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

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30 June, 2009

The Church of England and Die Judenfrage

I should have mentioned yesterday that the "learned" British judges who ruled that Jews are a race do have on their side one authority who is much respected to this day in academe: Karl Marx. Marx was of course the original self-hating Jew. He was furiously antisemitic. But Marx was a sponger. He rarely earned enough to keep himself and his family so was always "borrowing" money from someone. It was initially his father (Heinrich Marx was a real gentleman, a lovely man. How he ever had such a monster as Karl is hard to imagine) and he was in later years supported by Friedrich Engels out of the proceeds of the Engels family business. One therefore imagines that when he wrote a letter to his Jewish uncle in Holland he had in mind ingratiating himself for future borrowing. The letter was about Marx's excitement over the American civil war and his contempt for Benjamin Disraeli but in the course of his comments about Disraeli he does refer to "our race".

As I briefly touched on in the opening sentence to my post yesterday, I am not wholly unsympathetic to self-hating Jews. It must be appalling to realize that by the accident of your birth you are a member of a widely suspect and even hated group -- regardless of what your personal characteristics might be. Distancing oneself from that could even be a perfectly healthy reaction. But it is when such Jews extend the dislike of their origins to undermining Israel that they really get my goat. Why do they have to be so extreme? Why not simply become an Anglican, as Disraeli did? The Anglicans (Episcopalians in the USA) have lovely buildings, colourful services and the sermons demand nothing and in fact mean nothing at all. Why not just treat it as a pleasant Sunday morning time of relaxation and have a whole new identity to show for it? Many Anglican bishops are barely-disguised atheists so you certainly don't have to believe anything to be an Anglican. It is sometimes said that the only requirement for being an Anglican is good taste.

By the way, "Die Judenfrage" is German for "The Jewish Question" and is an expression used by both Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler so there is an allusion to history in the title I chose yesterday and today. It is actually a bit of a tease. Any stray Leftist coming by my writings would expect something antisemitic under that title -- but, as you can see, such an expectation would have been disappointed.

In my peculiar position as a atheist with an interest in religious matters, I take a continued interest not only in Jews but also in the Church of England. And I have recently put up on my Paralipomena blog an article by a Church of England bishop that makes doleful reading. He notes the steady decline in adherents to his church and suspects that his church will not exist at all in 30 years' time. But he has no real answer to that problem. So will the Church of England eventually disappear up its own backside? I think not. The problem, as I see it, is that they have somehow become dominated by dress-up queens. People go there for a show rather than for a boost to faith.

But amid such desecration of a great heritage, real faith does survive in patches. The Sydney diocese is the most vivid proof of that. Their churches are full and their seminary is overflowing with people with a religious vocation. So how do they do it? Simple. They have returned to their roots. The original faith of the New Testament is a mightily powerful one and the closer you get to that the more empowered you will be. And the 39 "Articles of Religion" that were the original definition of Anglicanism are a very powerful expression of early Protestant faith -- a faith that was very Bible-based. So my expectation is that the show-ponies of Anglicanism will wither away eventually and a core of real believers will remain.

They may even evangelize. Priests ordained in Sydney already do. They go into neighbouring dioceses and set up "Family Churches", much to the irritation of the local bishops. The Sydney priests end up having more people in their pews than the local Bishop does! So the vitality is there if you drink from the waters of the original New Testament faith. The knowalls may dismiss such faith as "old-fashioned" and "irrelevant to the modern world" but it still has a great power to bring blessings to its people.


In Honduras, Freedom Restored -- no thanks to Obama

The story out of Honduras is that the people of that stalwart little country have now taken it into their own hands to preserve their democracy in the most courageous action since they established their constitutional republic nearly three decades ago. Just as former Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales prepared to seize full power in direct violation of the nation’s Constitution, the military leadership – with the backing of the people – removed him from power.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama, after encouraging the Zelaya coup with his complicit silence, has now condemned the people’s move to uphold their Constitution and preserve their freedom. And, as expected, the mainstream media has joined Mr. Obama in censuring the restoration of democracy by censoring the full story.

Yet, what actually occurred in Honduras is a case study in the survival of freedom against the most oppressive odds. Earlier this year, in the face of strong public opposition, Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales declared that he would stage a referendum to have the country’s constitutional term limits law overturned, thereby allowing him to remain indefinitely in power. The people of Honduras had adopted the single, four-year--term limit as part of their Constitution in January of 1982. Significantly, the term limits provision is one of only eight “firm articles,” out of 375. By law, cannot be amended.

The Supreme Court of Honduras declared the Zelaya referendum unconstitutional, his own Liberal Party came out in strong opposition, and the public overwhelmingly opposed his power grab. Despite this, Zelaya, a leftwing politician with strong ties to Cuba’s Castro and Venezuela’s Chavez, scheduled the referendum for Sunday, June 28. At midnight, Wednesday, June 24, the strong-arm president gave a televised speech accusing his opposition of promoting “destabilization and chaos” by attempting to thwart his unconstitutional referendum.

As the situation in Honduras continued to deteriorate, the Zelaya’s attorney general called for his ouster; his Defense Minister resigned; he fired the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for stating that he would refuse to send out troops to put down public protests; the chiefs of the army, navy, and air force resigned; and the country’s Supreme Court ordered the nation’s army and police not to support the unconstitutional referendum.

Through all of this, Barack Obama abetted the Zelaya power grab through his calculated silence. Yet, the brave people of Honduras – enduring almost unfathomable duress – stood firm in support of their Constitution and the term limits embodied in it.

Now that the will of the people has triumphed over tragedy, we believe the time has come for Mr. Obama to concede the defeat of his partner and policy, and for the U.S. media to support those who, putting principle above personal safety, have let freedom ring. At ALG news, we applaud the Freedom Fighters of neighboring Honduras.

The story out of Honduras is that the people of that stalwart little country have now taken it into their own hands to preserve their democracy in the most courageous action since they established their constitutional republic nearly three decades ago. Just as former Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales prepared to seize full power in direct violation of the nation’s Constitution, the military leadership – with the backing of the people – removed him from power.

Unfortunately, Barak Obama, after encouraging the Zelaya coup with his complicit silence, has now condemned the people’s move to uphold their Constitution and preserve their freedom. And, as expected, the mainstream media has joined Mr. Obama in censuring the restoration of democracy by censoring the full story.

Yet, what actually occurred in Honduras is a case study in the survival of freedom against the most oppressive odds. Earlier this year, in the face of strong public opposition, Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales declared that he would stage a referendum to have the country’s constitutional term limits law overturned, thereby allowing him to remain indefinitely in power. The people of Honduras had adopted the single, four-year--term limit as part of their Constitution in January of 1982. Significantly, the term limits provision is one of only eight “firm articles,” out of 375. By law, cannot be amended.

The Supreme Court of Honduras declared the Zelaya referendum unconstitutional, his own Liberal Party came out in strong opposition, and the public overwhelmingly opposed his power grab. Despite this, Zelaya, a leftwing politician with strong ties to Cuba’s Castro and Venezuela’s Chavez, scheduled the referendum for Sunday, June 28. At midnight, Wednesday, June 24, the strong-arm president gave a televised speech accusing his opposition of promoting “destabilization and chaos” by attempting to thwart his unconstitutional referendum.

As the situation in Honduras continued to deteriorate, the Zelaya’s attorney general called for his ouster; his Defense Minister resigned; he fired the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for stating that he would refuse to send out troops to put down public protests; the chiefs of the army, navy, and air force resigned; and the country’s Supreme Court ordered the nation’s army and police not to support the unconstitutional referendum.

Through all of this, Barack Obama abetted the Zelaya power grab through his calculated silence. Yet, the brave people of Honduras – enduring almost unfathomable duress – stood firm in support of their Constitution and the term limits embodied in it.

Now that the will of the people has triumphed over tragedy, we believe the time has come for Mr. Obama to concede the defeat of his partner and policy, and for the U.S. media to support those who, putting principle above personal safety, have let freedom ring. At ALG news, we applaud the Freedom Fighters of neighboring Honduras.




U.S. poised to let Iraqis take lead: "Ten days before Tuesday's deadline for U.S. withdrawal from Iraqi cities, the war came full circle with the transfer to Iraqi control of two small but heavily symbolic bases in northeast Baghdad. Joint Security Forces Apache in Adhamiyah and Joint Security Forces Sadr City were signed over -- the first without fanfare, the second in more ceremonial fashion. Iraqi Gen. Abud Kambar al-Malliki warned militias during the transfer ceremony of the Sadr base that his forces "are ready to fight you if you attack our citizens." "Those who hide in dark holes: We are ready to have the earth shaking above your head," he said. Whether Iraqis are really ready to defend their own population centers is among the most crucial questions this country faces as the United States pulls back in accordance with last year's Status of Forces Agreement en route to a total withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by the end of 2011. "I do believe they're ready," Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said Sunday on CNNs "State of the Union." Many Iraqis and some Americans, however, are apprehensive."

Shaky rocket: "“The violent shaking that threatens to destroy the Ares I rocket that NASA hopes will one day return astronauts to the moon is also threatening to delay — or even cancel — the first flight of its test version, the Ares I-X. Air Force officials who have safety jurisdiction over all launches from Kennedy Space Center are worried that the rocket’s vibrations could knock out the self-destruct mechanism required in case the launch goes awry.”

Graham: If America forgave Clinton, why not Sanford?: “A clearly emotional Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina Sunday invoked former President Clinton as a defense for why embattled Gov. Mark Sanford, also of South Carolina, should potentially be allowed to finish his term. Senator Graham is the godfather of Governor Sanford’s fourth and youngest son, and he fielded questions about Sanford’s admitted infidelity with difficulty on NBC’s Meet the Press. In a contrite moment, he called the GOP a party of sinners — apparently referring to his own religious convictions, because he added that the same was true of ‘every other group in America.’”

Anti-tax group at odds with Crist: "The Club for Growth, a conservative anti-tax group, is considering running ads in the Republican Party's Senate primary race against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for supporting higher state taxes and President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus spending package.Mr. Crist's opponent for the Republican Party's nomination next year is former state Speaker of the House Marco Rubio, a young conservative running on cutting government spending and taxes who recently met here with the Club for Growth, which has a strong reputation for defeating liberal and moderate Republicans in party primaries with its aggressive ad campaigns. "We recently interviewed Marco Rubio and were impressed. We are very concerned about the two major tax increases Charlie Crist recently signed and believe there's no excuse for his active support of the Obama big-government 'stimulus' spending bill," said David Keating, the club's executive director. "We are actively considering the race."

The myth of social justice: “Many people clamor for ’social justice,’ they want a turn of the tide against the evils that have haunted humanity through the ages. This is a term I have never understood, mostly because it’s an impossibility. Justice is only applicable to individuals, since it can only be just to punish someone for their own actions. Social justice is a dragnet, in reality it punishes everyone for being part of society, whether they have committed a crime or not. How can a person be held responsible for crimes committed before they were born? They can’t, and what’s more there is no way to repay people for certain wrongs committed against their ancestors, such as slavery. How do you ever make that right?” [If it was justice, it wouldn't need the word "social" in front of it]

Enough is enough: “For each of us who demands nothing more from the civilization we live in and contribute to than absolute ownership and control of our own lives (and, as Ayn Rand noted, the products of our lives) there has been nothing but increasingly bad news as long as most of us can remember. Since the turn of the 20th century, collectivism — called by every conceivable euphemism: communism, progressivism, socialism, fascism, liberalism — has taken more and more and more from us. It is insatiable. It wants everything we earn, everything we own, everything we hope to own. It wants our homes, our land, our children. It wants our cars and our weapons. It wants our very lives and strives for the means to observe and control them every minute, every step, and every breath.”

Responding to the “liberal middle”: “Obama and the Democratic leadership explicitly support policies which have been tried elsewhere, whether socialized medicine or ‘green jobs’ or an even more success-punishing tax code. And those policies have failed everyone. It’s typical of the liberal pathology to believe that it would have worked had only smart enough people been in charge of the implementation. As I’ve said it is indeed ‘the fatal conceit.’”

Britain: PC repair techs serve as police spies: "A visit to your PC repair shop could be swiftly followed by a trip to court and a short stay in your local jail if it harbours any remotely questionable material — whether you knew about it or not. That, at least, is the fear as the latest confirmed outing for the Dangerous Pictures Act sees one individual prosecuted after a PC engineer spotted potentially unlawful pictures on their PC — and his line manager passed on details to the police.”

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)


29 June, 2009

I'm at it again: Die Judenfrage and religious identity

Most Jews must be heartily sick of being forever singled out for discussion and scrutiny but it seems that it was ever so and ever will be. And in my utter folly, I am once again going to voice a few thoughts on one of the most hotly contested topics among Jews: Who is a Jew?

My present thoughts arise from the "wise" British judges who recently decided that Jews are a race. Since there are Jews of all races -- including black ones -- that is arrant nonsense. Yet it is also partly true -- in that various genetic studies have shown that many Jews do still have in them some Middle Eastern genes. So for Jews as a whole it is true that Israel is their ancestral home as well as their religious home.

Nonetheless, it seems clear that Jews are a religion, not a race. And the test of that, it seems to me, is that Jews do accept converts. Try converting yourself into another race: It can't be done.

But many Jews are atheists or something close to it, so how can Jewry be a religion? The easy answer to that from an Orthodox viewpoint (with which I am broadly sympathetic) is that being Jewish is not a matter of belief but of practice. A Jew is someone who follows Jewish law (halacha). What you believe is very secondary. Deeds speak louder than words. Christianity is belief based but Judaism is practice based.

But there is also a much simpler answer: MOST religion is hereditary. And those who inherit it are often not zealous practitioners of it. My late father, for instance, always put his religion down on official forms as "C of E" ("Church of England") and had no hesitation in doing so. He in fact seemed rather proud of it. Yet in all the time I knew him, he never once set foot inside an Anglican church.

So why cannot Jews be the same? Even if you are not religious, you can still have a religious identity.

Because I am an atheist, I never bothered with getting my son Christened but I considered that a knowledge of Christianity was an important element of his cultural heritage so I sent him to a Catholic school -- in the view that Catholics still had enough cultural self-confidence to teach the Christian basics. And they did. And my son greatly enjoyed his religion lessons -- as I hoped he would.

When he was aged 9 however, he said that he wanted to become a Catholic, which of course I was delighted to arrange. So he was baptised and subsequently had his confirmation lessons and was confirmed. These days many years later his beliefs seem to be as skeptical as mine -- which I also expected -- so what motivated his desire to become a Catholic? He wanted to have a religious identity. There was no pressure on him but he was greatly impressed by some very faith-filled people in the church and he wanted to identify with that. And I imagine that he still puts himself down on forms as "Catholic".

So a religious identity can be quite a significant thing for many people, not only Jews. It is a part of belonging -- and that is a very basic human need. Jews in a way are lucky there. No matter what their beliefs are, they still know that there is always one place where they belong, if they ever want to acknowledge it.

Once or twice a year I still attend my local Presbyterian church (at Easter etc.) and I certainly feel that I belong there. I feel at home with all aspects of it. My mother was a Presbyterian of sorts so that was where I was sent as a kid for Sunday School -- and that has stayed with me even though I no longer believe. So, again, one can have and value a religious identity even if one's beliefs have very little to do with it.

And the lady in my life -- Anne -- is only very vaguely religious but her background religion is Presbyterian and there are many habits of mind she has which I know well from my own family, and with which I am therefore very much at ease. Sometimes when she speaks, I hear my mother and my aunties speaking too. She has a Presbyterian mind, or a Presbyterian way of thinking -- perhaps Presbyterian assumptions. I think that in a similar way, most Jews probably have a Jewish mind too. Attitudes and habits of thought may in fact be the most important parts of a religious heritage.

I am sure that everything I have said above will be mumbo jumbo to most Leftists but, if so, that is their loss.


Iran's Basij militia are the new Sturm Abteilung (Even if their shirts aren't brown)

Picture of some original brownshirts below

They have become the face of repression since Iran's disputed June 12 elections, but the auxiliary security force known as the Basij once played a heroic role. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, volunteers as young as 13 in the Basij-e Mostazafan, or "Mobilization of the Oppressed," walked through minefields to defend their country against the invading forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

In the years that followed, however, the Basij have become the enforcers of the Islamic republic, charged with putting down protests and policing behavior and dress. Since anti-government demonstrations erupted after allegations of massive fraud in Iranian presidential elections, "the Basij are everywhere. In the streets, in the newspapers, on television," said Mohsen Javani, a high school student in Tehran.

Protests have dwindled in the past few days since the deaths of more than 200 demonstrators and the arrests of several hundred opposition figures, said spokesmen for opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Eyewitness reports and videos sent by Iranians through social network sites have shown Basij members on motorcycles beating protesters....

Many Iranians suspect that a member of the Basij fatally shot Neda Agha-Soltan, a young Iranian woman whose death on the street in Tehran on June 20 has become the iconic image of Iran's pro-democracy movement. Arash Hejazi, an Iranian doctor who said he tried to save Miss Agha-Soltan, told the British Broadcasting Corp. last week that he was at the scene and protesters saw a member of the Basij on a motorcycle nearby who was shouting, "I didn't want to kill her." ...

Mr. Mohammadi said "Western propaganda" was trying to defame the Basij to "undermine such a strong defensive force." During the Iran-Iraq war, "they defended Iran just as the Kamikaze defended Japan," he said.

For many Iranians, however, the Basij have evolved since that war into Iran's unofficial morality police, responsible for enforcing Islamic dress codes, questioning couples about their marital status and raiding mixed-gender parties.

They also have been used in the past to clamp down on protesters, including students and women's rights advocates.

"They are very devout, with strong conviction that what they are defending is so important that they are willing to die and kill their own brothers, sisters and neighbors," said an Iranian-American protester in Tehran who asked to be identified only by his first name, Ahmad. To some of the lower-class youths who join the organization, "it's like [being] a glorified Boy Scout," he said.

There is another reason young Iranians become members of the Basij: money. "We are getting paid 200,000 toman [about $200] a day by the government," a member of the group said in an e-mail made available to The Times. "We are being instructed to go into the streets and hit people, everyone and anyone who is out, until they can no longer get up. We are being fed lunch and dinner and given rooms to sleep in at night in undisclosed locations."



Obama could learn from the Gipper

President Obama finally found his voice on Iran this week, saying the world was "appalled and outraged" by the regime's suppression of peaceful protests. Mr. Obama also hinted that he was prepared to reconsider direct negotiations with the regime. "We have provided a path whereby Iran can reach out to the international community," he said. "What we've been seeing over the last several days, the last couple of weeks, obviously is not encouraging in terms of the path." So where do we go from here, particularly now that demonstrations are abating in the face of increased repression?

One place to begin is by studying the example of U.S. policy toward Solidarity, the Polish trade union that challenged the Communist regime in the early 1980s. As with the "Green Revolution" in Iran, Solidarity did not begin as a frontal assault on the regime itself, but rather as a peaceful shipyard strike. But it quickly grew into a broad social movement, encompassing shipyard and factory workers, intellectuals, priests and nearly everyone who didn't have a direct stake in the regime's survival.

The U.S. initially adopted a cautious approach toward Solidarity. The Carter Administration rewarded the Polish government with foreign loans and credits for not cracking down on the movement. Then-Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan also took a restrained view, saying he "didn't believe it was our place to intervene in a purely domestic affair." But Solidarity gained greater traction with the American public and particularly with Lane Kirkland's AFL-CIO, which began collecting donations for Solidarity while refusing to off-load cargo from Polish ships.

Not surprisingly -- and as with Iran today -- these expressions of public sympathy gave the regimes in Warsaw and Moscow the opportunity to blame the West for "meddling," even as the U.S. gave Poland financial and food aid. But that ended in December 1981 after Warsaw imposed martial law, to which Reagan responded by suspending Poland's most-favored-nation trading status and imposing sanctions.

Reagan also offered Solidarity crucial political support, even when the movement seemed crushed. "There are those who will argue that the Polish Government's action marks the death of Solidarity," he said in an October 1982 radio address. "I don't believe this for a moment. Those who know Poland well understand that as long as the flame of freedom burns as brightly and intensely in the hearts of Polish men and women as it does today, the spirit of Solidarity will remain a vital force in Poland."

That support did not go unnoticed inside Poland, despite the arrest of Solidarity's leaders and thousands of others. The U.S. government also coordinated with the AFL-CIO, which smuggled money, printing presses and other equipment necessary to keep Solidarity an active, underground force.

Also crucial was Pope John Paul II, with whom Reagan coordinated a clandestine aid program. It was an angle Reagan understood intuitively: "I have a feeling," he wrote a friend in July 1981, "particularly in view of the Pope's visit to Poland, that religion might very well turn out to be the Soviets' Achilles' heel."

The Church's involvement made a martyr of Jerzy Popieluszko, the charismatic priest whose sermons were broadcast on Radio Free Europe until his murder, by the secret police, in 1984. The confrontation served to underscore that the regime was morally bankrupt and could only be sustained by force. Ultimately, it was brought down by the combination of internal rebellion, economic pressure, Western support for Solidarity and a Soviet patron no longer prepared to send in tanks. When parliamentary elections were finally held in 1989 -- before the fall of the Berlin Wall -- Solidarity took every seat but one.

Today's Iran is different in many respects from 1980s Poland. The Iranian economy is a shambles, but the regime can sustain itself through oil and gas exports. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can claim his own religious authority. And opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi appears to be a man more in the mold of an Alexander Dubcek than Lech Walesa.

Then again, the Iranian regime is now openly detested by a huge segment of the population, which has produced its own roster of martyrs. The repression has united the opposition and inspired global support, including some prominent former apologists for the mullahs. A large and restive trade union movement could become a locus of opposition, as could a growing number of prominent Shiite theologians who reject the idea of theocratic rule. The country is profoundly vulnerable to a gasoline embargo, for which there is pending legislation in Congress. Digital links to the outside world make it nearly impossible for the regime to arrest or murder dissidents without the world noticing.

All of which means that there are opportunities for the Obama Administration to exploit, provided it envisions a democratic and peaceful Iran as a strategic American aim. That doesn't mean military confrontation with the mullahs. But it does require taking every opportunity to apply consistent pressure on Iran while exploiting its internal tensions and contradictions.

"I often wondered why Ronald Reagan did this, taking the risks he did, in supporting us at Solidarity," Mr. Walesa wrote in these pages after Reagan died in 2004. "Let's remember that it was a time of recession in the U.S. and a time when the American public was more interested in their own domestic affairs. It took a leader with a vision to convince them that there are greater things worth fighting for."

The circumstances aren't so different. With similar vision and leadership, the endgame could be the same.



Silence Has Consequences for Iran

The less we protest, the more people will die

By JOSÉ MARIA AZNAR (Mr. Aznar is the former prime minister of Spain: 1996-2004)

If there hadn't been dissidents in the Soviet Union, the Communist regime never would have crumbled. And if the West hadn't been concerned about their fate, Soviet leaders would have ruthlessly done away with them. They didn't because the Kremlin feared the response of the Free World.

Just like the Soviet dissidents who resisted communism, those who dare to march through the streets of Tehran and stand up against the Islamic regime founded by the Ayatollah Khomeini 30 years ago represent the greatest hope for change in a country built on the repression of its people. At stake is nothing less than the legitimacy of a system incompatible with respect for individual rights. Also at stake is the survival of a theocratic regime that seeks to be the dominant power in the region, the indisputable spiritual leader of the Muslim world, and the enemy of the West.

The Islamic Republic that the ayatollahs have created is not just any power. To defend a strict interpretation of the Quran, Khomeini created the Pasdaran, the Revolutionary Guard, which today is a true army. To expand its ideology and influence Iran has not hesitated to create, sustain and use proxy terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. And to impose its fundamentalist vision beyond its borders, Iran is working frantically to obtain nuclear weapons.

Those who protest against the blatant electoral fraud that handed victory to the fanatical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are in reality demanding a change of regime. Thus, the regime has resorted to beating and shooting its citizens in a desperate attempt to squash the pro-democracy movement.

This is no time for hesitation on the part of the West. If, as part of an attempt to reach an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, the leaders of democratic nations turn their backs on the dissidents they will be making a terrible mistake.

President Obama has said he refuses to "meddle" in Iran's internal affairs, but this is a poor excuse for passivity. If the international community is not able to stop, or at least set limits on, the repressive violence of the Islamic regime, the protesters will end up as so many have in the past -- in exile, in prison, or in the cemetery. And with them, all hope for change will be gone.

To be clear: Nobody in the circles of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei or Ahmadinejad is going to reward us for silence or inaction. On the contrary, failing to support the regime's critics will leave us with an emboldened Ahmadinejad, an atomic Iran, and dissidents that are disenchanted and critical of us. We cannot talk about freedom and democracy if we abandon our own principles.

Some do not want to recognize the spread of freedom in the Middle East. But it is clear that after decades of repression -- religious and secular -- the region is changing.

The recent elections in Lebanon are a clear example. The progressive normalization of Iraq is another. It would be a shame, particularly in the face of such regional progress, if our passivity gave carte blanche to a tyrannical regime to finish off the dissidents and persist with its revolutionary plans.

Delayed public displays of indignation may be good for internal political consumption. But the consequences of Western inaction have already materialized. Watching videos of innocent Iranians being brutalized, it's hard to defend silence.



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)


28 June, 2009

The BBC top dogs live like Wall St. bankers

The fact that the money is extorted from millions of ordinary Britons via a compulsory "licence" fee does not inhibit their spending at all

Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, insisted that all of the expenses claims made by staff were 'reasonable and justified'. Mr Thompson insisted that all of the expenses claims made by staff – including nights at five-star hotels, bottles of champagne and flights in private planes – were "reasonable and justified". He claimed BBC managers earn far less than they would in the private sector, and said it was right that the multi-million pound salaries of star presenters remained secret, otherwise there would be a "talent drain" to other channels.

Mr Thompson made his comments on the two of the state broadcaster's own shows – BBC1's Breakfast and Radio 4's Today programme – following the publication for the first time on Thursday of detailed breakdowns of his staff's expenses and salaries. The figures showed that the BBC's 50 highest-paid executives earned as much as £13.6million last year, with 27 paid more than the Prime Minister.

In addition, they spent tens of thousands of pounds' worth of public money on entertaining each other, staying at top hotels around the world and showering gifts on actors and other employees. One executive sent a £100 bouquet of flowers to Jonathan Ross, while another spent £1,137.55 on a dinner to mark Sir Terry Wogan's knighthood.

But Mr Thompson, whose basic salary is £647,000, said: "Every one of these expenses in my view was reasonable and was justified. "This is an organisation with a turnover over £4.5billion and this is a few hundred thousand pounds of expenses. "They've been pored over by the papers, The Daily Telegraph asked us 150 questions in the course of yesterday afternoon, and I don't believe that I've yet seen any evidence that a single one of these line-by-line expenses has been in any way unjustified."

He also defended the earnings of BBC executives, saying: "We all accept that we should get paid much less than our equivalents do in the private sector." Mr Thompson claimed the BBC had censored far less information than MPs had done when publishing their expenses in detail for the first time last week. But he said the salaries of its top performers must not be disclosed in order to stop them leaving for rival broadcasters. "We worry that, if it turns out you work for the BBC, you get your pay disclosed, if you work for ITV you don't, there will be a talent drain," Mr Thompson claimed.



Where's The U.N. On Iran?

A thundering silence from the would-be defender of human rights

People are being killed in Iran. Where is the U.N.? What institution could be better positioned to relieve President Obama of his worries about America standing up unilaterally for freedom in Iran? The U.N. is the self-styled overlord of the international community, committed in its charter to promote peace, freedom and "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights."

Iran's regime is already in gross violation of a series of U.N. sanctions over a nuclear program the U.N. Security Council deems a threat to international peace. The same regime has now loosed its security apparatus of trained thugs and snipers on Iranians who have been, in huge numbers, demanding their basic rights. Surely top U.N. officials such as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon should be leading the charge for liberty and justice, with the strongest possible criticism and measures against the Iranian regime.

But that's not happening. While Iranian protesters have been risking their necks to try to rid their country of a malignant despotism, the U.N. has hardly even qualified as voting "present."

During the upheaval following the disputed results of Iran's June 12 presidential election, Ban confined himself to a grand total of three public utterances on the matter. In the first, on June 15, with pictures of bloodied Iranian protesters already flooding the Internet, Ban told reporters in New York that he was "closely following the situation." In words so ritually obtuse that they could have been scripted for him by Iran's supreme tyrant, Ali Khamenei, Ban added that he had "taken note of the instruction by the religious leaders that there should be an investigation into this issue."

The next day, June 16, when asked again about Iran, Ban came up with pretty much the same anodyne answer: "taken note ... very closely following ... just seeing how the situation will develop." Other than that, for the next six days, Ban had lots to say--but not about Iran. He sent a message to a meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia, of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was attending as an observer, having briefly decamped from the upheaval that his own Ayatollah-blessed, irregularity-fraught "re-election" had sparked in Iran.

To this gathering in Russia, where Ahmadinejad posed for the cameras among a lineup of heads of state, Ban dispatched a message full of buzzwords about poverty, climate change and "combined commitment to a peaceful and prosperous common future." He made no mention of the "situation" in Iran.



The 'democracy president' -- not

by Jeff Jacoby

THE CHOICE PRESENTED by the democracy protests in Iran could hardly have been clearer. On one side: a brutal theocratic regime that jails and tortures its critics at home and is a deadly sponsor of terrorism abroad; that loudly proclaims its enmity for the United States and has murdered many Americans to prove it; that barely conceals its drive to amass a nuclear arsenal; that lusts openly for the annihilation of Israel; that for 30 years has pursued a far-flung Islamist jihad. On the other side: throngs of Iranians calling for an end to their government's abuses.

With whom should America stand -- the bloody tyranny or the people opposing it? For most Americans the question surely answers itself, which is why both houses of Congress voted all but unanimously last week to condemn the Iranian government and support the protesters' embrace of human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

So why was President Obama's response initially so muted and ambivalent? Why was he more interested in preserving "dialogue" with Iran's dictatorial rulers than in providing moral support for their freedom-seeking subjects? Why did it take him until yesterday to declare that Americans are "appalled and outraged" by Iran's violent crackdown and to "strongly condemn" the vicious attacks on peaceful dissenters?

A disconcerting answer to those questions appears in the new issue of Commentary, where Johns Hopkins University scholar Joshua Muravchik isolates the most striking feature of the young Obama administration's foreign policy: "its indifference to the issues of human rights and democracy."

In an essay titled "The Abandonment of Democracy," Muravchik -- the author, most recently, of The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East -- observes that every president since Jimmy Carter has made the advancement of democracy and human rights one of his foreign-policy objectives. Now, he writes, "this tradition has been ruptured by the Obama administration."

The rupture was telegraphed at a pre-inauguration meeting with the Washington Post, during which the incoming president argued that "freedom from want and freedom from fear" are more urgent than democracy, and that "oftentimes an election can just backfire" if corruption isn't fixed first. Muravchik points out that when Obama gave Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language satellite channel, his first televised interview as president, he focused on US relations with the Middle East and Muslim world, yet "never mentioned democracy or human rights.".....

Authoritarian regimes, naturally, have welcomed the new approach. According to the Associated Press, Egypt's ambassador to the United States expressed satisfaction "that ties are on the mend and that Washington has dropped conditions for better relations, including demands for 'human rights, democracy and religious and general freedoms.'" And just as Team Obama has downplayed democracy and human-rights efforts in the Middle East, it has done so as well with regard to China, Russia, and even Sudan. "Obama seems to believe that democracy is overrated, or at least overvalued," Muravchik writes.

Obama may see himself as the un-Bush, cool to democracy because his predecessor was so keen for it. But to millions of subjugated human beings, he is the leader of the free world -- an avatar of the democratic freedoms they hunger for. On the streets of Iran recently, many protesters held signs reading "Where Is My Vote?" There are limits to what the American president can do for Iran's beleaguered democrats. But is it too much to ask that he take their question seriously?



Just A Coincidence?

The day after Hall Of Record publishes a post critical of the Administration's Climate Bill, this is received:

Hello, Your blog at: http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com/ has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at [link]. Your blog will be deleted in 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and your readers will see a warning page during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. Once we have reviewed and determined your blog is not spam, the blog will be unlocked and the message in your Blogger dashboard will no longer be displayed. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected. We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577 Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts. Sincerely, The Blogger Team

Sure, just a coincidence.

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A Sign of the Times?

Is this the new “justice” for America? A massive armed federal raid in Utah has resulted in two deaths, including the suicide of a popular small town doctor. Those arrested have been accused of stealing American Indian artifacts from federal land.

The Obama administration’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar flew to Salt Lake City to proudly announce the raid. But the arrests were conducted in a chilling manner. According to the LA Times:
Shortly after sunrise last week, a squad of flak-jacketed federal agents surrounded the remote home of Dr. James Redd, arrested his wife and then stopped the 60-year-old doctor as he returned from his morning rounds to arrest him as well….

Nearly 20 agents had surrounded a pair of mobile homes belonging to septuagenarian brothers and led them away in cuffs…. Local authorities called the raids overkill.

Then a day after his arrest, Dr. Redd killed himself…. Redd, the town's only physician, was known for traveling to treat patients at all hours. Huge lines formed outside the town mortuary for his wake.
The Times story says that the US attorney for Utah “noted that many of the defendants own guns, common in this part of the country but still a cause for caution.”
"Eighteen vehicles surrounded the Redd’s house,” San Juan County Supervisor Bruce Adams said in an interview. “Do we do that with child molesters? With murderers?” He added, “I haven’t seen a piece of pottery or an artifact that’s worth a human life.”
All of this for stealing shards of pottery. For those Americans who bitterly cling to their guns and Bibles … did you get the message?




German hard line may spur sanctions against Iran: "EUROPEAN Union ministers may be ready to push for tougher sanctions against Iran after Germany has shown growing willingness to take a harder line. At the G8 gathering in Italy yesterday, EU foreign ministers were loath to press ahead with plans for tightening curbs amid turmoil in Tehran. The EU and US do not want to help anti-Western voices in Iran. But even before the election, EU ministers were considering tighter curbs on exports and on Iran's banks. If they revive those plans, in which Germany is taking a prominent role, it will come as a relief to the US, which has criticised the EU's softness. Germany was the target of harsh remarks from Iranian officials at meetings in Tehran on Sunday and Tuesday with EU counterparts. Chancellor Angela Merkel has led a shift in German ties with Iran, which have been warmer than those of Britain or France. Germany is Iran's largest trading partner in the EU, with sales of between E4 billion ($7bn) and E5bn a year, more than double those of Italy, France, Switzerland and Britain. It has been Iran's largest trading partner overall, although now overtaken by China."

Hitler's heirs: "A hardline cleric close to the Iranian regime demanded the execution of leading demonstrators yesterday as the opposition ended the week in disarray. In a televised sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami called on the judiciary to “punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson”. He said that those leaders were backed by the United States and Israel. They should be treated as mohareb — people who wage war against God — and deserved execution. In a clear warning to all other dissenters, he declared: “Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction.” The Ayatollah claimed that Neda Soltan, the woman shot during a demonstration last Saturday, had been killed by fellow protesters because “government forces do not shoot at a lady standing in a side street”. Ayatollah Khatami’s address came at the end of a week in which the regime has brutally suppressed all street protests and arrested hundreds of opponents for daring to challenge President Ahmadinejad’s re-election".

Britain: The bankrupt welfare State: "The stark evidence of the growing imbalance between what the Government raises and what it spends is likely to intensify the political row over the public finances and may strengthen calls for cuts in spending. Treasury figures show that welfare payments will exceed income tax receipts by almost £25 billion. Normally, income tax receipts comfortably cover the benefits bill. The disparity between tax revenue and welfare costs was identified by Andrew Brough, a fund manager at Schroder Investment Management, who suggested that the amount of money spent on social protection could soon exceed that raised from both income tax and national insurance. According to an official Treasury forecast, benefits will cost £170.9 billion in 2010/11. That is equal to what the Government will spend on the NHS, schools and universities combined. This year will be the first in a decade that benefits cost more than workers pay in income tax."

Conn. church creates stir with gay exorcism video: "A Connecticut church has outraged gay rights advocates by posting a video of members performing an apparent exorcism of a teen's "homosexual demons." The 20-minute video was posted on YouTube before it was taken down. Gay youth advocate Robin McHaelen (mih-KAY'-lehn) says the video appears to show abuse. She says she plans to report it to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. The boy confirms he is 16 but otherwise has declined to comment. The Rev. Patricia McKinney of Manifested Glory Ministries in Bridgeport says he is 18 and came to the church on his own seeking help. She denies the church is prejudiced and says it took care of the youth.

Tax leeches lose in N. Carolina: "The U.S Supreme Court's 1992 Quill decision forbids states from forcing tax-collection obligations on out-of-state merchants, but Tarheel legislators still want Amazon and other online retailers to start taxing their constituents. The Seattle-based retailer has no physical presence in the state, but a pending North Carolina bill holds that since affiliate Web sites in the state link customers to Amazon, the company is now responsible for extracting cash from Carolina shoppers. Other proposed North Carolina legislation would apply a new tax only to Internet ticket resales, in direct defiance of the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits taxes that target the Internet with burdens not applied offline. To its credit, Amazon yesterday refused to accept the expected new compliance burden and announced the cancellation of its North Carolina affiliate relationships. Said the company, "This is a direct result of the unconstitutional tax collection scheme expected to be passed any day now by the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) and signed by the governor." So now the state won't get the revenue, even as in-state Web retailers lose their ties to Amazon thanks to the legislature's revenue grab. Brilliant."


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)


27 June, 2009

We've suffered a great loss

While the focus today, tomorrow and for the next God-knows-how-many-days will be the death of a pop culture icon; while many will mourn, wail and quite literally make fools of themselves over it and while as many will speak endlessly about it, allow me, if only for a moment, to remind us all that others have died this month; others whose lives were cut short; others who leave behind loved ones and whose families will dearly miss them; families who'll suffer with much more dignity and honor than we'll be exposed to on the tube in the coming days.

Yes... it's true... we've suffered a great loss... but forgive me while I tell you that I'm not talking about the king of pop music. These American military members died in Iraq this month:

Sergeant Justin J. Duffy
Specialist Christopher M. Kurth
Specialist Charles D. Parrish
Lance Corporal Robert D. Ulmer
Staff Sergeant Edmond L. Lo
Sergeant Joshua W. Soto
Captain Kafele H. Sims
Specialist Chancellor A. Keesling

And these members of our U.S. Armed Forces died in Afghanistan this month:

Sergeant Jones, Ricky D.
Specialist Munguia Rivas, Rodrigo A.
Command Master Chief Petty Officer Garber, Jeffrey J.
1st Sergeant Blair, John D.
Sergeant Smith, Paul G.
Staff Sergeant Melton, Joshua
Sergeant 1st Class Dupont, Kevin A.
Specialist O'Neill, Jonathan C.
Chief Warrant Officer Richardson Jr., Ricky L.
Specialist Silva, Eduardo S.
Lance Corporal Whittle, Joshua R.
Major Barnes, Rocco M.
Major Jenrette, Kevin M.
Staff Sergeant Beale, John C.
Specialist Jordan, Jeffrey W.
Specialist Griemel, Jarrett P.
Specialist Hernandez I, Roberto A.
Sergeant Obakrairur, Jasper K.
Staff Sergeant Hall, Jeffrey A.
Private 1st Class Ogden, Matthew D.
Private 1st Class Wilson, Matthew W.

Let's remember and honor this day those whose deaths are truly impacting. God rest them and God comfort their loved ones they've left behind. And may God use their deaths to remind us all of the shortness of our days.



Pew: Palin Is The Most Popular Republican

By Don Surber

Pew: Palin is the most popular Republican. 73% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Gov. Sarah Palin (17% unfavorable) while only 57% have a favorable opinion (18% unfavorable) of Mitt Romney.

Now, I may not know much about presidential politics, but I am pretty certain that before one can get elected president, one has to win the party’s nomination first — a concept that Hillary Clinton had a difficult time grasping last year as she began her general election campaign in January instead of the traditional after-winning-the-nomination.

Which leads me to conclude that Mrs. Palin is in the driver’s seat with Gov. Romney riding shotgun.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press polled 1,502 adults on June 10-14. This was at the height of the David Letterman controversy, Letterman having told the Willow Palin joke on June 10. That may have skewed the poll. I don’t know. Also this was an all adults survey, rather than likely voters or even registered voters. That tends to skew the results.

Pew made a big deal about their overall favorable/unfavorable ratings among all voters. It is too early for that comparison. Among all adults, Palin is at 45/44 and Romney is at 40/28 — but by the time the election rolls around, any Republican gets beat up; she’s recovered from 42/48 just before the 2008 election.

Within the party, she is golden. In many ways, her popularity reminds me of Ronald Reagan. She is not as polished as a speaker or as a thinker. Reagan had a very clear — if unfashionable for the time — idea of what America is about in the Carter years. He was considered old and dumb and a good actor.

The 2012 election is way off. But Republicans are known to go with the guy who finished second last time. Is it Mitt Romney, who finished behind John McCain in the primaries? Or is it Sarah Palin, who almost carried McCain to the White House last fall? Republicans seem to be leaning toward Palin



Shift in Political Power Has Catapulted Fox News

Balanced News Channel Could Be Heading for Its Best Year Ever

Fox News is on track to have its most-watched year ever, showing significant ratings growth despite having just come off a highflying election year. With the second quarter coming to a close, Fox News averaged about the same number of viewers as the top three other cable news networks combined. And while rivals including CNN (-22%) and MSNBC (-18%) took hits following last quarter's inauguration-fueled boost, Fox News (-3%) remained nearly steady, Hollywood Reporter reports.

Compared with last year, Fox News (averaging 2.1 million viewers, 509,000 adults 25-54 quarter-to-date) is up 35% over last year in primetime viewers and 48% in the demo. CNN (805,000 viewers, 210,000 in demo) fell 16% in viewers and 29% in the demo. MSNBC (787,000 viewers, 259,000 in demo) climbed 15% in viewers and about on par, -3%, in the demo. And CNN Headline News (553,000, 201,000) showed very strong growth, up 39% and 37%, respectively, and is on track for its best second quarter, reports HR writer James Hibberd.

Earning double-digit growth after an election year is quite a feat for a news network. With Fox News best known for such right-leaning personalities as Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, one might assume having a Democrat in the White House somehow helps boost viewership.

"I don't look at who occupies the White House, I just look at it as news," said Bill Shine, senior VP of programming at Fox News. "How well are you going to report on that news? And certainly, over the course of the last 10 years, we've done a better job at that than anybody else," he told HR. Still, Shine acknowledged that a Barack Obama presidency probably helps because viewers will "see some sides of an issue that they won't see elsewhere."



The Albany-Trenton-Sacramento Disease

How three liberal states got into deep trouble with 'progressive' ideas

President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It's hard to miss the irony that he's pitching this change in Washington even as the same governance model is imploding in three of the largest American states where it has been dominant for years -- California, New Jersey and New York.

A decade ago all three states were among America's most prosperous. California was the unrivaled technology center of the globe. New York was its financial capital. New Jersey is the third wealthiest state in the nation after Connecticut and Massachusetts. All three are now suffering from devastating budget deficits as the bills for years of tax-and-spend governance come due. These states have been models of "progressive" policies that are supposed to create wealth: high tax rates on the rich, lots of government "investments," heavy unionization and a large government role in health care.

Here's a rundown on the results: Government spending as economic stimulus. State-local spending per capita is $12,505 in New York (second highest after Alaska), $10,136 per person in California (fourth) and $9,574 in New Jersey (seventh).

Has all this public sector "investment" translated into jobs? Not quite. California had the nation's third highest jobless rate in May (11.5%). New Jersey and New York had below average unemployment rates in May compared to the national average of 9.4%, but one reason is that so many discouraged workers have left those states. From 1998-2007, which included two booms on Wall Street, New York and New Jersey ranked 36th and 31st in job creation. From 2000 to 2007, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association calculates that nine out of 10 new Garden State jobs were in the government.

Soak the rich. Mr. Obama plans to pay for his government investments through higher tax rates on the top 1% and 2% of taxpayers. Our troika of liberal states are champions at soaking the rich. The state-local income tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation, is the highest in the nation in New York, second highest in California and sixth in New Jersey. New York City boasts the highest business tax rate, 17.6%, according to a study by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Seven of the 10 highest property tax counties in America are located in New Jersey.

Instead of balanced budgets, these high taxes have produced record red ink. California's deficit for 2010 is projected at $33.9 billion, New Jersey's $7 billion and New York's $17.9 billion, despite multiple tax increases this decade. The Manhattan Institute finds that three-quarters of the loss in revenues this year in Albany is a result of reduced income tax payments by rich people even though the state keeps raising taxes on high earners.

California's debt burden has multiplied so fast that it now has the worst bond rating of any state, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislators are pleading with Washington to command the other 49 states to pay off its IOUs. The interest rates on Golden State bonds have nearly tripled in the last two years.

Powerful unions. Mr. Obama believes union power is a ticket to the middle class. The middle class is getting creamed in all three of these "progressive" states, where organized labor is king. The unionized share of the workforce is 20% in California, 19% in New Jersey and 27% in New York compared to 13% across the country. All three are non-right-to-work states, have super-minimum wage requirements and provide among the nation's most generous public-employee pensions.

Workers in these paradises are indeed uniting -- by leaving. New York ranks first, California second and New Jersey third in moving vans leaving the state. A study by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research found that over the past decade these and other high-union states (mostly in the Northeast) had one-third the job growth of states with low union penetration.

Government health care. New York, New Jersey and California are among the leading states in government spending on and intervention into the medical market. A 2008 study by the Pacific Research Institute ranked the states on the basis of government regulation of health care and found that New York is most regulated, while New Jersey ranks sixth and California seventh. "New York," the report declares, "suffers from government health programs that are out of control, a grossly overregulated private insurance market and almost completely uncompetitive provider markets."

Have government controls and Medicaid expansions ("the public option") lowered costs? Here is what the American Health Insurance Plans found. For family coverage annual premiums in 2006-07, the national median cost was roughly $5,300; in California it was $5,884, in New Jersey $10,398, and in New York $12,254. New York's coverage mandates cause families to pay more than twice what they do in other states for insurance.

As a result, California and New York have more than one-third of their residents uninsured or in Medicaid -- much higher than the national average of 25%. More government involvement in health care in California, New Jersey and New York has raised costs and often reduced private coverage. That's hardly a model for the nation.

So goes the real-life experience of progressive governance, with heavy tax burdens financing huge welfare states, and state capitals dominated by public-employee unions. Formerly rich states, they are now known for job losses, booming deficits and debt, wage stagnation, out-migration and laughing-stock legislatures. At least Americans have the ability to flee these ill-governed states for places that still welcome wealth creators. The debate in Washington now is whether to spread this antigrowth model across the entire country.




Report: FEMA misspent $7 million: “The Federal Emergency Management Agency ignored the law and misused millions of dollars to build two warehouses after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to government investigators. Some of the money FEMA misused should have gone toward Katrina victims in Louisiana, according to a Homeland Security Inspector General report obtained by the Associated Press. The report is expected to be released today. ‘FEMA had no authority to use appropriated funds to construct the two buildings,’ the investigators said, adding that the agency violated a prohibition against agreeing to spend money without congressional authority.”

Spain reins in crusading judges: “For more than a decade, a drab, beige building in central Madrid has been the global destination of choice for anyone wanting to file allegations of genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. The Audiencia Nacional — National Criminal Court — has heard complaints of human-rights abuses as far afield as Guatemala, Rwanda, Chile, Tibet, Gaza and Guantanamo Bay. Currently, 10 cases from five continents are being investigated by Spanish judges, under the principle of ‘universal jurisdiction,’ which holds that some crimes are so grave that they can be tried anywhere, regardless of where the offences were committed. In a recent statement, almost 100 organisations collectively praised Spain’s ‘pioneering approach,’ gushing that the country ’should feel proud of itself’ for becoming a reference point for other nations. Except, Spain’s left-leaning government sees things rather differently.”

“As naked an abuse of government power as could be imagined” : "Property rights were probably the last thing on President Barack Obama’s mind when he selected Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter. But that hasn’t stopped Sotomayor’s nomination from reigniting the long-simmering national debate over the use and abuse of eminent domain. The controversy centers on Sotomayor’s vote in a 2006 eminent domain case, Didden v. Village of Port Chester. New York entrepreneur Bart Didden says Port Chester condemned his land after he refused to pay $800,000 (or grant a 50 percent stake in his business) to a developer hired by the village. One day after Didden refused to pay those bribes, Port Chester began eminent domain proceedings against him. As University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein put it, ‘The case involved about as naked an abuse of government power as could be imagined.’ But that didn’t stop Judge Sotomayor and two of her colleagues on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals from upholding the district court decision that ruled in favor of the village.”

How not to help the poor : "People often talk about ‘a culture of poverty’ as if being mired in dependency and despair is a personal choice. But what if government contributes to that culture with counterproductive rules that keep struggling families down? Today, a special state commission will release a report that identifies bureaucratic barriers to climbing out of poverty — some familiar, some new — and recommends ways to correct them. The Massachusetts Asset Development Commission spent the past 18 months looking for ways that low-income people can build up financial cushions, becoming less dependent on state assistance and providing a better foundation for their children. ‘Assets’ can be something as simple as a used car for getting to work, a savings account, or a less tangible benefit such as an education or vocational skills. They are the keys to financial stability.”

Hope versus reality : “There is an element about public choice theory that economists do not emphasize often enough, namely, that the objectives of regulators are often very obscure, unclear, even contradictory. For example, governments often embark on historical preservation but at the same time they are supposed to make sure that building and other facilities are properly managed, kept safe, etc. But historical preservation mostly require keeping things in their original form, while the pursuit of safety involves making use of the most up to date technology and science. One can generalize this kind of conflict within government policies all over the place — which is what accounts for vigilant propaganda against smoking while tobacco farmers keep receiving government subsidies.”

Fueling controversy : “Gaza on the Mediterranean, with an offshore natural gas resource worth an estimated $4 billion and with Palestinian statehood believed an imminent proposition, should be looking at the brightest possible future. But still abject poverty and hopelessness rack Gaza and the standard explanation by many Arabs and Western media is to depict the Palestinians as in a permanent state of Israeli-inflicted victimhood. Gaza is the poster case of how radical Islamism, exemplified by Hamas, has such a difficulty to absorb modernity and Gaza’s problems surely must be related to the 2006 Hamas takeover and the ensuing low-level civil war between Hamas and Fatah that controls the West Bank. As such it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Palestinians are to a large extent responsible for their own misfortunes.”

Privatize the Post Office: “The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) may be the next too-big thing if it continues on its present course. It stands to post $6 billion to $12 billion in losses by the end of the fiscal year. So far, USPS has depended on loans from the Federal Financing Bank to help make up the difference, but it’s fast approaching its $15 billion credit limit. Something has to give, says the Washington Post. The USPS has asked Congress to omit a rider on an annual appropriations bill that mandates six-day service, opening the possibility of five-day delivery as a cost-cutting measure. It has also requested a temporary relaxation of its pension program obligations, enabling it to put nearly $2 billion toward breaking even. Both these short-term fixes fail to address the challenges facing USPS.”

UK: Hackers recruited to help fight against cybercrime : “Reformed computer hackers are being recruited by the Government to defend Britain from international crime gangs and terrorists plotting cyber attacks on the country. With internet fraud costing billions of pounds a year and Whitehall computer systems facing repeated assaults from abroad, ministers are hiring hackers to protect state secrets. A new ‘cyber security operations centre’ at GCHQ in Cheltenham will monitor attempts, many orchestrated from abroad, to infiltrate the national computer network.”

Journalism and the British expenses scandal: “Sunday Telegraph editor Ian Macgregor was our guest at a power lunch in Westminster this week. His topic was ‘The importance of journalism in modern society.’ And of course, that’s a topic that Telegraph have earned a right to talk about in the last couple of months, with their brilliantly handled investigation into MPs expenses. There’s no question the story has been good for the Telegraph’s business, winning them many thousands of new readers. But I also think they have performed a genuine public service, by making people realize that you just can’t trust politicians to be responsible with taxpayers’ money.”


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)


26 June, 2009

Radicalism, Rewarded

There’s never been a better time to be an enemy of the United States of America. Whether you’re a trained jihadist in US custody, a diminutive cult leader starving his own people while developing nukes, or part of a ruthless regime that murders dissidents in broad daylight, you can rest assured that the United States government is unlikely to act—or perhaps even speak—in a manner likely to disrupt your daily routine. While invoking “our values,” hailing the importance of American humility, and rejecting the “failed policies of the past,” the current administration is projecting a dangerous image to the world. This approach may be extolled as cautious pragmatism on the Beltway cocktail party circuit, but it’s most assuredly perceived as something entirely different by America’s current and emerging adversaries around the globe: Weakness.

Within days of assuming office, President Obama ostentatiously announced his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within one year. That his administration had no workable plan to do so was beside the point; details were not about to obstruct the path to Hopenchange. Obama has since been thrashed by former Vice President Cheney in a public debate on this matter, and public opinion polls are trending decisively against his rushed and irresponsible decision.

Nevertheless, to avoid allowing a campaign promise to go by the wayside—while (quietly) adopting yet another staple of the previous administration's supposed failures—Obama has been working hard to relocate Gitmo detainees. He first floated the idea of releasing some of the supposedly least threatening blokes, Chinese Uighurs, onto US soil, where they’d be supported with welfare checks. His own party was so receptive to that lead balloon that they voted down funding to close the prison altogether. Obama then went knocking at the collective door of the same “international community” that had decried the facility’s very existence for years. Strangely, none of those nations were especially keen on welcoming radical Islamists onto their streets. After being rebuffed more than 100 times, the president finally identified two takers; the island paradises of Bermuda and Palau.

After training with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Uighers were caught on the battlefield (the terrorist Miranda warning policy wasn’t in effect at the time—a grave injustice) and transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where they were afforded soccer, television, and pizza privileges. Their TV viewing got a bit dicey at times, as they reportedly destroyed a television set after being subjected to the obscene image of a woman’s bare arms. Aside from picayune details like that, they’re generally regarded as a pretty reasonable, well-adjusted bunch. They’re now arriving in exotic vacation destinations, along with millions of US tax dollars in aid—making themselves at home on pristine tropical islands. Islands, mind you, that most law-abiding, tax-paying, non-terrorist American citizens couldn’t afford to visit right now, given the current economy. Wage war against the West, and you too might end up catching rays in Bermuda! What a deal.

Meanwhile, the plump, aging woman who rules North Korea has been conspicuously misbehaving for months. The White House has been attempting to determine a productive way forward that—needless to say—bears no resemblance to those failed policies of the past. Remember, the era of US hubris, in which America “punishes” outlaw regimes by refusing to legitimize them, is over. So when Kim Jong Il’s military test fired a missile in April, the Pentagon was instructed not to deploy its most sophisticated missile-tracking technology to, well, track a missile launched illegally by an enemy regime. Why? As the Washington Times’ Bill Gertz reported at the time, officials were concerned that employing our superior technology simply to gather data on North Korea’s test would “provoke” the North Koreans.

The North Koreans, in turn, have exhibited their appreciation for the administration’s non-provocative, humble, “smart power” approach by conducting multiple additional proscribed weapons tests, and pledging to lob a ballistic missile toward US soil on July 4th. So it’s back to the ever-useful bargaining table, it would seem.

Speaking of July 4th, guess who’s coming to dinner at US embassies across the globe? Despite fomenting historic internal unrest by shamelessly rigging an election, denouncing and taunting the aforementioned international community, callously beating and slaying its own reform-minded citizens in the streets, and unilaterally declaring all nuclear negotiations permanently “closed,” envoys of the profoundly evil Iranian regime are invited to Independence Day barbeques hosted by top American diplomats. As State Department spokesman Ian Kelly blithely explained, “We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran.”

“Therefore,” he might has well have continued, “literally no level of Iranian barbarity will dissuade us from the undeniable wisdom of inviting to Iranian representatives to our parties, and we just can’t wait to start a dialogue.”

President Obama has insisted for days that America must not “meddle” in Iran’s business, despite demonstrators’ pleas for Western support, and in the face of much stronger statements from European leaders. In fairness, Obama has finally begun playing rhetorical catch-up with John McCain and Nicholas Sarkozy. Still, in his public statements, Iran’s unapologetic meddling in our business (funding terrorism, killing American soldiers in Iraq) goes unmentioned, as does his own administration’s overt meddling in Israel’s internal affairs.

A primary reason for Obama’s rhetorical reticence is his stubborn commitment to the campaign-promise-turned-inoperable-fantasy that he might actually manage to strike a historic accord with the regime in Tehran through direct, unconditional negotiations. In light of recent developments, this notion is more absurd than ever, yet Obama cannot let it go. Consequently, he’s hedging, taking pains to avoid inflaming the Ahmadinejad/Khameini unholy alliance by siding with pro-freedom demonstrators (which they’ve accused him of anyway) in the hopes of eventually inducing them into rational and honest negotiations.

Even if one fully endorses Obama’s no-meddling policy, how can the July 4th barbeque invitation decision possibly be justified? Not only is Obama assuring these theocrat thugs that he won’t lift a finger to stop their violent suppression of millions yearning for freedom, his State Department is taking this posture a step further by reaffirming Iranian emissaries’ friendly invitations to American-hosted parties. Parties held on a day that celebrates freedom from tyranny, no less. He’s not simply refraining from undue interference. He’s actually rewarding coercive despotism. It’s a shameful low point in this young administration’s history.

Enemies of America, this is your moment. This is your time. Considering joining the jihad? If captured, you’ll be read your rights, spared any and all harsh interrogation methods, and might even win an all-expenses-paid trip to a hot vacation spot. Hankering for some illicit WMDs? We’ll bend over backwards to avoid appearing provocative. Want to attend a fun summer BBQ? Just mercilessly quash a reformist uprising in your country, slaughter some unarmed young women, vow to wipe Israel off the face of the planet, and relentlessly pursue nuclear weapons. The State Department’s e-vite to DeathtoAmerica1979@gmail.com should be arriving any minute.



Monitor ABC World News Sponsors in Light of White House "Town Hall" Meeting on Health Care

New Webpage Provides List to Public

In light of the ABC World News program's decision to host a "Town Hall" meeting on health care at the White House without opposition participation, the National Center for Public Policy Research is making a list of ABC World News sponsors available online for those who wish to boycott sponsors or/or send a letter of protest to them.

The list of sponsors includes sponsors from the June 18, 2009 program - the date ABC announced the White House-based program would take place - to the present and beyond, and is available at www.nationalcenter.org/ABCNewsSponsors.html.

"Town Hall meetings are generally understood to cover a wide range of viewpoints," said National Center for Public Policy Research president Amy Ridenour, "and network newscasts are supposed to be objective. Yet ABC is holding a Town Meeting with the chief backer of government-run health care at a venue entirely favorable to him, and inviting opposition only in the form of questions to him from a generalized audience placed in an entirely inferior position. An objective conversation is impossible under those conditions."

"Moreover," said Ridenour, "ABC News has refused offers from opponents of the President's plan even to buy paid advertising during scheduled commercial breaks. ABC is not only pitching for Obama, it's pitching him a no-hitter."

"Many Americans, probably millions, believe so-called 'ObamaCare' will lead to shortages of health care services, leading to pain, misery and even death," Ridenour continued, "as this is the experience of every nation that has tried government-run health care so far, The health care debate is literally life-and-death, yet ABC is treating it like an afternoon tea at the White House."

"Because of this," she concluded, "the National Center for Public Policy Research is posting online a list of all the sponsors of ABC World News since ABC announced this program, and we encourage people to make their views -- including, if they so choose, with their wallets -- known to ABC's sponsors."

The list of ABC World News sponsors can be found online here.




I have just put up on my Scripture blog an article about John Calvin -- for those who are interested in Christian history.

There is an article here which not only points out that Hitler learnt his eugenics from America but also shows that the American system was twisted and crooked too.

Iran’s unrest: Opportunity or threat? : "Iran’s Sunni Arab neighbors have long feared its revolutionary rhetoric, its Islamist political style, and its popularity among many of their own citizens for its strident criticism of Israel. With that background, one would expect the Arab states to be jumping for joy at the political turmoil in Iran, a Shiite oil power. But so far their response has been muted to non-existent. Here’s why: The mechanism that has created Iran’s biggest political crisis since the Islamic revolution in 1979 is street power, the voice of a disenfranchised populace. And while that might eventually deliver a regime in Iran that Arab states would be more comfortable with, it also provides a powerful immediate example of the sort of popular sovereignty that the autocratic Arab regimes fear most.”

MA: State cuts health coverage by $115 million: “Overseers of Massachusetts’ trailblazing healthcare program made their first cuts yesterday, trimming $115 million, or 12 percent, from Commonwealth Care, which subsidizes premiums for needy residents and is the centerpiece of the 2006 law. The board of the Connector Authority made the cuts as officials confronted two side effects of the recession: the state budget crisis and a surge in enrollment by the recently unemployed. The largest share of the savings will come from slowing enrollment. An estimated 18,000 poor residents who qualify for full subsidies, but who forget to designate a health plan, will no longer be automatically assigned a plan and enrolled and thus could face delays in getting care"

Racism in the market and voting booth: “Nobody likes racism. At least, nobody whose opinion we should take seriously likes racism. Many argue that private racism provides a justification for state intervention to ensure everyone is treated fairly. When we carefully look at basic economic theory and the historical record, though, it becomes clear that government is much more likely to produce racism than to prevent it.”

Obama’s Iran policy is a bomb : “Here is the one immutable fact of Barack Obama’s foreign-policy agenda as it relates to Iran: It’s over. The rule book he came in with is as irrelevant as a tourist guide to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If the forces of reform and democracy win, Obama’s plan to negotiate with the regime is moot, for the regime will be gone. And if the forces of reform are crushed into submission by the regime, Obama’s plan is moot, because the regime will still be there.”

The nirvana fallacy: “President Obama has announced his ’sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system.’ We can debate endlessly whether the Constitution authorizes any president to ‘overhaul’ the financial system. But I want to focus on a different matter: whether any president, with all his advisers, is capable of overseeing something as complex as the financial system. My answer is no, and it is ominous that a bright guy like Obama doesn’t know this.”

Finally, a state that cuts tax rates on the rich: "At last, there's a place in America where tax cutting to promote growth and attract jobs is back in fashion. Who would have thought it would be Maine? This month the Democratic legislature and Governor John Baldacci broke with Obamanomics and enacted a sweeping tax reform that is almost, but not quite, a flat tax. The new law junks the state's graduated income tax structure with a top rate of 8.5% and replaces it with a simple 6.5% flat rate tax on almost everyone. Those with earnings above $250,000 will pay a surtax rate of 0.35%, for a 6.85% rate. Maine's tax rate will fall to 20th from seventh highest among the states. To offset the lower rates and a larger family deduction, the plan cuts the state budget by some $300 million to $5.8 billion, closes tax loopholes and expands the 5% state sales tax to services that have been exempt, such as ski lift tickets. This is a big income tax cut, especially given that so many other states in the Northeast and East -- Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York -- have been increasing rates. "We're definitely going against the grain here," Mr. Baldacci tells us. "We hope these lower tax rates will encourage and reward work, and that the lower capital gains tax [of 6.85%] brings more investment into the state."


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)


25 June, 2009

Thirst for freedom takes root in dust

By Janet Albrechtsen, an Australian commentator

As adults wonder aloud and in print about the finer details of what is happening in Iran, whether opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi is truly a moderate given his history as a member of the political establishment; whether a leadership change would change Iran’s poisonous relations with the West; whether US President Barack Obama struck the correct cautionary note in responding to a rigged election and violent militias operating under the nose of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without stoking stories of a US-led coup, Australian children should hear - and understand - the simpler, more basic yearnings of Iranians for democracy.

I want our children to see how a green democracy takes roots, not just through a technology that is their own - Facebook and Twitter - but the old-fashioned way, in the hearts and minds of Iranians from all walks of life, finally ready to march in the streets. I want them to see the human dignity in people who have the courage to confront a leader who described them as “dirt and dust”, a leader who condones the killing and imprisonment of people whose only crime it is to want to control their own destiny.

Newspapers here in Europe devote page after page to the hunger for democracy among millions of Iranians. That hunger ought to be mandatory reading for all in the West, young and old. Especially the young, those who may be most inclined to take democracy for granted. But also for the old - or older, those who are daily following the battles normal in an established, functioning democracy - arguing over debts and deficits, over ute-gate and political lobbying. Compared to our political debates, there is nothing grander than listening to the first murmurs of democracy from those who have been silenced and manipulated, repressed and ignored by their leaders.

No one can explain why this is happening now. As Michael McFaul from the US National Security Council said: “In retrospect, all revolutions seem inevitable. Beforehand, all revolutions seem impossible.” For years we were told that a slim hope of a reformed Iran lay among the pro-Western educated Iranian middle classes. But we were also told they were outnumbered by the poorer rural voters who supported Ahmadinejad’s anti-West tirades.

Then, after days of demonstrations, tens of thousands of protesters gathered last Thursday in 35C heat, filling Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Square in the poorer south-central part of Tehran, voicing passions that cross class. Britain’s The Guardian newspaper carried some of those voices.

Frustrated by the ruling party’s more recent blockade of mobile phone and internet reception, Morteza Amani, a 25-year-old, said: “They can block SMS and emails, but how can they block hearts? Nearly a million (people) have gathered here in Imam Khomeini Square, although they didn’t have any source of information except for people distributing the news on the streets to each other ... One of the good consequences of these protests is that the world now sees the true Iran and how strong they are to injustice.”

And 29-year-old secretary Somayeh Bahari, who told The Guardian that “For years this regime wanted to hide the real Iran from the world. Today the world is witnessing the real Iran.”

And 60-year-old retiree Hashem Riazi, who dispelled the myth that opposition is only among the educated while Ahmadinejad has the support of the rural poor. “You see the real Iran today in this square; you see rich, poor, young, old, tight hijab, bad hijab, all kind of people. They are not just a specific class of people in our society, they are from all classes.”

As Eric Hoogland, editor of the journal Middle East Critique, wrote: “Is it possible that rural Iran, where less than 35percent of the country’s population lives, provided Ahmadinejad the 63percent of the vote he claims to have won?” The answer is no as he detailed how villagers from towns such as Bagh-e Iman in the Zagros Mountains, most of them under the age of 18, were outraged at the rigged election.

The young wear T-shirts and headbands demanding to know “where is my vote?” They chant slogans such as “we are not dirt and dust, we are Iran’s nation”. Writing from Tehran for the International Herald Tribune, Roger Cohen comes across a four-year-old boy publicly mocking the Iranian President. In the streets where people gather to protest, a man asks the reporter “Where are you from?” When Cohen tells him he is from the US the man says, “Please give our regards to freedom.”

These are the voices I want school students in the West to hear if only to remind them that democracy is a universal aspiration. Could it be that history will now record George W. Bush more kindly than his critics would prefer? What is happening in Iran cannot be separated from what has happened in Iraq. This year, during provincial elections in Iraq, Iraqis came to polling booths in their millions to vote, by an overwhelming margin, for national, secularist parties. Iraqi security forces - not coalition troops - ensured Iraqis could vote safely and securely. There were no suicide bombers endangering polling stations. People turned up with their children to cast their vote.

As Winston Churchill said, “at the bottom of all the high-sounding 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 palliate the overwhelming importance of that point.” Lambasted for speaking about exporting “Western values” to the Muslim world, it turns out the former US president was right to remind us that people, whatever their religion, class or creed, will ultimately seek out and embrace democracy. That yearning, now unfolding in Iran, will one day be written up as one of the finer lessons of history.



Obama and the Ayatollahs

As between freedom and dictatorship, in principle Obama is fine with dictatorship — we are seeing less and less freedom in our own country, and I believe Obama (who is dirigiste by nature) values stability over the rambunctiousness of a free society. He has certain values, and while he'd be delighted to have a free society arrive at them, he'd rather see them imposed if the alternative was a free society likely to shun them.

As for "anti-American," I think Obama's sense of the term is different from yours and mine. Obama agrees with a lot of the anti-Americanism that we hear from both apologists for radical Islam and the Left (many of whom are the same people). While the mullahs may be "anti-American" as we understand that term, Obama doesn't think they would be resolutely anti the America that he intends to shape. I think he sincerely believes he could deal with the mullahs and make them less anti-American than they now are, once they realize how he is reversing a lot of what offends them (and him) about America.

I'm not suggesting that Obama loves the mullahs or that he wants to turn America into Iran. I am not saying Obama wants the mullahs to abuse their own people — I'm sure he'd prefer this all to end without (further) bloodshed. I am merely saying that (a) the president does not think the mullahs are evil, (b) he thinks they have a point, (c) he thinks he can forge a rapprochement and deal effectively with them (though he is under no illusions about stopping their nuclear ambitions), (d) he is not a big believer in freedom, and (e) he thinks the world would be more stable and easier for him to navigate if the mullahs win.

First, if you look at the sweeping changes that have occurred in the past five months, I think what I argued before the election about the significance of Obama's Leftist background and radical connections was on the mark. Second, I am saying what I am saying because I respect the president. As I said in the last post, I don't think he is weak at all. To the contrary, I think he has strategic goals that he pursues in highly disciplined, tactical pragmatism. He is a force to be reckoned with, and I don't think you reckon with him by hopefully assuming that, on some level, he shares our ideas about what's best for the country and the world. I credit him for wanting what's best — but only as he sees it.




Iran: Military charges family of dead son “bullet fee”: “The family of Kaveh Alipour, a 19-year-old Iranian killed amidst protests in Tehran, was allegedly charged a ‘bullet fee’ by Iranian security forces, according to a report Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal. ‘Upon learning of his son’s death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a ‘bullet fee’ (a fee for the bullet used by security forces) before taking the body back,’ relatives purportedly told the Journal. Details of Alipour’s death remain unclear — he was apparently not part of the protests and may have been killed in crossfire.”

Ten days that shook Tehran: “Given its monopoly of guns, bet on the Iranian regime. But, in the long run, the ayatollahs have to see the handwriting on the wall. Let us assume what they insist upon — that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election; that, even if fraud occurred, it did not decide the outcome. As Ayatollah Khamenei said to loud laughter in his Friday sermon declaring the election valid, ‘Perhaps 100,000, or 500,000, but how can anyone tamper with 11 million votes?’ Still, the ayatollah and Ahmadinejad must hear the roar of the rapids ahead. Millions of Iranians, perhaps a majority of the professional class and educated young, who shouted, ‘Death to the Dictatorship,’ oppose or detest them. How can the regime maintain its present domestic course or foreign policy with its people so visibly divided? Where do the ayatollah and Ahmadinejad go from here?”

A dangerous precedent: "Here's a political thought experiment: Imagine that terrorists stage an attack on U.S. soil in the next four years. In the recriminations afterward, Administration officials are sued by families of the victims for having advised in legal memos that Guantanamo be closed and that interrogations of al Qaeda detainees be limited. Should those officials be personally liable for the advice they gave President Obama? We'd say no, but that's exactly the kind of lawsuit that the political left, including State Department nominee Harold Koh, has encouraged against Bush Administration officials. This month a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that a civil suit filed by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla can proceed against former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo for violating the terrorist's rights. Mr. Yoo is one of those who wrote memos laying out the legal parameters for aggressive interrogation of al Qaeda captives. If Mr. Yoo can be sued, why couldn't Obama officials also be held liable for their advice if there's an attack on their watch?"

AZ: County feud costs taxpayers $1.1 million : "Disputes among Maricopa County officials over the past 11 months have cost taxpayers $1.1 million in fees, according to an analysis released Monday by the Office of Management and Budget. The fees include billings to date for six legal actions, cases in which Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, County Treasurer Charles Hoskins and the Board of Supervisors have fought each other in court. The money includes costs associated with a grand-jury proceeding focused on the $340 million court-tower project. Like all government in the current economy, the county’s budget is tight. On Monday, the supervisors adopted a $2.1 billion budget for fiscal 2010, reflecting a $122 million reduction from 2009. Administrators expect that 200 employees will lose their jobs during the early part of the fiscal year. According to County Manager David Smith, that $1.1 million in legal fees could fund 20 low-level county jobs. Officials on all sides agree that the money spent fighting each other is a waste, but no one sees a way to stop it.”

US, Kyrgyzstan reach deal on air base use: “The former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan tentatively approved a deal on Tuesday that should allow the U.S. to continue shipping military hardware and troops crucial to operations in Afghanistan through an air base in the Central Asian state. U.S. forces had in February been ordered out of the Manas air base by a presidential decree that stunned Washington and drew suspicion that Kyrgyzstan was acting under the influence of Russia, which staunchly opposes Western military presence near its borders. Russia also has a base in Kyrgyzstan.”

FL: Tea party organizers plan Independence Day protests: “More than two months after the nationwide tax day protests, anti-tax tea party groups are planning to again take to the streets. They will again be protesting, but this time they also intend to mark the nation’s birth. Plans are being crafted between the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County tea party groups, as well as others in Florida and across the nation, to hold protests on July 2 outside the offices of congressional members who support President Barack Obama’s health care plans.”

Census, ACORN and other fertilizer: “Greetings fellow prisoners! Live from inside the Blue Curtain! It’s almost time for the 2010 Census. Says here that if you refuse to answer any questions you can be fined $5000 per refusal and imprisoned! I intend to answer every question like this: How many people in your home? 2 (me and my cat) (this is the only question they’re supposed to ask) How much money do you make? All of it, but my printer is broken right now. … You get the idea. There is absolutely nothing in the census law that says they have to like the answers you give.”

Bid to expand knife ban doesn't cut it with critics: "Hunters, whittlers and Boy Scouts, beware - your knives may soon be on the government's chopping block. The Obama administration wants to expand the 50-year-old ban on importing "switchblades" to include folding knives that can be opened with one hand, stirring fears the government may on the path to outlawing most pocket knives. Critics, including U.S. knife manufacturers and collectors, the National Rifle Association, sportsmen's groups and a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, say the rule change proposed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would rewrite U.S. law defining what constitutes a switchblade and potentially make de facto criminals of the estimated 35 million Americans who use folding knives. "Boy Scout knives, Swiss Army knives - the most basic of knives can be opened one-handed if you know what you are doing," said Doug Ritter, executive director of Knife Rights, an advocacy group fighting to defeat the measure. "The outrage is gaining steam," he said."


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)


24 June, 2009

Iran: “Conservatives” and Liberals

Comment by David Yeagley below. I add some further notes at the foot of his post

In the great American liberal media, the word “conservative” represents the bad guys, the meanies. Any liberal media report on Iran’s current crisis will use the world “conservative” in reference to the mullahs, Ahmadinejad, and the present regime. By contrast, anyone who respects human rights (sometimes called “freedom”) is to be called “liberal.”

The truth is exactly the opposite. This is not something that should be ignored, unnoticed, or not condemned.

Liberals think the conservatives are those clinging to tradition, or to “their guns or religion,” as Barry Soetoro, acting US president, declared. This is a highly relative, subjective call. When applied to the country of Iran, liberal media shows the classic example of partiality, selective history, and gigantic ignorance.

The tradition of Iran is Persia. The foundational identity of Persia is the reign of the Achamenid emperors, from Cyrus the Great (560-530 BC) through Darius III (336-330 BC). This is the era known for general humanitarian sentiments, internationalism, and advanced civilization. This is Iran. Islam is an Arab religion, brought to Iran by the invading slaughters from Arabia in the 8th century AD. There is nothing Persian about this religion, language, or culture. Iran’s Persian culture has survived today because of patriots like Ferdowsi, Persian patriots, who resisted the Arab Islamicist’s attempt to obliterate Persian glory.

The Iranians who want to honor and preserve their Persian identity are the true conservatives of Iran. The mullahs are coercivists, just like American liberals, like Barry Soetoro in the White House, who want to coerce their ideas on the American people. Coercion is the liberal way.

It is a grave error to equate American conservatism with the Islamic regime in Iran. This is simply grossly mistaken, and should not be ignored. The AP wire by “ALI AKBAR DAREINI and BRIAN MURPHY” demonstrates the typical error:
a state-run television channel reported that a suicide bombing at the shrine of the Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini killed at least two people and wounded eight. The report could be not independently evaluated due to government restrictions on journalists. If proven true, the reports could enrage conservatives and bring strains among backers of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Note that the “conservatives” are those who support the Islamic regime. Therefore, the “liberals” must be anyone who opposes them.

I say it is time to correct this error. Liberals in America will of course try to take credit for anything good that comes out of the opposition movement in Iran. It’s time the lying deceivers were exposed.


This same problem arose in the dying days of the old Soviet union. Hardliners there too were often called "conservatives" in the Western media. Journalists saw nothing strange in calling Communists "conservatives"! That is the sort of blindness that could only come out of Left-dominated journalism schools.

The mistake arises from the very simple-minded nature of Leftism. Leftists define the political spectrum purely in terms of attitude to the status quo. They are against it so conservatives must be for it. But conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were great changers of the status quo so does that make them Leftists? Clearly not. So defining politics solely in terms of attitude to the status quo is brain-dead. While it is true that rejection of the status quo defines Leftists pretty well, what defines conservatives is something quite different: A desire for individual liberty. But Leftists know that to change the status quo significantly you need coercive power: the power of government in particular. And conservatives don't want to be coerced. They want individuals to be able to make their own decisions as freely as possible. So that is why the Left and the Right clash.

The Soviets, the Ayatollahs and American "liberals" are the ones who are three peas in a pod: They all depend on the coercive power of the State in order to get their way. Conservatives don't want to get their way. They just want to be left alone to do their own thing. Sadly, however, we have to fight the left in order to be left alone. I say much more about the nature of conservatism here -- with particular reference to the history and psychology of conservatism


That fierce Jewish drive and ambition leads to public distinction yet again. Bercow becomes Speaker of the British House of Commons

But, as a "turncoat", he is loathed by his own Conservative party. A wise Jew foresaw this and was horrified. I also have made some previous comments in this general area

How the former secretary of the repatriation committee of the notorious Monday Club became a Tory Speaker elected on almost entirely Labour support is testament to years of work by the MP from Buckinghamshire and the deep cynicism of his backers. Few dispute the fervour with which John Bercow wanted to succeed Michael Martin, a campaign that he has been waging by stealth for months. Indeed, a burning ambition sustained him through a vicious “anti-Bercow” campaign by Tory MPs and parts of the media, much of which had the tacit support of David Cameron, his erstwhile parliamentary tennis partner.

Yet by 11am yesterday morning it was clear that his support on the Labour benches was making him unstoppable, pushing him to victory by 52 votes — a wider margin than some of Gordon Brown’s critical votes.

Mr Bercow did not escape criticism over his parliamentary expenses, paying to Revenue & Customs the £6,500 that he avoided in capital gains tax after “flipping” his second-home allowance.

He is the first Jewish Speaker and at 46, the youngest since Charles Shaw-Lefevre, Viscount Eversley, who was 45 on election in 1839. The result yesterday is a tribute to the organising power of Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading — Mr Bercow’s neighbouring constituency — and serial rebel and their desire to punish the Tories for ousting Mr Martin. But who exactly did he persuade them to sign up for?

At first he looks like an unlikely candidate for widespread Labour support. The son of a taxi driver who went to a comprehensive school, in his teenage years he was an exceptional tennis player destined for Wimbledon until his chances were dashed by glandular fever. From this point he became more political. At 18, inspired by the speeches of Enoch Powell and concerned about the impact of mass immigration, he joined the Monday Club — a right-wing Conservative pressure group founded in 1970 that was notable for having promoted a policy of voluntary, or assisted, repatriation for non-white immigrants.

At the University of Essex, he fought battles with the Left and became national chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students. It was the era of “hang Nelson Mandela” T-shirts in the Tory party — he says he never wore one — and one that he would rather forget.

He went into banking before joining the Major Government in its final days as a special adviser, first to Jonathan Aitken — before the minister resigned to fight a libel suit with The Guardian — and then Virginia Bottomley. In 1997, on his third attempt, he became an MP, with a smooth ascent through the opposition ranks, pausing only once to declare that he did not consider himself ruthless enough to reach the top of politics.

Then, in 2002, came the event that defined his political career — his resignation from the Tory front bench in protest at Iain Duncan Smith’s decision to impose a three-line whip on MPs in the debate on gay adoption. Although he was brought back by Michael Howard, this event proved seminal as he “came out” as a moderate Conservative. “It’s true that I’ve got the zeal of the convert but that doesn’t mean that the conversion is any less genuine or that the need for constant repetition of the message is any less great,” he said days after the resignation. “It was extremely ill judged to prescribe how Tory members should vote on that subject. It defies common sense that there can be only one Conservative view on this subject.”

From then on, he was treated differently by Tory MPs and, as if to underline his ideological switch, married a Labour supporter, Sally Illman, who watched his triumph yesterday. “He has been on a journey that makes his one-time hero Michael Portillo seem like a mere day-tripper,” one prominent Conservative said.

More HERE Other comments here and here and here. Positive comments about the man and his character are hard to find. He has paid a price for his success that would be too high for many.



Sarkozy has the balls that Obama lacks: "President Nicolas Sarkozy says the Islamic burqa is not welcome in secular France, home to Europe's largest Muslim community. Condemning the head-to-toe cover for women as a symbol of subjugation rather than faith, Mr Sarkozy overnight was emphasising his divergent views from US president Barack Obama. On a visit to Paris earlier this month, Mr Obama urged Western countries to avoid "dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear". "We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity," Mr Sarkozy said. "That is not the idea that the French republic has of women's dignity. "The burqa is not a sign of religion; it is a sign of subservience," he told lawmakers in a major policy speech at a special session of parliament. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic." France, home to an estimated five million Muslims, passed a law in 2004 banning headscarves or any other "conspicuous" religious symbol in state schools in a hotly contested bid to defend secularism. Last year a Moroccan woman was refused French citizenship after social services said she wore a burqa and was living in "submission" to her husband. Mr Sarkozy said he was in favour of holding an inquiry sought by some French lawmakers into whether Muslim women who cover themselves fully in public undermine French secularism and women's rights."

FTC to monitor blogs for “false claims,” payola: “Savvy consumers often go online for independent consumer reviews of products and services, scouring through comments from everyday Joes and Janes to help them find a gem or shun a lemon. What some fail to realize, though, is that such reviews can be tainted: Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post. Bloggers vary in how they disclose such freebies, if they do so at all. The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers — as well as the companies that compensate them — for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest.”

White House can’t explain half of alleged drug savings: “The Obama White House cannot explain more than half of today’s announced $80 billion in prescription drug savings. A senior official said the White House estimates $30 billion in savings will be achieved through drug companies reducing by at least 50 percent the cost of brand-name prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the so-called coverage ‘donut hole.’ The other $50 billion in savings will come from unspecified and unknown changes to drug costs linked to Medicare and Medicaid. The $80 billion in savings is a 10-year estimate. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday details on non-donut hole savings remain to be negotiated between the drug companies and the Senate Finance Committee.”

Accident chasers: “Gov. Charlie Crist might have missed the mark with some of the bills he signed last week, but his Tuesday signing of a ban on charges for emergency response was dead on. Across the state, several municipalities and counties, including Tallahassee and Escambia County, were charging those involved in car accidents for police and firefighter response. (Bay County and area municipalities did not.) According to the Tallahassee Democrat, fees ranged from $180 to $200 for police response and $600 to $800 for fire departments.”

GM stiffing a lot of people: "General Motors owes hundreds of millions of dollars to major suppliers who have never made an auto part, rubber tire or sheet of steel — and they're not likely to get paid anytime soon. GM is on the hook for more than $100 million for advertising it purchased before filing for bankruptcy earlier this month. While virtually all of the auto parts makers who work with GM are being declared "critical vendors," which allows them to receive their next payments by July 2, GM's other suppliers are not guaranteed payments anytime soon.... GM's transportation suppliers, such as railroads CSX and Union Pacific also have critical vendor status. So do a handful of its major suppliers from outside the auto or transport industries, such as technology giant Hewlett Packard and telecommunications provider AT&T. But even some of the vendors not granted critical vendor status will have their pre-bankruptcy bills paid, although not as fast at those with critical vendor status... Sorvino said she expects widespread bankruptcies of smaller GM vendors. That could lead to many workers losing their jobs who didn't even realize they were depending on GM for their livelihood. Worse off are suppliers who do not have a continuing contract relationship with GM, but are currently owed money."


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)


23 June, 2009

Fundraising idiocy

I quite often respond to donation requests from conservative, libertarian and Israeli organizations but you would not believe how difficult it is. About half the time the organization's computer knocks my donation back. A regular problem is that they want you to say what State you live in but list only American States for you to choose from. So I just hit any State, which seems to freak the Visa card system because they know my card is not from that State. Other errors don't even make that much sense. I tried to donate to JTA in Israel today and got knocked back for some incomprehensible reason and I tried to donate to Patriot Post in America and got accepted -- EVEN THOUGH they are one of those who list only American States. All quite mad. Interesting to see if the Patriot Post payment actually goes through.


Iran has shown the emptiness of Obama's approach to the Middle East

President Barack Obama did not "lose" Iran. This is not a Jimmy Carter moment. But the foreign-policy education of America's 44th president has just begun. Hitherto, he had been cavalier about other lands, he had trusted in his own biography as a bridge to distant peoples, he had believed he could talk rogues and ideologues out of deeply held beliefs. His predecessor had drawn lines in the sand. He would look past them.

Thus a man who had been uneasy with his middle name (Hussein) during the presidential campaign would descend on Ankara and Cairo, inserting himself in a raging civil war over Islam itself. An Iranian theocratic regime had launched a bid for dominion in its region; Mr. Obama offered it an olive branch and waited for it to "unclench" its fist.

It was an odd, deeply conflicted message from Mr. Obama. He was at once a herald of change yet a practitioner of realpolitik. He would entice the crowds, yet assure the autocrats that the "diplomacy of freedom" that unsettled them during the presidency of George W. Bush is dead and buried. Grant the rulers in Tehran and Damascus their due: They were quick to take the measure of the new steward of American power. He had come to "engage" them. Gone was the hope of transforming these regimes or making them pay for their transgressions. The theocracy was said to be waiting on an American opening, and this new president would put an end to three decades of estrangement between the United States and Iran.

But in truth Iran had never wanted an opening to the U.S. For the length of three decades, the custodians of the theocracy have had precisely the level of enmity toward the U.S. they have wanted -- just enough to be an ideological glue for the regime but not enough to be a threat to their power. Iran's rulers have made their way in the world with relative ease. No White Army gathered to restore the dominion of the Pahlavis. The Cold War and oil bailed them out. So did the false hope that the revolution would mellow and make its peace with the world.

Mr. Obama may believe that his offer to Iran is a break with a hard-line American policy. But nothing could be further from the truth. In 1989, in his inaugural, George H.W. Bush extended an offer to Iran: "Good will begets good will," he said. A decade later, in a typically Clintonian spirit of penance and contrition, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came forth with a full apology for America's role in the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.

Iran's rulers scoffed. They had inherited a world, and they were in no need of opening it to outsiders. They were able to fly under the radar. Selective, targeted deeds of terror, and oil income, enabled them to hold their regime intact. There is a Persian pride and a Persian solitude, and the impact of three decades of zeal and indoctrination. The drama of Barack Obama's election was not an affair of Iran. They had an election of their own to stage. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a son of the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary order, a man from the brigades of the regime, austere and indifferent to outsiders, an Iranian Everyman with badly fitting clothes and white socks -- was up for re-election....

On the ruins of the ancien régime, the Iranian revolutionaries, it has to be conceded, have built a formidable state. The men who emerged out of a cruel and bloody struggle over their country's identity and spoils are a tenacious, merciless breed. Their capacity for repression is fearsome. We must rein in the modernist conceit that the bloggers, and the force of Twitter and Facebook, could win in the streets against the squads of the regime. That fight would be an Iranian drama, all outsiders mere spectators.

That ambivalence at the heart of the Obama diplomacy about freedom has not served American policy well in this crisis. We had tried to "cheat" -- an opening to the regime with an obligatory wink to those who took to the streets appalled by their rulers' cynicism and utter disregard for their people's intelligence and common sense -- and we were caught at it. Mr. Obama's statement that "the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as had been advertised" put on cruel display the administration's incoherence. For once, there was an acknowledgment by this young president of history's burden: "Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons." No Wilsonianism on offer here.

Mr. Obama will have to acknowledge the "foreignness" of foreign lands. His breezy self-assurance has been put on notice... Mr. Obama's June 4 speech in Cairo did not reshape the Islamic landscape. I was in Saudi Arabia when Mr. Obama traveled to Riyadh and Cairo. The earth did not move, life went on as usual. There were countless people puzzled by the presumption of the entire exercise, an outsider walking into sacred matters of their faith. In Saudi Arabia, and in the Arabic commentaries of other lands, there was unease that so complicated an ideological and cultural terrain could be approached with such ease and haste.



Strike Now At Mullahs' Economic Pillars

As we watch the swelling protests in Iran, it's worth remembering that the aspirations of America are eminently compatible with the aspirations of the average Iranian. As we watch the swelling protests in Iran, it's worth remembering that the aspirations of America are eminently compatible with the aspirations of the average Iranian. I know a bit about this, as I am privileged to represent one of the largest Iranian-American communities in the country, in Orange County, Calif.

The compatibilities between Iranian hopes and the American dream center on the yearning for individual liberties and the end of clerical autocracy — hopes as compelling to the Iranian democrat today as the Jeffersonian democrat two centuries ago. The question is whether President Obama will do anything about it.

The basic points of pressure on Iran's clerical autocrats are simple: the control of petroleum, the need for foreign cash, the reliance upon the instruments of force, and the control of internal communications. All remain the material pillars of the regime.

Its psychological pillars are a bit more complex: Iranian resentment at foreign interference, Shia exceptionalism and a peculiar concept of Islamic juridical rule known as velayat-e faqih. It is possible for the president to strike at the material pillars of the Iranian theocracy, while sparing the psychological pillars that might turn the mass of Iranians against us.

Striking at the mullahs' material base is more straightforward. They need legitimacy and foreign trade to sustain an economy that totters along with rising unemployment that approaches 15% — an ominous figure in a country where about 70% of the citizens are under 30. Iran has the world's third-largest oil reserves, yet it had to impose fuel rationing on its own citizens in 2007, and its economy is extremely vulnerable to lower oil prices.

It's no accident that civil unrest in Iran, as in so many countries, erupts when material expectations of a young and comparatively educated citizenry are unmet by a corrupt and inefficient government. Though not a proximate cause, this is surely among the root causes of Iranian discontent now. With this in mind, crafting a strategy to squeeze the machinery of repression would be an exercise in the sort of multilateral diplomacy in which the Obama administration takes such pride.

Of the major recipients of Iranian oil, the top four are Asian economies and the remainder European nations plus South Africa. Though it is unrealistic to assume that the United States could persuade all of them to forgo Iranian oil, we don't have to: Any one of the Asian nations, or a few of the European nations (building upon the European Union's admirable vigor in condemning repression in Iran), would do tremendous harm to the mullahs' coffers.



Get Ready for Inflation and Higher Interest Rates

The unprecedented expansion of the money supply could make the '70s look benign


Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13% of GDP. That's more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers' expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health-care and insurance industries.

With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs -- such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid -- are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.

But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s.

About eight months ago, starting in early September 2008, the Bernanke Fed did an abrupt about-face and radically increased the monetary base -- which is comprised of currency in circulation, member bank reserves held at the Fed, and vault cash -- by a little less than $1 trillion. The Fed controls the monetary base 100% and does so by purchasing and selling assets in the open market. By such a radical move, the Fed signaled a 180-degree shift in its focus from an anti-inflation position to an anti-deflation position.

The percentage increase in the monetary base is the largest increase in the past 50 years by a factor of 10. It is so far outside the realm of our prior experiential base that historical comparisons are rendered difficult if not meaningless. The currency-in-circulation component of the monetary base -- which prior to the expansion had comprised 95% of the monetary base -- has risen by a little less than 10%, while bank reserves have increased almost 20-fold. Now the currency-in-circulation component of the monetary base is a smidgen less than 50% of the monetary base. Yikes!

Bank reserves are crucially important because they are the foundation upon which banks are able to expand their liabilities and thereby increase the quantity of money..... When reserve constraints on banks are removed, it does take the banks time to make new loans. But given sufficient time, they will make enough new loans until they are once again reserve constrained. The expansion of money, given an increase in the monetary base, is inevitable, and will ultimately result in higher inflation and interest rates. In shorter time frames, the expansion of money can also result in higher stock prices, a weaker currency, and increases in commodity prices such as oil and gold.

At present, banks are doing just what we would expect them to do. They are making new loans and increasing overall bank liabilities (i.e., money). The 12-month growth rate of M1 is now in the 15% range, and close to its highest level in the past half century.

It's difficult to estimate the magnitude of the inflationary and interest-rate consequences of the Fed's actions because, frankly, we haven't ever seen anything like this in the U.S. To date what's happened is potentially far more inflationary than were the monetary policies of the 1970s, when the prime interest rate peaked at 21.5% and inflation peaked in the low double digits. Gold prices went from $35 per ounce to $850 per ounce, and the dollar collapsed on the foreign exchanges. It wasn't a pretty picture.... For me the issue is how to protect assets for my grandchildren.




Obama Lashes Out at the only major news outlet that is not crawling up his behind: "President Barack Obama vented his frustration with Fox News during an interview on CNBC last week. "I've got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration," Obama told CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood, who had asked him how he felt about coverage of his administration. "That's a pretty big megaphone. You'd be hard-pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front," he said, reports Daily Finance. Fox News is indeed a big megaphone because it speaks to an audience that doesn't feel its concerns represented elsewhere on TV. That's not to say Obama has no grounds for complaint — anyone who watches Fox for a few minutes can tell that its default attitude towards him is skepticism. [Skepticism!! How awful!!] For whatever reason, Fox's ratings have climbed in recent months as the network's stridency towards Obama has escalated. As long as that trend keeps up, It's likely that no amount of finger-wagging from the Oval Office is going to make a difference, writes Bercovici".

Obama Closes Doors on Openness: "As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding "secret energy meetings" with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama's "clean coal" policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged "presidential communications." The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a "new era" of openness, "nothing has changed," says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. "For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies."

Obama is weighed and found wanting: "During the campaign, Biden warned that Obama would be tested in his first six months in office. We all assumed that Biden knew about a planned terrorist attack on the US. That could still happen, of course, although I devoutly hope it won’t. At exactly the five month mark, however, there is a test taking place, and that is the test of Obama’s moral courage with regard to Iran. So far, he’s not doing very well. When 405 Congresspeople turn on “The One,” the one is finding himself on the wrong side of history. When liberal pundit after liberal pundit writes about his or her support for the Iranian people, and then engages in pathetic contortions to justify Obama’s refusal to voice any support, the One is failing a test. When France is a stronger moral presence than the United States, our leader looks small. I see the handwriting on the wall: Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. Obama is being weighed and found wanting, in the eyes of fellow politicians, in the eyes of his party, in the eyes of the American people, and in the eyes of the world."

The Frogs knew that their Airbuses had a dangerous design fault: "Air France Airbus jets experienced at least nine incidents in which airspeed probes iced over in the past year, according to an internal company report. A probe into the June 1 crash of AF 447, in which an A330 jet flying from Rio to Paris plunged into the Atlantic with the loss of all 228 people on board, has focused on contradictory readings from its “pitot” speed probes. The probes, made by aerospace company Thales, were found to be faulty on flight AF 447. Air France did not wait for a signal from the aviation safety body. It decided on June 12 to upgrade all sensors on its long-haul fleet as a precaution after protests from pilots. In an internal note sent to Air France pilots on Thursday, the company said it had informed the planemaker Airbus and Thales of eight incidents on A340 jets and one on an A330 over a year-long period".

Iran: Activists get assist from “Anonymous,” Pirate Bay: “Iranian democracy activists, meet your new pals: a masked protest movement best known for needling the Church of Scientology, and a group of file-sharers so infamous they’re facing a year in jail. Anonymous Iran is a collaboration between The Pirate Bay — operators of the world’s largest torrent site, convicted in April of copyright infringement — and Anonymous, the prankster collective dedicated to exposing ‘Scientology’s crimes.’ The new site offers tips on how to navigate online in private, upload files through the Iranian firewall, find the best activist Tweeters, and launch attacks on pro-government websites.”


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)


22 June, 2009

They laughed when GWB tried to walk out the wrong door....

Does Obama need a walkprompter too?


A Message From The Boss

To All My Valued Employees:

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a Back Story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last year's Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don't see is the BACK STORY: I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you. My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date.

Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury.

I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had. So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child.

You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... you never realize the Back Story and the sacrifices I've made.

Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for. Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why: I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time.

On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero.. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.

Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I'll fire you. I'll fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship. So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about....

Signed, THE BOSS



BrookesNews Update

Obama's sure-fire formula for rising interest rates and accelerating inflation : Under Obama American finances have become a total mess: deficits are absolutely massive and unsustainable, government spending is out of control, debt is rocketing while monetary expansion is unprecedented. This is a sure-fire formula for rising interest rates and accelerating inflation. Whichever way one looks at it Obama's economic policies are — at the very least — a recipe for stagnant living standards
Has the Fed's monetary policy painted it into a corner? : The Fed faces a dilemma. Despite signs of a recovery there are also signs that the Fed will have to curb the money supply rate of growth. This would set in motion an economic bust. Even if the Fed were to decide to tighten its stance just slightly, given the current strengthening in the growth momentum of economic activity, this could visibly weaken the growth momentum of monetary liquidity thus posing a threat to the stock market. So it seems that the Fed might have painted itself into a corner
State ownership of General Motors will be a total failure: Government ownership of General Motors and AIG is doomed to fail. Entrepreneurship is what matters, not management, bookkeeping or political bribery. All that Obama's policy will succeed in doing is pouring billions and billions of dollars into a black hole with no end in sight
Dollars, manufacturing and free trade : There is considerable concern about overvalued currencies and how they can deindustrialise countries. But there are those who argue that this cannot happen because we are a world of floating exchange rates. The facts, however, strongly suggest that the pessimists are right, something that would not have surprised the classical economists
The carbon tax RAT scheme will destroy jobs: A carbon tax will savage the economy and destroy jobs. There will be round after round of layoffs that will see an inexorable rise in unemployment. For example, Spain lost more than 2 real jobs for every green job created. The economy is prostrate and unemployment has risen to 17 per cent
Israel, tear down? Naw...Now, more than ever, is the time to build! : The madrassas teach another generation of terrorists to be used against the Jewish State and the rest of the free infidel world. The funds that Obama is sending them to re-build Gaza end up building more tunnels for the transportation of more arms for more terrorist attacks. Their indoctrination of hatred of the Jewish State starts when they are toddlers. I've seen their classes and books. Their teachers tell them stories describing the killing of Israeli children so they will be blessed by Allah
Obama's three (of many) great lies : Protected by a thoroughly corrupt mainstream media Obama has told one outrageous lie after another. Deceit and not transparency is the name of the game and smoke and mirrors is what passes for policy debates. He lie about taxes, he lied about deficits and spending, he lied about health — and he is still lying
62 Million Voiceless Americans : Is it still called debate when only one side controls the conversation? That's the question the 62 million Americans who didn't vote for Obama are asking themselves. Consent of the governed is being ignored as the Obama administration hijacks ever more power to the federal government, in direct contravention of the 10th amendment and the Constitution

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)


21 June, 2009

Hitler's motivation rediscovered

Interesting to have a noted historian confirm what anyone familiar with "Mein Kampf" would know -- that Hitler's antisemitism was largely a response to the actual prominence of Jews in many things that Hitler disapproved of. The author is however mistaken in saying that Hitler's views were formed AFTER WWI. Hitler's antisemitic views were already extreme by the time he wrote the Gemlich letter in 1919 and Hitler himself (in "Mein Kampf", chapter 2) describes his transition to antisemitism as pre-war

Adolf Hitler's obsessive hatred for Jews was sparked by his experiences after World War One, according to a new book. Respected historian Ralf-George Reuth argues the dictator blamed them for both the Russian revolution and the collapse of the German economy. The claim is a stark contrast to previous theories that Hitler's anti-Semitism was spawned on the back streets of Vienna when he was a down-and-out in the lead up to 1914. Historians have even speculated that he was partly-Jewish himself – or even that his mother died at the hands of an inept Jewish physician.

'Hitler’s Jewish Hatred; Cliche and Reality’ draws on numerous archives to pinpoint the reasons behind the Holocaust, which claimed six million lives. Reuth argues that what was probably lower middle-class bigotry shared by many at the time, morphed into murderous hatred for Hitler after 1919.

At the time almost half of all German private banks were Jewish owned, the stock exchange dominated by Jewish stockbrokers, almost half of the nation’s newspapers were Jewish run as were 80 per cent of chain stores. It became fashionable to decry the loss of the war on Jewish financiers.

But Hitler, according to Reuth, also blamed Jews for the Russian revolution, citing Leon Trotsky’s faith, as well as that of Marx whose theories he followed and even Lenin, who was one-quarter Jewish. When a Soviet republic was declared briefly in Munich that year, argues Reuth, the die was cast for Hitler to demonise the Jews as bearing responsibility for the world’s ills.

'With World War One lost and Germany in financial ruin, with revolution threatening, he came to see the Jews as solely responsible for stock-exchange capitalism, which caused acute poverty and suffering when it faltered, and Bolshevism,' said Reuth. 'These two events were pivotal in shaping his views of Jews and his subsequent plan to murder them all. 'He bought into the rumours and the whispers that blamed Jewish capitalists for stabbing Germany in the back.

'Then he saw that many Jews played prominent roles in the brief Soviet republic founded in Munich in 1919, against everything Hitler the nationalist stood for. 'The two events, together with the Russian revolution, coalesced to turn them, in his mind, into scapegoats for everything. 'But it was only after World War One, not before. I show that he had many Jewish acquaintances in Vienna, despite his writing in Mein Kampf that he was sickened by the sight of the Jews he saw there.'

Reuth draws on a wealth of archival material showing how Hitler fed off the intellectuals of the day to shape his belief. He quotes Nobel prize-winning novelist Thomas Mann who wrote in 1919 that he equated the Bolshevik revolution in Russia with the Jews. Ernst Nolte, a Berlin historian, expounded this theory over 20 years ago in a paper that was not given much credit at the time.

Reuth is a distinguished Nazi-era biographer who wrote an acclaimed book about Third Reich propaganda master Josef Goebbels.


A major omission above is that it was the prominence of Jews among the Marxist agitators of prewar Vienna that particularly alienated Hitler. The Marxist notion of class war and idealization of the proletariat cut right across Hitler's idealization of ALL Germans. The Marxist class-based ideology clashed with Hitler's race-based ideology but, typical of Leftists, both thought only in terms of groups. In the light of the current high rate of Leftism among American Jews, one hopes that a realization of where that led last time will one day dawn. That the facts of what happened last time are now slowly being acknowledged is hopeful.

Note that, as in prewar Germany, people still feel strong partisanship towards their own ethnic and national group for all that Leftists try to demonize it. For a "right now" example of that in action, see here. And for the "right now" hatred of Jews in Britain, see here and here. I give a much fuller account of Hitler's motivations here

While I am talking about Hitler and his times, I might mention briefly a rather strange article by an Italian writer Fabio Paolo Barbieri which claims to refute the idea that Nazism/Fascism was Leftist even though he appears to know virtually nothing about Nazism and Fascism. He says that Marx was primarily a Prussian rather than a socialist. But if Marx was not the quintessential Leftist, who would be? He also says that Fascism/Nazism was not Leftist because Fascists/Nazis murdered and went to war against other socialists. He has obviously never heard of sibling rivalry, which can easily be murderous. Witness the icepick to the head which Trotsky got from Stalin


The Gathering Storm over the Dollar

Obama is running the dollar printing presses like a Third-World dictator, which always leads to near worthless money

At the end of the day, the U.S. dollar, and assets denominated in dollars, may not be worth the paper they’re printed on as storm clouds gather over the nation’s future prosperity. And the world is taking ominous note.

At the recent BRIC summit in Yekaterinburg, the U.S. requested to be an observer, and was refused. In the lead-up to the conference, signals from both Russia and China indicated both are seeking alternatives to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, as explained in a recent backgrounder from Americans for Limited Government.

Proclamations from central banks and heads of state concerning the safety of dollar assets are occurring almost daily. And even when such a statement is in favor of the dollar, such as Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano’s recent declaration, it is hardly believable. He said, “We have complete trust in the fact that the U.S. views its strong-dollar policy as fundamental. So our trust in U.S. Treasuries is absolutely unshakable.” Why? Because, he said, “We have complete faith in U.S. economic and fiscal policy.”

That, of course, is a scary thought. Is he talking about the same fiscal policy that now projects a $1.85 trillion budget deficit, spit out a $787 billion “stimulus” with no money in the bank to back it, just approved a $108 billion expansion of the IMF, and now proposes a trillion-dollar health care plan—all this year alone? The same monetary policy where the Federal Reserve is printing fiat greenbacks to purchase more than $300 billion of U.S. treasuries to finance the debt? The same entitlement policy that has produced more than $104 trillion in unfunded liabilities to Medicare and Social Security?

“The U.S. dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency isn’t under threat,” Mr. Yosano trumpeted. It isn’t? Then what does he make of China and Russia beating the drums for the dollar to be replaced with Special Drawing Rights (SDR)-denominated bonds issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)? As ALG News has previously reported, the dollar is in danger.

Somewhat curious is that Mr. Yosano’s statement was issued just days after two Japanese men were caught attempting to cross the Italian-Swiss border with what appeared to be $134.5 billion worth of U.S. treasuries. Although they have turned out to be apparent fakes, is it possible the statement was made to preempt suspicions that Japan was dumping its bonds on to the black market?

If so, then the dollar may be in a more precarious position than officials like Mr. Yosano will care to admit. And even if Mr. Yosano’s statement had no connection to the Italian incident, they were still out of necessity because to date Japan remains overly exposed to dollar assets to the tune of $685.9 billion as of April. Certainly, they are in response to his counterparts in China and Russia who have overtly questioned the safety of the dollar.

Now China and Russia have said they want the yuan and ruble added to the basket of currencies that constitute the SDR. Their proposed reforms also including adding gold, the Australian, and Canadian dollars. The effect? Diluting the impact of a fall in dollar assets upon the value of the SDR. In addition, both China and Russia have recently agreed to deal with each other in rubles....

The fact is, if the dollar declines in value, the biggest losers are holders of U.S. assets, namely, countries like China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and others. And that’s one reason why the rest of the world is so eager to stop playing Monopoly with U.S. money. Though, of course, to be politic, they are—at least verbally—hedging their bets at this point.....

Significantly, China’s holdings in U.S. treasuries dropped in April by $4.4 billion while it continued stockpiling precious metals. Its state-run aluminum corporation, Chinalco, was even willing to pay $19.5 billion for Chilean aluminum company, Rio Tinto, a deal which collapsed despite Chinese concessions offered. Really, they just desperately wanted to get rid of the $19.5 billion as quickly as possible, and in return for something valuable: resources. The fact is: foreign governments now know that in a post-dollar world, U.S. currency may not be worth the paper it is printed on. What will be worth something are tangible goods.

And that’s what these nations see on the horizon—as the once mighty U.S., following Obamanomics to wrack and ruin, disappears into the Abyss.




Unemployment at highest level in 25 years: "The turmoil ravaging General Motors and Chrysler generated big jumps in joblessness last month throughout the Midwest, sending Michigan's unemployment rate above 14 percent and pushing three nearby states into double digits. Jobless rates in Illinois and Indiana surpassed 10 percent, while Ohio's approached 11 percent, according to data released Friday in a Labor Department report. The half-percentage-point jump in the national unemployment rate rippled throughout the country as 48 states and the District of Columbia reported increases in their jobless rates in May. The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 8.9 percent in April to 9.4 percent in May, its highest level in more than a quarter-century. The rate was 10.8 percent near the end of 1982.... The jobless rate in California, which faces a staggering $24 billion budget deficit in the fiscal year beginning in less than two weeks, climbed to 11.5 percent as the Golden State shed 68,900 jobs last month, the most of any state."

Saving phantom jobs: “Since coming into office President Obama and the members of his administration have repeatedly justified government stimulus spending as ‘creating or saving’ jobs. William McGurn wrote in The Wall Street Journal (June 9, 2009) that the President announced the stimulus has already ‘created or saved’ 150,000 jobs, that an additional 600,000 jobs will be ‘created or saved’ in the summer, and that as many as four million jobs will be ‘created or saved’ in the next two years. Mr. McGurn points out that the promise to ‘create or save’ jobs is inherently specious because there is no way to determine how many jobs are ’saved.’ Economists do not have a method for measuring the net number of jobs saved. No matter how bad unemployment levels get, administration officials can always say that even more jobs would have been lost without the stimulus.”

Oregon driving business away with billions in tax hikes: "The Labor Department reported yesterday that Oregon's unemployment rate soared to 12.4% in May, the nation's second highest after Michigan's 14.1%. What to do? If you're the geniuses in the state legislature in Salem, you naturally raise taxes. Last week the legislature approved a $2 billion tax hike on personal income and small businesses that haven't already left the state. The highest tax rate on income above $500,000 would climb to 11% -- up from an already high 9%. Oregon will soon boast the second highest income tax rate in the nation, moving ahead of California (10.55%), and only slightly behind New York City (12.6%). Corporations will pay a 7.9% tax on gross receipts, up from 6.6%. But that isn't the worst of it. Another revenue raiser will tax hospitals and private health insurance premiums. That's a good way to encourage private employers to drop their health coverage for workers."

Suit accuses TSA of unreasonable airport detention: “A lawsuit filed Thursday against the Transportation Security Administration alleges a Ron Paul supporter was unreasonably detained at the St. Louis airport because he was carrying about $4,700 in cash. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of Steven Bierfeldt, director of development for the Campaign for Liberty, an organization that grew out of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.”

After $196 billion, no proof UN programs help: "“In the last two decades, the world has spent more than $196 billion trying to save people from death and disease in poor countries. Millions of people are now protected against diseases like yellow fever, sleeping under anti-malaria bed nets and taking AIDS drugs. But there isn’t much proof that pricey programs led by the United Nations and its partners are responsible, according to two studies published Friday in the medical journal, Lancet.”

The costly comedy club at Turtle Bay: “The United Nations and human rights do not belong in the same sentence. In early June the UN Human Rights Council praised Cuba’s human rights achievements. The Council was far more concerned about the U.S. embargo against Cuba than the Cuban government’s brutality towards its own people. The UN long has claimed to represent the greatest aspirations of humanity, running back to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was approved more than six decades ago. But the UN’s Commission on Human Rights routinely embarrassed the ‘international community.’”

Dodd's Irish Luck: "Irish property prices have plummeted since 2002. But a "cottage" in County Galway owned by Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has tripled in value during the same period, according to a financial disclosure form filed by the Senator this month. There are two possible explanations for this remarkable turn of fortune. Maybe Mr. Dodd is luckier than a leprechaun. Or could it be that he paid well below the market price when he bought out a co-owner in 2002 and had undervalued the property accordingly? If it's the latter, then Mr. Dodd received a "gift," in IRS parlance, and should have declared it on his financial disclosure form that year. He did not. Oh, and by the way, the seller at that low, low price has been the business partner of a man for whom Mr. Dodd lobbied to receive a Presidential pardon. It's also been nearly a year since a former loan officer at Countrywide Financial charged that the mortgage lender had classified Mr. Dodd as a "very important person" (a.k.a., a "friend of Angelo" Mozilo, Countrywide's then-CEO)... The SEC charged Mr. Mozilo with fraud and insider trading earlier this month"

A response to Digital Britain: “The government has announced ‘plans to help secure Britain’s place at the head of a new media age.’ We should be cautious whenever we see governments combining future visions with the word ‘plan.’ Not surprisingly, the headline measures involve the use of force to construct a ‘transformation’ — in Gordon Browns words — of the distribution of digital broadband, comparing it with what he calls ‘essential services such as electricity, gas and water.’ This is an upside-down policy approach. Technology, delivery methods and service product innovations are changing rapidly under private initiative, individual traders are juggling for profitable commercial position and the industry is moving on fast. Now leviathan wants in on the act to re-invent a commanding height in the economy that they control. That’s mad. If ever there was the case for getting out of the way, this is it.”

Defective maintenance in Russian military equipment again: "RUSSIA'S air force lost its second fighter plane in three days today when an Su-24 crashed in southern Russia, but both pilots survived. The air force immediately grounded its fleet of Su-24s, a Soviet era plane also known by the NATO reporting name Fencer, Interfax news agency said. The crew tried to land several times, but technical problems prevented them from doing so, Interfax quoted a military source as saying. "Flight control then gave the command to leave the aerodrome area for a safe place and eject". Another SU-24 plane crashed on Wednesday while coming in to land in the northern Murmansk Region, Russian media reported. Both pilots survived. The commander of Russia's air force said last August that the nation's air defences were in disarray and needed huge investment to keep up with the West."


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)


20 June, 2009

As Obama prints billions of greenbacks, the smarties are moving into Swiss francs

The more he prints, the less value each one has. Sad when a small Alpine country is more trusted than the mightiest power on earth. But it is really bugging out the Swiss. They are printing more Francs to cope with the demand but the excessively high value being placed on their currency is still distorting their trade with other countries

THE Swiss franc has weakened sharply against other currencies, hours after the Swiss National Bank said it would intervene to stop an irrational rise in the franc against the euro. The SNB had no comment on the move, saying they already issued a statement after a policy meeting at which the central bank kept interest rates stable at 0.25 per cent.

However, currency analysts suspect it was an intervention, as the SNB likely acted to prove their resolve when the euro actually crept lower despite an early warning statement. The Bank for International Settlements, which traders say would have been the one to sell Swiss francs on behalf of the SNB, also declined to comment.

The franc's sharp move comes as the SNB has promised to fight the risks of deflation and shrinking economic growth, made worse by a strong currency, which also puts the price of their exports at a disadvantage. Investors have been flocking to the franc because it is considered a safe haven amid the global financial crisis....

"I think what we are seeing is a real battle," said Simon Derrick, a currency analyst at the Bank of New York Mellon. "For the past three months, the SNB has been fighting a losing battle with verbal intervention. Every time they have commented on the strength of the Swiss franc, the market has taken less and less notice.” ...

The SNB last officially intervened in the currency markets in March, when it sold the Swiss franc to push the euro up from the SwFr1.48 area to over SwFr1.53. The aim of the SNB's purchases of foreign currencies was to prevent an appreciation of the Swiss franc against the euro, in its role as a save-haven currency, SNB's Mr Jordan said.



Idiocy: Congress wants to pay you to destroy your car

When we first heard the phrase "cash for clunkers," we thought the reference was to a Congressional pay raise. Alas, no, it is the bright idea out of Congress to pay Americans to turn in their old cars so they'll go out and buy a new one. As columnist George Will recently observed, this isn't as insane as the New Deal policy of slaughtering pigs to raise pork prices, but it's close enough for government work.

Under cash for clunkers, drivers would be offered vouchers of up to $4,500 to swap their current wheels for a more environmentally correct set with better mileage. The cars they turn in for destruction would have to get less than 18 miles per gallon, be drivable, and insured to the owner for at least a year.

That last provision is presumably intended to deter political arbitrageurs from raiding used-car lots for trade-in wrecks. But as economic policy, this is still dotty. It encourages Americans to needlessly destroy still useful cars and then misallocates scarce resources from other, perhaps more productive, uses in order to subsidize replacements. By the same logic, we could revive the housing market by paying everyone to burn down their houses to collect the insurance money and build new ones.

The proposal is really intended to help Detroit out of recession by subsidizing new car purchases, while also satisfying environmentalists who want gas guzzlers off the roads yesterday. But the politicians can't even agree on how green this uncreative destruction should be.

Under the House version sponsored by Ohio Democrat Betty Sutton, drivers could get $3,500 if their new SUV, pickup truck or minivan gets a mere two mpg better gas mileage than the one they're sending to the scrap heap. As Senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins wrote on these pages Thursday, that means the government would subsidize the purchase of guzzlers like the Hummer or Dodge Ram. A five mpg improvement would net the full $4,500. Call it a subsidy for single guys.

The plan would also have the unintended consequence of taking inexpensive used cars and parts out of circulation, making it harder for financially pinched families to afford a car or keep an old one running. Recycling old parts and cars is a major industry, extending the life of cars while limiting the production of replacements.

Responding to the cash for clunkers proposal in May, the United Recyclers Group, which represents auto parts recyclers, blasted the bill as an auto bailout at the expense of the environment. According to Richard Filley, executive director of the GreenCARR Foundation, "The environmental costs of new parts manufacturing are far higher than the use of 'green' parts which are reused." Poor Mr. Filley doesn't understand that he is operating in the land of green gesture politics, where what matters is how a policy looks, not whether it actually helps the environment.

For most consumers, the subsidy won't make a major difference in their purchasing decision on a new car, either because they don't have a trade-in or because a new car is still out of reach even with the voucher. But the policy will cost the Treasury revenue that the politicians will eventually claw from someone else, and it will further distort car markets and investment decisions.

A far better cash for clunkers idea would be if Members of Congress gave themselves a $1 million voucher each in return for retiring. Then we could start all over with fewer economic dunces.



The coming storm: Obama and American Jewry

There's a storm coming. It will pit a well-organized community of substantial resources but also substantial insecurity - particularly when it comes to charges of dual loyalty - against a popular president of considerable eloquence but misguided policies that identify Israeli settlements as the main obstacle to Middle East peace. The inevitable clash will separate sunshine Jewish patriots who back Israel when convenient against those who stand with Israel even when it means losing their invitation to the White House Hanukka party.

The bogus issue of settlements is already being swallowed whole by many well-meaning Jews. Last week Dan Fleshler, a leader of Americans for Peace Now, wrote in the New Jersey Jewish Standard that Obama has no choice but to pressure Israel because "it is fruitless for a well-armed, occupying power to negotiate the terms of a viable settlement with an almost defenseless occupied people unless a third party mediates and presses both sides."

In reading Fleshler one wonders whether he has been himself occupied with building a settlement on the moon with no knowledge of events on Earth. Is he seriously suggesting that the thousands of Katyusha rockets and nonstop suicide bombers that have killed more than a thousand Israelis (the equivalent of 30,000 dead Americans) have come from a "defenseless" foe? Would Fleshler likewise argue that the US ought to have pressure from, say, Russia or China to make peace with the terrorists in Afghanistan, seeing that America now represents a "well-armed, occupying power" against the comparatively defenseless Taliban? Or is it only Israel that is forbidden from defending itself? Sorry Mr. Fleshler, but Jewish values do not dictate that the only moral Jew is a dead one who refuses to fight in the face of a 60-year terror onslaught.

Any return to the 1967 borders, which is what Obama's attack on the settlements represents, is simply suicide for Israel. The borders are utterly indefensible. The Arabs know it, which is why they press for it. Had Israel not dismantled its settlements in Gush Katif, Gaza would not have become a terrorist state ruled by Hamas, an organization that kills even more Palestinians than it does Israelis....

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out, our president undermines his moral authority when he pledges that henceforth America will "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," but then only applies that pledge to Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, but not to Israel.

Last year, right after Obama captured the democratic nomination, I received a phone call from his campaign asking if I would serve as one of the national chairs of "Rabbis for Obama." It was a tempting offer. I was moved by the candidate's remarkable personal story, his iron discipline, his soaring oratory and, most of all, the fact that his victory would be the culmination of my hero Martin Luther King's dream of a man being judged by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. In the end I declined because I feared that Obama would draw a moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians and pressure the former to appease the latter. But even I never suspected that it would happen so quickly and so lopsidedly.



American big business is comfortable with Fascism

A "partnership" between big business and the State was the central idea of Mussolini's Fascism -- and we saw where that led. It removes a large obstacle to complete State power

Everywhere we look we see the great and once-great beneficiaries of free markets running to the state for protection from the cruel bullying of competition. On health care, insurance companies and others repeat the mantra that they want to be "at the table rather than on the menu," all the better to be positioned as a tax collector of the welfare state. General Motors and Chrysler have gone from being pimped-out prostitutes of the state to outright chattel more akin to the leather-bound gimp in "Pulp Fiction," eager to do the bidding of the president and the UAW.

Once-proud companies like GE have become seduced by global warming schemes, because they recognize that there's more money to be made selling white elephants to Uncle Sam than there is selling competitive products consumers want. Indeed, cap-and-trade taxes promise to deliver precisely the protectionist industrial policies the left has dreamed of for decades, only under a "progressive" label.

This week, Philip Morris, the biggest of the Big Tobacco companies, supported and won passage of an "anti-tobacco" bill that will make it easier for Philip Morris (a subsidiary of Altria) to sell cigarettes by making it harder for smaller, more innovative firms to compete. One way it will do that is by curtailing the First Amendment rights of tobacco companies, making it harder to advertise their products (including healthier alternatives to normal cigarettes). Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro and other established brands, already controls 50 percent of the market. That's why it lobbied government to keep it that way.

Also this week, the White House announced its plan to deal with "systemic risk" in the financial markets. The basic idea is that big firms -- giant banks, insurance companies, etc. -- cannot be allowed to fail if their failure threatens something called "stability." The Obama administration is confident that with its new organizational flow charts and enhanced job description for the Federal Reserve, bureaucrats will suddenly see clearly what they couldn't see before. These regulators will know exactly when bubbles get too big, when booms last too long, and when tens of thousands of managers, investors, actuaries and bankers make bad or sub-optimal decisions.

The problem, other than the shortage of Jedis and shamans to fill these posts, is that big companies will understand the surest way to attain immortality is to become too big to fail. Once they've achieved that privileged status, these companies will become de facto wards of the state, insured for life at taxpayer expense like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and in exchange they will do whatever Uncle Sam asks.

It's too soon to tell which companies will leap at the opportunity to sell their souls for immortality, but you can bet that many of those already suckling the TARP teat will be among the first to celebrate the sagacity of the new system.

While doctrinaire socialists might feel betrayed by liberalism's cozy embrace of big business, their betrayal pales in comparison to the bitterness of free-marketers who defend big business's freedom to operate, only to see these businesses use that freedom to hide behind the skirts of the nanny state. Real freedom means the freedom to fail as well as succeed. Big business wants to be protected from the former and deny competitors the latter. And their betrayal, more than anything, disheartens those who would defend both freedoms.




And you thought American inner city ghettoes were bad: "More than a quarter of South African men have admitted to raping a woman or girl, with 9.8 per cent forcing themselves on a victim for the first time before the age of 10, a study has found. The Medical Research Council study of 1,738 men found that nearly half had done so more than once, driving home South Africa's reputation as one of the world's worst rape capitals. Among the men surveyed, 27.6 per cent admitted to raping a woman or girl. One in five of confessed rapists had HIV, added the study, which canvassed men of all race groups, different socio-economic backgrounds, and urban and rural areas. Nearly 10 per cent of the men said they had forced a woman or girl into sex for the first time when aged under 10 years old. Nearly 73 per cent of the men committed their first rape while under age 20. The incidence of HIV among rapists was similar to the rate among the general population. But 27.8 per cent of the men who said they had committed same-sex assaults tested positive for HIV. More than 42 per cent of men in the study said they were physically violent to their partners, and those men were more likely to have HIV, the council said in its study released today. South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of reported rape, with 36,190 cases - 99 per day - reported to police in 2007, but experts say only a small number of attacks are reported. The country has the highest number of HIV infections in the world."

High court adds hurdle to age-bias suits: "The Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for employees to win claims of age discrimination, a ruling with implications for aging baby boomers who hope to hold on to their jobs in the face of lost retirement savings in last year's stock market crash. With age-discrimination claims skyrocketing, the court said in a 5-4 decision that a worker must prove age was the dominant factor in his or her firing or demotion in order to be successful. Previously, workers had to prove only that age was a factor in the decision, as is the case for discrimination based on sex or race. "The burden of persuasion does not shift to the employer to show that it would have taken the action regardless of age, even when a plaintiff has produced some evidence that age was one motivating factor in that decision," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, which included Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. It upheld a lower court ruling that said a 54-year-old vice president of an Iowa financial company didn't prove he was demoted in a reorganization because of his age."

Obama’s Honeymoon is Over: "Early in his presidency, Barack Obama had a grace period when the public saw the nation’s problems as ones he inherited, but two new polls -- by New York Times/CBS News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News - make clear that there are rising concerns about his policies. The biggest public concern is over the size of the deficit being run up by Obama’s economic recovery proposals and how much more it will rise if his plan to overhaul health care and increase coverage for uninsured Americans is enacted. But there is also discomfort about his intervention in the auto industry and taking a big government stake in ownership of General Motors. And voters also disagree with Obama on closing Guantánamo. On these issues, the new polls track with surveys done by Gallup. Gallup found strong job approval ratings for Obama in a late May poll but disapproval of his handling of the federal deficit and controlling federal spending. A Gallup poll conducted June 9-10 found a majority disapproving of the government’s investing in GM. Gallup said that voters opposed closing Guantánamo by more than a 2-to-1 margin."

Maher: Barack Obama obsessed with being on TV: "Self-described libertarian pundit Bill Maher ripped Barack Obama during a lengthy monologue on his HBO program Friday night, accusing the president of being obsessed with appearing on TV and failing to come through on pre-election promises. "This is not what I voted for," Maher said. “I don’t want my president to be a TV star.” Maher criticized Obama's constant television coverage ("I get it: you love being on TV") and said the president should focus on fixing the nation's problems instead. "You don't have to be on television every minute of every day -- you're the president, not a rerun of 'Law & Order,'" Maher said. “TV stars are too worried about being popular and too concerned about being renewed." Maher continued: "You're skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady -- but so is Lindsay Lohan. And just like Lindsay, we see your name in the paper a lot but we're kind of wondering when you’re actually going to do something.” Maher added that Obama's presidential rival John McCain was right to say Obama acted like a celebrity and, amazingly for Maher, the comedian suggested Obama needs to act more like his predecessor. “I never thought I’d say this: What [Obama] needs in his personality is a little George Bush.”


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)


19 June, 2009

PETA Wishes Obama Hadn't Swatted That Fly

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House. PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside. "We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Obama's conversation with correspondent John Harwood. "Get out of here," the president told the pesky insect. When it didn't, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead. "Now, where were we?" Obama asked Harwood. Then he added: "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker."

Friedrich said that PETA was pleased with Obama's voting record in the Senate on behalf of animal rights and noted that he has been outspoken against animal abuses. Still, "swatting a fly on TV indicates he's not perfect," Friedrich said, "and we're happy to say that we wish he hadn't." Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House has no comment on the matter.



Obama’s AmeriCrooks and cronies scandal

President Obama promised he would end “Washington games.” But his abrupt firing of the AmeriCorps inspector general is more of the same. The brewing scandal smells like the Beltway cronyism of the Bush years. And the apparent meddling of First Lady Michelle Obama in the matter smacks of the corruption of the Clinton years. If Obama keeps up with this “change,” we’ll be back to the Watergate era by Christmas.

News of AmeriCorps watchdog Gerald Walpin’s unceremonious dismissal first broke last week in Youth Today, an independent national publication focused on the volunteerism sector. Walpin was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and has served well, honorably, and effectively. Too effectively. His removal came a week after he “questioned the eligibility of the largest and most expensive AmeriCorps program, and while the IG was contesting the ‘propriety’ of a settlement made with a mayor for alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds,” according to Youth Today.

The first taxpayer-subsidized program is the Teaching Fellows Program, run by the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. Walpin’s audit (which can be found online at www.cncsig.gov/AuditReports.html) uncovered a multitude of grant violations, including criminal background check lapses and “pervasive problems of eligibility, timekeeping, and documentation.”

Walpin office questioned duplicative educational awards of more than $16 million and costs worth nearly $775,000. CUNY refused to return excess funds that it had drawn down, failed to revise procedures to prevent such grant abuse, and refused to provide proof documenting that its AmeriCorps participants actually existed. Walpin advised AmeriCorps’ parent organization, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), to cut off any new funding and reexamine past government funding totaling upwards of $75 million.

Walpin’s recommendations have been ignored by CNCS, now chaired by Democrat mega-fundraiser Alan Solomont. The Obama watchdogs are snoozing. Expect the same kind of lackadaisical approach toward policing the $6 billion AmeriCorps expansion/government national service programs signed into law by President Obama in April.

The second program Walpin challenged is the non-profit St. HOPE Academy, run by Obama supporter Kevin Johnson, the Democrat mayor of Sacramento and a former NBA basketball star. In a special May 2009 report, Walpin’s office blew the whistle on a highly politicized U.S. Attorney’s Office settlement with Johnson and his deputy, Dana Gonzalez. The pair exploited nearly $900,000 in AmeriCorps funding for personal and political gain. Based on Walpin’s investigation last year, CNCS had suspended their access to federal funds after determining that they were:

*Using AmeriCorps members to “recruit students for St. HOPE Academy;”

*Using AmeriCorps members for political activities in connection with the “Sacramento Board of Education election;”

*Assigning grant-funded AmeriCorps members to perform services “personally benefiting . . . Johnson,” such as “driving [him] to personal appointments, washing [his] car, and running personal errands;” and

*Improperly using AmeriCorps “members to perform non-AmeriCorps clerical and other services” that “were outside the scope of the grant and therefore were impermissible” for “the benefit of St. HOPE.”

But in the wake of Johnson’s mayoral victory and President Obama’s election in November, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento rushed to settle with the new mayor so he could avail himself of federal stimulus funds and other government money. It was, Walpin said in his special report last month, “akin to deciding that, while one should not put a fox in a small chicken coop, it is fine to do so in a large chicken coop! The settlement…leaves the unmistakable impression that relief from a suspension can be bought.”

Shortly after, the White House announced that it had “lost confidence” in Walpin. With Walpin’s removal, the top management positions at AmeriCorps’ parent organization are now all open. The decks are clear to install lackeys who will protect the government volunteerism industry and its Democrat cronies. And a chilling effect has undoubtedly taken hold in every other inspector general’s office in Washington.

GOP Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is pressing Obama for more details. Tough questions need to be asked of First Lady Michelle Obama, who has “taken the lead” in selecting AmeriCorps’ managers, according to Youth Today. Her former chief of staff, Jackie Norris, will serve as a “senior adviser” to CNCS beginning next week. What role did they play in Walpin’s sacking? And why?

Mrs. Obama’s interest is more than passing. She ran the AmeriCorps-funded non-profit Public Allies in Chicago from 1993-1996 and served on its national board until 2001. Like so many of the AmeriCorps recipients investigated by the inspector general’s office over the years, Public Allies was found to have violated basic eligibility and compliance rules. A January 2007 audit reported that the group lacked internal controls verifying that recipients who received education grants and living allowances were legal citizens or permanent residents as required by law.

Transparency. Accountability. Fiscal responsibility. In Obama World, these are proving to be nothing more than words. Just words.



It’s Iran, Stupid

The unintended consequences of Obama’s attempt to jump-start the peace process

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday, in which he reversed his longstanding position on Palestine and said he would be willing to work toward the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, has met with almost no opposition in Israel. This is a very unusual course of events in a country where elections take place on average every two years because coalitions are so unstable and often fall with little provocation.

Netanyahu’s government, led by his own center-right Likud party, includes two settler parties and Avigdor Lieberman’s Russian-immigrant party, Yisrael Beiteinu, all of which might have been expected to pull out of the coalition after hearing the prime minister endorse a “two-state” solution. But the right wing remains firmly behind the prime minister, and now some members of Kadima, the largest center-left party, have indicated they might be willing to join Netanyahu’s coalition because he has met their demand that he recognize a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s speech met with so little opposition because his coalition partners, like most Israelis, realize that the conditions he posed for the creation of a Palestinian state are unlikely to be met any time soon. First, there is the fact that the Palestinian polity remains divided between Hamas in Gaza and Abu Mazen’s government in the West Bank, which makes any long-lasting solution improbable. Second, Washington, in its role of fostering the peace process, will be very hard pressed to find a Palestinian leadership that would be willing to accept demilitarization, agree to Israeli control of the whole of Jerusalem, cease to demand a right of return for Palestinians who fled from Israel, and, above all, recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Israelis on all points of the political spectrum understand that these preconditions are highly unlikely to be met, and therefore that a unified and independent Palestinian state is no closer today than it was before Netanyahu accepted it in theory.

But beyond this, one has to return to the opening sentences of Netanyahu’s speech to understand why it has met with so little opposition at home. The prime minister listed in order of priority the three greatest issues on his agenda: the Iranian threat, the financial crisis, and the promotion of peace. In this list, Iran remained the most crucial issue. It is not a mistake that the peace process received only the third order of priority. The centrality of the Iranian threat is a matter of consensus in Israel that crosses party lines. Every Jewish member of the Knesset understands that the Iranian question is a matter of Israel’s survival, whereas the conflict with the Palestinians, though important, does not directly threaten the existence of the state. Netanyahu gave his speech in response to hard pressure from the Obama administration, which believes that successfully implementing a two-state solution is the key to solving all the other issues of the Middle East. Without this American pressure it is improbable that Palestinian statehood would have been the subject of Netanyahu’s first major policy speech.

The centrality of the Iranian issue has muted opposition to Netanyahu. It would be difficult to oppose a prime minister who is facing what is viewed in Israel as a true crisis of national security. The Obama administration might have hoped that pressure on the Palestinian issue, and in particular on the question of settlements, would bring down the Netanyahu government. It may find out that, on the contrary, it has strengthened Netanyahu’s position. If Kadima, or even some of its members, now decide to join forces with him, Netanyahu will have one of the broadest coalitions in Israel’s history, one unifying the four largest parties: Likud, Kadima, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Labor. At that point his government could not be brought down by the defection of any single partner. With a coalition of this magnitude, Netanyahu will have a unified backing should he order a strike against Iran.

In entering the maze of Middle Eastern conflicts, President Obama is likely to learn the rule of unintended consequences. The president seems to have thought that he could pacify the Muslim world, negotiate with Iran, and force Israel to accept a compromise it had long rejected. But as is often the case in this region, matters have not proceeded according to plan. The president now faces upheaval in Iran, a Muslim world that is no more receptive to his message than it was previously, and an Israel in which Netanyahu now has a stronger standing both coalition-wise and in regard to an attack on Iran. The peace process will now get bogged down in pedantry and semantics, while Israel’s strong coalition has opened opportunities that could fundamentally change the rules of the game.




Not Just Walpin - 3 Inspector General Firings Being Questioned: "This is interesting. I looked around and perhaps I missed it on another blog, but the Chicago Tribune reports that it isn't just Walpin's firing over which Senator Grassley wants some answers. He's worried about a pattern, as no fewer than three IG's have recently been fired, all while investigating so-called sensitive issues."

Bachmann fears ACORN role in census: "Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she's so worried that information from next year's national census will be abused that she will not fill out anything more than the number of people in her household. In an interview Wednesday with The Washington Times' "America's Morning News," the Minnesota Republican said the questions have become "very intricate, very personal" and that she feared ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, would be part of the U.S. Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts. "I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home," she said. "We won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."

GM retirees tried to play it safe: "General Motors Corp.'s troubles have derailed the retirement plans of many Americans, especially investors in the automaker's once-prized bonds. Bobby Work, 87, bought GM bonds with her husband 30 years ago and dearly misses the $20,000 they once yielded each year. Teresa Durhone, 50, put the profit from the sale of her house into the bonds so she could quit work and care for her sick mother. Now she'll need to find work again. The list goes on. After GM's bankruptcy filing on June 1, these and many other bondholders were forced to cut back on their expenses and find other ways to pay their bills. They hadn't plan to do that in retirement, but the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history got in the way. "I'm very, very distressed," Ms. Durhone said. "It's as if the law has changed." Bondholders thought their retirement dreams were safe. After all, they had bought bonds, not stocks."

Energy panel OKs bill to drill offshore: "The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday approved an energy bill that would boost renewable energy use and expand offshore oil and gas drilling. But the measure faces an uncertain future. The committee, which met 11 times since late March to debate amendments, voted 15-8 to send the bill to the full Senate. Chairman Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, called the bill "a solid piece of work" that reflected bipartisan viewpoints. Ranking member Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, lauded some of the pro-drilling provisions in the bill and said the measure will face a number of amendments on the Senate floor to expand nuclear power, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and other issues."

Detroit dodges Dodge: "They call this the Motor City, but you have to leave town to buy a Chrysler or a Jeep. Lochmoor Chrysler Jeep on Detroit's East Side has stopped selling Chrysler products, one of the 789 franchises Chrysler is dropping from its retail network. There was a time early in the decade when downtown Detroit was sprouting new cafes and shops, and residents began to nurture hopes of a rebound. But lately, they are finding it increasingly tough to buy groceries or get a cup of fresh-roast coffee as the 11th largest U.S. city struggles with the recession and the auto-industry crisis.


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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)


18 June, 2009

More twisted Leftist logic: Ahmadinejad is like Sarah Palin!

Handing out welfare money to the poor and making government bigger is "Rightist"?? Leftism is definitely bad for your brain

I could swear that Matt Yglesias used to talk about how Ahmadinejad was ultimately reasonable. Now Ahmadinejad's a really bad guy because he's like . . . Sarah Palin.

"Ahmadinejad is in most ways a classic right-winger, a demagogic nationalist and cultural conservative. In a manner somewhat reminiscent of a Sarah Palin, however, he clothes this right-wing politics in a language of class resentment, painting his more pragmatic and reformist opponents as decadent elites out of touch with ordinary people. Unlike the populists of the American right, however, he merges this rhetoric with something resembling an actual populist economic agenda. The main element has been the use of oil revenue to expand the state sector of the economy in an attempt to distribute wealth more broadly throughout the country. This approach has gained Ahmadinejad a loyal following among the rural poor and public employees, but Iran’s objective economic performance has been disappointing, even during the great oil boom years".

Daniel Halper responds:

Yes, Yglesias is referring to the same Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, who denies the existence of the Holocaust, who calls Jews (whoops, Zionists) the “true manifestation of Satan,” and so on. [Yep. Just like Sarah Palin] But the main distinction between Ahmadinejad from Palin? The former is in favor of redistributing the wealth, which automatically makes him better than Palin in Yglesias’s mind.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

I used to think that Yglesias was one of the more intelligent Leftists but now I think he is simply shrill, if not deranged. He is a fairly young man -- still in his 20s -- and the onset of psychotic illnesses does often occur in that age range -- JR


The problems of letting governments print as much money as they like

And both Britain and the USA are printing LOTS at the moment

Nobel Laureate John Nash lashed out at Keynesian economists, comparing them to Bolsheviks, while speaking at the Game Theory conference in Mumbai. Reading his paper on “Ideal Money and Asymptotically Ideal Money” at the conference, Nash said that both Keynesians and Bolsheviks claimed that they knew what was best for the people. The public, or the “consumers” of policy, were deemed unable to appreciate the fine art of economic management.

Nash’s diatribe against Keynesians stemmed from his regard for sound money, which, according to him, means zero inflation. Keynesians, with their dangerous flirting with inflation, symbolise the forces of evil in Nash’s world view, a view almost religious in its fervour for stable money — at one point Nash used the word sin to describe unstable currencies. “The government that distributes its own currency pardons its own sins,” said Nash, referring to the ability of governments to water down their debts by inflation.

The power of the European central bank at Frankfurt is compared with the power of the Holy Roman Empire.

Current inflation rates of 2 to 3 per cent are not low enough — if you ask the people (consumers of money) what rate of inflation they want, they’ll obviously say zero. It’s this repression of the will of the people by misguided central bankers and Keynesians that make them comparable to Bolsheviks. And Bolsheviks, as everyone who has seen A Beautiful Mind will know, are those nasty people whose secret codes Nash was employed by the US government to break.

Nash calls for an ideal money, a new standard of value to replace the gold standard, based on the costs of raw materials used in industry. “A global money standard could have a value similar to that of standard measures such as those of the metric system,” says Nash.

The trouble is that while “the latter of these is invariant with regard to various places and times on the Earth, the former varies with the effective political regime and with time rather than being as if like the value of the metal in the standard kilogram.”

But even the ideas of Nobel Laureates may not be taken seriously, which is why Nash proposes an alternative “Asymptotically ideal money”, as a more realistic option to the fully rational “ideal money” world currency. Recall that, in an asymptote, as a point moves along the curve the distance from the point to the line approaches zero. Ditto for asymptotically ideal money, which will, in time, as people appreciate its benefits, approach the goal of ideal money.

Inflation targeting by central banks is what he means by this intermediate stage, and Nash endorses the New Zealand central bank’s experiments in this regard.

At the end of his lecture, Nash made what he said was a “humorous” point. He said that “A possible standard of value would be simply the cost of making a duplicate of precisely the same composition and weight of the standard kilogram,” referring to the kilogram kept with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures at Sevres, France. The humour being greeted by a deathly silence, Nash was obliged to explain that this standard kilogram was made of the precious metals platinum and iridium. Nobody laughed. There were probably too many Keynesians in the audience.




Sotomayor rapped for ties to women's club: "One month ago, the Belizean Grove was a quiet group of powerful women whose main activity was taking annual vacations in South American countries. Today, the New York-based club finds itself caught up in Supreme Court confirmation politics, with Republican lawmakers raising questions about the group's most famous member. Federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor joined the group a year ago and went on her first trip last year to Peru. Her membership went largely unnoticed until she listed it on a Senate questionnaire in preparation for her July 13 confirmation hearings. Now Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that her membership in a "discriminatory" private club violates American Bar Association ethical guidelines for judges. Judge Sotomayor this week defended the club, saying that despite its membership, it does not discriminate against men. [But Leftists always claim that any "disproportion' is PROOF of discrimination]

New Anglican Church returns to the Bible: "The Anglican Church in North America will be formally founded next week, challenging the legitimacy of the U.S. Episcopal Church and posing a dilemma for the worldwide Anglican Communion over who represents Anglicanism in the United States and Canada. When 232 delegates to the ACNA convention at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, approve the organization's constitution and canons on Monday, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan will become archbishop for this "emerging" 39th province of the communion, consisting of several groupings that have left the Episcopal Church over issues related to sexuality and biblical authority. A ceremony celebrating Bishop Duncan's installation is set for June 24 at Christ Church in the Dallas suburb of Plano, the ACNA's largest parish, with more than 2,000 members. Also among the ACNA's members are 11 Northern Virginia parishes, including the historic The Falls Church and Truro parishes, which left the Episcopal Church to found the Convocation of Anglicans in North America."

American Jews waking up: "President Obama’s strongest supporters among Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives, and some are questioning what he really believes, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. Though Hoenlein says he is only offering his personal views, the conference he represents is a political powerhouse that includes 50 major Jewish groups. Among them are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah, and the Anti-Defamation League. Hoenlein has been the professional head of the conference since 1986, overseeing its day-to-day activities as the coordinating body for American Jews on issues of concern in the U.S. and globally. Jewish leaders "are expressing concern about what was said [in Obama’s Cairo speech]," Hoenlein says. "I’ve heard it from some of his strongest supporters. It’s expected from his detractors. Even people close to him have said to us that there were parts of the speech that bothered them." ... According to the exit poll conducted by major press organizations during the 2008 election, Obama captured overwhelming support from American Jews, winning 78 percent of their vote.

Outlasting the Ayatollahs : "The Obama policy of extending an open hand to Iran is working and ought not be abandoned because of the grim events in Tehran. For the Iranian theocracy has just administered a body blow to its legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people and the world. Before Saturday, the regime could credibly posture as defender of the nation, defiant in the face of the threats from Israel, faithful to the cause of the Palestinians, standing firm for Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear power. Today, the regime, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is under a cloud of suspicion that they are but another gang of corrupt politicians who brazenly stole a presidential election to keep themselves and their clerical cronies in power. What should we do now? Wait for the dust to settle. No U.S. denunciation of what took place in Iran is as credible as the reports and pictures coming out of Iran.”

GOP fears slant in ABC "news" special: "Relations between ABC News and President Obama are being criticized as becoming too intimate, as the network announced it would produce a prime-time broadcast from the White House that includes questions solicited from viewers without equal time for the Republican point of view. Media credibility and fairness are at issue, with waggish bloggers renaming ABC the "All Barack Channel." At issue is "Prescription for America," a live, one-hour special to be moderated by ABC's Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, set to air at 10 p.m. June 24 from the East Room. Even before that prime-time hour, Ms. Sawyer will have interviewed Mr. Obama on "Good Morning America," and Mr. Gibson will have anchored "World News Tonight" from the White House's Blue Room. Media watchdogs doubted the show would be balanced, and the Republican National Committee was officially irked".

GOP, Virginia style: "The Republican candidate for Virginia governor says that if elected he will look for budget cuts within the Transportation Department and the state's Medicaid agency even as he explores ways to cut corporate taxes to attract business. With the governor's race attracting nationwide attention, former Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that Republicans need to rebrand themselves and that education reform should emerge as the party's signature issue at the state level. "I'm trying during this campaign to help to rebrand our party as the party of positive, happy, friendly, conservative leadership that's pro-growth, pro-free enterprise, pro-economic development. And that's really what we stand for," Mr. McDonnell said."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks: "Nowhere in the world is bigotry so rampant as in Muslim countries. No difference is greater between American and Islamic principles than the founding ideals of both. It is on the basis of the founding ideals of Islam that al-Qa'ida and other Muslim puritans insist on the implementation of sharia law, jihad and the eternal subjection of women. It is on the basis of the founding ideals of America that blacks and women fought for -- and gained -- equal rights and gays and new immigrants continue to do so.... The more one is dark-skinned in Saudi Arabia, the bleaker his circumstances, not to mention hers. For in Saudi Arabia, black is still considered to be inferior. Men and women convicted of adultery, apostasy, treason and other "offences" are beheaded. Thousands of women are rotting in Saudi jails, waiting to be flogged, or are flogged daily for acts such as mingling with men, improper attire, fornication and virtual relationships on the internet and mobile phones".

The UN: The worst emerging disease of all: "From the beginning of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, WHO’s decisions and pronouncements have been far from reassuring. Most flu and public health experts consider WHO to have been overly alarmist, and that their decision during the week of April 27 to raise the pandemic flu threat to the penultimate level, Phase 5, ‘Pandemic Imminent,’ far outpaced the data that had accumulated and was unwarranted. Even worse was their official declaration of a pandemic, which illustrates that WHO’s fundamental paradigm is flawed: A warning system based solely on how widely a virus has spread but that does not consider the nature of the illness it causes is prone to false positives; it would classify as ‘pandemics’ not only seasonal flu but also the frequent but largely inconsequential outbreaks of virus-caused colds and gastroenteritis, for example. It makes the term almost meaningless.”

Degrading art: "The modern pseudo-artists have forgotten the beautiful words expressed by that exquisite writer that was Oscar Wilde: ‘Art is beauty.’ Today’s motto is the exact opposite: ugliness, the absurd, the hostility towards all positive human values is displayed daily in exhibitions of ‘modern art,’ so-called avant-garde theatres and other such atrocities. Not even symphonic music and operas have been able to escape from such appalling attacks.”

In a Convention of Sovereign States, July 4, 2009: "“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the federal government has refused to stay within the Confines of its constitutionally Delegated powers. The government created by the Compact is exercising powers Not granted and attempting to consolidate the Sovereign American States into a single nation. That a consolidation of Sovereign States, controlled exclusively by political parties, would institute a form of government Foreign to our Constitution and rejected by our Forefathers. That whenever the federal government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the Right of the States, as the exclusive parties to the Compact between themselves, to alter or abolish their common government and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and general Welfare.”

The official myth about the Great Depression: “According to Austrian theory, inflation generates the business cycle, which means it causes periodic depressions. When a collapse came in 1929, government broke with precedent and adopted measures to minimize the pain of readjustment but in so doing retarded recovery. Through a long succession of economic interventions, both the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations turned what likely would have been a typically brief depression into the Great Depression. Historians and economists, though, have developed arguments extolling the fascist policies of the Roosevelt years for saving an inherently flawed capitalist system, while heaping blame on Hoover for his do-nothing approach. Intentionally or not, they created a mythology that has been fed to generations of American school kids.”


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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)


17 June, 2009

An amazing defence of Nazism as "Rightist"

And apparently coming from someone of broadly conservative views!
Nazism and fascism were very much about restoring an earlier, idealized order – the very definition of the right, as it has long been understood. Mussolini harkened back to the lost grandeur of the Roman Empire. Hitler sought to restore the mythical purity of the Aryan race. The nationalism of these totalitarians was far more extreme than their socialism, and their cultural predilections looked largely backward (build classical columns, ban “degenerate” art). Their appeal to their followers was in no small part that they would reestablish order against modern decay.

Latter-day admirers of the Nazis and fascists, such as James von Brunn, typically emphasize racial or national chauvinism over socialistic economics by a wide margin. They want to recapture a lost (and generally bogus) past, rather than remake the world according to a future vision. As such, they are on the extreme right. It does no credit to current-day conservatives, and adds nothing to understanding, to redefine the extreme right out of existence by claiming that it’s just another bunch of leftists.
Harking back to a romanticized past is conservative?? Has this guy never heard of Greenies? Has he never noticed the strong alliance between Greens and the Left? Conservatives conserve. They want to preserve the best of what has worked. They are wary of attempts to alter the status quo. It is reactionaries who want to return to the past and the chief reactionaries of today are undoubtedly the Greenies.

And this is particularly clear in the case of Hitler. The rural agrarian past that he romanticized seems to be very much the same as what the Greenies idealize. He even shared the Greenie obsession with running out of resources. He wanted Lebensraum in the East for Germany because he calculated that Germany was soon going to have difficulty feeding its population -- so he wanted to seize Slavic farmland to grow the food that Germany would need. And as for caring about the lives of others, what Greenie has ever expressed regret for the millions of lives lost to malaria in Africa because of the ban on DDT? Hitler had a LOT in common with the Greenies but nothing in common with conservatives. He in fact persecuted Germany's conservatives.

And Mussolini was a Greenie too. As well as being an "anti-globalizer", there were several other ways in which Mussolini would have appealed to modern-day Greenies. He made Capri a bird sanctuary and in 1926 he issued a decree reducing the size of newspapers to save wood pulp. And, believe it or not, he even mandated gasohol -- i.e. mixing ethanol with petroleum products to make fuel for cars. Mussolini also disliked the population drift from rural areas into the big cities and in 1930 passed a law to put a stop to it unless official permission was granted. What Green/Left advocate could ask for more?

So if the addled writer above wants to equate reactionary ideas with the "Right", let him go ahead. He can call Greenies "Rightists" all he likes for all I care. But just don't pretend that such a "Right" has anything to do with conservatives. And if it is "totalitarians" who are Rightists, I guess Stalin was a Rightist too.


The Ayatollahs make a mockery of Obama's trust in talk

Silver linings are deceptive and often hard to find, but that might be a tiny sliver of silver in that dark cloudbank over Iran. Barack Obama got notice from the election results that his tongue, golden and honeyed though it may be, is no match for reality. If Iranian voters had thrown Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into the street, the American president would have assumed that he was the One who did it, and the American press would have led the hosannas for the messiah from the south side of Chicago. Just a few more speeches, a few more respectful bows toward Mecca, and all the rough places would be made smooth and plain. But now even Mr. Obama must wake up and smell the tear gas.

The prospect that a victory by the Iranian moderates would cure what's wrong in the Middle East was a hookah dream from the start, a tale of the Arabian night indulged by those unable to bear the sight, sound and responsibility posed by reality. Iran is not ruled by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but by the head ayatollah, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and his pigsty of brutal mullahs. Mr. Ahmadinejad never misses an opportunity to pay craven tribute to these unelected agents of harsh Islamic rule, always with a bending of the knee and a kiss for every outstretched holy hand.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the current object of Western desire, put up the brave fight and now puts up a brave loser's front, stiff upper lip and all that. But he's under virtual house arrest as thousands of his supporters continue to throng the streets, screaming and vowing never to recognize a suspect verdict. He was reduced Monday to begging the mullahs to issue a fatwa decreeing that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not really the president, and asking the chief ayatollah to change his mind. He wants the government to dismiss the results and call a new election. All that, and a lollipop, too.

The election results, together with the high probability that the result was tinkered with if not rigged, and the cops and troops controlling the streets with clubs and tear gas suggest that, surprise, surprise, Mr. Ahmadinejad is getting away with it. From the capitals of the West, there was mostly spluttering and whining. The French foreign minister said the treatment of the demonstrators was "somewhat brutal," the operative word apparently the "somewhat," and the German government said the Tehran reaction was "unacceptable," which is diplo-speak for, "is there any more tea?"

There was all but silence from the White House, where Mr. Obama said he was pleased with the "robust debate" in Iran, proving only that he's easily pleased and eager to get back to what he does best, wrapping appeasement of the enemy in the sticky warmth of mere words. The "robust debate" Mr. Obama admired featured the opposition candidate smeared as both inspired by Hitler and a creature of the Jews, with skeptical newspapers shut down and Internet sites closed. Foreign observers were forbidden to watch and listen to the "robust debate." Given that nobody voted secretly - voters are easily identified and the naughty ones often punished - the 33 percent who voted for the opposition were brave, indeed.

Joe Biden, our long-missing veep, complains that "we just don't know enough," which is business as usual for good ol' Joe. (Nobody ever tells him anything.) "Is this the result of the Iranian people's wishes?" he asks. "The hope is that the Iranian people, all their votes have been counted, they've been counted fairly." Well, yes, we can all hope that.

But Mr. Obama will have to do better than admire "robust debate" and hope that once the evildoers hear the sound of his voice they will straighten up and fly right. Iranians, like everybody else, have a right to elect whomever they want, and even to steal elections without outside interference. The reality that President Obama must deal with goes beyond whether the election was free and fair. The mullahs who guide the hand of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have made it abundantly clear that they have an agenda, and intend to enforce it with the clenched fist Mr. Obama imagines he can unclench with a teleprompter.

Some people in the West - particularly in Washington - are tempted to dismiss the Iranian president as a clown and a fool, given to writing checks ("Israel must be wiped off the map") he could never cash. But these skeptics are the fools. President Obama must now rise to the occasion to deal with Iran as it is, and not as he wishes it to be. This is the job he said he wanted.



Obama's Muslim absurdities

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to, and questioned, President Barack Obama's inaccuracies regarding the size and significance of Muslims within the context of American society and even history in general in various statements and utterances since he assumed office. He has, not once, but on several occasions, accorded a privileged place to Muslims when describing America, a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and heritage.

In his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2009, President Obama said, "We Are A Nation Of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non believers." Again, in an interview on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on January 26, he referred to America as "a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers." In these two instances, President Obama placed Muslims ahead of Jews and, in the second, ahead of Christians as well.

Yet, throughout its history, the United States has always been known as a nation based on Judeo-Christian values and heritage. Thus, the norm has been to speak of this nation as primarily one of Christians and Jews, the two religious civilizations from which America has drawn most of its inspiration and which are the two larger religious blocs in the country. (It was typical, for example, for former President George W. Bush to state in his 2001 Inauguration Speech, "Church and charity, synagogue and mosque, lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and laws." This sort of sentence reflected the general understanding of America's self-identity and the fact that there are more Jews and synagogues in America than Muslims and mosques, for which reason Jews are mentioned ahead of Muslims).

President Obama's placement of Muslims ahead of Jews is also statistically odd. Surveys show that there are some 5-7 million Jews living in the United States - more than the 1.3-2.8 million Muslims living in the United States estimated by reputable surveys. In his Cairo speech on June 4, President Obama inaccurately referred to "...nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today." He further inflated the Muslim presence in America by stating on French television, "If you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."

These claims are astonishing - and groundless. The figure of 7 million is a three-fold plus exaggeration of the actual number of American Muslims. Inflated figures like these are usually cited only by Islamist organizations like the Council on American Islamic relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Society of North America (ISNA). In contrast, the 2007 Pew Research Center study estimates a U.S. Muslim population of 0.6 percent, resulting in a figure of approximately 1.8 million American Muslims, while a 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, puts the figure even lower, at 1, 349,000.

If there are 1.8 million Muslims in America, then there are 41 countries in the world with larger Muslim populations. Moreover, even if one accepted the inflated figure of 7 million American Muslims, this would still be far from making America one of the world's largest Muslim countries: of the world's 48 Muslim-majority states, 25 of these have larger Muslim populations. By not stretch of the imagination can America be described honestly as "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."

In an interview on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV on January 26, President Obama said that "My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives." This is not a claim that he has made in respect of any other minority group within America. Another example of President Obama seeking to promote Islam in America came in his Cairo speech, where he said that, "in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat [zakat refers to the Muslim obligation to give a portion of income to certain charities]." It is hard to know in which way President Obama intends to help Muslims but, again, this offer to facilitate observance of Islam is not something he has extended to any other religious group: he has not offered it to Mormons, or Jews. In America, Muslims can and do contribute to many Muslim charities and the only ones that have been shut down are those found to be subsidizing Islamist terrorism.

This inflation of Muslim numbers and significance to America's evolution is also accompanied by a diminishing of Christians and Jews. The instances of referring to Muslims ahead of Jews and on one occasion, ahead of Christians as well, has been noted. President Obama was doing this even before he ran for office. In a 2007 speech, he declared that, "Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation." He repeated again that "America is not a Christian nation" a few weeks later. As President, at a press conference before delivering a major speech in Turkey, he stated that "[O]ne of the great strengths of the United States is - although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation..." However, President Obama regards the secular Turkish republic as a Muslim country and chose its capital when decided to give a speech in a "Muslim capital." The secular American republic is overwhelmingly Christian (79 percent) while the secular Turkish republic is overwhelmingly Muslim (99 percent). Why, then, is Turkey Muslim but America not Christian?

Additionally, President Obama has indulged in apologetics investing Islam with greater influence on civilization than the historical record warrants. In his Cairo speech, he said, "I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality."

Much of this is simply incorrect. "Arabic numerals" were developed in pre-Islamic India, the astrolabe was developed before the rise of Islam; Christian scholars first preserved in Arabic classical Greek texts, not Muslim scholars; the first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683, and so on. Moreover, while he credited Al-Azhar University with making great contributions to the world, he did not note that its Grand Sheikh, Muhammad Tantawi, stated in 2003 regarding the Palestinians that suicide bombing is not contrary to Islamic law if performed in defense of a homeland. Tantawi has also made anti-Semitic statements about the evil and degenerate nature of Jews, making exceptions only for those Jews who convert to Islam. None of this induced President Obama to decline Al-Azhar's sponsorship of the speech. Instead, he named the institution for its contributions to civilization.




Conservatives hold big lead over liberals: "A new poll released Monday found that, even in the Age of Obama, there has been a "slight increase" in the number of Americans who call themselves conservatives, outnumbering self-described liberals by a 2-to-1 margin. The Gallup Poll organization said 40 percent of Americans interviewed in 10 surveys from January to May described themselves as conservative, 35 percent as moderate and 21 percent as liberal - a finding that could have a significant influence on the way President Obama's agenda is perceived in the months to come. The 40 percent figure for conservatives is the highest in nearly two decades."

GM workers trusted investment in product: "Ted Dobski knew firsthand how solid General Motors Corp.'s cars were. He was a raw-materials buyer for the auto giant for three decades and believed in its future. So when he retired in 2001, he bought GM bonds to help fund his leisure years. That turned out to be a serious mistake. Like so many other disappointed GM bondholders, Mr. Dobski is now struggling to keep his retirement intact. The value of his bonds collapsed when the American icon sought bankruptcy protection this month. But Mr. Dobski is not your average cranky creditor. He, like thousands of other bondholders, invested his retirement dreams in the industry he knew best -- his own -- yet still came out a loser". [Maybe he should apply to the UAW for a handout. They are the cats who got the cream]

D.C. bypasses voters on homosexual marriage: "D.C. elections officials Monday rejected a request to put the issue of same-sex marriage before voters, creating a clearer path for city lawmakers to allow gay couples to be married in the nation's capital. The D.C. Council, which passed a bill last month to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, is poised to consider another bill that would allow such unions to be performed in the District." [They know it would never get past their voters]

NOT to big to fail: "Washington regulators have justified several recent interventions in the financial realm by warning that firms like Bear Stearns and AIG are too big to fail. Allowing these firms to go bankrupt, the argument goes, would result in fire sales and a domino effect, which pose systematic risks to the entire economy. But Jean Helwege, associate professor of finance, writes that there is little to no evidence to support these too-big-to-fail threats of counterparty risk and fire sales."

Auto Intervention Could Dampen Future Lending for all businesses: "Bankruptcy attorneys and business leaders fear a bumpy ride as the U.S. government takes the wheel at General Motors…. Some turnaround specialists are concerned the government-guided bankruptcy reorganizations of Chrysler and GM could make it harder for companies to obtain capital. In these cases, the companies’ labor union, the United Auto Workers, received more favorable treatment than the companies’ secured creditors. That violates well-established bankruptcy law principles, said Peter Kaufman, president of Gordian Group LLC’s restructuring practice in New York.”

Obama betrayal on DOMA angers homosexual groups: "President Obama, who said as a candidate that he would seek repeal of a law denying federal recognition of same-sex marriage, has angered gay rights groups with court arguments portraying the law as a nondiscriminatory measure that ‘preserves scarce government resources.’ The Justice Department’s filing with a federal court in Santa Ana was the administration’s first statement on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act …. Obama called the law ‘abhorrent’ during the presidential campaign and said he would work to overturn it. He has not presented any such legislation to Congress since taking office, however.”


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)


16 June, 2009

Letter from a Dodge dealer

My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people. We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month. All depend on our business for part of their livelihood. We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community. We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees. Sunshine Dodge is my life.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler's insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.



This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.


I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.



David Letterman, Rev. Wright, and Thoughts on a Creepy Culture

By V.D. Hanson

The Demise of David Letterman

I had a number of exchanges on the Palin-Letterman controversy (see below). Where to start on David Letterman’s attack on Palin on her visit to New York to do charitable work, accompanied by her 14-year-old daughter Willow?

The hypocrisy of the Left that used to monitor slurs about women’s appearances, sick jokes about statuary rape, demonization of women with charges of promiscuity-all this rightly was taboo? But now silence? (But then no one seemed bothered either by the rather shameless instance of plagiarism on the part of Maureen Dowd, the NY Times columnist, who habitually accuses Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld of lying and other moral lapses.)

The metrosexual, hip David Letterman offered an apology I think that essentially was something along the following lines. Here’s my paraphrase: ‘Sorry, I confused the 14-year-old Willow Palin with the 18-year-old Bristol Plain, so I was wrong for suggesting the younger Palin girl would be “knocked up” during a baseball game with Alex Rodriguez, or draw in Eliot Spitzer for sex, when I really meant that Bristol certainly would.” (Note the silence about calling Governor Palin “slutty” looking. So if some right-wing nut says that Michelle Obama is “slutty” looking, are we to expect no consequences?)


What it is about Sarah Palin that drives the Left insane? Her charisma? Her authentic blue-collar roots? The accent? Todd? The pregnancies? The ability to galvanize crowds. Joe Biden tried to fake his working class origins, but Palin seems to live, not romanticize, the life of the middle strata, so would not the Left appreciate someone from the non-elite?

I suggest two reasons for the fury of the aristocratic Left. One was Palin’s stance on abortion. In the elite feminist mind, the perfect storm would be for a 40ish career woman, on the upswing of her cursus honorum, getting pregnant and, then, heaven forbid, delivering the child with full fore-knowledge of chromosomal abnormality. Or having her 17-year old come to full term with a child, unmarried, and without money?

The Shadow of Abortion

For most upscale, educated liberals, a daughter’s future career is ruined by pregnancy, and abortion is often the answer. Second, Todd Palin, the Palin accent, the Wasilla connection, the whole notion of Alaska, all this conjured up the elite liberal notion of “trailer trash”-and we all know from Obama’s clingers speech, that the white Christian working class is the last group in America that can be caricatured and slurred with impunity. To the liberal urban elite, poor “whites” are those responsible for racism and other sins associated with the dominant culture, and thus by association taint the white aristocracy unfairly.

Race, again, all the time

I received a lot of angry mail about a recent prediction that the Obama administration would acerbate not diminish racial tensions, by its addiction to identity politics and the constant invocation or racial difference. Nothing since his ascension has disabused me of that observation. Obama himself, in unusual fashion, has given a number of speeches abroad emphasizing his African heritage, his middle name Hussein, and his father’s Muslim’s connection.

We have heard the Attorney General call his countrymen “cowards” for not talking more about racial identity. We have heard our Supreme Court nominee state on repeated occasions that a Latina is intrinsically better at being a judge than a white male counterpart. Now Rev. Wright has reemerged to suggest that Obama will no longer meet with him because “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me ….” (a new book about Obama suggests he and Wright met in secret during the campaign after the Wright racist outbursts).

He’s Back

Note as well, that Wright, in his anti-Semitic diatribe, employs the now customary straw men “they”, which we’ve become well accustomed to. (I note here that what was most disturbing about the Letterman Palin jokes and his “apology” was the audience laughing at his crudity-reminiscent of the standing ovations in the Trinity congregation that met Wright’s profanity, racist outburst, and damning of the United States. This country has a long way to go.)

This racialism will continue. Why? Because Obama discovered long ago than racial identification brings as many dividends as does the content of one’s character or achievement. It is a force multiplier and foolishly left untapped. I fear more, not less, of this, as the tab for Obama’s charge-it economy comes due at about the same time dubious players abroad conclude that serial apologies amount to a green light for adventurism. When his popularity dives, I think critics will be seen as biased and prejudicial.

What was ironic about all Wright’s accusations of Obama’s Jewish hypnosis, was that in just the first six months of his administration Obama has proven to be the most anti-Israeli President since the founding of the Jewish state. Wright should be delighted not disappointed; perhaps his unhappiness is the inability to bask publicly in White House visits, rather than ideological discord.

Doctor Faustus

(Remember that Obama’s connection with Wright was premeditated: in the Chicago racialist atmosphere, his career was going to be stalled at the state level, since he lacked, as a half-white, half-African Harvard graduate, fides as an authentic African-American from the Chicago neighborhood. Wright gave Obama just that authenticity-the more Wright laced his sermons with racism and hatred, the better Obama might resonate with the community as a Trinity devotee.)

But there is nemesis in the world. And once one makes a pact with Mephistopheles, well, read Marlowe and Goethe. Wright is Obama’s Fury, one of his Keres as it were.

Is there anything that explains all these strange developments? Yes, a postmodern view that the tawdry means justify the utopian ends, that a Letterman is cool and progressive, that a Wright means well in the end, that a Dowd is on the right side of the political attack on the Bush administration-and therefore sexism, racism, and plagiarism are, well, simply alternate narratives rather than violations of absolute norms and protocols.




Commentary on Netanyahu's recent speech: "How great was it to hear Bibi Netanyahu bat that ugly Obamunist lie right back in his teeth--that BS about Israel being a consolation prize for the historical suffering of the Jooooos...Bibi's entire address was really a masterful, artful assertion of Jewish rights in Israel, incl. Judea and Samaria, while holding out just enough hope for the Balesdinians so that no-one can argue he's being unreasonable, or "against peace." The funny thing is that the Bals instantly asserted that the speech "is a slap in Obama's face" (which of course it was), but the cowardly Obamunists, true to their Leninist heritage, immediately backed down in the face of strength: ""The President welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech," was the White House statement. See, at the end of the day, Obama, like all his leftist and Islamist pals, is just a mean-spirited bully, and bullies always turn cowards when confronted with determined strength".

PA: Man arrested after complaining to government: “A Bridgeville man who was arrested and convicted after making repeated complaints to his local government took his appeal to one of Pennsylvania’s highest courts on Tuesday. Team 4 investigative reporter Jim Parsons, who originally broke the story, was in Superior Court for the arguments. At issue: How many letters to borough officials does it take to constitute a crime?” [The 1st Amendment does include a right to petition for a redress of grievances]

Property rights take a hit: “‘Crony capitalism’ is a term often applied to foreign nations where government interference circumvents market forces. The practice is widely associated with tin-pot dictators and second-rate economies. In such a system, support for the ruling regime is the best and only path to economic success. Who you know supersedes what you know, and favoritism trumps the rule of law. Unfortunately, this week’s events demonstrate that the phrase now more aptly describes our own country. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Chrysler's secured creditors based on the government's argument that the needs of other stakeholders outweighed those of a few creditors. In this case, the Administration concluded the interests of the United Auto Workers outweighed the interests of the Indiana teachers and firemen whose pension fund sued to block the restructuring. Given the enormous financial support that the UAW poured into the Obama campaign, such partiality is hardly surprising. When making their investment in Chrysler just a few months ago, the Indiana pension fund agreed to commit capital because of the specific assurances received from the company. In allowing this sham bankruptcy to be crammed through the courts, we have shredded the vital principal of the rule of law, and have become a nation of men, rather than one of laws"

Taxes, greed and prudence : “Never mind the attempt at intimidation by some, like the Nobel Laureate Woody Clark, claiming that if you work to reduce or let alone to abolish taxes, you are greedy. You are not. You simply have a common sense understanding that there is something basically amiss with a system that coerces you and millions of others to part with your resources for services that would appear to be either hardly needed or, where need, capable of being funded without using force. Moreover, not only are you not guilty of the vice of greed. You can take pride in your practice of the virtue of prudence. Because what this moral virtue requires of us all is that we make sure we and those we are responsible for are well taken care of.”

Retreat into apathy : “Willie Whitelaw, a genial old buffer who served as Margaret Thatcher’s deputy for many years, once accused the Labour party of going around Britain stirring up apathy. Viscount Whitelaw’s apparent paradox is, in fact, a shrewd political insight, and all the sharper for being accidental. Big government depends, in large part, on going around the country stirring up apathy — creating the sense that problems are so big, so complex, so intractable that even attempting to think about them for yourself gives you such a splitting headache it’s easier to shrug and accept as given the proposition that only government can deal with them.”


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)


15 June, 2009

Stimulus fraud could hit $50 billion

Swindlers, con men, and thieves could siphon off as much as $50 billion of the government's planned stimulus package as the money begins flooding the economy in coming months, according to David Williams, who runs Deloitte Financial Services Advisory and counsels clients on fraud prevention. Williams predicted that about $500 billion of the total $787 billion stimulus would be channeled into the traditional procurement network for government contracts, while the rest will be spent directly by the government or outside the corporate network.

"The rule of thumb typically is that of the about $500 billion worth of money that's going to run through the procurement process, somewhere between 5% and 10% of that usually finds it way into potential problems," Williams said. "That's sort of the benchmark that I use."

Companies will face increased pressure to try to stem the tide, and need to be prepared to safeguard data as well as the cash, according to Williams.

Williams said this week that the money flowing from the current stimulus package is particularly vulnerable to fraud because almost all movement of money is now done electronically. "We're telling our clients to be very careful and to make sure their firms are resilient in terms of dealing with the potential opportunities for fraud and waste," Williams said.

That means keeping an eye out for the traditional scams such as billing for services not performed. But it also means firms must become even more diligent about electronic records and network security. "It becomes ever more important that firms remain diligent about their data," Williams said.



A wise Jew speaks

I think that, in his article below, Dominic Lawson ("Liebsohn" ancestrally) arrives at a more optimistic conclusion than is warranted but he does see the problem. I noted the selfsame problem on May 27

If Alan Michael Sugar – soon to be Lord Sugar – didn’t exist, he might have been invented by antiSemites. That, at least, would have been the view of my maternal grandmother, part of a Jewish family that had built up a very successful business, starting with a barrow in the East End of London and ending up as the catering and food empire J Lyons & Co.

Yet the family were at all times anxious not to draw attention to their success. None of them would have dreamt of buying a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley; none of them acquired a country estate, still less an exotic home overseas. If they gave to charity, it would be anonymously.

In my grandmother’s view, this was all very wise: she had a great fear of antiSemitism (not surprisingly, given what had happened in Europe during her lifetime) and felt that any ostentatious display of wealth, besides being inherently vulgar, could provoke dark forces lying just below the civilised surface of British society.

So the idea of Sir Alan Sugar appearing on peak-time television driving a Rolls-Royce Phantom with the number plate AMS1 before yelling at various humiliated Gentiles, “You’re fired!” would have filled her with despair. I suspect she might have had a similar reaction to Michael Winner’s unashamedly sybaritic columns in this newspaper, detailing our hero’s brutal put-downs of errant staff at some of the world’s most expensive restaurants and hotels.

If I am to be entirely honest (not always a good idea), I must admit I have inherited a bit of my grandmother’s neurosis: a small part of me wonders if it is entirely wonderful that Britain’s two best-known Jews seem so comfortably to tally with the antiSemitic stereotype of the money-obsessed loudmouth.

This reflects much worse on me than it does on them. Why should anyone moderate his naturally brash or exuberant behaviour to appease the prejudices of others? In any case, it can’t be said that either man is too stupid to be aware of the impression created. Sugar told Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, a few years ago: “The Jew [in England] is portrayed as Fagin, and you won’t shake that out of people’s heads. It’s an underlying thing – that the Jews are a little bit sharp, a little bit quick, not to be trusted, possibly. If you ask a group of nonJews in a pub what it is that they don’t like about Jews, this is what they’ll come out with . . . that they hoard money.”

Sugar’s reference to the Charles Dickens character is well judged. George Orwell observed in 1945, as Britain became fully aware of the horrors of the Holocaust: “There has been a perceptible antiSemitic strain in English literature from Chaucer onwards.”

In his fascinating essay AntiSemitic Stereotypes in the English Novel, Professor Philip Jenkins looks at Our Mutual Friend, in which Dickens – aware that the invention of Fagin had, as one contemporary critic put it, “encouraged a vile prejudice against the despised Hebrew” – created a more sympathetic Jewish character: a moneylender called Riah.

Yet Dickens has Riah say of his own usury that “if . . . I had been a Christian, I could have done it, compromising no one but my individual self. But doing it as a Jew, I could not choose but compromise the Jews of all conditions and all countries. It is a little hard upon us, but it is the truth. I would that all our people remembered it”.

So even a Dickens attempting to make amends for the crude caricature of Fagin promotes the notion that Jews have an obligation to avoid professions such as moneylending in order to save their entire race from a special form of persecution. This was especially perverse, given that medieval European governments had often restricted such practices to Jews on the grounds that they were morally inappropriate for Christians – and also that the Jewish presence in moneylending was a function of the fact that constant fear of expulsion meant they would always want to be in a business with very liquid assets.

So for me to worry about whether Sugar encourages antiSemitic stereotyping is to commit the same error that Dickens attributes to the mind of the moneylender Riah: making an individual responsible for appeasing the collective prejudice of a multitude of bigots.

There are in fact, as one Jewish friend put it to me half-jokingly, “two sorts of Jew: book Jews and money Jews” – but it seems to be only the latter who are taken as the stereotype. This ignores the “book Jew”, who is interested in ideas rather than material possessions and who leads a life dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual discovery.

This is something that the Swedes of the Nobel prize committee have never failed to appreciate: Jews have gained almost a quarter of the Nobel prizes awarded worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century, with a particular concentration on physics, chemistry and medicine. When one considers that Jews make up barely a quarter of 1% of the global population (and just 2% of the American population), this record ought to encourage a more sympathetic stereotype.

On the other hand, even to make this point is to draw attention to what I think remainsa distinction between English Jews and English Gentiles, at least of my generation and background. The former have no desire to hide their intellectual light under a bushel, while the latter regard it as courteous to pretend that they are no more hard-working or determined than anyone else, regardless of how many hours of midnight oil they burn. This might be described as traditional English modesty or hypocrisy, depending on your point of view.

You can see an element of the discomfiture caused by this slight cultural difference in the reaction of many Tory MPs to John Bercow’s campaign to be Speaker of the House of Commons. The 46-year-old Bercow, who would be the first Jewish Speaker, has openly campaigned for this position in a way that even those colleagues who can stomach his shameless schmoozing of the government front bench regard as unseemly. English upper-middle-class Gentiles are no less given to plotting and planning for personal promotion than their Jewish counterparts; but they feel it is simply not done to be open about it.

Perhaps there is something of the same irritation in the attitude of many Labour MPs to Lord Mandelson (whose father was advertising manager of The Jewish Chronicle). What infuriates them is not so much that Mandelson’s brain is much faster than theirs at political calculation, but that he makes absolutely no attempt to disguise this fact.

It will be interesting to see how the Labour benches in the House of Lords greet Sugar when he takes up his place – assuming that he does find the time in his busy schedule to grace them with his presence. They will treat him rather as my grandmother would have done, I suspect.

Yet, if she were alive today, she should have been encouraged by Gordon Brown’s decision to ennoble the owner of AMS1. The prime minister has appointed him “enterprise champion” only because he desperately wants some of Sugar’s popularity to rub off onto the despised Labour government – The Apprentice is watched by up to 10m faithful and devoted viewers.

This, in turn, demonstrates that the sort of figure who once might have been seen as a caricature of the money-obsessed Jewish tycoon is now taken to the nation’s heart – and that therefore my grandmother’s fears were unwarranted; but I still can’t watch him in action without feeling a spasm of unease.




I have just put up here a wonderful story of bravery from Afghanistan

Obama fires honest official: "An inspector general fired by President Obama says he was given no warning and only one hour to decide whether to resign or be let go, hinting the action was retaliation for a report highly critical of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA basketball star and an Obama supporter. Gerald Walpin, a 2006 Bush appointee who reviewed grants awarded by AmeriCorps and other national service programs, said the telephone call he received Thursday evening from White House counsel Norman L. Eisen informing him he was ousted "occurred totally out of the blue." Mr. Walpin said he and his staff had always acted with the "highest integrity" during his two-and-a-half-year tenure. "We performed very well the responsibility of the independent overseer of the agency, and reported things as we saw it," he said. [More on the story here and here]

The Food, Drug & Tobacco Administration: "I'd like to echo Tevi Troy's concerns about the tobacco legislation that seems to be taking the express route to the president's desk. Unless Congress is about to dramatically increase the FDA's resources, its new tobacco obligations will come at the expense of its other, more important functions. I hear Naderite pro-regulation types complain that the FDA is resource-starved all the time. Requiring the FDA to control the tobacco industry will only make this problem worse. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg of this bill's problems. Among other things, the federal government will have vast new control over the advertising and promotion of a legal product. The First Amendment concerns about some of the bill's requirements are very real — and there will be years of litigation over its implementation. It's also a concern that the path to the bill's passage was paved by the cooperation of the nation's largest tobacco company, Philip Morris (aka Altria or whatever its name is now). Large incumbent firms tend to like government regulation because it squeezes out competitors. But it should also make regulation advocates wonder: If Philip Morris likes this bill, how much can it really do to control cigarette consumption and protect public health?"

Do as I say, not as I do: "Your post about Judge Sotomayor’s hiring of law clerks reminds me of the tension between Justice Ginsburg’s employment practices (as of the time she was nominated to the Supreme Court) and her own aggressive support for disparate-impact statistics as evidence of intentional discrimination. In her 1993 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it was learned, much to Ginsburg’s visible embarrassment, that in her 13 years on the D.C. Circuit she had never had a single black law clerk, intern, or secretary. Out of 57 employees, zero blacks." [Typical Leftist hypocrite. They have no real principles at all]

‘Stimulus’ Kills Pennsylvania Steel Jobs: "Obama signed his US$787 billion economic recovery bill into law in February. It dictates that the steel and manufactured goods bought with federal funds must be made in the U.S.... As many as 600 steelworkers in Pennsylvania, whose union lobbied for the Buy America law, are slated to lose their jobs at Duferco Farrell after the company lost orders from its biggest customer because some of its goods are partly produced abroad. Capitol Hill legislators are stubborn, Kristof Champney says, and believe it's sufficient that the bill contains a requirement that international trade obligations must be honoured. "When we speak to members of Congress and tell them that provision has no application at all municipally or regionally, they look at you with a blank stare of confusion and then you see efforts to try to save face," she said.... A Canadian embassy official said earlier this week that many Capitol Hill legislators have been surprised to hear how many jobs in their jurisdictions are tied to trade with Canada... Braddock predicted the ramifications of Buy American are going to get more severe in the months ahead, including further job losses in the U.S. - a turn of events that could finally bring about a change of attitude on Capitol Hill.... "What we're really talking about here is the two leaders of the biggest trading partnership in the world, Canada and the United States, coming together to avoid protectionism. If we can't do this, do you think anyone else in the world can?"

The Roe train has left the station: “Roe v Wade is a done deal. That train has left the station, and there’s no turning back. If one is seriously pro-life, the only reasonable alternative is not to try to overturn it, but to move forward. To side with parties and movements that resist all taxpayer funding of abortions and reject all regulations, federal or state, that might force private hospitals to perform abortions. There is no ‘right’ to an abortion at taxpayer’s expense, but there is a right to refuse to provide or host an abortion."

You can have community without coercion: "“No sooner does one speak up in support of individualism than some clever folks will accuse one with wanting to isolate individuals, to destroy human community life. But this really is bunk and is either a misunderstanding or an out an out attempt at distortion. Just because human adults require independence of mind and a sphere of personal authority, which is secured by protecting their basic rights, it doesn’t mean at all that they do not greatly benefit from community life. There is little that’s more satisfying to human beings than one or another kind of association they can forge with their fellows. Think of marriage, family, company, team, chorus, orchestra, and on and on with the myriads of ways people come together and make the most of it. Alas, there is one way of forming communities that is simply unsuited to people, namely, coercively, when they are herded into groups they do not choose based on their own understanding and goals.”

Should conservatives join the Democratic Party? “Effective political action demands a realistic assessment of existing reality. This is why I registered to vote in the Democrat primary in 2008. When John McCain secured the Republican Party nomination, there wasn’t anything left for me to do but try to influence the yet-to-be-decided Democrat Party nominating process. It’s also why I haven’t switched back to the Republican Party following the election. Power today has shifted to the Democrats. They own the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, the Federal Judiciary, and the news media. This is where the game is played in 2009, and if you want to participate, this is where you need to be.”

Boaring Israelis: " Palestinian Authority media outlets continue to blame Israel for problems caused by wild boars in Samaria, despite Israeli efforts to cull the animals. On Thursday, PA farmers near Ariel complained that “Israeli settlers” had engineered a wild boar attack that destroyed agricultural produce. The farmers' claims were repeated by the head of the regional PA farmers' union, who accused Israelis living in Ariel and nearby towns of planning the attacks. The union head did not explain how Israelis allegedly trained the pigs to destroy only Arab crops. Arab residents of Samaria have made several similar claims over the past three years. The claims have been backed up by PA armed forces, whose officers have been quoted as confirming to PA media that Israel is behind wild boar attacks." [No mention from these nutcases that pigs are unclean to Jews too]


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)


14 June, 2009

More on Karl Marx the antisemite

Michael Ezra commented on this previously (I reproduced his post here) and has now returned to the fray. See below. How you can read Marx's letters (also posted here) and not recognize the depth of his hate for Jews quite escapes me -- JR

My post on the antisemitism of Karl Marx provoked much controversy. More than one person has told me to my face that I am “wrong” on the matter. In that case, I am in distinguished company. Sir Isaiah Berlin was one of the greatest historians of ideas of the last century. He was unequivocal in his verdict on Marx and the Jewish question:
As for the Jews, in [“On the Jewish Question,” Marx] declared them to be a repellent symptom of the social malaise of the time, an excrescence upon the social body – not a race, or a nation, or even a religion to be saved by conversion to some other faith or way of life, but a collection of parasites, a gang of money-lenders rendered inevitable by the economically self-contradictory and unjust society that had generated them – to be eliminated as a group by the final solution to all social ills – the coming, inescapable, universal, social revolution. The violently anti-Semitic tone… became more and more characteristic of Marx in his later years… and is one of the most neurotic and revolting aspects of his masterful but vulgar personality.[1]
Likewise, biographer Robert Payne declared that Marx harboured a “deeply personal hatred” of Jews and displayed “virulent” antisemitism.[2] Another biographer, Saul Padover, argued that “Marx’s hatred of Jews was a canker which neither time nor experience ever eradicated from his soul.”[3]

The American sociologist Lewis Feuer’s edition of Marx became “the standard text used in American college classrooms to study Marxism for almost a generation.”[4] Feuer argued that Marx had “hysterical hatred of the Jews.”[5] The distinguished historian Walter Laqueur wrote that for Marx, Judaism was “a totally negative phenomenon.”[6] Seymour Martin Lipset, subsequent president of both the American Sociological Association and American Political Science Association, also defined Marx’s comments as “anti-Semitic.”[7]

In the socialist journal Dissent, Joseph Clark argued that “the association by Marx of Jews and huckstering, Jews and money-grubbing, Jews and loan-mongering, Jews and capital, has been a standard of all anti-Semitic propaganda.” He labelled Marx’s article “The Russian Loan” as “viciously anti-Semitic.”[8] A New York Times reviewer noted “dozens of anti-Semitic remarks” in Marx’s collected letters, which he found “disgusting.”[9]

These examples could be multiplied. Yet Robert Fine accuses all these commentators of being unable to comprehend what Marx was actually saying![10]

What of Marx’s other apologists?

David McLellan

Marx biographer David McLellan’s short defence seems rather confused:
It is largely [“On the Jewish Question”] that has given rise to the view that Marx was an anti-semite. It is true that a quick and unreflective reading of, particularly, the briefer second section leaves a nasty impression. It is also true that Marx indulged elsewhere in anti-Jewish remarks – though none as sustained as here.
So on the one hand, only a “quick and unreflective reading” leaves “a nasty impression,” but on the other hand the “anti-Jewish remarks” in this essay are “sustained.” McLellan adds that Marx “was himself attacked as a Jew by many of his most prominent opponents.” But how does this change the meaning of Marx’s own words?

McLellan argues that “On the Jewish Question” was not aimed at Jews as such but at “vulgar capitalism,” which was “popularly associated with Jews.” He continues: “the German word for Jewry – Judentum, – has the secondary sense of commerce and, to some extent, Marx played on this double meaning.” He adds that Marx’s friend Moses Hess used similar language.[11]

These excuses have not convinced the scholarly community. As John Maguire observed: “When Marx tells us that the ‘empirical essence’ of Judentum/Judaism is Judentum/commerce, there is every reason to believe that he means what he has said.”[12] Neil McInnes pointed out that on McLellan’s view, Marx was making the circular argument that “Western society became commercialised when it was commercialised.”[13] And Dennis Fischman warned: “If modern writers on Marx leave his scurrilous attacks on Judaism unanswered, then, they run the risk of helping to perpetuate them.”[14]

Hal Draper and Henry Pachter

Among Robert Fine’s sources is the American Marxist, Hal Draper, author of a famous 5-volume study of Marx’s theory of revolution.[15] Draper’s essay on Marx and the “Economic Jew Stereotype” rejected the antisemitism charge as anachronistic. The political historian Henry Pachter also insisted that “the term ‘anti-Semitic’ as we understand it today does not apply” – in spite of Marx’s “anti-Semitic expletives” and his use of “anti-Semitic invective” whenever it “served a propagandistic purpose”![16]

Even the anti-Zionist Joel Kovel dismissed these excuses:
Both Hal Draper and Henry Pachter make essentially the same point. Marx should not be judged by the standards of our day for using the common language of his… To excise anti-Semitism from Marx’s discourse because everybody else was saying the same thing… would simply erase all social science. Imagine making the same judgment on, say, Goebbels, who after all was only repeating what other Nazis said about Jews.[17]
Erich Fromm

According to the social psychologist Erich Fromm, it was “cold-war propaganda” to suggest that Marx was anti-Semitic. Conceding that Marx wrote “harsh” and “not always correct” things about Judaism, Fromm objected that “he said equally harsh words about the British shopkeepers, the German philosophers, and the Russians.”[18]

As Joseph Clark aptly commented:
Apart from the question whether racism applied to many nationalities is better than exclusive anti-Semitism, there is an astounding lack of symmetry that eludes Fromm. For it wasn’t the Jews of medieval times who drove the British out of their island kingdom; nor did the Jews exterminate the Germans; and the Russians were not deprived of their language, their culture, their national existence by the Jews.[19]

Much more HERE


Time to Rein in Unspent Stimulus

Nearly five months into Barack Obama's presidency, his stimulus program is failing to produce the jobs he promised. And voters are souring on his big spending, deficit-driving policies.

A nationwide Rasmussen poll found that nearly half of Americans (45 percent) want the administration to stop spending the remaining bulk of the $787 billion economic-stimulus fund, doubting the money will create any new jobs. Just 36 percent want the spending to continue, while 20 percent say they're not sure.

With the unemployment rate spiraling up to 9.4 percent in May and this year's budget deficit speeding well past $1.8 trillion, Americans are turning against Obama's handling of the economy and the unprecedented rise in government spending. Last week, the Gallup Poll said that while 55 percent of their sampling approved of the way he was handling the economy, 42 percent disapproved -- up sharply from 30 percent in February.

Americans are growing even more disgusted with the way Obama is dealing with the budget deficit -- with 46 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving. His numbers are worse on the issue of "controlling federal spending" -- 45 percent approve, but, for the first time, a 51-percent majority disapproves.

These polling numbers were reinforced by a number of economists on the left and the right who say his infrastructure stimulus has been an abject failure from the beginning. "Despite administration claims, the stimulus package has created or saved few jobs," said University of Maryland economist Peter Morici. "This is best seen in the absolute absence of growth in state and local government employment." "The stimulus package was poorly conceived. Not enough is devoted to hard projects, and little of the spending will stimulate permanent growth," Morici said last week in his latest economic analysis.

The same view can be found at the conservative Hoover Institution on the Stanford University campus. "The end of the recession is still months away, but it is increasingly clear the stimulus package was a serious mistake. To date, it has had no identifiable beneficial impact on the economy," Stanford economist John Cogan told me. "More important, its impact later this year and next will be decidedly negative because the funds required to finance the package's spending will be drawn from private-sector resources that are needed to fuel the recovery. At this juncture, Congress would be wise to repeal the remainder of the program," Cogan said.

That idea may be gaining support among Republicans on Capitol Hill whose "stop the spending" plea is resonating with millions of Americans angered by the Obama Democrats' spending spree on make-work, pork-barrel projects that will enlarge the federal deficit but employ few workers.



Texas stymies the legal jackals

Texas recently finished its legislative session, and the best news is what didn't pass. Namely, some 900 bills put forward by the tort bar.

The plaintiffs-lawyer lobby spent $9 million in last year's state legislative elections to help smooth the way for these bills, which were designed to roll back tort reforms passed in recent years, or to create new ways to sue. Yet that money wasn't enough to convince most Texas legislators to give up two-decades of hard-won legal progress, which ranges from class-action clean-up to medical liability reform.

Among the more notable failed proposals were a bill that would have shifted the burden of medical proof away from plaintiffs and on to defendants in asbestos and mesothelioma cases; an attempt to rip up Texas's successful system of trying multidistrict litigation in a single court; and legislation to allow plaintiffs to sue for "phantom" medical expenses.

Part of this success was due to the legislature's gridlock over a controversial voter ID bill. Yet Republicans who run the Senate and House also did yeoman's work to keep many bills from ever reaching the floor. Republicans also got a helping hand from a number of brave, antilawsuit Democrats, many of them from South Texas, where litigation has exacted more of an economic toll.

Speaking of the economy, it's notable that Texas created more new jobs last year than the other 49 states combined. Texas's low tax burden is one reason. But also important is a fairer legal environment in which companies are less likely than they were a generation ago to face jackpot justice.




A great humorous story here: Dennis Prager's 58 seconds in Madison Square Garden.

Another blank in Obama's past: "Obama transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University in 1981, at the age of 20. According to the New York Times, Obama "suggests in his book that his years in New York were a pivotal period: He ran three miles a day, buckled down to work and 'stopped getting high,' which he says he had started doing in high school. Yet he declined repeated requests to talk about his New York years, release his Columbia transcript or identify even a single fellow student, co-worker, roommate or friend from those years."... Obama claimed to be a part of the Black Student Organization and anti-apartheid activities. But according to the New York Times, several well-known student leaders did not recall his involvement. Fox News made contact with 400 of Obama's classmates. No one remembered him."

Obama trying to eliminate pocketknives!: "The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency is proposing a new definition that could be used to eliminate 8 of 10 legal pocketknives in the United States right now, according to activists who are gearing up to fight the plan. For a long time, those switchblades that have long stiletto blades that are spring-ejected powerfully from the side or end of the handle have been illegal in the United States, but now a review by the agency of its own approval in 2008 of a particular type of knife for import is raising serious alarms. Ritter said the effect of the proposed change would be that the new design in knives, many of which contain a tiny spring to help the user pull open the blade and lock it into position, would be classified alongside those true weapons where the user just presses a button and the blade is ejected."

The Federal Reserve has suddenly become a State bank: "The Federal Reserve Board, at the behest of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, has now decided to initiate a new program that will lend up to $1 trillion dollars for anything from student loans to small business bailouts. And his began the ultimate blurring of the lines between a commercial bank and the role of the Federal Reserve. It is all to be done under a new program known as the Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, created in October of last year. Significantly, TALF was set up not by Congress—which is, of course, answerable to those whose tax dollars it spends. It was created by the Fed itself, which is answerable to ...well, itself"

New York kill geese to prevent plane collision: "Authorities in the US are to kill up to 2000 Canada Geese to prevent another Hudson River incident. The New York Port Authority (PA) will trap and kill the geese located within five miles of Kennedy and LaGuardia airports to stop them from colliding with aircraft, reports the New York Post. The report says airport supervisors will be trained to become certified shotgun instructors to increase the capacity to shoot birds when necessary. Nearly 1250 geese from the vicinity of LaGuardia Airport are said to have already been removed. The agency is also said to have plans to install a state-of-the-art bird radar pilot program at JFK to better detect the birds. "Customer safety is our foremost priority, and we're constantly looking for new ways to do an even better job," PA chairman Anthony Coscia told the New York Post. Mayor Bloomberg said Canada geese pose a serious danger to aviation, which became clear when geese struck US Airways Flight 1549. "The incident served as a catalyst to strengthen our efforts in removing geese from, and discouraging them from nesting on, City property near our runways," Mayor Bloomberg said. The move comes after US Airways Flight 1549 was forced to ditch in the Hudson River on January 15 after several birds flew into the plane's engines. Bird feathers were later found stuck in both engines." <[At long last!]

Competition would save medicine, too: "Competition so regularly brings us better stuff — cars, phones, shoes, medicine — that we’ve come to expect it. We complain on the rare occasion the supermarket doesn’t carry a particular ice-cream flavor. We just assume the store will have 30,000 items, that it will be open 24/7, and that the food will be fresh and cheap. I take it for granted that I can go to a foreign country, hand a piece of plastic to a total stranger who doesn’t speak English … and he’ll rent me a car for a week. Later, Visa or MasterCard will have the accounting correct to the penny. Compare: Governments can’t even count votes accurately — or deliver the mail efficiently. Yet now, somehow, government will run auto companies and guarantee us health care better than private firms? And the public seems eager for that!”

NY: “Infuriated” juror let go from trial: “A New York juror who told the judge the case was moving so slow that ‘people are falling asleep’ was removed from the jury. Eilene Block, 47, who was serving on the jury for the trial of a man accused of hitting a 16-year-old with his Jet Ski, wrote in a letter to Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling that she did not believe she would be able to continue as an impartial juror in the slow-moving case after it was announced that the three week trial would extend into another week. … Block wrote that she was particularly incensed by the prosecution’s two-day cross-examination of an accident reconstruction expert. ‘I’m infuriated to the point where I am no longer able to serve as an objective juror,’ Block wrote”

Britain: The database state: “Click a mouse, text a friend, use your credit cards, sign up for a storecard, pay your car tax or buy a TV licence, walk in the street under the gaze of CCTV, apply for social benefits, forget to tick the box on that says ‘we’d like to share your information with …’ and your ID cat is out of the bag, floating around between — well, who knows who? That’s why the proposed National Identity Register is so dangerous. And the NHS patient records system too. Tens of millions of our records, all accessible to whichever of 400,000 civil servants happens to have the right security code.”


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)


13 June, 2009

The holocaust museum killer was NOT a conservative

Here is what we know about him:
Von Brunn was known to the FBI as “as an anti-Semite and a white supremacist who had established websites that inspired hatred against African-Americans, Jews and others,” Persichini added.... Von Brunn has written books on Adolf Hitler as well as on his conspiracy theories and views on white superiority. In a recent posting on his blog he railed that “America is a Third-World racial garbage-dump - stupid, ignorant, dead-broke, and terminal”.
Just what part of that associates von Brunn with American conservatives? Nothing. So with whom DOES it associate him? Easy: Marx & Engels despised Jews and blacks too. Hitler was a socialist. The Soviets too persecuted Jews. The KKK were almost all Democrats. The most antisemitic statements coming out of US politics in the last few years have been from Democrats such as James Moran and Wesley Clark. Who is today the most prominent American polemicist against Israel? Jimmah Carter.

Who are they today who love America? Conservatives. Who are they who think America is rotten and in need of top to bottom reform? Democrats.

The whole tendency to think and talk in terms of race (such as "Jews") is typical Leftist collectivism. Conservatives think in terms of individuals and individual liberty. Von Brunn had much in common with the Left and little or nothing in common with conservatives


A Silly Game of Connect-the-Dots

by Jonah Goldberg

When an abortion provider in Wichita, Kan., was murdered, the predictable chorus pointed fingers at Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. After all, O'Reilly had said that George Tiller was a "baby killer" and had railed against the doctor's late-term abortion practice for years. He must be to blame! No one bothered to ask whether Tiller's accused murderer had ever watched O'Reilly, or to ponder whether a militant pro-life extremist really needed a talk-show host to tell him anything he didn't already know about one of less than a dozen doctors in the country who still performed third-trimester abortions. But, never mind. Such details don't matter when you're trying to delegitimize people.

Now we have James von Brunn. He is an 88-year-old loon, considered a dangerous nut even within the dangerous-nut community. He took his gun and shot up the Holocaust Museum and murdered a guard. Reporting suggests that von Brunn wanted to fulfill his revenge fantasies against the Jewish-neocon globalist cabal, which apparently outsources much of its work to the Bush family. A 9/11 truther, convinced that the bagel-snarfing, string-pulling Jooooooooooozzz are behind everything, von Brunn is the kind of fanatic the zombies who talk to themselves at the bus station would give a wide berth.

But, of course, we have Sarah Palin to thank for von Brunn. So says some genius at the Daily Kos. A competing braniac at the Huffington Post says, "Thank you very much Karl Rove and your minions." Pretty much the entire media establishment is comfortable labeling von Brunn as a member of the "far right." Putting aside other objections to that nomenclature, if von Brunn is a member of the far right, then it would be helpful and journalistically responsible if the press would start calling Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, et al., moderates and centrists. That won't happen, because the whole point of these exercises is to paint the right as an undifferentiated blob of evil.

Never mind that von Brunn isn't a member of the far right. Nor is he a member of the far left, as some on the right are claiming. He's not a member of anything other than the crazy caucus. Von Brunn's True North is conspiratorial anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. He's not a member of the Christian Right. In fact, he denounces Christianity -- just as Hitler did -- as a Jewish plot against paganism and Western vigor. Nor is he a capitalist. Again, just as Hitler did, he hails socialism as the solution to the West's problems.

Still, if we are going to play this game where we take the words of politicians and pundits, compare them to the words of murderers and psychopaths, and then assign blame accordingly, then let's blame the New York Times, Chris Matthews, left-wing blogs everywhere and the academics who penned "The Lobby" (which blames a fifth column of Israel loyalists for our troubles).

After all, for years, mainstream liberalism and other outposts of paranoid Bush hatred have portrayed neoconservatives -- usually code for conservative Jews and other supporters of Israel -- as an alien, pernicious cabal. "They have penetrated the culture at nearly every level from the halls of academia to the halls of the Pentagon," observed the New York Times. "... They've accumulated the wherewithal financially (and) professionally to broadcast what they think over the airwaves to the masses or over cocktails to those at the highest levels of government."

NBC's Chris Matthews routinely used the word "neocon" as if it was code for "traitor." He asked one guest whether White House neocons are "loyal to the Kristol neoconservative movement, or to the president?" Von Brunn may have wondered the same thing, which is why he reportedly had the offices of Bill Kristol's "Weekly Standard" on his hit list.

Unhinged Bush-hater Andrew Sullivan insists that, "The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right." Leading liberal intellectual Michael Lind warned about the alarming fact that "the foreign policy of the world's only global power is being made by a small clique" of neoconservative plotters.

Even with Bush out of the picture, some see the problem emerging again. Just this week, Jeremiah Wright, the president's longtime mentor and pastor, whined that, "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."

Maniacs like von Brunn connect dots that aren't there because that's what paranoid anti-Semites do. What's the left's excuse?




The Rev. Jeremiah Wrong is as crazy as ever: "In a racially charged interview, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright said that President Obama hasn't spoken to him since they parted ways last year, because "them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me." He suggested White House advisers were keeping the two separate. "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office," Wright said, according to Virginia's Daily Press. "They will not let him ... talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is." Obama left Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago last year following the very public controversy over his inflammatory sermons. "Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing of the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel," Wright said."

We get it: Museum shooter is a hateful honky: “Scarcely had the cowardly attack taken place than the mug of the hater was plastered on every TV station across the country. (I can’t tell you what the jihadi du jour looks like.) Ditto details of von Brunn’s dysfunctional biography and ideology. In no time the usually lackadaisical liberal media expertly knitted together von Brunn’s years in irons, unsavory associations and the ins-and-outs of his Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic belief system. Still, the ‘parrot press’ could not quite settle on whether this old, evil individual was a ‘lone wolf’ or a mastermind of a conspiracy rivaling al-Qaida. … Suffice it to say that no one will forget James W. von Brunn any time soon. On the other hand, does anyone (besides Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller) know who Wael W. Kalash is?”

The unstimulating stimulus: "The Obama administration was out in full force defending the stimulus this weekend. The mantra is that the economy is getting better but Americans need to be patient to see progress. The problem is that, so far, there hasn't been any economic progress. White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee promised on 'Fox News Sunday': 'It's going to take more than a few months to turn it around.' That contradicts White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers' promise in January that the economy would start improving 'within weeks' so long as the president's $787 billion stimulus was passed. The stimulus actually has dampened economic projections."

AMA opposes “public” health insurance plan: “As the healthcare debate heats up, the American Medical Association is letting Congress know that it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the healthcare system. The opposition, which comes as Mr. Obama prepares to address the powerful doctors’ group on Monday in Chicago, could be a major hurdle for advocates of a public insurance plan. The A.M.A., with about 250,000 members, is America’s largest physician organization.”

The New Wage Controls: "The U.S. "market" economy took another hard-to-believe turn this week with the Obama Treasury appointing a "compensation czar" to dictate wage controls on private companies that take taxpayer money and offer guidelines for every other U.S. publicly traded company. Can wage and price controls for everyone be far behind? The Treasury says that's not what it has in mind, but then much of what government has done in the past eight months would have been scoffed at even a year ago. Richard Nixon disavowed wage and price controls right up until the time he imposed them in 1971. The Obama Administration is hardly restrained as a matter of principle against such brute government force, and if prices start rising after our current Great Reflation, well, you read the warning here first... The new pay limits betray once again that Washington's dominant impulse today is leveling and redistribution: Put caps on success, raise taxes on what you can't cap, and then give the money to someone else. None of this will encourage the entrepreneurial spirits we need for a buoyant economic recovery.

TX: Expedited passage of child abuse bill sparks opposition: “A coalition of conservative and libertarian groups rallied on the south steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, asking Gov. Rick Perry to veto a controversial measure they claim would take away parental rights in Child Protective Services cases. The bill would give the Department of Family and Protective Services more control in child protection cases. Supporters of the measure, such as the Center for Public Policy Priorities, say the bill offers a more specific outline for child protection cases. The legislation essentially gives the Department of Family and Protective Services workers more control in the legal process during an investigation of potential child abuse by removing the current requirement of ’showing good cause’ and instead requiring a police affidavit, which is similar to a criminal search warrant.”

MN: Court okays instant runoff in Minneapolis elections : “Ranked-choice voting has been cleared for use in Minneapolis elections this fall by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In a decision released this morning, the court rejected a challenge to the new voting method brought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance, which questioned the constitutionality of having voters rank candidates in the order they prefer them.” [Australia has had that system for years]

Delay the Minimum-Wage Hike: "Despite severe economic difficulties confronting businesses, and soaring unemployment among youths and minorities, the federal minimum wage is slated to increase to $7.25 in July from $6.55 today. This will be the final step of a three-step increase enacted in the spring 2007, when the unemployment rate was 4.5%. Based on 20 years of research, I doubt there is ever a goodtime to raise the minimum wage. However, with the aggregate unemployment rate at 9.4%, the teen unemployment rate exceeding 22%, and the unemployment rate for black teens nearing 40%, next month's increase seems like the worst timing possible. Despite a few exceptions that are tirelessly (and selectively) cited by advocates of a higher minimum wage, the bulk of the evidence -- from scores of studies, using data mainly from the U.S. but also from many other countries -- clearly shows that minimum wages reduceemployment of young, low-skilled people. The best estimates from studies since the early 1990s suggest that the 11% minimum wage increase scheduled for this summer will lead to the loss of an additional 300,000 jobs among teens and young adults. This is on top of the continuing job losses the recession is likely to throw our way."

More confidence-building for the Airbus A330-200: "Hero pilot Ray Banfield has described the 20 terrifying minutes when a cockpit fire threatened the lives of 199 passengers and crew on a Jetstar flight from Japan. At 39,000 feet there was a loud bang and a brilliant white flash of flame from the base of his co-pilot's windscreen, Captain Banfield said. "Never in all my years of flying commercial aircraft had I seen anything like it," he told passengers upon landing safely at Guam. "It was a dangerous situation and we had to get the aircraft down at the nearest airport. Fortunately we were just 20 minutes from Guam." The married father of two sons, aged 7 and 11, donned an oxygen mask, along with his co-pilot and two pilots in training, as fumes and smoke filled the cockpit. One of the trainees grabbed a fire extinguisher from the back of the cockpit and passed it to the co-pilot, who doused the flames rising from the base of the windscreen. "The flames disappeared after about 50 seconds but there was no knowing whether it was properly out," Capt Banfield said. The Airbus A330-200 - the same model and vintage as the Air France jet that plunged into the Atlanic two weeks ago, killing all on board - then made a nerve-racking 20-minute descent to Guam...He said it appeared the fire had started in an electric windscreen heater element. The part was an original component which was installed on the jet when it was built two years ago."

Airbus crash a design fault: "Air France Airbus jets experienced at least five incidents last year in which airspeed probes malfunctioned, two of which caused stall alarms, according to a company report. A probe into last week's loss of flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, in which an A330 jet plunged into the Atlantic with the loss of all 228 people on board, has focused on the contradictory speed readings from its "pitot probes". Air France and Airbus insist there is not yet any proof the pitots were to blame for the catastrophe, but accept that automatic error messages sent before the plane went down showed they were malfunctioning. Airbus has urged pilots of the A330 and A340 to update themselves on the emergency procedures to take if the probes give contradictory readings, and Air France has accelerated its program to replace the suspect pitots... According to experts, at high altitude such as that at which AF447 was flying, the margin of airspeed within which a plane can safely manoeuvre, the so-called "coffin corner", is much reduced. Only 55 to 75 km/h separates the lowest safe speed, below which the plane stalls, and the highest, above which it becomes impossible to control and might plunge or break up."


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)


12 June, 2009

Australia: TV comedy boss demoted over cruel program

I am glad someone has got the bullet over this horrible affair. How could any decent person laugh at terminally ill children and tell them that they "are going to die anyway"? The ABC (Australia's major public broadcaster) is of course heavily Left-leaning and this episode was yet another example of the Leftist emotional insensitivity that I discussed recently. More background on the story here

The ABC has demoted its head of TV comedy, Amanda Duthie, over last week's controversial Chaser skit about sick children, saying her failure to stop the segment going to air was an error of judgment. Before yesterday Ms Duthie was one of the ABC's most powerful executives - today her once dazzling career prospects are in limbo, The Australian reports.

ABC managing director Mark Scott announced Ms Duthie had been removed as the head of ABC TV comedy following the airing last week of the sketch on The Chaser's War on Everything that satirised the granting of wishes to terminally ill children through the "Make-a-Realistic-Wish Foundation".

ABC management's decision followed a review of the processes that led to the screening of the segment, causing the program to be suspended from broadcast for two weeks.

"The segment should not have been broadcast," Mr Scott said. "We recognise that it caused unnecessary and unreasonable hurt and offence to our viewers and the broader community and we have apologised for this." Mr Scott said Ms Duthie should have referred the skit to the next level of management as was clearly set out in the ABC's editorial policies. "Where staff are concerned about the potential for satirical material to cause harm they should refer the matter to the next level of management. "In this instance, (Ms Duthie) reviewed the segment and did not refer it up. This was an error of judgment."

A spokesperson for the Chaser team last night responded to Ms Duthie's demotion saying: "We are sorry we put the sketch forward and we think it is a harsh call on Amanda who had, and has, our full support".



Why is the right doing so well in Europe?

For a start, they don't spend like drunken sailors

We've been waiting and waiting, but the widely predicted European backlash—against capitalism, free markets, and the right—has never come. There are no demands for Marxist revolution, no calls for nationalization of industry, not even a European campaign for what the Obama administration calls "stimulus"—a policy more colloquially known as "massive government spending."

On the contrary, in last weekend's European parliamentary elections, capitalism triumphed, at least in its mushy European form. Admittedly, these European polls are a peculiar species of election. Far fewer people vote in them than vote in national elections, and those who do vote are far vaguer about what their Euro deputies actually do once they are elected to the European legislature. The European parliament's gradual accumulation of real power seems to have had no effect whatsoever on its popular image, which is still that of a do-nothing institution composed of clapped-out politicians who cost everybody a fortune in airplane tickets. As a result, fringe parties, including the so-called far right, always attract protest voters and do unusually well.

Nevertheless, European parliamentary elections also provide the only cross-continental simultaneous political snapshot currently available. Although national elections take place at different times and according to different national rules, these most recent, largest-ever European elections took place over a four-day period, according to the same rules, in 27 countries. This time around, with some exceptions, they told an unusually consistent story.

In France, Germany, Italy, and Poland—four of Europe's six largest countries—center-right governments got unexpectedly enthusiastic endorsements. In the two other large countries, Britain and Spain, left-wing ruling parties got hammered, as did socialists in Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, and elsewhere. In some places the results were stark indeed: In London this weekend, I could hardly walk down the street without being assaulted by angry, screaming newspaper headlines, all declaring the Labor government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown weak, corrupt, tired, arrogant, and, yes, very unpopular. In some constituencies, European candidates of the ruling Labor Party finished behind fringe parties that normally don't get noticed at all. So rapidly are British ministers resigning from the Cabinet that it's hard to keep track of them (four in the last week—I think).

But how is it possible that the European right is doing so well—and so much better than their U.S. counterparts—during what is widely described as a crisis of global capitalism? At least in part, the Europeans are winning because their leaders have the courage of their economic convictions. While it is true that the continental European welfare states have kicked into high gear over the last six months, there are few equivalents of either George W. Bush's budget deficits or Barack Obama's spending binge. And where there have been—in Britain, for example—the high spending has hardly bought popularity. The theoretical version of this Euro-American policy gap is the recent public spat between economic historian Niall Ferguson and economist Paul Krugman, both of whom are at least as well known for their newspaper polemics as for their academic writing. Very crudely, Ferguson and the German government think massive deficits and government borrowing will lead to inflation and ultimately the collapse of the currency. Equally crudely, Krugman and the U.S. administration think he's wrong.

For the record, Ferguson is, at least by origin, a British Tory. For the record, there aren't any U.S. Republican polemicists making the same arguments in quite as public a way. With a few exceptions, the American center-right's loudest and most articulate voices have been focused almost exclusively on national security for the better part of the last decade. Lip service was paid to "small government" and "reduced spending" while successive Republican Congresses, hand in hand with a Republican White House, enlarged government and spent like crazy. How can they now criticize Obama's possibly lethal budget deficits when their own were so vast, so recently?

None of this is to say that any of Europe's conservatives would necessarily go down well in the United States. (Picture Silvio Berlusconi, paparazzi and alleged teenage mistresses in tow, campaigning in Mississippi.) It's also true that they don't necessarily have much in common: Allegedly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy can hardly stand to be in the same room at the same time. But if nothing else, the success of the European center-right during the current crisis proves that there is something to their political formula. They are fiscally conservative. They are, if not socially liberal, then at least socially centrist. They haven't been swayed by the fashion for big spending. They are trying to keep some semblance of budget sanity. And, at least at the moment, they win elections.



Capitalism's death announced yet again!

All of the dire and portentous talk about the current “Crisis of Capitalism” carries with it an inescapably familiar, even shopworn feel for all those familiar with recent history. In the “Camelot” era of 1962, African-American activist Malcom X unequivocally announced: “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture…It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

During the Great Depression, of course, some of the finest minds of the century expected the weakened economic system to disappear altogether. On the eve of FDR’s 1933 inauguration, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr offered an obituary for the old order, written on the assumption that “capitalism is dying and with the conviction that it ought to die.” A member of Congress expressed similar sentiments the same year, as Tom Amlie, a Wisconsin Republican who later returned to the House as a representative of the Progressive Party, told a convention of radicals that the system had no future because Roosevelt wouldn’t spend the huge sums necessary to “keep it alive.” In any event, he declared that “whether capitalism could be kept going for another period of years or not, it is not worth saving.”

A more influential figure of that era, three-term Minnesota Governor Floyd Bjornstjerne Olson, made the destruction of capitalism even more central to his political persona. When asked by visiting journalists whether he considered himself “radical,” the populist governor with the booming voice and larger-than-life personality liked to shock them by announcing “I’m radical as hell!” In 1934, he addressed the convention of his Farmer-Labor Association (the ancestor of today’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party in Minnesota) and explained that he felt tired of “tinkering and patching” and wanted to change the entire business system in his state. The convention obliged by adopting a platform specifically declaring that “capitalism had failed and that immediate steps must be taken by the people to abolish capitalism in a peaceful and lawful manner, and that a new, sane, and just society must be established; a system in which all the natural resources, machinery of production, transportation and communication shall be owned by the government.” Despite the extreme rhetoric of the platform, Olson won re-election in a landslide. He toyed with the idea of challenging FDR from the left as a third party candidate in 1936, but rejected the idea shortly before he died in office of stomach cancer. He was only 44, and remains a wildly popular figure in Minnesota history and folklore.

In the 1930’s, the assumption that the free market system must quickly fall to pieces became so widespread that intellectuals concentrated many of their arguments on selecting the most promising replacement. Lawrence Dennis, former child evangelist, first lieutenant in World War I and Foreign Service officer, passionately rejected both the communist and socialist alternatives. Instead, he became one of the nation’s most influential advocates for fascism in the style of Hitler or Mussolini. In a letter to a friend he wrote, “I should like nothing better than to be a leader or a follower of a Hitler who would crush or destroy many now in power.” In 1932 he published an influential and much-discussed book entitled “Is Capitalism Doomed?” and then answered his own question with his next release, “The Coming American Fascism.”

For many reasons, the commentators, activists and politicians of the 1930’s had far more basis for predicting the end of the free market system than either gloomy conservatives or gleeful leftists in 2009. Most significantly, as the arguments of Lawrence Dennis made clear, developments around the world suggested that the irresistible tides of history favored an international future of Statism. With the unholy trinity of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin riding high in Eurasia, the United States looked increasingly isolated with its capitalist institutions – even as modified and re-arranged and regulated by FDR. Aside from the growing domain of the dictators, huge swaths of the globe had never even developed modern capitalist economies that radicals could reject. China remained paralyzed by a chilling combination of colonialism (both Western and Japanese), feudalism and War Lordism, with Mao’s rebellion already gaining considerable strength. The Japanese Empire ran according to principals of medieval militarism, rejecting the western profit system as soft and corrupt. India remained the “crown jewel” of the British Empire with only the bare rudiments of business development, while colonialism continued to dominate the lives of the vast majority of people in Asia and Africa, with corrupt kleptocracies all but universal in Latin America. Only Canada and a small handful of Western European nations seemed to share the values or economic outlook of the United States and every year brought new progress to the forces of collectivism and dictatorship.

By contrast, the thirty years preceding the economic crisis of 2008-2009 displayed unstoppable momentum in the opposite direction. The embrace of free market ideals became so universal that Francis Fukuyama famously proclaimed “The End of History” in 1992. The world’s two most populous nations, China and India, both pursued radical economic reforms to empower the for-profit private economy and reduce central planning (and control) of the economy. The results for both nations involved unimaginably spectacular and consistent growth, and an unprecedented improvement in living standards for nearly half of humanity. China implacably resisted the long-awaited political reforms to accompany its booming economy, and Russia flirted with one-party rule and showed scant respect for civil liberties, but both nations engaged the world economy in distinctly capitalist terms. Putin’s Russia even experimented (mostly successfully) with a flat tax in a demonstration that should provide encouragement for free marketers everywhere. Other former Communist bloc nations of eastern and central Europe not only flocked to join the European Union and NATO but also developed some of the most vibrant capitalist economies on earth.

The notion that the worldwide economic crisis would lead to a global slide toward socialism ran into populist reality in the first weekend of June, 2009. Voting for the European Parliament expressed a continent-wide rejection of left-wing economic prescriptions, with Center-Right parties crushing their Socialist opponents in every nation (except Greece). In France, Germany and Italy, ruling Center-Right coalitions strengthened their standing with the public, while the opposition conservatives in Britain and Spain gained significant ground. Hungary provided one particularly salient example: candidates of the ruling Socialist Party drew only 17% of the vote, while the right wing opposition party gained 56% (and a far-right anti-Gypsy Party earned an additional 15%). Despite the grim talk of an all-but-inevitable march toward socialism, the recent balloting gives evidences of an international surge toward capitalism. In Canada and Israel, market-oriented coalitions also won recent electoral victories, and only in Latin America (with conspicuous exceptions like Mexico and Columbia) have leftist candidates consistently triumphed.

In the United States, the claim that the election of Barack Obama represents a watershed choice and a decisive realignment looks increasingly tenuous in light of recent polling. The most recent Gallup Poll (in May) to ask respondents to state their party affiliation showed an exact tie between Republicans and Democrats at 32% each, with 34% describing themselves as “independents.” Amazingly enough, even these waffling independents looked evenly divided: when asked to express their preference between the two major parties, these non-partisan participants showed an identical number of Republican and Democratic leaners. These numbers represent a dramatic turnaround from the first month after the ’08 election, with the GOP improving its standing by six points, and the Democrats losing seven points of support.

Such polls will shift quickly and unpredictably in the next months and years but the apparent Republican comeback during the first 140 days of Obama’s presidency (with GOP candidates running ahead in both 2009 governorship races in New Jersey and Virginia) indicate that the American people made no significant ideological shift toward collectivism. Even the President’s stratospheric personal popularity hasn’t produced a reliable majority for the big government reforms he favors. In March, the Pew Research Center asked respondents if we are better off “in a free market economy even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time.” A reassuring 70% agreed, while only 20% disagreed.

Fortunately, the future of capitalism rests on a firmer foundation than the vagaries of public polling or even the electoral fates of pro-market candidates and parties. The unprecedented worldwide improvement in living standards in the last century owes everything to the technological innovation, increased productivity and personal choice that characterize economies driven by competition and the profit motive. Beyond political advances or reverses, beyond the variations in the unemployment figures or the foreclosure rate or the Dow Jones, the fundamental changes in the very terms of human life in the last several generations will help to inspire the sort of confidence (and even gratitude) that will protect the capitalist system from widespread public rejection, destruction or dismantling.

Much more HERE


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)


11 June, 2009

A few observations about immigration and intelligence

In my comments on IQ, yesterday, I asked why the descendants of African slaves who have in recent decades come to the USA from the Caribbean tend to outperform in various ways the descendants of African slaves whose ancestors were transported directly to what is now the USA. Afro-Americans themselves are well aware of the difference and refer to Afro-Caribbeans as "coconuts" (brown on the outside, white on the inside).

I attributed the difference between the two groups to an immigration effect: "People who have somehow got themselves out of a Caribbean hellhole such as Jamaica or Haiti and re-established themselves in America are obviously smarter than those who stay behind in their scenic but poor, corrupt and crime-ridden homelands. So they do better in America because they are smarter to start with. They are an environmentally-selected superior subset of their parent population. Most of their success follows from that. The first generation too tend to have better motivation, having grown up in a society lacking welfare payments. It's basically work or starve where they come from. And they do of course tend to pass work-oriented values onto their kids."

A question that flows from that, however, starts from the fact that Americans generally are of immigrant origin. So why is not the average white American IQ higher than the average IQ of (say) Britain? The easy answer, of course is that Americans today originate from all corners of the globe. They are not solely of British descent and some of the incoming groups may originally have come from backward populations and thus have dragged the average down.

But let me look in a bit more detail at that: Unlike the "coconuts", the earliest white settlers in North America were NOT fleeing from backward hellholes. They were in fact fleeing from the most advanced civilizations of the day, predominantly Britain and Germany. They were fleeing mainly for religious reasons rather than economic ones and whether that indicates greater intelligence or not is I think at least not obvious. Later waves of immigration, however, clearly DID come to America for economic reasons: poor people from Ireland, Poland, Germany, Russia and Southern Italy, principally. And as Herrnstein & Murray showed long ago, there is a social class effect on IQ: Poor people tend to be dumber. So the fact that the descendants of that later wave suffer no present-day IQ disadvantage illustrates that the immigration effect DID work for them too: The immigrant poor were smarter than the poor populations that they left behind. So, just looking at the major population groups that today constitute white America, there is no reason to expect in them higher average IQs than the average IQs in (say) Britain or Germany. And the reality corresponds to that expectation.

A small coda to that which I mention with some hesitation concerns Ireland -- seeing that I myself have substantial Irish ancestry. The various 20th century studies of Irish IQ have produced some rather low averages, with a 7-point disadvantage often quoted. There are various possible reasons for that but we may be seeing there the other end of the immigration effect: For various reasons, but particularly the potato blight, the emigration from Ireland was particularly heavy and the smartest people left Ireland long ago for parts of the world with greater opportunities: principally Britain, North America and the Antipodes. I am rather glad that some of them came to the Antipodes because I would not exist otherwise. And I can assure you that I am perfectly delighted by my Irish ancestry.

And that somehow brings me to the Chinese. No-one in his right mind can deny the outstanding academic success and success generally of the Chinese in America. So is that an immigrant effect too? Are they smart solely because they are immigrants who had to overcome large difficulties in order to come to America? I think that there is some truth in that, but it is far from the whole story. The studies of IQ in China itself unfailingly show an above-average result, usually considerably above average. On the other hand, as far as I am aware, none of the studies of IQ in China come from completely representative national population samples and it may be that there are among the poor populations of the more remote regions of China some quite low averages to be found, which could well drag the national average down to something like the Western average if taken into account. But that is speculation. Clearly, the parts of China from which Chinese Americans come show above average IQs so Chinese Americans are a select subset of an already talented population. No wonder they do so well.


Know thy enemy: This is not your mother's Democratic Party

By Andrew Breitbart

The Democratic Party's attitude to elections is admirable: Win. And recent history has shown it will do anything to do so. When, if not now, will Republicans develop such a fighting spirit? Democrats invest - with taxpayer money, mind you - in groups like ACORN that, among other sordid tactics, seek out Skid Row bodies and wheel them to polling places. All the Democratic National Committee needs are vans and smelling salts. Pop culture and the "education system" have done the rest, making "D" the default choice on Election Day.

Democrats brazenly take policy positions - think government services and even amnesty for illegal immigrants - not because they are the right thing to do, but because they are time-tested demographic bribes. Forget cigarettes and beer, Democrats would distribute needles, methadone, medical marijuana and biscotti in voter goodie bags if they could get away with it.

Democrats long ago jettisoned America's melting-pot ideal - E Pluribus Unum ("Out of Many, One") - because it imperils their campaign for permanent rule. Splitting the country into separate identity groups and playing them against each other works a lot better. And anyone who disagrees is a racist.

One of the first things President Obama attempted to do after taking office was to take control of the Census Bureau, an act that could redraw congressional districts and ensure Democratic majorities for years to come. The new president also etched out an enemies list, focusing on conservative talk-radio hosts, including Rush Limbaugh. He also appears to have singled out Fox News. Comedians and mainstream journalists who are usually contemptuous of government bullying and First Amendment threats also continue to do the president's bidding.

These overt political gestures were done amid economic chaos and mainstream media delirium to ensure permanent victory for a newly radicalized Democratic Party. Moveon.org, George Soros and the ghost of Saul Alinsky are in charge now. It's not just "tea party" protesters who think we've tilted far left. Self-avowed anarchists and open socialists proudly brandished Obama placards at well-attended May Day parades.

When elected, the Democrats dole out billion-dollar bonuses to their core supporters at taxpayers' expense. Witness the $787 billion stimulus package, an orgy of special-interest payback for labor unions, liberal activist groups and multinational corporations. One would be hard pressed to name a Democratic policy that is motivated more by principle than by winning.

Where is the media to expose this blatant corruption when the media are in the middle of the pile? NBC News, whose parent company General Electric is getting billions in stimulus cash to perpetuate Democrat-friendly "green" technologies and health care information systems, is at the forefront of a bizarre campaign to act as a check on the party that is out of power, not the party in power. NBC anchor Brian Williams bowed to the new president; MSNBC is a Fellini-esque exercise in liberal triumphalism.

With Democrats holding comfortable majorities in the House and Senate, as well as controlling the executive branch, it's only logical that the mainstream media to focus their scrutiny on Mr. Limbaugh, ex-Rep. Tom DeLay, former President George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, the governor of one of the least populous states. Right?

NBC News and MSNBC are certainly not along among the government watchdogs that have been tamed. The New York Times expends its considerable yet waning clout to ensure that our future is in a one-party state. Vocal, liberal Hollywood celebrities - on the same page as the Huffington Post and Keith Olbermann - spread the venom by making membership in the Grand Old Party seem like an anti-social act for young voters.

Such brazenly reprehensible Democratic lawmakers as Nancy Pelosi, John P. Murtha, Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Christopher J. Dodd are not trotted before the media because of their telegenic appeal and oratorical skills, but to act as symbols of what politicians can get away with it. It's a big-league taunt - like gang members in prison sporting "tear" tattoos under their eyes to brag about their kill count. Yeah ... What are you going to do about it, Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell?

Yet Democrats at least wield a logical and workable strategy to defeat their enemy. And "enemy" is precisely how they view the Republican Party.

Republicans, on the other hand, act like a snobby condo board and appear to seek out potential voters for their savoriness. The party expects pre-existing respectable organizations, Protestant churches in particular, to do the heavy lifting. In this day of dwindling Republican appeal, the party's ace in the hole is heard at the end of the polling day: "Have they counted the overseas military vote yet?" It's amazing Republicans ever win.

Most disturbing, Republicans seem to think Democrats can be their friends. Not only does the Republican Party not have a Ronald Reagan, the Democratic Party has no Tip O'Neill. Washington doesn't have end-of-the-day, cross-party social sessions over single-malt scotches. There is no bipartisanship that doesn't end in Republicans acquiescing in defeat of their core principles. A coordinated Democratic campaign against mainstream middle-of-the-road Republicanism is here to stay. And our strategy, as best as I can decipher it, is to be more liked than the last go around.

In the next election cycle, things need to be drastically different. Democracy is not Augusta National Golf Club. It's a messy free-for-all, and in a two-party system, the GOP will not survive if it doesn't accept the fact that the Democrats are its enemy and that it must begin to play for keeps. That means finding another Lee Atwater - only meaner - and not apologizing when we get him.



The awareness-challenged Obama

Barack Obama, through his spokesman, claimed that he was unaware of the Tax Day Tea parties. Granted, the Mainstream Media has done a good job in suppressing any sort of coverage ahead of time (and the little coverage they did provide was derisive at best) but how out of touch is the Community Organizer in Chief, really?

He was unaware that he was attending a church (for 20 years) with a visceral racist pastor who hates America.

He was unaware that he was family friends with, and started his political career in the living room of, a domestic terrorist, William Ayers.

He was unaware that he had invested in two speculative companies (AVI, Skyterra) backed by some of his top donors right after taking office in 2005.

He was unaware that his own aunt was living in the US illegally.

He was unaware that his own step brother lives on pennies a day in a hut in Kenya.

He was unaware of the AIG bonuses that he and his administration approved of and signed into a bill.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Commerce was under investigation in a bribery scandal.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of the Treasury was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be the U.S. Trade Representative was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the woman he nominated to be his Chief Performance Officer was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be #2 at the Environmental Protection Agency was under investigation for mismanaging $25 million in EPA grants.

There are people in comas that are more aware of world affairs than this guy.

SOURCE (See the original for links)



Pakistan: Angry villagers fight, surround Taliban: “Pakistani villagers enraged with the Taliban after the bombing of a mosque battled the militants on Monday, underscoring a shift in public opinion away from the hardline Islamists. … Outraged by the attack, villagers formed a militia, known as a lashkar, of about 500 men and began fighting the militants on Saturday in an bid to force them out of their area. A top government official in Upper Dir, Atif-ur-Rehman, said the militia fighters had pushed the Taliban out of three villages and surrounded them in another two.”

Crazy: “High levels” of bacteria in some hand sanitizers: “The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Monday not to use skin products made by Clarcon because of high levels of disease-causing bacteria found during a recent inspection. Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah, issued a voluntary recall of some skin sanitizers and skin protectants marketed under several different brand names, the FDA said in a statement. Consumers should not use any Clarcon products and should throw them away, the FDA said. … Examples of products that should be discarded include Citrushield Lotion, Dermasentials DermaBarrier, Dermassentials by Clarcon, Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer, Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment, Skin Shield Restaurant, Skin Shield Industrial, Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion, Total Skin Care Beauty and Total Skin Care Work.”

Afghan surge: Marines expand base in Taliban stronghold: “Teams of builders worked through dust storms Monday to expand a base for a brigade of U.S. Marines now fanning out across southern Afghanistan to change the course of a war claiming American lives faster than ever before. Some 10,000 Marines have poured into Afghanistan in the last six weeks, the military said Monday, transforming this once small base in the heart of the country’s most violent province, Helmand, into a desert fortress.”

Government Motors is no substitute for General Motors : “Many believe that GM is an example of the state abandoning its hands-off approach to the market and stepping in to control the unbridled market and rescue the company. But that’s a misconception: the idea of a neo-liberal, free-market US economy is a myth. The US government has been intertwined with the nation’s economy for many years (including during the Reagan era); it’s not just jumping in now. The auto industry is a case in point. American politicians have protected the Detroit carmarkers in various ways for decades, most notably by restricting imports. And in setting its fuel economy rules, the government set a lower bar for pickups and light trucks, thus supporting Detroit’s decision to focus on those vehicles. There has not been a bright line separating the market and state in the US. The GM case is a change in degree, not in kind. What’s new about GM is that government intervention is taking the form of direct ownership, which means a qualitative increase in control.”

Michelle O channeling Jackie O? : “Is anyone else getting wrist-slashing bored over the unmitigated giddy slobbering the mainstream media amasses on Michelle Obama? The creepy media mutts and fashion photogs pant after the First Lady like she’s the Second Coming of Jackie Onassis. She’s Movie Idol, Superstar, European Royalty, Cultural Diva and Holy Madonna all rolled into one mega-merchandising mind-manipulating media package. She’s the Imperial Majesty so many Americans lust after but can’t have because that silly old Constitution proscribes crowned craniums in America.”


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)


10 June, 2009

The NYT and IQ again

Ya gotta laugh! Below are the first three paragraphs from an article by Kristoff. He is making his second obeisance before the badly-flawed work of Richard Nisbett on IQ:
In the mosaic of America, three groups that have been unusually successful are Asian-Americans, Jews and West Indian blacks — and in that there may be some lessons for the rest of us.

Asian-Americans are renowned — or notorious — for ruining grade curves in schools across the land, and as a result they constitute about 20 percent of students at Harvard College.

As for Jews, they have received about one-third of all Nobel Prizes in science received by Americans. One survey found that a quarter of Jewish adults in the United States have earned a graduate degree, compared with 6 percent of the population as a whole.

West Indian blacks, those like Colin Powell whose roots are in the Caribbean, are one-third more likely to graduate from college than African-Americans as a whole, and their median household income is almost one-third higher.
Equating "coconuts", as American blacks often call them, with Jews and Asians is one extravagant comparison. It's true that they outperform American-born blacks but that does not say much. They are nowhere up to the Jewish/Chinese/Japanese standard.

Kristoff's basic but ludicrous point is that IQ and achievement generally are all due to working hard at your education and that all three groups he mentions do so. I will leave the Jewish/Asian aspect of that aside for the moment and just concentrate on the "coconuts". Their success is largely a reflection of a strong immigration effect. People who have somehow got themselves out of a Caribbean hellhole such as Jamaica or Haiti and re-established themselves in America are obviously smarter than those who stay behind in their scenic but poor, corrupt and crime-ridden homelands. So they do better in America because they are smarter to start with. They are an environmentally-selected superior subset of their parent population. Most of their success follows from that. The first generation too tend to have better motivation, having grown up in a society lacking welfare payments. It's basically work or starve where they come from. And they do of course tend to pass work-oriented values onto their kids. So attitudes do play SOME part in their success. But there is no sign that they are about to rival Jews in Nobel-prize-quality work!

The rest of Kristoff's article is, as far as I can see, just a rehash of points that I have rebutted already in my previous commentaries on Nisbett. See here, here, here and here

One point I have not seen mentioned before, however, is this doozy:
One large study followed a group of Chinese-Americans who initially did slightly worse on the verbal portion of I.Q. tests than other Americans and the same on math portions. But beginning in grade school, the Chinese outperformed their peers, apparently because they worked harder.
So Chinese pre-schoolers did not speak English well but rapidly caught up and surged ahead once they went to a real school. It has apparently not occurred to Kristoff that the Chinese littlies might have not been good at English or understood their classes at all because they mostly heard Chinese at home!


Now that he's been elected, Obama is a Muslim again

One year ago in June 2008, Floyd produced a television ad which asked the simple question, “Was Barack Obama ever a Muslim?” The Obama campaign came unglued. It earned Floyd prominent placement on a special Obama Web site called “Fight the Smears.” The news media jumped on the bandwagon. Newsweek reported: “Barack Obama has never been Muslim and never practiced Islam. But rumors about his religion intended to frighten some voters persist, and they mostly return to one point of fact: his name.” The Boston Globe wrote: “Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ. His Kenyan paternal grandfather and Indonesian stepfather were Muslim, but he attended secular and Catholic schools and was never a practicing Muslim.” ...

Now all has changed with Barack Obama’s coming out to the Muslim world. Jake Tapper of ABC News reports, “The other day we heard a comment from a White House aide that never would have been uttered during the primaries or general election campaign. During a conference call in preparation for President Obama’s trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said ‘the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to -- or before he’s been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world -- you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father -- obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago.’”

Tapper also reported, “In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many ‘Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them.’”



The Media Fall for Phony 'Jobs' Claims: The Obama Numbers Are Pure Fiction

Mr. Fratto was a colleague of mine in the Bush administration, and as a senior member of the White House communications shop, he knows just how difficult it can be to deal with a press corps skeptical about presidential economic claims. It now appears, however, that Mr. Fratto's problem was that he simply lacked the magic words -- jobs "saved or created."

"Saved or created" has become the signature phrase for Barack Obama as he describes what his stimulus is doing for American jobs. His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs -- and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could "save or create" an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will "save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years."

Mr. Fratto sees a double standard at play. "We would never have used a formula like 'save or create,'" he tells me. "To begin with, the number is pure fiction -- the administration has no way to measure how many jobs are actually being 'saved.' And if we had tried to use something this flimsy, the press would never have let us get away with it."

Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it.




Obama can walk on water: ""I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in Luxembourg gardens. Those days are over for the moment," he added." [The Seine is a river]

China to spur global recovery: "China's stellar growth could help pull the world out of its current economic slump, the head of the World Bank says. With Chinese growth in the first quarter of 2009 exceeding most expectations, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said overnight that China could act as a catalyst for a global economic resurgence. "Any forecast in this environment is hazardous, but I think China is likely to surprise on the upside," the former US trade envoy said, speaking at a conference in Canada. "By and large (China's growth) has not only been a stabilising force, but a force that will pull the system (out of the downturn)." China's meteoric rise as a global economic player has boosted world trade in manufactured goods and provided western companies with an enormous new market for their products and services."

I think Obama just lost the homosexual vote: “The Supreme Court on Monday agreed with the Obama administration and refused to review Pentagon policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. … During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won’t stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.”

Ginsburg delays Chrysler sale : “Chrysler LLC’s planned asset sale to a group led by Italy’s Fiat SpA was delayed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a request for a longer postponement that might scuttle the deal. … A federal appeals court in New York last week allowed the sale, while putting its decision on hold until 4 p.m. today to let opponents including Indiana pension funds seek Supreme Court intervention. Ginsburg’s one-sentence order today said the bankruptcy court orders allowing the sale ‘are stayed pending further order’ of the Supreme Court.”

Democrats declare war on the poor: “Given the abject failure of the War on Poverty — as Ronald Reagan said, ‘Poverty won’ — now Democrats apparently have decided to go right for the heart of the problem, by making war on the poor. That’s the only plausible explanation for S.500, the ‘Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2009,’ introduced earlier this year by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). The bill would limit interest rates in such a way that pawn shop owners say it would drive them out of business. Currently under consideration by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, this legislation could only make sense to someone who (a) knows nothing about pawn shops, and (b) knows nothing about economics.”

SCOTUS moves to curb “perception of bias” in judicial ranks: “The US Supreme Court has established a broad, new constitutional standard requiring judges to step aside in cases involving a perceived probability of judicial bias. The 5-to-4 decision was announced on Monday in a case involving a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. Justice Brent Benjamin had refused to step aside in a case involving a company that spent $3 million to help defeat an incumbent justice, whose seat was filled by Justice Benjamin. The Supreme Court ruled that Benjamin violated the due process rights of the litigants before the West Virginia high court when he declined to recuse himself in that case. The majority justices on the US high court viewed the company’s independent campaign expenditure as a significant factor in Benjamin’s electoral success. They concluded the effort created a perception of a ‘probability of actual bias’ when the company later appeared before Benjamin and the other justices.”

NY Senate goes Republican, aided by two renegade Dems: “Republicans who claimed control of the New York state Senate with help from two Democrats cast their action as a rebellion against a $131.8 billion budget negotiated in secret with coerced support. Democrats immediately challenged the claim and described the action as illegal. Governor David Paterson called it ‘despicable.’ The maneuver, just two weeks before the Legislature’s scheduled June 22 adjournment, leaves in doubt the outcome of bills to allow gay marriage, create a new money-saving pension category for future state and city workers and approve taxes to balance New York City’s budget.”

GM, Amtrak and an increasingly fascist America : “Last week, General Motors finally declared bankruptcy. Many in government thought $20 billion in taxpayer dollars would save the company, but as predicted, it only postponed the inevitable. The government will dump another $30 billion into GM and take a 60 percent controlling interest for it. Public officials are now involving themselves in tactical business decisions such as where GM’s headquarters should move and what kind of cars it will build. The promise that this is temporary and will eventually be profitable is supposed to ease the American people into accepting this arrangement, but it is of little comfort to those who remember similar promises when the American taxpayers bought Amtrak. After three years, government was supposed to be out of the passenger rail business. 40 years and billions of dollars later, the government is still operating Amtrak at a loss, despite the fact that they have created a monopoly by making it illegal to compete with Amtrak. Imagine what they can now do to what is left of the great American auto industry!”

“Are you proud to be white?” Uh, no: “I despise the obsession with race that is forced upon us by the nanny state. I’m always having to fill out these forms that ask my race. Liberals are so fixated on race that they would make a Nazi Gauleiter proud. Nowadays, when I get the chance and I come across some official piece of paper that demands ‘race,’ I put an asterisk in the box and at the bottom or along the margin I write this: ‘No, not so much anymore. I’m too old, fat and out-of-shape to win.’ … The reason this came up is that a fellow just sent me an email asking the question: ‘Are you proud to be white?’ My answer went something like this: ‘No, not particularly. I am proud to be an American. My race is incidental. To think otherwise is to buy into racial collectivism, which I refuse to do.’”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- this time mainly looking at the implications of the recent voting in Britain.


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


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


9 June, 2009

Leftist emotional insensitivity

During my career as an academic researcher in psychology and sociology, my main interest was in ideological attitudes but I also made forays into personality research at times. One such foray was into the study of psychopathy, using the most widely accepted measure of it: The MMPI PD scale. One of the two articles I wrote on that subject received a very minor but perhaps significant mark of distinction: It was to a small degree quoted by later authors on the subject. One sometimes gets the impression that most academic journal articles are read by only two people: The author and his mother -- though, if you are lucky, the article might also have been read right through by the editor and referees of the journal in which it was published. I think that most authors of academic articles will assure you with some passion that referees have clearly NOT read with any care the articles they comment on.

My article which received some attention was on sub-clinical psychopathy. You can read it here. So I probably am on firmer ground than most in commenting on that subject. The hallmarks of psychopathy are a lack of normal emotional feelings, an absence of any morality or ethics and a well-disguised contempt for everybody else. In extreme cases this can lead to singularly brutal crimes. Like most personality dispositions, however, there are degrees of psychopathy. In milder cases it can have some advantages and it is those cases that I call sub-clinical: i.e. cases where the psychopath manages to keep himself out of trouble with either the law or the mental health system. And it is often asserted that a degree of psychopathy is helpful in business success.

As it was not my main focus of study, however, I never got around to examining the role of psychopathy in politics. Though I did find in my original research that psychopathy was associated with permissiveness and rejection of punitiveness, attitudes which are common on the Left. And these days I would not attempt research that looked directly at the correlation between Leftism and psychopathy because the conclusion I came to at the end of my research career was that most Leftists are incapable or unwilling to describe their real attitudes. For instance: They will almost all, if asked, claim to be ardent supporters of free speech. Yet, as almost daily posts on my TONGUE-TIED blog reveal, they are in fact relentless enemies of it.

So it seems to me that it is real-life behaviour alone that we must look at in assessing Leftists and I have already used that approach to look at some length at the relationship between Leftism and psychopathy here. As you might have inferred from my original description of psychopathy above, there is much about characteristic Leftist behaviour that a psychiatrist would recognize as psychopathic.

A recent article has emerged, however, that reinforces that conclusion. I reprint the central part of it below. It tends to show that, relative to conservatives, Leftists have a deficit in emotional sensitivity to unpleasant things -- something that is very characteristic of the psychopath. That is of course not at all a new conclusion. We know, for instance, the unfailing brutality of Communist regimes. Not the slightest human sensitivity there. And Stalin's mass murders never bothered American "liberals" during the Soviet era, though the brutality sure bothered conservatives. Nonetheless it is interesting (and a little surprising) to see from attitude research a confirmation of something we know to be true from real life. Given the relentless Leftism of academic psychology and sociology, the authors of article do of course try to "spin" their conclusions as in some way detrimental to conservatives but I think the research results speak for themselves.

One point I should make here, however, is that I AGREE with the authors below in seeing a strong relationship between emotional responses and morality. I have previously argued at some length that seeing morality as having an instinctive emotional basis is a strong position from a philosophical viewpoint and the work of Pinker and Haidt and others has also found some empirical association between morality and emotions of disgust etc.

I should perhaps stress strongly at this point, however, that neither psychopaths nor Leftists are DEVOID of emotion. The one emotion which they do have and which they do share is contempt or hate towards other people about them, contempt for the "status quo" in the Leftist case. And that can be a very strong emotion indeed: A dominant emotion, even. I say more about that here. So on to the recent article:
Liberals and conservatives are often disgusted with one another. No surprise there. But conservatives are literally the more easily disgusted of the two when it comes to such squeamish things as maggots, questionable toilet seats and the prospect of eating monkey meat. Such sensitivity, it seems, plays a role in their ideology and moral values.

Two joint studies released Friday from psychologists at Cornell, Harvard and Yale universities determined that conservatives are more fastidious about the creepier, smellier side of life reflective of a hard-wired instinct for safety and self-preservation. It raises questions about the role of disgust an emotion that likely evolved in humans to keep them safe from potentially hazardous or disease-carrying environments in contemporary judgments of morality and purity, said study leader David Pizarro, an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell who led the study.

People have pointed out for a long time that a lot of our moral values seem driven by emotion, and, in particular, disgust appears to be one of those emotions that seems to be recruited for moral judgments....

The researchers surveyed 181 adults from politically mixed swing states, offering them the Disgust Sensitivity Scale, a personality ratings system initially developed by behavioral psychologists at the University of Virginia. It poses all sorts of uncomfortable possibilities to participants gauging their reactions on a scale of 1-5 to vomit, graveyards, preserved body parts, squashed earthworms and monkey meat.

The researchers surveyed the degree of ideological beliefs of the same test group, to reveal a correlation between being more easily disgusted and political conservatism, the study said.

Disgust really is about protecting yourself from disease; it didn't really evolve for the purpose of human morality, Mr. Pizarro said. It clearly has become central to morality, but because of its origins in contamination and avoidance, we should be wary about its influences.

In another study, the researchers offered the disgust scale to 91 Cornell undergraduates, also asking them where they stood on gay marriage, abortion, gun control, labor unions, tax cuts and affirmative action.

Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, issues that are related to notions of morality or purity, the study found. Squeamish people were also more likely to disapprove of gays and lesbians in general.

The findings revealed complex emotions, indeed. Conservatives have argued that there is inherent wisdom in repugnance; that feeling disgusted about something gay sex between consenting adults, for example is cause enough to judge it wrong or immoral, even lacking a concrete reason, Mr. Pizarro said. Liberals tend to disagree, and are more likely to base judgments on whether an action or a thing causes actual harm.

He speculated that the link between disgust and moral judgment could help explain stark differences in values among Americans and be of interest to canny political strategists. He added that the findings could offer strategies for persuading some to change their views. The research was published in Cognition and Emotion and Emotion, two academic journals, and funded solely by Cornell University....

And below we have another case in point, where an apparently very Leftist female was not even disgusted by being gang raped:
Well, yes, the Taliban raped me, but they also respected me — they are not monsters

From the Brussels Journal comes the mind-blowing story of a left-wing Dutch journalist, Joanie de Rijke, who went to Afghanistan to conduct a sympathetic interview with Taliban jihadists who had just killed 10 French troops. Naturally, she was abducted and serially raped for six days. And now she is angry ... not at the chief Taliban thug — who showed her "respect," though, regrettably, "he could not control his testosterone" — but at the Dutch and Belgian governments who refused to pay the $2 million ransom the jihadists demanded.



China is once again blocking access to a lot of sites. Even my mirror sites are now inaccessible at times. I have therefore put up a second lot of mirrors as under that ARE so far still accessible:

Mirror site for "Tongue Tied" here

Mirror site for "Dissecting Leftism" here

Mirror site for "Political Correctness Watch" or here

Mirror site for "Greenie Watch" here

Mirror site for "Education Watch International" here

Mirror site for "Gun Watch" here

Mirror site for "Socialized Medicine here

Mirror site for "Australian Politics" here

Mirror site for "Food & Health Skeptic" here

Mirror site for "Immigration Watch International" here


Elections to the European parliament

Conservatives racing ahead in EU parliament voting: "Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe's largest economies on Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere. Some right-leaning parties said the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis. First projections by the European Union showed centre-right parties would have the most seats - between 263 and 273 - in the 736-member parliament. Centre-left parties were expected to get between 155 to 165 seats. Right-leaning governments were ahead of the opposition in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium, while conservative opposition parties were leading in Britain and Spain. Greece was a notable exception, where the governing conservatives were headed for defeat in the wake of corruption scandals and economic woes. Germany's Social Democrats headed to their worst showing in a nationwide election since World War II. Four months before Germany holds its own national election, the outcome boosted conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes of ending the tense left-right "grand coalition" that has led the European Union's most populous nation since 2005. "We are the force that is acting level-headedly and correctly in this financial and economic crisis," said Volker Kauder, the leader of Merkel's party in the German parliament. France's Interior Ministry said partial results showed the governing conservatives in the lead, with the Socialists in a distant second and the Europe Ecologie environmentalist party a close third.

Anti-EU party wins big in EU elections!: "UKIP early this morning appeared to be the main beneficiary of another set of disastrous results for Labour in the European elections. A big protest vote against all the main political parties because of the MPs’ expenses row led to increases in the votes of all smaller parties, with UKIP making a breakthrough in several regions. The anti-EU party got its first seat in Wales, retained its seats in the Eastern region, the South East and Yorkshire and the Humber and increased its share of the vote. The party looked set to overtake Labour and come second behind the Tories, with the Lib Dems coming fourth. Initial predictions of the share of the vote across Britain suggested that the Tories would poll 27 per cent, roughly the same as in 2004, UKIP would come second with 17 per cent, one percentage point up from last time, with Labour a dismal third on 16 per cent, down 7 percentage points, its worst ever result. The Lib Dems were expected to get about 15 per cent of the vote, with the Greens and BNP getting 7 to 8 per cent each."

Bad news for the Warriors of Destiny: "Fianna Fáil, the most successful political party in Western Europe, was facing up to its worst electoral performance in its history last night with the likelihood that it would lose a European Parliament seat in Dublin. The party’s woes were compounded by disastrous results in local council elections and two Dublin by-elections. Another loser last night appeared to be Declan Ganley, founder and leader of Libertas, which brought the Lisbon Treaty ratification process to a standstill when it spearheaded the No vote in last year’s Irish referendum. Mr Ganley polled better than predicted, but his 16 per cent share in the Ireland North West constituency was not likely, after the first round of counting, to secure him its third seat. [Yes. Fianna Fáil really does mean "Warriors of Destiny". Irish political loyalties owe as much to history as anything else but in non-Irish terms they are a centrist party]

British anti-immigration party wins EP seats: "Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party, has won a seat in the European Parliament. Mr Griffin, standing in the Northwest of England region, was the second candidate of the anti-immigration party to be elected. Hours earlier, Andrew Brons won the party's first European seat in the nearby Yorkshire and the Humber region. Both seats were at the expense of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party, which suffered a devastating result across the country. Mr Griffin had earlier hailed Mr Brons' win - with almost 10 per cent of the vote - as "a huge breakthrough'' for his party, and used the victory to reiterate his party's anti-immigration and anti-Islam stance. He denied his party was racist, but said: "We do say this country is full up. The key thing is to shut the door.'' Mr Griffin told Sky News television: "This is a Christian country and Islam is not welcome, because Islam and Christianity, Islam and democracy, Islam and women's rights do not mix. "That's a simple fact that the elites of Europe are going to have to get their heads round and deal with over the next few years.''



Palin defeats all ethics charges: "The accusations made news, but with another dismissal of an ethics charge last week against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential nominee has quietly been cleared of every ethics complaint filed since the torrent of allegations began in 2008. Mrs. Palin, who became a target of such complaints after being named Sen. John McCain's running mate, is 14-for-14 in fighting off the complaints. She's been cleared of 13 charges by the independent State Personnel Board and of another complaint by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). After the latest complaint in Alaska was dismissed last week, Mrs. Palin's team said that having to fend off the pile of accusations was wasting state money. "This complaint cost the governor personally, and the state of Alaska, thousands of dollars to address," said Thomas Van Flein, the governor's attorney. "It is regrettable that the ethics process has been diverted for partisan purposes by some, but it is also commendable that the board remains focused on the law."

Righteous Gentile: "Nicholas Winton is a name that ought to be better known. He has been called the British Schindler. As the Nazis were dismembering Czechoslovakia and preparing for mass persecutions, he went to Prague and set up an office there. At the time, he was 29 and a stockbroker’s clerk, nobody special. It was a feat to organize eight trains that brought Jewish children to London — they all needed sponsors, complex paperwork, and funding. In all, Winton saved 667 children, though sometimes the figure is given as 669. The ninth train was due to leave on September 3, 1939, the day war was declared, so it was canceled. The 250 children who would have been on that train were soon murdered. There’s been some recognition. Books have been written about him, and films made. The Queen knighted him and the Czechs proposed him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Winton makes no claims for himself, merely saying, “I just saw what was going on and did what I could to help.” This admirable and modest man has just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Funds ask SCOTUS to block Chrysler sale: “Opponents of Chrysler’s sale to Fiat are asking the Supreme Court to block the deal. Three Indiana state pension and construction funds filed emergency papers at the high court early Sunday to put the sale on hold so they can pursue an appeal. The federal appeals court in New York approved the sale Friday, but gave objectors until Monday afternoon to try to get the Supreme Court to intervene. Chrysler wants to sell the bulk of its assets to a group led by Italy’s Fiat as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection.”

Israel: Netanyahu to give major speech in response to Obama: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss the future of settlement construction and the establishment of a Palestinian state during a major policy address at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday. In the speech, Netanyahu will lay out his plans for Israel’s relations with the Palestinian Authority and Arab countries, a source close to the premier said yesterday. It remains unclear whether Netanyahu will recognize the principle of two states for two peoples in the speech, which is meant as a response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s address in Cairo last week. Obama stressed the two-state solution, saying it is good for both Israel and the Palestinians”

CA: Politicians contemplate rewrite of “social contract”: “With empty pockets and maxed-out credit, California is debating whether it can continue honoring all parts of its social contract [sic] with the state’s most vulnerable residents. The state faces an unprecedented drop in tax revenue and a widening budget deficit amid the deepest recession in decades, prompting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to propose cost-cutting steps that once seemed unthinkable.”

North Korea’s defiance puts Obama in a corner: “North Korea’s defiant nuclear test May 25 presents President Obama with a challenging new set of problems on the international scene. The test is a setback for the Obama concept of engagement with rogue nations. It vastly complicates his attempts to defuse Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s leaders may reasonably conclude: If North Korea can get away with building a nuclear arsenal largely unscathed, why not us? Indeed, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quick to rule out nuclear negotiations with other nations, declaring: ‘Iran’s nuclear issue is over, in our opinion.’ This, in turn, injects some tension into Mr. Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

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)


8 June, 2009

Now Obama is driving Microsoft overseas

It takes an incredibly powerful company to threaten the U.S. government in hopes of impacting a significant decision, but that’s precisely what Microsoft is doing. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made headlines when he publicly attacked President Barack Obama’s plan to cut tax breaks on U.S. companies’ foreign profits, a plan which is currently awaiting Congressional approval. Mr. Ballmer suggests that if the tax succeeds, Microsoft may begin a significant move out of the U.S., taking with it tax revenue and jobs. He states, “It makes U.S. jobs more expensive. We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S. as opposed to keeping them inside the U.S.”

The plan, proposed by President Obama on May 4, seeks to help raise tax revenue and balance the budget by rolling back $190B USD in tax breaks for offshore companies over the next decade. Microsoft is not the first to oppose the measure — the National Foreign Trade Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable are among the numerous others to voice their disapproval.

Previously, companies could defer paying corporate rates as high as 35 percent on most types of foreign profits, contingent that the company invests the money overseas. The idea was that foreign profits are not the domain of the U.S. President Obama disagrees, arguing that U.S. corporations’ profits are U.S. earnings. He believes that by taxing foreign profits, companies will be more likely to invest in the U.S., rather than shelter their money overseas.

Thanks to the current provision Microsoft enjoyed a very low tax rate of only 26 percent in 2008 on its profits. A company report describes, “Our effective tax rates are less than the statutory tax rate due to foreign earnings taxed at lower rates.”

Some, like Barry Bosworth, an economist in Washington at the Brookings Institution research center, accuse Microsoft and others of wrongdoing. He says the company has exploited the system, an expensive abuse that has cost our nation tax revenue and domestic investment. Indeed, Microsoft’s shell game is a bit strange — it typically develops products like Windows and then transfers the licenses for free to an Ireland subsidiary. This subsidiary then proceeds to sell them, free of U.S. taxes. Mr. Bosworth states, “What Microsoft wants to do is deduct the cost at a high tax rate and report the profits at a low tax rate. Relative to where they are now, the administration’s proposals are less favorable, so there will be some rebalancing on their part.”

Symantec Corp. and some smaller companies such as privately held Bentley Systems, an Exton, Pennsylvania-based maker of engineering software, carry out similar practices and are similarly opposed to the measure. Symantec says it’s frustrated with being called a tax cheat. Symantec Chairman John Thompson adds, “It is a little bit ironic that most of our most significant trading partners and partners globally have taken the tack that they’ll reduce corporate tax rates to stimulate economic growth and not raise corporate tax rates.”

Mr. Ballmer, perhaps the most outspoken critic, did acknowledge that the Obama proposal preserved research and experimentation cost tax breaks. He warned, though, that the cuts to foreign exemptions would raise the cost of Microsoft’s 56,552 U.S. employees. He says this could necessitate moving them overseas. Microsoft was previously embroiled in a controversy over whether it should lay off foreign workers before U.S. ones.




NO matter how gently you pet a snake, it's not going to love you back. And faith-fueled fanatics always show their fangs in the end.

Nobody seems to learn. Again and again, states imagine that they can use and control Islamist extremists. Then the terrorists turn against their "masters." That's what happened Monday in Pakistan, when Muslim militants brazenly struck a police academy near the Indian border -- far from the lawless tribal regions. The terrorists killed seven cops and two civilians. Nearly a hundred officers suffered wounds during the siege. The terrorists blew themselves up, rather than be captured. They knew Allah would welcome them. The one captured fanatic meant to die.

Pakistan's homegrown jihadis began with local takeovers in the back country. In response, the government -- which had backed the Taliban in the hope of controlling Afghanistan -- tried to cut deals. But the deals only helped the extremists, ceding them territory. Their attacks spread to major cities, such as Peshawar and Quetta. Then terror crossed the Indus River into the heartland. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Islamabad's Marriott Hotel suffered a catastrophic bombing. Even Sri Lanka's visiting cricket team was marked for death.

Now the terrorists have reached right across Pakistan to mount a frontal assault on a police academy. Give 'em credit -- that took guts. And fervor. Fired by visions of serving an angry god, the terrorists are sure that they're bound to win, that all those of weaker belief will fall before them. Nothing short of death will make them quit.

The story isn't new. The US supported Muslim fanatics against the Soviets in Afghanistan. At the time, it seemed awfully clever. After all, the mujahedin were the baddest hombres in the Hindu Kush, willing to fight on after others quit. Of course, we didn't take faith's power seriously. We still don't. Washington continues, frantically, to deny that belief has anything to do with religious terrorism.

Inevitably, the serpents bit those who imagined they were pets. We're still getting fanged. The Saudis, who funded al Qaeda enthusiastically, learned to their horror that even their own abusive Wahhabism wasn't cruel enough for Allah's avengers.

Not so long ago, some Israelis hoped that the newborn Hamas would be a useful tool to weaken the PLO's grip on the Palestinians. The bad news is they were right.

The phenomenon shows up in secular history, as well. During the Weimar Republic, German conservatives were confident that they could exploit that down-market ex-corporal and his Brownshirts, then brush them aside. (Slow learners, the same Germans had viewed Lenin and his Bolsheviks as useful mischief-makers.)

Never underestimate a fanatic's fanaticism. Dealing with religious extremists is the toughest challenge of all. They have one great advantage over the rest of us: True believers submerge their lives in their cause. Our own leaders -- or Pakistanis or Saudis -- may act in the national interest, but they're always aware of their personal interests, as well. Faith-inspired terrorists are not only willing but often impatient to die for their cause. That trumps working overtime in Washington.

When dealing with those who believe they're on a mission from their god, our cult of negotiations plays into their hands. They'll break any agreement, when the time is right. A deal isn't a deal. Unbelievers have no standing.

Nor is this only a problem for the Muslim world. Indian politicians have unleashed Hindu extremists and may find their rage uncontainable one day. Any politician, anywhere, who thinks he can exploit religious fanatics with impunity is dancing with cobras.

Pakistan can no longer get the serpents it nurtured back into the basket. Even Iran may find that the Shia terrorists it encourages may fail to be charmed by Tehran's magic flute when a crisis comes. When governments seek to manipulate religion to their own ends, they're not just playing with fire. They're playing with hellfire.




Obama To Poor Blacks – Stay Poor

While professing to care about the plight of the poor, Obama continues to take actions that keep blacks impoverished, so he can use black grievances for partisan political gain. In his book “Dreams From My Father”, Obama wrote disdainfully about blacks who complain about being poor, yet continue to vote for Democrats — like Obama — who keep them poor. On page 147 of his book, Obama described what he and his fellow Democrats do to poor blacks as “plantation politics” when he wrote: “A plantation. Black people in the worst jobs. The worst housing. Police brutality rampant. But when the so-called black committeemen came around election time, we’d all line up and vote the straight Democratic ticket. Sell our soul for a Christmas turkey.”

While in the Illinois Senate, Obama helped keep blacks corralled on the Democratic Party’s economic plantation when he provided funding for slum projects in Chicago, as was exposed in the Boston Globe article that can be found on the Internet here

That Boston Globe article shows how Obama provided millions of tax dollars to his slum lord buddies, including now convicted felon Tony Rezko who contributed hundred of thousands of dollars to Obama’s political campaign and helped Obama buy a million-dollar house in a shady real estate deal.

As president, Obama put a poison pill in the Stimulus Bill that kills welfare reform, so that tax dollars can no longer be used to help the poor become self-sufficient through job training and child care assistance. Instead welfare will, once again, become a government handout that keeps poor blacks mired in generational poverty. Welfare has destroyed the black family, and Uncle Sam has replaced the father in black urban homes.

After Obama worked to end the school choice opportunity scholarship program in the District of Columbia that helps poor blacks get a better education, he produced a budget that, astonishingly, eliminates the $85 million designated for the HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, Obama is sending his own two children to a private school, while kicking poor blacks out of that same private school and effectively sending the poor blacks back to the failing DC public school system.

Waking up to the danger Obama poses to the poor and our economy, the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) issued an alarming report showing that Obama’s “cap-and-trade” mandates – designed by radical environmentalists – would make American consumers poorer and the products they buy more expensive.

The NBCC study found specifically that the cap-and-trade law, known as the Waxman-Markey legislation, will cost 2.5 million U.S. jobs by the year 2030 and reduce GDP by $350 billion. Further, it will reduce earnings for the average U.S. worker by $390 per year and reduce the average household’s annual purchasing power by $830 per year. That report can be found on the Internet here

Another study reported by the Heritage foundation demonstrates that Obama’s cap-and-trade, or “cap-and tax”, law could be an even bigger economic disaster, raising electricity rates by 90 percent and the price of gasoline by 74 percent. Only a hard-core liberal would be so wedded to his liberal agenda that he would deliberately put that agenda above the well-being of the people in this country. That report may be found here

Just as some black Republicans, including the NBRA, are fighting to help save black communities from continued destruction by the Democratic Party‘s socialist policies, average Americans are in a battle to save our country from being turned into a failed socialist nation by Obama and his Democrat minions. With the liberal media refusing to hold Obama accountable and Democrats in control of Congress, there is no check on Obama’s power, except we, the people. Our only real weapon is our vote.

Three cheers to the sensible people in California who, by an incredible 65-35 margin, said “no” to five initiatives for higher taxes for irresponsible spending on “feel good” social programs that are wrecking California’s economy. “Tighten your belt”, Californians shouted at their government, each citizen wielding just one vote, but, oh, the impact of that vote. Remember also that no Republican in the House of Representatives voted for that economy-wrecking Stimulus Bill.



The auto industry takeover has all happened before on a planet faraway

Here’s some history. In 1952, the merger of several British auto companies resulted in the British Motor Corporation. It was the largest of its day with 39% of British output. Despite established dealerships for the various models, a series of poor management decisions resulted in the loss of market share.

By 1968, British Leyland was formed out of British Motor Corporation and became British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd. In 1975, it was partially nationalized and the government became a holding company. UK market share barely changed and despite brands such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, the government motor company continued its decline. By 2005, the MG Rover Group went bankrupt, bringing to an end the production by British owned companies. The MG became part of Chinese Nanjing Automobile.

The 1970s were difficult economic times for the United Kingdom and its Labor government (1974-1979), as noted above, created a holding company with the government as the major shareholder. At that point British Leyland employed 159,000 people in its many divisions that included a bus and truck operation.

In 1984, Jaguar Cars became independent once more through a public sale of its shares, but the Leyland truck and bus operation was sold to Volvo in 1988. The Rover Group was sold by the government to British Aerospace that in turn sold it to BMW. Suffice it to say, the British auto industry is now largely owned by companies in other nations or operating as a mere shadow of its former self.

Anyone who thinks that General Motors will revive is wrong. As Larry Kudlow, the radio-TV business maven, recently wrote, “Taxpayers won’t get their money back” and that figure now stands at $50 billion.

Both GM and Chrysler should have been allowed to choose bankruptcy months ago, but the U.S. government in its infinite wisdom has thrown our money down a rat hole created by bad management and excessive labor union demands over the past four decades. Meanwhile, as was the case in the UK, Chrysler is now owned by an Italian auto manufacturer.

The U.S. government now owns GM, AIG an insurance company, and billions in housing mortgages through the government entities of Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. Kudlow said, “We’re talking about hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars that will never be repaid.”

That news is bad enough, but consider now that the U.S. government has just increased the standards of how much mileage must be achieved from a gallon of gasoline at the very same time it demands that more of that gasoline be mixed with ethanol. Ethanol reduces mileage. President Obama has already made clear that he wants GM to manufacture “green” automobiles. No one will buy them.

The Telegraph, a British newspaper, recently did the math on the price of “green” cars, noting that the present UK models cost the equivalent of more than about $5,000 extra. “To benefit from the difference in fuel efficiency, you would have to drive 198,000 miles, the equivalent of driving around the world eight times.” The same will apply to comparable American-made “green” cars.

Here in America, the biofuels industry receives a 45 cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol or biodiesel it produces or about $3 billion a year. The US government requires that 10% of all gasoline be blended with these biofuels whether consumers want it or not. This mandate is scheduled to double by 2015. Not only will the automobiles cost more and get less mileage per gallon, but the Congressional Budget Office last month reported that “the increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10% to 15% of the rise in food prices.” That’s because the main ingredient of ethanol is corn. That is insane.

At the same time, the government refuses to permit exploration and extraction of known oil reserves in the nation’s interior and off its continental coastal shelf despite estimates of literally billions of barrels of untapped oil. In the Bakken Formation under North Dakota and Montana, there are an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil. And we’re not even talking about the billions of barrels off the coast of California, Florida and other coastal states. The U.S. by some estimates has eight times as much oil as Saudi Arabia, eighteen times as much as Iraq and twenty-two times as much oil as Iran.

There is one, single reason why we can’t get at those oil and natural gas reserves, as well as being denied access to the massive amounts of U.S. coal reserves. It is the environmental organizations that maintain a campaign against energy use in the nation. The government is to blame, of course, but you can thank Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the United Nations Environmental Program, among countless others that have fought against any and all development, any and all economic expansion and growth.

Government control of the auto industry is now merely a prelude to its eventual end. Jobs will disappear forever. “Green jobs” are a myth. The economy will suffer a grievous loss. And, if you draw the lessons from the British experiment, you can accurately predict the future of our auto industry.



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)


7 June, 2009

Our First Female President?

In the same sense that Toni Morrison claimed Bill Clinton was our first black president, Barack Obama could be thought of as another groundbreaker: our first female president. He displays every trope of femininity more than any female "who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime" (to borrow Morrison's phrase about Clinton).

Obama is filled with sensitivity (one might even say, empathy), he would rather talk than fight, is highly (yet selectively) compassionate and to top it all off, he has a finely tuned sense of fashion. B.O. attempts to collaborate with Europeans, South Americans, Muslims and nearly everyone except the citizens of red state America. Oh, and his position on abortion and women's rights is nearly identical to that of the Choicers at NARAL and NOW. Ms. Magazine felt so simpatico with B.O. that he was featured on their special Inaugural issue cover, ripping open his shirt to expose his "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" T-shirt. While the cover was somewhat controversial for the magazine, the editor pointed out that (Obama) purportedly told them: "I am a feminist." According to Ms., Obama "ran on the strongest platform for women's rights of any major party in American history."

In addition, Obama has surrounded himself with women in most important security and foreign policy positions in his administration. While some might choose to describe BO as our first metrosexual President, the clincher is that, consistent with all outward appearances, the Obama administration fights like a girl.

The Axis of Evil has certainly picked up on this. Not a week goes by without Kim Jong-Il or Iran's Ahmadinejad or some other pipsqueak tin-pot wannabe figuratively bitch-slapping the POTUS. Every week another news story features another fascist thug playing the role of Moe from the Three Stooges to Obama's Shemp .

Last week Little Kim East and the Mighty Mahmoud were like tag-team midget wrestlers ganging up on the sputtering Obie One. First Korea's Crackpot in Chief set off a nuclear fireworks display smack dab in the middle of our Memorial Day Weekend. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad continued demanding apologies from Obama for imagined American offenses against the Iranians while announcing that the Persian nuclear program is a fait accompli. Yesterday in Cairo, Obama compliantly apologized to Iran for the ovcerthrow of Mossadegh. Then the 12th-Imam-stepper challenged Obama to a debate at the U.N. Inquiring minds want to know: would a teleprompter be allowed at the debate?

Down South, Raul and Fidel Castro played their own brand of good cop/bad cop on our Dear Sensitive Leader, while their fellow Latin-American banana-republicans took turns exhorting President BO to join the Great Marxist Books Club and channeling Dennis Miller's rants of yore with mucho hammering of America.

Obama's response to all the extra-curricular Axis of Evil activity and Gringo-Go-Homerism? "Just words". With the arsenal of the world's sole remaining superpower available to him, Obama sounds more like the U.N. Secretary General scrambling for the best euphemism to downplay each situation than a serious statesman with the greatest military and economic might on the planet to back him up. No matter what other qualities our belligerent enemies might have, they are definitely men of action. And regardless of our neophyte President's desire to chat and make friends, the leaders of North Korea, Syria, Iran and Cuba remain our enemies. No matter how many "stern warnings" and U.N. resolutions you can cook up with the gals down at the U.N. coffee klatch, these busy thugs will keep upping the ante precisely until action is taken against them.

Unfortunately, any meaningful action by this administration is highly unlikely, as Obama understands that many Democratic and independent voters, especially women, were eager to move from hard-power locker-room tactics to a soft-power sewing circle approach. Less towel-snapping and more towel color coordinating, less steroids and more sensitivity.

I'm just grateful that Obama had the good sense to bow to the Saudi King at the G20 summit in London. At least he didn't curtsey.



The first test of Obama's "outreach" is upon us

A real test of the success of the Cairo speech will come quickly on June 7 and June 12, the dates of the Lebanese and Iranian elections.

In Lebanon, if Hezbollah and its partners (Michael Aoun, etc.) have a significant victory on June 7, they will continue to build pressure on Israel, regardless of Israel’s policies on the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas will be further emboldened and tensions will rise and the chance for “peace” will be further diminished.

Israel cannot negotiate with a Tehran that has taken over a neighboring country on its northern flank and a Hamastan on its south and publicly is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

If Ahmadinejad wins a significant victory in Iran, reinforced with the Hezbollah victory, the mullahs will be more inclined to take Obama’s statement on their right to civilian nuclear power as a green light to continue developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems. If there is no realistic opposition from the U.S. and the EU, nothing will stop the current corrupt and incompetent religious fanatics from moving as quickly as possible toward the weapons which would give them a dominant role in the Gulf and in world oil. There is virtually no real debate or differences among the mullahs on that strategy.

Although Iran is facing increasingly difficult economic problems, an Ahmadinjad victory will sustain its current course of ignoring economic carrots or sticks from the E.U. The E.U., more concerned with domestic fiscal and monetary issues, probably take the Obama speech as a green light to continue to trade and haphazard strengthening of Iran. Election of one of the other candidates, similarly, would not change Iranian policy, but it might lead to more “dialogue” with the aging and calculating Supreme Leader Ali Khameini. There is little real chance that Obama’s speech will turn the elections.

If and when they do not, “facts on the ground” will far outweigh his rhetoric. The speech did not slow the doomsday clock of the Iranian nuclear program and the growing strength of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Unfortunately Obama may quickly need a new strategy and policies to deal directly with a growing “correlation of forces,” as the Soviets used to say. His speech contained no hint of where he would take the Western alliance in the face of that more likely outcome, and he may well have only created more confusion among enemies and allies on The Road to Hell.



US push to shore up ties with Israel

WASHINGTON is trying to lower tensions with Jerusalem after US President Barack Obama's landmark address to the Muslim world in Cairo, with White House officials reportedly insisting: "There is no crisis in our relationship with Israel."

After several weeks of rising tensions over Israel's refusal to halt the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, US and Israeli officials are attempting to reduce perceptions of a public disagreement to ensure the previously solid relationship does not deteriorate. Reports yesterday said senior White House officials had declared there was no crisis in the US relationship with Israel and said: "We will succeed in reaching understandings on the matter of settlements."

The newspaper Haaretz reported that while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had publicly praised Mr Obama's speech in Cairo, he privately expressed disappointment at what he saw as a soft stance on Iran's nuclear ambitions.

After the speech, Mr Netanyahu met key cabinet colleagues to decide Israel's response. The Prime Minister's office released a statement that said: "The Government of Israel expresses its hope that this important speech in Cairo will indeed lead to a new period of reconciliation between the Arab and Muslim world and Israel. "We share President Obama's hope that the American effort heralds the beginning of a new era that will bring about an end to the conflict and lead to Arab recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, living in peace and security in the Middle East. "Israel is committed to peace and will make every effort to expand the circle of peace while protecting its interests, especially its national security."



The forgotten recession of the early 1920s

When real laissez faire was practiced

Although the Keynesians tell us that budget deficits are the price that we have to pay for full employment, that equation did not seem to pan out when followers of Lord Keynes held full sway in the 1930s. As self-proclaimed intellectuals get embarassingly excited over the prospect of a new, New Deal, the rest of us would do well to take every opportunity to examine how the first one turned out. For one thing, it didn't start under Roosevelt.

In The Politically Incorrect Guide To The Great Depression And The New Deal, economist Robert P. Murphy, Ph. D., gives us a very useful comparison of what happened in another recession that occurred in the 1920s when so-called laissez-faire economics was practiced and the more famous economic collapse when it wasn't.

"The annual unemployment rate peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921, but it had fallen to 6.7 percent by the following year, and was down to an incredible 2.4 percent by 1923," Murphy writes. "That is how a market with flexible wages and prices quickly corrects itself after a Fed-induced inflationary boom."

"But because the 'compassionate' Hoover forbade businesses from cutting wages after the 1929 crash, unemployment went up and up and up, hitting the unimaginable peak of 28.33 percent in March 1933." "Compassionate conservatism," then, is not a terribly new deal either.




A good patriotic slideshow here. It was originally a Tea Party commercial put together by an Alabama teenager, Justin Holcomb.

California arsonist sentenced to death: "A 38-YEAR-OLD arsonist has been sentenced to death for starting a blaze in the Los Angeles area in 2006 that killed five firefighters. A judge in Riverside, California, close to the city of Los Angeles, followed a jury's recommendation to impose the death penalty on Raymond Lee Oyler, a prosecution spokesman said. The jury had earlier unanimously recommended Oyler receive the death sentence after finding him guilty of first degree murder and arson. He was suspected of lighting at least 26 fires in the Los Angeles region in 2006 before a blaze took the lives of five firefighters on October 26 that year. The fire also destroyed 34 homes and 20 other buildings, consuming more than 16,000 hectares of land. According to the prosecution Oyler had wanted to hit out at the emergency services after they seized and destroyed his dog, a pitbull. His car was spotted by security cameras shortly after leaving the scene of the fire. Matches discovered at the scene were the same as those found at his workplace".

Soto not bipartisan: "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said in a 1998 speech that she owed her first federal judicial nomination almost entirely to New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, undercutting the spirit of President Obama's claim that it was Republican President George H.W. Bush who was responsible for her first appointment to the federal bench. Mr. Obama and fellow Democrats have repeatedly pointed to her initial nomination to a federal district court by Mr. Bush in 1991, and her later elevation to an appeals court by President Clinton seven years later, as evidence she is a nonpartisan jurist."


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)


6 June, 2009

Obama's Cairo speech from an Israeli perspective

By Barry Rubin

Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo is one of the most bizarre orations ever made by a U.S. president, not a foreign policy statement but rather something invented by Obama, an international campaign speech, as if his main goal was to obtain votes in the next Egyptian primary. That approach defined Obama’s basic themes: Islam’s great. America is good. We’re sorry. Be moderate (not that you haven’t always been that way). Let’s be friends.

Here, Obama followed the idea that if you want someone to like you agree with almost everything he says. Obama also gave, albeit with some minor variations, the speech that the leader of a Third World Muslim country might give, justifying it in advance by claiming America is a big Muslim country, after all.

Of course, the speech had tremendous—though temporary—appeal combined with its counterproductive strategic impact. It will make him more popular. It may well make America somewhat less unpopular. But its effect on Middle East issues and U.S. interests is another matter entirely.

The first problem is that Obama said many things factually quite untrue, some ridiculously so. Pages would be required to list all these inaccuracies. The interesting question is whether Obama consciously lied or really believes it. I’d prefer him to be lying, because if he’s that ignorant then America and the world is in very deep trouble. If he really believes Islam’s social role is so perfect, radical Islamists are a tiny minority, Palestinians have suffered hugely through no fault of their own, and so on, then he’s living in a fantasy world. Unfortunately, we are not. The collision between reality and dream is going to be a terrible one.

The second problem is the speech’s unnecessarily extreme one-sidedness. Obama portrays the West as the guilty party. Despite a reference to September 11—even that presented as an American misdeed, unfair dislike of Islam resulting— he gave not a single example of Islamist or Muslim responsibility for anything wrong in the world.

Obama could easily have made the same points in a balanced way: you’ve made mistakes; we’ve made mistakes. You’ve done things to us; we’ve done things to you. And having established that I respect you, let me tell you how Americans feel and what’s needed. But that’s not how he chose to do it. So afraid was Obama of giving offense—and thus not maximizing his popularity-at-all–costs mission—he did the political equivalent of scoring an own-goal. President Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain.” In effect, Obama declared, “We’re your pain.”

So if Muslims are always the innocent victims, isn't Usama bin Ladin and others correct in saying that all the violence and terrorism to date has been just a "defensive Jihad" against external aggression and thus justifiable? Why should anything change simply because Obama has "admitted" this and asked to start over again? When he cited examples of oppression, Obama listed only Bosnia (where he didn’t even mention the U.S. role in helping Muslims), along with Israel, and also the Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Darfur. He didn’t mention terrorist violence and mistreatement of non-Muslims by Muslims in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Sudan, the Gaza Strip, against Israel, Europe or even Egypt itself.

This is a hallmark of the kind of thinking dominating much contemporary Western thought extending something that works in their own societies-- where self-criticism, apology, and unilateral concessions really can lead to the other side forgiving and compromising--to places where it doesn't work. In the Middle East if you say you’re to blame, that communicates to the other side that their cause is right and they're entitled to everything it wants. If you apologize, you’re weak. Sure, some relatively Westernized urban liberals will take what Obama said that way, I doubt whether radical states and political forces, as well as the masses, will do so.

The main ingredient in the Obama speech was flattery. There is a bumper sticker that says: Don’t apologize. Your friends don’t need to hear it and your enemies don’t care. Obama’s situation might be described as: Don’t grovel. It scares the hell out of your friends and convinces your enemies you owe them big time. As a result, the mainstream in the region will say, “We were right all the time. Obama admitted it!” While more extreme radicals say, “We’ve won and America’s surrendering.” But if Obama, as it appears, is running to be the region’s favorite politician, he’ll find he—not to mention America’s allies--has to give up many more things to win that dubious honor.

Third, Obama undermined the existing states. True, to Obama's credit, he did talk about reform, democracy, and equal rights for women. Yet the speech suggests to listeners is: democracy plus Islam equals solution. If Islam is so perfect and has such a great record—except for a tiny minority of extremists—why shouldn’t it rule? And since the extremists are presumably al-Qaida, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarians in the audience must have found a lot to applaud. How will this go over with the rulers Obama wants as allies?

Finally, Obama played into the stereotype that Israel is the central political issue in the region. Others, of course, are happy to find the usual scapegoat. An Associated Press headline reads, “Obama’s Islam Success Depends on Israel.” Is the entire “Muslim World” just waiting for Israel to stop building a few thousand apartment units a year before deciding that America is great, reform is needed, and moderation wise.

Obama’s phrases were carefully crafted. He called on Palestinians to stop violence, show their competence in administration, and accept a two-state solution, living in peace alongside Israel. Hamas was commanded to be moderate. Yet he in no way seemed to condition Palestinians getting a state on their record. His administration may think this way but he didn’t make that clear.

Middle Eastern ears won’t hear this aspect--which is part of the reason they may cheer the speech—in the way Washington policymakers intend. Inasmuch as the United States now has more credibility for them it’s because they hope it will just force Israel to give without them having to do much. When this doesn’t happen, anger will set in, intensified by the fact that the president “said” the Palestinians are in the right and should have a state right away.

Everything specific concerning Israel’s needs and demands--an end to incitement, security for Israel, end of terrorism, resettlement of refugees in Palestine—weren’t there. While Israel was specifically said to violate previous agreements on the construction within settlements issue—an assertion that’s flat-out wrong—there was no hint that the Palestinians had done so.

I can’t shake the image of Obama as the new kid in school, just moved into the neighborhood, fearful of bullies, who says anything to ingratiate himself and is ready to turn over his lunch money. There’s a famous line in “Citizen Kane” where one characters says that it’s very easy to make a lot of money….If all you want to do is make a lot of money. It’s also easy to make a lot of popularity, if that’s all one wants to do. An American president has to do more, a lot more.



Obama's Cairo speech from an American perspective

A WSJ editorial

One benefit of the Obama Presidency is that it is validating much of George W. Bush's security agenda and foreign policy merely by dint of autobiographical rebranding. That was clear enough yesterday in Cairo, where President Obama advertised "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." But what he mostly offered were artfully repackaged versions of themes President Bush sounded with his freedom agenda. We mean that as a compliment, albeit with a couple of large caveats.

So there was Mr. Obama, noting that rights such as "freedom to live as you choose" and "the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed" were "not just American ideas, they are human rights." There he was insisting that "freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together," and citing Malaysia and Dubai as economic models for other Muslim countries while promising to host a summit on entrepreneurship.

There he was too, in Laura Bush-mode, talking about the need to expand opportunities for Muslim women, particularly in education. "I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles," he said. "But it should be their choice."

Mr. Obama also offered a robust defense of the war in Afghanistan, calling it "a war of necessity" and promising that "America's commitment will not weaken." That's an important note to sound when Mr. Obama's left flank and some Congressional Democrats are urging an exit strategy from that supposed quagmire. On Iraq, he acknowledged that "the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein" and pledged the U.S. to the "dual responsibility" of leaving Iraq while helping the country "forge a better future." The timeline he reiterated for U.S. withdrawal is the one Mr. Bush negotiated last year.

The President even went one better than his predecessor, with a series of implicit rebukes to much of the Muslim world. There would have been no need for him to specify that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis if Holocaust denial weren't rampant in the Middle East, including Egypt, just as there would have been no need to name al Qaeda as the perpetrator of 9/11 if that fact were not also commonly denied throughout the Muslim world. There also would have been no need to insist that "the Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems," if that were not the modus operandi of most Arab governments.

Mr. Obama also noted that "among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's," a recognition of the supremacist strain in Islamist thinking. He also included a pointed defense of democracy, including "the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed" and "confidence in the rule of law." We doubt the point was lost on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, now in his 29th year in office. All of this will do some good if it leads to broader acceptance among Muslims of the principles of Mr. Bush's freedom agenda without the taint of its author's name.

As for the caveats, Mr. Obama missed a chance to remind his audience that no country has done more than the U.S. to liberate Muslims from oppression -- in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and above all in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than 50 million people were freed by American arms from two of the most extreme tyrannies in modern history. His insistence on calling Iraq a "war of choice" is a needless insult to Mr. Bush that diminishes the cause for which more than 4,000 Americans have died.

He also couldn't resist his by now familiar moral self-indulgence by asserting that he has "unequivocally prohibited the use of torture" and ordered Guantanamo closed. Aside from the fact that the U.S. wasn't torturing anyone before Mr. Obama came into office, his Arab hosts can see through his claims. They know the Obama Administration is "rendering" al Qaeda detainees to other countries, some of them Arab, where their rights and well-being are far less secure than at Gitmo.

The President also stooped to easy, but false, moral equivalence, most egregiously in comparing the U.S. role in an Iranian coup during the Cold War with revolutionary Iran's 30-year hostility toward the U.S. He also compared Israel's right to exist with Palestinian statehood. But while denouncing Israeli settlements was an easy applause line, removal of those settlements will do nothing to ease Israeli-Palestinian tensions if the result is similar to what happened when Israel withdrew its settlements from Gaza. We too favor a two-state solution -- as did President Bush -- but that solution depends on Palestinians showing the capacity to build domestic institutions that reject and punish terror against other Palestinians and their neighbors.

Hanging over all of this is the question of Iran. In his formal remarks, Mr. Obama promised only diplomacy without preconditions and warned about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Yet surely Iran was at the top of his agenda in private with Mr. Mubarak and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, both of whom would quietly exult if the U.S. removed that regional threat. They were no doubt trying to assess if Mr. Obama is serious about stopping Tehran, or if he is the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

It is in those conversations, and in the hard calls the President will soon have to make, that his Middle East policy will stand or fall.


I think that the WSJ is right as far as it goes but overlooks what Rubin stresses: The Middle East is a different culture that will hear things very differently from the way Americans do. And it is how people in the Arab world hear it that matters. Obama is a novice; Prof. Rubin speaks from vast close-up experience



Stimulate economy through deregulation: "The economy is contracting at a rate of more than 6 percent this year to date. This is hurting the country and especially Michigan, whose 12.9 percent unemployment rate is the nation’s highest. America’s troubled economy needs a boost, but politicians are taking the wrong approach. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act works — or rather, doesn’t work — by taking money out of the economy, wasting some of it on bureaucracy and then putting it back in. The $787 billion in new debt it is creating will have to be paid back with higher future taxes, which will hurt growth down the road.”

Yet more government regulation coming: "The Internal Revenue Service is considering for the first time requiring income tax preparers to be licensed by the federal government as a way to root out fraud and raise compliance with increasingly complex tax law. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman revealed the seismic shift in congressional testimony Thursday. He said erroneous tax returns were such a large problem that the United States could shrink the so-called tax gap - the difference between what the government receives and what it should collect - by making sure the nation's tax preparers do their job correctly.

Ex-Countrywide CEO Mozilo charged with fraud: “The Securities & Exchange Commission announced today it will charge former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo and two others with civil fraud and insider trading, making Mozilo the most high-profile individual to face federal charges in the wake of the financial crisis. Countrywide, once the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, was blamed by many for its role in the subprime mortgage meltdown that kicked off the ongoing financial crisis. The company collapsed last year and was acquired by Bank of America.”

Sotomayor: No friend of the little guy: "“Those who are of the badge worshipping and law enforcement bootlicking persuasion might assume that Judge Sonia Sotomayor may not have much to offer them as a Supreme Court Justice until they take a look at her record on the 2nd Circuit. As it turns out, Sotomayor has quite an authoritarian streak. It seems that when the powers that be are challenged by an ordinary individual, Sotomayor’s empathy seems to be with those who are employed by the government (and the facts of the circumstance be damned!).”

The Puritan legacy: “Concerns over binge drinking — the habit of drinking large quantities of alcohol with the intention of getting drunk, usually in company but without the benefit of conversation of any kind — have brought into focus the great difference that exists between virtuous and vicious drinking. Our puritan legacy, which sees pleasure as the doorway to vice, makes it difficult for many people to understand this difference. If alcohol causes drunkenness, they think, then the sole moral question concerns whether you should drink it at all, and if so how much. The idea that the moral question concerns how you drink it, in what company and in what state of mind, is one that is entirely foreign to their way of understanding the human condition.”

Energy freedom isn’t blowing in the wind or basking in the sun — It’s drilling now: “Miguel Cervantes created one of the most memorable characters of literature with Don Quixote, a delusional old man who jousted with windmills he thought were giants. Now the Obama Administration and Congress are quixotically raising their lances against another hypothetical menace: fossil fuels. In this instance, it’s not a just an elderly Spaniard who’ll be tossed to the ground, but an already staggering U.S. economy.”


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


5 June, 2009

Burke and Obama

By Thomas Sowell

Edmund Burke (1729–1797) had a lot to say about the Obama administration

The other day I sought a respite from current events by rereading some of the writings of the 18th-century British statesman Edmund Burke. But it was not nearly as big an escape as I had thought it would be. When Burke wrote of his apprehension about “new power in new persons,” I could not help thinking of the new powers that have been created by which a new president of the United States — a man with zero experience in business — can fire the head of General Motors and tell banks how to run their businesses. Not only is Barack Obama new to the presidency, he is new to running any organization. One of Burke’s fears was that “we may place our confidence in the virtue of those who have never been tried.”

Neither eloquence nor zeal is a substitute for experience, according to Burke. He said, “eloquence may exist without a proportionate degree of wisdom.” As for zeal, Burke said: “It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance that it is directed by insolent passion.”

The Obama administration’s back-and-forth on the question whether American intelligence agents who forced information out of captured terrorist leaders will be subject to legal jeopardy — even though they were told at the time that what they were doing was not only legal but a service to the nation — came to mind when reading Burke’s warning about the dangers of continuing to change the rules and values by which people lived. Burke asked how we could expect a sense of honor to exist when “no man could know what would be the test of honour in a nation, continually varying the standard of its coin”?

The current drive to take from “the rich” for the benefit of others came to mind when reading Burke’s warning against creating a situation where “any one description of citizens should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey.” He also warned that “those who attempt to level, never equalise.” What they end up doing is concentrating power in their own hands — and Burke saw such new powers as dangerous, even if they were used only sparingly at first.

He said, “the true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients and by parts.” He also said: “It is by lying dormant a long time, or being at first very rarely exercised, that arbitrary power steals upon a people.” People who don't like “the rich” or “big business” or the banks may be happy that President Obama is sticking it to them. But such arbitrary powers can be turned on anybody. As John Donne said: “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” There is a lot of wisdom in those words.

The Constitution of the United States set out to limit the powers of the federal government, but judges have greatly eroded those limitations over the years, and the dispensing of bailout money has allowed the Obama administration to exercise powers that the Constitution never bestowed.

Edmund Burke understood that, no matter what form of government you have, in the end the character of those who wield the powers of government is crucial. He said: “Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state.”

He also said, “of all things, we ought to be the most concerned who and what sort of men they are that hold the trust of everything that is dear to us.” He feared particularly the kind of man “whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it” — the kind of man “who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends.” Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others come to mind.

The biggest challenge to America — and to the world — today is the danger of Iran with nuclear weapons. President Obama is acting as if this is something he can finesse with talks or deals. Worse yet, he may think it is something we can live with. Burke had something to say about things like that as well: “There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief.” Acting — not talking.



BrookesNews Update

Obama led the US economy into a fiscal trap containing a monetary time bomb : Obama and his brilliant economic advisors have led driven the US economy into a fiscal trap containing a monetary time bomb. And the markets are taking notice. Money supply is out of the control as is the Democrats' mania for spending and borrowing. The US could find itself with galloping inflation and rising unemployment
Americans now owe $64 trillion, and still counting: Each American household now owes $546,668, four times what they owe for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt. Looking long term is where it really gets scary. Recently, we learned the U.S. had $101 trillion in retirement and health care obligations over the next 75 years. The only problem is, at current tax rates we'll have only $53 trillion to pay for it all. That leaves a gaping hole of $48 trillion. Guess what? President Obama and Democrats think that's too small so they are going to make it bigger — a lot bigger
Carbon capture and burial — a stupid answer to a silly question : To extract the 2.6 tonnes of CO2 from every 9 tonnes of exhaust gases, compress it, pump it hundreds of kilometres in specially constructed pipelines and then bury it in carbon cemeteries is environmental and economic lunacy. It would break the economy. Nevertheless, this is what some of our politicians are proposing
The Obama revolution: Liberals have been working to replace our democracy with a dictatorship, and our free-market economy with a command economy controlled by the government. The liberals couldn't say this aloud, because if they did the American people would have tossed them out of office on their ears. So liberals worked covertly, feigning support for democracy and for the free market while working diligently to undermine both
You may be surprised who will knock on the door in an Obama world : Ever since Obama called for a new domestic army many people waited for the next shoe to drop after his election as president but who would have expected the jackbooted knocker on your door to come from the Federal Communication Commission — 'I'm from the FCC and I'm here to confiscate your computer
The Obama administration at work : The Obama administration was hard at work last week issuing more petty while merrily bankrupting the country. In the meantime, its 'foreign affairs policy' of appeasing tyrants is rapidly falling apart with the thugs in Iran and North Korea thumbing their noses at the civilised world and openly threatening nuclear war. Obama will be a disaster in more ways than one



The public oppose automaker bailouts: "By Thanksgiving as the bailout request dominated headlines, opposition to taxpayer-backed loans for GM and equally troubled Chrysler rose to 55%. But in December, President Bush, convinced that the automakers were essential to the economy, went ahead with a $17.4-billion auto bailout package anyway. Since then, the story has remained largely the same. By February when the automakers returned to Congress and President Obama for more help, opposition to additional taxpayer-backed loans had risen to 64%. That number was virtually unchanged even after Obama’s new auto task force dumped Wagoner as head of GM and gave the company 90 days to come up with a radical reorganization plan or else go into bankruptcy. The plan wasn’t good enough, and today GM declared bankruptcy, although it’s part of a structured plan that gives the government a majority say in the company. But 67% of voters are opposed to the plan that would provide GM with billions in federal funding and give the government a majority ownership interest."

Top secret clearances flawed at Pentagon: "The Pentagon may have issued top-secret clearances last year to as many as one-in-four applicants who had "significant derogatory information" in their backgrounds, including a record of foreign influence or criminal conduct, a little- noticed government audit says. Flaws in the system for granting clearances to Defense Department staff and contractors pose a risk to national security, and the right tools to measure how well the process works are essential, said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, California Democrat and chairman of a House intelligence subcommittee that oversees personnel and management issues. "At present, we're basically operating on faith"

Who’s dismantling GM? “Call me crazy, but I don’t find this cute. As the news was breaking of General Motors going bankrupt, The New York Times business section ran a front page article about the 31-year-old in charge of ‘dismantling General Motors and rewriting the rules of American capitalism.’ The 31-year-old in question, one Brian Deese it turns out, was, for the first few months of Barack Obama’s administration the only full time member of the auto task force. Now he’s risen to become ‘one of the most influential voices in what may become President Obama’s biggest experiment in federal intervention.’”

Police state is wrong venue for Obama’s speech, says Robert Fisk!: “Maybe Barack Obama chose Egypt for his ‘great message’ to Muslims tomorrow because it contains a quarter of the world’s Arab population, but he is also coming to one of the region’s most repressed, undemocratic and ruthless police states. Egyptian human rights groups — when they are not themselves being harassed or closed down by the authorities — have recorded a breathtaking list of police torture, extra-judicial killings, political imprisonments and state-sanctioned assaults on opposition figures that continues to this day.” [Fisk is Britain's most one-eyed Leftist journalist]

As the dollar falls off the cliff : "“Economic news remains focused on banks and housing, while the threat mounts to the US dollar from massive federal budget deficits in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Earlier this year the dollar’s exchange value rose against currencies, such as the euro. UK pound, and Swiss franc, against which the dollar had been steadily falling. The dollar’s rise made US policymakers complacent, even though the rise was due to flight from over-leveraged financial instruments and falling stock markets into ’safe’ Treasuries. Since April, however, the dollar has steadily declined as investors and foreign central banks realize that the massive federal budget deficits are likely to be monetized. What happens to the dollar will be the key driver of what lies ahead. The likely scenario could be nasty.”

The fallacy of economics by coercion: “Some months ago I wrote a series highlighting Lawrence Reed’s classic 1981 article, ‘7 Fallacies of Economics,’ and my last article dealt with what he called ‘the fallacy of economics by coercion.’ One would think that a government can coerce people into creating economic prosperity, but think again. We now have a government that openly holds to that view.”

Save the Motherland: Buy GM!: “For those of you who carefully have avoided piddling away your hard-earned dollars on a General Motors vehicle, resistance is futile. You’re a majority ‘investor’ now. Rejoice. Taxpayers, our president has decreed, are impelled to preserve a prehistoric, poorly run, unprofitable private corporation. Now the only question becomes: What does all this sacrifice mean?”


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)


4 June, 2009

U.S. to Respond to North Korea with ‘Strongest Possible Adjectives' ....

Obama: We are Prepared to Consult Thesaurus ....

One day after North Korea launched a successful test of a nuclear weapon, President Obama said that the United States was prepared to respond to the threat with "the strongest possible adjectives."

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Mr. Obama said that North Korea should fear the "full force and might of the United States' arsenal of adjectives" and called the missile test "reckless, reprehensible, objectionable, senseless, egregious and condemnable."

Standing at the President's side, Vice President Joseph Biden weighed in with some tough adjectives of his own, branding North Korean President Kim Jong-Il "totally wack and illin'."

Later in the day, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the North Korean nuclear test "supercilious and jejune," leading some in diplomatic circles to worry that the U.S. might be running out of appropriate adjectives with which to craft its response.

But President Obama attempted to calm those fears, saying that the United States was prepared to "scour the thesaurus" to come up with additional adjectives and was "prepared to use adverbs" if necessary.

"Let's be clear: we are not taking adverbs off the table," Mr. Obama said. "If the need arises, we will use them forcefully, aggressively, swiftly, overwhelmingly and commandingly."


Wise words that tail off into foolishness

by Amitai Etzioni

Much of the debate over how to address the economic crisis has focused on a single word: regulation. And it's easy to understand why. Bad behavior by a variety of businesses landed us in this mess--so it seems rather obvious that the way to avoid future economic meltdowns is to create, and vigorously enforce, new rules proscribing such behavior. But the truth is quite a bit more complicated. The world economy consists of billions of transactions every day. There can never be enough inspectors, accountants, customs officers, and police to ensure that all or even most of these transactions are properly carried out. Moreover, those charged with enforcing regulations are themselves not immune to corruption, and, hence, they too must be supervised and held accountable to others--who also have to be somehow regulated. The upshot is that regulation cannot be the linchpin of attempts to reform our economy. What is needed instead is something far more sweeping: for people to internalize a different sense of how one ought to behave, and act on it because they believe it is right.

That may sound far-fetched. It is commonly believed that people conduct themselves in a moral manner mainly because they fear the punishment that will be meted out if they engage in anti-social behavior. But this position does not stand up to close inspection. Most areas of behavior are extralegal; we frequently do what is expected because we care or love. This is evident in the ways we attend to our children (beyond a very low requirement set by law), treat our spouses, do volunteer work, and participate in public life. What's more, in many of those areas that are covered by law, the likelihood of being caught is actually quite low, and the penalties are often surprisingly mild. For instance, only about one in 100 tax returns gets audited, and most cheaters are merely asked to pay back what they "missed," plus some interest. Nevertheless, most Americans pay the taxes due. Alan Lewis's classic study The Psychology of Taxation concluded that people don't just pay taxes because they fear the government; they do it because they consider the burden fairly shared and the monies legitimately spent. In short, the normative values of a culture matter. Regulation is needed when culture fails, but it cannot alone serve as the mainstay of good conduct.

So what kind of transformation in our normative culture is called for? What needs to be eradicated, or at least greatly tempered, is consumerism: the obsession with acquisition that has become the organizing principle of American life. This is not the same thing as capitalism, nor is it the same thing as consumption. To explain the difference, it is useful to draw on Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. At the bottom of this hierarchy are basic creature comforts; once these are sated, more satisfaction is drawn from affection, self-esteem, and, finally, self-actualization. As long as consumption is focused on satisfying basic human needs--safety, shelter, food, clothing, health care, education--it is not consumerism. But, when the acquisition of goods and services is used to satisfy the higher needs, consumption turns into consumerism--and consumerism becomes a social disease.


Condemning the things that other people find satisfaction in is so Leftist. I find a LOT of things that other people enjoy strange -- mashed potatoes, to take a trivial example -- but I accept that tastes differ and leave the matter at that. But Leftists want to remake the world according to THEIR tastes and Etzioni is one of those. If he has (say) a liking for Cumquat marmalade (which I highly recommend, by the way), that would simply be good taste but if other people spend time and money seeking it out, that is "consumerism". It is principally the vast egos, amorality and authoritarian predilections of the Left that are hobbling our society, not "consumerism"


The usual difficulty that Leftists have with reality

But what about Gaza? Philip Weiss of TalkingPointsMemo.com visited there recently. He takes a strongly anti-Israel position, complaining of "persecution, of the Palestinians, by the state of Israel," and making no mention of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis or Hamas's genocidal aspirations toward Israel's Jews. Yet the picture he paints of "persecution" in Gaza doesn't sound that bad at all;
"I think the most significant impression I can convey is my surprise at how vibrant and alive the place is. . . . Downtown Gaza city is vibrant, full of street life, and the traffic is now and then interrupted by a flatbed truck going by with a wedding band banging drums on it, and a Mercedes carrying the bride and groom in tow. . . .

We see piles of watermelons by the side of the road and trucks filled with potatoes, and donkeys going by hauling wagons of tomatoes. Now and then you see a gleaming motorcycle. . . .

I remember during the Gaza slaughter that some tried to stop commentators from comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Now I am here and I find the analogy helpful".
Yeah, the Warsaw ghetto teemed with watermelons!

Excerpt from Taranto


Climate of Hate, World of Double Standards

by Michelle Malkin

When a right-wing Christian vigilante kills, millions of fingers pull the trigger. When a left-wing Muslim vigilante kills, he kills alone. These are the instantly ossifying narratives in the Sunday shooting death of late-term abortion provider George Tiller of Kansas versus the Monday shootings of two Arkansas military recruiters.

Tiller's suspected murderer, Scott Roeder, is white, Christian, anti-government and anti-abortion. The gunman in the military recruitment center attack, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, is black, a Muslim convert, anti-military and anti-American.

Both crimes are despicable, cowardly acts of domestic terrorism. But the disparate treatment of the two brutal cases by both the White House and the media is striking.

President Obama issued a statement condemning "heinous acts of violence" within hours of Tiller's death. The Justice Department issued its own statement and sent federal marshals to protect abortion clinics. News anchors and headline writers abandoned all qualms about labeling the gunman a terrorist. An almost gleeful excess of mainstream commentary poured forth on the climate of hate and fear created by conservative talk radio, blogs and Fox News in reporting Tiller's activities.

By contrast, Obama was silent about the military recruiter attacks that left 24-year-old Pvt. William Long dead and 18-year-old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula gravely wounded. On Tuesday afternoon -- more than 24 hours after the attack on the military recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark. -- Obama held a press conference to announce his pick for Army secretary. It would have been exactly the right moment to express condolences for the families of the targeted Army recruiters and to condemn heinous acts of violence against our troops.

But Obama said nothing. The Justice Department was mum. And so were the legions of finger-pointing pundits happily convicting the pro-life movement and every right-leaning writer on the planet of contributing to the murder of Tiller.




Gates: US may rethink cuts in anti-missile funds: "US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not ruled out pumping more funds into the nation’s anti-missile defense budget if North Korea threatens the United States. ‘If there were a launch from a rogue state such as North Korea, I have good confidence that we would be able to deal with it,’ Gates said Monday during a stopover in Alaska on his way home from a trip to Asia. Gates was visiting Fort Greely which houses parts of the US anti-missile defense shield — a land-based system with about 20 interceptors — and said of Pyongyang that its ‘behavior has certainly alarmed people.’ In the past Gates proposed slicing a billion dollars off the anti-missile system budget and freezing the development of interceptors at 30, instead of the 44 originally planned. But he indicated he might re-examine his proposal.”

US releases secret nuclear list accidentally: “The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked ‘highly confidential,’ that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons. The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy. That publicity set off a debate among nuclear experts about what dangers, if any, the disclosures posed. It also prompted a flurry of investigations in Washington into why the document was made public.”

FL: Couple fought $21,600 water bill: “A Tampa, Fla., couple said it took them several months to resolve the issue of a monthly water bill for more than $21,000. Ralph and Diana Salgado said their water bill usually falls between $21 and $110 each month, but their July 2008 bill from the Tampa Water Department totaled $21,600, indicating that 3.5 million gallons of water were used by the couple during that month …. The couple said they soon determined that the erroneous amount was the result of a new water meter that had not been calibrated to match the old reading. However, they said the water department continued to demand the money for months after the problem was identified.” [This is par for the course when dealing with any bureaucracy. Nobody with decision-making power is listening]

China’s socialist road to misery: "It is 20 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and China’s communist regime hasn’t budged an inch. The government has no reason to regret its murderous crackdown during ‘the political storm at the end of the 1980s,’ a foreign-ministry spokesman in Beijing told reporters last month. ‘China has scored remarkable success in its social and economic development. Facts have proven that the socialist road with Chinese characteristics that we pursue is in the fundamental interests of our people.’ As a euphemism for dictatorial savagery, ‘the socialist road with Chinese characteristics’ may not rise to the level of, say, ‘Great Leap Forward’ or ‘Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.’”

More disillusioned Leftists: “Back in 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama minced no words when it came to Sudan. ‘When you see a genocide, whether it’s in Rwanda or Bosnia or in Darfur, that’s a stain on all of us,’ he said. ‘That’s a stain on our souls.’ Obama is now president, and Darfur is still a mess. … Since Obama is a pragmatist — and pragmatism is, by definition, what works — we should judge his policies in this area by a single standard: Are they accomplishing the goal of ending Darfur’s suffering? We are sad to say that the initial signs have not been encouraging. In fact, as Obama supporters, we are extraordinarily disappointed.”


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)


3 June, 2009

Tiller: A hero of the left, taken so young..

I am amazed that this lowlife had the gall to show his face in a Christian church. He specialized in killing perfectly viable but defenceless human beings. Comment below by an Australian blogger -- JR

Fox News:
Many anti-abortion groups condemned the killing of Tiller, a prominent abortion provider who was shot dead at his church in Wichita, Kansas. But they expressed concern that abortion-rights activists would use the occasion to brand the entire anti-abortion movement as extremist. ......Tiller, one the few American doctors specializing in late-term abortions, had been the target of repeated protests and harassment for many years, and he was wounded by gunfire from an anti-abortion activist in 1993.
So let me get this straight, if you have no problem with having an unborn baby sliced up, sucked out of the womb and tossed in the trash, you're ok. You're what one would class, a real stand-up person, mainstream, nice sort of person you know. But if you oppose the slicing up and tossing-in-the-trash of the aforementioned unborn baby, oh you're an extremist, @#%ing hell a terrorist even, call some sort of hotline and tell them all about the baby-coddling bastard out in the parking lot.

Some are even saying this is why that clown Napolitano was tarring all Conservatives as would-be terrorists. Thousands upon thousands have been murdered by muslims in the name of Islam, but you'll never get a leftist tarring them all as terrorists. They'd fight tooth and nail if you dared to suggest that maybe someone ought to 'wire-tap' the jihadis. Heck as far as leftists are concerned not even those found guilty of terrorism are actual terrorists, no, no, it's not all muslims, just a few who don't understand the Koran, Islam is peace, give Jihad a chance. But no such luxury is afforded to Conservatives, hell no, get the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the XYZ and the ABC to monitor and analyze their every fart. Dangerous national security threat, them pro-lifers with their nasty save-the-unborn and all that.
......Abortion rights leaders reacted to the killing with shock and determination. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the murder would "send a chill down the spines of the brave and courageous providers" offering abortion to American women.
Oh yes, those bwave, bwave heroes, bless the likes of Tiller, oh let the wailing and mourning begin for these bwave, bwave, bwave [have I said it enough times?] folks! These couwageous heroes, heading out there each day into the war zone, dodging bullets, bombs, fire, pestilence etc so that they can offer American women the option to fornicate, then slice & dice the consequences away. Oh my godless, where would the world be without the hero of the human race, Dr. George Tiller.
......Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said Tiller was aware of the dangers he faced, "yet he continued to protect his patients and provide safe and legal abortions to women in often-desperate circumstances." She and other activists urged that Monday be observed as a national day of mourning for Tiller, as well as a day of commitment to the cause of abortion rights.
Oh my godless, why only monday, why not tuesday too, why not the whole week, maybe even the month, don't you love the man enough you ungrateful witch. Dare you anger the leftist gods of gaia and satan with your paltry one day of mourning? Think about it you heartless bastards, the bwave, bwave Tiller, went out each day, bwaving, bullets, snipers, bombs, fire, missiles, pestilence, earthquakes, tsunamis even, to offer American women the option to fornicate, then slice & dice the consequences away! How can just one lousy day be enough?

Put that hero of the American people up for sainthood, for @#$sakes, a national monument ought to be set up where the masses can gather to lay wreaths, wail and sing songs to their bwave hero, the larger than life Dr George Tiller! Put up a golden statue for him, the wonderful soul that he is. Bloody hell (excuse the pun), put that fellow on Mount Rushmore, if there's no space knock off those other blokes. The freedom to punish the unborn for the sins of anyone else are at stake.

On a side note, if any of you are confronted by some angry leftist over the slaying of their lord and savior, can you ask them if they'd now support the death penalty for killers, like the one that took the life of their lord and savior? Please take note of their choked reaction and let us know. If they insist that the fellow be put to death, ask them why a gang-rapist, cop-killer or mass murderer of small children should not. Otherwise, join me as I pour another glass of fine Tennesse whiskey to you know, drown my sorrows.



The Obama flip-flops you don't know about

Since winning the election, President Barack Obama has famously flip-flopped on many of the major issues that he championed on the campaign trail. But did you know he’s also flip-flopped on a myriad of less publicized issues? This much everybody knows: Even before taking office, Obama broke his promise to not appoint lobbyists to his administration. Since then, he’s abandoned his promises to pay for every dollar of new government spending and bring home all combat troops from Iraq within 18 months. And in recent days, he’s outraged his political base by reversing his earlier commitments to eliminate military tribunals and release photos depicting prisoner abuse. All those well-publicized reversals have overshadowed the administration’s flip-flops on a host of additional positions. Here are just some of the biggest flip-flops that you may not have noticed:

Osama bin Laden: During the presidential debates last year, Obama declared that capturing or killing Osama bin Laden “has to be our biggest national security priority.” In his first TV interview after winning the election, he said the terrorist leader was “not just a symbol. He’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets,” and that the additional troops being sent to Afghanistan would hunt him down because “capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out Al Qaeda.” Bin Laden’s significance to Obama dissipated during the transition. By the time Obama gave another interview in early January, he said killing or capturing bin Laden was not necessary to “meet our goal of protecting America.” A few months later, when he announced his Afghanistan troop surge, he made no reference to the hunt for bin Laden.

On human space exploration: Early in his presidential campaign, Obama had great reservations about the costs and risks of human space flight. He said he would delay NASA’s plans to send humans to the moon and, eventually, Mars and, instead, spend that money on education. But, as Florida, Ohio and Texas became more politically important, Obama began to walk back his proposed NASA cuts, promising to fund unmanned space exploration and some other scientific missions. Now that he’s in office, Obama’s reversal is complete: The White House budget, released earlier this month, provides a healthy increase in NASA funding and explicitly endorses the “goal of returning Americans to the moon and exploring other destinations.”

On the Armenian genocide: In the U.S. Senate and on the campaign trail, Obama firmly declared that the death of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I was “genocide” — a touchy topic between Turks and Armenians and a political priority for Armenian-Americans — and promised that “as president, I will recognize the Armenian genocide. Nonetheless, during his recent trip to Turkey as president, Obama broke his promise. Instead, he tried to muddy the waters, announcing that “my views are on the record and I have not changed views” but refusing to state what those views actually are.

On business tax cuts: Even though he unapologetically promised to raise taxes on entrepreneurs (and everybody else) making more than $250,000 per year, Obama offered small businesses some solace by promising several specific tax cuts. One, which became a cornerstone of his campaign’s jobs plan, would eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses. Another, which he proposed as the economy crashed in the waning days of the campaign, would offer businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every employee they hired. The economy has not improved since Obama’s election, but he nevertheless shelved both proposals: His budget puts off the capital gains tax cut until after his term in office ends and makes no mention of his new-job tax credit.

These four examples only scratch the surface of Obama’s reversals since taking office. Other flip-flops include everything from federally funding needle-exchange programs (which he supported in the campaign but his budget does not), allowing five days of public review before bill signings (he broke the promise with his first bill signing) and ordering the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, recently told POLITICO that “Obama’s governing is completely consistent with the way he campaigned.” A cursory comparison between his campaign promises and administration policies shows that’s not true.




I did my usual test of new search engines. I searched for the topic I know most about: myself. Using the search term "John Ray", on Microsoft's new bing.com, I didn't get a mention until the third PAGE. On Google, I am the third ENTRY. So I think I will stick with Google. I think I owe them. I suspect that Google give more weight to blogs than the others do.

Sibling rivalry: As far as I can see, both TNR and The Puffington Host seem to belong to the "moderate" Left. So it is interesting to see in TNR what can only be described as an attack on Arianna Stassinopoulos/Huffington, the guiding spirit of the Puffington Host. It is a sort of more genteel version of the ice-pick in the head that Trotsky got from Stalin. Arianna certainly is an unusual figure, having migrated from Right to Left. The normal life course is a migration from Left to Right, as people find out from experience that the world is a lot more complex than they once thought it was. The TNR writer attributes her move to opportunism, which is plausible enough, but I think that the basic tone-deafness towards religion that characterizes the Left causes him to miss the significance of something that is very prominent in her writings: A spiritual yearning. It sounds to me that, as Billy Graham often put it, she has a "God-shaped void" in her. Perhaps because of something in her family background, she has sought satisfaction in secular creeds instead, but that is a vain hope. I think that turning to God will be her final transition and one that will still the restlessness and hunger for fulfilment that she so obviously has in herself.

That charming Muslim respect for women again: "A teenage model has returned to her family in Indonesia with tales of abuse, rape and torture at the hands of a Malaysian prince, after a dramatic escape. Manohara Odelia Pinot, 17, told reporters she was treated like a sex slave after her marriage last year to Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry, the prince of Malaysia's Kelantan state. Her mother, Daisy Fajarina, said she would press charges against the 31-year-old prince, and accused the Malaysian and Indonesian governments of trying to cover up the alleged abuse. The young woman -- a well-known socialite in Jakarta -- said her life at the royal palace involved a "daily routine" of rape, abuse, torture and occasional drug injections that made her vomit blood. "I am still traumatised by all that happened and it has left an impact on me," she said in Jakarta after escaping during a trip to Singapore over the weekend. "Sexual abuse and sexual harassment were like a daily routine for me, and he did that every time I did not want to have sexual intercourse," she was quoted as saying in The Jakarta Globe. "I could never think a normal man could do such things. "Some parts of my body were cut by a razor."

Cornyn doesn’t rule out Sotomayor filibuster: "Texas Sen. John Cornyn declined Sunday to rule out a Republican filibuster of President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, but he urged the Senate and public to ‘calm down’ long enough to evaluate whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor is capable of meting out colorblind justice. ‘We need to know … whether she’s going to be a justice for all of us or a justice for a few of us,’ Cornyn said on ABC’s This Week. ‘Let’s review those 17 years of federal judicial history, and let’s ask the nominee some questions.’”

Maine: Cops raid charity poker game: “Buxton police raided a building where people were trying to raise money to give free food to the needy. It happened at the Narragansett Pythian Sisters Temple on Route 22 where people were playing the card game Texas Hold’em to benefit the Buxton Community Food Co-op. But state police said the game was illegal. That’s because whenever a gambling tournament is held to raise money for a group and takes place at its headquarters, a permit is needed and the co-op didn’t have one. So, state police seized cards, poker chips and $500 in cash — money the food co-op desperately needed.”

Security theater in three airports: “Returning recently from a trip to Turkey, my wife and I had the distinct displeasure of passing repeatedly through ’security’ checkpoints, not to mention waiting in long queues in order to arrive at these unpleasant passages. Although every country’s airport security boasts its own unique idiocies, all have much in common. It’s a waste of time to fret about swine flu; the more pressing danger to the world is obviously fool flu — although I am not sure who are the greater fools, the politicians and their flunkies who put these stupid procedures in place or the masses who put up with them in the wholly mistaken belief that their security is thereby enhanced. But let us not dwell on generalities when specifics lie so close at hand.” [An amusing story. Worth reading in full]

O’Reilly killed the abortionist?: “Did Fox News host Bill O’Reilly kill abortion provider Dr. George Tiller? Reading some of today’s outraged commentary by pro-choice writers in both America and Britain, you could be forgiven for thinking so. Scott Roeder might be suspected of actually pulling the trigger, but O’Reilly — and other loudmouth, right-wing anti-abortionists — have already been found guilty of egging him on in the kangaroo court of liberal opinion. Tiller was savagely shot dead while attending a church service with his wife in Kansas on Sunday. His ‘crime,’ as his alleged killer undoubtedly sees it, was to run a clinic that provided women with perfectly legal late-term abortions. Yet rather than seeing this dreadful killing as the action of a probably crazed individual, too many liberal commentators are discussing it as the logical outcome of the ‘dangerous’ words and images propagated by O’Reilly and others.”

North Korea, the dead land : “I was nine when I saw my first execution. The man had been condemned to death for stealing copper wire to sell in China, crossing the border under the cover of darkness. He was dragged to the foot of the mountain near a railway track. A train that happened to pass stopped to let passengers watch the scene. Executions were a frequent occurrence in our small city, but the inhabitants never tired of them. Primary and secondary school pupils skipped classes to join the audience, which always consisted of hundreds, even thousands, of people.”

Voting still insecure: “About 8 years elapsed from John F. Kennedy’s proposal to put a man on the Moon to the Apollo 11 mission. And on July 20, 1969, Man set foot on another world. Setting that foot involved an enormous amount of engineering and technology, much of which didn’t exist when the project began. About 8 years have elapsed since the debacle of the 2000 election. But can we really have confidence in our elections? Can the government actually prove what the correct lawful vote counts were in Decision 2008? More to the point, can the state of Minnesota demonstrate what the correct vote counts are in its on-going U.S. Senate contest? Since CHANGE is in the air, what’s changed in 8 years?”


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)


2 June, 2009

Obama promises Arabs Jerusalem will be theirs

President Obama and his administration told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting last week the U.S. foresees the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, according to a top PA official speaking to WND. "The American administration was very friendly to the position of the PA," said Nimer Hamad, Abbas' senior political adviser. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) heard from Obama and his administration in a very categorical way that a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is in the American national and security interest," Hamad said.

Another PA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND today that Obama informed Abbas he would not let Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "get in the way" of normalizing U.S. relations with the Arab and greater Muslim world. "We were told from this new administration they will not allow a Netanyahu government to hurt their efforts of rehabilitating U.S. relations with the Arab and Islamic world, which is a high priority of Obama," the official said, speaking during a visit to Cairo.

Also in Cairo today, Abbas met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, where the Palestinian leader briefed Egypt's president on his recent trip to Washington, saying the U.S. was committed to bringing about an end to Israeli construction in the West Bank.




If you don't read anything else today, read Byron York's searing account of what happened last time a brilliant Hispanic jurist was nominated to a high-profile appellate post:
Born in Honduras, [Miguel] Estrada came to the United States at 17, not knowing a word of English. He learned the language almost instantly, and within a few years was graduating with honors from Columbia University and heading off to Harvard Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a prosecutor in New York, and worked at the Justice Department in Washington before entering private practice.

Estrada's nomination for a federal judgeship set off alarm bells among Democrats. There is a group of left-leaning organizations -- People for the American Way, NARAL, the Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the NAACP, and others -- that work closely with Senate Democrats to promote Democratic judicial nominations and kill Republican ones. They were particularly concerned about Estrada. In November, 2001, representatives of those groups met with Democratic Senate staff. One of those staffers then wrote a memo to Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, informing Durbin that the groups wanted to stall Bush nominees, particularly three they had identified as good targets. "They also identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous," the staffer added, "because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible."

It was precisely the fact that Estrada was Hispanic that made Democrats and their activist allies want to kill his nomination. They were determined to deny a Republican White House credit, political and otherwise, for putting a first-rate Hispanic nominee on the bench.
They succeeded, too. They filibustered Estrada for years and he never made it onto the bench. So, when you see Barack Obama--who voted to filibuster Sam Alito!--piously denouncing "the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process" in the past, remember Miguel Estrada. Somewhere on this earth, there is a worse hypocrite than Barack Obama. I just can't think who he is offhand....



Trust in the individual: The Fundamental Divide between Left and Right

By Bjaffe

As a recovering liberal for the last 13 years, I sometimes lose sight of the thought processes that led me to the beliefs I used to hold. Fortunately, I still have many Democratic and liberal friends to remind me what the fundamental difference is between the left and the right. That difference can be summed up in one small but powerful word – trust.

The fact is, liberals have no trust at all in anyone except elected liberal officials and the government when run by liberals. They do not trust the American people to do the right thing unless the government forces them into it. Hence the push for hate crimes legislation, gun bans, forced charitable giving in the form of taxes that pay for entitlement programs, mandatory participation in Social (in)Security and so on. Liberals just do not believe most Americans will do the right thing left to their own devices. The same is true of businesses. Liberals believe that, in the absence of government regulation and oversight, business will always do the wrong thing and engage in bad business practices. Fortunately, in their worldview, we have them to guide us in the right direction and to steer the nation as a whole toward the proper destination.

The conservative, on the other hand, believes in the inherent greatness each person possesses. We believe that everyone in this nation has it within themselves to succeed at anything they put their minds to. We also believe that the individual is responsible for their own success or failure. Sure, life is unpredictable, and stuff happens that we have no control over, but ultimately, it is how we handle ourselves in those situations and what we learn from them that determines where we end up. Most importantly, we believe most individuals, when left to their own devices, will not only do the right thing, but will do it far better than under government “guidance.” We also know the free market, left to its own devices, would weed out those businesses that engage in poor practice while well-run businesses succeeded. Additionally, we know that when old businesses fail, if there is a market for the goods or services that business provided, new ones with sound business practices will rise up to replace them.

This cuts to the very core of what defines liberals and conservatives. Belief in the greatness of government or belief in the greatness of the individual. I was reminded of this just recently, when having the following exchange with a very honest Democrat I have been friends with most of my life. We were discussing the new credit card regulations, which he supports, when he said this: “…as much as I hate the government stepping into anything... I have no faith in people these days to have self control, and ultimately banks will just continue this practice if controls aren't in place.”

Many Democrats I know, and most liberals, share this lack of faith in people. This is what leads them to craft the policies I mentioned above, aimed at regulating behavior. They do not feel that people can be trusted with any responsibility, and will ultimately fail without government to save them. We see this not just in the credit card reforms recently passed, but in all of the recent bailouts. Banks cannot be trusted to run effectively or efficiently, so rather than failing and paying the price for poor business decisions, they need to be propped up and run by the government. Imagine, the government, the largest debtor in the entire country, with a debt larger than every bank in the nation combined, telling these businesses how to run themselves effectively. Is this a joke? This is like asking a chronically homeless person for advice on how to build wealth! The government is itself a failed business venture, and would have collapsed decades ago if it had to run itself by the rules it foists upon other businesses. But the banks failed, and the liberal thinking is that the government has to step in and do something. So we get bailouts that even financially healthy institutions were coerced into accepting – presumably because even the well-run banks could not be trusted to keep doing the right thing. And this does not even begin to cover the auto industry bailouts or the homeowner bailouts – which ironically saw more than half of the bailed out homeowners back in default within six months. Way to go government!

What is missed in this equation is the fact that failure is necessary and healthy. People fail, businesses fail, and that is part of the natural order of things. It is not success that creates prosperity and success, it is failure, and the lessons it brings. Maybe most people will not do the right thing if left to their own devices, but if they are allowed to fail, they will learn from the experience, and will eventually change the behaviors causing them to fail. This is the only way to ever achieve true success – to overcome failure and adversity. This is what gives a foundation for success, and the process by which people learn what works, and what does not work. A great example of this is Thomas Edison, who failed hundreds upon hundreds of times to create a working, practical light bulb. Had he been propped up by the government after his first dozen failures, and simply given up, would we ever have developed the light bulb? When the government forces people to behave in certain ways to do “the right thing,” it does no favors for anyone.

The liberal mindset that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing, and that the government must take action to prevent people and businesses from failing, while very well intentioned, is ultimately debilitating and will lead to the exact opposite of what its intent is. Rather than helping things run smoothly and effectively, this lack of trust and enforced guidance will perpetuate a system that does not work while preventing new and innovative systems that will work from coming into existence. Only by allowing people to have the maximum amount of freedom possible, including the freedom to fail, can progress be made and ineffective/inefficient systems and behaviors be purged and replaced with ones that work. And this is what conservatives believe in.




When the law is one-sided, people will seek balance in other ways: "US President Barack Obama has expressed outrage at the fatal shooting of a controversial Kansas doctor who performed late-term abortions. "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr George Tiller as he attended church services this morning,'' Mr Obama said. "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.'' Tiller was shot dead in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. A suspect was arrested three hours later, police said. Over the years Tiller had been picketed, bombed and shot in both of his arms by anti-abortion protesters. The shooting occurred just two weeks after Mr Obama sought "common ground'' over the divisive abortion debate in a controversial speech at one of the top Catholic universities in the United States."

Barack Bush: "“The Obama administration insists it has no obligation to provide access to a top secret document in a wiretapping case, setting up a showdown next week with the judge who ordered it released. Justice Department lawyers, in a response Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also argued that Judge Vaughn Walker had no cause to penalize the government over its refusal to turn over the document.”

Ireland set to go bust, says economic historian: “A dire warning that the Republic is a prime candidate to go bust has come from one of the world’s leading economic historians. ‘The idea that countries don’t go bust is a joke,’ said Niall Ferguson, Harvard professor and author of The Ascent of Money. ‘The debt trap may be about to spring’ he said, ‘for countries that have created large stimulus packages in order to stimulate their economies.’ His chosen prime candidate to go bust is ‘Ireland, followed by Italy and Belgium, and UK is not too far behind.’ Argentina is top of his list of shaky countries but ‘the argument that it can’t happen in major western economies is nonsense.’ Professor Ferguson believes the economists are ill qualified to analyse the current economic situation since they lack the overview of historians such as himself.”

Sotomayor and the Last of the WASPs: “If Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed, the US Supreme Court will consist of six Catholics, two Jews and precisely one white Anglo-Saxon Protestant in the form of Justice John Paul Stevens, who is 88 years old and boasts of two important WASP insignia: inherited wealth and a bow tie. He also thinks that Shakespeare’s plays were written by the Earl of Oxford. But then, so does Antonin Scalia. The other WASP among the nine, until he announced his retirement — thus paving the way for Sotomayor’s nomination — is David Souter. The two WASPS have been the most liberal members of the court.”

Legalize it: "“City pushcart vendors could legally prepare food with a type of license that already exists in the parks. Why not let them? … [Miguel] Sanchez makes about $100 a day at the cart; working nearly every afternoon and evening, and picking up some painting and carpentry jobs on the side, he supports his family of six. But he lives under the near-constant threat of being fined by the city. What he’s doing is illegal in Chicago, and as demand for his food grows in the spring, so does the likelihood that he’ll be slapped with tickets for anywhere from $200 to $1,000.”

The unpersuasive orator: “Let’s stipulate that President Obama is a wonderful speaker, vigorous in promoting his policies and even eloquent at times. But there’s a problem: He’s not persuasive. Obama is effective at marketing himself. His 64 percent job approval (Gallup poll) is a reflection of this. But in building public support for his policies, Obama has been largely unsuccessful. You’d never guess this from the laudatory press coverage of Obama. With every major speech or press conference, the media and a sizable chunk of the political community — including many Republicans — assume Obama has carried the day. Actually, he rarely has.”

The “unseen” deserve empathy, too: “As important as compassion and empathy are, one can have these feelings only for people that exist and that one knows about — that is, for those who are ’seen.’ One can have compassion for workers who lose their jobs when a plant closes. They can be seen. One cannot have compassion for unknown persons in other industries who do not receive job offers when a compassionate government subsidizes an unprofitable plant. The potential employees not hired are unseen. One can empathize with innocent children born with birth defects. Such children and the adversity they face can be seen. One cannot empathize with as-yet-unborn children in rural communities who may not have access to pediatricians if a judicial decision based on compassion raises the cost of medical malpractice insurance.”


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)


1 June, 2009

Michael Savage sues brainless British Leftist politician

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith faces a claim for £100,000 damages by the American radio ‘shock jock’ she banned from entering Britain. Broadcaster Michael Savage has employed top UK law firm Olswang to sue Ms Smith for libel after she put him on the Home Office’s 16 ‘least wanted’ list.

Mr Savage said he was ‘outraged’ the Government had put him in the same category as Islamic hate preachers and terrorists.

The letter from Olswang, due to land on Ms Smith’s desk tomorrow, accuses her of making ‘serious and damaging defamatory allegations’ against him. It says Mr Savage, whose show The Savage Nation has eight million listeners in America, has asked for ‘substantial damages’. The Mail on Sunday has been told he is demanding £100,000.

Mr Savage says ‘lunatic’ Ms Smith had no right to put him on the same list as a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, a skinhead gang leader and a Hezbollah militant who served 30 years in prison.

The lawyers’ letter states: ‘Our client requires the payment of a substantial sum in damages to be agreed and retraction of the allegations. He also requires a personal apology from you and an acknowledgement that the Home Office has agreed to pay a substantial sum in libel damages.’ The letter says Ms Smith must also provide a ‘written undertaking from you and the Home Office not to repeat the allegations complained of and the payment of our client’s legal costs’. It continues: ‘This matter is extremely urgent as the false and defamatory material concerning our client has had enormous circulation both inside and outside the UK.’

Mr Savage said last night he will not give up his battle to make Ms Smith pay damages and say sorry. ‘I am living in fear and have had to employ security guards after being outrageously named on this list of terrorists and killers. ‘The first I knew about it was when it was issued as a Press release and I was absolutely shocked. ‘Why me? I’m not a terrorist. I’m one of America’s most popular radio hosts and a happily married father of two. ‘Maybe Jacqui Smith just plucked my name out of the hat because I’m controversial and white – to counter-balance all the Arabs named on her list. ‘It is totally preposterous but it’s deadly serious because she has made me a target. ‘My lawyers have told me I have a very strong case for defamation.’



The Real Sotomayor Issue is NOT her race

By Wendy Long

The Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination got a quick start out of the gate, focusing debate about something very important: How are judges supposed to decide cases? Are they, as Judge Sotomayor says, supposed to rule based upon identity politics, using their own personal views and biases in making decisions? Or is it to put aside all personal experiences and policy desires and apply the Constitution and laws as written?

Somehow, this important debate is turning into an argument about race and identity politics.

Many of us in the conservative movement believe that Judge Sotomayor is intelligent, and that, at least on paper, she has professional qualifications that are certainly sufficient for occupying a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But what needs deeper examination, because it is very troubling, is her overarching judicial philosophy one that, judging from her public remarks and law review articles, she has thought about seriously and embraced only after much reflection. It's the judicial philosophy shared by President Obama a philosophy with which most Americans, who support judicial restraint, vehemently disagree.

It is only this President Obama's and Judge Sotomayor's judicial philosophy that drives us to raise serious concerns about Judge Sotomayor's fitness to serve on the nation's highest court.

At its core, the thrust of most conservatives' concerns from the past several days centered around three items all of which, by the way, the White House press operation has tried mightily to brush aside: First, a video clip of Judge Sotomayor from a 2005 appearance at Duke Law School, where she stated that appellate courts make policy.

Second, a 2002 law review article in which Judge Sotomayor says that race, gender, and ethnicity necessarily affect the way judges decide cases and that's a good thing.

Third, a 1996 law review article challenging the belief that law needs to be knowable and predictable, in which she borrowed from the philosophy of early 20th century Legal Realists who rejected the idea that judging involves the impartial application of neutral principles. This body of work is not the product of stupidity, or reverse racism, or a bad temper. Rather, it appears to be a view of the courts as engines of social and political change in short, wrought out of a devotion to judicial activism.

We need to move forward with a confirmation process that focuses on what really matters: Does Judge Sotomayor embrace a view of judging that is constrained by the text, history, and principles of the Constitution and our laws? Or does she favor an interpretive enterprise in which a judge's personal feelings, views, background, and politics drive the outcome of cases?


The Democratic Underground is doing its best to dig dirt on the author above but is not having much success. The comment section of the post is however dripping with hate. The comment that amused me most was "Have you ever noticed how many of these RW women are "blonde & blue eyed"?". Blonde hair and blue eyes are incorrect? To the gas ovens with them!


Could Obama’s Left Wing Flap him to Death?

Naturally from our vantage point, Barack Obama is a left-wing terror as president. To name just a few things, he is turning our system from one of capitalism to one of socialism, he is attempting to undermine the Constitution by placing an activist on the Supreme Court, he is weakening our national security by frittering away the gains of the previous administration and by bending over backwards for our enemies while constantly flipping off our allies, he is looking to destroy our national healthcare system by introducing a disastrous single payer system, and he is attempting to give anti-business unions the power to destroy what is left of the business community that he himself hasn’t gotten around to crushing as of yet. We on the right are alarmed by his trip down the ruinous road that Europe has already well traveled to rueful results.

One would think that the American left (or the anti-American left as the case may be) would be thrilled that their most fantasized about social, political, and economic sledgehammers were being wielded by their Obammessiah. But, one might be surprised to see that the extremists on the left are beginning to rumble in seething anger over the fact that, to date, Obama hasn’t gone fast enough or far enough to the extreme left to suit them. One of these wild-eyed, bomb-throwers has even just called for his resignation.

So, are we beginning to see waning the far left’s love affair with The One? Might this disappointment turn into the sort of lefty outrage that it did with Lyndon Baines Johnson? Will Barack Obama’s left wing flap him to death?

It is too early to tell, of course, but there are rumblings that seem to be revealing a great disappointment in Barack Franklin Fitzgerald Abraham Hussein Obama.




China: All blogspot blogs are once again blocked in China. But my mirror sites are all still accessible there. So if you know anyone in China, give them the link.

Keith Burgess Jackson has an interesting attack on militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins, although Keith is not religious himself. I think he does a better job of refuting atheistic arguments than many Christians do. I too am always surprised when atheists issue virulent attacks on religion. They sound just like the religious fundamentalists whom they criticize. They must be insecure in their atheism. I am the most complete atheist imaginable. I don't even think the word "God" is meaningful. But I never attack Christianity and believe that I am in good company among Christians. All religions are not the same, however, and I certainly do attack the socialist, global warming and anti-obesity religions. Rather amusingly, I suspect that Richard Dawkins would support those three religions.

Zoellick Warns Stimulus ‘Sugar High’ Won’t Stem Unemployment: "World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned policy makers that fiscal-stimulus plans are insufficient to turn around the “real economy” and rising joblessness threatens to set off political unrest across the globe. “While the stimulus has given an impulse, it’s like a sugar high unless you eventually get the credit system working,” Zoellick said in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.” “When unemployment increases, that’s probably the most political combustible issue.”

What Sotomayor said about Latina superiority was NOT simply "poor word choice": "Heaven knows, we all say things in impromtu speeches or on TV or in blog posts that we wish we could take back. But how are you the victim of poor word choice in a speech, as Ed Whelan pointed out the other day, that was apparently delivered from a prepared text and that was then turned into a law review article months later? (Ed refers to it as the "unscripted" law review article.) The problem wasn't the word choice; the problem was quite obviously what Sotomayor meant to say and said several times in several different ways very clearly."

There is British blog here for those who are concerned at the increasing authoritarianism of the British State

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)