR built that coalition by addressing the shared, urgent fears of blacks and whites, farmers and mill workers, and Yankees and Southerners. And Obama believes he can do it again. But telling people that fear is the reason they have misgivings about an outlandish-sounding solution to a long-term problem is insulting, not reassuring.



Democrats on path to repeat housing disaster

With all the attention paid to the health care battle, ACORN, and the president's "Full Ginsburg" appearances on five Sunday talk shows, few people noticed a hearing with an exceedingly boring title -- "Proposals to Enhance the Community Reinvestment Act" -- held last week in the House Financial Services Committee. But the session marked a key moment in the ongoing battle between Republicans and Democrats over what caused our current financial woes -- and how we might best avoid getting into the same trouble again.

At the hearing, and in others across Capitol Hill, Democratic majorities are pressing hard to expand some of the very policies that led to the reckless home lending that in turn helped lead to the great financial meltdown. If Chairman Barney Frank and his fellow Democrats have their way, we'll do it all again -- and more.

At issue last week was H.R. 1479, the Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. It would expand and strengthen the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which required banks to make loans in low-income areas that many lenders had traditionally shunned.

After the meltdown, some conservatives blamed the CRA for almost solely causing the crisis by requiring banks to make risky loans to unqualified borrowers. It was an unfair charge. "CRA had at best an incremental role in the U.S. housing debacle," says J.D. Foster, an economist at the Heritage Foundation. But CRA did help create the conditions in which disaster could occur. The problems began in the 1990s, when Congress made it harder for lenders to do business if they had not passed the CRA "exam" -- that is, if they had not met the government-imposed standards for loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers.

"From 1995 on, there was an incredible push by the Clinton and Bush administrations in every way they could -- CRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other ways -- to increase the homeownership rate," says Russell Roberts, a professor of economics at George Mason University. "What that did was to push up the price of housing, and that made it imaginable to lend money to people you never would have lent money to, on terms you wouldn't have done before."

In particular, Fannie Mae began to aggressively promote homeownership using the Community Reinvestment Act to give loans to people who couldn't afford them. Fannie went to bankers and said, make as many CRA loans as you can; we'll buy them and take them off your hands. "Our approach to our lenders is 'CRA Your Way,' " top Fannie executive Jamie Gorelick told the Mortgage Bankers Association in 2001. "Fannie Mae will buy CRA loans from lenders' portfolios; we'll package them into securities; we'll purchase CRA mortgages at the point of origination. ..." Fannie promised to buy billions and billions of dollars worth of CRA loans because it was under pressure to do so from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which in turn was under pressure from Congress, which set ambitious quotas for low- and moderate-income loans.

The policy ended in a lot of people losing their homes. Now, Johnson's bill would ensure more of that by applying CRA's lending requirements not just to banks but to non-bank institutions like credit unions, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders. It would also make CRA explicitly race-based by, in Johnson's words, "requiring CRA exams to explicitly consider lending and services to minorities in addition to low- and moderate-income communities."

Republicans on the Financial Services Committee strongly oppose the plan. "Instead of looking to expand the number of institutions that must abide by CRA regulations, I think we should reassess the role this and other government mandates played in the financial collapse and consider scaling it back," California Rep. Ed Royce said at the hearing. In private conversation, other Republicans were more emphatic. "There is clearly arguable evidence that the CRA is at the root of this financial meltdown," said one GOP committee member. "So what do they do? They try to expand CRA."

That's an overstatement of CRA's role in the housing mess, but it's right about the Democratic plan. Denying that CRA, Fannie and other institutions played any role in setting the stage for disaster, they're proposing more of what helped get us into trouble in the first place. It's no way to fix the problem.




See here for an amazing tale of the bungling and waste in the administration of the "cash for clunkers" program.

Maryland governor OKs ACORN investigation: "Maryland’s Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley has authorized the state’s attorney general to investigate ACORN. “The Office of the Attorney General is authorized to use all necessary subpoena powers, to present to an appropriate grand jury any evidence and testimony considered necessary to carry out this authorization and directive, and to act with the full powers, rights and privileges possessed by a State’s Attorney,” O’Malley said in a news release."

NYC Hotel takes a stand against the Iranian madmen: "New York's Helmsley Hotel said on Friday it canceled a banquet set for next week when it learned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on the guest list, saying the man who called the Holocaust a lie was not welcome. Ahmadinejad was due in New York next week to attend the U.N. General Assembly, and his public appearances outside the meeting have generated controversy in recent years. "As soon as Helmsley corporate management learned of the possibility of either the Iranian mission or President Ahmadinejad holding a function at the New York Helmsley Hotel, they immediately ordered the cancellation of that function," hotel spokesman Howard Rubenstein said in a statement."

Frustration over Obama’s Afghanistan strategy: "Military officials voiced frustration and congressional leaders urged caution Tuesday over what they described as President Barack Obama’s shifting strategy in Afghanistan, six months after he committed thousands more U.S. troops to the stalemated war there. Administration officials maintained they were looking at all options to protect the U.S. and its allies by shutting down al-Qaida leaders who are believed to be hiding in areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.”


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


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


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More lies from ACORN

Bertha Lewis, ACORN's chief organizer, appeared on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and even though Joe Wilson was nowhere to be found in the studio, you could hear his unspoken words as she misrepresented the fates of several of her employees.

Lewis's performance during the interview with U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and host Chris Wallace was the finest in liberal arrogance and dishonesty. Throughout, she didn't bother to acknowledge Issa with eye contact and she often evaded their questions so she could continue to assert ACORN does so much good for poor, working class minorities.

Following two clips Wallace showed of the undercover videos filmed by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles at ACORN offices in Baltimore and Brooklyn, this exchange between Wallace and Lewis took place:
WALLACE: I want to point out, because you've also attacked FOX, FOX did not produce, did not make, did not buy those videos. We've just put them on the air like everybody else now has. You were brought in a year ago to clean up ACORN. Is this the new and improved ACORN?

LEWIS: Well, what did I do? Immediately these folks were terminated. Immediately...

The word terminated was used by Lewis four times in the interview to describe the status of employees that have been caught on these undercover videos. But, in Bertha's world, terminated, sometimes means suspended without pay. New York Post reported 2 days ago:
Unlike other ACORN workers nabbed on undercover video, two Brooklyn ACORN employees have not been fired -- nearly a week after they were exposed in their office giving helpful advice to a fake pimp and prostitute on how to launder money. A spokesman for New York ACORN Housing Corp. told The Post that the employees, Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera, have been suspended without pay.

Thus far we've heard various stories about the status of employees that have engaged in unethical behavior to advise the conservative couple posing as a pimp and prostitute with a plot to begin a child prostitution ring and evade paying taxes on their earnings. From what we can tell, employees from offices in Baltimore, D.C., and San Diego have been fired, but the organization has defended Tresa Kaelke of San Bernadino and only suspended without pay Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera.

The question that has to be raised is why have these two only been suspended without pay when they clearly committed offenses that warranted immediate termination?

A further look into the backgrounds of these two individuals may explain why.

Volda Albert has been with ACORN's NY office, where Bertha Lewis was the Executive Director before her promotion last May, since at least 2002. In 2006, she was highlighted for her work counseling members of the United Federation of Teachers.

Milagros Rivera has been the Office Administrator since at least 2007, when ACORN used her to testify before the New York City Council's General Welfare Committee in order to get a homelessness prevention measure passed.
Milagros Rivera lives at 1889 Sedgwick Avenue, #6H, Bronx, NY, 10453. It is a former Mitchell Lama building owned by landlord Larry Gluck. Her landlord refused to accept her Section 8 voucher. Her rent is over 90% of her income. She can only pay it by borrowing money from friends and family. If this bill passes, her landlord will have to accept her Section 8 voucher and her rent will be approximately $200 a month.

Perhaps Lewis is just looking out for a couple of her own, but in the case of Albert, she's been with the organization for at least 7 years. Given her depth of experience, is she someone they want to turn into a disgruntled former employee with intimate knowledge of the organization's operations?

Tara Benigno was the third employee in the Brooklyn video and somehow went unmentioned in the Post's article. She perhaps is the most important employee of them all. Benigno has been a housing developer with ACORN since 1999 and was named the 2004 Housing Developer of the Year. She also works with the Mutual Housing Association of New York which serves as one of ACORN's many fronts and operates out of the same office at 2-4 Nevins Street.

In the case of these three employees, in terms of titles and experience, we can no longer believe the original myth perpetrated by ACORN that all of these individuals were just junior level type employees who out of nowhere decided to go rogue. If anything, these three women understand the inner workings of the liberal criminal enterprise they work for and the behavior we saw on the videos was just business as usual.



Big Business and the Democratic Party

Ever since FDR was elected president in 1932, the Republican Party had been vilified by liberals and the news media as the party of large corporations and the defender of greedy capitalists. That claim is not supported by the facts. In the last decade, large corporations in many industries have contributed far more money to the Democratic Party and democratic candidates than to Republicans.

As the housing finance crisis illustrates, Wall Street investment firms, large banks and even government sponsored agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac made large contributions to the Democratic Party and democratic candidates especially Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and Barrack Obama to prevent tightening of borrower credit standards and the regulation of new financial instruments like derivatives. The Federal government’s promotion of home ownership without regard to credit worthiness drove up house prices and ultimately cost small investors one third of their personal savings, including 401k retirement accounts.

In the health care debate, large insurers and hospital groups have spent millions of dollars on Democratic supporters and spent additional millions running radio and TV ads to promote government healthcare. Clearly these firms believe that Nationalized Health Care will help their bottom line instead of resulting in savings for the taxpayer.

In the energy policy debate, large utilities and other industries have already reserved a large portion of the carbon credits without cost. These same industries provided significant campaign contributions to the Democratic legislators writing the bill.

One of the few benefactors of Cap and Trade legislation will be the Wall Street firms that will trade the carbon credits that are not already reserved. These firms have made significant contributions to Democratic candidates or are actually managed by politically influential Democrats such as Al Gore. Cap and Trade legislation will drastically increase the energy costs for the average American, however it will drastically increase the profitability of certain large firms that are politically well connected. By promoting government intervention into the natural supply and demand for energy, Wall Street firms will be able to achieve excessive profits at the expense of average taxpayers just as they did in the housing finance industry.

Large corporations have found that the party of free enterprise and limited government no longer serves their interests. They have found that the policies of the Democratic Party which allow government, not the marketplace, to determine the economic success of a firm are much more profitable. However, that may explain why millions of jobs have left this country for China and India and 70% of all jobs created in the last 10 years have been created in small businesses.

Small businesses still believe in self reliance, free enterprise and limited government. Perversely, it is the owners and employees of small businesses that pay the vast majority of the taxes collected in this country, and then those taxes are used to fund programs that thwart self reliance and free enterprise.



The antidemocratic Left

Voting is undemocratic, apparently. Sort that one out! Leftist Doublespeak again

Smart people should rule the world. That, anyway, is what certain folks who consider themselves far smarter than you or me tend to think. These clever souls hang out with other brainy people, all of whom are very impressed with the intelligence they find around themselves — at places, say, like the Northwest Progressive Institute.

Yes, for the good of everyone, they must rule. Without such leadership, after all, how would the little people — those of us less brilliant, less progressive — know precisely how much revenue, how much of “our common wealth,” should be obtained by state government through taxes and then spent on various programs?

You ask: What programs? Programs these really smart people think up, of course. But, if you live in Washington state and favor the work of the “strategy center,” The Northwest Progressive Institute, you have a problem. A roadblock. A hurdle. A very large brick wall. His name is Tim Eyman.

Mr. Eyman is the state’s “initiative king,” meaning there are necessarily millions of accessories to his evil plots: Washington voters. Eyman, along with several hundred thousand of these voters signing petitions, placed Initiative 1033 on the ballot . . . to be decided, in roughly six weeks, by the state’s unwashed masses. The measure, if passed, would cap the year-to-year growth of state spending to the growth of population and inflation, allowing the caps to be overridden only with express approval from these same plebes.

But this democracy idea doesn’t sit so well with Andrew Villeneuve, who tells us on the Northwest Progressive Institute’s blog that “I-1033 is the boldest assault yet in Tim Eyman’s war on representative democracy.” Villeneuve believes permitting mere citizens to occasionally vote directly on taxes and spending, on economic policies, is somehow illegitimate — and destructive of the delicate brain surgery done by legislatures.

Oh, he freely admits that the first Americans to raise the banner of Progressivism brought us initiative, referendum and recall. But many of today’s self-described progressives now say “thanks, but no thanks” to the idea of empowering the actual people on the receiving and funding ends of government. The little guy has apparently outworn his welcome.

Everyman (or -woman) might not vote the right way — that is, the “left” way. Thus, all decisions must be made by special-interest barnacled politicians. Otherwise, disaster lurks. “If all public services were dependent on voter approval to exist year to year, Washington would not even be a State,” claims the hyperbolic Villeneuve. “Our beautiful corner of America would be known as The Evergreen Chaos.” Such Chicken Little statements have little to do with the reality of Eyman’s proposal. I-1033 will not require any program to be re-upped by voters yearly.

More troubling, though, is Mr. Villeneuve complete lack of faith in the voters. Villeneuve is mistaken on the merits of I-1033, but he is dangerously unbalanced in arguing against the right of the people to check the actions of their government through initiative and referendum. “The initiative and referendum were not intended to replace the Legislature,” he says. But of course, legislators aren’t being replaced, merely overruled. By their bosses.

James Madison, an authority on republican values at least on par with Mr. Villeneuve, wrote in Federalist 49: "As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority . . ."

In his online rant, Villeneuve turns to a different source: “Even those who argue that representative democracy is flawed cannot disagree with Winston Churchill’s famous conclusion that it ’is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.’” Funny how Villeneuve edited Churchill. Britain’s prime minister did not use the term “representative democracy” at all. He actually said, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

In 1944, Churchill also said this about the lowly voter: “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper — no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.”

Villeneuve’s last refuge is to denounce the entire concept of voter initiatives for one additional reason. “Every time we the people of Washington State are forced to vote on Tim Eyman’s measures, it costs each of us a pretty penny,” he writes. “Eyman seems to have forgotten that holding elections — like every other public service the government provides — carry a price tag.” Oh, sure, democracy is nice and all, but it costs too much. Perhaps a king would be cheaper?




Dangerus has got some good graphics and captions up at the moment.

Muslim fund-raiser for Obama 'in $335 million fraud': "Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup out of more than $US290 million ($335 million) in loan proceeds, US prosecutors said overnight. The announcement follows last month's indictment of Mr Nemazee, head of a private equity firm and an Iranian American Political Action Committee board member, on one count of defrauding Citigroup's Citibank. The new indictment adds allegations that he defrauded two other banks, Bank of America and HSBC Bank USA, in a similar fashion by falsifying documents and signatures to purportedly show he had hundreds of millions worth of collateral. The office of the US Attorney in Manhattan and the FBI said he used the proceeds of his scheme to make donations to election campaigns of federal, state and local candidates, donations to political action committees and charities. He bought property in Italy and paid for maintenance on two properties in New York."

Obama turns parrot when breaking talk show record: "President Obama proved he was a man who could stay on message yesterday when he became the first US President to appear on five talk shows in one day. As anchors from CBS, ABC, CNN, NBC and Univision took turns in the hot-seat opposite the President in the West Wing, Mr Obama didn't bother to vary his statistics, turns of phrase, seating position or even jokes. Talking to ABC's George Stephanopoulos and then CNN's John King, the President even repeated the same hand movement while saying the same sentence about al-Qaeda. The interviews were given to the five major networks to try to gain ground in the nationwide debate over healthcare reform. Each network sent a full crew over to the White House for 15 minutes of the President's time. While some have praised the strong "media management" of the White House in ensuring the President dominated the networks on Sunday morning, others found the practised, parrot-like turns-of-phrase a step too far."

FDIC nearly broke: "Tired of the government bailing out banks? Get ready for this: officials may soon ask banks to bail out the government. Senior regulators say they are seriously considering a plan to have the nation’s healthy banks lend billions of dollars to rescue the insurance fund that protects bank depositors. That would enable the fund, which is rapidly running out of money because of a wave of bank failures, to continue to rescue the sickest banks.”

Groups spar over US offshore drilling plans: "Environmental and pro-drilling advocates pitched dueling messages about expanded offshore oil and natural gas production to the U.S. Interior Department on Monday, as the comment period on a Bush-era energy plan came to a close. The draft five-year offshore drilling proposal offered in the last days of the Bush administration would allow drilling along the East Coast and off the coast of California. Drilling was banned in most of the offshore areas of the United States outside the Gulf of Mexico for more than 20 years until Congress allowed the prohibition to expire last year.”

China says military arsenal comparable with West: "China’s military now possesses most of the sophisticated weapon systems found in the arsenals of developed Western nations, the country’s defense minister said in comments published Monday. Many of China’s systems, including the J-10 fighter jet, latest-generation tanks, navy destroyers, and cruise and intercontinental ballistic missiles, match or are close to matching the capabilities of those in the West, Liang Guanglie said in a rare interview posted on the ministry’s website.”


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


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


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Leftist lies. They NEED to lie. The truth is toxic to them

Doug Giles, a proud father, has produced a daughter who is a chip off the old block and he rebuts below the lies being told about the ACORN sting. Their near-total disregard for the truth has always identified the Left as sub-clinical psychopaths (See here and here) to anyone who is familiar with psychopaths but the total emptiness where ethics and morality should be in the heads of the ACORN staffers is a vivid reminder of how pychopathic Leftists really are -- for those who have forgotten Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and all that merry crew. Destruction is all that the Left are devoted to and they do as much of it as the power available to them allows

The heading Doug Giles put on his account below was: "No, It Wasn’t My Idea for Hannah Giles to Dress Like a Hooker and Infiltrate ACORN"
It’s been quite interesting watching and reading the statements coming from ACORN and various “news” organizations about the “facts” of the Giles/O’Keefe ACORN caper. Here’s a little sample of what they have been saying about the two evil citizen journalists, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, the ones who picked on poor, poor, poor, old ACORN.

Check it out, the truth according to nutty ACORN (and what really happened):

1. Giles’ and O’Keefe’s timeframe for filming. Bertha Lewis and others have stated that Hannah and James spent many months visiting scores of ACORN centers to get these few videos. One wizard said Hannah and James had been doing this since 2005, which would have made Hannah, oh, let’s see, about 14 or 15. Hello! I’m a cool dad—but not that cool.

I guess Bertha could be right about the time Giles and O’Keefe invested in the ACORN sting op if she counts her days in dog years. If that’s how she rolls then she’s spot-on with the “many months” statement. By the way, if that’s true, this November I’ll be 329 years old. Happy birthday to me! I think I’ll get another gun! I’m diggin’ on the S&W .500 magnum. She’s purty.

The truth of the matter, from a timeline standpoint, is that they hatched their plan in May of ’09, fine-tuned it from May 20th – July 23rd, and then launched July 24th, fully accomplishing their mission by the end of August. And that’s a fact to all those for whom facts still matter.

2. Giles’ and O’Keefe’s mission failed in many locations. Bertha and her buddies say with vigor and Reverend Wright unction that Giles and O’Keefe tried this trick in hundreds of locations without success. Marc Lamont Hill was on O’Reilly’s show this past week parroting the same smack. I heard one lunatic say they visited thousands of centers nationwide (there are under 200. Oops). Hey, guys: Why stop at hundreds and thousands? Why not say gazillions or quadrillions of ACORN centers?! Go Dr. Evil with the numbers. The truth of the matter happens to be that Hannah and James visited just a few locations—I won’t say how many—and struck gold, or sewage, everywhere they went.

3. Giles and O’Keefe had FOX News bankroll this escapade. I believe that, according to the ACORN spinmeisters, they had the amount of drachmas FOX had given Hannah and James in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The oh-so-sexy reality regarding this little nugget is that it cost these two acorn-crackers $1,300 of their own money. It’s amazing what one can do with a little cash, grandma’s chinchilla coat, a miniskirt and a whole lot of vision, eh? The only cash they received from FOX was for their hotel stay and their airfare while they did Beck’s and Hannity’s shows. That’s the truth. Oh, and as far as me giving her any pesos, for this epoch her papasito gave her nada. Not a penny. No FOX funds. No crazy Christian dad dollars.

4. Giles’ radical, ultra-conservative Christian dad put her up to it. I believe that’s how someone on one of those unwatched news shows has been bending it. Well, I can tell you as her dad that I did not. As much as me no likey the nefarious underpinnings and corrupt acts of ACORN, having my kid dress like a hooker and infiltrate such a place is not in my repertoire. That was Hannah’s baby from start to finish. I simply told her to be careful because we all know how dangerous sweet community organizers can be. Oh, FYI . . . if confessing I’m a sinner, believing orthodox Christian doctrine, saluting our flag and that for which it stands, loving the Constitution, hating terrorists, being fond of guns, hunting, country and rock music while adoring freedom makes me a crazy ultra-conservative Christian lunatic then I guess I am one of those. I will put that name right next to the other name Obama’s former green czar called such a person back in March (I believe he called us “a**holes”).

5. Giles and O’Keefe doctored the tapes. This is silly. James is a talented post-production editor, but he didn’t put the words in the ACORN workers’ mouths. He’s sharp . . . but not that sharp. Anyway, if he did you and I both would know it because it would have looked and sounded like one of those old Bruce Lee flicks. Unfortunately for Bertha, Andrew Breitbart has the vids and the transcripts in their entirety on his new site for anyone to behold. Grab some popcorn and watch ‘em. It’s a teachable moment. Oh, speaking of the tapes: You might wanna go back to the San Bernadino one and listen to the list of politicians the ACORN lady rattled off as elected officials who would possibly be ready and willing to assist with the House for Hookers program.

Well, my children, that’s the inside poop on how it happened. That’s reality. I, personally, am stunned by what my kid and her cohort did in ratting out tawdry corruption on the highest (or lowest) level. As far as I am concerned, Giles and O’Keefe are American heroes par excellence. They accomplished something in a few short weeks, on a wing and a prayer, that other agencies and people have been trying to expose for many, many moons.


One defence of ACORN that Doug Giles has not mentioned above is the inadvertently honest one given by NPR -- that the actions of the ACORN staffers are attributable to their "low income" background. I say "inadvertently honest" not because it is accurate but because it reveals what the Left really think about the poor whom they claim to champion. And it is an opinion that has got me steaming to some extent. I think it is a disgraceful slur on poor people to say that the behaviour of the ACORN staffers is typical of the poor.

I myself come from a poor family, an Australian one. I remember my mother borrowing money out of my moneybox when I was a kid so that will give you an idea of the family finances. And to this day I am most at home among working class Australians. I speak their distinctive language and, given that background, I find that they have far more realism, far more heart and a much better sense of humour than the intelligentsia. But I guess that the NPR crew didn't really mean "low income" literally. In full, they said that "ACORN's workers are coming from the same low-income neighborhoods the organization serves", so I suspect that "low income" was code for "black". So it was racism, not class prejudice, that moved them. They are bigots either way, however.


Lost: 600,000 Jobs

As if Big Labor hasn't been repaid enough for its help in electing Democrats, a new report shows that protectionism — the unions' signature issue — costs 585,000 of the rest of us our jobs.

It's not enough that unions got the cream of the $80 billion in auto industry bailouts or the center cut of the $787 billion stimulus package or a smorgasbord of regulations — from union transparency laws to court-ordered supervision — rescinded by grateful Democrats in Congress and the White House.

But the biggest payoff has been in the form of protectionist measures being applied across the U.S. economy. They include "Buy American" provisos, a Mexican truck shutout, tariffs on Chinese tires and, worst of all, the halting of free trade treaties with Colombia, Korea and Panama. Up next: tariffs on steel pipe.

The aim is to preserve a few thousand jobs at most, but it's coming at a high price. On Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a comprehensive report called "Trade Action: The Cost for American Workers and Companies." It describes how the Obama administration's trade decisions, all of which were sought by Big Labor, have so far cost 585,000 American jobs.

It started in February 2008, with the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It required all iron, steel and manufactured goods purchased for public works projects to be American-made, and all textiles, clothing and equipment purchased by the Department of Homeland Security to be U.S.-made.

"We estimate that any net increase in U.S. employment resulting from the new 'Buy American' provisions will quickly evaporate as other countries implement 'buy national' policies of their own," the Chamber said. Even a 1% loss of sales would create big job losses, the Chamber said, and that doesn't include retaliation. Job toll: 176,800.

Then there was the Teamsters' favorite — the abrogation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a provision of which requires the U.S. to permit Mexican trucks on U.S. roads as it always had until 1982.

In March, Congress passed the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act to end funding for a pilot program that would have fulfilled the treaty's requirements. The Chamber says Mexico retaliated with $2.3 billion in penalty duties on 89 U.S. products, creating an immediate cost of $421 million.

Consumers also pay $739 million "drayage" costs of transferring Mexican truck goods to American trucks, plus additional shipping. Net cost: 25,600 jobs.

The big disaster, however, is Congress' failure to pass already-negotiated free trade treaties with Korea and Colombia, which have been awaiting a vote since 2006 and 2007, respectively. Big Labor opposes all free trade, and on Colombia, the AFL-CIO calls its opposition "unalterable." But that sop to them costs the rest of us jobs.

"While the United States stalls, other major exporters, (notably the EU and Canada) are moving ahead with (free trade agreements) of their own with these countries," the Chamber points out.

"If the EU and Canada do implement their FTAs with Korea and Colombia and the United States does not, exporters will enjoy a competitive advantage over U.S. exporters" in those markets, the Chamber warns.

Add to that the China tire tariffs imposed last week, which Rutgers trade expert Thomas Prusa reckons would cost 15,000 jobs, and the grand total is 600,000 positions — a disaster for an economy in recession and a killer of consumer confidence and voter approval.

For Democrats, this ought to be a wake-up call. For every job they save to repay unions, many more are lost in other sectors of the economy. What's more, jobs that would be created as a result of freer markets never materialize. Either way, the price is intolerably high.




Civility is overrated: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lamenting an imaginary climate of violence, wishes ‘we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made.’ Such a preposterous statement should be actionable. Pelosi, who only recently compared her political opponents to Nazis, isn’t exactly a paragon of civil discourse. American politics always has been unsightly. Most of the time, in fact, far worse than today. Have we transformed into so brittle a citizenry that we are unable to handle a raucous debate over the future of the country? If things were quiet, subdued, and ‘civil’ in America today, as Pelosi surely wishes, it only would be proof that democracy isn’t working. It’s no accident, either, that those in power are generally the ones choking up about the lack of decorum. The truth is we could use far less bogus civility in Washington.”

Book review: How America can avoid fate of other empires: "It is not difficult to hypothesize that the financial crisis and a weakened position abroad have put the United States in a position of decline from which it will be virtually impossible to emerge as anything but a battered former superpower. Instead of learning from a war of choice that, at this point, is much less disastrous than it could have been, we are on the verge of escalating another war in a much more difficult environment. We are applying the gasoline of more loose credit and deficit spending to a financial inferno based on loose credit and moral hazard, and programs like Medicare and Social Security are inexorably headed for bankruptcy. The result might not be unbearable. Vienna, London, Berlin and Paris still have their charms after the empires centered on them collapsed, and the U.S. will have charms after our empire withers. Just expect more nostalgia than innovation. Matt Harrison, author of the new book The American Evolution, is far from content with that prospect, and he believes he has found some keys not just to restoring American greatness but unleashing the creativity that could lead to an America and a world in which people will look back on our era with the same kind of wonder at its apparent backwardness with which most of us view the Dark Ages.”

Is the American dream dead?: "In recent years, our family has traveled cross-country, visiting 37 states and countless museums, landmarks and parks. … I didn’t realize, however, that a rare opportunity to stay in a ritzy hotel in Washington this summer would also be exposing them to elitism at its core. In our tourist attire, we stood out like sore thumbs. Women in polished high heels and impeccable coiffures swept past. I looked down at my rumpled sweater, Wal-Mart jeans, and $11 tennis shoes. Where did a no-frills mother of four boys fit? … Later, my 13-year-old echoed my thoughts. After taking photos of the hotel, he noted that all of the people had the same expression: disgust. My husband and I sighed. Our son wasn’t so innocent anymore. Had we been wrong not to teach him about the exclusionary nature of the ‘real world?’”

Ending child labour: "Most certainly we would all prefer a better world in which the young go to school and prepare themselves for making the future world even better. But as Paul Krugman points out, this isn’t actually one of the options available to those who currently labour in carpet factories, brickworks or upon garbage dumps. The options are work or starve. So what might we do to try and reduce these pressures upon the young innocents? How about globalisation?”

Obama is right and Carter is wrong: "It’s certainly not the first time Jimmy Carter has played the discreditable race card. In 1980, he accused Ronald Reagan over and over of being a racist. When Jimmy Carter’s dad was undeniably a segregationist in the Old South, Ronald Reagan was inviting his black friends from his Eureka College football team to spend the night in his home rather than face unjust discrimination at Illinois hotels. Ronald Reagan pledged — and kept that pledge — to enforce our nation’s historic Civil Rights laws. No matter. Jimmy Carter’s glass house may have been windowless, but that did not stop his stone-throwing. President Obama’s White House does not endorse Carter’s unsubstantiated charges. Administration spokesman Robert Gibbs said: ‘[The President] does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin.’ Gibbs attributed it instead to honest policy differences. Well, good for Gibbsy! That should settle it. But it won’t.”

Christopher Hitchens on Kristol: "Irving Kristol’s great charm … was that he didn’t care overmuch for the charm business. Most of his celebrated quips and interventions had a tough-guy street feel to them, a manner probably retained from his Marxist days. Typical of him (and I think also truthful) was the claim that he hadn’t known about CIA funding for Encounter but wouldn’t have given much of a damn if he had known. As for the image of a neoconservative as a liberal ‘mugged by reality,’ once people got over their affected fuss about the possible innuendo in the word mugged, they reluctantly saw that Kristol had found a memorably demotic way of encapsulating the sad fashion in which utopianism can collide with brute facts about the human animal. The very word neoconservative, which was used, if not coined, by socialist Michael Harrington to describe his lapsed former comrades, was eschewed or ignored by most of its targets until Irving Kristol said, in effect, the hell with it, that’s what we are, let’s adopt the title for ourselves.”

The epoch battle of our time: "It seems as though every statist has his favorite health-care reform and, more important, is convinced that his particular reform is the one that is finally going to make socialism and interventionism succeed. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but it just ain’t gonna happen. Socialism and interventionism are inherently defective. They cannot be made to succeed.”

Britain's socialist "centrist": "Nick Clegg is turning his fire on the super-rich, revealing proposals to hit owners of million-pound houses in the pocket under Liberal Democrat plans to overhaul the tax system. In an interview with The Independent, he argued that the wealthiest in society had profited from soaring property prices and tax dodges. His solution is to make them pay their fair share, promising that the extra cash collected would be channelled back into tax cuts for low- and middle-income homes.”


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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)


Monday, September 21, 2009

Leftism abuses a primitive instinct

For better, or worse, it is part of human nature to bond together for mutual protection, and often projection. Within limits, the inclination is admirable – unless someone comes along who ploys upon it to seize power by false promises and phony threats. Enter the leftwing politicians with their penchant for Big Government's total control.

One of the major reasons for this, economist pioneer Dan Klein states, is "sociobiological and cultural evolution." Man was born as a hunter-gatherer where he interacted and bonded together with multiple other humans. Soon after, natural leaders would rise and those leaders would then monitor everyone's support. That meant that if one person slacked off, the leader would see that, and the group would trust him and decide punishment.

No one would argue that this happens on a micro scale, as humans interact within their own clubs, businesses, and families every day. But it is government that takes this sociobiological need and exploits it.

The whole mentality that the government must care for the poor, provide massive entitlements, and insure industries against failure, is putting government as the ultimate parent over (it's) child likes.

Economist Deirdre McCloskley mentions in her book "How to be Human" that it is difficult to teach free market economics to eighteen year olds because they "lived mainly in socialist economy, namely, her birth household, centrally planned by her parents, depending on loyalty rather than exit."

So what can the few of us who have not fallen in the trap do to combat this? It's simple: control the rhetoric.

For far too long, liberty-minded Americans have been losing the battle for language. For example, the world "liberal" once meant someone who was pro-markets and pro-individualistic freedoms, like Adam Smith or David Ricardo. Now people in America are more likely to think of Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy, who have already done their fair share of dampening free-market individualism and initiative.

But, of course, in no way is this a recent development. For example, when the great economist Friedrich von Hayek wrote his seminal book "The Road to Serfdom," he had to write a new introduction for the American version that explained what liberal really means.

And the worst part is, when politicians use war as a tool for entrenching "The People's Romance." War is a time when people must bond together as they did during World War II to defeat a common enemy. So demeaning what many brave Americans fought for by labeling political excursions "The War on…" (Poverty, Drugs, AIDS, Hunger) is counterproductive towards freedom and a license for big government.

So, "what can we do?" First and foremost, the right should not accept the left's language control that has historically gone unchallenged. Remember it was Orwell who warned that when you lose the language you lose the battle against tyranny and Big Brother. And it is that battle that if lost by liberty-minded people for the final word for the Far-Left will be "Totalitarianism."



Conservative Christians fired up

U.S. conservative Christians, a key base for the out-of-power Republican Party, gathered in Washington on Friday to rally the faithful against President Barack Obama's agenda, including his top domestic priority of healthcare reform. Obama's falling poll numbers and what they depict as his ultra-liberal views on abortion rights, healthcare and climate change are galvanizing a group that could prove vital to Republican prospects of taking back control of Congress in the 2010 congressional elections or the White House in 2012.

Conservative activists see exploitable opportunities in Obama's policies and performance that also can stir more centrist voters, such as suspicions of "big government" and the almost uniquely American skepticism of global warming that prevails in much of the heartland. "The idea that the healthcare plan takes away choice and freedom, people see their liberties at risk," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), the conservative Christian lobby group organizing the summit of self-styled "values voters."

The Family Research Council also claims "Obamacare" will lead to federal funding for abortion -- an allegation hotly disputed by the president and his supporters -- and Perkins told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference that this issue went "beyond the ranks of the pro-life movement."

FRC Action, the Family Research Council's legislative action arm, is targeting about a dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives who it sees as vulnerable in 2010. The states where these House seats are located include Ohio and Virginia. Its actions in these races could include endorsements, advertisements, voter education and campaign contributions. "We have looked at the percentages by which people won or lost last time, we've looked at Obama's coat-tails, so we have a pretty good idea of the vulnerable seats," FRC Action President Connie Mackey said.

Virginia resident Bill Becker, 77, who is among the 2,000 delegates in attendance, said he is uncomfortable with much of the agenda pursued by Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. "I'm toward the center of the conservative stream (but) ... I'm very concerned about the goals of the current government," said Becker, who said he was Presbyterian. Most of the conservative Christian movement, often called the "religious right," is comprised of evangelicals and right-wing Catholics.

Most of those attending swim far from the political center. "I don't believe in global warming," said conservative activist Kim Simac, a horse trainer and mother of nine from Wisconsin who also believes that the teaching of creationism and prayer need to be brought back to public schools.

The religious right has been at the forefront of conservative efforts to rally public opposition to climate change legislation aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming. Conservative Christian radio stations have spent the summer saying the legislation's "cap and trade" provisions would represent the biggest tax increase in U.S. history. That has stoked opposition and could have an impact when the legislation, already passed in the House of Representatives, is considered in the Senate.



The Kennedy Killed By The Right Myth

The truth is the first victim of Leftism

They set about creating the fable that Kennedy died battling “hate”—established code, then and now, for the political right. The story became legend because liberals were desperate to imbue Kennedy’s assassination with a more exalted and politically useful meaning. Over and over again, the entire liberal establishment, led by the New York Times—and even the pope!—denounced the “hate” that claimed Kennedy’s life. The Supreme Court justice Earl Warren summed up the conventional wisdom—as he could always be counted upon to do—when he theorized that the “climate of hatred” in Dallas—code for heavy right-wing and Republican activity—moved Lee Harvey Oswald to kill the president.

The fact that Oswald was a communist quickly changed from an inconvenience to proof of something even more sinister. How, liberals asked, could a card-carrying Marxist murder a liberal titan on the side of social progress? The fact that Kennedy was a raging anticommunist seemed not to register, perhaps because liberals had convinced themselves, in the wake of the McCarthy era, that the real threat to liberty must always come from the right. Oswald’s Marxism sent liberals into even deeper denial, their only choice other than to abandon anti-anti-communism. And so, over the course of the 1960s, the conspiracy theories metastasized, and the Marxist gunman became a patsy. “Cui bono?” asked the Oliver Stones then and ever since. Answer: the military-industrial complex, allied with the dark forces of reaction and intolerance, of course. Never mind that Oswald had already tried to murder the former army major general and prominent right-wing spokesman Edwin Walker or that, as the Warren Commission would later report, Oswald “had an extreme dislike of the rightwing.”

Amid the fog of denial, remorse, and confusion over the Kennedy assassination, an informal strategic response developed that would serve the purposes of the burgeoning New Left as well as assuage the consciences of liberals generally: transform Kennedy into an allpurpose martyr for causes he didn’t take up and for a politics he didn’t subscribe to.

Indeed, over the course of the 1960s and beyond, a legend grew up around the idea that if only Kennedy had lived, we would never have gotten bogged down in Vietnam. It is a central conceit of Arthur Schlesinger’s Robert Kennedy and His Times. Theodore Sorensen, Tip O’Neill, and countless other liberals subscribed to this view. A popular play on Broadway, MacBird, suggested that Johnson had murdered JFK in order to seize power. But even Robert F. Kennedy conceded in an oral history interview that his brother never seriously considered withdrawal and was committed to total victory in Vietnam. Kennedy was an aggressive anti-communist and Cold War hawk. He campaigned on a fictitious “missile gap” with the Soviets in a largely successful effort to move to Richard Nixon’s right on foreign policy, tried to topple Castro at the Bay of Pigs, brought the world to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis, and got us deep into Vietnam. A mere three and a half hours before Kennedy died, he was boasting to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce that he had increased defense spending on a massive scale, including a 600 percent increase on counterinsurgency special forces in South Vietnam. The previous March, Kennedy had asked Congress to spend fifty cents of every federal dollar on defense.

The Kennedy myth also veers sharply from reality when it comes to the issue of race. The flattering legend is that Kennedy was an unalloyed champion of civil rights. Supposedly, if he had lived, the racial turmoil of the 1960s could have been avoided. The truth is far more prosaic. Yes, Kennedy pushed for civil rights legislation, and he deserves credit for it. But he was hardly breaking with the past. In the supposedly reactionary 1950s, Republicans had carried most of the burden of fulfilling the American promise of equality to blacks. Eisenhower had pushed through two civil rights measures over strong opposition from southern Democrats, and in particular Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, who fought hard to dilute the legislation.



Sweden Slashes Income Taxes to Promote Job Growth

We noted here that the United States has the most progressive income tax system in the developed world. That's right--embarrassingly enough, more progressive than Sweden's.

Actually, a generation of economic stagnation has taught the Swedes a lesson. They've learned that government does not produce wealth, and if they want more people to work, jobs have to pay better, after taxes. Sweden is therefore in the midst of a series of tax cuts aimed at preserving the long-term viability of its economy. Today's headline: "Sweden slashes income tax further to boost jobs."

It's an interesting comparison: Sweden experimented with the nanny state, learned that it was devastating to the economic and moral health of its people, and is moving back toward individualism. Here in the U.S., we had the world's most dynamic economy, and the lesson we took away from that--some of us, anyway--was that we were doing something wrong and needed to socialize everything. Curious.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Charles Rangel, The Entitled One

Rangel is now chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a man of immense importance in Washington. Nonetheless, he has been busy of late revising and amending the record, backing and filling, using buckets of Wite-Out as he discovers or remembers properties he has owned in New York, New Jersey, Florida and the Dominican Republic and God only knows where else — and has forgotten or neglected to fully report on the required forms, not to mention the income from them. Oops!

Rangel recently even discovered bank accounts that no one in the world, apparently including him, knew he had. One was with the Congressional Federal Credit Union, and another was with Merrill Lynch — each valued between $250,000 and $500,000. He somehow neglected to mention these accounts on his congressional disclosure forms, which means, if you can believe it, that when he signed the forms, he did not notice that maybe $1 million was missing. Someone ought to check the lighting in his office.

The dim bulb could also have accounted for why Rangel did not notice that he was soliciting contributions for the curiously named Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service on the congressional letterhead of the very same Charles B. Rangel.

It may also account for why he failed to report dividend income from various investments in addition to what he made by selling a townhouse in Harlem. The place went for $410,000 in 2004, and had been rented — or not — to various people, who paid rent or didn't — since Rangel reported no income for years at a time. This is what he did, too, with the rent he earned on his Dominican Republic villa. Again, nada.

There is something wrong with Charlie Rangel. Either he did not notice that he was worth about twice as much as he said he was — which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader — or he thinks that he's above the law — which is downright worrisome in a congressional leader.

I was with Rangel on election night last year and heard him speak movingly and eloquently about what it meant for a black person to become president of the United States — my God, who would have thought this day would ever come? — and he moved me to tears. So I don't think age has muddled his brain. He is sharper on a bad day than most people on a good one.

But he suffers from the degenerative disease called Congressional Sclerosis. Its symptom is the belief that the rules, especially the petty ones, no longer apply to you. This happens over time. It comes with seniority and a sense of victimization that combine to produce the onset of entitlement for goodies to which, in the course of things, you are not entitled.

All this is abetted by the righteous belief that everyone else is making money and taking private planes and dipping their tootsies in the balmy Caribbean on a given February Friday — and so why can't you? You have the power and the staff — just look at all those people! — and flunkies who will hold the elevator for you, pick you up at Reagan National Airport and on the other end at LaGuardia — and you ought to have some commensurate luxuries. This is only right.



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


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


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Will ACORN really get the chop?

A skeptical email from a reader

I want to give you a heads up on the subject of ACORN, its funding, and the almost unanimous vote in the House yesterday.

This is all a Jackass smokescreen. I live in the Raleigh NC area, and yesterday Representative Virginia Foxx, was interviewed by the WPTF host Bill LuMay. The subject of the vote came up, and Ms Fox was very clear about how the game is played, especially amongst the Left.

Here is how it works. The vote is taken, and with regard to a predetermined agreement, members vote yea or nay on an issue in one manner for public consumption, and not what they really wish. Remember, appearances are crucial to the Left, or they would not be where they are. Following the vote in both the House and the Senate, the proposed legislation goes to the "Reconciliation Process", where the Real Sausage is ground and mixed together. Riders, and attachments may, or may not, be retained. Many times they are dropped without fanfare, and the politician, who voted "nay" to a proposal, gets his/her wish for the opposite and can claim that he/she was opposed to it.

This is for use come election time, and for CYA (cover your ass) purposes. My overwhelming guess is that this addition will be dropped from the reconciliation process, and only the astute will be any the wiser. Unless the citizenry is alerted to this, they will think one thing, while the likes of ACORN are kept at the trough. I would be willing to wager that if you contacted Ms Foxx, someone would be more than happy to confirm this to you.

It really needs to get out to the citizenry, and prove that the internet really IS the Main Media today, not the the dinosaur networks.


Dowd the bigot

I'm sure New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and former President Jimmy Carter derive a great deal of self-satisfaction slandering other people with false charges of racism, but the damage they're doing to race relations is worse than any bona fide racist could dream of doing.

I ask you: Who is more likely racist, the person who sees race every time she turns around or the person who aspires toward colorblindness? Could those always pointing the accusatory finger be projecting their own discomfort with race?

Listen to how Maureen begins her snarky Sept. 12 column, in which she posited that Rep. Joe Wilson's "you lie" outburst was driven by racism. She writes: "Surrounded by middle-aged white guys -- a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men's club -- Joe Wilson yelled 'You lie!' at a president who didn't. But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!"

I don't know whether "middle-aged white guys" and "their own men's club" flow more from some bitter feminist strain Dowd seems to possess or her liberal obsession with the superficial aspects of people's differences in pigment, but it is nonetheless bizarre. Why is it that Dowd sees race in the politicians sitting beside Joe Wilson? And why is she compelled to make "white guys" a pejorative? In her world, to be white and male is to be guilty. Well, I reject the charge, thank you, and would appreciate a little due process before condemnation by such self-proclaimed open-minded liberals as Dowd.

One of the main sins of racism is its devaluation of the individual worth of a member of a racial group based on membership in that group. How ironic that in her thinking and writings Dowd commits the very sin she decries: condemning "middle-aged white guys" by virtue of their skin color and age.



Pelosi: Leftist projection again

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is worried that the heated debate over ObamaCare is getting too heated. "Anyone voicing hateful or violent rhetoric, she told reporters, must take responsibility for the results," the Associated Press reports:
"I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made," Pelosi said. Some of the people hearing the message "are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume," she said. "Our country is great because people can say what they think and they believe," she added. "But I also think that they have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause."

Pelosi raises an excellent point. Two weeks ago we noted an example: A prominent California politician had referred to opponents of ObamaCare as "un-American" and accused them of "carrying swastikas." Subsequently, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., an unbalanced-American bit off the finger of an elderly protester, Bill Rice. The politician? Nancy Pelosi.



And Jimmah accuses OTHERS of racism!

Jimmy Carter's lecture on "racism" earlier this week sent an intrepid reader back to the Time magazine archives for this story from April 1976, when Carter was running a presidential campaign that, shockingly, turned out to be successful:
The furor began when Carter was asked in Indianapolis to explain his recent statement that there was "nothing wrong with ethnic purity being maintained" in neighborhoods. Carter replied that he wholeheartedly supports open-housing laws that make it a crime to refuse to sell or rent a house or apartment on the grounds of race, color or creed. But he opposes Government programs "to inject black families into a white neighborhood just to create some sort of integration." Said he: "I have nothing against a community that is made up of people who are Polish, or who are Czechoslovakians, or who are French Canadians or who are blacks trying to maintain the ethnic purity of their neighborhoods. This is a natural inclination."

"Ethnic purity"? Avast! Talk about the pot calling--uh, wait, scratch that. Let's just say that Jimmy Carter's continuing presence on the national scene is a helpful reminder of how much progress America has made in just the past few decades.



Conservatives use Leftist methods and rhetoric to good effect

Conservatives are coming for the Democrats on their blind side — the left. The evidence is everywhere. At tea parties and town halls, conservative demonstrators oppose health care reform with signs bearing the abortion-rights slogan “Keep your laws off my body” or the line “Obama lies, Grandma dies” — an echo of the “Bush lied, they died” T-shirts worn to protest the Iraq war. Conservative activists are yelling “Nazi!” and “Big Brother!” where they used to shout “Nanny state!” and “Big Government!”

And the 1971 agitator’s handbook “Rules for Radicals” — written by Saul Alinsky, the Chicago community organizer who was the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis, and whose teachings helped shape Barack Obama’s work on Chicago’s South Side — has been among Amazon’s top 100 sellers for the past month, put there in part by people who “also bought” books by Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck,and South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.

Yes, the same folks who brought you Obama the socialist have been appropriating the words and ways of leftists past — and generally letting their freak flags fly.

The left-wing rhetoric and symbolism are so thick on the right, in fact, that some conservatives have been taken aback by it: The logo for the Sept. 12 protest in Washington, which organizers called the “March on Washington,” featured an image that looked so much like those associated with the labor, communist and black power movements that some participants objected to it — until they found out that’s what the designers were shooting for. “As an organization, we have been very closely studying what the left has been doing,” explains FreedomWorks press secretary Adam Brandon, who says he was given a copy of “Rules for Radicals” when he took his current job . Brandon describes the Sept. 12 rally in D.C. as the “culmination of four years worth of work” and says that organizers were “incredibly conscious” of the symbols they chose.

With the logo, he explains, they were “trying to evoke the imagery of the counterrevolutionary protests of the 1960s that captured the imagination of the world.” And as for the phrase “March on Washington,” Brandon says, “this is something people said in the office. If we had been alive back in the 1960s, we would have been on the freedom bus rides. It was an issue of individual liberty. We’re trying to borrow some from the civil rights movement.”

From the outside, at least, it doesn't look like an obvious fit. Dick Armey did not, in fact, participate in the freedom rides of the 1960s. Brandon said the former House majority leader was an undergrad in Jamestown, N.D., at the time, working his way through school putting up electric poles, and “wasn’t politically active at the time.”

And while they’re handing out Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” at FreedomWorks, Armey himself told the Financial Times last month: “What I think of Alinsky is that he was very good at what he did but what he did was not good.” But if the tactics of the left helped end segregation and the Vietnam War in the last century, conservatives say there’s no reason those same tactics can’t be used to keep liberals in check now.

James O’Keefe, the activist and filmmaker who posed as a pimp for an expose of several ACORN offices in the Northeast, told the New York Post earlier this week] that he, too, had been inspired by “Rules for Radicals,” which includes such tactical lessons as “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon” and “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.” O’Keefe told the paper he was trying to expose the “absurdities of the enemy by employing their own rules and language.” “If you can make impossible demands on your enemy, you can destroy them,” he said.

This isn’t the first time the right tried on the ways of the left, says Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “We actually did see some of that before, in the 1970s. When conservatism emerged as a new movement, they adopted some of the tactics of the New Left of the 1960s, really focusing on grassroots organizing, and kind of adopting a lot of populist language, and using some of the 1960s energy for their own purposes, and I think we’re seeing it again, very clearly.”

“There has been a conscious movement to do that for some time,” agrees George Lakoff, a University of California professor of cognitive science and linguistics. “There is a long history of it.” Perhaps, but rarely has it been so blatant — or so provocative. “They’re definitely throwing down the gauntlet and saying, if that’s what you believe, then come along,” says Teri Christoph, co-founder of the conservative women’s group Smart Girl Politics, who suggested that there also might be a touch of irony in some of the slogan-swiping as well.

The irony thus far seems to have been lost on the left, however, which has mostly voiced either disbelief or derision that the conservatives would be so shameless — or so clueless. In Democratic Underground’s discussion forum, a photo of a marcher holding a “Keep Your Laws of My Body” sign was captioned “OK, the cognitive dissonance hasn't hit them yet.” And of the 9/12-ers’ logo, one poster on Stephen Colbert’s site asks, “Did these guys grow a sense of humor overnight, or did they just skip history class?”

They’re not wrong to ask the question. It is unclear, for example, whether Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), whose office did not respond to POLITICO for this story, was intentionally invoking the rhetoric of the pro-choice movement (which she most emphatically does not support) when she urged people last month to let their representatives know that “under no circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions.” Nor is it clear that all those who sang “This Land Is Your Land” at the tea parties were aware of its pro-labor, fellow-traveler roots.

Still, enough of the co-opting is intentional that the Democrats might be wise to stop snarking, sit up, and take notice. And some of it is already working, notes Lakoff: In the health care debate, he says, the right has taken “all the progressive arguments and made them conservative arguments.”

Says Zelizer: “The tactics can be powerful. Direct confrontation, community organizing, in-your-face politics, as we’ve seen in August, can get a lot of media attention and can scare politicians away from taking certain positions.”

They can also be their own reward. At FreedomWorks, says Brandon, “We’re having fun. I have been pissing people off left and right calling myself a progressive, because I’m fighting myself against the establishment.” And, according to Alinsky, that’s one of the keys to a good uprising: As he put it in “Rules for Radicals,” “A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”




I have recently done some major additions and revisions to the short comments I have in my side column. I hope some people may find them useful. I have also added them to the bottom of the Mirror site

Race 'not behind health protests', says Obama: "President Barack Obama has said that some Americans may oppose him because of race, but that this has not been the main factor behind healthcare protests. He suggests, in TV interviews to be broadcast on Sunday, anti-government sentiment was the key reason for angry protests against healthcare reform.... In comments to ABC, Mr Obama said race was a "volatile issue" and "it becomes hard for people to separate out race being a sort of part of the backdrop of American society versus race being a predominant factor in any given debate". "Are there some people who don't like me because of my race?" he said. "I'm sure there are. "Are there some people who voted for me only because of my race? There are probably some of those too. But he added that he thought some were "more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right. "And I think that that's probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol."

Jimmah the moron: "How does Carter know that an "overwhelming portion" of scores of thousands of agitated Americans who turned out for all those town-hall meetings were motivated by racism, "the fact that (Obama) is a black man, that he's African-American"? Six months ago, Obama's approval rating was 70 percent. Does Carter think that number has sunk to 50 percent because tens of millions of Americans suddenly discovered Obama was black? Does it not seem more reasonable to conclude the number cratered because millions who wished Obama well on Jan. 20 have come to conclude this crowd is no more competent than the last one, that Obamacare, up close, seems even worse than the present system? The stupidity of Carter and the Black Caucus fairly astounds."

An unusual obituary (from Lew Rockwell): "Irving Kristol, whom I once hosted (at George Roche’s request) for a week of lectures at Hillsdale College, was a brilliant Machiavellian. Using his early training as a Trotskyite, and a natural talent for organizing, recruiting, and demagoguery, he managed to take over the Stupid Party, i.e., the conservative movement and the Republicans. Whatever was good, he purged or smeared, in the cause of what he dubbed “neoconservatism”: corporatism, global war, and imperialism, with a special orientation towards Israel. He also influenced the major conservative foundations, and used their resources to great effect. As might be expected, he had a special animus for libertarianism and Ludwig von Mises, whom he denounced to me. As a warmonger and promoter of the police state, he had much blood on his hands, and wanted more. He leaves behind his son Bill, to carry on his work." [A more sympathetic obit here. And Kristol speaks for himself here]

RICO for ACORN? "I was an FBI Agent for 26 years and before my final posting at the White House, I enjoyed a rich career devoted to prosecution of organized crime. The federal laws were modified and strengthened in the years of Richard Nixon to enable the FBI to go after the Mafia. One tremendous new law, called Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organization, or RICO as it became known, allowed many new techniques of prosecution to be used to reign in what was believed to be an out of control criminal element in our society...RICO was a grand success. So much so, that before long RICO was being used to prosecute other groups who had nothing to do with the Italian or Sicilian mobs. Drug dealers, car theft rings, motorcycle gangs and purveyors of porn films and yes, even prostitution rings were also successfully prosecuted, their assets seized and their liberty forfeited in many thousands of cases. So now comes ACORN with years of what appears to me to be seriously organized crime. They have been involved in voter fraud and I would guess it would not take too many interviews before the FBI could establish the conspiracy. They have also been involved in bank fraud, gaming the system in attempts to bring assets from the so called rich, to the so-called poor. The case against ACORN has swiftly moved from being a talk show host's ultimate dream to a serious investigation that may be best served through the use of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statutes."


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


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


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Some rambling reflections on the flexibility of denominational loyalty among the Protestant laity

There is of course a very large number of Protestant groupings and also some Protestants who avoid groupings altogether. The reason behind the profusion of Protestant denominations is that the founders of the denominations concerned were struck by important points in the scriptures and have made those points of central importance. And if founding a new denomination seems required by the importance of those points, so be it.

But the concerns that led to the founding of the various denominations tend to be very little attended to by the laity. Protestants normally choose their church not according to its doctrine but rather according to its geographical convenience or the friendliness of its outreach.

The lady in my life -- Anne -- is a rather good example of that. Her father was Gospel Hall and her mother was brought up as a Salvationist. But for reasons of convenience Anne attended solely Methodist and Presbyterian churches -- with Presbyterians being by far her most frequent church associates. But Anne is a singer so when her Salvationist friends got to know of that, she was asked to come with them and sing solo hymns during the street corner evangelism for which the Sallies used to be so famous. And she did. She sang with the Sallies on street corners. And I am MOST impressed by that. I find it hard to think of a better recommendation of good character than that.

My own background is also a little mottled. My father was an Anglican of the most nominal sort and my mother was a Presbyterian. I cannot remember either of them ever putting a foot inside a church but my mother's denominational attachment still had some life in it so I was from an early age sent to Presbyterian Sunday School -- which I greatly enjoyed. Then when I went to High School there was a non-denominational Bible study group which met during lunch hour called the Crusaders. And I joined and enjoyed that too. So: Osama bin Laden, watch out. I am actually one of those evil Crusaders that you fantasize about!

For a while after that I joined the Jehovahs Witnesses, who are FEROCIOUS Bible students -- and that suited me down to the ground. I learnt enormous amounts about what the Bible says at that time. I even began to look at the original Greek and Hebrew of the scriptures then. Sometimes it is useful to go back to the original Bible rather than relying on any of the many translations. And to this day I still enjoy reading the Bible. Ecclesiastes is my favourite book for wisdom and Revelations is the most fun.

Eventually, however, by about age 18, I became dissatisfied with the JWs and went back to attending my local Presbyterian church (Ann st.). And I got on well there with the minister: old Percy Pearson. His sermons used to be a bit obscure but I followed them and would nod when he made a good point. So he got into the habit of addressing most of his sermons to me! Though I think only he and I knew that. We used to have good chats in the church hall afterwards too.

And at about age 20 I became an atheist -- largely as a consequence of studying philosophy. By the time I took up formal study of philosophy at university I had already read all sorts of philosophy -- from Aquinas to Bultmann. I have a younger relative (cousin one removed) who was at one time an Assembly of God minister. When he was, I warned him not to study theology as it would destroy his faith. But he did and it did. He is now an academic.

Many years elapsed after that during which I attended no church at all (except to get married). But about 15 years ago, I felt that it would be good to renew some contact with the marvellous Christian faith so have attended the very occasional service at both the magnificent Anglican cathedral and my old Presbyterian church. And I get a lot out of both, atheist though I remain. I am off to Evensong at the Cathedral this Sunday, in fact.

So I think that denominational wandering is almost a defining feature of Protestantism.


ObamaCare and Red State Democrats

The president is changing the political landscape, but not in the way he intends


On Friday, I was at DePauw University in Indiana debating former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. It was two days after Barack Obama's big speech before a joint session of Congress and Mr. Dean is a strong advocate for his party's agenda and a medical doctor, so I expected him to defend the president's idea of adding a "trigger" to health-care reform to ease its passage and thereby guarantee a government takeover of our health-care system.

But Mr. Dean turned out to be tougher on triggers than I was. He called them a "terrible" idea.

It's now becoming clear that Mr. Obama's speech failed to rally voters and failed to inspire Democrats to follow their president's lead. And while the fissures are small now (Mr. Dean's worry seems to be that triggers would give too much away to Republicans), they will likely widen unless the president shows that his policies will do what his campaign did--expand the pool of voters in favor of Democrats.

That's not happening now. A Gallup poll this week found that 38% of Americans say their representative should vote for ObamaCare--40% want their member to vote against it. It was 37%-39% on the same question the day before Mr. Obama spoke.

Part of Mr. Obama's problem is his language. His speech contained little new information and his tone was unpresidential. Instead of binding Americans to his cause, he called legitimate concerns "misinformation," "false," "demagoguery," "distortion" or "tall tales." Earlier in the week he declared them "lies." This was like calling people with concerns stupid, and it's not the way to win them over.

Take the issue of illegal aliens. The president's assertion that his reform "would not apply to those who are here illegally" drew an angry eruption from a GOP House backbencher. Then late Friday night, the White House quietly announced that proof of citizenship would be required to enroll in the president's health plan. This closed the loophole that provoked Rep. Joe Wilson. Had Mr. Obama acknowledged the concern and offered a solution in his speech, he would have come across as reasonable.

Mr. Obama is forgetting that the political landscape can change when the pool of people who vote changes. In 2008, five million more people voted than in 2004. Mr. Obama drew two million more African-Americans to the polls. He also shifted support among younger voters (ages 18-24) from 54% Democratic, 45% Republican in 2004 to 66% Democratic, 32% Republican.

Today, Mr. Obama's approval among young voters is down 10 points since July, according to Gallup polls. It may drop more when those voters discover that the plan put out by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) this week would fine them up to $950 a year for not being insured. Young people are 9.9% of the population. Fining them only antagonizes them.

Fiscally conservative independents who were already upset with Mr. Obama's stimulus spending will only be more upset with his health-care plan. It starts running annual deficits in its third year, piles up $219 billion in deficits in its first decade, and could add $1 trillion to the debt in its second.

Last weekend's grassroots rally against ObamaCare in Washington was a sign that voters are getting active to oppose the president's agenda. If it keeps up, middle-class anxiety about the national debt could make 2010 a tough year for any Democrat up for re-election.

Those Democrats will soon notice that seniors are worried about Mr. Obama's proposed Medicare cuts and that Hispanics --the fastest growing part of the electorate-- are slipping away from the president. Gallup polls reveal his support among Hispanics fell 14 points to 67% over the summer. Mr. Obama may be changing the electorate for 2010, but in the wrong direction for his party. This has worried many of the 70 Democrats in congressional districts carried by George W. Bush or John McCain.

Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire's district went 55% for Mr. McCain last year. After Mr. Obama's speech, he called the House bill "flawed" and said, "We can do better." Ohio Rep. John Boccieri, whose district favored Mr. McCain 50%-48%, told reporters, "I don't believe the president has shifted any of my opinions." Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith, whose district gave Mr. McCain 61% of its vote, called for health-care reform "without expanding government or adding more debt to an already overburdened treasury."

And it's not only Democrats in red districts who are questioning the president. California Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa followed the speech by saying it hadn't swayed them. Mr. Obama carried their districts with 60% of the vote. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Artur Davis of Alabama, both African-Americans, voiced similar sentiments.

Mr. Obama will appear on five news shows on Sunday. His time might be better spent praying for more public support.




Civility, 2007-Style: Hanging George Bush: "Some people who are outraged by anti-Obama placards have forgotten that, only a few years ago, many people were condemning George Bush in terms as harsh or harsher. Here is a picture I took at an antiwar rally in Washington in January 2007. The sign – “What’s good for the goose….. gander” – refers to the recent hanging of Saddam Hussein... The artist’s representation of George Bush could have been better, but so could the photograph itself".

ACORN loses its funding, allies in House: "House Democrats on Thursday unexpectedly abandoned their longtime ally ACORN, joining Republicans in an overwhelming vote to end all federal funding for the embattled liberal activist group. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) watched its last bastion of support in Washington crumble a week after hidden-camera investigative videos surfaced that showed its workers advising a supposed underage prostitute on how to cheat on taxes and loan applications. The latest setback followed a decision by the Obama administration to cancel plans for ACORN to work on the 2010 census and a Senate vote to block funding for ACORN in the 2010 housing appropriations bill. The Republican-sponsored measure, dubbed the Defund ACORN Act, passed on a 345-75 procedural vote as part of an unrelated student loan reform bill. Two Democrats voted present. The final tally was a startling rebuke from congressional Democrats, who in the past steadfastly supported ACORN in the face of conservative criticisms that the organization skirts tax laws, violates election rules and commits other crimes while heavily supporting Democratic candidates and liberal causes".

ACORN's Illegal Alien Home Loan Racket: "There's one thing more shocking than the illegal alien smuggling advice that an ACORN official in San Diego gave undercover journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. It's the illegal alien home loan racket that ACORN has already been operating with the full knowledge of the U.S. government... In 2005, Citibank and ACORN Housing Corporation -- which received tens of millions of tax dollars under the Bush administration alone -- began recruiting Mexican illegal aliens for a lucrative program offering loans with below-market interest rates, down-payment assistance and no mortgage insurance requirements. Instead of the Social Security numbers required of law-abiding citizens, the program allows illegal alien applicants to supply loosely monitored tax identification numbers issued by the IRS. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that "undocumented residents" comprise a vast market representing a potential sum of "$44 billion in mortgages." Citibank enlarged its portfolio of subprime and other risky loans. ACORN enlarged its membership rolls. The program now operates in Miami; New York City; Jersey City, N.J.; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Bridgeport, Conn.; and at all of ACORN Housing's 12 California offices. San Diego ACORN officials advised illegal alien recruits that their bank partners would take applicants who had little or no credit, or even "nontraditional records of credit, such as utility payments and documentation of private loan payments."

Eastern Europe unhappy about downgrade in US ties: "Scuttling a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland helps smooth relations between the U.S. and Russia. But at what price? Some of America’s staunchest allies are the East Europeans — and on Thursday, they expressed dismay at what many see as a slight after decades of their support for the U.S. Among them were some famous names, including Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity leader and Polish ex-president.”

Post-bubble malaise: "The question is, how long can the Obama administration write checks on an account that’s overdrawn by $11 trillion (The National debt) before the foreign appetite for US Treasuries wanes and we have a sovereign debt crisis? If the Fed is faking sales of Treasuries to conceal the damage — as I expect it is — we could see the dollar plunge to $2 per euro by the middle of 2010. Imagine pulling up to the gas pump and paying $6.50 per gallon. Ouch! That should be revive the economy.”

Katie, Matt & Tingly Chris: Suck it Up and Say Goodbye: "Well, surprise, surprise, surprise. According to the latest poll from the Pew Research Center, the “Drive-By Media” no longer have any credibility left with the American people. To quote Pew, “Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate.” Now, let’s see … why would that be? … Hmmm ... Let me think for a second … Hold on, I think I’ve got it! It’s probably because ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post lie through their teeth on a daily basis. Yep, I think that’s it. Once people figure out that you are an inveterate liar who contrives and contorts the news to fit your own perverse world view, you probably are going to end up with a Credibility Gap about the size of the Grand Canyon."

Deal ‘pounded out’ on card-check ought to pass: "Senators have hammered out a compromise that would allow unions to swell their ranks, and a key lawmaker said it should pass this year. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Tuesday told the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh that he has been working hard “for hours” on a deal with other key senators, such as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), as well as labor leaders, on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). “We have pounded out an Employees Choice bill which will meet labor’s objectives,” Specter said. “I believe before the year is out, and I will join my colleague Sen. [Bob] Casey [Jr. (D-Pa.)] in predicting, that there will be passage of an Employees Free Choice Act which will be totally satisfactory to labor.” ... What was unsaid in the senator’s speech was whether a core provision in the bill was part of the deal. Much of the attention has focused on the “card-check” provision, which would allow workers to bypass secret-ballot elections and instead organize by getting a majority to sign off on authorization cards. Attacked relentlessly by business associations as undemocratic, lawmakers have been discussing removing the measure in order to win more support from centrist Democrats."

The expanding public realm: "Virtually every time someone promotes increasing the scope of government’s involvement in our lives, the excuse is that the problem being tackled is a social or public type, not one of individuals. In some cases this is credible, as when a contagious disease surfaces. But in the cases now being dealt with by means of government intervention, such as smoking and even helping people to be happy, this is a phony excuse serving primarily to expand the reach of government into the life of everyone.”

Britain: Hands off my camera!: "Since the Counter-Terrorism Act 2000 came into force, many amateur and professional photographers have found themselves questioned, manhandled and detained by police who have received extended stop and search rights. … As many photographers have experienced, cameras — especially if they are professional-looking or are mounted on a tripod — are now often deemed ’suspicious articles.’ More and more professional and amateur snappers are being stopped by police while documenting everything from demonstrations to bus stations and street life in Britain. … In response to this mood of suspicion and to growing restrictions on individual and press freedom, the newly formed campaign group, I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist, staged a photography ‘flash mob’ on Reuters plaza in Canary Wharf, east London, on Saturday.”

Britain: Call to punish police without ID: "A watchdog said it was ‘extraordinary’ that officers caught policing protests without wearing their ID badges were escaping with ‘a slap on the wrist.’ The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) said senior officers must ensure frontline colleagues can be identified. Some officers were photographed without ID badges during April’s G20 protests. Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison of the Metropolitan Police said discipline may not be appropriate for officers who sometimes forget to attach their ID.”

Ireland may scupper EU power grab again: "With the trappings of wealth that come with having made a multimillion fortune in aluminium, forestry and telecommunications, you might think it difficult for this English-born Irish businessman to paint himself as David against Goliath in the coming Lisbon treaty referendum. But he did it once and believes he can do it again. It was Mr Ganley’s Libertas group that consolidated the ranks of socialists and right-wing Roman Catholics who opposed Lisbon last year to deliver the knockout punch. This week, to the dismay of the Irish Government and the Opposition, he went back on his word and said he would fight again. “They are trying to scare the crap out of the Irish people by saying ‘vote yes for jobs, vote yes for the economy’ when the treaty will not create a single job in Ireland. In fact I am convinced it will result in job losses.” The Lisbon treaty is a repackaging of the European constitution, aimed at streamlining the expanded 27-nation European Union."


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


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


Friday, September 18, 2009

The Real Political Divide: People's attitudes toward the world in which they Live

Everyone knows that Americans are bitterly divided over politics but what is the fundamental nature of that division? What is the core disagreement that separates conservatives from liberals, right from left?

Norman Podhoretz provided a provocative and persuasive answer to that question in a recent Wall Street Journal column (September 10) based on his new book, Why Are Jews Liberals? Podhoretz wrote: The great issue between the two political communities is how they feel about the nature of American society. With all exceptions duly noted, I think it fair to say that what liberals mostly see when they look at this country is injustice and oppression of every kind economic, social and political. By sharp contrast, conservatives see a nation shaped by a complex of traditions, principles and institutions that has afforded more freedom and, even factoring in periodic economic downturns, more prosperity to more of its citizens than in any society in human history. It follows that what liberals believe needs to be changed or discarded and apologized for to other nations is precisely what conservative are dedicating to preserving, reinvigorating and proudly defending against attack.

The bitterness of the current health care debate demonstrates the power of this important insight. Liberals invariably plead that the United States must follow the example of Britain or France, Canada or Cuba, and expand the governmental role in medicine to guarantee health care as a sacred human right. The left insists that despite the high cost of American medical care we actually lag far behind more enlightened countries in health outcomes. Conservatives, on the other hand, while decrying the rise in costs, cite the many ways that the US system leads the world (in technological breakthroughs, as well as responsiveness where America is ranked number one by the World Health Organization of the UN). Conservatives want other countries to learn from us and follow our example; liberals long for the United States to learn from our European counterparts and to follow their example.

In international affairs, similar differences apply. The left wants the United States to act multi-laterally at all times and in all things, emphasizing the danger that well probably make a mistake if we go it alone and ignore world opinion. The right concentrates on the need for American power in the world and stresses the positive role played by this country in every corner of the globe. Conservatives worry that if we wait for other (and often corrupt) international powers to join us in every endeavor, well make a mistake by abdicating the leadership role only we can play by deferring to world opinion.

When it comes to the nations history, the divisions between left and right remain similarly stark. Liberals stress U.S. guilt for slavery, mistreatment of Native Americans, and more than a century of imperialist adventures oppressing nations around the world. The right dwells on the way that America introduced ideals of liberty to all of humanity, gave rise to the planets first anti-slavery society, and rescued the earth from two world wars and the danger of international communism.

The opposing instincts toward America also help explain the liberal-conservative arguments over religion and its role in our society. All recent polls show a vast difference in political alignment between those who place a priority on traditional faith and those who describe themselves as irreligious or unaffiliated. From the days of our Puritan and Pilgrim forefathers, the people who inhabited the New World always placed a higher priority on religious practice and Biblical beliefs than the communities they left behind in Europe. In the 1830s, the French observer Alexis de Tocqueville singled out the powerful influence of fervent Christianity as perhaps the most dominant force in American society, and the clearest distinction between the new Republic and the Old World. Even today, the United States remains by every measure the most religious nation in the western world. For conservatives, the religious character of our past and our people stands as a point of pride; for liberals, its one more reason for embarrassment and apology.

On all of these issues, liberals and conservatives differ dramatically and profoundly. This is not to say that all liberals hate America, or that all conservatives glorify their country unreservedly. But in questions of emphasis the contrast couldnt be more clear: the left stresses Americas failures, shortcomings, hypocrisies, and embarrassments while the right trumpets the nations achievements, blessings, and distinctive advantages. Nothing enrages liberals more than the conservative tendency for jingoistic flag-waving and super-patriotism; nothing bothers conservatives more than the liberal habit of blaming America first and concentrating on historic guilt and present problems.

The more negative attitude by liberals toward the nation in which they live even accounts for the well-known happiness gap in which all survey data shows conservatives as far more satisfied and optimistic about their own lives. Even controlling for factors like race, age, economic and marital status, conservatives top liberals by all measures of happiness (as described in detail by Arthur Brooks in his valuable book, Gross National Happiness.) The liberal embrace of guilt rather than gratitude, and focus on the nations predicaments rather than its possibilities, clearly contribute to the gloomy temperament (and the inevitable calls for sweeping change) that accompany the leftwing world view.

The critical and even fearful attitude toward the United States has come to characterize the left in every corner of the globe, and it makes sense to extend the Podhoretz paradigm internationally. Contrasting visions of America distinguish every major conflict in todays world; the role of the United States has been the explosive, polarizing, outstanding international issue for the last twenty years.

In 1989-91, with the Western victory in the Cold War, disputes over American influence and values came to replace the issue that had divided the world for the previous 70 years: the response to Marxism. For more than two generations, attitudes toward socialism and the rise of all-powerful (often totalitarian) governments not only separated the nations of the world, but also characterized political disputes within each nation. The Russian Revolution created the prospect of world-shattering revolt, and conservatives defined themselves by their implacable opposition to that prospect just as liberals argued for the need to embrace or accommodate it. Anywhere on earth, your approach toward Marxist ideology placed you in one political camp or the other, just as your response to Americas influence and example will shape your ideological position from Moscow to Mumbai, from Mombasa to Maracaibo.

Some partisans on the left (in America and around the world) will resist this formulation, insisting that they love the United States just as much as any right winger. The distinction, progressives regularly aver, involves their affection for a perfected America that might, through hope and change, come into existence sometime in the future, or else their nostalgic reverence for an America that once was, but ceased to exist through some malevolent influence (greedy businessmen, the religious right, conniving conservatives, take your pick).

Anyone with a modicum of experience in human relations will tell you that a devotion based on what your love object might become, or may have been in the past, is a suspect and toxic form of affection. If, in a moment of insecurity, a wife asks a husband, Honey, do you love me? the last thing she wants to hear is, Actually, I love the idea of you if you changed completely. In other words, its not advisable to tell the woman in your life that youd adore her if shed only lose fifty pounds, submit to liposuction and breast augmentation surgery, get a new set of gleaming white caps for her teeth, and complete a post graduate degree so shed offer more intriguing conversation.

By the same token, it always seems bizarre to hear liberals insist that they consider themselves committed patriots and enthusiastic America lovers because they love the notion of a new U.S. purged of racism, and pollution, and economic exploitation, and sexism, and homophobia, and Mickey Mouse, McDonalds and the Designated Hitter Rule.

Conservatives have an easier time connecting with the sentiments of everyday Americans because our love of country remains less complicated: we admire and relish and savor the United States just as it is, even with all its quirks and imperfections. For us, the sight of Old Glory in the autumn breeze inspires a sense of instant pride and exaltation, not the bittersweet ruminations of a guilty liberal who automatically evokes embarrassing episodes associated with the flag and sighs over the gap between U.S. ideals and contemporary reality.

The more that conservatives understand and adopt the idea that attitudes toward America divide the left and right everywhere, the better our chances of building durable majorities. The health care debate offers a fine opportunity to spread this notion. While the left hopes that well abandon our distinctiveness and welcome international influence in shaping a new health care system, the right hopes for a clear-cut victory for liberty and against big government a victory that can advance the cause of Americanism as a unique and valuable creed both here at home and around the world.



Statement of Deneen Borelli on Allegations of Racism Against Critics of Obama Policies

This statement was issued today by Deneen Borelli of the national black leadership network Project 21: "There they go again. Now Jimmy Carter has joined House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, Texas Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, New York Governor David Paterson, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd and others on the left in claiming racism is behind criticism of President Obama's big-spending policies.

The public is outraged about the president's policies -- the spending, the budget, the deficit -- not his skin color.

President Obama was not elected only with black votes. Are those who cry 'racism' saying the American people suddenly woke up and said, 'oh, he's black so I don't like him anymore'? That makes no sense. The criticism of Obama's policies is about the policies -- the stimulus, the growth of government, cap-and-trade, the health care bills, the overspending.

It's easier for the left to play the race card than address the public's legitimate concerns, but what the left and the media are doing is damaging and dangerous. It's damaging because when everything is racist, then nothing is. Those who cry racism without evidence will cause people to tune out in cases in which there is evidence.

It's dangerous also to send a message that racism is behind everything. What does that tell young black men and women? It tells them they will never get a fair shake and that white people who have never met them dislike them. With a message like that, its no surprise we're seeing apparently racial incidents like the widely-circulated video of a young white student being beaten up on a school bus by black students while other black students cheer. What message have those black students internalized from liberal leaders like Rangel, Johnson, Paterson, Matthews and Dowd and now former President Carter? That white people are their enemy.

If this continues -- if not already -- the left will literally have blood on its hands, and all because it was too dishonest and too cowardly to have a fair debate with the American people on policy."




In case you missed it, the video of ‘The Audacity of Hos’, where Jon Stewart of the ‘Daily Show’ Skewers ACORN is here. He doesn’t sugar-coat the embarrassment at all — to the apparent delight of his audience, who get kudos of their own. How can the national news media ignore the many allegations of corruption at ACORN, which gets millions of dollars in federal funding, and allow a couple of independents with $3,000 and a bad wardrobe scoop them on the undercover story of the year? It’s easy when newsrooms are more concerned with political direction than truth. Stick around to the end, when Stewart zings Michelle Malkin haters.

The Stimulus Didn't Work: "Is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 working? At the time of the act's passage last February, this question was hotly debated. Administration economists cited Keynesian models that predicted that the $787 billion stimulus package would increase GDP by enough to create 3.6 million jobs. Our own research showed that more modern macroeconomic models predicted only one-sixth of that GDP impact. Estimates by economist Robert Barro of Harvard predicted the impact would not be significantly different from zero. Now, six months after the act's passage, we no longer have to rely solely on the predictions of models. We can look and see what actually happened. Incoming data will reveal more in coming months, but the data available so far tell us that the government transfers and rebates have not stimulated consumption at all, and that the resilience of the private sector following the fall 2008 panic not the fiscal stimulus program deserves the lion's share of the credit for the impressive growth improvement from the first to the second quarter."

Egyptian antisemite welcome at the UN: "An Egyptian government minister who offered to burn Hebrew books could be elected tomorrow as the new head of Unesco despite fierce hostility from Jewish groups and unease among western governments. Farouk Hosni, 71, who has been Egypt’s Culture Minister for two decades, was confident that he could win outright in tomorrow’s first round of voting at the Paris headquarters of the United Nation’s cultural section. Until last spring, Mr Hosni was thought certain to succeed Koichiro Matsuura of Japan as director-general because of the feeling, shared in Washington and many EU capitals, that it was time for an Arab to lead Unesco for the first time since it was founded in 1945. Mr Hosni was thrown on the defensive when Jewish organisations and European intellectuals exposed what they said was a long record of “nauseating” anti-Semitic actions and statements. Chief among these was his response in the Cairo parliament last year to an Islamic fundamentalist MP who complained about Hebrew language books in the Alexandria Library. “If there are any there, I will myself burn them in front of you,” he said."

Taxpayer to fund Postal Service retirees: "“The House voted Tuesday to let the struggling U.S. Postal Service cover a budget shortfall by reducing its annual payment to a health care fund for retirees by $4 billion. Under current law, the Postal Service is required to transfer $5.4 billion to the Retiree Health Benefits Fund by Sept. 30, the end of the budget year. Postal officials have said they don’t have enough money to make the payment.”

MA: Health costs to rise again: "The state’s major health insurers plan to raise premiums by about 10 percent next year, prompting many employers to reduce benefits and shift additional costs to workers. Increases will range from 7 to 12 percent, capping a decade of consecutive double-digit premium increases, according to a Globe survey of the state’s top health insurers. Actual rates for 2010 will depend on the size of the employer and the type of coverage, with small businesses and individuals expected to be hit hardest. Overall, premiums are more than twice as high as they were 10 years ago. The higher insurance costs undermine a key tenet of the state’s landmark healthcare law passed two years ago, as well as President Obama’s effort to overhaul health care. In addition to mandating insurance for most residents, the Massachusetts bill sought to rein in healthcare costs.”

Typical Leftist projection from Obama: "But people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Calling Sarah Palin a liar was most unfortunate given the speech on health care Barack Obama gave last Wednesday night. In that speech, President Obama accused his critics of spreading ‘misinformation’ and ‘bogus claims,’ of ‘demagoguery and distortion,’ and of ’scare tactics’ instead of honest debate. But all of that was most prominently featured in his own speech.”

Spreading the wealth: "When Barack Obama said he wanted to ’spread the wealth around,’ he meant it. A new study from Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimates that Obama’s policies would spend $10.3 trillion on welfare programs over the next decade. Obama started increasing welfare spending immediately after assuming office. The stimulus bill included $220 billion in new means-tested spending, including a little-noticed provision that repealed one of the key welfare reforms of the Clinton era. The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act capped welfare dollars to states, ending the perverse system that rewarded states for adding cases to their welfare rolls. The 2009 stimulus bill lifted the caps. Once again, states that add to their rolls qualify for more cash.”

Do not be a victim: "As I resumed my rather hectic schedule during the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, two questions were asked of me more than any others during my travel. First, why would an airplane full of people allow a handful of men, armed only with box cutters, to take over the aircraft and fly in into one of the world’s tallest structures? And, what would have happened if only one or two of the passengers or crew members on those doomed flights had been armed for self-defense? Funny how one question kind of answers the other.”


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


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


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama is one of a long line of Fascists

One way to avoid dealing with the substance of an argument is to simply caricature your opposition by focusing on its extreme elements. This is intellectually dishonest. As far as I am concerned, it is not necessary to highlight the true crazies of the left --, Code Pink, environmental terrorists, PETA, etc. -- because the mainstream is already so nuts. It's a full time job just dealing with the New York Times, CNN, Keith Olbermann, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Van Jones, ACORN, etc.

I've read any number of mainstream analyses of the tea party movement, and not one of them dispassionately discusses the substance of the arguments, i.e., out of control government spending, socialized medicine, legislation to forbid the climate from changing, etc.

To be honest, this post is just an excuse for me to review and assimilate Hayek's Road to Serfdom, which I finished yesterday. Although originally published in 1944, it is as timely as ever, given the events of the day. I had already read some of Hayek's other books, not to mention a couple of recent biographies, but this is considered his most accessible work. There was nothing in it that was new for me, but it certainly reinforces the fact that there isn't anything the least bit controversial about linking Obama and fascism. Indeed, Obama is simply acting from a script that was written (and discredited) long ago. It's timeless, really.

Again, at the time it was published, Hayek was trying to make the then-controversial point that communism and fascism were not opposites, but two consequences of the same underlying assumptions. These assumptions are profoundly illiberal, which is why, if you want to reduce it to a linear map, both socialism and fascism are on the left, while classical liberalism is on the right. But this is not really a useful distinction. I much prefer the four-quadrant graph I discussed yesterday, which distinguishes collectivism from individualism and the worldly from the spiritual.

A classical liberal of the American type believes first and foremost in liberty. But not the unconstrained horizontal liberty of the radical secularist. Rather, it can only be understood in a spiritual context, which is why the Founders wanted a secular state but a religious society infused with Judeo-Christian principles and values. None of them imagined that democracy would work in the absence of a virtuous population (although I am quite sure that our trolls can find the stray comment by a Jefferson or Paine justiying their own hatred of God).

It is important to point out that while critics of the tea party movement will cherry-pick some of the signs to focus on, they object just as much to the intellectual substance. The signs just give them a convenient way to avoid debate.

Thus, when The Road to Serfdom was published in the 1940s, it was greeted by the liberal ignorantsia exactly as if Hayek were holding up a sign of Roosevelt with a Hitler moustache. He was dismissed not just as wrong, but sinister (again, without ever engaging the substance of his ideas). This is because virtually all intellectuals at the time were unquestioned socialists. Of course, they accused Hayek of being "reactionary," which was transparent projection, just as today.

As I've said before many times, I don't necessarily blame someone for being a socialist in the 1930s or 1940s, before economics was the science it is today. Socialism has an intrinsic appeal, especially to intellectuals who believe that irreducibly complex problems are susceptible to easy solutions if we just apply enough brain power. This is one of the reasons the left is so enamored of Obama. For whatever reason, they all think he's "brilliant," so that he can "solve our problems." The same things were said of Clinton. But as Milton Friedman famously remarked, no one has all the knowledge necessary to produce even a single pencil, let alone "control healthcare."

Nevertheless, one of the reasons Hayek doesn't appeal to the left wing ignorantsia is that he renders them not just superfluous, but demonstrates how dangerous they are -- not necessarily because of any bad intentions on their part. To the contrary. It is nearly always with the best of intentions. It is just that they are attempting to control reality before having understood it. The grandiose visions of the left are just fairy tales by another name.

But what is worse, they cannot understand the realities they presume to control, not in fact, nor in principle. Can't be done. A free market economy, for example, consists of millions of people making billions of spontaneous decision based upon a practically infinite amount of knowledge, information, and wisdom dispersed throughout the system. Furthermore, it is non-linear, so that if you tinker with one variable, it will have unforeseen -- and unforeseeable -- consequences that will reverberate throughout the system...

But the left is always blind to the consequences of their policies. And because they are rooted in emotion, not thought, they will simply vilify you if you disagree with them, as they did with Hayek.

The other day, Tom Friedman removed the mask and argued that China was a good country for the United States to emulate, because only with an authoritarian state would it be possible to impose Friedman World on the rest of us. In this regard, Hayek wrote that, once one concludes that central planning is necessary, this leads to "the demand that the government, or some single individual, should be given power to act on their own.... It becomes more and more the accepted belief that... the responsible director of affairs must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure" (emphasis mine).

Not only has every liberal commentator (including the President) taken Sarah Palin's "death panels" comment out of context, but they refuse even to acknowledge that the responsible director of medical affairs must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure in deciding how medical resources will be allocated. How is this belief controversial?

In his introduction to the book, Caldwell notes that Hayek's ideas are not just a kind of "lightning rod," but a Rorschach test that reveals "as much about the reader's prior commitments as it does about Hayek's ideas." Both the ideas and the reaction to them are timeless, man being what he is. After all, slavery and serfdom are the rule in human history, not the exception. Therefore, it is not as if these were simply accidental developments in human history. To the contrary, the culture of liberty is clearly the exception.

But the leftist believes to his core that liberty is possible in a culture of servitude. Apparently, he never pauses to think that for a third or half the year he is in bondage to the state. In my case, there is federal tax, state tax, property tax, payroll tax, sales tax, gas tax, beer tax, and more, not to mention various licenses and fees. And the government is still bankrupt!

Does the leftist really not put two and two together and understand that for the government, it always equals five? Does he really believe that there is no justification for anger at the size and scope of government? Does he really believe that it is somehow "liberal" to want to work even more for an even larger state? Does he really not acknowledge his bottomless greed and sense of entitlement for the fruits of our labors?



Our "Intolerance Festival"

It's very easy to be outraged by the way our "objective" media greeted the massive Sept. 12 rally against Big Government in Washington and across the country. They treated it as a menacing surge of white anger, meanness, and racism. But all the media bias against this rally clearly illustrates one nagging truth for media liberals: They really don't think conservatives should be allowed to protest. It's somehow like a copyright violation.

On Monday night's "Countdown," MSNBC's David Shuster found the protest united "in apparent hatred of the current president, Barack Obama." It was undemocratic, a sign of people not accepting election results, and Shuster even suggested Sen. Jim DeMint's speech at the rally signaled he favored a "military coup." The unglued anchorman also dismissed the crowd as "white, whiter and whitest," all attending an "intolerance festival."

Now, remember David Shuster in 2003, when all kinds of unsavory radical-left elements were opposing President Bush's aim to liberate Iraq. ("Bush lied, thousands died." Remember that?) The leader of the opposition was Ramsey Clark, America's nutty left-wing lawyer for a collection of disreputable dictators, and the man who would in time represent Saddam Hussein in court. But the protesters weren't nasty, even as they railed against Bush and greedy, imperialist, blood-for-oil America. They were ... a superpower.

On "Hardball," Shuster thumped the bongos for dissent: "The size of the demonstrators, at least here, at least in Europe, seems to underscore, Chris, that there are now perhaps two world superpowers. There's the United States and then there are those millions of people who took to the streets opposing U.S. policy."

Over on ABC, anchorman Bill Weir, the man who became a national laughingstock for crowing on Inauguration Day that "even the seagulls must have been awed" by Barack Obama's crowd, could find only a mob "descending" on Washington like the flying monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West: "This morning, outrage. Protesters descend on Washington to rally against the president's health care plan. As civility gives way to shouting, what's fueling all this anger?"

But on that same ABC network, back in 2003, the attitude was different. Anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers that throughout history, protesters have been a leading national indicator of wisdom: "While protesters like today are a statistical minority, in American history, protests like this have been prescient indicators of the national mood. So the government may do well to listen to what's said today." ....

More here



March on 9/12 shows the right on the rise: "Judging by the massive crowd on Saturday that descended on Washington for the 9/12 March, you’d have to be deaf not to recognize that small-government conservatism remains a vital part of the national conversation. If you’ve been fed a steady media diet of MSNBC over the last few months, though, you could be excused for fearing a Pennsylvania Avenue takeover by a rabble of pitchfork-wielding cranks and extras from ‘Deliverance.’ But the crowd — ‘in excess of 75,000 people,’ according to a D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman — was made up of orderly, pleasant, middle-class Americans from all across the country.”

House GOP moves to cut ALL Federal funding to ACORN: "Today House Republicans will introduce a bill that would end all federal funding to ACORN and its affiliates. Republicans are also sending a letter to President Obama on the same subject. The action comes after the release, on the website BigGovernment, of three undercover videos showing ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York City offering advice on how to evade taxes, cover up prostitution activity, and abet the use of minors in prostitution. In the wake of those disclosures, the U.S. Census cut its ties with ACORN, and yesterday the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off housing funds for the organization."

ACORN again: "There have been some amazingly outrageous things that have come to light as a result of Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe's undercover investigation of various ACORN offices. But the explosive new video Glenn Beck will run tonight on his 5pm Fox show just might be the most shocking. In the video, ACORN staffer "Theresa" confesses to having dabbled in the prostitution industry herself in the past. In addition, she confesses a pattern of past abuse led her to shoot and kill her own husband. PS: Hey "mainstream" media --do you think you could actually cover this story now?"

Jimmah does it again: "Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst to President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress last week was an act "based on racism" and rooted in fears of a black president. "I think it's based on racism," Carter said at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president." [Projection at work: Carter is himself an antisemite]

Smash the labor monopolies!: "When President Obama addresses the AFL-CIO on Sept. 15, he is expected to reiterate his support for the so-called Employee Free Choice Act. Congress is sharply divided over the proposed law, which would change the voting and arbitration procedures by which federal law forces companies to deal with labor unions. Because the changes favor Big Labor, pro-union Democrats have been locked in a prolonged partisan squabble with their Republican opponents, and legislative compromise seems likely. But that’s really beside the point. Instead of quibbling over the methods by which unions can be forced upon unwilling employers and employees, Congress should be debating how to make the labor market truly free--free from government coercion. For more than 70 years, Congress has maintained a statutory scheme that fastens coercive labor monopolies on individual companies. Starting with the Wagner Act in 1935, any union that wins a simple majority of employee votes becomes, by force of law, the exclusive bargaining agent for every single employee in that workplace. Such a victory slams the door shut on individuals who want to deal directly with the company"

We the rats, we the children: "We aren’t rats. Nor are we children. But Congress and the Obama Administration seem to think so. From Cash-for-Clunkers to the idea that all Americans should be forced to buy health insurance, our leaders are moving away from stewardship of the Constitution to a rewards-and-punishments government. ‘Stimulus and response’ meets ‘hope and change.’ It’s for your own good. But the idea that they can subsidize and tax their way to utopia has its roots in a discredited theory from early 20th Century — the psychology of B.F. Skinner.”

Michael Moore not happy with Democrats either: "Michael Moore was on hand last night at the premier of his latest film, "Capitalism: A Love Story... Mr. Moore is a kind of political weather vane on the left, so interesting is his latest choice of political villains. He gives Barack Obama a free pass for supporting corporate bailouts, but he rakes Bob Rubin, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner ("a failure at everything he has done in life") over the coals. The crowd at Byham Theater, including incoming AFL-CIO boss Rich Trumka, hissed at the mention of each member of this Democratic economic policy troika. Another Moore target is Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, already in deep trouble in his re-election fight next year. Mr. Moore tracks down the Countrywide official who handled sweetheart mortgages for "FOAs" -- friends of Countrywide boss Angelo Mozilo -- including over $1 million for Sen. Dodd. "I guess the point of capitalism," Mr. Moore says in the film, "is it allows you to get away with anything." I guess the point of a Michael Moore movie is that his tendentious logic allows him to make a good living."

UK: Benefits plan to “make work pay”: "Plans to get 600,000 people off welfare and into work are being proposed by an independent think tank set up by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. The Centre for Social Justice proposes scrapping a system which it says makes it difficult for people to earn more at work than they get in benefits. It says spending more than £3.7bn to subsidise those on low wages in the UK would make work pay for more people. But experts warn that politicians will be cautious about the high cost. All parties are looking to cut welfare bills and reduce the long-term jobless.”


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


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


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Huckabee: No Palestinian State in Israel

Former Arkansas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said during a trip to Israel that the land "belongs to the Jewish people alone." He acknowledged that the Palestinians deserve a state of their own, but insisted: "It just can't be in Israel."

Huckabee, a Baptist minister and Fox News personality, was accompanied on his trip by Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel.

He told reporters that two sovereign nations cannot control the same piece of territory, and said: "Many people with many different faiths believe in a strong Israel. They believe in Israel based on issues of security as well as promises made in the Bible. This land belongs to the Jewish people alone."

Asked about the so-called Israeli "occupation" of Palestine, Huckabee said he would characterize the Israeli government's efforts as "accommodation, not occupation," the Jewish Voice and Opinion reported.

He referred to the Barack Obama administration's criticism of the Israeli government over construction of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, and his backing away from campaign promises of support for a unified Jerusalem. "The current administration has taken a different track from the one followed by the Bush and Clinton administrations, and Obama's position now is different from what it was during the campaign," Huckabee observed.

He also said: "Jews should have the right to live wherever they choose in their homeland. If the Arabs didn't want to lose land, they shouldn't have started wars."



Christian Zionists

It sounds like Huckabee is a Christian Zionist and I don't know how anybody who believes in the Bible can be anything else. But I suspect that Pastor Hagee trumps them all.

It's hard to believe that the videos below were recorded in a Texas church. This is Pastor John Hagee's congregational choir. Hagee is the founder and National Chairman of the Christian-Zionist organization Christians United for Israel. They are singing popular Hebrew songs IN HEBREW. It's an amazing occasion and in my view reflects a proper appreciation of Israel by Biblical standards.

And the average NYC Jew thinks these people are clowns. I think I know who the real clowns are. Except for the mass votes of people of faith like these, Obama would throw Israel under the bus in 5 minutes. As it is, he knows that the Donks would be routed at the mid-terms if he did so. (H/T ICJS)


Why The Return To Zion? The Jewish Connection To The Land of Israel

Not long after the establishment of the State of Israel, Abba Eban, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, remarked, “The peace on Israel’s borders may be no more than the peace of a quiescent volcano; and the crisis of state in its immediate external relationships remain unsolved.”

Given the intractable nature of this conflict, many ask why the Jews have been so tenacious in their desire to reconstitute the Jewish state in the land of Israel. What is it about this land that has inspired their love of Zion through centuries of exile?

Culturally, during the 18 centuries of Jewish life in the Diaspora, the connection to the land of Israel played a vital role in the value system of Jewish communities and was a basic determinant in their self-recognition as a group. Without the connection to the land of Israel, the people who practice Judaism would simply be a religious community, without national and ethnic components. Jews were distinct from the Muslim and Christian communities in which they lived because of their religious beliefs and practices and the eternal link to the land of their forefathers. That is why Jews considered themselves — and are seen by others — as a minority living in exile.

As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel explained: “For the Jews and for them alone [the land of Israel] was the one and only Homeland, the only conceivable place where they could find liberation and independence, the land toward which their minds and hearts had been uplifted for a score of centuries and where their roots had clung in spite of all adversity. . . . It was the homeland with which an indestructible bond of national, physical, religious and spiritual character had been preserved, and where the Jews had in essence remained — and were now once more in fact — a major element of the population.” 3

The Jews did not publicly challenge the occupation of their land by the empires of the East and West. They did so in their homes, sanctuaries, books, and prayers. Religious rituals were instituted to remember the destruction of the temple and the subsequent exile. During times of joy and sorrow, Zion is always part of a Jew’s thoughts and liturgy. At least three times a day, observant Jews pray for the redemption of Zion and Jerusalem and for her well-being.

More here


Massachusetts 'Run Into the Ground' by Politicians

Former Major League pitching star Curt Schilling hasn't finalized his decision on whether to run for the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by the late Ted Kennedy, but he's being outspoken in his criticism of elected officials. Schilling, who helped lead the Boston Red Sox to victory in the 2004 and 2007 World Series, has expressed interest in the Senate seat but said in a recent interview in Quincy, Mass., that he doesn’t know when he will make up his mind about running.

He is a longtime Republican supporter who backed John McCain in 2008, but he is not registered with the GOP and would have to run as an independent.

Schilling didn't mince words on his 38 Pitches blog for the WEEI sports radio network: "I live in a state where I can’t drive 1/2 a mile without a torn-up road, or on a major highway without paying a toll, a large toll. How in the hell is this state broke? How in the hell has a state with supposedly as intelligent a voter base as Massachusetts allowed itself to be run into the ground by entrenched and often times corrupt ‘me first’ politicians?...

"I’m not even close to a Rhodes Scholar or Ivy League graduate, but I also know I’m watching many people with those exact credentials run this state, and this country, into the ground."

Schilling, a six-time All Star who announced his retirement earlier this year, also delineated his positions on a variety of issues:

* "I’m pro-life (with exception to rape, incest or terminal consequences to mom or child during birth) and against gay marriage. However, let me be very clear on both of those issues. Those issues are so far beyond the scope or responsibility of one person to legislate, it’s laughable. The state you reside in should be the body that determines BOTH of those laws."

* "I am absolutely for the Second Amendment. But I also think this country has become so beholden to special interests and lobbyists that we have completely sacrificed the safety and well being of the individual American citizen. Why should our police officers have to worry about automatic weapons?"

* "Taxes? Sure I’ll pay them, regardless of the number. Would I prefer lower taxes? Sure, who wouldn’t? But I’ll pay, whatever they are, because that’s the cost of being able to live in this country and I’ve never had a problem with that."

Schilling added: "I’ve always tried to vote for the right team more so than the right person. I believed in Dick Cheney, I believed in Colin Powell, I believed in Condoleezza Rice. I voted as much, if not more, for the team President Bush had assembled as I ever did for the man. It’s the reason I voted for his father, it’s the reason I voted for Bill Clinton."




Heh! Senate cuts off ACORN housing funding: "The Senate voted to cut off ACORN Housing funds following the release of three videotapes that show employees of the activist group advising a ‘pimp’ and ‘prostitute’ on how to break the law. The amendment, offered by Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, passed in a vote of 83 to 7 and prohibits the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now from receiving funds from the current Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. It marks the third time this year Republicans tried to block the organization from federal funding. The latest vote comes on the heels of the release of hidden-camera videos showing workers in three separate ACORN housing offices apparently helping a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute evade the IRS and apply for an illegal housing loan for a brothel.”

US launches military strike in Somalia: "A U.S. commando attack in Somalia has killed an al Qaeda operative who is on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists, sources tell ABC News. The dead terrorist, Saleh Ali Nabhan, is believed to have taken part in the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He is also believed to have orchestrated the 2002 bombing of a resort hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, and a failed missile attack on an Israeli airliner leaving Mombasa airport.”

Pakistan: US drone attack kills 30: "Attacks by government troops and a US drone have killed at least 30 pro-Taliban militants, leaving several others injured in northwestern Pakistan, Press TV reported. A missile allegedly fired on Monday by an unmanned US aircraft targeted a vehicle believed to be carrying pro-Taliban insurgents in the North Waziristan tribal district, near the Afghan border.”

Military considers revised medical training for troops: "Troops trained in advanced trauma care could prevent up to 20% of combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military’s top medical board says. The Defense Health Board said in a recommendation to the Pentagon last month that enhanced Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) skills developed by military trauma specialists already have saved an estimated 1,000 lives in both wars.”

Stiglitz: Bank problems bigger than pre-Lehman: "Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, said the U.S. has failed to fix the underlying problems of its banking system after the credit crunch and the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. ‘In the U.S. and many other countries, the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger,’ Stiglitz said in an interview yesterday in Paris. ‘The problems are worse than they were in 2007 before the crisis.’ Stiglitz’s views echo those of former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has advised President Barack Obama’s administration to curtail the size of banks, and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who suggested last month that governments may want to discourage financial institutions from growing ‘excessively.’”

A tale of two pledges: "I am going to tell you a story about two pledges. The first was written in 1892 and has been recited by America’s public school children ever since. Some of the words have changed since then but it remains virtually the same pledge written over 100 years ago. The second is a pledge recently shown by video, with the permission of the local PTA, to elementary schoolchildren in Salt Lake City in 2009. It was written and produced by Hollywood celebrities, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher both devout disciples of Barack Obama. The first pledge as you may have already guessed is the Pledge of Allegiance. The Moore-Kutcher video should be called ‘The Pledge to Obama.’ … It looks harmless enough until you realize that they all appear to be making pledges to Obama himself like swearing an oath to king or dictator. … Since when did we start pledging allegiance to a person in this country?”

When politics determines crowd size: "When the major media outlets fundamentally ignored the massive rally against Obama they were sure to ignite a controversy. But when they started bullsh*tting the public about how many people attended they poured fuel on the controversy they lit. Earlier this week we provided some fairly convincing video evidence that the crowd was much larger than what biased publications like the New York Times reported. The only honest estimate was from MSNBC which estimated a few hundred thousand. And that number really does make the most sense.”

One year after Wall Street meltdown, Obama targets Main Street: "One year after the Wall Street meltdown, President Obama is touting new regulations he says are urgent for preventing a crisis like this from ever happening again. He is receiving much coverage today for his speech on Wall Street on the eve of the anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ collapse. But a closer look at new rules Obama is proposing shows that the bulk of them do not go after the Wall Street culprits, but Main Street entrepreneurs that had nothing to do with the crisis.”

Obama then and now: Deficit edition: "Obama doublespeak continues to abound. This week Congress and the Prez return to Washington to continue ‘addressing’ our nation’s woes. Up next: the deficit. … Obviously President Obama and his team are being vocal about the necessity of this so that the President can keep spending like a maniac. The administration and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are pushing for the debt ceiling to be increased ASAP. … The Senate had to consider raising the debt ceiling in 2006 and Senator Obama took the opportunity to make a floor speech: ‘Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.’ He obviously voted against raising the debt level.”


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


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


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leftists blame "society" for their own personal problems

Comment from Australia

IN the sodden northern winter of 1766 the Scottish essayist David Hume - surely one of the most sweet-tempered and agreeable of men - sallied across to Calais to transport the notorious Jean-Jacques Rousseau to the safety of the British Isles. Like many scholars since, Hume had a weakness for the glamorous authors of audacious theories. If shallow thinkers undershot the mark of truth, he reckoned, and abstruse theorists overshot it, the abstruse ones had at least the merit of "providing something that is new".

Poor Hume had occasion to repent his intellectual enthusiasm at his leisure. Pretty soon he discovered his guest to be the very archetype of that distinctive philosophical figure, the radical misanthrope. It was Rousseau, after all, who first combined that burning and sincere love of the people in general with a thoroughgoing detestation of all human beings in the particular; and whose vaulting hopes for some distant imagined future were matched only by his dissatisfaction with every single detail of the present. As Hume put it, Rousseau's extreme sensibility led him to experience pain far more keenly than pleasure: "He is like a man stripped not only of his clothes, but of his skin." And all this grand miserableness of temper transferred itself - as in philosophers it so often does - into a perfectly formulated world philosophy of grand miserableness.

Rousseau was happy only under persecution and he was endlessly ingenious in creating it. Hume's discreet attempts at financial generosity were read by Rousseau, inevitably, as humiliations; his efforts at securing Rousseau an income were read as treachery. When Hume rescued Rousseau's letters, Rousseau accused him of steaming them open.

Soon Rousseau's grand paranoia had woven together these imaginary petty betrayals into the cloth of his own grand theory of the world, in which the torrent of modern life rushes inexorably down the course of atomisation, fragmentation, selfishness and deceit.

If, as Hume suggested, a good deal of philosophy is merely the personality of the author laid over the landscape of the world, we have more than our share of miniature Rousseaus fluttering about us today.

It's to them that we owe the fashionable philosophy - recently given a kind of royal appointment by the Prime Minister - that the entire course of contemporary economic life runs, Rousseau-like, down the path of inexorable privatisation, marketisation, individualism and selfishness.

According to this view the only possible deliverer from this melancholy fate is that great contemporary equivalent of the 18th century's enlightened monarch, our very own Frederick the Great, the nation-building state.

Of course contemporary philosophers and political theorists are no less paradoxical than their 18th-century forebears. And in the otherwise polite and civilised corridors of academe you may sometimes discover - a real shock, this - that those who most zealously put their faith into the hands of grand impersonal entities, in their theories, may happen in life to be the most fissiparous, idiosyncratic and solitary of individuals. Indeed, in some cases it's hard to resist the intuition that the two impulses may be connected: sometimes we seek to cure the wounds in our own heart by diagnosing and resolving the ills of society...

Hume wasn't a romantic acolyte of market economics. (But then which serious political thinker ever was?) He did, however, accurately anticipate the moral liberation that modern economic relations might bring.

He also understood how little these relations relied on the stock of innate human goodness, the same stock in which, paradoxically, the misanthrope Rousseau purported to place so much faith. Once his scarifying encounter with the great friend of mankind was over, Hume recovered his native equanimity and returned to worldlier speculations. Who knows, perhaps our would-be philosophers might now do the same.



The media downplay or ignore what does not suit them (again)

An email below from Dick McDonald of the Ownership Society Institute. The institute wants Americans to be able to INVEST their payroll taxes instead of giving the money to the Feds to waste

Two million people go to Washington DC to protest universal health care reform and their out-of-control Congress on Saturday and on Sunday Morning’s Meet the Press the protest isn’t even mentioned. As it was the largest protest in American history you now have positive proof that our media is not just biased but criminally complicit in failing to carry out the duties our Constitution gave them to report the facts not their political bias (by omission).

What galls me is two Republicans being interviewed claimed that they agreed with 80% of the HR 3200 plan. They remained silent while the Democrats said to them “You don’t have a plan” and “You can’t be for nothing, you have to be for something.” Well folks NO WE DON’T. We are not for their plan or any part of it as written. We don’t believe the President when he says he won’t add one dime to the deficit when his own government budget office says it will add over $2 trillion.

We already have a medical system that provides free health care to the elderly (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid) and those programs promise $49 trillion in benefits that have not been funded. Congress has no earthly idea how it plans t pay for those promises. We only have a $14 trillion economy and it is overspending $2 trillion this year. Obama wants us to add tens of trillions more right when our economy is in the tank and can’t pay this year’s bills. Is he nuts? Is he in some alternative universe – because he surely isn’t on the planet Earth.

Folks our enemy is not just Obama or the Democrats, it is socialism – the economic philosophy of lazy intellectuals and delusional utopians. They insist that money grows on trees and all we need to do is pick it off and spread it around to other lazy people. Well life doesn’t work that way. Our tree is already bare.

A compassionate people presently tolerate the confiscation of 15% of their lifetime income in return for no nest egg – the Social Security/Medicare fraud. The people have to wake up to the fact that 15% would be better employed in funding our growth and job creation so we could personally afford an affluent retirement and best old-age health care.



China retaliates against U.S. tariffs on tires: “China said Sunday it would launch an anti-dumping investigation into U.S. sales of chicken and auto products, a move apparently in response to Washington’s decision to impose punitive sanctions on Chinese tire imports late last week. China’s Ministry of Commerce said it was starting proceedings after having received complaints that U.S. products were being sold in China at below-market prices, according to reports. The ministry has denied that the actions against U.S. producers are a form of protectionism.”

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman hails China's one-party autocracy: "The dwindling number of readers of the New York Times were treated Wednesday to a column by Thomas Friedman extolling China's "one-party autocracy," which, he told us, "is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people." China's leaders, he reported, are "boosting gasoline prices" and "overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power." All, of course, in the cause of reducing carbon emissions, which so many luminaries assure us are bound to produce global warming and environmental catastrophe. As Jonah Goldberg, author of the scholarly best-seller "Liberal Fascism" notes, "This is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s." Mussolini, we were told then, made the trains run on time. He drained the Pontine marshes. He got things done while Americans, with their chaotic democratic politics, dithered."

Enough to Make Your Blood Boil: "Chris Edwards, the Cato Institute's top maven on federal budget issues, has just published a highly revealing article on federal pay scales that will make most people's blood boil -- except, of course, for federal bureaucrats who are too busy dozing off in their easy chairs to read anything other than the occasional comic page and the union news raise reviews. You see, it turns out that Washington's pointy-headed, bottom-feeding bureaucrats -- whose sole job it is to run up everyone else's taxes by saddling us all with oppressive regulations and endless reams of red tape -- get paid on average $30,000 a year more than those of you who actually work for a living and produce a useful product. That's right: while you’re out working your butt off to make a barely livable wage (which is then taxed down to the poverty level), a bunch of bumptious bureaucrats in Washington are living the high life on the money siphoned out of your paycheck to keep them fat and happy.

CO: Abortion opponents try for no-exception ban: “There’s nothing subtle about the sales pitch by abortion opponents who are gathering signatures at the Colorado State Fair for a ballot measure that would give legal rights to fertilized embryos. ‘Would you like to sign a petition to stop abortion?’ asks Keith Mason, head of suburban Denver’s Personhood USA. Mason and a corps of volunteers gathered thousands of signatures during the two-week fair to have Colorado’s constitution define people from ‘the beginning of biological development of a human being.’”

Are the Brownies to become brownie shirts?: "Obama is determined to use your children to force your compliance with his policies. Totalitarian government have long known that the best way to penetrate the privacy and sanctity of family/home is to have an embedded agent who eagerly acts as an enforcement arm of the state … even against family members. Do not be lulled by the innocuous nature of Obama’s recent address to school children. No one know what he would have said in the absence of the amazing and heartening cries of protest that came from parents and some educators. We do know how much he backpedalled on the prerelease etc. For example, the original ‘homework’ assignment was for every public school child in America to write an essay/letter on how he or she could help the President achieve his goals.”

Low key method of getting information out of terrorists: "The CIA shared with George W. Bush’s Justice Department the details of how an interrogation strategy — with an emphasis on forced nudity and physical abuse — could train prisoners in ‘learned helplessness’ and demonstrate ‘the complete control of Americans.’ The 19-page document, entitled ‘Background Paper on CIA’s Combined Use of Interrogation Techniques’ and dated Dec. 30, 2004, contains repeated references to keeping suspected al-Qaeda captives — called ‘high-value detainees’ or HVDs — naked as part of the strategy for breaking down their resistance.”

On respecting the presidency: “After one senator shouted out ‘liar’ during President Obama’s speech to Congress the other evening, one of Mr. Obama’s cheerleaders at The New York Times intoned gravely that even if one disapproves of a given office holder, one ought to show respect for the office. Well, not really, not any more... the office may well be a good idea but when it is filled with crooks, respecting it is no longer possible or desirable."

Cost per head: "Did you know you’ve shelled out $10,000 to bail out banks, auto companies and the rest of the too-big-to-fail businesses? That’s money taken away from your retirement account or your kids’ college education fund. Money that could have paid for a family vacation, a new car, new appliances, remodeling your home — hey it’s your greenbacks and your damn business how you spend it. Right? Are you kidding, you poor, gullible thing? You have no idea what’s good for you. But don’t worry, Uncle Sam does.”

Bowing to the global tax bullies: "Do you think the Internal Revenue Service should have the right to share your tax information with foreign governments — even ones run by thugs and those that engage in human rights abuses and/or suppress freedom in their countries? A meeting was held in Mexico City last week under the auspices of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose implicit goal is to create a global high-tax cartel. It claims to be in favor of transparency and global economic growth. However, as with many domestic and international government organizations, the OECD’s actions are often contrary to its words.”

No bickering or thinking: Just do it: "When the president says he welcomes substantive new ideas, he means that if you have the nerve to offer any ideas — as Whole Foods’ CEO, John Mackey, did in The Wall Street Journal last month — his allies will attempt to destroy your business and reputation. And when the president says he welcomes bipartisanship, what he means is that he hasn’t met with a single Republican on the issue since April — despite numerous requests and two separate House bills chock-full of ideas. When this president says he is a deal-making centrist and will stand up to his own party, he means he will rebuff progressives on a complete straw man, such as a ’single-payer’ plan (a plan he supported at one time), which has been a non-starter in any iteration of health care reform this year.”

Maine outlaws “distracted” driving: “Motorists, drop those cellphones. And lose the laptops, bag the Big Macs, and nix the newspapers and roadmaps while you’re behind the wheel. It’s now against the law to drive while distracted in Maine. More than a dozen states have passed laws making texting while driving illegal, and some states and cities have outlawed use of cell phones while driving. A bill in Congress would force states to ban texting or e-mailing or lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. Maine legislators, however, reasoned that accidents can result from a number of distractions not just limited to handheld communication devices. Roughly 12,000 crashes in Maine each year — about a third of the total crashes in the state — stem from some kind of driver distraction, said Lt. Chris Grotton, who helped to develop Maine’s new law.”

Another British computer bungle: "Hundreds of convicted terrorists from the Ulster Troubles are ‘virtually invisible’ to police in the rest of Britain because of a computer glitch. The Police National Computer is not linked to the criminal database in Northern Ireland, meaning that the criminal records of many serious figures from the province’s past, now living in England, Scotland and Wales, are not available to police officers. Counter-terrorism sources say that in light of the upsurge in terrorist activity in Northern Ireland, including the Real IRA murders of two soldiers and the discovery of a series of unexploded bombs, there are mounting security concerns about the situation.”

Britain: Clamour grows for heroin on the NHS: "A group of government-appointed drug experts will call for a nationwide network of ’shooting galleries’ to provide injectable heroin for hardened drug addicts across the country. A pioneering trial programme prescribing heroin to long-term addicts has shown ‘major benefits’ in cutting crime and reducing street sales of drugs. … The prescription of heroin to hardened addicts is one of the most controversial in medicine. Giving addicts drugs such as heroin on a maintenance basis, rather than weaning them off them, turns existing policy on its head and presents a challenge to ministers.”


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


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


Monday, September 14, 2009

Up to two million march to US Capitol to protest against Obama's spending

Up to two million people marched to the U.S. Capitol today, carrying signs with slogans such as "Obamacare makes me sick" as they protested the president's health care plan and what they say is out-of-control spending. The line of protesters spread across Pennsylvania Avenue for blocks, all the way to the capitol, according to the Washington Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

People were chanting "enough, enough" and "We the People." Others yelled "You lie, you lie!" and "Pelosi has to go," referring to California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Demonstrators waved U.S. flags and held signs reading "Go Green Recycle Congress" and "I'm Not Your ATM." Men wore colonial costumes as they listened to speakers who warned of "judgment day" - Election Day 2010.

Richard Brigle, 57, a Vietnam War veteran and former Teamster, came from Michigan. He said health care needs to be reformed - but not according to President Barack Obama's plan. "My grandkids are going to be paying for this. It's going to cost too much money that we don't have," he said while marching, bracing himself with a wooden cane as he walked.

FreedomWorks Foundation, a conservative organization led by former House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Armey, organized several groups from across the country for what they billed as a "March on Washington." Organizers say they built on momentum from the April "tea party" demonstrations held nationwide to protest tax policies, along with growing resentment over the economic stimulus packages and bank bailouts.

Many protesters said they paid their own way to the event - an ethic they believe should be applied to the government. They say unchecked spending on things like a government-run health insurance option could increase inflation and lead to economic ruin.

Terri Hall, 45, of Florida, said she felt compelled to become political for the first time this year because she was upset by government spending. "Our government has lost sight of the powers they were granted," she said. She added that the deficit spending was out of control, and said she thought it was putting the country at risk.

Anna Hayes, 58, a nurse from Fairfax County, stood on the Mall in 1981 for Reagan's inauguration. "The same people were celebrating freedom," she said. "The president was fighting for the people then. I remember those years very well and fondly." Saying she was worried about "Obamacare," Hayes explained: "This is the first rally I've been to that demonstrates against something, the first in my life. I just couldn't stay home anymore."

Like countless others at the rally, Joan Wright, 78, of Ocean Pines, Md., sounded angry. "I'm not taking this crap anymore," said Wright, who came by bus to Washington with 150 like-minded residents of Maryland's Eastern Shore. "I don't like the health-care [plan]. I don't like the czars. And I don't like the elitists telling us what we should do or eat."

Republican lawmakers also supported the rally. "Republicans, Democrats and independents are stepping up and demanding we put our fiscal house in order," Rep. Mike Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said. "I think the overriding message after years of borrowing, spending and bailouts is enough is enough." Other sponsors of the rally include the Heartland Institute, Americans for Tax Reform and the Ayn Rand Center for Individuals Rights.

Recent polls illustrate how difficult recent weeks have been for a president... Fifty percent approve and 49 percent disapprove of the overall job he is doing as president, compared to July, when those approving his performance clearly outnumbered those who were unhappy with it, 55 percent to 42 percent. Just 42 percent approve of the president's work on the high-profile health issue....

Today's protests imitated the original Boston Tea Party of 1773, when colonists threw three shiploads of taxed tea into Boston Harbour in protest against the British government under the slogan 'No taxation without representation'. The group first began rising to prominence in April, when the governor of Texas threatened to secede from the union in protest against government spending. Waves of tea party protests have crossed America since.

Today's rally, the largest grouping of fiscal conservatives to march on Washington, comes on the heels of heated town halls held during the congressional August recess when some Democratic lawmakers were confronted, disrupted and shouted down by angry protestors who oppose President Obama's plan to overhaul the health care system.

More HERE (Lots of pix). And even more pix here.


Let’s Finish Off Socialism

An email below from Dick McDonald of the Ownership Society Institute. The institute wants Americans to be able to INVEST their payroll taxes instead of giving the money to the Feds to waste

Over 200 million Americans marched in spirit along with the 20 million Tea Party participants today all over America. They marched today against socialism, the President, the Administration, the media, academe, ACORN thugs, SEIU goons and a Democrat-controlled Congress that has been passing anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-free market laws and regulations that Americans violently oppose.

Americans have never tolerated anyone much less a President of the country that calls them names and says he is going to change America to his idea of what it should be. That is not what America is all about. The people say what will be.

Over the last several months Americans have come to realize their Great November Mistake. They elected a man who plans to take property from the productive and redistribute it to the unproductive in concert with principles of Karl Marx and the communists except in cases where his financial supporters are concerned – he is mainlining taxpayer’s hard earned money and property directly to them in a corrupt and criminal way.

President Obama, their old lawyer, allocated ACORN, a criminal conspiracy that is up on voter fraud in over ten states, over $8 billion of stimulus money because they helped elect him. Well this week 20 year old Hannah Giles ripped that $8 billion from the hands of those criminals by playing a prostitute and pulling off the greatest sting operation in American history. ACORN was immediately dropped by the Census Bureau and if any Federal funds ever go to ACORN again the people will punish Obama and his party unmercifully at the polls in 2010. They may even try to impeach him if he tries to pull that stunt again.

The President made a speech on Wednesday where he told so many lies Congressman Joe Wilson lost it and shouted out that the President lies. Magically the loophole that would allow aliens to get free health care under the proposed bill the Congressman was referring to was immediately closed by amendment the next day.

If nothing else the Democrats are on the run. The American people will not tolerate having their freedom, liberty and most importantly their property confiscated by radical Marxists socialist communist leftists. It just isn’t going to happen any more. They have had enough of even the semi-socialist nonsense.

The question we at the Institute pose now is why not rid ourselves of socialism and socialist practices once and for all. Let’s strike while the iron is hot. Republicans, Democrats and Independents who are opposed to socialism should adopt the Institute’s Rise Up America plan and return the control of the government back to the people along with half of the taxes we presently pay.

The plan while destroying socialism will simultaneously revive the stock market and the economy, extinguish the $59 trillion in entitlement debt, deliver the American Dream of financial independence to ordinary Americans and trigger the greatest period of wealth creation the planet has every known.

The people need a banner to fly under. The tea parties lack a unifying cause to champion. I suggest the Rise Up America plan and the “USA” the Universal Savings Account where the future millions of all Americans will be accumulated.

If activist Hannah Giles can save us $8 billion just posing as a prostitute and Joe Wilson can save us literally hundreds of billions in health care costs by publically calling the President a liar then why do we shrink from taking down socialism, communism and other collectivist practices. It only seems like the rational thing to do at this moment in history.

Think of all the people we will rid ourselves of in Congress – Reid, Pelosi, Waxman, Dodd, Frank, Durbin, Conyers, Sharpton, Watson, Waters and 200 other losers. Why not attack and take them down now? If not now, when? Please go to our site and help out.


Economic Nostradamus John Talbott fears another bust

He could be the modern-day Nostradamus of the finance world. In his books he predicted the and housing market crashes. Investment banker turned author, John Talbott, is accusing big business of bribery and predicts another crash is just around the corner. In his latest book, The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street, Talbott says: "I know what you're thinking. How was I able to narrow it down to just 86?"

His 2003 book, The Coming Crash in the Housing Market, saw through the housing market boom. "I really wasn't a housing expert at the time but I think that played to my advantage," he said while in Australia as a guest of the Brisbane Writers Festival. "Everyone that was (an expert) was conflicted because everyone was making so much money and didn't want to blow the whistle on a corrupt system."

The book riled real estate agents and the flak he took for that propelled him to write another book, Sell Now - the End of the Housing Bubble. The book was released in February 2006 before the crash at the end of 2008.

Talbott is now warning of another impending implosion of the global economy. Any signs of economic recovery being seen around the world are due to huge stimulus packages, which will only prop up economies for about a year. "Where is the consumption demand going to come from to drive the local economies?" he asks. "I can tell you it's not going to come from US consumers any more - they are tapped out."

Crippling debt, high unemployment and the retirement of baby boomers means people's ability to spend will diminish.

"Stimulus (packages) around the world are a mistake because if government could create jobs we wouldn't need private enterprise," he said. "I mean if all you had to do was go and spend a trillion dollars as a government we'd never have recessions, depressions and the greatest socialist countries in the world would be the richest - but just the opposite is true. "What they're really doing is applying trillion-dollar bandaids."

While Talbott gives top marks to Australia for keeping its head above water during the global financial crisis he brands the government's stimulus package as a mistake. "They will have some stimulatory effect for a six to 12-month period but I don't see that they're going to create enormous new jobs," he said. And consumer spending sparks a rise in inflation, which pushes up interest rates, he warned.

The high price of gold is evidence investors are concerned currencies will devalue over time because governments have been printing money to bail out banks and industries, he said.

Corporate giants are a poison chalice to politics - big business and politics shouldn't mix, he said. "Let's get control of this corporate-dominated society," he said. "They're not just dominating the banks and the financial system. They're not just dominating the economic market place. "They have now crossed the border into the political arena, to political discussions to bribery of American officials and Congress and huge donations to presidential runners. "And they don't belong there."

The big corporations only have one objective and that is to maximise profit and shareholder value. The most recent example in the US came after the financial crisis when government used taxpayer money to fund executives' salaries and save banks. "I would challenge your readers to ask the question: 'Are they (corporations) too involved in the Australian economy as well?'"



A young British army officer who leads from the front

There's still plenty of the old fighting spirit among the Brits when it comes down to it

Lieutenant James Adamson was awarded the Military Cross after killing two insurgents during close quarter combat in Helmand's notorious "Green Zone". The 24-year-old officer, a member of the 5th battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, revealed that he shouted "have some of this" before shooting dead a gunman who had just emerged from a maize field.

Seconds later and out of ammunition, the lieutenant leapt over a river bank and killed a second insurgent machine-gunner with a single thrust of his bayonet in the man's chest.

In a graphic description of the intense fighting in Helmand, the officer told of the moment killed the second fighter. He said: "It was a split second decision. "I either wasted vital seconds changing the magazine on my rifle or went over the top and did it more quickly with the bayonet. "I took the second option. I jumped up over the bank of the river. He was just over the other side, almost touching distance. "We caught each other's eye as I went towards him but by then, for him, it was too late. There was no inner monologue going on in my head I was just reacting in the way that I was trained. "He was alive when it went in – he wasn't alive when it came out – it was that simple."

"Afterwards, when he was dead, I picked up his PKM (Russian-made belt-fed machine gun) machine gun and slung it over my back. "We then had to wait for more of my men to join us. We thought there could be more Taliban about and we were just watching our arcs of fire, waiting for more to come out of a big field of maize which came right up to the river we had been wading through. "One of my men, Corporal Billy Carnegie, reached us, looked at the two dead Taliban on the ground and then saw the blood on my bayonet and said "boss what the **** have you been doing?"

The firefight, in July 2008, began during the middle an operation to push the Taliban out of an area close to the town of Musa Qala in northern Helmand. Lt Adamson's platoon of 25-men, which was leading the assault, had just halted their advance when they were attacked. Lt Adamson, who is single and comes from the Isle of Man, was moving between two eight man sections when a group of Taliban fighters attempted a flanking attack.

He continued: "The Taliban kept on probing us – sending in fighters to attack, first in twos then in fours. "There was a gap between the two sections and the Taliban realised this and were sending in men to get between the two groups so they could split us up and isolate us. "Myself and Corporal Fraser 'Hammy' Hamilton were wading nipple deep down a river which connected the two positions. Hammy was ahead when the Taliban fighter with the PKM (Russian machine gun) appeared from a maize field. "There was an exchange of fire and 'Hammy' fired off his ammunition and then the weight of fire coming from the Taliban forced him under the water.

"The machine-gunner had also gone to ground but was still firing in our direction periodically. I had just caught up when 'Hammy' came up out of the water like a monster of the deep. "Then another Taliban man came through the maize carrying an AK47. He was only three to four metres away. "I immediately shot him with a burst from my rifle which was already set on automatic. He went down straight away and I knew I had hit him.

"Hammy said I shouted: 'have some of this' as I shot him but I can't remember that. I fired another burst at the PKM gunner and then that was me out of ammunition as well. "That was when I decided to use the bayonet on him. It was a case of one second to bayonet him or two seconds to put on a fresh magazine.

"The undergrowth is so dense in the 'Green zone' that I often ordered bayonets fixed because you knew the distances between you and the Taliban could be very short. It is also good for morale."


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


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


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


Sunday, September 13, 2009

The pot calling the electric kettle Afro-American

For anyone from that a cesspit of bias and misinformation which is the NYT to call blogs biased is really rich

On Meet the Press this past Sunday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman railed against internet news sources, referring to them as an "open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information." He continued to mock new media, suggesting that the American public is incapable of deciphering between facts, fiction and opinion, when he said that modems should have a warning label from the surgeon general that reads "judgment not included." What Mr. Friedman cannot understand is that web-based information sources like blogs, wikis and vlogs (video blogs) are the new beat reporters and investigative journalists of our time.

Their importance was revealed, just this past weekend, before which, very few Americans recognized the name Van Jones. The White House environmental adviser was one of thirty-two "Czars" appointed by the president who is accountable only to the president, immune to government oversight and senate confirmation. The major networks and newspapers including Mr. Friedman's employer, the New York Times, failed to acknowledge his existence until after new media watchdog's revealed information that the mainstream press failed to uncover.

In an on online story posted last April 6, New Zealand blogger Trevor Jones exposed the world to the Van Jones the Obama administration did not want you to know about. Three days later, the American website World Net Daily exposed Jones' research to a wider audience. The article revealed Jones's ties to radical leftist groups, being a self-proclaimed communist and racially incendiary remarks. These revelations did not trigger any journalistic instincts at the major networks, cable news channels or major newspapers. It did, however, reach a core with citizen watchdogs.

During the six months after Jones and then WND published their first Van Jones stories, new media sources uncovered his signature on a petition suggesting the Bush administration was involved in the September 11 attacks. Citizen investigators produced a recording of Van Jones exposing his disdain for the existence of Israel. On a lighter note, a video surfaced showing the president's "green jobs" Czar calling Republicans an expletive. The discovery that Mr. Jones was a supporter of Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, served as icing on the cake. These revelations were met with silence from the Washington Post, New York Times and major news networks.

At the eleventh hour, approximately twenty-four hours before Van Jones resigned, the "big three" and the so-called newspaper of record, the New York Times, acknowledged the Jones fiasco. It is a shame that Thomas Friedman and company will never admit that new media did the job the American people previously entrusted in traditional media.

Not anymore. In a June 18, 2009, article in Forbes magazine, pollster John Zogby noted that over twice as many Americans trust internet news sources more than television, newspapers and radio. That poll came just eighteen months after a Sam Adams Alliance, a Chicago-based nonprofit that utilizes new media to promote government accountability and transparency. Opinions expressed are not endorsed by any organization and are strictly those of the author.

Mr. Friedman is right that information should be filtered, but that process should be left to the individual to decide what is credible and what matters. Journalists have an obligation to their profession and the public to disseminate the facts, especially when they involve government officials whose actions greatly impact the country. The mainstream media didn't just drop the ball regarding Van Jones - they never showed up to the game. Thankfully, new media players were able to step up to the plate and bring home a victory for the people and the journalism profession.



Anti-abortion activist shot

This is a tragic story but perhaps the most interesting thing is how the media headlined it. They did not headline it as I have above. The paper I got the story from headed it "Michigan trucker shoots 2 on hit list" which tells you just about nothing. I am told that the Detroit Free Press actually changed its headline from “Pro-life activist shot dead near Owosso High” to “Owosso police look into two murders” to play down the anti-abortion angle. Funny, I don’t recall anything like that happening when abortionist George Tiller was shot

A Michigan trucker with an apparent hit list fatally shot two men - a well-known pro-life activist and a gravel-pit owner - and likely planned to gun down a third victim Friday before he was arrested by police.

Harlan James Drake, 33, of Owosso, Mich., was arrested at his apartment about 8:30 a.m. and charged with two counts of first-degree murder after shooting two of the three men on his grudge list, said Shiawassee County District Attorney Randy Cobry.

"The information is that he had ill will toward these three individuals, not for the same reason, necessarily, but he had a grudge, if you will, against this trio of individuals," Mr. Cobry said.

Still unclear is the victims' connection, if any, to each other and to Mr. Drake. The first victim, 63-year-old Jim Pouillon, was a pro-life activist who spent hours on Owosso street corners and at local events with his chair, oxygen tank and anti-abortion signs, earning him the nickname "the sign guy."

Mr. Pouillon was gunned down about 7:20 a.m. as he sat across the street from Owosso High School, holding a sign showing a picture of a 4-week-old baby and a caption saying "Life."

Many students and parents witnessed the shooting and were able to identify the vehicle and license plate, leading police to Mr. Drake's apartment. During his arrest, authorities said, Mr. Drake reportedly told police that he had been involved that morning in another shooting. Authorities received a call at 8:17 a.m. from Fuoss Gravel, where owner Mike Fuoss, 61, was found dead in his office by an employee. Mr. Fuoss had been shot multiple times, according to the Shiawassee County Sheriff's Department.

More here


A Protectionist Wave

Obama invites a rush of similar claims with his tariffs on Chinese tires

The White House leaked word late Friday evening that the U.S. will impose heavy tariffs on imported Chinese tires used by millions of low-income Americans. We wonder if President Obama understands the political forces he's unleashing with this blatant protectionism.

Mr. Obama is setting a precedent in the tire case because he is applying a previously unused part of the trade law known as Section 421. This allows U.S. industries or unions to seek protection from "surges" of Chinese imports, with a lower burden of proof than normal antidumping or countervailing duty cases. President Bush nixed the four Section 421 petitions that reached his desk, citing the national economic interest. Domestic lobbies had lobbied Mr. Obama hard to reverse that pattern and set a new protectionist precedent.

Eleven Senators, including Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) and Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), sent a letter to President Obama in July advocating the 55% tariff on Chinese tires. "We firmly believe that providing this specific measure of relief would send a powerful message to the American people that you intend to keep your promise to enforce trade laws fully," they wrote.

Then there are companies that face competition from lower-cost Chinese imports and want to push their antitrade agenda forward. Take the Committee to Support U.S. Trade Laws, which lobbed a pro-tariff letter into the White House this month. The umbrella group includes the American Furniture Manufacturers Committee for Legal Trade; the California Fresh Garlic Producers Association; the U.S. Beekeepers; the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association; and the Flower Growers of Puget Sound. "This case is being watched closely to see whether Section 421 is an effective law or a dead issue,"committee executive director David A. Hartquist wrote to Mr. Obama.

This threat will now be realized as other industries pursue the 421 solution to reducing competition. Some of the product categories that have seen import surges include shoes, lawn mowers, television monitors, hearing aids, musical instruments like keyboards and guitars, women's underwear, blouses and t-shirts, according to Greg Rushford, editor of a newsletter on trade policy. Oh, and trousers, women's knit shirts and bras, according to Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations—another lobby that must be gleeful that Mr. Obama has unleashed Section 421.

As a candidate, Mr. Obama courted union support, and the United Steelworkers filed the tire case anticipating he would pay them back. Some in the business and policy communities thought Mr. Obama didn't really mean it, and that like Bill Clinton he would stand for the national economic interest in open trade once he became President. Mark that down as another misjudgment. In his first big trade test in the White House, Mr. Obama has allied himself with the protectionists, and the world will see his political surrender and rush to exploit it.



This won't stop ACORN but it will slow them down

Getting them kicked out of the census is a big bonus. Can you imagine the flood of false data that would have resulted if they had been allowed to take part?

Two more ACORN officials were fired Friday after a second video surfaced showing staffers in the community organizers' Washington office offering to help a man and woman posing as a pimp and prostitute acquire illegal home loans that would help them set up a brothel. The firings came less than 24 hours after another pair of ACORN officials from the group's Baltimore office were canned for instructing the "pimp" and "prostitute" how to falsify tax forms and seek illegal benefits for 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador that pair said they wanted to import to work as child prostitutes.

Both of the encounters were videotaped on a hidden camera wielded by 25-year-old independent filmmaker James O'Keefe, posing as the pimp — tapes that have ignited calls for investigations of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

The United States Census Director has sent a letter to the National Headquarters of ACORN notifying the group that it will no longer help work on the 2010 census.

The group's leaders said Friday they were "appalled and angry" at what their staffers had done, but insisted the videos were part of a political "smear" campaign and not representative of the institution as a whole. "But that does not excuse the behavior of the employees," wrote ACORN's president Alton Bennet and executive director Mike Shea. "We have fired them and are initiating an internal review of practices and reminding all staff of their obligation to uphold the highest legal and ethical standards."

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., called for a hearing to investigate ACORN's tax filing assistance programs following the release of the videos he said suggested multiple incidents of tax fraud. "In light of the apparent flagrant and willful attempts to suborn tax fraud, I ... (am seeking) a hearing of the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee as soon as practicable to investigate ACORN’s activities," he said Friday.

O'Keefe, the filmmaker, was accompanied by 20-year-old Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute. On a videotape of their visit to ACORN's Washington's office, they are seen receiving guidance to establish the woman as the sole proprietor of a bogus company to mask the nature of her business....

One day before the Washington video was shot, O'Keefe and Giles sought help from ACORN workers in Baltimore, who told the pair how to falsify tax forms and seek illegal benefits for 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador that they said they said they wanted to import as prostitutes...

The organization has been accused by conservatives and Republicans of committing fraud in voter registration drives around the country, and reaction to the videotape came swiftly after its release on Thursday. "Taxpayers should be outraged that their money has gone to an organization that, in addition to facing charges of voter fraud and tax violations, is willing to facilitate prostitution," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. "As this video confirms, ACORN continues to operate as a criminal enterprise."



The Leftist destruction of Britain goes on apace

Now Britain's government is trying to destroy Britain's tourism industry -- which is a huge source of income for the country. We heard recently of planned new taxes on airline tickets but the email below from Pat Wadley [] points out that the British government is already doing a lot to chase away tourists. Be warned!

Last year my best friend and I stopped in England on our way home from Italy. We were so looking forward to it as we have been to England twice before and we both, especially as we are Historians, enjoy each and every “adventure.” It will be, alas, our last time. I had already made all the arrangements and when I went to book the England leg of the trip I was told that there would be a $585 +/- charge for coming into the country and staying. That charge was for both of us, but we were horrified that we were being charged to spend money in England, as that was what we were doing. And it was too late to change our hotels and airline tickets. Thus we were trapped.

It greatly limited our chances at exploring new areas as our funds were limited. Thus we spent two days in London and two days in York. The shopping we had planned to do was taken off our list, as were the bookstores and the restaurants. We purchased items from a deli and ate in our room. We walked everywhere and we were so disappointed that we would no longer be coming to England.

Yes, government control is a wonderful thing, it is the first, and truly indiscriminate, destructive power. Kind of like a hurricane or a tidal wave. It gets its way and destroys everything in its way.



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


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


Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's Still the Economy, Stupid

It's been a long time since James Carville said the most famous thing he ever said: It's the economy, stupid. That famous phrase was in fact part of a sign hung in the Clinton campaign headquarters in 1992. There was a sense among the electorate in the fall of 1992, not entirely accurate, that the economy was foundering under George H.W. Bush. Bush lost control of the public's perception of the economy, and then he lost the presidency.

Why with unemployment heading above 10% was Barack Obama on TV last night draining a dwindling reservoir of presidential capital on health care? Redesigning the 17% of the economy that is health care appears to be the siren song of Democratic presidencies. Mr. Obama's crew has famously said it wouldn't make the mistakes the Clintons made on health care. How calling forth both houses of Congress in prime time to join him in betting the ranch on health care qualifies as smarter politics than the Clintons is a mystery. Even more so now than way back in 1992: It's still the economy, stupid.

To save himself and his party from enduring another health-care debacle, Barack Obama should put his agenda on the back burner, bend his efforts to raising the economy, and rebuild his political capital by taking credit for the inevitable rebound. That just might minimize the impending loss of House seats and allow him to revisit his wish list in 2011. The alternative is promising big, accomplishing little and getting credit for nothing. This could be America's greatest failed presidency.

The economy is Barack Obama's 9/11. If you're Mr. Obama, it must seem a little unfair. One year ago at the Labor Day turn toward the stretch, Mr. Obama and his team were on the cusp of one of the most thrilling wins in American presidential history. No matter that many Obama voters were looking past all the state-based initiatives in his politics; the air was filled with possibility.

This was history's moment. Then on Sept. 15, 2008, history hit the wall. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The next day the Fed said it would lend a stunning $85 billion to AIG. A major money-market fund broke the buck. This wasn't just a recession, a reality already discussed in the summer campaign. There was a sense after the nightmare week of Sept. 15 that the American economy was imploding.

Assets in 401(k) accounts were ravaged. Much of the economy appeared to have fallen into the hands of fools and knaves. Businesses that once were economic beacons—GM, Chrysler, Lehman, much of Wall Street—were breaking off and falling into the sea. After its Inauguration, the Obama presidency should have been driving a new health-care entitlement into everlasting law on a wave of good will. Instead, it had to deal with the stumbling economy and credit system.

Whether what they did—stimulus, the auto bailout, TARP and the rest—was the right policy is beside the point for our argument. The administration seemed to think it put a big political problem behind it, clearing the way for health care. That was a false dawn.

The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll has 87% of the public somewhat or very dissatisfied with the economy. The unemployment rate is likely to go above 10% for all 2010. Whatever GDP growth may occur, there is no evidence of new-job creation. Gold's price has risen above $1,000, suggesting inflation is swimming below the economy's flat surface. China is stockpiling gold and worrying out loud about the weak dollar. A U.N. panel said this week the world should abandon the dollar as the world's anchor currency. Just now, Barack Obama's mad obsession with arcane health-insurance puzzles looks beside the point.

I don't think anyone fully understands yet how much damage was done to the U.S. economy and financial system by the events of September 2008. Whatever one's belief in the $800 billion Obama-Pelosi-Summers-Romer Keynesian multiplier, it's reasonable to believe more than rote public spending is needed to restore the American job-creation machine. The public rightly worries that a damaged economy is vulnerable to more blows.

The White House may think it and Democratic incumbents can simply pocket the credit for whatever fly-wheel growth shows up the next six months. It's more likely the public will mark down a president who appears passive to its most pressing concern. A presidency seen leading a genuine agenda for renewed growth—offering at least some oxygen to the private economy—would be more likely to earn the broad support it simply does not have now for the agenda of its dreams.

Fat chance it will do that. We opened with the still-good advice of James Carville. We close with an even higher authority to explain last night's odd spectacle before Congress. It's Elwood, political director for the Blues Brothers: "We're on a mission from God."



Obama is in the pocket of the lawyers

Some "special-interests" are OK, apparently -- the most parasitic ones

On Wednesday the president told Congress "I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are." In fact, the administration is standing by to allow its most special, special interest to drive this debate. What the tort bar wants, the tort bar gets. Health insurers should be so lucky.

The legal question has become the starkest symbol of a broken health discussion, and offers insight into this presidency. For Republicans, legal reform has become a litmus test, proof that Democrats have no interest in a deal, and therefore a reason to step back. For many Americans, legal reform has become proof that President Obama is more interested in an ideological triumph than his stated goal of lowering health costs.

Tort reform is a policy no-brainer. Experts on left and right agree that defensive medicine—ordering tests and procedures solely to protect against Joe Lawyer—adds enormously to health costs. The estimated dollar benefits of reform range from a conservative $65 billion a year to perhaps $200 billion. In context, Mr. Obama's plan would cost about $100 billion annually. That the president won't embrace even modest change that would do so much, so quickly, to lower costs, has left Americans suspicious of his real ambitions.

It's also a political no-brainer. Americans are on board. Polls routinely show that between 70% and 80% of Americans believe the country suffers from excess litigation. The entire health community is on board. Republicans and swing-state Democrats are on board. State and local governments, which have struggled to clean up their own civil-justice systems, are on board. In a debate defined by flash points, this is a rare area of agreement.

The only folks not on board are a handful of powerful trial lawyers, and a handful of politicians who receive a generous cut of those lawyers' contingency fees. The legal industry was the top contributor to the Democratic Party in the 2008 cycle, stumping up $47 million. The bill is now due, and Democrats are dutifully making a health-care down payment.

During the markup of a bill in the Senate Health Committee, Republicans offered 11 tort amendments that varied in degree from mere pilot projects to measures to ensure more rural obstetricians. On a party line vote, Democrats killed every one. Rhode Island senator and lawyer Sheldon Whitehouse went so far as to speechify on the virtues of his tort friends. He did not, of course, mention the nearly $900,000 they have given him since 2005, including campaign contributions from national tort powerhouses like Baron & Budd and Motley Rice.

Even Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus, of bipartisan bent, has bowed to legal powers. The past two years, Mr. Baucus has teamed up with Wyoming Republican Mike Enzi to offer legislation for modest health-care tort reform in states. That Enzi-Baucus proposal had been part of the bipartisan health-care talks. When Mr. Baucus released his draft health legislation this weekend, he'd stripped out his own legal reforms. The Montanan is already in the doghouse with party liberals, and decided not to further irk leadership's Dick Durbin ($3.6 million in lawyer contributions), the Senate's patron saint of the trial bar.

Over in the House the discussion isn't about tort reform, but about tort opportunities. During the House Ways & Means markup of a health bill, Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett ($1.5 million from lawyers) introduced language to allow freelance lawyers to sue any outfit (say, McDonald's) that might contribute to Medicare costs. Only after Blue Dogs freaked out did the idea get dropped, though the trial bar has standing orders that Democrats make another run at it in any House-Senate conference.

It says everything that Mr. Obama wouldn't plump for reform as part of legislation. The president knows the Senate would never have passed it in any event. Yet even proposing it was too much for the White House's legal lobby. Mr. Obama is instead directing his secretary of health and human services to move forward on test projects. That would be Kathleen Sebelius, who spent eight years as the head of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association.

The issue has assumed such importance that even some Democrats acknowledge the harm. With bracing honesty, former DNC chair Howard Dean recently acknowledged his party "did not want to take on the trial lawyers." Former Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley, in a New York Times piece, suggested a "grand bipartisan compromise" in which Democrats got universal coverage in return for offering legal reform. The White House yawned, and moved on.

It isn't clear if Republicans would or should take that deal, but we won't know since it won't be offered. The tort-reform issue has instead clarified this presidency. Namely, that the bipartisan president is in fact very partisan, that the new-politics president still takes orders from the old Democratic lobby.



The Keynesians Were Wrong Again

We won't see a return to growth without incentives for job-creating investment. From the beginning, our representatives in Washington have approached this economic downturn with old-fashioned, Keynesian economics. Keynesianism—named after the British economist John Maynard Keynes—is the theory that you fight an economic downturn by pumping money into the economy to "encourage demand" and "create jobs." The result of our recent Keynesian stimulus bills? The longest recession since World War II—21 months and counting—with no clear end in sight. Borrowing close to a trillion dollars out of the private economy to increase government spending by close to a trillion dollars does nothing to increase incentives for investment and entrepreneurship.

The record speaks for itself: In February 2008, President George W. Bush cut a deal with congressional Democrats to pass a $152 billion Keynesian stimulus bill based on countering the recession with increased deficits. The centerpiece was a tax rebate of up to $600 per person, which had no significant effect on economic incentives, as reductions in tax rates do. Learning nothing from this Keynesian failure, which he vigorously supported from the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama came back in February 2009 to support a $787 billion, purely Keynesian stimulus bill.

Even the tax-cut portion of that bill, which Mr. Obama is still wildly touting to the public, was purely Keynesian. The centerpiece was a $400-per-worker tax credit, which, again, has no significant effect on economic incentives. While Mr. Obama is proclaiming that this delivered on his campaign promise to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, the tax credit disappears after next year.

The Obama administration is claiming success, not because of recovery, but because of the slowdown in economic decline. Last month, just 216,000 jobs were lost, and the economy declined by only 1% in the second quarter. Based on his rhetoric, Mr. Obama expects credit for anyone who still has a job.

The fallacies of Keynesian economics were exposed decades ago by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. Keynesian thinking was then discredited in practice in the 1970s, when the Keynesians could neither explain nor cure the double-digit inflation, interest rates, and unemployment that resulted from their policies. Ronald Reagan's decision to dump Keynesianism in favor of supply-side policies—which emphasize incentives for investment—produced a 25-year economic boom. That boom ended as the Bush administration abandoned every component of Reaganomics one by one, culminating in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's throwback Keynesian stimulus in early 2008.

Mr. Obama showed up in early 2009 with the dismissive certitude that none of this history ever happened, and suddenly national economic policy was back in the 1930s. Instead of the change voters thought they were getting, Mr. Obama quintupled down on Mr. Bush's 2008 Keynesianism. The result is the continuation of the economic policy disaster we have suffered since the end of 2007. Mr. Obama promised that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from climbing over 8%. It jumped to 9.7% last month. Some 14.9 million Americans are unemployed, another 9.1 million are stuck in part-time jobs and can't find full-time work, and another 2.3 million looked for work in the past year and never found it. That's a total of 26.3 million unemployed or underemployed, for a total jobless rate of 16.8%. Personal income is also down $427 billion from its peak in May 2008.

Rejecting Keynesianism in favor of fiscal restraint, France and Germany saw economic growth return in the second quarter this year. India, Brazil and even communist China are enjoying growth as well. Canada enjoyed job growth last month.

U.S. economic recovery and a permanent reduction in unemployment will only come from private, job-creating investment. Nothing in the Obama economic recovery program, or in the Bush 2008 program, helps with that. Producing long-term economic growth will require a fundamental change in economic policies—lower, not higher, tax rates; reliable, low-cost energy supplies, not higher energy costs through cap and trade; and not unreliable alternative energy surviving only on costly taxpayer subsidies.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama seems to be wedded to his political talking points, and his ideological blinders seem to be permanently affixed. So don't expect any policy changes. Expect an eventual return to 1970s-style economic results instead.




Obama seen failing to sway health debate: "President Obama's address to Congress Wednesday night did little to immediately convert factions in the Democratic party to unify behind a health care overhaul plan Thursday, and his call for an end to "bickering" was met by Republican carping that he failed to "reset" the debate. Liberal House lawmakers said they still want to see the president embrace a government-sponsored public insurance option as part of any bill, and centrist Democrats said they remain worried about the price tag. "I believe a costly government-run public option is the wrong direction for reform and I will not support it," Rep. Mike Ross, a moderate Blue Dog Democrat from Arkansas who has come out in opposition of the plan that he helped shepherd through committee, said in the aftermath of Mr. Obama's speech."

ACORN crooks caught: "The community organizing group ACORN has fired two employees at its Baltimore office who were seen on hidden-camera video giving advice to a man posing as a pimp and a woman pretending to be a prostitute, as some legal experts raise questions over whether the employees broke the law. The staffers appeared to commit federal tax fraud by offering to help the visitors — for a fee — to establish a child brothel, legal experts say. In a video made public Thursday, two visitors to an ACORN office in Baltimore told staffers they needed assistance securing housing where the woman, a 20-year-old who called herself ‘Kenya,’ could continue to run her prostitution business. An ACORN official told the couple how to falsify tax forms and seek illegal benefits for 13 ‘very young’ girls from El Salvador that they said they wanted to import as prostitutes.”

ATK successfully test fires Ares 1 booster: "With the future of NASA’s embattled moon program in doubt, Alliant Techsystems test-fired a huge five-segment solid-fuel booster in Utah Thursday, a ground-shaking demonstration designed to collect performance data for a new rocket intended to replace the space shuttle. Generating 22 million horsepower, the lengthened 154-foot-long shuttle booster ignited with a torrent of flame at 3 p.m. EDT, sending a towering column of dirty brown exhaust into the Utah sky as hundreds of spectators looked on. Two minutes later, after consuming 1.4 million pounds of solid propellant, the rocket burned out.”

If you can afford beer and cigarettes, you can afford health insurance: "I’ve been doing some shopping on health insurance. I could get a policy that covers me, and I’m no spring chicken, for anywhere from $110 to $220 per month, depending on the deductible and co-payment. Most day to day health care is relatively cheap. It is really on[ly] the major problems, which get covered by the higher deductibles, that ought to cause people to worry. So why don’t people have that? A few, but very few, don’t have that sort of basic policy because of finances. But it is rubbish to say that the X million of ‘uninsured’ don’t have it due to costs. That is a lie. Reason TV’s satirical commercial used footage from interviews they did with people about why they don’t health insurance. And many of the people, as you see here, were quite candid. They don’t have health insurance because they prefer to spend the money on booze, clubbing, cigarettes, fancy jeans, etc.”


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


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


Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama and the Left

The abrupt resignation of White House aide Van Jones, deep in the news hiatus of Labor Day weekend, will probably be forgotten in a few days. But it's a story that still deserves elaboration for what it says about the political coalition that helped to elect President Obama and whose demands are leading him into a cul-de-sac.

As a candidate, Barack Obama was at pains to offer himself as a man of moderate policies, and especially of moderate temperament. He said he would listen to both the right and left, choosing the best of each depending on "what works." He sold himself as a center-left pragmatist. When his radical associations—Reverend Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers—came to light, Candidate Obama promptly disavowed them. Now comes Mr. Jones, with a long trail of extreme comments and left-wing organizing, who nonetheless became the White House adviser for "green jobs." This weekend he too was thrown under the bus.

However, Mr. Jones wasn't some unknown crazy who insinuated himself with the Obama crowd under false pretenses. He has been a leading young light of the left-wing political movement for many years. His 2008 book—"The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems"—includes a foreword from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and was praised across the liberal establishment.

Mr. Jones was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, which was established, funded and celebrated as the new intellectual vanguard of the Democratic Party. The center's president is John Podesta, who was co-chair of Mr. Obama's transition team and thus played a major role in recommending appointees throughout the Administration. The ascent of Mr. Jones within the liberal intelligentsia shows how much the Democratic Party has moved left since its "New Democrat" triangulation of the Clinton years.

Mr. Jones's incendiary comments about Republicans and his now famous association with a statement blaming the U.S. for 9/11 had to have been known in some White House precincts. He was praised and sponsored by Valerie Jarrett, who is one of the two or three most powerful White House aides and is a long-time personal friend of the President.

Our guess is that Mr. Jones landed in the White House precisely because his job didn't require Senate confirmation, which would have subjected him to more scrutiny. This is also no doubt a reason that Mr. Obama has consolidated so much of his Administration's governing authority inside the White House under various "czars." Mr. Jones was poised to play a prominent role in disbursing tens of billions of dollars of stimulus money. It was the ideal perch from which he could keep funding the left-wing networks from which he sprang, this time with taxpayer money.

This helps explain why the political left is so upset about Mr. Jones's resignation. Listen to David Sirota, another left-wing think-tank denizen and activist, who wrote the following Sunday on the Huffington Post Web site:

"Finally, the Jones announcement will inevitably create a chilling effect on the aspirations of other movement progressives. Van is a fantastic person who has done fantastic work. He's kept his advocacy real and didn't compromise his principles. And so when he was appointed to a high-level White House job, it seemed to validate that you could, in fact, keep it real and also advance in American politics and government. That is to say, his story seemed to prove that an outsider could also succeed on the inside—and that outside advocacy doesn't automatically prohibit you from one day working on the inside."

Mr. Sirota is speaking for many on the movement left who believe they helped to elect Mr. Obama and therefore deserve seats at the inner table of power. They are increasingly frustrated because they are discovering that Mr. Obama will happily employ "movement progressives," but only so long as their real views and motivations aren't widely known or understood. How bitter it must be to discover that the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck, who drove the debate about Mr. Jones, counts for more at this White House than Mr. Sirota.

No President is responsible for all of the views of his appointees, but the rise and fall of Mr. Jones is one more warning that Mr. Obama can't succeed on his current course of governing from the left. He is running into political trouble not because his own message is unclear, or because his opposition is better organized. Mr. Obama is falling in the polls because last year he didn't tell the American people that the "change" they were asked to believe in included trillions of dollars in new spending, deferring to the most liberal Members of Congress, a government takeover of health care, and appointees with the views of Van Jones.



BrookesNews Update

The facts about a US recovery and GDP: There is much talk of a US economy with 'green shoots' apparently sprouting up everywhere, even in manufacturing where the PMI is now growing. However, it is being forgotten that though a reduction in idle capacity increases GDP it is still not growth. A genuine economic recovery must also lead to increased capital accumulation. That does not seem to be the case at present
Can a loose monetary policy generate economic growth? : So called economic growth that is a response to loose policy simply mirrors the monetary expenditure rate of growth and is not true economic growth. This means that the more money is pumped by the Fed the larger the so called economic growth rate will be. There may not be sufficient savings to support an increase in economic activity. In this situation neither loose monetary policy nor loose fiscal policy can work. Such a situation may be developing now
The recession: once again our rightwing get it wrong : Once again recession has struck and once again the economic commentariat get it wrong. Failure to grasp the root cause of the boom bust cycle means that central banks will keep on repeating the same gross monetary error while economic pundits continue to act as a cheer squad
The government's green Renewable Energy Target legislation is economic lunacy :If the government's Renewable Energy Target legislation is implemented the consequences for the economy will be severe. This nonsense is obviously the work of a bunch of economic illiterates who are in thrall to the fanatical greens
The Global Warming Scam is The Battle of our Times : Global warming is the biggest political bait-and-switch con in political history. It becomes the Trojan horse that give power-hungry politicians the excuse to massively extend the power of the state. That in doing so they would savage living standards does not bother them one iota
Kennedy and the KGB: the story the media spiked: Senator Kennedy was a vicious partisan opportunist. A man prepared to betray his country for partisan gain. In 1983 this man offered his services to Andropov, the then current dictator of the Soviet Union. Andropov was a former chief of the KGB and was instrumental in Nagy's arrest in 1956 and his murder in 1958 in the KGB's Lubyanka prison. And this is the man Kennedy admired and whose help he sought in an effort to bring down the Reagan presidency. And the treasonous mainstream media spiked the story
Honduras-Cuba: political Kerenskyism and ecclesiastic Kerenskyism : The specter of Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky seems to have recommenced to round up the Americas. Both the political and the ecclesiastic Kerenskyism are right now forming the two teeth of the same jaws used against the cause of freedom not only in Honduras and Cuba, but also in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. And Obama is helping What Socialism Is : Students of history insist on asking the question: How long can a society survive that rewards failure and punishes success? Unfortunately, America will get an answer to that question if Obama is allowed to continue transforming our country into his 'new and improved' idea of a socialist utopia
Post Bombshell: Conservative candidate Actually - gasp - Conservative! :Bob McDonnell is running against Creigh Deeds, a Democrat senator for Virginia. Fortunately the Washington Post (one of the Obama administration's in-house publications) has discovered that McDonnell is at the heart of one of the worst scandals in Virginia's history. Not only is McDonnell a Republican - the scroundrel is also a committed Christian



I have been rather dissatisfied with the template/theme I have been using for the Wordpress version of my EYE ON BRITAIN blog. I have however now found a template/theme that I like a little better and have applied it. It is still pretty plain but I think it makes the blog a bit easier to read and navigate. Have a look at it and see what you think. I have tried it with Firefox, IE and Google Chrome and it seems to be fine with all 3 of those. All I need now is for some Wordpress maven to tell me how to change the background colour to my preferred lemon yellow. To my mind, the mirror site is actually much prettier as it needs only html to generate its effects and I know a bit about html. Wordpress blogs for some reason ignore a lot of html, even when you set them to html. I obviously have a lot to learn.

Pentagon keeps wary watch as troops blog: "Over the course of 10 months in eastern Afghanistan, an Army specialist nicknamed Mud Puppy maintained a blog irreverently chronicling life at the front, from the terror of roadside bombs to the tyrannies of master sergeants. Matthew C. Burden is a former intelligence officer in the Army who started one of the earliest military blogs, Black Five. Often funny and always profane, the blog, Embrace the Suck (military slang for making the best of a bad situation), flies under the Army’s radar. Not officially approved, it is hidden behind a password-protected wall because the reservist does not want his superiors censoring it.”

Clairvoyant economists still pessimistic: "The Economist magazine, in a column wryly titled ‘Pangloss Revisited,’ notes that ‘The average deficit over the next decade in now expect to be 5.1% of GDP, compared with an average of 4% in the original budget,’ and that even in the last year of the forecast, 2019, the budget deficit is supposed to be 5% of GDP! Wow! As weird as that is, it gets weirder later in the article when Peter Orzag of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), whom the article called ‘Mr. Obama’s top budget man,’ has ‘tried to put a positive spin on the situation. By 2019, he argued on his blog, America’s primary deficit (the difference between revenue and spending excluding interest payments) would be only 0.6% of GDP.’ Excluding interest payments? Hahaha! Why in the hell would you exclude interest payments? Hahaha! You shake your head in amazement that this is the kind of Silly, Stupid Crap (SSC) that is everywhere these days! ‘Excluding interest payments!’ Hahahaha!”

ObamaCare’s crippling deficits: "Martin Feldstein, an economic advisor to Obama, criticized ‘ObamaCare’s Crippling Deficits’ in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, noting that ‘the higher taxes, debt payments and interest rates needed to pay for health reform mean lower living standards.’ Obama probably chose Feldstein as an adviser because of Feldstein’s support for big stimulus packages during recessions. But selecting him was politically unwise, since Feldstein has a history of candidly criticizing Presidents for allowing deficit spending…”

Marxism’s last (and first) stronghold: "Marxism, we’re often told, is dead. While Communism as a system of authoritarian power still exists in countries like China, Marxism’s contemporary hold over people’s minds, many claim, is nothing compared to its glory days between the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia in October 1917 and the Berlin Wall’s fall twenty years ago. In many respects, such observations are true. But in other senses, they are not. We need only look at Western Europe — the place where Marxist thought first emerged and took root.”

Political anger: "I am not bitter, angry, or resentful, and even if I were it wouldn’t be due to being a freedom advocate. I doubt many freedom advocates are really angry, regardless of how blunt their words may be. Yet that is how we are usually characterized by advocates of coercion. It is how they justify sending out legions of LEOs to kill us for ‘the common good’ (they are not nearly that honest about their position, of course). What the statists see as ‘anger’ is simply self-assurance and confidence.”

Republican Party of Florida purges pro-liberty members: "On Friday — timed just right to minimize news coverage — Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer and the state party Grievance Committee notified a number of party members, many of them holding elective office, that they were effectively purged from the party and had been removed from their offices and would be ineligible to hold any other party positions for periods ranging from two to four years. The targets of this purge are mostly members of the Florida chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group which seeks to return the party to its core beliefs of individual liberty, limited government, and free markets.

Socialist destruction in Britain: "“Remember the days, just a decade ago, when the UK was reckoned to be the world’s 4th most competitive economy? Well, the World Economic Forum (or ‘Davos’ as it’s known, from its annual conference in the Swiss resort) had downgraded it yet again, from 12th last year to 13th now. They cite the UK’s enormous and chronic public-sector debts as just one of the many causes for Britain’s gloomy report card. As they might. International economists figure that Britain is running a ’structural’ deficit of around £100 billion. That’s nothing to do with the crunch, and the bank bailouts, and the recession — it’s the amount by which the government is spending beyond its means, year upon year upon year. And £100 bn is a big wedge of moolah.”

Obama voter Camille Paglia hearts talk radio: "But the truly transformative political energy is coming from talk radio and the Web -- both of which Democrat-sponsored proposals have threatened to stifle, in defiance of freedom of speech guarantees in the Bill of Rights. I rarely watch TV anymore except for cooking shows, history and science documentaries, old movies and football. Hence I was blissfully free from the retching overkill that followed the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy -- I never saw a single minute of any of it. It was on talk radio, which I have resumed monitoring around the clock because of the healthcare fiasco, that I heard the passionate voices of callers coming directly from the town hall meetings. Hence I was alerted to the depth and intensity of national sentiment long before others who were simply watching staged, manipulated TV shows. "


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


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


Thursday, September 10, 2009

For Afghanistan, Obama depends on the GOP

by Jeff Jacoby

Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq and those who supported it made him the darling of the Democratic base, and turbocharged his drive to the White House. As a candidate for president, he repeatedly condemned the war as a fiasco and declared that President Bush's "surge" would not only fail to improve conditions in Iraq, but would actually make them worse. In August 2007, when his rival Hillary Clinton told the Veterans of Foreign Wars that the surge appeared to be working, Obama maintained that the war was as futile as ever. As The New York Times headlined its story the next day: "Obama Sees a 'Complete Failure' in Iraq."

But the antiwar liberals who adored Obama the candidate when he vowed to pull the plug on the war in Iraq are not nearly as enamored of Obama the president when he calls for enlarging the war in Afghanistan.

Last month, speaking once again to a VFW convention, Obama reiterated his commitment to a withdrawal from Iraq. The troops will be out by the end of 2011, he said, "and for America, the Iraq war will end." But he made clear that the war in Afghanistan, where American troops have been dying in record numbers, will go on. "This is a war of necessity," the president insisted -- "not only a war worth fighting," but one "fundamental to the defense of our people." He warned that "those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again," and that "if left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans." Earlier this year Obama ordered 21,000 additional US personnel to Afghanistan. By year's end, troop levels there will be at 68,000 -- the most ever -- and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the theater commander, is widely thought to be on the point of asking for more.

But doubling down on the war -- in effect, committing himself to an Iraq-like "surge" -- will drive a wedge between Obama and the antiwar left that once acclaimed him. Two recent national polls show plummeting support for the war. In a Washington Post-ABC News survey, 51 percent of the public says the conflict in Afghanistan is "not worth fighting," and only 24 percent is willing to send more troops. A CNN/Opinion Research poll finds even wider opposition to the war -- 57 percent, the highest since US involvement in Afghanistan began.

Drill down into those numbers, however, and you find a gaping partisan/ideological divide. "Majorities of liberals and Democrats alike now . . . solidly oppose the war and are calling for a reduction in troop levels," the Post observes. By contrast, Republicans and conservatives "remain the war's strongest backers." A majority of conservatives not only supports the war but even approves Obama's handling of it. The CNN poll puts Republican support for the war at 70 percent, as against the 74 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents who are opposed.

No surprise, then, that Democrats on Capitol Hill have begun to distance themselves from Obama on the war. Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, claiming that "our military presence in Afghanistan may be undermining our national security," wants the troops withdrawn. Massachusetts congressman Jim McGovern complained last week that "we're getting sucked into an endless war here." Two Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee -- Carl Levin of Michigan, the chairman, and Jack Reed of Rhode Island -- are signaling that any presidential request for more troops in Afghanistan "probably will run into resistance," the AP reported over the weekend.

Republicans, on the other hand, have publicly let the president know that while they may oppose him on other issues, he can count on their support if he pursues victory in Afghanistan. "Stand strong, Mr. President," proclaimed the Republican National Committee in a statement posted on its website and distributed by e-mail. Explain "why the voices of defeat are wrong."

The success of the Obama presidency likely depends on Afghanistan, and to achieve victory there the president will need the help of the very Republicans he and his backers so often attacked for pursuing victory in Iraq. Now those backers are backing away, while the GOP acts as an honorable and loyal opposition. Politics may not always be fair, but it sure is ironic.



Obama's dangerous strategy

The farce over doorknobs for centrifuges masks the fact that President Obama’s whole Middle East strategy is in the process of imploding. Obama has been pressuring Israel to freeze every brick and widow-frame of all settlement construction as a precondition for the US “getting tough” with Iran. This has caused Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to walk a diplomatic tightrope. But it is arguably President Obama who has the rope around his own neck.

Israel’s supposed policy of expanding the settlements was supposed to be the major stumbling-block to peace with the Palestinians and Arab support against Iran. This was absurd, and indeed Obama is now softening his stance.

Construction of new settlements has been frozen for years with no concessions from the Palestinian side. And the idea that Israeli concessions were needed to bring the Arabs on side against Iran was ridiculous. The Arabs are desperate for the Iranian nuclear threat to be removed because Iran is an overwhelming threat to their existence. The settlements are irrelevant to the Iran crisis — which has predictably become even more acute because Obama’s policy of appeasing the Arab and Muslim world has gone belly-up. In response to his hand of friendship, the Iranian regime rigged its election, tortured and murdered its internal opponents and turned even more extreme.

As for Israel, Netanyahu faced down Obama over his attempt to define Jewish houses in east Jerusalem as “settlements” and to freeze construction there, too. Having united virtually all of Israel against him (only four per cent of Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel) the US President grovelled to the Arabs for a sign of some move towards peace with Israel. They refused.

He begged the Iranians to “engage” with him. In response, they have now appointed as defence minister Ahmad Vahidi, a terrorist wanted for the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires and who was also involved in the 2006 bombing of the Khobar Towers complex which killed 19 American soldiers. Meanwhile, Iran continues to develop the nuclear capability which threatens not just Israel but America and Europe.

In any event, Obama has already said that he will get tough with Iran if it remains intransigent by this autumn. So how could the settlement issue have been the clincher? And what does “getting tough” mean? Why, sanctions. The Iranians must be quaking in their boots. We can all write the script for that debacle already. Talk about shutting the stable door after the centrifuges have bolted. And then what? When Plan B fails, what is Obama’s Plan C? I think we know. It’s called “living with a nuclear Iran” or: the surrender of the West.

What Obama may yet come to realise is that he might need Israel to save him from electoral meltdown at home. With his ratings plummeting due to his domestic policies, he leads a country that, unlike Britain and mainland Europe, understands the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear bomb. The failure to stop Iran going nuclear on his watch could destroy his presidency. We may find, therefore, that the attitude towards Israel of the most hostile President in living memory soon undergoes rapid reprogramming.

President Obama is now between a rock and a hard place. An Israeli strike on Iran would utterly destroy his strategy and possibly draw the US willy-nilly into a wider war. On the other hand, it could just be that to save his political skin at home Obama will find himself sweating upon Israel taking out the Iranian nuclear threat. He thus faces a possible choice between war against Iran and a mortal threat to his presidency.

Such is the outcome of denial, the river that runs through the Oval Office.




The K Street Tax Cheat Who's Lobbying to Save Obamacare: "Tom Daschle is the human toe fungus of Washington -- a persistent infection that may disappear from time to time, but always comes back with a vengeance. Despite abandoning his secretary of health and human services nomination in disgrace in February 2009, the K Street tax cheat who evaded IRS rules for years remains a top White House confidante and policy strategist. In fact, he's leading the drive to save Obamacare. He climbed up from under the bus back into the Oval Office and onto the sets of "Meet the Press" and "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" to offer his rescue plan. It's Daschle's idea to morph the unpopular "public option" into nonprofit "health care co-ops" that will almost certainly receive government funding, support and tax advantages over private insurers. Old colleagues on both sides of the Senate aisle are now promoting his alternative. Last week, he penned a Do It for Teddy Kennedy pep rally op-ed in The Wall Street Journal urging Democrats to go it alone and depend on the backroom Senate reconciliation process if necessary to get a deal done."

Listening to a liar: "The most important thing about what anyone says are not the words themselves but the credibility of the person who says them. The words of convicted swindler Bernie Madoff were apparently quite convincing to many people who were regarded as knowledgeable and sophisticated. If you go by words, you can be led into anything. No doubt millions of people will be listening to the words of President Barack Obama Wednesday night when he makes a televised address to a joint session of Congress on his medical care plans.”

Federal program rejects 'card check' effort: "While the Obama administration and its Democratic allies in Congress press to allow private-sector workers to unionize by signing authorization cards instead of voting by secret ballot, the government's legal-aid program for the poor has declared the so-called "card check" strategy "unreliable" and rejected an effort by some of its own workers to organize that way. The Legal Services Corp., a congressionally chartered, taxpayer-funded entity, even hired a law firm to rebuff the efforts of workers in its oversight offices to gain union representation by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), forcing the workers to conduct a vote by secret ballot later this week. The LSC's decision has prompted concerns on Capitol Hill that the government may be trying to impose a solution on private businesses that its own agencies and panels are reluctant to follow."

China raises the money-printing alarm: “A hugely important story from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Telegraph that China is alarmed by U.S. money-printing has helped drive the dollar price of gold over $1,000, at least temporarily, and drive down the exchange rate of the greenback. Other commodities like oil and copper have also rallied today. At a conference in Lake Como, Italy, a leading Chinese economic spokesman — Cheng Siwei — criticized Ben Bernanke’s loose monetary policy. ‘If they keep printing money to buy bonds it will lead to inflation,’ said Cheng, ‘and after a year or two the dollar will fall hard.’ Cheng went on to say that China was diversifying its roughly $700 billion of U.S. foreign-exchange reserves into gold.”

The jobless recovery: "The jobless-recovery theme re-emerged on Friday with the arrival of a disappointing employment report. The daunting number was the unemployment rate, which jumped from 9.4 percent in July to 9.7 percent in August. This is a big-versus-small-business issue. Sort of the haves versus the have-nots. The large companies are gradually recovering as a result of major cost-cutting, inventory reduction, and a lean-and-mean return to profitability and high productivity. So the payroll survey registered a 216,000 job loss, the smallest drop in over a year. However, the household survey, which picks up small, owner-operated, LLC/S-Corp-type businesses, registered a devastating 392,000 job loss, which follows losses of 155,000 and 374,000 in the prior two months. This is the source of the unemployment-rate jump, as 466,000 newly unemployed were scored in the report. So while the big companies are getting healthier, the smaller firms are being left in the dust. Unfortunately, small businesses provide most of the new job creation in the United States.”

Leftists are not interested in seeing the reasons behind poverty: "A member of my family, of known collectivist leanings, once told me: ‘Do you think that I am satisfied that so many people stay worldwide in the most utter poverty? Don’t you think that I’m against raising their living standard?’ To which I replied: ‘Well, then you have to tell me why do you insist in adhering to political and economic ideologies that originate and sustain the economic and social stagnation that condemns so many people to live as paupers.’ She mumbled that she believed what collectivists promised and added that hunger and despair is the result of greedy capitalists grabbing all of the world’s wealth while socialism, if it were only allowed to act, could easily remedy this situation.”

UN may up ante in nuclear dispute with Iran: “Iran veered closer toward the possibility of being slapped with tough new international sanctions Monday after its president refused to stop enriching uranium and the U.N. nuclear watchdog warned of a ’stalemate’ with the country. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tehran is ready to talk with world powers about unspecified ‘global concerns’ — but he insisted his government will neither halt uranium enrichment nor negotiate over its nuclear rights.”

The burden of liberty: "Freedom means not only choice but also responsibility. Free men and women have to face up to the fact that it is up to them to do the right thing, to find out what that is and to make the effort to do it. The zillions of small and large decisions made by them all require some attention, although because people can cultivate habits — like the habit of driving carefully, of working out, or of being polite to neighbors and such — it isn’t always terribly burdensome to have to choose. They can, with admitted initial difficulty, commit themselves to a wise and prudent course and then stick to it and that way not need to handle every choice anew. Still, the very prospect of being able to go wrong with how one acts can be frightening, so many folks escape into mindless routines or accept other people’s rule over them.”

GOP all talk: "We must not wait for the mis-named ‘Republican’ party to get its act together. It never will. If they sold us out in good times, welshing on their promises after 1994, growing the power and scope of government, not only refusing to reign in the ATF and the FBI BUT GROWING THEIR POWER AND LENGTHENING THEIR LEASHES, what may we expect for them in bad times but ineffectual excuses? The Tea Parties did not come from the GOP, as much as the Dems might wish to imagine it. People are flooding into the streets and the public meetings precisely because they have concluded that the ’system,’ as they have understood it, no longer protects them. Thus, they will make their own arrangements.”

Is America ready to admit defeat in its 40-year War on Drugs?: “Is the ‘war on drugs’ ending? The Argentinian ruling does not stand alone. Across Latin America and Mexico, there is a wave of drug law reform which constitutes a stark rebuff to the United States as it prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of a conflict officially declared by President Richard Nixon and fronted by his wife, Pat, in 1969. That ‘war’ has incarcerated an average of a million US citizens a year, as every stratum of American society demonstrates its insatiable need to get high. And it has also engulfed not only America, but the Americas.”

Governments are the real monopolists: "Federal and state antitrust laws generally forbid any ‘monopolization’ of commerce. Yet, ironically, the City of Vero Beach, Florida (where I live) has maintained a State authorized unregulated electric utility monopoly for decades. And like all government protected monopolies, the City’s electric utility rates (prices) to its captive customers have proven to be far higher than those charged by its nearest potential competitor. Florida Power and Light, which serves adjacent geographic areas (and could serve Vero Beach) charges rates that are dramatically lower than Vero Beach Utilities. For example, FPL’s current total price including tax is $114.06 per 1,000 kwh while Vero Electric charges County customers $180.69 per 1,000 kwh, an incredible 58% more. Thus someone with an electric bill from the Vero Beach Utility monopoly for, say, $400 per month would pay only $253 to FPL for the very same product.”

Labor’s day is over: "U.S. labor union leaders see themselves as champions of the American worker, but their movement has become largely irrelevant to most workers enjoying this Labor Day holiday. For the small and declining share of Americans who still work in unionized industries, the movement has proven to be a job killer. From their zenith in the 1950s, labor unions have witnessed a relentless decline among non-governmental workers. Fifty years ago, about one in three Americans working in the private sector belonged to a labor union. Since then, ‘union density’ in the private sector has declined steadily to less than 8 percent today. Labor leaders blame the decline on union-busting corporations, years of hostile Republican rule in Washington, and a flood of imports from low-wage countries such as China, but the main reason behind the decline of private sector labor unions in recent decades is the anti-competitive nature of unions themselves.”


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


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


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Labor Day editorial

Ironically, work is probably the last thing the American people want to think about on Labor Day. They'd much rather devote their time and energy to the backyard barbecue, the last beach trip of 2009, or, perhaps a pickup football game in the local school yard.

As well they should. But now might be the best time to for all of us across the fruited plains to remind ourselves anew of just why "a fair day's pay for a good day's work" is so important for our future and our past—and how it's being undermined at the highest levels of government.

Work, quite simply, is the ability to get up and make a life for yourself. As an American, you have the right to work for yourself and for the ones you love. And no one else has the right to "wring their bread from the sweat of your brow." It was that fierce individualism, the "can-do" pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps attitude that built America out of nothing and catapulted the nation and its citizens to a level of wellbeing never before thought possible.

As American history has proven time and again, to build a prosperous and fruitful life, all one needs is a healthy dose of self-motivation and a free nation in which to exercise that motivation.

The current administration, however, begs to differ. In their eyes, nothing can —or should— happen without government's consent or even ordination. This is, perhaps, most evident when they speak about their ostensible solution or the recession and unemployment. They believe government alone can create jobs out of thin air—like a magician pulling a rabbit out of its hat. But the truth is: government doesn't "create jobs." And it never will. Small business owners create jobs. Large business owners create jobs. Individuals create their own jobs. Government simply "makes work."

Yet, as American's for Limited Government Chairman Howard Rich points out a recent column, there is a shocking disconnect between public sector pay and private sector pay in the United States. As he says:
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' recently published study for 2007, in California, which is still trying to climb out of its oppressive $26 billion deficit, average annual income for state employees was $56,777 versus $49,935 for the private sector, a 14 percent gap. In Illinois, a similar story emerges: $53,925 for state workers, and $48,006 for the private sector, an 11 percent split. New Jersey: $57,845 average state salary, $53,590 for private sector workers, at an 8 percent difference…

"Nationally, the story is even worse. Federal workers made on average $64,871 in 2007, with private sector workers making a meager $44,362, so public sector wages in the federal system are 46 percent higher."

Something is amiss when those in government (individuals who produce nothing more than rules, regulation, red tape, and higher taxes) are "rewarded" more than those in private enterprise who truly produce the wealth of the nation. It is a sign of the times —and the leadership.

So on this Labor Day, take a minute to remember what makes America unique —and, yes, exceptional. It is the hard worker, not the bureaucrat. It is the taxpayer, not the tax collector. And it is the people, not the government. It has never been government. It has never been bureaucracy. And it has not been the halls of America's Congress but rather the shelves of America's stores, the fields of America's farms, and the students of America's schools that have made America great.

As summer comes to a close, America's workers —men, women, the old, and young— ought to pat themselves on the back and appreciate the fact that they are the backbone of this strong —and still magnificent— nation. May their numbers multiply.




Generation sloth: "It’s Labor Day, but there’s nothing to celebrate. On July 24 this year, the government raised the minimum wage to $7.25, which is another way of saying that unemployment is mandatory for anyone who is otherwise willing to work for less. You have no freedom to negotiate or lower the price for your service. You are either already valuable at this rate or you are out of the game. Here is how it works.”

Honor Labor Day: End compulsory unionism: "Labor Day is a celebration of the efforts of America’s workers. However, the celebration is hollow for millions of American workers because of compulsory unionism. Throughout the United States, over 12 million workers labor under contracts that require them to be a member of, or financially support, a union as a condition of employment. Additionally, millions of more workers are required by law to accept union bosses’ so-called ‘representation,’ thereby losing the right to negotiate their own employment terms.”

Unions in trouble on Labor Day: "The Gallup findings are unequivocal. Approval of labor unions is down from 59% to 48%. Among Independents, it’s down even more, from 63% to 44%. Do unions mostly help or hurt the companies where they represent workers? Mostly help, 45%; mostly hurt, 46%. How about the U.S. economy in general? Mostly help, 39%; mostly hurt, 51%. Ouch. By more than 2-1 Americans feel unions help union members, but by a similar margin they feel they mostly hurt non-members, who after all are a large majority of American employees these days. Would you like to see unions have more or less influence? More influence, 25%; less influence, 42%. Will they become stronger or weaker? Stronger, 24%; weaker, 48%."

Obama crawls to the labor unions: "President Obama declared Monday that modern benefits such as paid leave, the minimum wage and Social Security "all bear the union label," as he appealed to organized labor to help him win the health care fight in Congress. "It was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. So, even if you're not a union member, every American owes something to America's labor movement," said Mr. Obama, whose run for the presidency was energized in no small part by unions".

A crucial week for Obama's teleprompter: "This is a big week for the president's teleprompter. He's first taking it across the Potomac for a speech urging schoolchildren to wash their hands, study hard and stay in school. Good advice for everyone, no doubt, and maybe the advice will stimulate the sale of soap to people who really need it. Politicians particularly should take to heart a presidential admonition to keep their hands clean. Who can argue with that? The reception Wednesday night on Capitol Hill, for the president's speech to an unusual joint session of Congress, will be a little different. There will be no one to throw a soft tomato or a rotten egg; this audience will be a wrack of frightened rabbits begging the president for a lifeline (or at least a carrot). Congress is back in town after a month on the Western front, and still befuddled and a little shellshocked from taking fire from angry constituents. Nobody wants what the president is selling, insofar as anybody can figure out exactly what he's selling. The magic elixir may be the president himself, and lately nobody's buying that, either."

Excerpt from Obama's school speech: "I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, ‘I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’ These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you — you have to let them teach you.” [He can certainly talk the talk but that seems to be his only talent]

Why Obama’s address to schoolchildren is objectionable: “The President is a political leader. He is not in office to be an educator. His duties are clearly laid out, and they do not include educating children. By the same token, the President is not the parent of all these children. He is not their teacher. He is not their religious leader. The reason for these boundaries is so that political figures do not use their power and influence to dominate our social lives. It is a special danger to liberty and society when national powers are developed. These are powers in which the national leadership directly controls or influences individual citizens, while bypassing or circumventing other local sources of governance and influence such as parents, families, churches, schools, and local governments. An Obama address to schoolchildren is an instance of the further development of national power and influence.”

When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings: "The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported. With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt"

Rubbery standards over lobbyists: "President Obama's nominee at the Department of Homeland Security overseeing bioterrorism defense has served as a key adviser for a lobbying group funded by the pharmaceutical industry that has asked the government to spend more money for anthrax vaccines and biodefense research. But Dr. Tara O'Toole, whose confirmation as undersecretary of science and technology is pending, never reported her involvement with the lobbying group called the Alliance for Biosecurity in a recent government ethics filing. The alliance has spent more than $500,000 lobbying Congress and federal agencies -- including Homeland Security -- since 2005, congressional records show. However, Homeland Security officials said Dr. O'Toole need not disclose her ties to the group on her government ethics form because the alliance is not incorporated" [What??]

China's stimulus powers world economies: "While politicians in Washington debate whether President Obama's stimulus program is helping to pull the U.S. economy out of a recession, economists have already declared the winner in the stimulus race, and it's China. The Asian giant's massive $586 billion stimulus package -- implemented with speed in November just as the world economy was crashing -- is credited with helping to stabilize world markets and contribute to a budding recovery in Asia, Europe and the United States, where the stimulus package came too late to prevent the worst recession in modern times."

Democrats brace for midterm losses: "Few issues in American politics are as supercharged as health care, and when presidents choose to touch the subject, a surge of high voltage often scorches not only the chief executive, but his party in Congress. In 1966, after President Johnson had pushed Medicare through Congress the year before, the Democrats lost 47 seats in the House and four in the Senate. In 1994, after first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to overhaul the nation's health care system, Democrats lost 54 seats in the House and seven in the Senate as Republicans swept in with the "Contract With America."

People power: “Congress returns this week, and here’s hoping that its members, Democrats in particular, learned a little something from this summer’s town hall meetings. The lesson to be drawn from these occasionally raucous events is that America is on the verge of — or already knee-deep in — one of those moments that periodically roil the country and rearrange our preconceived notions about public life. And not a moment too soon. Popular outbursts serve as a check on, and corrective to, our elites’ behavior. The people know things the elites forget or don’t want to remember. The political class is supposed to serve the people, not the other way around.”

NYT embarrassed to admit that their reporter has been kidnapped: "According to reports from Afghanistan, New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell and his driver/interpreter have been kidnapped while attempting to cover the story of the NATO airstrike on the two Taliban-hijacked tankers in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The local Afgha n press is reporting that a reporter has been kidnapped, although Farrell was not directly named; however, the international press and the wires services have been silent on this issue. Multiple sources in Afghanistan tell me that The New York Times is attempting to suppress the reporting on Farrell's kidnapping. The New York Times did the same thing when journalist David Rohde was kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan late last year. Rohde escaped from a Haqqani Network compound in North Waziristan earlier this year. While Rohde's kidnapping was not publicized, his escape was the subject of abundant reporting. The media has not afforded the US military the courtesy of a news blackout when US troops have been captured in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Passionate Leftist "principles" suddenly vanish: "As General Stan McChrystal plans his march on Washington to demand more troops in Afghanistan the antiwar movement lies on the sidewalk, as inert and forlorn as a homeless person in the rain at a street corner, too dejected even to hold up a sign. This is at a time that as Mark Ames has just pointed out, ‘Obama is doubling down in Afghanistan with more troops deployed now than the Soviets ever had.’ Yes, add up US troops and contractors and you get a US invasion of Afghanistan bigger than the Soviet force at its peak. Is there any sign of life in a movement that marshaled hundreds of thousands to march in protest against war in Iraq? Ah, but those were the Bush years. Now we have a Democrat in the White House.”

Ilana Mercer's accent not welcome in the USA?: "The other day, at my local branch of the United States Postal Service, a devoted USPS customer told me in high decibels to go back whence I came. Although I speak and write English at a level this yahoo could not aspire to, I do the former sans an American accent. In the chauvinistic, provincial mind of my post-office foe, my accent condemned me. Even more of a liability was my apparently un-American, unpatriotic audacity. I stood up to a USPS bureaucrat, who has, for the past seven years, faithfully fulfilled her role as a bully. Incidentally, the Asian service clerk in question had not managed to master Pidgin English, but somehow I doubt that the brassy American postal patriot would have dared to order her out of the country.” [I presume her accent is South African. I find the story a little puzzling. I speak with an Australian accent but when I am in America I am often congratulated on my "British" accent. No problems at all. I suspect that Mercer was behaving arrogantly. Her writings on the net do seem to exhibit a wide-ranging hostility]

Britain: Queen is ‘unhappy over equipment shortages’: "The Queen has spoken to Gordon Brown personally to express her anger over equipment shortages suffered by troops in Afghanistan, it was reported last night. According to Andrew Roberts, a leading historian with close links to the Royal Family, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have also contacted the Prime Minister about the lack of armoured vehicles, helicopters and other vital equipment needed by British forces. “The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles are all furious with Gordon Brown over sub-standard equipment in Helmand, principally the underarmoured armoured cars and the lack of helicopters, and have been making their views known to him in no uncertain terms,” he said. The historian claimed to have been told of the Queen’s anger by three sources — a minor royal, a serving general and a recent former Cabinet minister. “I have it from the horse’s mouth. They take their responsibilities as acting colonels-in-chief of various regiments very seriously,” he said."

British sailors and airmen outnumbered by defence bureaucrats: "The Ministry of Defence is so stuffed with civil servants that they outnumber the combined manpower of the Royal Navy and the RAF. The statistic, produced by the Conservatives yesterday to attack the Government’s record on defence manpower, followed condemnation by General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, a former Chief of Defence Staff, over imbalances between uniform and non-uniformed personnel. Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said that 16 per cent of the Civil Service resided in the MoD, and that the number of civilian officials (86,620), was about 12,000 more than the Royal Navy (34,830) and RAF (39,260) put together. “There is one civilian for every two Armed Forces personnel in the MoD. It is time for the MoD to get its house in order,” Dr Fox said, at the launch of Jane’s 2009 Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in London."


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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)


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Media coverup fails

Now that White House "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones has resigned, what's next? Inevitably, the American mainstream media - ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, et al - must be held to account for sitting on the sidelines as this major story kept building without them, went viral on YouTube, and then became so large that a key appointee of President Obama was forced to step down.

But with their decision to ignore the Jones story, they may have actually done Mr. Obama far more harm than good: Who vetted this guy? How did he get past the FBI? What did he say, and how did he answer the infamous seven-page questionnaire that all Obama appointees were required to fill out? Inquiring Freedom of Information Act minds want to know.

For most people in this country, the resignation was the first they had heard of Van Jones. For this sin of journalistic omission, there's institutional media blame. Bias is too tame a word for the utter shamelessness on display: Only Republican scandals - real and imagined - matter. And it's not just those the Democratic-Media Complex dub as "mobs" or "tea baggers" that are taking notice. Diminishing audience and evaporating subscribership reflect widespread consumer dissatisfaction. Eventually, the money will run out.

But until then, the growing alternative media of Internet and talk radio and a burgeoning mass of justifiably angry Americans will make every effort to expose the sham that is mainstream journalism.

Obviously, it's not that the Jones story wasn't newsworthy. His racist rants, his radical background and his membership in a 9/11 "truther" group made for heavy-rotation YouTube viewing that would have immediately destroyed other mere mortals if the shoe were on the right - or white - foot. Compounding the problem, the Jones narrative hurts Mr. Obama because it underlines how the mainstream media helped elect the president by glorifying him instead of vetting him.

Just as Mr. Obama was not even cursorily investigated, Van Jones, a fellow "community organizer," was not given the slightest media attention when named as an unaccountable "czar" selected to oversee billions in taxpayer money for the ambiguous purpose of "green energy." And that despite having a body of damning evidence that could be found with a single Google search by an ADHD-addled high-school journalism student.

Instead, talk-radio host Glenn Beck and Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, as well as editors Scott Baker and Liz Stephans, led the charge forcing the mainstream media's hand while the usually reliable George Soros-funded "netroots" media defense mechanism couldn't fend off the growing body of charges. Calling Mr. Jones' critics "racist" was their best play, and that gruel gets thinner with every passing scandal cycle. In this case, the Jones "Swift Boat" already had left the harbor.

Much of America has started to realize that not only was Mr. Obama not vetted before he became president, he and his fellow unvetted cohorts continue to be given a pass by the Fourth Estate.

Two more stories demonstrate how the Democrat-Media Complex, the natural alliance of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media, is more concerned with trying to figure out how to destroy Glenn Beck - "he's nuts!" - than to follow his methodical, accurate reporting. This dynamic - used against all potent critics and off-the-reservation journalists - shows that not only is the media ignoring all the negative things coming out about the Obama administration, it is acting like President Richard Nixon's henchmen, making life difficult for its whistleblowers.

One of the stories is that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a massive radical organization, is poised to receive billions from the Obama "stimulus." ACORN's voting division is currently under investigation in multiple states for fraud. And its housing division exists to fulfill an unclear mandate that has been accused of using funds to pay for political protests. If the alternative media digs further and finds out ACORN is guilty as charged, and as corrupt as its ample critics say it is, the onus is those who didn't question when the Obama team decided to allocate billions to expand the group's reach. Brian Williams, the ball is in your court.

Another story not making the evening news is that of artist Patrick Courrielche, who has shown that the National Endowment of the Arts is seeking to use government funds to promote Obama administration initiatives. On Sunday's "This Week," George Will pierced the mainstream media veil. "Recently there was a conference call arranged by the National Endowment for the Arts, with a representative of the White House, for potential grantees or actual grantees of the federal government, getting subsidies - the theme of it was how the arts community could advance the president's agenda. Now I don't know how many laws that breaks, but I am sure there are some."

What are you waiting for, Katie Couric? If the mainstream media continues down the path of covering up the sins of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, in particular, while it continues to exert its still powerful weapons to destroy those who would dare do their jobs for them, then eventually, perhaps in the near future, those "mobs" that have befuddled the Democratic Party at health care town halls and at tea parties will take their pitchforks to media row.

When the next big scandal hits - and it will, and it most certainly won't come from traditional journalism - all eyes will be on "Pinch" Sulzberger to see if he does his job. All eyes are on the media. We are judging them by the standard they taught us during Watergate: "The cover-up is worse than the crime."



Media-fostered Obama cult is proto-Fascist

“What’s Your Pledge?” “To be a servant to our president,” says Demi Moore. “To be of service to Barack Obama,” says Anthony Kiedis. We are witnessing something beyond the every-day attempt to package a political leader in a compelling way. In fact, we may very well be watching the emergence of a cult of personality. To some, even the suggestion of this is absurd because we associate such things with despotism. How could a free society fall prey to such a thing?

Well, where are the radical mantras of “question authority” now? Where have all the liberal flowers gone? They’ve gone to Washington, D.C., everyone. And because children are our future, let’s teach them well and let them lead the way. It’s time to kick the “juvenile idealization of the President” up a notch.

Ever see pictures of LBJ in homes? Nixon? Ford? Carter? Reagan? Anyone named Bush? Clinton? How about Barack Obama? Oh yeah. They are popping out on walls all over America because, like FDR and JFK were, Mr. Obama is being increasingly seen as a colossus standing above it all. He’s a super leader who can do super things. And children in school next Tuesday will have that image reinforced to them, irrespective of what is actually said in the speech.

A cult of personality happens when mass media creates and fosters an idealized and heroic public image for a political leader. It is most often connected with totalitarian regimes, but, as Jonah Goldberg has pointed out in his book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, the original use of the word “totalitarian” described a “humane” society, “one in which everyone is taken care of and contributes equally. It was an organic concept where every class, every individual, was part of the larger whole.” Sound familiar?

And of course, it just infuriates liberals to hear even the suggestion that their agenda might indeed resemble fascism, because for so long the mantra has been that “right-wing” conservatives are fascists. But, put simply, true conservatives do not believe in big government and are all about individual liberty – two traits that are decidedly anti-fascist. Fascism is about the expansion, glorification, and predominance of the state – that’s liberalism, not conservatism.

But dull facts are no match for frenzied media. And young minds are no match for a massive campaign to foster the image of a president as more than what our constitution requires him – or her – to be. Do I believe that we are on the verge of some kind of massive move toward “friendly totalitarianism” in America? No. But I do think that if it ever really happened here, it would travel along the same national nerve pathways that are being used by this White House right now.



Observing San Francisco

If the poster below does not creep you out, it should. It would go well in any dystopian tyranny. Today's American Left would cheerfully march into Fascism if conservatives and ordinary decent Americans would let them

As I’ve mentioned, my wife, Helene, and I are house-sitting in San Francisco, a wonderful, quirky city but also home pond to Nancy Pelosi and other odd ducks. Following are a few random sightings and quotes that provide a small whiff of the atmosphere here, such as the fact that there are so many Priuses here with Obama bumper stickers that I now suspect that all the cars Toyota shipped to San Francisco last year came with the Obama stickers built into the bumpers at the factory.

When we first saw the following poster in a window we thought it must have been home-made, but subsequent sightings, and this site, reveal that it is in fact mass-produced, presumably with an audience of purchasers. [UPDATE: This link has been corrected. It should have pointed, as it does now, to a site with many Obey Obama posters.]

I think this poster speaks for itself, and it says volumes about the mentality of many of the most fervent Obamaphiles.

Riding on a MUNI bus one day (Helene likes to ride the buses so she can tune up her Spanish) we picked up a copy of the San Francisco Bay Guardian someone had left behind, perhaps the only paper in the land that can make the San Francisco Chronicle seem almost sane. On page 13 of the Sept. 2 – 8, 2009, issue there is a large announcement of High Holiday Services at the Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls featuring Rabbi Michael Lerner and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker. (This announcement is not available in the Guardian online, but almost the same thing is online here.) I was struck by the caption under Alice Walker’s picture in the Guardian, which stated that she would speak “about how Oppressed People can Become Oppressors.” I didn’t realize, I thought at first to myself, that Alice Walker had become a critic of racial quotas, etc., but then, after reading the announcement, realized she was talking about the Jews. Silly me.



"Progressives" (Regressives) Want A World Without Cars

One of the not so secret agendas of Progressives is the regimentation of society. Instead of individual choice, they want mass instruction. Instead of freedom, they want conformity.

North Korean women doing the Goosestep above

Take the French revolutionaries who created the first mass civilian army for Napoleon (and the first mass production of rifles). Take Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and the Dear Leader in North Korea. All want to get people to march in unison, follow the leader, salute on order. One, two three, four, round the block and do it some more.

Where does the motor car fit into this vision of a regimented society? It doesn't. Cars free people to pursue their own agendas, to go to their own destinations, to be individuals. As a result, Progressives favour mass transit, speed limits, gasoline taxation and car-free-zones. Take Vauban, Germany. It has made owning a car so difficult (parking spaces are forbidden on private property) that most residents have given them up. The same kind of anti-car movement can be seen in Vancouver where aggressive bicycle owners regularly block traffic. Or in London, England where special fees are charged for driving in the city centre. Here in BC, a recycling company, Encorp, boasts that its program is the equivalent of taking 27,000 cars off BC roads for a year.

So, yes, Progressives believe cars are killing the planet. Private homes waste space. Lawns requiring fertilizer are anti-social. Should I go on? Progressives have a plan for you folks, and the best example I can think of is that picture at the top of this post from North Korea (not too many cars there, that's for sure. Or much grass, come to that).

So throw away your car keys and get into step, eh? One, two, three four . . . you'll get to like it after a while. This freedom thing is so wasteful when you get down to it.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Thieves judging thieves

The doubt I have about whether Congressmen are even capable of having conflicts of interest was reinforced by Instapundit’s link today to this New York Post editorial about Rep. Charlie Rangel’s gifts to three members of the House Ethics Committee, which will eventually judge his tax and reporting evasions.
One member of the panel, Peter Welch of Vermont, wisely decided to return his $20,000 gift from Rangel, citing the need for “an abundance of caution.” But the other two — Ben Chandler of Kentucky and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina — are holding on to Rangel’s largesse, claiming it in no way interferes with their ability to sit in judgment on their benefactor.

Now you may well ask, why do I have doubts that this — or any apparently quid quo pro Congressional behavior that fails the smell test — amounts to conflict of interest?

Because to be a conflict of interest there have to be two (or more) actual interests in conflict, and Congressmen for the most part have only one interest: getting re-elected. That said, these two guys — one (Chandler) a Blue Dog and one (Butterfield) a member of the Congressional Black Caucus — are real pieces of work. Chandler, for example, laments the influence of money in politics and supports campaign finance reform because
Americans have lost confidence in their political system.... They believe that our current system for financing campaigns gives disproportionate power to wealthy individuals and groups and exerts too much influence over legislative and regulatory outcomes.

Chandler obviously believes that taking money from someone he’s about to judge will not contribute to any loss of confidence in him, the House ethics committee, or the House itself. (And he’s probably right; how much lower could that confidence get?)

Even more striking is the case of Rep. Butterfield, a former North Carolina Superior Court and Supreme Court judge. He once voted, for example, for a measure that
[p]rohibits members of the House from participating in events that honor them at the presidential nominating convention for the party in which they belong if the event is directly paid for by a registered lobbyist....

Campaigning with cash provided by someone he’s about to investigate and judge, however, is obviously quite kosher.

When Butterfield was appointed to the ethics committee, the News and Observer interviewed him and reported:
“I know that an investigation can destroy someone’s career, so I know how to handle myself,” he said.

The committee, made up of five Democrats and five Republicans, looks into allegations of violations of the House’s ethics rules, such as accepting improper gifts or failing to disclose a conflict of interest.

Unlike his time in Superior Court, Butterfield will act a both judge and juror on the committee, helping investigate and making a decision. The process is also more confidential than a regular trial.

Butterfield said that the position means he’ll have to be circumspect with his colleagues. “It’s a solemn responsibility,” he said. “My interaction with other members has got to be appropriate.”

This former judge sees nothing inappropriate, of course, about taking and keeping money from someone he’s about to investigate and judge.

But let’s give the final word to Butterfield’s spokesman, who insisted a bit too loudly but still ambiguously, I think, that “[h]is integrity is not for sale, and certainly not [for] $5,000.”



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


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


Monday, September 7, 2009

Gullibility test

Are you gullible? Determine your gullibility quotient by answering A or B to the following questions.

A. Obama plans to address the nation's children to encourage them to stay in school.
B. Obama plans to endear the nation's children to himself so they'll pressure their parents to support his socialist agenda.

A. Teachers' unions care about children.
B. Teachers' unions care about money and power.

A. Socialism is the most efficient means of wealth creation and distribution.
B. Capitalism is the most efficient means of wealth creation and distribution.

A. Federal bailouts end recessions.
B. Federal bailouts extend recessions.

A. Calling Obama a "socialist" is racism.
B. Obama is a socialist.

A. The US Constitution commands the complete separation of Church and state
B. The US Constitution forbids Congress from establishing a state religion.

A. Supporting group rights is the most efficient means of obtaining equality.
B. Supporting individual rights is the most efficient means of obtaining equality.

A. There are no absolutes.
B. 1+1=2

A. The Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism.
B. The Confederate Flag is a symbol of the Confederacy.

B. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great American.
C. Ralph Abernathy was a great American. King was a philanderer.

A. The United States of America is . . .
B. The United States of America are . . .

A. Forced integration benefits black students.
B. Charter schools, vouchers and private schools benefit black students.

A. Home schoolers may become socially deprived.
B. Government schoolers may become socially depraved.

A. Most murdered gays are killed by homophobes.
B. Most murdered gays are killed by other gays who infect them with HIV.

A. Barbie Dolls give little girls unrealistic expectations.
B. Most little girls don't want to be 9 inches tall and made of plastic.

A. Feminists are pro-women.
B. Feminists hate women who don't agree with them as seen in their continuous misogynous attacks against "1950s housewives."

A. Small classrooms benefit students.
B. Home schools are small classrooms.

A. Property taxes fund essential government services.
B. Property taxes are essentially rent homeowners pay to the county.

A. Colonialism brought repression to Africa.
B. Colonialism brought prosperity to Africa.

A. Global warming is destroying the environment.
B. Global warming is an excuse to redistribute wealth by force.

A. White people are mostly racists.
B. White guilt is destroying Western culture.

A. Greed caused the housing crisis by taking advantage of minorities.
B. Jimmy Carter's Community Reinvestment Act triggered the housing crisis by forcing banks to lend to non creditworthy borrowers, mostly in minority areas.

A. McCarthyism is evil.
B. Hollywood blacklists conservatives to prevent McCarthyism.

A. The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery.
B. The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in Confederate, but not Union, states.

A. This quiz is fueling hatred.
B. This quiz is making leftists confront their peculiar belief system.

If you answered "A" on up to 3 of the above, you watch too much network TV.

If you answered "A" on more than 3 of the above, you're gullible.

If you answered "B" on 1 or more of the above, you're a racist, terrorist, mobster, and party to the vast right-wing conspiracy.

Adapted from Kenn Gividen


The centrality of Israel

Bill Gates famously called George Gilder "very stimulating even when I disagree with him, and most of the time I agree with him." The issues on which Gilder has staked out stimulating positions over more than 30 years as a writer and public intellectual are wide-ranging. They include the causes of poverty and the creators of wealth; the consequences of modern feminism; and the possibilities opened by the high-tech revolution. His arguments are often surprising, always provocative and generally controversial. His latest book is titled "The Israel Test." Much of what he says is dramatically different from what just about anyone else is saying. In particular: "Either the world, principally the United States, supports Israel, or Israel, one way or another, will be destroyed. There are no other realistic choices. And if Israel is destroyed, capitalist Europe will likely die as well, and America, as the epitome of productive and creative capitalism spurred by Jews, will be in jeopardy."

At this juncture, it is probably not just useful but necessary to note that George Gilder is not Jewish. In other words, the case he makes for Israel has no basis in religious or ethnic affiliation. At the same time, not being tethered to Israel or to Jews allows him to be blunt in a way few of Israel's Jewish defenders dare.

For example, he says that people "who obsessively denounce Jews have a name; they are Nazis." He does not hesitate to apply the term to Arab and Iranian leaders who exhibit such behavior. He contends, as well, that the "most dangerous form of Holocaust denial is not rejection of the voluminous evidence of long-ago Nazi crimes but incredulity toward the voluminous evidence of the new Holocaust being planned by Israel's current enemies. Two Iranian presidents have resolved to acquire nuclear weapons for the specific purpose of ‘wiping Israel off the map.' "

What can be done to prevent a second Holocaust and to beat back the jihadis at America's gates? Gilder believes, first, we need to recognize the nature and gravity of the threat; second, we need more resolve; and third we need more technology of the sort America and Israel have been most adept at producing.

It will require comprehensive missile defense and other high-tech means to prevent our sworn enemies from "infiltrating nuclear weapons into American cities, exploding them offshore near American ports, or detonating bombs above America's critical electronic infrastructure" - destroying that infrastructure with an EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) attack, an offensive capability that Iran, for one, is known to be developing.

"No nation in history has succeeded in preserving its integrity and sovereignty without meeting the challenge of ever-advancing armaments," Gilder points out. "But many American intellectuals still imagine that the United States is different, that it is possible or desirable for us to negotiate an ‘end to the arms race.' Our enemies will always want to end the arms race because they know only free nations can win it. ... An end to the arms race would deprive the capitalist countries of their greatest asset in combating barbarism."

Gilder is convinced that the forces targeting Israel and America also are "targeting capitalism and freedom everywhere." Capitalism, he says, requires freedom - for entrepreneurs, workers and consumers alike. All benefit, because, "under capitalism the achievements of one group provide markets and opportunities for others."

He goes on to make this unfashionable observation: Any democracy not resting on a solid capitalist foundation is doomed. "Without an expanding capitalist economy," he writes, "democracy becomes dominated by its zero-sum elements - by mobs and demagogues."

Over the centuries, such mobs and demagogues have, many times, turned against Jews. Today, Gilder adds, "they have turned against Israel." Sometimes, the root cause is simply greed and envy. But often it is the belief that "social justice" necessitates the dispossession of the "haves" and redistribution to the "have-nots" in the interest of "equality of outcome."

Over time, this can only lead to expanding poverty because it is based on a misunderstanding of what wealth is. Fundamentally, wealth inheres not in material resources but in "human minds and creations that thrive only in peace and freedom. In particular, the immiseration of the Middle East stems chiefly from the covetous and crippling idea among Arabs that Israel's wealth is not only the source of their humiliation but also the cause of their poverty."

Gilder has much more to say - more challenging arguments and perplexing questions than I can summarize in a brief column. But his underlying thesis is straightforward: The future of freedom, democracy, capitalism, America, the West and the tiny state of Israel are all tied together in a single knot. Israel is "not only a major source of Western technological supremacy and economic leadership - it is also the most vulnerable source of Western power and intelligence."

Israel is, Gilder contends, "not only the canary in the coal mine - it is also a crucial part of the mine." If Americans will not defend Israel, they will "prove unable to defend anything else. The Israel test is finally our own test of survival as a free nation."




Black Communist resigns at last: "Van Jones, President Obama's green jobs czar, has resigned amid furor over his past statements regarding the Bush administration and the September 11 terrorist attacks. In a resignation letter released by the White House just after midnight on Sunday, Mr. Jones said he was the victim of a smear campaign. "On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," he wrote. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide." Mr. Jones said while he's been getting encouragement from both political parties to "stay and fight," he "cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past."

Ted Kennedy's hatred of his own country: "The most striking aspect of the KGB memo, not to mention Senator Kennedy’s many public statements and writings at the time—see, to cite just two examples, his March 24, 1983 Senate floor speech and March 1984 piece for Rolling Stone—was the late senator’s lack of faith and trust in President Ronald Reagan in contrast to his amazing faith and trust in Premier Yuri Andropov. This was evident in the memo, where the KGB head underscored that Kennedy was “very impressed” with Andropov—as opposed to Reagan, whose “militaristic politics” and “belligerence,” Kennedy judged, were the culprits for the increasingly tense Cold War. This was a quite incredible perspective by Kennedy. I literally cannot name a single other American politician, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, who saw the Stalinist Andropov as anything other than cold, calculating, brooding, sinister."

USA Today rejoices in man-cession: "USA Today published a lead article Thursday that is one of those now-I-understand-what-socialism-is-all-about articles. The essay's pretzel logic is so outlandish that I promise to keep a straight face as I explain it to you. And the article's original title was so outrageous that within hours the USA Today editors felt compelled to tone it down. But I'm getting ahead of myself. It's no secret that men been hit hard in the current recession. The USA Today article acknowledges that men have lost 74% of jobs since December 2007, with women losing the remaining 26%. The reason is men predominate in construction and manufacturing, sectors that have suffered a massive hemorrhaging of jobs. Most would view these numbers with dismay and even alarm. In many families men are the primary breadwinners and men's job loss hurts their wives, children, and dependent parents. And unemployment is emotionally devastating to many men. But socialists view massive male unemployment with undisguised glee."

That government is best that governs not at all: “The great American experiment of a perfected and limited civil government has gone terribly wrong. All but the most ardent statists now accept this. Many feel that drastic reform is needed. Others feel the present system is just too corrupt and the present beneficiaries too firmly entrenched for any meaningful improvement ever to take place. If that is so, then what is to follow? Some advocate the libertarian position of minarchism, that civil government should be small and strictly limited. But minarchism appears to have two major deficiencies. One is that the definition of ’small’ is arbitrary and is susceptible of gradually escalating inclusions as to what constitutes legitimate government activity. The other is that government by its very nature cannot be limited. As I have earlier pointed out, if civil government were somehow susceptible to earthly control, the entity exercising that control would in reality be the ‘government,’ and of course, that entity would not be susceptible to earthly control. The attribute of sovereignty is inherent in the institution of government. Thus the concept of ‘limited government’ is a contradiction. Is there no way out of this conundrum? There indeed is. It involves the concept of true self-government. Various names have been suggested for this alternative method of human organization. These names include such things as spontaneous order, the Non-Aggression Principle, and most commonly, anarchism.”

Why greed is good: "FSA chief Lord Turner, interviewed recently in Prospect magazine, calls much of the banking industry ’socially useless,’ attacking its ‘excessive activity and profits.’ The City’s response to these criticisms has been sensible, but bankers have been afraid to make explicit the crucial counterargument: that making money is, in itself, socially useful. The argument is so simple as to be trivial: firms, provided they are subject to laws preventing theft and violence, can only gain revenue by selling things that people want; they can only make a profit if they sell these things for more than they cost to produce; and in the process of production they employ people who prefer that job to any other they could find. That is, profit-making firms create wealth (in the broadest sense of the word) for their customers, owners, and employees. They take wealth from no-one.”

What’s your metric?: “Milton Friedman’s metric was the percentage of GDP spent by government. Friedman said we could not be truly free in a country where the government at all levels took and spent 30 percent of GDP. In Obamaland in 2009 government at all levels will spend 40 percent of GDP (almost the level of World War II). That will go up, way up, if the programs Obama is pushing get enacted. Perhaps to 50 percent. But is that a valid metric, at least for most people?”

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


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


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


Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Socialists Within Want to Take Over

By Hilmar von Campe

Shall we allow them? The United States is close to be taken over from within by Barack Hussein Obama, a development similar to those in Germany at the beginning of the 1930s.

I grew up under the Nazis, and what I saw then there I see now here. There is nothing theoretical when I speak about what happens when a nation throws God out of government and society and when Christians become religious bystanders. I am not part of those who want some people to look bad by calling them Nazis, as Nancy Pelosi and so many people do nowadays. My writing is based on my own experience and that of my family. We were there.

The White House launched what could be called a "snitch" program by asking Americans to forward to a White House e-mail address anything regarding health care reform that they consider "fishy." This should help the government, explains the White House director of new media, Macon Phillips, to uncover the truth about the president's position and find the "disinformation" about health care "reform." The "snitch" program is opening the door to Gestapo methods.

When I was a child, Gestapo agents took positions in front of our church and wrote down the names of those who entered. It was intimidation, and everybody knew what it meant to be of different opinion than the Nazi government. My parents entered the church nevertheless, along with us four children. My father, a civil servant, in spite of being sacked when the Nazis came to power, did not compromise. For my parents, the greatest preoccupation in those years was the integrity of us children whom they didn't want to be infected by Nazi philosophy. The Gestapo had their informants everywhere, and they liked to discover through innocent children what their parents were up to. It was forbidden by law to listen to foreign radios and could lead to death penalty if found out. My father used to listen at 10 p.m. to the Swiss station Beromünster so we children wouldn't notice.

According to media reports, the end-of-life-counseling, part of the health care "reform" in the bill before Congress, contains the philosophy that not all people have the same value for society and that, therefore, treatment for old people should be different than that for young people. In various television shows, the issue of the possibility of euthanasia is being discussed. This is also a criminal Nazi concept at the heart of their ideology. The Jews were declared by "law" to be less valuable than the Arian German race and eventually killed. Important for the Nazis also was the contribution of a person to society. Handicapped and old people were of no use to them. Therefore, they were led to a cost-saving death.

Our home in Germany was close to the Bodelschwinghsche Institute in Bethel, a complex where disabled people were looked after. When a Nazi commission arrived to pick up these people to be killed, the head of this Christian institution, Pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwing, put up such a ferocious and noisy battle for their lives that the commission had to give up and depart. But the euthanasia program nevertheless went ahead and was followed by the Holocaust. Does the health care project lead to an early end for old people for cost-saving reasons? One cannot trust the Democratic Party, which has abortion in its political platform and therefore is most likely also open to euthanasia. I prefer the clean direction of the patriotic tea party movement, which has taken our corrupt government establishment to task.

Obama did not visit Israel, our only democratic ally for many decades in the Middle East, but he made a speech to the Islamic nations and spoke of a new beginning. I did not hear him talk about the ceaseless firing of Arab missiles into Israel, asking them to begin change with themselves and stop firing missiles. Instead, he set up a Gestapo-like apparatus in the American Jerusalem Consulate to monitor Jewish movements in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Obama guaranteed the Palestinian Authority Israeli land they want, including East Jerusalem. Via the Israeli ambassador in Washington, he and Secretary of State Clinton try to dictate to the Israeli government what they should do and not do. At the same time, however, a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Rashideh al-Mughrabi, declares in an interview with WND, "I don't believe there are any civilians in Israel; all of Israel society is a military society and therefore a military target." He joins Obama, who promotes abortion, in the philosophy that lives of others do not matter.

There are many discussions about what could be the real purpose of Barack Hussein Obama. It is important to know what his aims are to understand what we are facing.

In my book "Defeating the Totalitarian Lie," I speak of the enemy within and the enemy outside. I have a list of enemies of God, a few names only as examples, just to make the reader understand the essentials. Obama represents the melting of the godless enemies within and outside the United States in what is the coup de grace for a corrupt society. With other words, Obama's trillion-dollar projects belie a purpose to cripple the American economy and integrate a weak United States into the communist/socialist United Nations world order. This includes fake reasons to make the American people come along. If these projects became law, I believe, the middle class would have such strong financial difficulties that people would be unable to resist him. Therefore, rather than bipartisan understanding. rejection is the need of the hour.

The priority for Hitler as for Obama was then and is now to control the lifelines of their respective nations, which includes the silencing of the opposition so that they cannot be removed from power. I described in an earlier article how Hitler reached absolute power. Obama is struggling to get there.

What links the enemies within and without is organized godlessness. The lies of the outside aggressors and of the inside helpers may have different purposes, but they are all anti-American. I had to face the fact that my personal lies and my personal immorality made me blind to the nature of the Nazis and their anti-God purpose. Hitler could use me and millions of others, making us morally co-responsible for his atrocities in which I had no part. Every American who loves this country has to face the same responsibility for his government. Christian bystanders were in Germany and are in America the most important helpers of totalitarian politicians. America needs a moral rebirth.

Here's what I mean: Abortionist Barack Obama and Fidel Castro are part of the enemies of God because of the unchanged evil inside of them, their disregard of human life. They are on the wrong side of the battle line. Their purpose and actions are an insult to God.

The political and ideological battle line, therefore, is not between Democrats and Republicans, or between capitalism and socialism. The Nazis (national Socialists) were not Fascists. Fascism is not totalitarian. It is an ordinary immoral dictatorship. In their ideology, the Nazis were always part of global Marxist Socialism. Marxism, with its hatred and envy, is in its roots godless and incompatible with Christian teachings and therefore with our Constitution. Germany went down because of godlessness, and America is sliding down for the same reason. Obama and Pelosi, to name only two, are closer to the Nazis than to our Founding Fathers and our Constitution.

The economy is not the heart of the matter. It is only a consequence. The real issue where fundamental change is asked for is the relationship of this nation and of every American citizen with God and His commandments. When I speak of God I mean God, our creator, not religion. This country has too many laws that stink. Society has to be cleansed. America must become literally a nation under God. Then America can change the world. We need a president and members of Congress who stand for truth and life and not for lies and death.



Conclusion first, money second, facts last

Today's lesson in "Fleecing The Taxpayer" comes to us from the state of New York, where the legislature recently awarded a grant to study the racial impact of legislation.

The award of $10,000 will go to the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, which is part of the City University of New York's Medgar Evers College. CNUS, according to its Web site, is the "first and only public policy, research, training, advocacy and academic center....designed and developed by formerly incarcerated professionals."

I'm sure Washington Examiner readers are astute enough to translate the phrase "formerly incarcerated professionals" into the simpler, more common and much more linguistically efficient word "jailbirds."

But I don't really have a problem with that. I'm all for ex-convicts repenting, redeeming themselves and re-integrating themselves into society's mainstream. What I do have a problem with is those folks who want to use taxpayers' money to fund studies about which they've already reached conclusions.

And I have the sneaking suspicion that the CNUS faculty has already concluded that New York's laws have a disparate impact on racial minorities, in general, and black folks, in particular.




Jobless rate surges to highest level in 26 years: "The nation's unemployment rate surged to a 26-year high of 9.7 percent last month as employers slashed jobs in nearly every part of the economy, the Labor Department reported Friday. The news heralds what is likely to be a long, "jobless" recovery for the economy. Analysts believe the economy this summer started to emerge from the steep recession that started in December 2007, but say improvement in the job market is following the pattern of other recent recessions and lagging behind the return of growth in other sectors, such as manufacturing."

It's still not too late to redirect $400 billion to business tax cuts: "There are now 26 million Americans who can't find a full-time job... None of this does much for the credibility of the Obama Administration's stimulus spending plan, which was sold with the promise of a jobless rate this year of "below 8%" if the stimulus were passed. That was off by some three million jobs in a mere seven months. The same economists who fretted in February that $780 billion in stimulus was too small now claim that the $300 billion or so that has been spent has somehow ignited the recovery. But a tax-cutting stimulus would have provided much more job and economic growth for the buck, and it could even now too. If the Administration really wants to fire up private job creation, how about taking the remaining $400 billion or more and using it to lower business taxes? The unspent stimulus is enough for a two-year down payment on repealing the U.S. corporate income tax, which studies show is a job and wage-increase killer. Congress could also reconsider its July minimum-wage increase of 70 cents an hour, which almost certainly contributed to the leap in teenage unemployment to 25.5% in August."

Toronto film festival ignites anti-Israel boycott: "Canadian and American filmmakers lashed back Friday at what they described as an " outrageous" boycott of the Toronto International Film Festival by some filmmakers and writers in protest of the event's spotlight on filmmakers from Tel Aviv. Producer, writer and director David Zucker ("Scary Movie," "Naked Gun," "Airplane!" ) denounced as "left-wing crazies" the individuals who signed a letter called " The Toronto Declaration" to protest Israeli government policies. Mr. Zucker said he is "outraged" that actors such as Danny Glover and Jane Fonda, along with about 50 other activists, would sign a declaration that condemns Israel as an "apartheid regime" and dismisses the work of Tel Aviv filmmakers as "Israeli propaganda." The protest of Israel began Aug. 27 when Canadian filmmaker John Greyson released a public letter stating he would withdraw his film from the 10-day festival, which opens Thursday, to protest Israel's "brutal" military assault on Gaza earlier this year."

UN Declares Dictator Fidel Castro a "World Hero": "The UN has declared Fidel Castro, the longtime Communist dictator of Cuba, the “World Hero of Solidarity.” Castro killed thousands and thousands of people during his rule, torturing some to death (including a few American citizens), and Cuba remains an oppressive dictatorship even today. The award was presented to Castro by the President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann. Brockmann also successfully lobbied the Obama Administration to demand that Honduras allow the return to power of its ex-president and would-be dictator, Manuel Zelaya."

John Murtha's Airport for No One: "If you hate the hubbub of crowded airports, you might want to consider flying out of Johnstown, Pa. The airport sees an average of fewer than 30 people per day, there is never a wait for security, you can park for free right outside the gate, and you are almost guaranteed a row to yourself on any flight. You might wonder how the region ever had the air traffic demand to justify such a facility. It didn't. But it is located in the district of one of Congress's most unapologetic earmarkers: Democrat John Murtha. In 20 years, Mr. Murtha has successfully doled out more than $150 million of federal payments to what is now being called the airport for no one. I took a trip to southwestern Pennsylvania to explore how this small town received so much money and whether the John Murtha Airport is a legitimate federal investment."

Hard Times? Not For Government Bureaucracies: "The ability of government to insulate itself from the economic hardships that families and businesses across the nation have been forced to grapple with over the last twenty months is both astounding and frightening. It’s astounding when you consider the fact that any entity – public or private – could possibly keep its workforce intact during such a steep, sustained economic downturn. But it’s also frightening when you consider the lengths to which these taxpayer-funded bureaucracies have gone in order to protect their fiefdoms from harm while the rest of the nation – which has to pay for all of those government salaries – continues to hemorrhage jobs. Since the beginning of the current recession in December of 2007, the private sector has lost nearly 7 million jobs. Also, the vast majority of these layoffs came after politicians in Washington spent hundreds of billions of dollars on “stimulus” efforts, which were nothing more than bureaucratic bailouts in disguise. How many jobs has the government sector lost over that same time period, you may ask? That’s easy: None".

A rage-filled Democrat: "Longtime readers of this blog are well aware of California Democrat Rep. Pete Stark (Raving Mad)’s unhingedness. He has called a Republican opponent a “c**ksucker”, left a profanity-laced message on a constituent’s voicemail, and suggested on the floor of the House that Republicans are sending men and women to Iraq “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” He’s an unrepentant basket case — and everything that’s wrong with Washington. Here’s fresh proof from an independent TV documentarian Jan Helfeld, whose Socratic interviewing techniques cause Stark to engage in another trademark tirade. Helfeld asks Stark about the national debt and the economy. Stark tells him repeatedly to “shut up,” sneers at Helfeld’s lack of an advanced economic degree, and ends the interview by bolting from his chair and telling Helfeld to “Get the f**k out of here or I’ll throw you out the window”

The beginning of the end for Tory turncoat: "It is sublime news that Nigel Farage, who, as leader of Ukip, has proved himself the most articulate conservative in Britain, is taking on John Bercow, the pygmy Speaker of the Commons, in Buckingham at the election. Tories there had no one sensible to vote for; now they do. Will Labour and the Lib Dems keep to the convention that the main parties do not oppose the Speaker? I trust so – for, given the massive support by Labour for this ghastly little creep to win his post, and the lack of objection by the Lib Dems to him, any move by either party to oppose him would remove his mandate to be Speaker. Their sitting it out could ensure that Mr Farage won: which would be a rare example of justice in politics.

Campaign to change Irish minds on Lisbon Treaty falters: "With less than a month to go before the Irish vote on the Lisbon treaty for a second time, the campaign to get them to change their minds and vote “yes” is running into trouble. An opinion poll found that support for the treaty — which will create the EU’s first president and end national vetos on several key policy areas — has fallen by eight points over the summer to 46 per cent. The number of those intending to vote “no” has risen by one point to 29 per cent and the “undecideds” stand at 25 per cent. The poll bears an astonishing resemblance to one conducted a month before the treaty was last put to the country in a referendum, which was lost by a margin of 53-47 per cent. The Irish Republic is the only country to allow its people to vote on the treaty, which replaces the failed EU constitution. Campaigning has not even begun in earnest but the Government led by Fianna Fáil, which is pushing for a “yes” vote, is unpopular as Ireland battles with its worst recession in decades."


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


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


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Democrats in trouble

Frightened congressmen, who will be returning to Washington all shook up from facing the music of angry and resentful voters back home, are desperate to find a little reassurance. But there is none. Their mantra for September is "slippage," as in, "my prospects for re-election may be slipping away." Going home to look for a job is the congressional fate worse than death.

President Obama, reveling in his reputation as Mr. Cool, is pursued by angry demons of his own, demons mostly called "independents." Everybody's public-opinion polls show the Obama approval numbers among independents -- the crucial percentage in every election -- slipping for the first time below 50 percent. Rasmussen puts it under 40. The dilemma for both the president and his Democrats is that whatever the president does to help himself hurts his congressional allies, whatever the congressmen do to help themselves damages the president.

The president must get something from Congress that he can call "health-care reform," even if it's only a bottle of aspirin for every third family in America. Asking Congress to enact a step toward full government takeover of American medicine is asking congressmen to commit suicide. As popular as this might be with their constituents, it's not likely. The discontent of summer becomes the focused rage of autumn.

When the going gets tough the president always lays a bet on his teleprompter, and Mr. Obama will spend the weekend clearing his throat at Camp David while his aides tune the teleprompter's chips and diodes for the big speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night. Such invitations by Congress are usually reserved for declarations of war or a welcome back from an assassination attempt; the last such speech to a joint session was George W. Bush's reassurance to the nation just after 9/11.

This Congress is happy to oblige. Maybe the president and his teleprompter at last have something to say about a rescue. What could be more solemn, more grave and more important than saving a few congressional hides?

With his sinking approval numbers, the president has little standing to ask Congress for much if the members feel the ground slipping away. Most of them, particularly the freshmen, still don't understand what happened. They arrived in town in January with enormous majorities, ready for a cakewalk with a president widely believed capable of delivering "change." No one seemed to care what that "change" actually was. When his critics mocked him as "the messiah" many of his awed admirers in press and tube took the accolade seriously. Maybe he really was divine, sent from heaven or at least from Olympus. How could anyone or anything stop the unstoppable Democratic tide?

How indeed? The Republicans were lost in the swamp, with neither a hero nor a white horse in sight. There was no one there to pick up a falling flag, to sound a message and find a way to make it sing. What happened next was scariest of all for the Democrats. With Republicans looking for the fainting couch and the smelling salts, the public took charge of the debate over health care and started banging hard heads together.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi looked over the landscape and, where others saw democracy at work in all its messy glory, saw only hoodlums, brownshirts and swastikas. The more the media derided the protests, the stronger and louder they grew.

Congressmen at bay have always retreated for cover at home. This time they will scramble into Washington looking for relief, like that banged-up Union army racing for cover after a congressional picnic at Manassas. This is the audience waiting for Barack Obama, and the angry public will be listening along with Congress for something new.

The president, still in love with the sound of his voice even if nobody else thrills to it in the same old way, follows a tough act after the smoke and noise of the town halls. Will he get the wingnuts on his left in campaign mode by telling the Republicans to drop dead, as many of his wingnuts demand he do? Will he concede to sanity and common sense, and drop, at least for now, the scheme for government takeover of health care? The days dwindle down to a precious few, and so do his options.



He's Not Jimmy Carter

Conservatives are taking too much solace in the precipitous drop in Barack Obama's approval ratings, and too many of us are overconfident that his administration is merely a replay of the hapless presidency of Jimmy Carter that was easily swept out in a landslide election.

Today's situation is far different, far more conducive to our political adversary's political power, than that which faced Carter. And Obama is an entirely different breed of cat. He's more ruthless, more tactically savvy, and has far more dangerous objectives. A drop in his poll ratings isn't as serious a setback for him as similar occurrences were for the peanut farmer from Plains.

In short, conservatives should beware. The political battle we're in is far more difficult than any the conservative movement has ever faced. It will take all our energy and all our smarts to win it.

First, consider the differences in political circumstances between Obama and Carter. Unlike Carter, Obama does not face a Kennedy-led left wing of his party that despises him. Unlike Carter, Obama did not take office by an incredibly slim majority vote so close that a few thousands votes in two states would have swung the whole election. Unlike Carter, Obama took office in the middle of a crisis he could blame on his predecessor and coming off an unpopular war that he could blame almost entirely on the Republican Party. On the right, Carter faced a conservative movement (even if not a Republican Party) unified and energized by an inspirational leader -- but no similar, single spokesman today galvanizes conservatives like Ronald Reagan did then. Carter also did not have a nationwide movement kept together by a tool like the Internet, and did not have billionaires behind his general aims the way Obama has George Soros.

Finally, Obama has the advantage of a more ethnically diverse nation that has far less of a common culture and less of a common appreciation of shared socio-political history and values. Why is that an advantage? Because it gives him more leeway to make outlandish claims, and still have huge pluralities believe him, than Carter could ever hope for.



Radio Free Rush

If Mark Lloyd has his way, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Marr and Ron Smith may have to broadcast from an offshore Island. Mark Lloyd is the newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer for the Federal Communications Commission. His writings make it clear that he wants to tax and regulate “right wing” radio out of existence.

Liberals understand that talk radio is the major source of conservative grassroots networking and information sharing. It encourages and empowers individuals to have a voice and to use it. When the Congressional switchboards light up it is often because talk radio has admonished their listeners to “call your member of Congress and tell them how you feel”.

With virtually all of the major network and print media parroting the same liberal message, talk radio remains the only powerful obstacle to the passage of the leftist agenda. Case in point, the effort to jam a dismantling of the U.S. health delivery system through, unread and undiscussed. The strategy has foundered because Rush, Hannity, and a litany of local hosts have revealed on a daily basis new outrageous provisions found buried in the House health care bill. They were equally vocal about Cap and Trade and the budget busting deficits. Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has complained that talk radio is drowning out their message.

The left knows that a frontal assault on talk radio, re-implementing the Fairness Doctrine would set off a firestorm in the United States. So while there are some members of Congress who are calling for it to be revived, the President said during his campaign that he is not in favor of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. But there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Administration has created a diversity officer position that has never before existed at the FCC and appointed Mark Lloyd, whose stated goals would tax and regulate conservative and Christian radio into bankruptcy and give the proceeds to public radio.

As a senior fellow of the Soros funded Center for American Progress, Lloyd co-authored a report titled “The structural imbalance of political talk radio”. The conclusion is that there is too much conservative programming and not enough liberal talk. It matters not to the authors that radio station owners air Rush and Hannity and Mark Levin because that’s what the public supports and want to listen to, or that Air America could not attract enough listeners to succeed in the marketplace. The report suggests remedies to fix the “imbalance” that would put local and national caps on commercial radio station ownership and ensure greater “accountability” over radio licensing.

Most astonishingly, Mark Lloyd is calling for each private radio station every year to pay a fee (tax) for their broadcast license, equal to their gross operating budget, with the monies going to the liberal public stations, with whom they compete for listeners. This is a clear formula for driving private radio out of business. And just in case any survived, Lloyd would regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focused on “diverse views” and government activities....

People equal policy. In appointing a radical “Diversity Czar”, the Obama administration has placed a leftist into a position to promote policy that will squelch conservative speech.




The attack on the CIA: ""Those who are pushing for legal action against CIA agents may talk about 'upholding the law' but they are doing no such thing. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorists who operate outside the law. There was a time when everybody understood this. German soldiers who put on American military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and shot -- and nobody wrung their hands over it. Nor did the U.S. Army try to conceal what they had done. The executions were filmed and the film has been shown on the History Channel."

You can't make this stuff up: “The Agriculture Department, in a bid to help the ailing pork industry, said Thursday it will buy an additional $30 million of pork in an effort to boost prices. The USDA already has pledged to purchase $121 million of pork this year for government food-assistance programs, but producers continue to struggle.”

How government investment in business failed to create jobs: "A central belief in Washington and most state capitals nowadays is that government should "invest" in certain businesses—"clean tech," say, or manufacturing—to drive job creation. We hope it all turns out better than it has in Michigan. For the past 14 years, Lansing politicians have offered $3.3 billion in tax credits through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and spent another $1.6 billion in outlays to create and retain jobs. The subsidies have ranged from tax breaks for Hollywood, to money for new industrial plants, to millions for TV ads starring Jeff Daniels and Tim Allen talking about business and tourism in the state. It's one of the largest experiments in smokestack chasing in American history, but one thing it hasn't done is create jobs. An exhaustive new 100-page study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, has reviewed where all the money has gone and what came of it. The study finds that for every 100 jobs that were promised with these tax credits over 14 years, only 29 arrived. Dare we call this cash for clunkers?"

Obama's red-hot printing presses spark a flight away from the dollar and into gold: "Gold's rally on safe-haven and alternative-currency buying this week has catapulted the metal out of its range and poised it within inches of $US1000 an ounce. But if gold can't sustain the upward momentum above that psychological benchmark, it would be vulnerable to a fall if participants decide to book profits from the strong rally. Today, most-active December gold futures rose as high as $US999.50 an ounce, taking out the $US993.60 peak set in June and establishing the contract's strongest point since February 24, its last time above $US1000. The December contract settled at $US997.70. More thinly traded contracts into next year breached the $US1000 mark, as longer-dated futures tend to be more expensive because of carrying costs. Gold is often bought as a hedge against economic uncertainty, US dollar weakness and inflation. Although equities were near steady today, recent declines have supported gold."

More Forest Service bungling: "U.S. Forest Service executives were starkly warned just weeks before the California wildfires ignited that they risked losing the ability to fight future blazes by air because they had been unable to devise a politically acceptable plan to replace half-century-old aerial tankers that soon will be unworthy for flight. "If [Forest Service] does not make a convincing case, Congress and [White House Office of Management and Budget] may not give funding support for replacing aging aircraft, which may weaken future firefighting effectiveness and firefighter safety," the Agriculture Department's inspector general told the agency in a July report, which was reviewed by The Washington Times. For decades, the massive aerial tankers have been one of the government's iconic weapons against forest fires, soaring past mountains and though plumes of smoke to drop thousands of gallons of retardant chemicals that suppress the brush-consuming flames. But more than half of the agency's fleet was grounded in 2004 for safety reasons and the remaining 19 tankers are between 40 and 60 years old" [I am guessing that the Forest Service is under heavy Greenie influence]

Stimulus work sends cash flowing out of US: "After winning $2.3 million in federal stimulus money for a sewer project, officials in Auburn, Maine, wrangled another prize from Washington: permission to forgo American-made manhole covers for a design made only at a Canadian foundry. As local governments race to spend stimulus money, many are seeking exemptions from the law’s “Buy American’’ restrictions, which were intended to prevent taxpayer money from ending up in foreign pockets. The administration has granted waivers for goods as varied as steel for public housing projects, high-speed Internet equipment, and Auburn’s manhole covers, which have heavy-duty hinges to help withstand the town’s heavy truck traffic. The Obama administration could not provide a list or amount of waivers granted - which potentially could total billions of dollars - and Vice President Joe Biden’s office, which has responsibility for overseeing the stimulus, did not respond to requests for comment. Local officials and trade groups said that the drive to finish stimulus projects quickly, and the paucity of some American-made products, made the waivers inevitable."

CT: Hartford mayor arrested again; three others charged: “Mayor Eddie Perez on Wednesday surrendered to state police for the second time this year to face corruption charges, this time on allegations he and a former state lawmaker took part in a crooked parking lot deal. Perez, who was charged in January with taking a bribe from a city contractor, and former state Rep. Abraham Giles turned themselves in at the Hartford state police barracks and were charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy. … Two other people, a city councilwoman and a businessman, were also charged Wednesday in connection with the corruption probe that began nearly two years ago.”

Secret US spontaneous human combustion beam tested: “American death-tech goliath Boeing has announced a long-delayed in-flight firing for the smaller of its two aeroplane raygun-cannon prototypes, the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL). The ATL blaster, mounted in a Hercules transport aircraft, apparently ‘defeated’ an unoccupied stationary vehicle.”

Whole Foods: Boycott or buycott?: "John MacKey is that rarest of rare breeds in modern America. Not only is he a purveyor of health foods but a capitalist, and not only a capitalist but a self-described ‘businessman and a free market libertarian.’ … So even as health food fanatics excommunicated him for his heresy his free market capitalist and libertarian acolytes rallied to his defense. Spearheaded by the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition and backed by free speech supporters and local Libertarian Party affiliates, counter boycotts, called ‘buycotts,’ were staged at Whole Food outlets from Connecticut to D.C. to Pittsburg to St. Louis to San Diego to Dallas/Ft. worth.”

Labor’s love lost: “Organized labor has all but given up on what was once its top priority. No, I’m not referring to card check. It’s section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act that’s no longer being targeted by the AFL-CIO. If that provision sounds arcane, it’s not. It allows states to enact right-to-work laws that are the bane of union organizers. They protect the right of workers not to join a union. In effect, these statutes outlaw the ‘closed shop,’ which forces all workers to sign up where a union exists, and the ‘union shop,’ requiring them to pay dues even if they aren’t union members. Repealing 14(b) was labor’s paramount goal for decades. But Rich Trumka, who is slated to become AFL-CIO president later this month, said Wednesday: ‘There’s no active effort right now.’”


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


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


Friday, September 4, 2009

People have become too comfortable with government

When average everyday American citizens come home from work, they almost invariably drive on a congested highway owned and maintained by the government, often on the way to an overcrowded government school to pick up their children. And before they pull into the garage, they check on their mail from the government-run bankrupt post office.

Simply put: American citizens cannot avoid the pernicious intrusion of government into virtually every facet of their lives. It is pervasive. And it is invasive. Yet, very few people fully understand the long-term consequences of constant government intervention. It is clear that the side effects of ubiquitous government control often causes people to make what many free market advocates might consider irrational decisions about current government programs.

For example, when one economist asked MIT Nobel laureate Robert Solow why he was opposed to school choice he said, “It isn’t for any economic reason; all the economic reasons favor school vouchers. It is because what made me an American is the United States Army and the public school system.” That economist was Dr. Daniel Klein and Solow’s reaction is what he calls “The People’s Romance.”

“The People’s Romance” is a phenomenon that draws people to government in a way that allows government to do things to which most people would object were they to step back and take a closer look at the deleterious effects of government usurpation. Through a myriad of common government-owned “focal points” (i.e. roads, postal service, schools), government solidifies its power, which Klein calls “encompassing sentiment coordination.”

Once government gains the passive acceptance of a large portion of the population under “The People’s Romance,” it can do almost anything it wants. One common historical example was Josef Stalin’s reign over the Soviet Union. It is clear that he had the subjugated people under one of the strongest “People Romances” in recorded history.

Obviously, “The People’s Romance” is very dangerous for a functioning free society and is at the heart of authoritarian thinking. Karl Marx believed that workers were alienated through capitalism and the division of labor, and that they should be brought together as a “union into one single productive body.” That meant that every individual was now working towards a communal end.

And it is now clear that “The People’s Romance” is becoming an established fixture in the United States. For example, most Americans cannot even fathom the elimination of the Department of Education – even though the quality of education has plummeted since the establishment of that union-controlled monolithic bureaucracy. And rarely will one ever hear a Washington politician or mainstream media pundit discuss a true free-market solution to the nation’s health care problems – even though it would cut costs and improve quality just as it has in almost every other industry.

Unfortunately, because of “The People’s Romance” indoctrination, the words privatization or deregulation are now considered taboo. And all of the while the nation goes bankrupt as government continues grabbing up and running down one sector of the economy after another.

So now, sadly, the solutions to many of the current problems facing the United States are being ignored simply due to people’s blind trust in the powers that be. And patched-over roads with massive traffic jams leading to costly government schools where children’s heads are filled with mush have become an acceptable norm, along with the inefficiencies of an government monopolized postal system.

In short, they are all part and parcel of a once less obtrusive, arms-length relationship the American people once had with their government that has long-since devolved into an oppressive “People’s Romance” gone horribly awry.



Parents rebel against Obama TV speech to schools

'President doesn't get to speak to my children unchallenged'

Parents across the country are rebelling against plans by President Barack Obama to speak directly to their children through the classrooms of the nation's public schools without their presence, participation and approval. The plans announced by Obama also have been cited as raising the specter of the Civilian National Security Force, to which he's referred several times since his election campaign began, but never fully explained. "He's recruiting his civilian army. His 'Hitler' youth brigade," wrote one participant in a forum at Free Republic.

"I am not going to compare President Obama to Hitler. We'll leave that to others and you can form your own opinions about them and their analogies. ... However, we can learn a lot from the spread of propaganda in Europe that led to Hitler's power. A key ingredient in that spread of propaganda was through the youth," wrote a blogger at the blog, where the subject of the day was a national "Keep-Your-Child-at-Home-Day."

"Totalitarian regimes around the world have sought to spread their propaganda and entrench their power by brainwashing the children. I guess it's easier to indoctrinate a six-year-old instead of fighting a 26-year-old or being challenged by a 46-year-old in the voting booth," the blogger wrote.

At issue was an announcement that Obama plans to deliver a message directly to students via the Internet into public school classrooms across the nation on Sept. 8. According to announcement posted on, Obama will address students "about the importance of persisting and succeeding in school" at 1 p.m. Eastern at the website. The announcement said the federal Department of Education "is encouraging educators, students and parents to use this opportunity to help students get focused and begin the school year strong."

The government also is publicizing a list of suggestions for students and teachers to do in preparation for the speech, including studying Barack Obama's writings and presidency.

Obama had announced the speech during a child reporter's visiting the White House. During the interview, Obama said, "On September 8, when young people around the country are … will have just started or are about to go back to school, I'm going to be making a big speech to young people all across the country…"

But opposition is assembling quickly, similar to the concerns expressed on the AmericanElephant blog: "Now the former community organizer and current president of the United States is making an unprecedented speech to the school children of our nation. I'd like to believe his motives were pure and politics didn't play into this. But viewing this administration's track record doesn’t afford such benefit of the doubt.

"When the president browbeats property owners who want to protect their legal rights… when the president admits he doesn't know the facts but impugns the integrity of a police force… when the president calls me a liar for reporting what is actually in the health care bills and encourages my neighbors to report me to some enemies list… when the president apologizes to nations around the world and bows to a Saudi king… he loses the benefit of the doubt," the blogger wrote. "Without benefit of the doubt, the president doesn't get to speak to my children unchallenged," the writer said.

The education department's suggestions include building background knowledge for students about Obama, and then asking, "What do you think he'll say to you?" During the speech, students should be instructed to "think about the following: What is the president trying to tell me? What is the president asking me to do?" Another exercise would be to have students write letters to themselves about "what they can do to help the president." "These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals," the recommendations suggest.

At the Docstoc website where the announcement about the speech was drawing negative reaction, one forum participant confirmed that his grandchildren would not be in school that day. "What's he going to do, tell the kids to report their parents to the Thought Police if they don't support Obamacare?" added another. "I don't care what the heck he's going to talk about, unless he holds a teaching degree for every state, and he plans on actually TEACHING a lesson, this SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED!!!" added another....

Duane Lester, writing at All American Blogger, has verbalized opponents' worst fears.

"Hitler knew that if you control the youth, you control the future. I wrote about him in 'The Threats to Homeschooling: From Hitler to the NEA.' As I noted in that article, Hitler said: 'The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of innoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled,'" he wrote.



There has now been a big backdown on the "lessons" to go with the speech.


BrookesNews Update

Is excess capacity dragging the world economy down?: Excess capacity is a effect, not a cause. The belief that can generate a 'deflationary spiral' is a myth. There is only one way avoid mass layoffs and to prevent masses of capital from being rendered idle and that is for central banks to adopt sound economics. Unfortunately this will never happen while economists like Bernanke and Lin insist on practising 'macromancy'
The idea that consumer confidence drives an economy is a gross economic fallacy :The idea that consumer confidence is needed to drive an economy is complete nonsense. Focusing on consumption instead of production is a grave error that has enormous consequences. It is because of this error that we now find ourselves in the current economic mess
Thanks to our incompetent self-appointed guardians of the free market protectionism is on the rise :Once we take the phenomenon of overvalued currencies into account protectionist arguments that blame free trade for the decline in manufacturing fall to the ground. However, the overvalued-currency approach helps explains the fall in manufacturing as a proportion of GDP and thereby fingers monetary mismanagement as the real culprit
Barnaby Joyce is now the real leader of the Australian Opposition :Is the Liberal Party finished? Turnbull has betrayed the Party and the country to Big banks, national law firms, transnational accounting firms, Wall Street traders and the merchant bank millionaires are not the real industry of Australia. They are the froth floating on the real rivers of productive industry, the rivers that Turnbull wants dam. It's time for Turnbull and his rich pals got the royal boot
Don Hewitt and the CBS covered for Castro's tyranny : Don Hewitt's death brought forth an avalanche of encomiums from his media comrades, praising him for his integrity, courage and fearless defence of the truth. In fact, Hewitt deserves not praise but utter condemnation. He spent years covering for the sadistic Castro and his crimes. He nothing less than a totalitarian fellow traveller who was deeply complicit in the torture and murder of thousands of Cubans
Oil is NOT a fossil fuel, and CO2 is an innocent victim of green hysteria :Man-made global warming argument is a myth and the idea that Co2 is a pollutant is a lie. It is in fact a nutrient and is absolutely vital to life. Without it the planet would be literally lifeless. Furthermore, scientific evidence is mounting that far from being organic oil is an infinite resource that is being continuously produced within the bowels of the earth
US dollars and the tyranny of oil : "The realities of the market, and probably the expectation of inflation caused by the printing of money in the United States and the rest of the world during the current recession, virtually guarantee that oil tyrannies in the Middle East, Eurasia and Latin America will continue to enjoy big revenues
The law of supply and demand applies to health care too : "Despite the fact that Massachusetts' mandated health insurance has turned into a medical and financial nightmare Obama is fanatically determined to impose a similar scheme on the country, a scheme that he and his fellow Democrats intend to exempt themselves from. In addition, Obama's contempt for the beliefs of others could close down scores of catholic hospitals
Obama's czars: who's really minding the store?: A number of Obama's czars share several unsavoury characteristics: they don't like America, they want to turn the country into a socialist state, they are opposed to the First Amendment, they want America emasculated and they want the Democrats to control broadcasting. And they were all chosen by Obama because he shares their leftwing beliefs



Fire service at fault in big CA fires: "Months before it dispatched its famed firefighters to California's historic inferno, the U.S. Forest Service was warned by its internal watchdog that it could not reliably decide which forests were most vulnerable to wildfires or take pre-emptive actions because it had failed to follow through on reforms it promised to make in 2006. The April 3 warning from the Agriculture Department's inspector general about a continued shortcoming in the Forest Service's fire prevention program called "hazardous fuels reduction production" surfaced Wednesday as Forest Service officials acknowledged that the government agency failed to clear more than 1,500 acres of Angeles National Forest underbrush that it had been authorized to clear. The U.S. Forest Service obtained permits to burn away undergrowth and brush on more than 1,700 acres, but had done so on just 193 acres, Forest Service resource officer Steve Bear told the Associated Press." [This is typical of Greenie influence. Greenies HATE preventive burns]

Rogue black college president: "Maricopa County sheriff's detectives want to talk with embattled Montgomery [MD] College President Brian K. Johnson about an outstanding warrant that would land him in jail if he returned to Arizona. Capt. Larry Farnsworth said the department is looking at Mr. Johnson, who is accused of owing at least $12,000 in child support in Maricopa County, Ariz., and confirmed the warrant is still active in that state. "I'd love to convince him to come back," Capt. Farnsworth told The Washington Times. "I'm happy to make him a resident of our jail." The Montgomery College Board of Trustees is expected on Thursday to decide the fate of Mr. Johnson, who has been accused of mismanagement and excessive spending. College officials have said Mr. Johnson is regularly absent from the office and has not attended meetings with key politicians, including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley."

I think I know who the real A**hole is here: "In a video linked on Drudge Report, Obama Czar Van Jones calls Republicans A** Holes for not siding with Obama on legislation such as the Stimulus bill."

The destruction of the mass print media will help save freedom in America: "The invention of the Internet, just like the invention of the printing press in the 16th century, has reshuffled the deck when it comes to who controls the news and information to which ordinary people have access. The mass media is losing its power to control the news. It’s that simple! A new type of journalism, a citizen journalism in which all sides of a story are written about from every conceivable angle, is taking hold. It may be a bit chaotic right now, but better a little chaos than the controlled flow of information.”

Misanthropy revisited: "It seems to me that among too many scientists and champions of science there is a pointless misanthropy afoot, as if somehow to defend proper science against its pseudo variety one needed to take humanity a notch or two. It seems to be doubtless that human beings have special (enough) capacities, attributes, and so forth that classifying them as quite unlike all other animals known to us makes eminently good sense. Just take a few examples of what makes them so: it is human beings who do science, not dogs or orangutans or crows. It is they who build museums, produce movies, write novels, teach courses in anthropology and biology, etc., etc. Yes, people also are known to be quite destructive and, as Aristotle said some 2500 years ago, ‘If there is anyone who holds that the study of the animal is an unworthy pursuit, he ought to go farther and hold the same opinion about the study of himself.’ But while we are all animals, there is a lot that is quite different about people, different from other animals, and much of it is quite beneficial, even admirable at times.”

Whole Foods has guts: "For too long the left has had a monopoly on ‘business ethics.’ Executives who push the communitarian vision, or who are intimidated by progressive pundits, allow ’social justice’ activists to set the agenda and do all the talking. Those who do not agree are often cowed into silence. Business leaders who are turned off by leftist politics are likely to remain uninvolved and avoid getting into controversies. The Mackey article is a visible, concrete example that it is possible to be courageous, to stand up for principle, and to survive the disfavor of statist partisans. If Mr. Mackey can publicly defy those who want a government take over, so can you. There is something satisfying about putting leftist commentators on notice that they no longer control the discussion.”


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


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


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sanctions Won't Work Against Iran

The mullahs are addressing their vulnerability to a gasoline shortage


Last week, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed elBaradei attempted to whitewash Iran's nuclear weapons program by issuing a report ignoring substantial information about weaponization activities and downplaying continued noncooperation.

Even the Obama administration apparently now understands that resuming the long-stalled "Permanent-Five plus-one" negotiations (the U.N. Security Council's permanent members plus Germany) with Iran is highly unlikely to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Accordingly, President Obama is readying two alternatives. One is to characterize "freezing" Iran's nuclear program at existing levels as a "success." However, this less than complete termination of Iran's nuclear program would run contrary to years of determined clandestine efforts. Such a freeze is utterly unverifiable and amounts to surrender. This will result in a nuclear-armed Iran.

The other Obama administration ploy is "strong sanctions" imposed by the United States and other countries. This will also be a "success" only in the sense that it will allow the administration to claim a win. It won't actually prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

One idea for robust sanctions now before Congress is to prohibit exports of refined petroleum products—such as gasoline—to Iran. Today, Iran imports 40% of its daily refined petroleum consumption. Other proposals include international financial and insurance-related sanctions.

These ideas are well-intentioned and worth pursuing. If imposed, they will create shortages that will likely increase internal dissatisfaction with Iran's regime, thereby hopefully contributing to its ultimate demise. But no one should believe that tighter sanctions will, in the foreseeable future, have any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Six years ago more stringent measures against Iran might have worked, but today they are an idea whose time has come and gone. Their inadequacy stems from several causes.

First, the U.N. Security Council is no more likely now to approve strict sanctions against Iran than in the past. The prospects for Russian and Chinese support are between slim and none, since endorsing sanctions would harm their own economic and political interests in Iran. The most to expect from the council is a fourth sanctions resolution, as weak and ineffective as its predecessors, and only after weeks or months of agonizing negotiations.

Second, for those who understand the Security Council reality, most talk of enhanced sanctions envisages a coalition of the willing, consisting essentially of America, Japan and the European Union. But the EU's record to date, and Japan's likely policy under its new government (soon to be run by the Democratic Party of Japan), are hardly likely to produce a stiff, serious and sustained effort. Iran itself will offer countless reasons why sanctions should be suspended, reduced or ignored, and a disquieting amalgam of Western governments, businesses and commentators will agree at every step. It is very likely that EU resolve will fracture and Japan will follow suit. Moreover, many other countries will use the lack of a Security Council imprimatur to conduct business with Tehran, shredding the coalition's sanctions, and thereby weakening EU resolve still further.

Third, Iran is hardly standing idly by while sanctions that target its refined petroleum products are debated by the U.S. and other countries. Tehran's leaders are acutely aware of their vulnerability and are moving to address it. Iran, with extensive Chinese involvement, has already begun building new refineries and expanding existing facilities with the aim of approximately doubling domestic capacity by 2012. This will more than compensate for its current refining shortfall. Whether Iran can complete these projects on schedule remains to be seen, but the level of effort is intense and serious.

Tehran is also eliminating government subsidies that make retail gasoline cheaper than it otherwise would be. This will raise prices and thereby reduce consumption. Slashing consumer benefits is rarely popular, but this step alone will substantially reduce the pressure on Iran's refineries to produce. One can also be sure that the Revolutionary Guards' access to gasoline will not be diminished. Iran claims to have substantially increased its strategic gasoline reserves over the past year (though that increase has not been confirmed).

Most significantly, Iran's estimated natural gas reserves (948 trillion cubic feet in 2008) are second only to Russia's, and more than quadruple the U.S.'s. Here is "energy independence" for Iran that would make T. Boone Pickens envious, since relatively small capital expenditures can refit large motor-vehicle fleets (such as Iran's military and security services) to run on compressed natural gas. Iran also plans to increase subsidies for natural gas, thus diminishing consumer anger over lost gasoline subsidies.

For Washington, the question should not be whether "strict sanctions" will cause some economic harm despite Iran's multifarious, accelerating efforts to mitigate them. Instead, we must ask whether that harm will be sufficient to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. Objectively, there is no reason to believe that it will.

Adopting tougher economic sanctions is simply another detour away from hard decisions on whether to accept a nuclear Iran or support using force to prevent it.



The "Animal Rights Czar" spells potential trouble for American farmers

One of the most effective ways a President influences public policy and law in a lasting manner is through regulatory actions taken by the federal government. It's not an area that typically garners substantial media attention because regulatory work is generally a highly technical matter performed by policy wonks largely unknown to the public.

Yet, despite their general obscurity, federal regulations have a substantial impact on virtually every facet of society. And the personnel who oversee the regulatory process have far greater influence than most would imagine.

Chief among the personnel who oversee the regulatory process is the administrator of an unheralded office within the White House's Office of Management and Budget called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The administrator is also known as the "Regulatory Czar." Earlier this year the President nominated Cass Sunstein to run this office. Sunstein's nomination is now pending before the full Senate. A vote on his nomination is expected next week....

Some of Mr. Sunstein's views are troubling to say the least. He is on record supporting rights for animals including giving standing to private persons to sue on behalf of animals under existing laws. He has also stated that he believes there should be more regulation in the area of animal rights.

This is slippery slope to say the least. What will happen if he is presented with a regulatory situation where he is free to “follow the law” as well as advance his own personal views at the same time? And what if he uses the power of this office to influence the law he then eagerly follows?

In my own past work experience, I’ve had substantial firsthand experience with OIRA. The office can be a bear to deal with since it has life and death power over regulatory actions. And I have seen how the personal views of OIRA staff can become dangerously problematic, as the regulators attempt to push the law in one way or another because they are in a position to affect (or even craft) law, not just follow it.




I have just put up a couple of "off the beaten track" posts on my Paralipomena blog -- which may particularly interest readers who take an interest in history.

Mike Adams has up a sampling of his hate mail -- together with his mocking replies. Rather fun. I receive very similar outbursts of ignorance from the Left myself. Are there any Leftists who can spell?

In his usual articulate way, Buchanan argues persuasively that Britain and France should not have interfered with Hitler's Drang nach Osten and that Hitler's aims fell well short of world conquest. He certainly was not prepared for the war he provoked. But in the end I still think Churchill was right and that Hitler would have used "salami tactics" to slice off the rest of the world bit by bit and that he had to be stopped before he grew powerful enough to do that.

Hoyer has rowdy Townhall: "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told cheering and jeering constituents Tuesday he still supports a public health insurance option as part of a health care overhaul. Previously he's said there's room for compromise. At a packed high school gym, Hoyer, D-Md., was shouted down repeatedly during a town hall meeting where a crowd of 1,500 appeared to be evenly split between supporters and opponents of the health care overhaul effort. One woman pressed the Democratic leader on whether he'd give in on the public option if Republicans refused to compromise. "If the question is do I plan to vote for a public option with or without Republican support, the answer is yes," Hoyer said."

Obama's Shameless 'Torture' Prosecution Reversal: "President Barack Obama is either extraordinarily politically tone-deaf or arrogant beyond bounds, as indicated by his relentless pursuit of policies strongly rejected by the American people. His decision or acquiescence in the Department of Justice's decision to reinvestigate CIA terrorist interrogators is the latest outrage. Obama's approval ratings have cratered even further since my most recent column, and he's either Mr. Magoo, driving along in blissful oblivion, or Fearless Leader, who will do what he wants, American people be damned. Based on Obama's oft-articulated mindset -- "I won, so the other side should just quit talking" -- I think it's safe to say he's closer to dictator than to Magoo. Besides, Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to begin a new investigation of the CIA interrogators has Obama's national security-emasculating fingerprints all over it".

Obama praises barbaric 7th century ignorance at Ramadan dinner: "US President Barack Obama praised Islam as an integral part of America, as he feted prominent US Muslims at an Iftar dinner marking the holy fasting month of Ramadan. "For well over a billion Muslims, Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection," Mr Obama said, in remarks welcoming his guests in the State Dining Room of the White House. "Tonight's Iftar is a ritual that is being carried out this Ramadan at kitchen tables and mosques in all 50 states," he said. "Islam as we know is part of America. Like the broader American citizenry, the American Muslim community is one of extraordinary dynamism and diversity. "On this occasion, we celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and we also celebrate how much Muslims have enriched America and its culture in ways both large and small,'' he said."

Obama pleases nobody some of the time: A president is going to be smacked around from the moment he takes office and the uplifting rhetoric of campaign rallies meets the gritty reality of governing. But the criticism of Barack Obama has turned strikingly personal as some of his liberal media allies have gone wobbly on him. After playing a cheerleading role during the campaign, some are bluntly questioning whether he's up to the job. If Obama is losing Paul Krugman, can the rest of the left be far behind? "I'm concerned as to whether, in trying to reach out to the middle, he is selling out his base," says Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page. "I find myself saying, 'Where's that well-oiled Obama machine we saw last year?' . . . Maybe he's being a little too cool at this point." David Corn, a blogger for Politics Daily, says that despite a reservoir of support for the president, some of his policies "have caused concern, if not outright anger, among certain liberal commentators and bloggers. It's been a more conventional White House than many people expected or desired. . . . He's made compromises that have some people concerned about his adherence to principle." Perhaps that's why a recent Frank Rich column in the New York Times was headlined, "Is Obama Punking Us?"

Rasmussen poll: "Looking back, after the initial euphoria of inauguration day, the President’s ratings slipped a bit but remained steady and positive from February thru May. In June, the numbers began to move down a bit, still remained generally positive. July and August were less positive months for the President. Overall, the number who Strongly Approve has fallen from 43% in January to 30% in August. During that same time frame, the number who Strongly Disapprove has grown from 20% to 39%. Those numbers translate to a Presidential Approval Index that has declined from +23 in January to -9 in August. Also in August, the President’s total approval fell below 50% for the first time. While opposition to the President’s proposed health care reform is partly responsible for the declining approval ratings, the numbers reflect a broader level of frustration. Last fall, during the Bush Administration, voters overwhelmingly opposed the bailout plans for banks but the bailout went ahead. Earlier this year, voters overwhelmingly opposed the federal takeover of General Motors and Chrysler, but they went ahead as well. Two-thirds of American voters (64%) support a law requiring the federal government to sell its interest in GM within one year. Currently, Republicans have a modest lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot."

Two deadly truck bombers were recently freed by Obama admin.: Two truck bombers who killed 95 people in devastating attacks on the Iraqi finance and foreign ministries were recently released from US custody, a senior interior ministry official said on Sunday. "The suicide bomber who blew himself up at the ministry of foreign affairs was released three months ago from Camp Bucca," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, referring to the US jail near Basra. "The suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the ministry of finance was also released a few months ago from the same jail." The August 19 attacks in Baghdad also wounded 600 people in the worst day of violence to hit the country for 18 months."

French coverup: "Air France pilots yesterday accused accident investigators of trying to cover up the cause of the Airbus crash off the coast of Brazil in June that killed 228 people after officials appeared to blame the crew for the disaster... Mr Arnoux, an Airbus captain, said that the BEA was trying to overcome its previous failure to act on known faults with speed sensors, known as pitot tubes, on Airbus aircraft. “The architecture of the Airbus systems is in question,” he said. The families have accused Air France and the BEA of dishonesty. Christophe Guillot-Noël, who heads an association of victims’ families, said that Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, the airline boss, was privately blaming the pilots. The BEA report was shaped by politics, he said. A new deep-sea search is to start this month for the flight recorders, but data sent in the moments before the aircraft disappeared has offered an outline of the chain of events. Faulty speed readings, apparently caused by ice, prompted erratic behaviour by the automated flight system. Flying by hand, and without key data, the two pilots were unable to keep control. In a preliminary report in July, the BEA said that the speed sensors were “a factor, but not the cause” of the crash. In late July, the European Aviation Safety Agency ordered replacement of the French-made pitots with American ones on all long-range Airbuses. Suspicion has fallen on the highly automated design of the Airbus flight systems."

Freedom Communications enters bankruptcy protection: "Freedom Communications Inc., the owner of more than 30 daily newspapers including the Orange County Register in California, sought bankruptcy protection after print advertising revenue declined. Freedom, the owner of eight television stations, has assets of as much as $1 billion and debt of more than $1 billion, it said today in Chapter 11 papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The Irvine, California-based company said it filed after a majority of Freedom’s lenders agreed to support a plan to restructure its debt.”


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


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


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Iranian Nuclear Threat Targets U.S. as well as Israel

And they don't need missiles to deliver it. Put the bomb on a ship manned by "martyrs" and sail it into New York harbour and Bingo! That way you will have shown "The Great Satan" a thing or two! And think how many Jews you would pop off at the same time! Any NY Jew who supported Obama is an imbecile. New York is the obvious target of first choice for the mad mullahs. Wasn't 9/11 warning enough?

The Islamic republic has test-fired missiles capable of reaching Israel, southeastern Europe, and U.S. bases in the Mideast — and published reports say Iran is within a year of developing its own nuclear bomb. Security experts warn that even one nuclear device in the hands of a rogue nation could be used against the United States in a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack, an intense burst of energy from an exploding nuclear warhead high above the Earth.

So why isn't the Obama administration doing more to prevent a nuclear nightmare? “I get very, very nervous about it,” Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., told Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter. “I think Iran will have a nuclear weapon. I think now it's only a question of when.”

The United States is caught in the middle of a Mideast faceoff between one of its strongest allies, Israel, and Iran. Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and Israel refuses to rule out a preemptive strike against its adversary, while insisting that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. If the United States tries to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has vowed a campaign of bloody revenge.

Iran's hatred of Israel “is rooted in ideology,” said Walid Phares of Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The Iranian regime is jihadist, and they do not acknowledge nor accept the idea that a non-Islamic, non-jihadist state could exist in the region.”

Although Iran is thousands of miles from America's shores, its belligerent actions could have far-reaching repercussions. A regional war or nuclear attack could cause an already shaky U.S. economy to collapse.

Even scarier is the growing threat of an electromagnetic pulse attack, security analysts say. Such an attack could destroy all electronic devices over a massive area, from cell phones to computers to America's electrical grid, experts say. “Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can't support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity,” said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. “That would be a world without America, as a practical matter. And that is exactly what I believe the Iranians are working towards.”

President Barack Obama has committed the U.S. government to a diplomatic approach for resolving the high-stakes nuclear dispute, but Iran has rebuffed Obama's overtures. Meanwhile, Congress is working on legislation to grant Obama the power to impose crippling sanctions on Iran if the talk-first approach doesn't work.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., says such sanctions are long overdue. “A nuclear Iran is a threat to the Iranian people, to Israel, to the Middle East, to the national security of the United States. And what is Congress doing about it? Nothing. We have proposed legislation time and time again to have real, substantial sanctions leveled against Iran. Now, we like to point fingers and say the U.N. has not done enough, but really we should be pointing the fingers at ourselves.”...

“Eventually the Iranian regime, if not reformed from the inside, is going to get the nukes, is going to use them in a deterrence fashion, and eventually if there is a confrontation it may use them for real,” Phares said. “This revolt of Tehran may well become another Iranian revolution. Now its success is conditioned by how far the United States and the international community go in assisting this democratic movement.”

The more time Obama devotes to the diplomatic approach, critics warn, the more time Iran has to realize its nuclear ambitions and even sell its technology to other nations or terrorists. “I think the president's learning a lesson,” Hoekstra said. “I mean, the president was brutal on the previous administration on foreign policy, saying, you know, 'Your policy on North Korea is bad; your policy on Iran is bad.' Everywhere and anything the former president did in foreign policy was terrible [according to Obama], and he was going to come in and fix it. I think he's finding out that foreign policy is hard.”

More here


FDR is an unfortunate model for today's Leftists

As another example of our creative powers of memory, take the controversy around the federal government's frantic, improvised responses to the global financial crisis. Since most of those who experienced the Depression are dead, we're free to invoke the imagined spirit of the dole queue, or Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, without fear of contradiction. Yet even a casual student of the 1930s would have to admit, if they put their hand upon their heart, that the legislative response to the Depression in the US was at least as arbitrary, opportunistic and ill thought through as anything our own would-be FDRs could possible envision.

Roosevelt, who nowadays has come in some circles to assume the character of a saint, was in life as crafty and temporising a politician as was ever born. His economic policies (what his earliest and most un-illusioned biographer, James MacGregor Burns, described as the economics of the "broker state") required endless doses of improvisation, along with "a host of energetic and ill-assorted government programs and economic betterment without real recovery". And his governing style involved balancing the interests of the strongest interest groups at the expense of the weaker ones, in the process buying "short-term political gains at the expense of long-term strategic advance". None of this is exactly unfamiliar.

Like the democratic cynics of our own day, FDR happily pursued at all times, with almost geometrical precision, a path calculated to secure the maximum political advantage for every dollar of economic stimulus spent, all the while harmonising the electoral cycle to the fiscal one.

But then, what should we expect? As the era's sage, J.M. Keynes, happily pointed out, the good fortune of the slump was to have made economic expansion and political expediency into siblings.

In one sense, the chief economic legacy of the Depression to us is merely that hard times can be made to license a species of policy exuberance that might in other times be labelled as carelessness.

It was FDR's great advantage over our would-be FDRs that his programs really were nation building, in a practical and material sense. Then there were roads where roads had never been, while dams brought electricity to candle-burners.

Our would-be FDRs, by adopting the mantle of nation-building without really comprehending its original purpose, have in effect played a joke upon themselves and us.

No school is going to turn down a learning centre (whatever exactly that may be) or a technology hall. But they would probably rather have teachers who were once the stars of their own schools, and literature set texts that have some standing as works of literature. And in that regard, sad to say, the generation of the 30s do seem somehow to have stolen a march on us.

More here


Wackjob science czar to appear on David Letterman

According David Letterman’s website, wackjob science czar Dr. John Holdren is scheduled to appear Wednesday night, September 2. Holdren has been a guest on Letterman before. He visited in April 2008 to ply global warming scare propaganda. Not a peep from Letterman about Holdren’s spectacularly wrong predictions and irresponsible alarmism.

And we certainly won’t expect a peep from Letterman about Holdren’s extremist musings on forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and undesirables. Wouldn’t want to be accused of “defamation” by the left-wing blogs, eh, Dave?

Holdren’s office has gotten away with stonewalling questions about the science czar’s promotion of his colleague and mentor, eugenicist Harrison Brown. These are the questions I asked last month — and which many readers also asked of Holdren’s office to no avail:

1) Does Dr. Holdren disavow the population control extremism of his intellectual mentor and colleague, Harrison Brown or not?

2) Does Dr. Holdren also view the world population as a “pulsating mass of maggots?”

3) Was Dr. Holdren unaware of Harrison Brown’s views when he paid homage to him at the AAAS keynote address in 2007?

Internet investigative blogger Zombie spotlighted copious passages from one of Holdren’s favorite books by Harrison Brown, The Challenge of Man’s Future, which openly advocates a “broad eugenics program” — and also featured Holdren’s own praise for the book:




Zogby Interactive: Loss of Democrats' Support Helps Bring Obama Job Approval Down to 42%‏: "President Barack Obama's job approval rating is down to 42%, with a decline in approval from Democrats the leading factor. The latest Zogby Interactive poll of 4,518 likely voters conducted from August 28-31 found 48% disapprove and 42% approve of the job Obama is doing. The poll found 75% of Democrats approve of Obama's performance, a drop of 13 points among Democrats from an interactive poll done July 21-24 of this year. That same poll found 48% of all likely voters approving of Obama's job performance, and 49% disapproving. In the most recent poll, 8% of Republicans and 37% of Independents approve of Obama's job performance. Both are down slightly from six weeks ago; two points among Republicans and three among Independents".

A Democrat royal succession?: "With Massachusetts having paid its final respects to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the politics of succession begins in earnest this week — candidates will emerge, a race will take shape, and the Kennedy clan will have to reveal whether it wants to keep the seat in the family. All eyes now are on Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former US representative, with family members and political allies expecting him to make a decision very shortly on whether to enter the Democratic primary. No other Kennedy of his generation with the political stature to step into the role has signaled interest in it, according to Democratic insiders and people close to the family. And Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the senator’s widow, who many expected would be a likely candidate, so far has indicated she is not interested in succeeding her husband.”

Equal treatment for Congresscritters: "What this country needs, in addition to the good five-cent cigar, is a simple amendment to the Constitution decreeing that every law enacted by Congress will apply to members of Congress in the way it applies to everyone else. No more platinum-plated retirement plans for members of Congress, no more cut-rate haircuts and shoeshines, and most important of all, no more health-care plans specifically for the men and women who get to tell the rest of us what's good for us: "Just give us what you get." If Congress keeps its cut-rate haircuts, then every visiting Toyota mechanic just off the bus from Topeka, with his locks curling over his collar, is entitled to visit the congressional barber shop for a cut-rate cut, too. And a manicure. He wouldn't want dirt under his fingernails when dining at the Palm or the Jockey Club".

Band-Aids for the recession: “A recent poll shows that most economists now believe that the recession, which began in December 2007, will end in the third quarter of 2009. There’s been an uptick in manufacturing and consumer confidence, and the decline in housing prices appears to be flattening out. Unfortunately, the return to positive GDP will likely be short-lived. The current surge in production is mainly the result of President Obama’s fiscal stimulus and the rebuilding of inventories that were slashed after Lehman Bros defaulted in September, 2008. These factors should boost GDP for two or perhaps three quarters before the economy lapses back into recession. The most serious problems facing the economy have not yet been addressed or resolved. Consumer spending and bank lending are still contracting, and the banks are buried beneath $1.5 trillion in toxic assets and non-performing loans. Also, the wholesale credit system, (securitization) which provided up to 40 per cent of the credit flowing into the economy, is barely operating. No one really knows whether the system is salvageable or not. On a fundamental level, the financial system is broken and neither the Fed’s zero percent interest rates nor Obama’s gigantic fiscal stimulus has reversed the prevailing downward trend. Capital has stopped moving; the velocity of money has slowed to a crawl. It’s true, things are getting worse slower, but the signs of ‘recovery’ are as faint and irregular as a dying man’s breath.”

A path to fiscal sanity: "Estimates from the Social Security and Medicare trustees and the Congressional Budget Office, academic studies, and other reports suggest that the total federal fiscal imbalance amounts to 8 percent of future U.S. productive capacity. Since only about one-half of the nation’s total income is subject to taxes, Americans would have to immediately and permanently devote another 16 percent of their taxable incomes toward resolving it. Is this a feasible solution? Probably not. It’s unlikely that Americans are willing to bear the additional tax burden. Also, tax increases tend not to increase government savings; Congress quickly dissipated post–Cold War budget savings through tax cuts and rapid growth in government spending. And higher taxes would significantly erode individuals’ incentives to work and save, start and expand businesses, hire workers, and so on. If tax increases aren’t the answer, reduced government spending has to be.”

What’s $2 trillion among friends?: "$2,000,000,000,000. That’s the amount by which the Obama administration raised its ten-year estimate of the nation’s budget deficit from the one it made only a few months ago. Now, $2 trillion is a lot of money. But even more significant is the fact that this revision represents almost a 30 percent increase — no tiny percentage of the earlier $7 trillion figure. It seems that expenses are higher — up 24 percent this year, the largest increase since the height of the Korean War — than originally estimated, and revenues are lower. The resulting deficit, says Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, is ‘higher than desirable.’ He might have added that the administration’s critics had it right when they claimed that the earlier estimate represented a turn around the dance floor with that old seductress, Rosy Scenario.”

Student loan fix will prove costly: "America is teetering on the edge of an $11.6-trillion abyss called the ‘national debt,’ a financial chasm that threatens to swallow our economic future whole. And what are our leaders doing about it? If a bill working its way through Congress is any indication, they’re insisting that they’re pulling us away from doom, while they quietly expand the monstrous hole. The bill is the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), the focal point of which is elimination of the Federal Family Education Loan program — which uses federal bucks to back student loans from private lenders — and replacement with lending straight from Uncle Sam. But that’s hardly all it would do.”

WA: Domestic partnership referendum makes ballot: "A referendum that could overturn Washington state’s ‘everything but marriage’ domestic partnership law has qualified for the November ballot. The secretary of state’s office said Monday that sponsors of Referendum 71 had 121,486 valid petition signatures — enough to put the newly expanded domestic partnership law to a public vote. A secondary check of rejected signatures was not complete, so the number could increase. The new law was supposed to take effect July 26 but was delayed until the signature count was complete. Now, it won’t take effect unless it is approved in the Nov. 3 election. The measure would expand existing domestic partnerships to give gay and lesbian couples all the state-provided benefits that married heterosexual couples have.”

Britain: New “booze Asbos” come under fire: “New powers to impose Drinking Banning Orders — dubbed ‘booze Asbos’ — on people who behave anti-socially while drunk have come under fire. From Monday, police and councils in England and Wales can seek such an order on anyone aged 16 and over. Offenders must stay away from pubs, bars, off-licences and named areas for up to two years or face a £2,500 fine. However, the Magistrates Association said trying to ban people from all licensed premises was ‘nonsense.’”

Germany: Hoarding "energy-guzzling" bulbs ahead of EU ban: “Germans, who sometimes see themselves as guardians of the environment, are hoarding energy-guzzling incandescent light bulbs ahead of a looming European Union-wide ban, the GfK market research agency said. The Nuremberg-based GfK reported sales of incandescent bulbs had soared about 35 percent in the first half of the year ahead of a ban that starts Tuesday — even though it was proposed by German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel in 2007. Some German retailers said they have seen sales of 100-watt incandescent bulbs soar 600 percent since the end of July.”


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


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


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

America once had two constructive political parties

HIS NAME WAS KENNEDY. He was the pre-eminent figure in the Democratic Party. And he was a resolute supply-side tax-cutter. "It is a paradoxical truth," he once told the Economic Club of New York, "that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now." What he had in mind, he said, was not "a 'quickie' or a temporary tax cut." He wanted nothing less than "an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes."

Would he be a Democrat today? Those were not the words of Senator Edward Kennedy. The speaker – in December 1962 -- was President John F. Kennedy, and his ringing call for tax cuts was no anomaly. In a televised address from the Oval Office four months earlier, JFK had called high tax rates a danger to "the very essence of the progress of a free society: the incentive of additional return for additional effort." In his 1963 State of the Union message, he said his first priority was "the enactment this year of a substantial reduction and revision in federal income taxes." In the speech he was scheduled to deliver to the Texas Democratic State Committee on Nov. 22, 1963, Kennedy planned to report proudly: "We have proposed a massive tax reduction, with particular benefits for small business."

In recent days, Ted Kennedy has been justly acclaimed as a lion of the Democratic Party. But how different the party mourning Kennedy today is from the one that first nominated him in 1962!

The reversal on taxes is one vivid example. When Ted Kennedy entered the Senate in 1963, JFK was leading a campaign for sweeping tax relief that would eventually slash the top marginal rate by a huge 21 percentage points, from 91 to 70. But Democrats have long since become the party that resists lower taxes. In our era, it has been Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush who have championed JFK-style rate cuts -- cuts that Democrats now condemn as "tax breaks for the wealthy."

On civil rights, too, there has been a sea change.

Liberal Democrats in the 1960s upheld the colorblind ideal -- the conviction that Americans should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Far from supporting racial quotas and preferences, civil-rights Democrats of that generation flatly rejected them. Senator Hubert Humphrey famously vowed that if anyone could find anything in the 1964 Civil Rights Bill that would compel employers to hire on the basis of race or national origin, "I will start eating the pages one after another, because it is not in there." In a 1963 press conference, President Kennedy explicitly opposed racial preferences: "We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color."

But in the years that followed, as such preferences became entrenched in hiring and education, liberal Democrats became their doughtiest supporters. Senator Kennedy was "a leader in congressional efforts to preserve federal affirmative action," his Senate website notes. When the Supreme Court ruled against the racial classification of schoolchildren in a 2007 case -- "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," the court frankly advised -- Kennedy blasted the decision as one that "turns back the clock on equality."

Especially dramatic has been the Democratic Party's metamorphosis on foreign affairs.

"There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future: Let them come to Berlin," declared President Kennedy, a staunch Cold Warrior, in his great Berlin Wall speech in 1963. "There are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists: Let them come to Berlin." But by 1987, when another American president journeyed to Berlin to challenge Moscow to "tear down this wall," such muscular anti-Communism had all but vanished from Democratic Party thinking.

JFK likewise spoke for mainstream Democrats when he asserted that America would "pay any price, bear any burden" to spread freedom and democracy in the world. He was a hawk who pressed for higher defense spending and American military superiority. The Democratic Party of more recent years -- the party of "come home, America" and a nuclear freeze -- was one he wouldn't have recognized.

All political parties alter over time, of course. Today's Republican Party is not a carbon-copy of Eisenhower's: It is more internationalist, more religious, more Southern. But a resurrected Eisenhower would still recognize the GOP, and still command its esteem.

The Democrats' transformation has been much more profound. Over the course of Ted Kennedy's long Senate career, his party's ideological center shifted hard to the left. It goes without saying that a JFK today could never be the Democrats' candidate for president. The question is, would he still be a Democrat?


And why have the Democrats drifted so far Left? Because they no longer need the support of mainstream Americans. They are now the party of the minorities and the haters -- and with their unwavering support for illegal immigration, they hope to entrench that -- JR]


His monument stands all around us


The most revealing moment in Edward "Ted" Kennedy's political life came Nov. 4, 1979, just three days before he would officially launch his challenge to a sitting president of his own party, Jimmy Carter. In a televised interview, CBS News correspondent Roger Mudd asked the already stout Massachusetts senator a "giveaway" question, a question about as tough as a quiz show host trying to help break the ice with a nervous contestant by asking, "What color is grass?" Roger Mudd asked: "Why do you want to be president?"

Ted Kennedy, 47, was about to challenge an incumbent president of his own party, with whom his ideological differences were minimal. Why not wait just four years more? Dividing one's own party in such a way must always weaken the party, creating an opening for the other party's challenger in the general election (Ronald Reagan, in this case) no matter who wins the primary.

Any mature politician considering such a move -- any thoughtful man who had seen two elder brothers assassinated for their trouble in seeking that office -- would have asked himself, not once or twice, but a hundred times, "Do I really want to do this? Is seeking the White House -- heck, even winning the White House -- the best thing for my family, my country, my party, for me? What can I accomplish that Jimmy Carter cannot, and how important is it?"

Instead, Ted Kennedy was caught flat-footed when Mudd asked him why he wanted to be president. This was not merely a "bad moment." His rambling, directionless answer -- vague bromides about the European nations doing better on energy policy and on fighting inflation -- made it clear he was merely being swept along by those who wanted to benefit from installing him in the seat of power. He was running because it was "his turn" ... or something.

The little boy who had always been overshadowed by his big brothers; the spoiled brat who was kicked out of Harvard for paying someone else to take his Spanish exam for him; the confused, panicked drunk who returned to the party and left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in his car as it sank into the waters off Chappaquiddick Island (unless we choose to give the event a more ominous interpretation -- Gene Frieh, the undertaker, told reporters death "was due to suffocation rather than drowning"; John Farrar, the diver who removed Kopechne from the car, claimed she was "too buoyant to be full of water"; there was never an autopsy) was finally on his own, asked a question that any thoughtful man would have been rehearsing in his own mind for months.

And the second-term senator was revealed to have the quality of intellect we'd expect from some babbling beauty contestant, a creature whose life and purpose and ambition were, to be as kind as possible, unexamined.

Oh, some will moan, you're just concentrating on the bad parts. The man's body is barely cold, for heaven's sake. Can't you talk about his achievements, all the good he did?

Read the paeans from the left, praising him as a "lion of the Senate." They speak of his endless concern for the "underprivileged," though they're woefully short on specifics.

The socialists and redistributionists always seek forgiveness for their errors and excesses -- the policies that have driven this country to the brink of bankruptcy and hyperinflation -- in terms of what they meant to accomplish for "the poor and the downtrodden." But who suffers worst in the hard times their policies have brought about? The hardworking poor, who find their jobs gone, their mortgages upside down, the once-proud currency in which their savings and investments are denominated increasingly worthless.

The welfare classes will do all right -- for a while. But what favor have the condescending handouts of the Ted Kennedys of Washington done them, by locking them into multiple generations of fatherless, spiritless, smoldering angry dependence, while gradually sapping and enervating the larger, entrepreneurial, once-vibrant free market economy that could have offered them real opportunity?



Another Democrat crook

Rep. Charles Rangel failed to report as much as $1.3 million in outside income -- including up to $1 million for a Harlem building sale -- on financial-disclosure forms he filed between 2002 and 2006, according to newly amended records. The documents also show the embattled chairman of the Ways and Means Committee -- who is being probed by the House Ethics Committee -- failed to reveal a staggering $3 million in various business transactions over the same period.

This week, Rangel filed drastically revised financial-disclosure forms reflecting new, higher amounts of outside income and numerous additional business deals that had not been reported when the reports were originally filed. In 2004, for instance, Rangel reported earning between $4,000 and $10,000 in outside earnings on top of his $158,100 congressional salary. But the amended filings show that after the sale of a property on West 132nd Street, his outside income that year was somewhere between $118,000 and $1.04 million. The forms filed by House members provide for a range of value on such transactions, so the precise number isn't publicly known. Rangel also lowballed his income by as much as $70,000 in 2002, $46,000 in 2003 and $117,000 in 2006, records show. Only in 2005 did Rangel reveal his total outside income.

Members of Congress are required to disclose all their assets and outside income in an effort to expose possible undue influences. Rangel's office insists the Harlem Democrat did not conceal any outside income from the IRS and is paid up on his taxes.

The Post revealed yesterday that Rangel is in arrears on New Jersey property taxes -- for property that for more than 15 years he failed to disclose to Congress and the public. Another area of wide discrepancy in his financial-disclosure forms is where he's required to list financial transactions. Every year between 2002 and 2007, Rangel failed to include all his deals for the year, according to records. On his 2002 and 2003 financial-disclosure statements, Rangel did not include any transactions whatsoever, according to papers on file with the House clerk. But the amended records filed this month show as much as $310,000 in business deals in 2002 and up to $80,000 in transactions in 2003.

In 2004, Rangel left off his disclosure form as much as $430,000 in stock transactions, amended records show. One of those deals he did include as a transaction on his original disclosure was the sale of the brownstone on West 132nd Street. But in the same report, Rangel failed to include proceeds from that sale as outside income. That has been revised in the amended report. Despite the reported sale, city records still show Rangel is the owner of that property. His nephew, Ralph, who appears to live in the building, wouldn't answer questions yesterday. Rangel's office declined numerous requests yesterday for explanation.

The problems with Rangel's 2004 disclosure report were so glaring that apparently they caught someone's attention, forcing Rangel to write a letter correcting his failure to fully disclose transactions that year. "I listed only the real-estate transactions in which we were involved in calendar year 2004 on the transactions schedule because I was not aware of such details as the date and magnitude of the transactions involving our securities holding in the Merrill Lynch account," he wrote in a May 2006 letter to House Clerk Karen Haas.




House will pass “audit the Fed” bill: "Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the most unabashed liberals in the U.S. House of Representatives, told a Massachusetts town hall recently that Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve will clear his chamber by October. Over half of the House members, most of them Republican, have signed on to the bill, H.R. 1207. Though Frank disagrees — as many proponents of the bill contend — that the Fed is the cause of the U.S. dollar’s shrinking value, he told a Massachusetts audience that he’s been a proponent of greater transparency at the nation’s central bank for some time.” [Anything to distract attention from the role of Congress itself]

Taiwan: Dalai Lama visits, Chicoms throw usual tantrum: “The Dalai Lama has arrived in Taiwan on a visit that has been denounced by China as being likely to destabalise improving ties with Taipei. The Tibetan Buddhist leader landed at Taoyuan International Airport on Monday for what he called a ‘purely humanitarian’ trip aimed at comforting victims of Typhoon Morakot. He has been exiled from Tibet for more than half a century following China’s invasion of the then-state and labelled a separatist by Beijing, for promoting initially independence and now autonomy for the region.”

NV: LVRJ “bullied” by Reid?: “The publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV], of ‘bullying’ his newspaper by telling an employee he wants the [paper] shut down. Sherman Frederick alleged in a column in his newspaper that the ‘full-on threat’ was made during a brief exchange between Reid and the newspaper’s advertising director Wednesday at a luncheon for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Frederick said that as Reid shook the employee’s hand, he said, ‘I hope you go out of business.’ … It’s unclear whether Reid’s comment was meant in jest.”

TN: Nashville parks enforce bicycle speed limit: “A clash between ‘Tour de France wannabes’ and ‘iPod-deaf roadblocks’ has park police warning cyclists to slow down and walkers to stay in the slow lane on Nashville’s greenways. Park police trained radar guns on cyclists on three greenways Saturday. They weren’t there to write speeding tickets, says Capt. Rich Foley, park police commander. The aim is to teach riders about the new 15 mph speed limit on the walk/bike paths and encourage riders and walkers to share the space. Conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians are a big issue and seem to be on the rise, Foley said.” [People have been killed by speeding cyclists]

Diversity Czar: End run around the Fairness Doctrine?: “The premise for ending the stranglehold on the talk radio genre by conservatives is that too much conservative talk and not enough liberal talk is bad for American democracy because it’s anti-diversity. Yet it’s diversity that gave rise to conservative talk radio in the first place. In a free society with free people freely tuning their freely purchased radios to freely sponsored programs and freely listening to whom they damn well pleased, free people voted with their ears to listen to conservative yak rather than liberal lip. But of course when progressives talk about diversity they don’t mean individual diversity, they mean politically correct ideologically-defined government-imposed ‘group diversity.’ They mean a diversity of people who believe exactly as they believe.”

Free the mails: “Yet another giant company has plunging sales, soaring debt, and is weighed down by massive labor costs. Will taxpayers have to pay for another federal bailout? Alas, it’s already in the cards because this company is the U.S. Postal Service, which has estimated losses of $7 billion this year. With email grabbing ever more market share from snail mail, USPS’s finances are steadily deteriorating. What should federal policymakers do? They can’t give USPS the General Motors treatment and nationalize it, because it’s already government-owned. And they can’t reform postal markets with a ‘public option’ because that’s what the USPS already is. Instead, Congress and President Obama should deregulate postal markets and privatize the USPS.”

Caving to trial lawyers: "We’ve always suspected that fear of angering trial lawyers was the only reason President Obama refused to embrace tort reform as a crucial part of achieving his goal of reduced health care costs. Now we know for sure. A moment of candor by Howard Dean, the former chairman of the DNC and an enthusiastic backer of Obama’s health reform initiative, confirmed our suspicions. ‘The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everyone else they were taking on,’ Dean said at a town hall meeting in Virginia last week. So much for Obama’s insistence that cutting costs is dear to his heart. He’s rejected, for purely political reasons, one of the most effective tools for containing medical costs. It would upset a special interest group — well-heeled plaintiff’s lawyers — that is one of the biggest funders of the Democratic party.”

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


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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)