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

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

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31 March, 2009

BOOK REVIEW OF: "United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror" by Jamie Glazov

Reviewed by RALPH PETERS

If you've ever wondered at the delight with which academics excuse Islamist terrorists, or at the callousness with which radical feminists ignore the oppression of Muslim women, or at the gushing adulation the Left devoted to the last century's worst butchers, from Stalin to Saddam, "United In Hate' is the book for you.

Radical Leftists have been losing their war against human nature for a long time, but they continue to search desperately for a winning formula. After Stalin, Mao, Uncle Ho, Pol Pot and countless Third World thugs had let them down, they believed they'd found redemption at last on 9/11. Jamie Glazov, the editor of Frontpagemag.com, describes the reaction of Leftist acquaintances to the fall of the Twin Towers: "Never had I seen them so happy, so hopeful and ready for another attempt at creating a glorious and revolutionary future. Without doubt, September 11 represented a personal vindication for them." Noam Chomsky agreed with Osama that we deserved our misery. Ward Churchill had finally met his love match. This rigorous, fight-back book dissects the Leftist identity in which personal dissatisfaction and social dysfunction are externalized as the fault of our wicked society an uncanny reflection of the Islamist platform that worldly evil flows from the US and Israel. Glazov is scathing on the inability of Islamists and Western fellow-travelers to form healthy male-female relationships: Sex may (or may not) be OK, but love between a man and a woman threatens the collective.

No matter whether the idealized system is a Communist utopia or an Islamist caliphate, the happy couple is a mortal threat. Worst of all, "The pursuit of happiness implies ... that the world can be accepted for what it is," Glazov argues, "and human beings can be accepted for what they are."

So the Leftist believer embarks upon "the desperate search for the feeling of power to help him counteract the powerlessness he feels in his own life." That could equally describe a suicide bomber. You and I may be too stupid to realize we're miserable or damned, but the American Left and the mullahs are going to perfect us for our own good. The horrific bloodshed along the way is the outcast's great revenge.

Whether analyzing Code Pink or "Code Sharia," the book's descriptions hit the target dead-center again and again: "Like Islamists, Leftists have a Manichean vision that rigidly distinguishes good from evil. They see themselves as personifications of the former and their opponents as personifications of the latter, who must be slated for ruthless elimination."

Welcome to the hellish alliance that encourages American college brats to root for Hamas and Hezbollah. Dead Jews? Today's Left has no more problem with the Holocaust than Stalin did or Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah does.

Fearlessly, Glazov rips into "the deep-rooted hatred and fear of female sexuality that permeates Islamist-Arabic culture." But he also unveils our pseudo-feminists who excuse the burqa, genital mutilation, honor killings and general savagery toward Middle-Eastern women, noting that the privileged Americans need to ignore the suffering of their distant sisters in order "to hold onto their self-created victim identity." If America isn't so bad, it spoils everything.

I'd quibble with a few propositions: I find all fanatics dangerous, Left or Right but no honest person could deny this book's validity and power. It's a serious work by a brave scholar. It's also fun to read (fun's another no-no to Islamists and the Left).

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

No bailout for America’s newspapers!: “I have never had anything but contempt for America’s ‘greatest’ newspapers. During my lifetime, a little over six decades, they have never been anything but contemptible. Everything that was foreseeably harmful to individual liberty — or later proven to be so — they have championed. Everything that would have been good for it, they have opposed.”

Obama: US prepared to pursue targets in Pakistan : “President Obama said Sunday that his administration remains prepared to order strikes against ‘high-value’ targets within Pakistan. Obama reiterated a previous assertion that the U.S. military would pursue extremists within Pakistan’s borders after consulting with the Pakistani government.”

Obama: won't speed up Iraq pull out: "President Barack Obama says he won't consider speeding up the troop pullout from Iraq even though security has improved and violence has decreased. "I think the plan that we put forward in Iraq is the right one" because it calls for "a very gradual withdrawal through the national elections in Iraq," he said in an interviewed aired Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." While he didn't dispute the notion of military progress, Obama said there's plenty to do on the political side to resolve differences between the various sectarian groups. Iraq's security forces also need to be trained, he added. "I'm confident that we're moving in the right direction. But Iraq is not yet completed. We still have a lot of work to do," the president said of the war that's winding down after six hard-fought years."

AIG — too big to succeed: “The phrase ‘too big to fail’ is too often used to describe why various companies should receive bailouts from the federal government. Some financial companies are allegedly too big to fail because if they do fail it would create a series of failures as those who do business with the failing companies would be hurt by the failure of the initial company. Some automobile companies are allegedly too big to fail because if they do fail then parts suppliers and dealerships would all fail as well. Perhaps it is time to introduce a new phrase into the national lexicon, ‘too big to succeed.’ A company is too big to succeed if it grows so big that it cannot make a profit anymore, and as a result it must fail.”

The litigation madness is spreading: “The LA Times reported The U.S. Department of Justice filed lawsuits against Union Pacific Railroad Company, seeking $37 million in damages for allegedly failing to prevent its rail cars from being used to smuggle drugs into the country. The federal government said its inspectors found more than two tons of marijuana and more than 100 kilograms of cocaine on company rail cars, many of which were listed as empty on manifests, the complaint alleges.”

Obama’s false choice: “Writing in the Chicago Tribune last week, President Obama fell back on one of his favorite rhetorical tics: ‘But I also know,’ he wrote, ‘that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.’ Really? For the moment, it’s a ‘false choice’ mainly in the sense that he’s not offering it: ‘a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism’ is not on the menu, which leaves ‘an oppressive government-run economy’ as pretty much the only game in town. How oppressive is yet to be determined: To be sure, the official position remains that only “the richest five percent” will have taxes increased. But you’ll be surprised at the percentage of Americans who wind up in the richest five percent.”

Barack Hussein Obama: Profile of a doctrinaire ideologue : “That Obama is a leftist is a statement to which few will take exception. Nor are there many willing to deny the radical nature of his leftist politics. But it appears that relatively few recognize that Obama’s politics is the product of years of reflection and, as such, possesses a self-consciousness that invests it with a rigor conspicuously absent from the political mental cast of most of his fellow Democrats. Far from being disposed to hear the call of compromise, Obama’s politics is determined to silence its voice altogether. This, of course, is not to suggest that Obama is or would be unwilling to make temporary concessions — but any such concessions are permissible if and only if they are deemed to stand a greater chance than not of advancing the ultimate ends of his robust and unabashedly leftist political vision. In other words, whereas the average left-wing Democrat is mostly concerned with achieving short-term strategic victories, Obama wouldn’t consider taking his eye off the prize of winning the war.”

How Britain gets people out of their cars: "Overcrowding will worsen on several of Britain's busiest rail lines because the Government has quietly cancelled plans for more than 300 additional carriages. Southern and South Eastern, two of the largest commuter franchises, are likely to bear the brunt. The Government will save about Ł70 million a year from the decision, which reverses a commitment in the rail White Paper published in July 2007. The network's most overcrowded trains have more than 70 people standing for every 100 sitting, according to Department for Transport figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. The 7.15am from Cambridge to King's Cross carries an average of 870 people but has only 494 seats. The 8.02am from Woking to Waterloo carries 865 and has 492 seats. Passenger groups criticised the White Paper for promising only 1,300 new carriages by 2014, an increase of about 13 per cent, despite forecasting a 22.5 per cent rise in rail journeys. They said that the extra carriages would fail to keep pace with demand, much less alleviate the high level of overcrowding."

UK: “How to break through police lines” : “G20 protesters are circulating detailed pamphlets advising people on how to win street battles against riot police and what to do if arrested. Thousands of people are expected to bring the City of London to a standstill on Wednesday and Thursday, as popular anger over government bailouts of the banking sector reaches fever pitch. The vast majority of protests are likely to be peaceful but the Metropolitan Police claims extremist and anarchist groups might resort to violence. The online pamphlets suggest certain groups are advising their followers on how to beat the police should things turn rough. One document, called ‘Guide to Public Order Situations,’ explains how to breach lines of riot police using a ’snow plough’ human formation; throw rape alarms to make it hard for the police to give orders; resist baton and horse charges using nets; and ‘de-arrest’ seized protesters.”

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

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

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

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30 March, 2009

Obama does NOT have America's best interests at heart. He has a typical Leftist hatred of the society he lives in

"By their fruit ye shall know them"

President Barack Obama has no intention of helping to grow the United States economy. On the contrary, he is doing everything a President can do to weaken it. I know that sounds harsh. Maybe it seems outrageously “partisan.” Maybe it just seems outrageous. But after roughly ten weeks, Obama has consistently proposed ideas and plans (and in one case signing legislation) that will weaken the U.S. economy, not strengthen it. To attempt to view this man through the lenses of American prosperity, and to evaluate him with the same assumptions with which the behavior of other modern-day Presidents has been evaluated - - that growing the U.S. economy is a good and noble and necessary thing - - simply makes no sense.

Yet to assess this very different President with a very different set of assumptions in mind - - that American prosperity itself is a problem to be remedied, or that the U.S. has become an economic superpower at the expense of other nations - - only then does his economic behavior appear rational. And it is now clear that President Obama’s objective is to weaken the U.S....

During his campaign, President Obama liked to reiterate that he was being advised on economics by investment guru Warren Buffett. Buffett now deems Obama’s so-called “economic stimulus bill” as largely a waste of taxpayer dollars, and has expressed alarm over the national debt that Obama’s further plans will create. With the majority of the "stimulus bill" devoted to social welfare projects- - "free" condoms, childcare , “cricket control,” tatoo removal, and so forth - - and most funding for infrastructure projects delayed until 2011 and beyond (closer to Obama's re-election race), it's difficult to argue with Buffett's assessment.

Obama repeatedly reminds Americans of the tragedy that he faces, having “inherited” a $1.3 trillion deficit from the former President, yet he spent more than half that amount with the so-called “stimulus” bill during his first six weeks as President, and has now proposed a federal budget that spends $3.6 trillion more. He campaigned on a promise to take money away from “rich” Americans and re-distribute it to people who he deemed were deserving of it, yet there is no more wealth in government coffers for President Obama to re-distribute. He is now proposing to spend the wealth of future generations of Americans - - wealth that has yet to be created - - while confidently asserting along the way that he is reducing the federal deficit, not expanding it.

If we are to take seriously the many promises that Obama made as a candidate, it is not far-fetched to think that his efforts to weaken the U.S. economy are quite intentional. For two years, Senator Obama campaigned across the country preaching the economics of “getting even” - - a "strategy" to make conditions more "fair" for the less fortunate by punishing successful individuals and organizations. By every indication, he is now applying that same ‘strategy” to the United States, as it relates to the rest of the world, making the world a more “fair” and “just” playing field by weakening the strongest player on the field. After a few short weeks, it is now apparent what President Obama is doing. Will the Democratic Congress allow the President to fulfill his dreams? [They hate America too]

More HERE

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Bush's 'folly' is ending in victory

by Jeff Jacoby

"MARKETS WITHOUT BOMBS. Hummers without guns. Ice cream after dark. Busy streets without fear." So began Terry McCarthy's report from Iraq for ABC's World News Sunday on March 15, one of a series the network aired last week as the war in Iraq reached its sixth anniversary.

A nationwide poll of Iraqis reveals that "60 percent expect things to get better next year -- almost three times as many as a year and a half ago," McCarthy continued. "Iraqis are slowly discovering they have a future. We flew south to Basra, where 94 percent say their lives are going well. Oil is plentiful here. So is money."

In another report two nights later, ABC's correspondent characterized the Iraqi capital as "a city reborn: speed, light, style -- this is Baghdad today. Where car bombs have given way to car racing. Where a once-looted museum has been restored and reopened. And where young women who were forced to cover their heads can again wear the clothes that they like." One such young woman is dental student Hiba al-Jassin, who fled Baghdad's horrific violence two years ago, but found the city transformed when she returned last fall. "I'm just optimistic," she told McCarthy. "I think we are on the right path."

ABC wasn't alone in conveying the latest glad tidings from Iraq.

"Iraq combat deaths at 6-year low" USA Today reported on its front page last Wednesday. The story noted that in the first two months of 2009, 15 US soldiers were killed in action -- one-fourth the number killed in the same period a year ago, and one-tenth the 2007 toll. The reduction in deaths reflects the reduction in violence, which has plummeted by 90 percent since former President Bush ordered General David Petraeus to implement a new counterinsurgency strategy -- the "surge" -- in early 2007. Even in northern Iraq, where some al-Qaeda terrorists are still active, attacks are down by 70 percent.

In the wake of improved security have come political reconciliation and compromise. Iraq's democratic government continues to mature, with ethnic and religious loyalties beginning to yield to broader political concerns.

The Washington Post reports that the country's foremost Shiite politician, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has formed an alliance with Saleh al-Mutlak, an outspoken Sunni leader. It is a development that suggests "the emergence of a new axis of power in Iraq centered on a strong central government and nationalism" -- a dramatic change from the sectarian passions that fueled so much bloody agony in 2006 and 2007. In the recent provincial elections, writes the Post's Anthony Shadid, Maliki's party won major gains, with the prime minister "forgoing the slogans of his Islamist past for a platform of law and order." Despite his erstwhile reputation as a Shiite hardliner, Maliki now echoes Mutlak's call for burying the hatchet with supporters of Saddam Hussein's overwhelmingly Sunni Baath Party.

Those elections were yet another blow to the conviction that constitutional democracy and Arab culture are incompatible. For the 440 seats to be filled, more than 14,000 candidates and some 400 political parties contended -- a level of democratic competition that leaves American elections in the dust. A Jeffersonian republic of yeoman smallholders Iraq will never be. But over the past six years it has been transformed from one of the most brutal tyrannies on earth to an example of democratic pluralism in the heart of the Arab world.

For a long time the foes of the Iraq war and the president who launched it insisted that none of this was possible -- that the war was lost, that there was no military solution to the sectarian slaughter, that the surge would only make the violence worse. Victory was not an option, the critics declared; the only option was to partition Iraq and get out. Time and again it was said that the war would forever be remembered as Bush's folly, if not indeed as the worst foreign policy mistake in US history.

Even now, with a stubbornness born of partisan hostility or political ideology, there are those who cannot bring themselves to utter the words "victory" and "Iraq" in the same sentence. But six years after the war began, it is ending in victory. As in every war, the price of that victory was higher than we would have wished. The price of defeat would have been far higher.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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Justice Department to San Francisco Police: Shut Up!

Allegations that presidential pal Bill Ayers was involved in the murder of a San Francisco policeman appear to be running into something of a gag order from at the Department of Justice. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Justice Department and the San Francisco Police Department have contacted the San Francisco Police Officers Association and told them not to talk about the Ayers case.

Boy, that was fast!

Cliff Kincaid's March 12 National Press Club press conference apparently hit a nerve. As mentioned in the AT article of Wednesday, March 18, the Police Association had sent out a letter of support to Kincaid and his Campaign for Justice for Victims of Weather Underground Terrorism, observing:
There are irrefutable and compelling reasons to believe that Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, members of the terrorist group 'Weather Underground', are largely responsible for the bombing of Park Police Station and other police stations throughout the United States during their 'tour of terror' in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
And asking that:
...every possible effort be made to bring all evidence concerning this crime and all other crimes of urban terrorism perpetrated by the ‘Weather Underground' against the police officers of our great country to the forefront in a court of law.
According to the Chronicle:
Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes confirmed that his union got a call from federal investigators telling them they had an "active investigation and should not be commenting on the case."

Delagnes said the letter was meant only to show support for the family of the slain officer, Sgt. Brian McDonnell, and to help them "bring closure to the case."
Right. And what is the matter with that?

So why on earth would the Justice Department want them to keep their mouths shut? Exactly what did they say that would damage an "active investigation?" Are they claiming that no one knows the book is still open on that case? Are the statements above likely to compromise an "active investigation" if indeed it is truly active?

Mr. Holder, as Shakespeare said: "me thinks thou dost protest too much." So out with it! What, or who are you really trying to protect?

Why didn't the Justice Department contact Kincaid's group? After all, they have said this same exact thing. The Justice Department probably doesn't want them to get any more attention than they already have. Besides, the Obama Administration certainly doesn't try to muzzle free speech, do they?

So instead they attack the Police Officers Association, who bring solid, non-partisan credibility to this effort. And all the Association wants is to see this case solved.

Friends of the President or not, Mr. Holder, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn are two career criminal psychopaths, who have cheerfully left a lifetime path of destruction in their wake.

You need to step up to the plate, Mr. Holder. All these Weather Underground cases, and the park station bombing especially, need to be solved. If the heat is too much, either get out of the fire or help solve the case.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Obama wants to expand spending on everything -- even defence: "Cindy Williams, a defense scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former assistant director of the Congressional Budget Office, points out that Obama wants to spend 2 percent more in the next fiscal year than President Bush allocated for this year, and 9 percent more than we spent last year. Bush also planned for the defense budget (apart from Iraq and Afghanistan) to shrink slightly each year starting in 2010. Obama's blueprint calls for the defense budget to remain about the same. "Spending will actually be higher under Obama's plan than under Bush's," says Williams.

Democrats despise the poor: "Democrats, and the progressive left in particular, exploit the poor, they use the poor, they write speeches about them, and manipulate their "unrepresented voices" in debates. But one thing is increasingly clear from the Obama administration and the popular left in America, they don't have any interest in helping them. It is easy to explain how this can be true from a macro-worldview position looking at the President's policies. The bailout, the stimulus, the omnibus, and the proposed budget all do nothing to assist a poor person in finding independence and they all aim to create an enslavement to entitlements that dehumanize the individual, create embarrassment for their family, and ultimately rob that person of one of the most cherished gifts God grants us--the satisfaction of personal achievement. But moving beyond Obama's budget policies, take a look at how the administration has teamed up to hurt the poor families of America with the program of "Cap and Trade." Essentially "Cap and Trade" is a punitive tax that in language would be levied against the largest production companies in our nation. But since no company in the history of mankind has ever absorbed a tax, the real persons being punished for their production means are the consumers of the goods that company produces. Customers who are in desperate need of what that company creates are the ones who have no choice, and are helpless in doing anything about it. The poor are impacted to a greater degree because of their own lack of capital to be able to fund entrepreneurial options to avoid such companies.

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

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

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

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

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29 March, 2009

The latest bit of bright-eyed optimism about IQ

There are always books and articles coming out that purport to show that IQ is unimportant, not hereditary and uniform across races. The research findings show the opposite but that offends against the "all men are equal" credo of the Left so the facts have to be got rid of somehow. Another such treatise has just arrived. A review of it (from the NYT!) is below. I have not read the book and nothing in the review encourages me to do so but I assume that some of my colleagues who specialize in IQ studies will read it and dissect it in due course. Meanwhile, I just offer a few comments (In italics) that occur to me. The book is INTELLIGENCE AND HOW TO GET IT. Why Schools and Culture Count by Richard E. Nisbett. The book is actually better than most in that it is largely research-based so concedes the two major facts that always stick in Leftist craws: That IQ is important and is largely hereditary.
Success in life depends on intelligence, which is measured by I.Q. tests. Intelligence is mostly a matter of heredity, as we know from studies of identical twins reared apart. Since I.Q. differences between individuals are mainly genetic, the same must be true for I.Q. differences between groups. So the I.Q. ranking of racial/ethnic groups — Ashkenazi Jews on top, followed by East Asians, whites in general, and then blacks — is fixed by nature, not culture. Social programs that seek to raise I.Q. are bound to be futile. Cognitive inequalities, being written in the genes, are here to stay, and so are the social inequalities that arise from them.

What I have just summarized, with only a hint of caricature, is the hereditarian view of intelligence. This is the view endorsed, for instance, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray in “The Bell Curve” (1994), and by Arthur R. Jensen in “The g Factor” (1998). Although hereditarianism has been widely denounced as racism wrapped in pseudoscience, these books drew on a large body of research and were carefully reasoned. Critics often found it easier to impugn the authors’ motives than to refute their conclusions.

Richard E. Nisbett, a prominent cognitive psychologist who teaches at the University of Michigan, doesn’t shirk the hard work. In “Intelligence and How to Get It,” he offers a meticulous and eye-opening critique of hereditarianism. True to its self-helplike title, the book does contain a few tips on how to boost your child’s I.Q. — like exercising during pregnancy (mothers who work out tend to have bigger babies who grow up smarter, possibly because of greater brain size) [More likely because they are middle class]. But its real value lies in Nisbett’s forceful marshaling of the evidence, much of it recent, favoring what he calls “the new environmentalism,” which stresses the importance of nonhereditary factors in determining I.Q. So fascinating is this evidence — drawn from neuroscience and genetics, as well as from studies of educational interventions and parenting styles — that the author’s slightly academic prose style can be forgiven.

Intellectually, the I.Q. debate is a treacherous one. Concepts like heritability are so tricky that even experts stumble into fallacy. Moreover, the relevant data come mostly come from “natural experiments,” which can harbor subtle biases. When the evidence is ambiguous, it is all the easier for ideology to influence one’s scientific judgment. Liberals hope that social policy can redress life’s unfairness. Conservatives hold that natural inequality must be accepted as inevitable. When each side wants to believe certain scientific conclusions for extra-scientific reasons, skepticism is the better part of rigor.

Nisbett himself proceeds with due caution. He grants that I.Q. tests — which gauge both “fluid” intelligence (abstract reasoning skills) and “crystallized” intelligence (knowledge) — measure something real. They also measure something important: even within the same family, higher-I.Q. children go on to make more money than their less-bright siblings. [An important admission]

However, Nisbett bridles at the hereditarian claim that I.Q. is 75 to 85 percent heritable; the real figure, he thinks, is less than 50 percent [The most common estimation is two thirds so Nisbet is not being very original there. And even a 50% figure puts large contraints on what a person can achieve]. Estimates come from comparing the I.Q.’s of blood relatives — identical twins, fraternal twins, siblings — growing up in different adoptive families. But there is a snare here. As Nisbett observes, “adoptive families, like Tolstoy’s happy families, are all alike.” Not only are they more affluent than average, they also tend to give children lots of cognitive stimulation [I doubt those assertions. The point is one commonly made but I think the evidence for its effect is weak]. Thus data from them yield erroneously high estimates of I.Q. heritability. (Think: if we all grew up in exactly the same environment, I.Q. differences would appear to be 100 percent genetic.) This underscores an important point: there is no fixed value for heritability [A non sequitur. The value can be fixed even if it is hard to estimate]. The notion makes sense only relative to a population. Heritability of I.Q. is higher for upper-class families than for lower-class families, because lower-class families provide a wider range of cognitive environments, from terrible to pretty good. [An assertion only]

Even if genes play some role in determining I.Q. differences within a population, which Nisbett grants, that implies nothing about average differences between populations. The classic example is corn seed planted on two plots of land, one with rich soil and the other with poor soil. Within each plot, differences in the height of the corn plants are completely genetic. Yet the average difference between the two plots is entirely environmental. [True in theory but irrelevant in fact. There are studies going back many years where blacks and whites have sat in the same classrooms throughout their education but the IQ gap remains. And any claim that blacks are poorly fed is laughable. Their rate of obesity is higher than for whites]

Could the same logic explain the disparity in average I.Q. between Americans of European and of African descent? Nisbett thinks so. The racial I.Q. gap, he argues, is “purely environmental.” For one thing, it’s been shrinking: over the last 30 years, the measured I.Q. difference between black and white 12-year-olds has dropped from 15 points to 9.5 points. [Blacks mature faster so the IQ gap has long been smaller during childhood. The adult IQ gap remains the same] Among his more direct evidence, Nisbett cites impressive studies in population genetics. African-Americans have on average about 20 percent European genes, largely as a legacy of slavery. But the proportion of European genes ranges widely among individuals, from near zero to more than 80 percent. If the racial gap is mostly genetic, then blacks with more European genes ought to have higher I.Q.’s on average. In fact, they don’t. [But where do the white genes concerned come from? Mostly from the bottom of white society. "Race mixing" has been looked down on for most of America's history]

Nisbett is similarly skeptical that genetics could account for the intellectual prowess of Ashkenazi Jews, whose average I.Q. measures somewhere between 110 and 115. As for the alleged I.Q. superiority of East Asians over American whites, that turns out to be an artifact of sloppy comparisons; when I.Q. tests are properly normed, Americans actually score slightly higher than East Asians. [I concede that some of the figures for Asian IQ may be poorly representative but the enormous rate of achievement among Asian Americans certainly shows that Asians who emigrate are superior. We are on much firmer ground with Jewish IQ because of Israeli army figures. There is no doubt of Ashkenazi superiority -- if Jewish achievements alone did not tell you that]

If I.Q. differences are indeed largely environmental, what might help eliminate group disparities? The most dramatic results come from adoption. When poor children are adopted by upper-middle-class families, they show an I.Q. gain of 12 to 16 points [For a while. In adulthood their differences are small. And the children chosen for adoption by such families are probably not representative either]. Upper-class parents talk to their children more than working-class parents do. And there are subtler differences. In poorer black families, for example, children are rarely asked “known-answer questions” — that is, questions where the parents already know the right answer. (“What color is the elephant, Billy?”) Consequently, as Nisbett observes, the children are nonplussed by such questions at school. (“If the teacher doesn’t know this, then I sure don’t.”)

The challenge is to find educational programs that are as effective as adoption in raising I.Q. So far, Nisbett observes, almost all school-age interventions have yielded disappointing results [An important and entirely true admission]. But some intensive early-childhood interventions have produced enduring I.Q. gains, at a cost of around $15,000 per child per year. [Small gains achieved at great effort are consistent with the environmental component of IQ]. Yet, by the author’s reckoning, it would cost less than $100 billion a year to extend such programs to the neediest third of America’s preschoolers. The gain to society would be incalculable. [More likely to be negligible -- on the balance of the evidence]

Still, there are limits even to Nisbett’s optimism. Social policy can get rid of ethnic I.Q. gaps, he thinks, but “the social-class gap” in I.Q. “is never going to be closed.” I would frame the matter a little differently. Even if I.Q. inequality is inevitable, it may eventually become irrelevant. Over the last century, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, I.Q. scores around the world have been rising by three points a decade [That has now stopped and it did not affect the racial gap anyway]. Some of this rise, Nisbett argues, represents a real gain in intelligence. But beyond a certain threshold — an I.Q. of 115, say — there is no correlation between intelligence and creativity or genius [IQ has never correlated strongly with creativity -- largely because different sorts of creativity do not correlate with one-another]. As more of us are propelled above this threshold — and, if Nisbett is right, nearly all of us can be — the role of intelligence in determining success will come to be infinitesimal by comparison with such “moral” traits as conscientiousness and perseverance. [And law-abidingness?] Then we can start arguing about whether those are genetic.


SOURCE

Update:

Perhaps I should say a little more about the nutritional argument. It is briefly alluded to above but is very commonly mentioned in arguments of this sort.

There appear to be two adverse nutritional influences on IQ: Total calorie deprivation and micronutrient deprivation. The first is obviously irrelevant to American blacks so I will just note that the Dutch famine study showed it to have a eugenic effect if anything. It is mainly the children of smart people who survive a famine so the children concerned will on average tend to be brighter rather than dumber.

Micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) deficiency is more serious, though United Nations figures suggest that, even so, it accounts for only about 5 IQ points. If you give micronutrients to poor blacks in Africa, it does boost their average IQ by about that amount. The diet of poor blacks in Africa and the diet of American blacks are however quite different. Africans in Africa might see fried chicken only a few times in a lifetime. They mostly live on corn porridge ("mealie pap"). But critics nonetheless say that while African Americans eat plenty, they eat the "wrong" food: McDonalds for instance. But look at what is in a Big Mac meal: Meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which adds up to a mainstream Western diet. Some contend that there is too much salt and fat in such meals but that the meals provide a good range of micronutrients can hardly be doubted.

So there are no grounds for saying that the cause of lower average IQ in blacks is nutritional. They are not "seed that fell on stony ground".

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ELSEWHERE

There are various days celebrated as "Earth Day" by Greenies but Australia has an "Earth Hour", which seems to be catching on internationally. You are supposed to turn off all your electric lights during it. The hour occurs Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm. -- which has just passed in Australia. During it I, of course, made sure to turn on every light in my house. Because Australia is in a time zone almost a day ahead of America, however, my American readers will have to wait a little while for the pleasure of doing the same if the idea has caught on in their locality. Some rather jocular Australian skeptics argue that we should have a "Blackout Night" in mid-winter instead. See here about that.

Foreign aid to Africa: Bonuses to corrupt and tyrannical rulers? “Americans and the rest of the west must start to be outraged by the mismanagement of their donated tax money in Africa. Long after the African public woke up to the reality that western aids never work to uplift the continent from deep corruption and tyranny, this idea has recently started to resonate with some aid organizations and aid workers. Billions of aid dollars collected from western tax-payers are directly channeled to tyrannical and corrupt leaders in Africa.”

How FDR promoted price-gouging : “During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Americans desperately needed bargains. But President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed laws that forced businesses to charge above-market prices for everything. He made discounting a crime! FDR did this even though antitrust laws provided penalties for private individuals who acted in restraint of trade and charged above-market prices. These laws were passed by ‘progressives’ — his ideological brethren.”

Capitalism and tolerance: "About twenty years ago, I remember hearing my grandmother describing her response to a customer who’d badmouthed a lesbian couple who frequented the bar my parents and grandparents co-owned: ‘Their money’s as good as yours.’ A cliche, yes, but an uplifting one. It reminds us that the merchant pays a price for intolerance. It’s easy to indulge one’s petty prejudices in the voting booth, where the price for doing so is negligible. But every time a merchant turns away a customer, every time an employer turns away a candidate or loses him to a more tolerant competitor, he’s reminded of what his bigotry is costing him.”

States rebel against Washington: “There’s an old joke in South Carolina: Confederate President Jefferson Davis may have surrendered at the Burt-Stark mansion in Abbeville, S.C., in 1865, but the people of state Rep. Michael Pitts’s district never did. With revolutionary die-hards behind him, Mr. Pitts has fired a warning shot across the bow of the Washington establishment. As the writer of one of 28 state ’sovereignty bills’ … Pitts is at the forefront of a states’ rights revival, reasserting their say on everything from stem cell research to the Second Amendment. … Just as California under President Bush asserted itself on issues ranging from gun control to medical marijuana, a motley cohort of states … are presenting a foil for President Obama’s national ambitions. And they’re laying the groundwork for a political standoff over the 10th Amendment, which cedes all power not granted to Washington to the people.”

Dodgy British crime statistics again: "Ministers were last night caught up in an embarrassing new row over crime figures. The Ministry of Justice was forced to withdraw a set of already delayed sentencing statistics because of errors. They contained a series of mistakes over how many criminals were being sent to jail, rather than escaping with a fine or community punishment. For some crimes, the figures showed the number being jailed had fallen as low as 10 per cent, when in fact it had remained steady at around 40 per cent."

Useless Thai police: "Grandmother Linda Robertson reacted in disbelief today after Thai prosecutors officially told her that the Burmese 'pirates' who beat her husband to death with a hammer could not be prosecuted for murder. She was told that without a body, no such charge could be brought, even though the three Burmese men, who boarded the family yacht Mr Bean, had confessed to the death, and the boat was covered with her husband's blood. After testifying twice, recounting step-by-step how she heard her husband being murdered, and how she stepped in his blood before making a final escape, she said she was shocked by the court's decision."

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

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

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

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

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28 March, 2009

The big news

The Fed has just "printed" one trillion dollars of new U.S. Greenbacks. It has created a huge amount of new money out of thin air. Governments have that prerogative. It doesn't actually run the printing presses faster. It does it in a more complicated way than that but the result is the same. Its main effect is to put fresh cash in the pockets of the banks and other financial institutions. The good news is that it is not debt. The taxpayer is not going to be required to pay more tax to fund it. The bad news is that it will devalue whatever greenbacks you at present own. They will buy less in the future -- "inflation" in other words. So it IS a tax in the long run.

Will it work? Will it get the banks lending again? Will it create jobs? Nobody seems terribly optimistic. The real problem is to restore business confidence so that businesses start hiring again but most of the O-man's agenda is anti-business and intent on jacking up business taxes so it will do nothing for that. Abolishing regulatory burdens on business (e.g. Sarbox) and halving company tax is what is needed to perk up business. Like FDR before him, Obama thinks business is the enemy -- when it is in fact the only way out of the present problems. Kicking business when it is down so stupid that only a Leftist could do it. But that is the FDR/Obama thinking.

Lots of commentary here

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‘Palestinians’ Who Helped Create Israel

By Daniel Pipes

Palestinians have so loudly and for so long (nearly a century) rejected Zionism that Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, Yasir Arafat, and Hamas may appear to command unanimous Palestinian support. But no: polling research finds that a substantial minority of Palestinians, about 20 percent, is ready to live side-by-side with a sovereign Jewish state. Although this minority has never been in charge and its voice has always been buried under rejectionist bluster, Hillel Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has uncovered its surprisingly crucial role in history.

He explores this subject in the pre-state period in Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917—1948 (translated by Haim Watzman, University of California Press); then, the same author, translator, and press are currently preparing a sequel, Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948—1967, for publication in 2010.

In Army of Shadows, Cohen demonstrates the many roles that accommodating Palestinians played for the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in the Holy Land. They provided labor, engaged in commerce, sold land, sold arms, handed over state assets, provided intelligence about enemy forces, spread rumors and dissension, convinced fellow Palestinians to surrender, fought the Yishuv's enemies, and even operated behind enemy lines. So great was their cumulative assistance, one wonders if the State of Israel could have come into existence without their contribution.

The mufti's absolute rejection of Zionism was intended to solidify the Palestinian population but had the opposite effect. The Husseini clique's selfishness, extremism and brutality undermined solidarity: using venomous language and murderous tactics, declaring jihad against anyone who disobeyed the mufti, and deeming more than half the Palestinian population "traitors" pushed many fence-sitters and whole communities (notably the Druse) over to the Zionist side.

Consequently, Cohen writes, "As time passed, a growing number of Arabs were willing to turn their backs on the [rejectionists] and offer direct assistance to the British or Zionists." He calls collaboration with Zionism "not only common but a central feature of Palestinian society and politics." No one before Cohen has understood the historical record this way.

He discerns a wide range of motives on the part of the Yishuv's Palestinian allies: economic gain, class or tribal interests, nationalist ambitions, fear or hatred of the Husseini faction, personal ethics, neighborliness, or individual friendships. Against those who would call these individuals "collaborators" or even "traitors," he argues that they actually understood the situation more astutely than Husseini and the rejectionists: accommodationists presciently realized that the Zionist project was too strong to resist and that attempting to do so would lead to destruction and exile, so they made peace with it.

More HERE

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O'S FOREIGN FAILURES

By RALPH PETERS

AMERICA'S enemies smell blood and it's type "O." All new administrations stumble a bit as they seek their footing. But President Obama's foreign-policy botches have set new records for instant incompetence.

Contrary to left-wing myths, I wasn't a fan of the Bush administration. (I called for Donald Rumsfeld to get the boot in mid-2001.) But fair's fair. Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good. Vice President Dick Cheney was arrogant. Vice President Joe Biden is arrogant and stupid. Take your pick.

Don't worry about the new administration's ideology. Worry about its terrifying naivete. Consider a sampling of the goofs O and his crew have made in just two months: China: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (you know that gal married to the Saudi hireling) crawled to Beijing to tell the party bosses that human rights don't matter. Our "relationship" is more important than freedom and human dignity. Beijing's response? A staged military confrontation with an unarmed US Navy vessel; continued screw-America currency cheating; a renewed crackdown on dissidents and, yesterday, a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar. Thanks, Hill. You're a sweetheart.

Pakistan: With viral corruption throughout and Islamist fanatics sweeping half of its territory, Pakistan's coming apart. Its Dem-adored prez tries to ban opposition parties and gut the judiciary. It has nukes and seethes with hatred of America. And Islamabad controls our primary supply route into Afghanistan, using it as an extortion tool. Obama's response? Billions in new aid for Pak pols to pocket. We'd be better off handing the money to AIG to pay out more bonuses.

Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam. Am I the only American who remembers that candidate Obama had a plan to capture Osama bin Laden and fix our previous "mistakes" in Afghanistan? President Obama doesn't have a clue.

Iran: Obama tried to reach out, to talk. After all, talking got him to the White House. But America-bashing is what keeps Iran's leaders in office, it's their political essence. After 30 years of fierce hostility, hasn't anyone figured out that the senior mullahs need us as an enemy? Without the Great Satan America to blame, they'd have some real explaining to do to their homies. So O got the left-hand finger.

He wanted to chat with the Taliban, too. They told him he could stick it where the sun don't shine.

North Korea: Obama wanted a fresh start. North Korea's response? Threats of war with South Korea and the kidnapping of two American journalists. And the renewed pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, along with rocket tests.

Cuba: Obama would like to liberalize our relationship. The Castro boys told him to kiss off. They need an enemy, too. (Dear Mr. President: It's not always about us or how evil America is.)

Venezuela: Guess who else needs an enemy?

Mexico: The good news: Obama knows where it is on a map and recognizes that Mexico's government faces a narco-insurgency that threatens our country, too. His first action? Cave to the Teamsters, violate a lawful treaty on cross-border trucking, reignite fading anti-Americanism and undercut President Felipe Calderon.

Poland: Obama's stance on our bravest ally on the European continent? The Russians are more important than you are. He's sending the same message to Ukraine and Georgia.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

There's a new conservative blog called The moderate curmudgeon that takes a rather humorous approach to news commentary.

Obama firm on Afghanistan: “Confronting an inherited and faltering war, President Barack Obama plans to dispatch thousands more military and civilian trainers to Afghanistan by the fall on top of the 17,000 combat troops he has already ordered, senior administration officials said Thursday. Obama’s war strategy, which he plans to announce Friday, includes no timeline for withdrawal of troops. The war began more than seven years ago.”

NY: Deal reached to repeal “Rockefeller” drug laws: “Gov. David A. Paterson and New York legislative leaders have reached an agreement to dismantle much of what remains of the state’s strict 1970s-era drug laws, once among the toughest in the nation. Opponents of the so-called Rockefeller drug laws held a rally outside the governor’s office in Manhattan on Wednesday. The deal would repeal many of the mandatory minimum prison sentences now in place for lower-level drug felons, giving judges the authority to send first-time nonviolent offenders to treatment instead of prison. The plan would also expand drug treatment programs and widen the reach of drug courts at a cost of at least $50 million.”

Clinton admits it: US antidrug policies have failed: “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Mexico yesterday with a stark admission, saying that decades of US antinarcotics policies had been a failure and had contributed to the explosion of drug violence south of the border. ‘Clearly what we’ve been doing has not worked,’ Clinton told reporters on her plane at the start of her two-day trip. She said it was unfair for the United States ‘to be creating a situation where people are holding the Mexican government and people responsible. That’s not right.’ Clinton’s comments appeared to be the most sweeping by a top Obama administration official in accepting a US role in the drug violence in Mexico.”

Obama says automakers need “drastic changes”: “President Barack Obama said Thursday his administration will help Detroit’s struggling automakers only if the companies and their stakeholders make ‘pretty drastic changes’ to reshape their industry. Obama, responding to a question during an online town hall meeting, said the current business model for U.S. carmakers was unsustainable and the Big Three would need to change their ways. The president said he planned to announce decisions on the future of the industry in the coming days.”

The MTV president : “However talented the man might be, Barack Obama as silver-tongued savior, is in reality a creation of the mainstream media. When George W. Bush was inarticulate at times, he was the butt of jokes and worse; a buffoon who got through life on the coattails of his father. Yet, when Obama stutters through rehearsed speeches or maniacally laughs while discussing our ailing economy on 60 Minutes, these gaffes are either ignored or oddly offered as further proof of his oratory genius. But why? Because those who control most major newspapers and TV are immature dreamers still stuck on their vision of a socialist utopia; the stuff of teenaged vows to ‘change the world.’ And their hero epitomizes all they hold dear; a hip, youthful knight who champions activism — whatever that means — and looks good doing it.”

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

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

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

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

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27 March, 2009

WHO'S GOING TO LEND THE MONEY?

The Obama administration has embarked on a spree of borrowing that eclipses anything seen in world history. The Democratic Congress is nervous, but seems willing to go along. But this borrowing is not occurring in a vacuum; many other governments are also floating debt. So, who's going to lend the trillions of dollars that governments need to disguise the fact that their ideas are bankrupt? Maybe nobody.

Yesterday, the British government offered its "gilt-edged bonds" for sale. For the first time in over a decade, the auction failed as not enough buyers appeared to cover the bonds that were offered:
Fears are growing on the financial markets that Britain may not be able to repay the billions of pounds in debt it is amassing to rescue banks and revive the economy. The Government admitted yesterday that, for the first time since 1995, investors had been unwilling to buy the full complement of its so-called gilt-edged bonds at one of its official auctions.
Britain's failure roiled Wall Street, as Noel Sheppard reports:
Wall Street got rocked Tuesday by a "debt bomb" economists have worried about for decades. Hours after the United Kingdom failed to attract enough buyers for its auction of $2.5 billion of 40-year bonds, the United States Treasury had similar difficulties with its sale of $34 billion worth of five-year notes and was forced to raise their interest rate to a much higher yield than had been anticipated. Such problematic debt offerings came on the heels of Germany having two failed auctions of its bonds already this year.
The amount of debt the Obama administration intends to float dwarfs any historical experience. More from Bloomberg:
Treasury 10-year note yields rose the most in more than two weeks after an auction of $34 billion in five-year notes drew a higher-than-forecast yield, spurring concern record sales of U.S. debt are overwhelming demand. ... President Barack Obama's government is selling record amounts of debt to revive economic growth, service deficits, and cushion the failures in the financial system. Debt sales will almost triple this year to a record $2.5 trillion, according to estimates from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
What most Americans may not yet understand is that the vast majority of the debt that the Obama administration intends to incur, not just this year but for years to come--assuming it can find the requisite creditors--has nothing to do with the present financial crisis. Rather, Obama intends to finance a grotesquely swollen federal government, with socialized medicine just one item on the agenda, by borrowing the money. How to pay it back? Hey, not our problem--Obama will be out of office by 2017 at the latest, so paying off trillions in needless debt will be up to our children.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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BrookesNews Update

America-hating leftists lie to protect Obama's dangerous economic program : The left are pulling out all the stops to make sure Obama's programs of massive tax increases, colossal spending and borrowing, more regulatory controls and his appeasement Policy are imposed on the American people. In an effort to fool Americans leftists are trying to justify Obama's dangerous economic policies by saying they cured the Great Depression. This is a brazen lie. The extreme leftwing Campaign for America's future is playing a significant role in spreading this lying propaganda
Why Obama's big spending big taxing regime will cripple the US economy : Obama's statist dream of using high taxes and big government to drive the economy forward are doomed to failure. Unfortunately, the case for lower taxes is not as easily made as is the case for big spending projects. This is because the latter are built on economic fallacies that focus on end results instead of processes. The case for tax cuts and savings rests on sound economic logic and this must be solidly understood before lasting progress can be made
The Great Depression — then and now and bloody journalists: The economic crisis and the debate — what there is of one — about the alleged anti-recessionary effects of big government spending policies has once again raised the spectre of the Great Depression and once again our commentators get it wrong, particularly journalists, that pesty brood of pseudo intellectuals for whom honest research appears to be an anathema
In California it's bad economics as usual: California's politicians broke the budget deadlock by combining billions of dollars worth of spending cuts with billions of dollars worth of tax increases and billions of dollars worth of new borrowing authority. Chronically unable to live within their means, the governor and legislature apparently have concluded that fiscal business as usual is the way to resolve the state's financial crisis. As Ronald Reagan might have said: 'There they go again'
Heads roll in Havana as Raul Castro tightens his grip : Last week, Raul Castro purged almost twenty regime officials. The most prominent among the purged were the youngest and most reform-minded — at least as these things are measured within a Stalinist regime. All have now been replaced by diehard communists with military and secret-police backgrounds. So much for 'Hope and Change'
America: People vs their Government: The people of the United States are more honest and astute about the Arab-Israel conflict than is Obama and his advisors. They can see, especially after 9/11, that Fatah, Hamas and Al-Qaida are the part of the same Islamic ideology: Global domination by Islam
What is Marxism? : Marxist claims have been thoroughly discredited by history. Despite this fact thousands of academics and intellectuals still cling this patheted dogma by studiously ignoring anything that contradicts it: In doing so they reveal that Marxism is nothing but a power cult
Will what destroys Israel also destroy the United States?: Americans should realize that if Israel does not survive the Islamic onslaught and is destroyed, the United States will not be far behind. As long as people like Barack Obama are placed in charge of our country, our future is dim: the question is only which will destroy us first — socialism or Islam?

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ELSEWHERE

There is a vastly incorrect but rather striking article here comparing the attractiveness of Britain's female politicians with female politicians elsewhere. There's some pretty rough-looking British ones.

Obama’s middle class tax cut may not survive budget: "President Obama’s budget chief hinted Wednesday that the president’s signature campaign issue — a middle-class tax cut — will not likely survive a budget battle with Democrats on Capitol Hill. On a conference call with reporters in advance of the president’s trip to the Hill to speak before the Senate Democratic caucus, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag indicated that, while 98 percent of the budget mark-ups in the House and Senate are on par with the administration’s budget blueprint, some campaign trail promises, like middle-class tax cuts, may get left on the cutting room floor.”

Obama’s budget: It’s absolutely insane! “At his press conference last night, President Obama insisted once again that he inherited the budget deficit, and ‘we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.’ But the deficits over the next 10 years that Obama proposed in his budget are not George Bush’s deficits. They are the deficits that Obama has proposed, resulting from the $1 trillion in increased spending he adopted in the no-stimulus stimulus bill, and the $400 billion supplemental spending bill he supported and also adopted the following week, and the $275 billion housing bailout he proposed the next week, and the $1 trillion bank bailout plan his Treasury Secretary just proposed this week, and the $638 billion he has proposed as a ‘downpayment’ on a new national health insurance entitlement. … Does this sound like he is ‘doing everything we can to reduce that deficit?’”

Karl Rove: Obama has made taxes and spending the big issues again: "Something powerful is stirring in the land, and it may not be good news for President Barack Obama, his agenda or the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama said Tuesday night his budget moves America "from an era of borrow and spend" to "save and invest." But people are realizing he would add $9.3 trillion to the national debt, doubling it in six years and nearly tripling it in 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). How can that be "save and invest"? In his inaugural address, Mr. Obama told us, "The stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply." He wants to turn to new issues of education, health care and green jobs, which he plugged at every opportunity in Tuesday's press conference. Suddenly, though, it doesn't seem like a time of new politics and new concerns. Many Americans are anxious -- and in some cases angry -- about a set of old issues: deficits, taxes and the national debt. Mr. Obama's radical budget, his administration's slapdash operating manner, and events such as the AIG bonuses have revived animosity over government's size and cost."

Capitalism is morally superior: “People say that capitalism is based on greed, which must be restrained. No it isn’t. It’s built on self-interest — which is perfectly natural to us all, and beneficial to our community. Markets are about free people, voluntarily exchanging cash for goods or services. You can only prosper in the market if you give your customers what they want. In every transaction, both sides benefit — they wouldn’t do if they didn’t — and with millions of sales and purchases going on every day, that spreads benefit through the whole society. Capitalism is a vast, worldwide collaborative system. It doesn’t need political arguments to decide what should be done. It doesn’t need force to make people produce things. It produces enormous variety and plenty without any conflict or coercion at all.”

Gordon Gekko is a Democrat: "How did Republicans get saddled with Wall Street? Obama just got the biggest campaign haul from Wall Street in world history, and Republicans still can't shake the public perception that they are tied at the hip to Wall Street bankers who hate them. Maybe if the financial capital of the nation were located in Salt Lake City, rather than Manhattan, the financial community would support Republicans. But Wall Street is a street located in New York City. No one in the top echelons of the financial industry who has a weekend place in the Hamptons is a Republican".

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

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

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

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

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26 March, 2009

Defining conservatism

The claims below seem rather stupid and narrow-minded to me. They amount to saying that religious unbelievers cannot be conservative. Yet Australia is one of the world's most conservative countries but it is also a place where very few people are religious. The proportion of the Australian population present at church on a typical weekend is well under 10% and even a lot of them are there for mainly social reasons. And the churches are almost all Left-leaning in fact. So conservatism in Australia has nothing to do with religion. Australian conservatives generally respect religion but there are heaps of them who are not themselves religious. I think my definition of conservatism works a lot better: That conservatives just want to be left alone to get on with their own lives in their own way with as little government interference as possible -- which is why they tend to be strong advocates of individual liberty

If you want to learn to recognize the mark of a true conservative, read Mark Levin's new book, "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto." Levin is the real thing -- a longtime intellectual and activist leader of the conservative movement -- who writes with unmatched authority and clarity about the conservative vision and how it ought to be pursued today by you and your children and anybody else you know who wants to preserve American liberty....

Like our Founding Fathers and like other first-rate conservative thinkers, Levin recognizes that America's rise to greatness was not rooted in ideology but in a worldview defined by basic -- and true -- assumptions about the nature of the world and the nature of man. Fundamentally, Levin explains, conservatives recognize that there is an immutable natural law ordained by God that all men and nations must obey. He also makes clear that while human beings have a God-given right to individual liberty, they are also imperfect by nature and, thus, if given too much power, are likely to abuse the God-given rights of others.

"Some resist the idea of a Natural Law's relationship to Divine Providence, for fear it leads to intolerance or even theocracy," writes Levin. "They have it backwards. If man is 'endowed by (the) Creator with certain inalienable rights,' he is endowed with these rights no matter his religion or whether he has allegiance to any religion. It is Natural Law, divined by God and discoverable by reason, that prescribes the inalienability of the most fundamental and eternal human rights -- rights that are not conferred on man by man. It is the Divine nature of Natural Law that makes permanent man's right to 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'"

Levin deftly isolates why modern liberal class warriors -- those of President Obama's ilk -- must reject this understanding of the world. "The Statist cannot abide the existence of Natural Law and man's discovery of 'inalienable rights' bestowed on all individuals by 'their Creator,'" writes Levin. "In ideology and practice, the Statist believes rights are not a condition of man's existence but only exist to the extent the Statist ratifies them. Furthermore, rights do not belong to all individuals. They are rationed by the state -- conferred on those whom the Statist believes deserving of them, and denied to those whom the Statist believes undeserving of them."

As on his radio show, so in this book, Levin is unapologetic in his indictment of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and successive generations of FDR acolytes -- including LBJ and BHO -- for perpetrating a "counterrevolution" against the limited government prescribed by our Constitution and for creating and expanding a welfare state that breeds dependency in the people and that -- if not soon dismantled -- will bankrupt our nation.

"The significance of the New Deal is not in any one program, but in its sweeping break from our founding principles and constitutional limitations," he says. "Roosevelt himself broke with the two-presidential-term tradition started by George Washington by running for four terms. His legacy includes a federal government that has become a massive, unaccountable conglomerate: It is the nation's largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider and pension guarantor."

This is the truth about what liberals have done over the last 80 years of American history. American freedom cannot survive another 80 years of expanding government and diminishing individual autonomy.

More HERE

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I am now a Chromer

Google Chrome, that is. In Australia "chroming" refers to a very stupid practice by some young people, mostly indigenous, of inhaling fumes of solvents, gasoline, paint-thinners etc. in order to get "high". It fries their brains but in some cases you would hardly notice, given their low starting point in that department.

I found that Firefox was in important ways worse than IE. I guess that there are work-arounds for the problems concerned but they were not obvious. I could find no way of altering my default home-page for instance. And the "Back" button mostly did not work. And it kept closing windows on me if I had more than one open. Quite mad. I have none of those problems with Chrome. It definitely beats both both IE and Firefox, though there are some things that I can only do with IE so far. I don't like Google's politics but they do make good software.

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Two interesting posters



A reader sent me them a little while ago but I have no details about their origins. I am wondering if any reader can help me identify them: When and where they came from and where originals or copies of them are housed these days.

I can't help noticing the artistic superiority of the Nazi effort. Hitler was an artist, even if a mediocre one, and Nazi images are often quite attractive -- perhaps precisely because Hitler kept pretty close to an average taste rather than being original in any way.

The Soviet effort is very dismal. Where the Nazi effort displays primarily individuals, the Soviet effort just hints at masses of people in the very bottom of the image. The Red army did use the Swastika long before the Nazis did so I have no doubt of the authenticity of the images above.

The "Roman" salute is generally said to have been invented by Mussolini but Musso was a Marxist who knew Lenin well so it is perfectly reasonable to believe that Stalin was influenced by Musso's ideas for a while.

Update:

It appears that the posters above come from a documentary film called Soviet Story. See here. The film has had a lot of praise from people who should know so I think that vouches pretty well for the authenticity of the posters. I would like to get dates for them, though -- and where they were first used. Academic caution and all that -- though a lot of academics these days are anything but cautious in their pronouncements.

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The old days weren't so bad

There is a fascinating video here showing that an experienced Morse code operator can transmit a message faster than someone using text messaging. It certainly gives old guys like me a bit of a fillip as the Morse telegraph was invented before I was born -- and I DID on occasions send telegrams in the old days. I must say that I still find Morse transmissions rather eerie. It is hard to believe that human beings do it. The manual dexterity involved seems to beat even playing the harpsichord. And yet lots of people did it in the old days. Those rapid bleeps were normal once. I am quite pleased that those skills have not been totally lost. I guess it is just a hobby these days. When I was a kid we were all taught one tiny bit of Morse: The Help signal. People still understand the expression SOS to this day but how many know that SOS is a call for urgent help because it is very simple to remember and transmit in Morse? Not many young people, I'll warrant.

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The military shows who it prefers: GWB or Obama

I guess most readers here have seen this striking video by now but, if not, here it is:



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Pain Iran Can Believe In

Diplomacy has no chance without tougher energy sanctions

As a general rule, economic sanctions are a poor foreign policy instrument: hard to enforce (think Burma), prone to corruption (think Oil for Food), rarely effective (think Cuba). But in the case of Iran, let's make an exception.

We say this after five years of futile diplomatic efforts -- spearheaded by the Europeans and backed by the Bush Administration -- to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear programs and comply with binding U.N. Security Council resolutions. Now the only thing standing between the mullahs and a bomb is either punitive sanctions or a military strike, probably Israeli, which could engulf the Middle East in a regional war. Which option do you prefer?

So here's a fact: Despite being a leading oil exporter, Iran imports roughly 40% of its gasoline because it lacks adequate domestic refining capacity. Any cut-off in supply would do immediate damage to the fragile Iranian economy and could bring about social unrest, as happened in 2007 after the regime imposed gasoline rations. Here's another fact: Iran is supplied with gasoline by a mere handful of foreign companies, all of which do substantial business in the United States.

Final fact: There is a growing bipartisan consensus in favor of gasoline sanctions. As candidate Barack Obama put it in the second Presidential debate last October, "If we can prevent [Iran] from importing the gasoline they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis [about the advantages of a nuclear arsenal], that starts putting the squeeze on them."

More HERE

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

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

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

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25 March, 2009

Secret document leaked: The Obama administration is branding libertarians and abortion opponents as hidden terrorists

Even the ACLU is opposing this Gestapo-like effort

Do you like Ron Paul or oppose abortion? You may be a member of a militia, according to a new report by a government information collection agency. If you're an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or a certain Republican member of Congress, if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group.

That's according to "The Modern Militia Movement," a report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), a government collective that identifies the warning signs of potential domestic terrorists for law enforcement communities. "Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia activity has been created," the Feb. 20 report reads. "Unemployment rates are high, as well as costs of living expenses. Additionally, President Elect Barrack [sic] Obama is seen as tight on gun control and many extremists fear that he will enact firearms confiscations."

MIAC is one of 58 so-called "fusion centers" nationwide that were created by the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to collect local intelligence that authorities can use to combat terrorism and related criminal activities. More than $254 million from fiscal years 2004-2007 went to state and local governments to support the fusion centers, according to the DHS Web site.

During a press conference last week in Kansas City, Mo., DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called fusion centers the "centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing" in the future. "Let us not forget the reason we are here, the reason we have the Department of Homeland Security and the reason we now have fusion centers, which is a relatively new concept, is because we did not have the capacity as a country to connect the dots on isolated bits of intelligence prior to 9/11," Napolitano said, according to a DHS transcript.

"That's why we started this.... Now we know that it's not just the 9/11-type incidents but many, many other types of incidents that we can benefit from having fusion centers that share information and product and analysis upwards and horizontally."

But some say the fusion centers are going too far in whom they identify as potential threats to American security. People who supported former third-party presidential candidates like Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr are cited in the report, in addition to anti-abortion activists and conspiracy theorists who believe the United States, Mexico and Canada will someday form a North American Union.

"Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups," the report reads. "It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material." Other potential signals of militia involvement, according to the report, are possession of the Gagsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag or the widely available anti-income tax film "America: Freedom to Fascism."

Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, told FOXNews.com that he's taking steps to get his name removed from the report, which he said could actually "dilute the effectiveness" of law enforcement agencies. "It can subject people to unwarranted and inappropriate monitoring by the government," he said. "If I were the governor of Missouri, I'd be concerned that law enforcement agencies are wasting their time and effort on such nonsense." ...

Michael German, national security policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the report "crosses the line" and shows a disregard for civil liberties. "It seems to implicate people who are engaging in First Amendment protected activities and suggest that something as innocuous as supporting a political candidate for office would mean that you're harboring some ill-intent," German told FOXNews.com. "It's completely inappropriate."

German, who claims the number of fusion centers nationwide is closer to 70 said the centers present several troubling concerns, including their excessive secrecy, ambiguous lines of authority, the use of data mining and military participation. "No two are alike," German said. "And these things are expanding rapidly." ....

ACLU officials blasted a Texas fusion center last month for distributing a "Prevention Awareness Bulletin" that called on law enforcement officers to report activities of local lobbying groups, Muslim civil rights organizations and anti-war protest groups.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE



There is an argument here that allowing AIG to go bankrupt would have been best. I find it amazing that a Leftist government is propping up bloated capitalists instead of letting them go broke. Who are the defenders of the status quo now? I guess that protecting failures trumps hatred of the status quo. More likely the Left know how good the status quo has been to them -- even while they snarled at it.

America’s Ignorance of Her Heroes: "During a recent commercial flight from Jacksonville (Fla.) to Baltimore, a flight attendant offered free drink coupons to any of the 150 passengers who could name just one of the five Medal of Honor recipients from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Awkward moments of silence followed until one man, Navy veteran Dale Shelton of Annapolis, Maryland, spoke up and named Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith. No other passenger was able to name a recipient. The flight attendant then asked the passengers to name an American Idol winner. “The cabin lit up like a pinball machine as 43 passengers scrambled to push their attendant call button,” according to a piece by the American Forces Press Service... Which brings us to our recognition this week of National Medal of Honor Day, the significance of the award, and the necessity of honoring the heroes who wear it. In 2007, Congress designated Mar. 25 (of each year) as National Medal of Honor Day: The date coinciding with the same date in 1863 when Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton presented six Union Army soldiers with the first-ever Medals of Honor... For as Pres. Abraham Lincoln said, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure.”

Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama: "The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized—and, in some cases, clobbered—President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security. It's not unusual for Barack Obama to take a little friendly fire from the Times. But it's perhaps unprecedented for him to get hit on the same day by columnists Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd—and in the paper's lead editorial. Their critique punctuated a weekend that started with a widely circulated blog post by Paul Krugman that said the president’s yet to be announced bank rescue plan would almost certainly fail. The sentiment, coming just two months after the president was sworn in, reflects elite opinion in the Washington-New York corridor that Obama is increasingly overwhelmed, and not fully appreciative of the building tsunami of populist outrage".

Obama Hacks Off France In Latest Foreign Policy Blunder: "Someone forgot to tell Barack Obama that Jacque Chirac is no longer the President of France. We would like to think that this is a joke. Sadly, the French media is reporting as true that Barack Obama sent a letter to the President of France pledging support and friendship. His actual words were: “I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.” There’s just one problem: he sent it to the wrong guy. That’s right. Barack Obama sent the letter to the former President of France, not the present President. And Nicholas Sarkozy is not amused. As my wife said, we no longer have to worry that Obama is the anti-Christ — he’s too incompetent.

More British government computer bungling: "Security flaws have halted work on the internet database designed to hold the details of 11 million children and teenagers. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) admitted last night that it had uncovered problems in the system for shielding details of an estimated 55,000 vulnerable children. These include children who are victims of domestic violence, those in difficult adoptions or witness protection programmes and the children of the rich and famous, whose whereabouts may need to be kept secret. ContactPoint is a Ł224 million online database that contains the names, addresses, dates of birth and details of schools, GPs, social workers and support services of all 11 million people aged under 18 in England. It is intended to improve child protection. The project has been dogged by controversy since its inception in 2003 and the loss of many big databases has dented public confidence. ContactPoint was supposed to go live nationally this year but a spokeswoman for the DCSF said that the department had ordered a “pause in the ongoing data update” pending an investigation into the shielding problems."

Who's French Now?: "The voice of fiscal restraint does not normally have a Gallic accent. But in our newly upside-down world, it's the French who are warning Americans about runaway spending and false Keynesian stimulus hopes. The latest Frenchman to deconstruct Obamanomics -- after President Nicolas Sarkozy came out last week against raising taxes -- is Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank. As central bankers are wont to do, Mr. Trichet avoided criticizing U.S. policies directly. Yet the dangers of trying to spend your way to prosperity that he outlined will sound familiar to Americans. Governments, Mr. Trichet said in an interview with the Journal's Joellen Perry and Stephen Fidler published Monday, have to "reassure [their] own people that [they] have an exit strategy, to reassure households that [they] are not putting in jeopardy the situation of the children, and to reassure businesses that what is done today is not done to the detriment of their own taxation in the years to come."

Union in labor dispute with its employees: “As it helps push for legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize, the country’s fastest-growing union is engaged in its own labor dispute with employees it is seeking to lay off. The Service Employees International Union, considered the most influential union in the nation, has notified the union that represents about 220 of the SEIU’s national field staff members and organizers that it is laying off 75 of the employees. In return, the workers union, which goes by the somewhat postmodern name of the Union of Union Representatives, has filed charges of unfair labor practices against the SEIU with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers union’s leaders say that the SEIU is engaging in the same kind of practices that some businesses use: laying off workers without proper notice, contracting out work to temporary-staffing firms, banning union activities and reclassifying workers to reduce union numbers.”

Shortages are bad: “When I was a teaching assistant for introductory microeconomics, one of the main lessons I really tried to impress on the students was the wastefulness of shortages caused by price controls. Lots of issues are controversial in economics, but the wastefulness and pure social loss of shortages are not one of them. Usually the students understand this quite well. And then I read articles like this, and I despair …. When the city privatized the meters, then the price for parking went to something resembling a market-clearing rate. And what happened? Well (surprise!) there are no longer chronic shortages of parking spaces. Imagine! What’s exasperating in this article is the idea that the optimum quantity of open parking spaces is zero.”

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

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

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

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24 March, 2009

Slander of Israel by Ha'aretz

Ha'Aretz ("The Earth") is Israel's NYT -- a major Leftist paper that hates its own country. Comments below by Melanie Phillips in Britain

On his eponymous BBC TV show this morning, I listened open-mouthed as Andrew Marr invited Tory foreign affairs spokesman William Hague to express his views about the
pretty appalling looking reports coming out of Israel where members of the Israeli Defence Force who were involved in the Gaza operation have talked about effectively being told to shoot at civilians.
Hague replied:
Well those are absolutely appalling stories. There is no question about that. We don't yet know the truth of them. I think it's very important to say that. This is evidence that now has to be looked at, of course, by Israel's military investigations unit; and it is a good thing that Israel does have provision for that, for investigating these things and for bringing to book any who were responsible for behaving in such a way. But we will expect… I think across the world, we will expect Israel to deal decisively with anybody who committed such crimes. It will be very important for Israel to do that if it is to keep any moral authority in these situations in the future. So we're all appalled by that and we hope that it will be dealt with.
Of course Hague was careful to say the truth of this evidence was not yet known. But there is no evidence. So far, there is simply nothing to prove or disprove from these reports of the soldiers’ discussion carried in Ha’aretz last week, here and here -- just innuendo, rumour and hearsay, demonstrably (read the second account) wrenched out of context and refracted through the patent prejudice of the soldiers’ instructor Danny Zamir, an ultra-leftist who had previously been jailed for refusing to guard settlers at a religious ceremony and who said of the soldiers who spoke at the meeting in question that they reflected an atmosphere inside the army of ‘contempt for, and forcefulness against, the Palestinians.’

So what are these
pretty appalling looking reports
and
absolutely appalling stories?
There are precisely two charges of gratuitous killing of Palestinian civilians under allegedly explicit orders to do so. One is what even Ha’aretz made clear was an accidental killing, when two women misunderstood the evacuation route the Israeli soldiers had given them and walked into a sniper’s gunsights as a result. Moreover, the soldier who said this has subsequently admitted he didn’t see this incident – he wasn’t even in Gaza at the time – and had merely reported rumour and hearsay.

The second charge is based on a supposedly real incident in which, when an elderly woman came close to an IDF unit, an officer ordered that they shoot her because she was approaching the line and might have been a suicide bomber. The soldier relating this story did not say whether or not the woman in this story actually was shot. Indeed, since he says ‘from the description of what happened’ it would appear this was merely hearsay once again. And his interpretation was disputed by another soldier who said:
She wasn't supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn't be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn't right.
So two non-atrocity atrocities, then. What else?

Soldiers mouthing off -- in conversations of near-impenetrable incoherence – that instructions to kill everyone who remained in buildings designated as terrorist targets after the IDF had warned everyone inside to get out amounted to instructions to murder in cold blood. There cannot be an army in the world which would not issue precisely such instructions in such circumstances, where Hamas had boasted it had booby-trapped the entire area.

More HERE

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Many Arabs badly want Israeli Citizenship

While most Arab and Muslim countries consider Israel an enemy, hundreds of thousands are still eager to live here and gain Israeli citizenship. Arab groups in Israel are pressuring the state to grant citizenship to enemy citizens who marry Israeli Arab women, a move that demographers warn could swamp the Jewish state with hostile foreigners.

Professor Arnon Sofer warns that many of the so-called marriages between Israeli Arabs and foreign Muslims are pure fiction. Many Israeli Arabs claim marriage to a foreign spouse and then divorce just weeks later, he said.

The trend of bringing in foreign spouses is growing, Sofer says, and more than 16,000 foreign Muslims are living as spouses of local Muslims in the Jerusalem area alone. In the Negev, roughly 14,000 foreign spouses have entered the area, he says, creating a situation where Israel struggles to convince Jews to move in while simultaneously allowing tens and hundreds of thousands of hostile Arabs to flood the country.

In the above video, Sofer describes the situation that has resulted from Israel's demographic policies, and warns what the implications of granting citizenship to all foreign spouses could be.

SOURCE

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What The Times and AP Won’t Tell You About The UN’s homosexual Rights Resolution

By uncritically publishing an Associated Press report on the Obama administration’s decision to support a United Nations statement on “gay rights,” The New York Times once again told only part of the story — the part that suited its purposes. America’s Gay Newspaper of Record reported that unlike that old meanie, George Bush, Obama will sign what it called the “UN Gay Rights Declaration” — which supposedly does no more than call for the decriminalization of homosexual behavior.

Right from the get-go, The Times and AP got it wrong. The French-sponsored measure isn’t a declaration (which has to come out of a U.N. committee) but a statement presented at the United Nations for member-states to sign.

After noting that the statement was “endorsed by all European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries,” the paper suggested that Bush refused to sign on due to states-rights concerns. (Some states allow landlords and private employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.)

But, among its 13 provisions, the French statement “reaffirms … that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” Also, signers are committed to ending “harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Do the bans on same-sex marriage in 30 states and the federal Defense of Marriage Act constitute “discrimination” based on “sexual orientation”? Is our refusal to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military the sort of “exclusion” the statement condemns?

What’s purported to be a “declaration” calling for the decriminalization of homosexual acts, is actually far-reaching and could force changes on this nation that voters have consistently opposed. Not that you’d have know it from the AP story in The Times.

SOURCE

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Freedom to Choose

I find it curious that, when it comes to the “pro-choice” crowd, the choice is actually quite limited. Those offering alternatives to abortion are branded as religious fanatics and even as dangerous. Pregnancy resource centers which provide options other than abortion are labeled as “fake clinics.” Now, there’s even a move to eliminate the choices of medical professionals when it comes to performing abortions.

If you doubt this, witness the effort by the Obama Administration to get rid of a Health and Human Services rule that ensures the conscience rights of medical professionals as far as abortion is concerned.

As one doctor concerned about the situation noted, if physicians have no conscience rights, no one is safe from forced abortions, government-sanctioned euthanasia, and other actions hostile to life. The right to die becomes the duty to die; the right to abort becomes the requirement to abort. And the culture of our nation suffers in the process.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity for ordinary citizens to fight back against this latest instance of government intrusion. The American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYNs is asking taxpayers to make their voices heard on this issue.

If you visit the website www.freedom2care.org, you can send a message to the Department of Health and Human Services, registering your complaint as either a patient or a health care professional. You can note how you want your doctor to be free to follow principles such as the Hippocratic Oath, the Nuremberg Code, and general moral standards. Medical professionals can point out how they do not want government to restrict their freedom to practice medicine by forcing them to violate ethical standards of care.

At this time of government takeovers, a morally bankrupt government takeover of the health care industry is appalling. We can be thankful that the Freedom2Care Coalition is standing up to this over-reaching power grab by the federal government. As the coalition states, its mission is “to protect and advance the free exercise of conscience rights in health care, thereby protecting patients and upholding American ideals and law.”

One’s conscience should be considered sacred. It’s that little voice inside, placed there by the Almighty, which enables us to distinguish between right and wrong. Despite 36 years of attempted brainwashing, there are doctors today who realize that abortion violates that voice within. Let’s do our part to support these caring medical professionals who are willing to confront the pro-abortion political machine. Go to www.freedom2care.org and give voice to your convictions today.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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23 March, 2009

"Some of them masked"?



An interesting excerpt from Calgary, in Canada:
"A group of anti-racist activists held a “celebration of diversity” on the steps of city hall Saturday morning as part of efforts to overshadow the message of a white supremacist group reportedly planning a separate event later today. About 150 people, many waving anti-racist signs and some of them masked, gathered for a series of speeches and songs promoting multiculturalism."
Masked in preparation for acting violently or afraid that their fellow citizens will not like their cause? I am sure that the Ku Klux Klan would understand. So-called "anti-Fascists" are the real Fascist thugs these days.

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OBAMA’S SPEECH TO IRAN: SOUNDS CLEVER IN WASHINGTON BUT CRAVEN IN TEHRAN

By email from Barry Rubin of Israel's GLORIA CENTER

I’m not going to criticize President Barack Obama for offering an olive branch to Iran, complete with Farsi subtitles. The funny thing is that everyone seems to have forgotten that the last few presidents tried similar approaches without success. The real issue will be when Obama discovers that the fish aren’t biting or, to put it a very different way, the shark has eaten the olive branch and is chasing him out of the Gulf. It is revealing to parse, however, a couple of his lines:

--A "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement. This no doubt seems clever to White House staffers but a new beginning implies forgetting the past. The Iranian regime, based after all on ideas and events of 1400 years ago, isn’t too big on forgetting the past. In Tehran this will be interpreted as being told to forget past evil deeds of the Great Satan.

--"My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties," I believe him but what is this “full range” of issues? Iran wants to dominate Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinians; be the hegemonic power in the Gulf, wipe Israel off the map; have nuclear weapons; extend influence and promote Islamist revolution quite widely; throw U.S. and Western influence out of the region; and sponsor terrorism wherever it wishes. So how is Obama going to address that? You can talk all you want but that won’t erase real interest conflicts.

--The United States wants Iran to take its "rightful place in the community of nations…. You have that right--but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization."

This is nicely worded but it really reminds me of what former presidents Clinton and two Bushes said almost word for word. But how do Iranian leaders think when they hear this? First, perhaps we define our “rightful place” differently. If Iran just wanted to be another power in the Middle East, with no one bothering it, that goal could have been achieved easily years ago. Iran sees its rightful place as a world leader, most powerful state in the Middle East, and inspiration for a lot of Islamist regime franchises.

What we have here are two different definitions of “rightful place.” And, to the Iranian regime, what is the “rightful place” of the United States? Outside the Middle East, and standing by while Iran becomes regional hegemon and destroys Israel along with just about every other existing Arab regime except Syria, that’s where. Fine words and nice sentiments won’t erase that either.

But my favorite line is Obama telling the Iranians that force, military power, and terrorism won’t work for them. Oh, really? Well they’ve worked pretty well so far. They think America and the West is weak and fearful. Unless these factors stand up to Tehran, the Islamic regime will walk all over them. In fact, Iran has two slogans that explain its behavior: “Change!” and “Yes we can!”

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The emptiness of Obama

Not so long after castigating Senator McCain for saying that the fundamentals of the economy were okay and Governor Palin for trying to talk to the people, past the press-- Obama encouraged everyone to focus on the sound fundamentals of the economy and decided to talk to the people and past the press, by going on Leno.

But then of course originality had never been Obama's strong point. With catchy slogans and book titles raided from everyone from Jeremiah Wright to Alice Walker, and a stylized portrait stolen from an AP photograph, Obama stumbled first to fame and then to power. Two months in and it's painfully obvious even to the press that Obama is a failure.

The double standard that kept him going this long required an endless propaganda loop and infinite second chances. It demanded that the public think the best of Obama and the worst of his opponents. So when Obama talked about visiting 57 states, it was written off as a meaningless gaffe, but when Palin talked about seeing Alaska from her house, it was transformed into an ongoing taunt.

And now thanks to the wonders of the teleprompter and carefully screened questions from the press, we have a man in the White House who might be more incompetent than he is corrupt, or more corrupt than he is incompetent. With the economy stumbling further, stock in incompetence is rising, even while no other stock is.

There's no question about it, the paint is flaking, the antenna is bent and the wheels are coming off. To increasing numbers of Americans who did vote him, Obama is a nice guy who's completely out of his depth. A year in, the assessment is likely to be far worse.

Much more HERE

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TWO CONTRASTING STORIES

Heroism that the major media ignored: "The Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey, presented seven Fort Campbell soldiers with awards for their heroism in Iraq and at home. Casey said he was honored to give the medals to the soldiers, saying their actions were incredibly courageous. First Lt. Nicholas Eslinger, a West Point graduate from Oakley, Calif., was awarded the Silver Star. He was leading a patrol on foot in Samarra, Iraq, north of Baghdad, when a grenade was tossed in the middle of his platoon. "I saw the hand come over the wall and I quickly did a hop, skip and a jump and landed on my side pinning the grenade between the ground and my chest," Eslinger said. Eslinger was able to grab the grenade and toss it back over the wall, where it exploded seconds later. No soldier was killed or wounded that night"

Men die in lake because cowardly British police had a boat but no lifejackets: "Two men died today and two more were feared drowned after their boat sank just hours after they arrived for a fishing trip at a picturesque loch. The men, aged between 30 and 47, had got into difficulties in heavy fog as they returned to their campsite by boat from a pub across the loch in the early hours. A rescue operation was launched after the one man who remained on shore heard their cries for help and raised the alarm. But it took more than two hours to reach them, as rescuers waited for a boat and life jackets to arrive by road from Renfrew near Glasgow, almost 70 miles away. Police admitted that one of the reasons a rescue had not been launched earlier in another boat was because their own men at the scene and firefighters had no life jackets. Shortly after the rescue boat arrived Mr Carty and Mr Currie were discovered unconscious in the water and died shortly afterwards... The 38-year-old man who had remained on shore had been sleeping but awoke when he heard their cries for help at about 3.40am. He called the emergency services but the rescue boat did not arrive until just after 6am. Speaking at the scene, Detective Inspector Andrew Mosely said: ‘It’s not about commandeering a boat, it’s about the visibility and hazards. 'It’s not about a boat. It’s about having buoyancy aids for your staff.’ [No guts]

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ELSEWHERE

The mentally sub-normal Vice President of the United States has made yet another stupid and grossly incorrect claim. Jeff Jacoby savages it.

Airhead at work: "Former President George W. Bush is personally responsible for the current financial crisis and should give every penny of his family fortune to the American people as a result. So proclaimed financial advisor Suze Orman in an article published Friday at WWD. Ironically, the piece also pointed out that Orman didn't foresee the collapse of the financial services industry, and not only continued to recommend people buy real estate as the bubble was being pumped, but also purchased an expensive apartment in New York City close to the peak. That's probably Bush's fault, too.

Busted justice system in Britain: "The Crown Court in England and Wales is at "breaking point" after a 5 per cent rise in cases to 136,000 a year, an independent watchdog has found. As a result there are delays of several months in the hearing of serious criminal trials and the congestion is so bad that the Courts Service, the agency in charge, is spending millions of pounds converting magistrates' courts to tackle the backlog. Meanwhile, only 70 per cent of cases last year were committed for trial within 16 weeks of coming before the magistrates and the Courts Service missed its target of dealing with 78 per cent of cases within 26 weeks. Delays are worst in London and the South East. The findings by the National Audit Office were put this week to Chris Mayer, chief executive of the Courts Service, when she came before the Commons Public Accounts Committee. Edward Leigh, its chairman, who has described the system as "almost at breaking point", condemned the delays and "time-wasting" as "scandalous", adding: "Is this really a dysfunctional organisation? Can you run it properly?

Britain's decayed Foreign Office: "Our man in Havana and the staff in other embassies worldwide are supposed to be the frontline ambassadors putting the best shine on Britain’s image abroad. Back home it is a different story. A damning report has painted a picture of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as full of incompetents, “cowards” and “clones”. Films like Carlton-Browne of the FO, starring Terry-Thomas, used to portray the pin-striped failures of British diplomacy. The upper-class twits may have been replaced by a new generation of bright young ethnically diverse civil servants, but they are being ruined by inertia and ineffective leadership, according to the study. In the report, which the FCO has suppressed, management consultants mourn the “tragic” descent into mediocrity of a once fine institution, expressing disbelief at the culture that operates in the offices behind closed doors at its imposing Whitehall headquarters."

British unionists prefer the Conservatives: "Confidence in Gordon Brown has crumbled so badly that members of Unite, the country’s biggest union and one of Labour’s most generous donors, now think David Cameron would make a better prime minister. According to a poll by Populus, more than half, 52%, of Unite’s members thought Cameron was “up to the job” of leading the country, against just 42% for Brown. The poll suggests the prime minister is failing even to shore up Labour’s core vote in the recession. More Unite members still intend to vote Labour than Conservative, but this lead has plunged from 26 points at the 2005 general election to three now. Although the poll was commissioned by the Conservative party, its results will be taken seriously because it was carried out by Populus, a respected independent company. It questioned a sample of just over 1,000 Unite members earlier this month".

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

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

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

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

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22 March, 2009

Obama's Spoiled Red Herring

This week, the President waxed highly indignant that American International Group (AIG), Inc. gave out some $165 million in contractual bonuses after receiving more than one-thousand times that amount, some $173 billion, in taxpayer-guaranteed bailouts.

Unfortunately for the White House, the whole episode ultimately has unwittingly turned into a net negative for the president. It's an irony, and one that could prove quite damaging in 2010.

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney laid out the beginnings of the Great Bonus Scam just on March 15th in some detail in his piece, “Bracing for a Bailout Over Wall Street Bailouts,” writing that “The administration's sharp rebuke of the American International Group on Sunday for handing out $165 million in executive bonuses… marks the latest effort by the White House to distance itself from abuses that could feed potentially disruptive public anger.”

At first the feigned outrage was nothing more than a contrived red herring to divert and deflect public outrage over bailouts away from government that gave undeserving bailouts onto the undeserving firms that gobbled them up.

Only Mr. Obama forgot to wash the pungent scent of the herring off his hands before posturing and preening at the podium. And, instead of throwing off the trail, once the hounds were done ripping the red herring to shreds, they showed up back on the doorstep of the White House, itself.

What they discovered was the fact that the President had actually signed the legislation—the $787 billion “stimulus”—that guaranteed that the controversial contractual bonuses would be paid. What's worse was the admission by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) that he inserted the amendment at the explicit direction of Mr. Obama's Treasury.

To be fair to the President, it is possible that he still has not read the 1100-page bill that he made law. So it not altogether surprising that he is the first president to denounce his own legislation—only a month after enacting it. Bravo.

More here

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Obama Gives the GOP an Opening

By KARL ROVE

President Barack Obama and his West Wing lieutenants are playing on the world's largest stage, yet act as if no one is watching them when they contradict their campaign promises. That behavior is unwittingly giving the Republicans an opening.

For example, Team Obama thinks the president, having spent a good portion of the campaign decrying the $2.9 trillion in deficits during the Bush years, can now double the national debt held by the public in 10 years. Having condemned earmarks during the campaign, the Obama administration now believes it can wave through 8,500 of them in the omnibus-spending bill, part of the biggest spending increase since World War II.

With the Dow at 7,486 and unemployment at 8.1%, Mr. Obama says the economy is fundamentally sound. Does he suppose the nation won't recall him attacking John McCain last September for saying the same thing -- when the Dow was at 11,000 and unemployment at 6.2%?

Candidate Obama vowed to end "the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics." Yet his administration geared up MoveOn.org to lead a left-wing coalition to pressure Republicans and centrist Democrats, organized a daily conference call to coordinate liberal attack dogs, and strategized with Americans United for Change on ads depicting the GOP as the party of "no."

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster. Email the author at Karl@Rove.com or visit him on the web at Rove.com.

Rather than working with Republicans on the budget, the administration attacked them as mindless obstructionists. Yet the administration's policies are not nearly as popular as one might suppose.

For example, the liberal Center for American Progress recently found that 61% of Americans say government spending is almost always wasteful and inefficient, and 57% think free market solutions are better than government at creating jobs and economic growth. A late February poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 61% were concerned "the federal government will spend too much money" and "drive up the budget deficit" versus 29% concerned the government "will spend too little."

These general attitudes translate into opposition to specific policy initiatives. For example, CBS found support for the stimulus bill falling to 51% in February from 63% in January. Meanwhile, opposition to more money to bail out banks rose to 53% in March from 44% in February.

This, in turn, is affecting Mr. Obama's job approval ratings, already just average for a new president. Last week's Pew poll showed Mr. Obama's approval at 59% with 26% disapproval, down from February's 64% approval and 17% disapproval. His standing on the economy is also falling: Newsweek found in January that 71% were confident Mr. Obama would be able to turn around the economy, while 26% were not. By March, his ratings had fallen to 65% confident, 33% not.

Republicans sense the opportunity. The House GOP leadership deputized the top Budget Committee Republican, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, to prepare an alternative budget. The GOP budget won't raise taxes, gets spending and debt under control, and will result in a stronger economy with more jobs. House Republicans plan a major selling effort back home during the coming recess. Minority Leader John Boehner is already up on YouTube extolling the plan.

Senate Republicans will not prepare a complete alternative, but they will offer a robust package of amendments, with a wave of proposals for each of the three weeks the upper chamber will devote to the budget. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander foreshadowed the GOP's theme by saying the Democratic budget taxes, spends and borrows too much.

Sen. Alexander is also working with Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Budget Committee Republican, on a statement of budget principles that sharpens the contrast between the two parties' approaches to America's economic future.

The GOP's challenge is winning attention for its vision. True, its megaphone isn't nearly as big as those of the White House and the Congressional Democratic majorities, and Mr. Obama still has the upper hand. Yet by discarding so much of what people found appealing in him, Mr. Obama may change that.

Every president eventually depletes his political capital. Some have done so advancing great, difficult causes. Others squander it because of missteps, and what the public views as breaches of faith. Having been president for all of eight weeks, Mr. Obama retains much residual goodwill and could still change course on the budget to reach across the aisle. But his current strategy has made him weaker than he was and weaker than he needs to be. It's turning into a costly two months for America's 44th president.

SOURCE

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The Republican Civil War

Thomas Sowell

As if it is not enough that they have been decimated by the Democrats in the past couple of elections, the Republican survivors are now turning their guns on each other. At the heart of these internal battles have been attacks on Rush Limbaugh by Republicans who imagine themselves to be so much more sophisticated because they are so much more in step with the political fashions of the time. New Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's cheap shot at Rush's program as "ugly" set off the latest round of in-fighting. That is the kind of thing that is usually said by liberals who have never listened to the program.

Regular listeners to the Rush Limbaugh program or subscribers to the Limbaugh newsletter know that both contain far more factual information and in-depth analysis than in the programs or writings of pundits with more of a ponderous tone or intellectual airs.

Why Michael Steele found it necessary to say such a thing-- except as a sop to the liberal intelligentsia-- is one of the many mysteries of the Republican Party. Steele has since apologized to Rush but you cannot unring the bell. More important, the mindset it betrays is at the heart of many of the problems of the Republican Party, going back for years, long before Michael Steele appeared on the scene.

There has long been an element of the Republican Party that has felt a need to distance themselves from people who stand up for conservative principles, whether those with principles have been Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh or whomever. The latest example is John McCain's daughter, who has said how embarrassed she is by having to explain Ann Coulter to her friends. If it wasn't for articulate conservatives like Ann Coulter, both the Republican Party and the country would be in even worse shape than they are now, for there are extremely few articulate Republican politicians who can make the case for any principle. Certainly Ms. McCain's father is not one of them.

The only time John McCain led Barack Obama in the polls last year was after Governor Sarah Palin joined the ticket. The economic collapse doomed their candidacies but McCain would have had no chance at all with another inconsistent and inarticulate Republican like himself on the ticket. Yet many in the Republican Party seem to have felt as embarrassed by Governor Palin as they have been by others who articulated principles, instead of trying to be in step with the fashions of the time-- fashions set by liberals. Maybe those Republicans who put a high value on being accepted in elite circles should be embarrassed by the narrowness of their elite friends, who disdain or demonize people whose principles they disagree with, instead of answering their arguments.

There has even been an undercurrent among some Republicans of a sense that it is time to move away from the image of Ronald Reagan, to update the party and court newer and less embarrassing segments of the voters than their current base.

There is certainly a lot to be said for inviting wider segments of the population to join you, by explaining how your principles benefit the country in general, and those segments in particular. But that is fundamentally different from abandoning your principles in hopes of attracting new votes with opportunism.

No segment of the population has lost more by the agendas of the liberal constituencies of the Democratic Party than the black population. The teachers' unions, environmental fanatics and the ACLU are just some of the groups to whose interests blacks have been sacrificed wholesale. Lousy education and high crime rates in the ghettos, and unaffordable housing elsewhere with building restrictions, are devastating prices to pay for liberalism. Yet the Republicans have never articulated that argument, and their opportunism in trying to get black votes by becoming imitation Democrats has failed miserably for decades on end.

There seemed, for an all too brief moment, that Michael Steele might have been the one to provide such much overdue articulation-- and possibly he still might, but only if he stays out of the Republican trap of trying to appease opponents by throwing supporters to the wolves.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

An interesting photo essay here about Ward Churchill, showing who the real "Little Eichmanns" are.

Obama sending America deep into the red for a long time: "President Barack Obama's budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month. The Congressional Budget Office figures, obtained by The Associated Press Friday, predict Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That's $2.3 trillion worse than the White House predicted in its budget. Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level. The latest figures, even worse than expected by top Democrats, throw a major monkey wrench into efforts to enact Obama's budget, which promises universal health care for all and higher spending for domestic programs like education and research into renewable energy"

Iran's Axis of Nuclear Evil: "While President Obama's unanticipated Nowruz holiday greeting to Iran generated considerable press attention, his video wasn't really this week's big news related to the Islamic Republic. Far more important was that a senior defector -- Iran's former Deputy Minister of Defense Ali Reza Asghari -- disclosed Tehran's financing of Syria's nuclear weapons program. That program's centerpiece was a North Korean nuclear reactor in Syria. Israel destroyed it in September 2007. At this point, it is impossible to ignore Iran's active efforts to expand, improve and conceal its nuclear weapons program in Syria while it pretends to "negotiate" with Britain, France and Germany (the "EU-3"). No amount of video messages will change this reality. The question is whether this new information about Iran will sink in, or if Washington will continue to turn a blind eye toward Iran's nuclear deceptions."

Webster's dictionary redefines 'marriage': "One of the nation's most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term "marriage" should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition. The new definition references "marriage" as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife. But the definition also includes "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage."

Germany preparing to quit Durban II: Germany appears to be preparing to ditch the Durban II anti-racism conference for being an attack on Israel. A spokesman for German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, however, that Germany wants joint European action as well. That may come this week, after foreign ministers have a chance to review a revised conference resolution due to be distributed late Monday or Tuesday. Sources at the chancellery confirmed to JTA that Germany was on the verge of dropping its effort to influence the draft resolution. The Durban Review Conference is scheduled to take place at the end of April in Geneva. Steinmeier said Monday in Brussels that he would call for a joint European Union withdrawal from the event if the resolution document retains its one-sided critique of the Middle East conflict, the German Foreign Ministry spokesperson told JTA in a telephone interview from Belgium."

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

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

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

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

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21 March, 2009

Firefox

Readers of this blog seem to be great Firefox users. Only 34% use IE, according to my tracker. I myself have always used IE on the grounds that around three quarters of all internet users do so and I like to see my pages as others see them. Additionally, when someone complains that one of my pages looks funny, I always say "You must be a Firefox user" -- and that mostly hits the target.

Both IE and Firefox have their advantages but one big disadvantage of Firefox is that it handles out-of-range sizes very erratically. If I upload a graphic or some such that is too big for the space allowed, Firefox does strange things, whereas IE mostly handles that problem seamlessly -- by expanding the space or some such. And when I goof in that way is when I get complaints from Firefox users.

I have however been having a lot of trouble with IE7 lately. It keeps freezing up my screen. I have done all the things that MS recommends to solve the problem, including a big virus check, but the problem has persisted. So I have just changed to Firefox -- and the freezeup problem has vanished!

One thing I found very soon after loading Firefox was however something that was both no surprise and yet also very vexing. I found that the sidebar in most of my blogs was empty. Why? The usual problem. I had put a graphic there (the Israeli flag) that was too big for the space allocated. As an IE user, I had never realized that was a problem. So I have now loaded a smaller version of the graphic and all my sidebars should once again be "live". I hope that they are also worth reading.

I now run the risk that some things which look OK in Firefox will look funny in IE. So if that happens, please tell me. I noted that sort of thing when I was an IE user looking at a blog done by a Firefox user. You can't win 'em all!

For the record, there are a lot of Firefox features that I love and I expect that I will eventually find my way around some other features that bug me.




Who am I?

I was born in a small city of a large country but I eventually made my home in one of the great cities of that country.

I was not my father's only child. He fathered several children with numerous women.

I became very close to my mother, as my father showed little interest in me.. My mother died at an early age from cancer.

Later in life, questions arose over my real name. My birth records were sketchy and no one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.

I grew up practicing one faith but converted to another that suited my purposes better

I practiced non-traditional beliefs & didn't follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.

I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them.

That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and I embarked on a new career.

I wrote a book about my struggles growing up. It was clear to those who read my memoirs that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.

I became active in local politics in my 30's then with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40's. They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything. That reinforced my conceit.

I had a virtually non-existent resume, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization. Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks..

I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances.. This bolstered my ego.

At first, my political campaign focused on my country's foreign policy. I was very critical of my country in the last war and seized every opportunity to bash the rulers of my country.

But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the country's economy. I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better and every poor person would suddenly be well-off

I knew which group was responsible for getting us into a mess. It was the free market, banks & corporations. I decided to start making citizens hate them and if they were envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.

I called mine "A People's Campaign" and that sounded good to all people.

I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics & was able to gain widespread popular support.

I knew that, if I merely offered the people 'hope', together we could change our country and the world.

So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor and ignorant. My true views were not widely known & I needed to keep them unknown, until after I became my nation's leader.

I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with.

I'm glad they didn't. Then I became one of the the most powerful men in the world. And the world learned the truth. Who am I?

ADOLF HITLER (Whom were you thinking of?)

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

A good point from Taranto

WDSU-TV reports that a group styling itself Citizens For Accountability and Transparency in Government has filed a recall petition against Stacy Head, a New Orleans city councilman. The station quotes the group's head:
"This is a majority black district, and we think that it should have black representation," said Malcolm Suber, who is leading the recall petition. "And if it is going to be a white representative, they should be sensitive to the black community, and she is not . . . She is opposed to the interests of the black community, and again I think she's a racist."
So, just to sum up, Suber's complaints about Head are as follows: 1) She's the wrong color. 2) She's racially prejudiced.

Would it be insensitive to employ the old idiom about the pot and the kettle?

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

It's only just that he who pays the piper should call the tune: " Swept up by a wave of populist economic anger, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to slap a 90 per cent tax on bonuses at bailed-out firms like insurer AIG. The Democratic majority rallied a large swath of President Barack Obama's Republican critics as lawmakers voted 328-93 for the legislation and the furor raised the political heat on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. But the White House's allies failed to win enough support for a non-binding resolution commending the Obama administration for its handling of American International Group, a newly potent political symbol of reckless greed. AIG, alive only thanks to $US170 billion in government rescue money, dished out $US165 million in bonuses to top executives, including some in the division blamed for putting the once mighty insurer on life support. "We want our money back, and we want our money back now," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during the often bitter debate. "Here's one way to get it." The 90 per cent tax, written with AIG in mind, would apply to employees whose total annual pay exceeded $US250,000 at firms that received more than $US5 billion in government rescue funds."

More freedom of information? “‘A presumption of openness,’ is now supposed to guide federal agencies’ responses to Freedom of Information Act requests. Attorney General Eric Holder today sent a memo to agency heads that reverses FOIA guidelines that have been in place since Oct. 12, 2001. The Bush-era presumption, established by then-attorney general John Ashcroft, was that agencies should first assume that information should not be released — and put most of the burden on the requester to prove otherwise.”

Bayh and the Blue Dogs: “We knew center-right Democrats in the Senate were planning a Blue Dog-like caucus for the upper chamber, and today, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) made it official. Bayh gave an exclusive to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — no one seemed to appreciate the irony of Bayh making the announcement on the show of a former far-right Republican congressman, who’s been making ridiculous attacks on Democrats — to talk about his new group. … Bayh made it sound as if this group expects, in effect, to dictate the entire public policy agenda of the U.S. government for the next year in a half. They want to work the White House, Senate leadership, and committee chairs, but made it clear that this nameless ‘centrist’ caucus believes it will make or break any and all legislation. Who’s in this caucus? Bayh said some of the names are secret. Seriously.”

UK: Shopkeeper takes on litter louts: “A Gloucestershire shopkeeper has cut litter in her village by 40% by writing children’s names on their sweet wrappers. Yvonne Froud, 52, marks each wrapper, crisp packet and drinks container with the name of the buyer using an indelible marker. Litter louts who drop their rubbish are shown the evidence and temporarily banned from her shop or told to go on a litter-pick. … The two-week scheme has been so successful Ms Fround says she might extend it to adult shoppers at her post office and stores in Joys Green.”

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

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

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

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

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20 March, 2009

Some thoughts inspired by St Pat's day

I have often noted -- particularly on my personal blog -- how frequently these days in Australia one sees Eurasian couples about the place. Smart little Asian ladies seem to be very good at catching big burly Caucasian men. It is also such a phenomenon in American college life (particularly the Ivies, I believe) that Caucasian college women have a name for it: Yellow fever. They get a bit burnt up about how so many of the big men have an Asian lady on their arm -- to the exclusion of the Caucasian women.

And it happens a lot in my personal environment too. An Asian lady attached to a big Caucasian man is common. Even my 6' tall and well-built son has a lady of Han ancestry in his life. And the lady in my life -- Anne -- has a nephew who recently married a Korean lady. I went to the wedding. And two of my old friends now live in China with their Chinese wives, etc.

Now the gap between Asian language and culture and Anglo culture is so wide that the pairing concerned is rather surprising. Though I approve of it thoroughly. The Asian ladies bring excellent qualities to such unions, in my opinion.

What tends to be forgotten is that we have been there before. There has long been great hostility between the English and the Irish. The Irish hate the English and the English despise the Irish. But: Guess what? The rate of intermarriage between the English and the Irish has long been phenomenal. Particularly in Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand, there must be few people of predominantly English ancestry who do not also have some Irish in their ancestry. I certainly do.

And it even happens in England itself. I mentioned recently that I knew of a lady with the wonderfully Irish name of Concepta Finnegan. But the reason I know of her is that she has recently married into a wealthy English family with the family seat near Cambridge! I am sure she is far from alone.

I am inclined to think that it is mostly an example of "opposites attract". I suspect that it serves to create hybrid vigour. But that is a very large topic so I will content myself with just noting the phenomenon.

Just one more small note about that, though. When I was a young guy, we all used to think that the Catholic girls were best in bed -- because they thought it was a sin so got into it more! And I still have some happy memories about that! So Irish Catholicism could explain a lot!

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ELSEWHERE

More Obama destructiveness: "When the U.S. closed the southern border to Mexican trucking last week -- in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- Mexico promised to retaliate. Yesterday it did, releasing a list of 89 U.S. products that will face new tariffs of 10% to 45%. Mexico's decision wasn't taken lightly. Since 1995, three successive Mexican administrations have worked to get the U.S. to respect its Nafta obligation of allowing long-haul trucks across the border. In 2007 the two countries agreed to a pilot program that permitted a limited number of Mexican carriers into the U.S. under rigid safety regulations. After 18 months that program proved that Mexican carriers are as safe as their U.S. counterparts. That was bad news for the anti-competition Teamsters union, and last week it got Congress to kill the pilot program. Yesterday Mexico fired back. Trade wars are never pretty. But given the downturn in demand that already exists in the U.S. economy, this one could be ugly, and dangerous. Mexico is the U.S.'s third largest trading partner and the new tariffs will affect some $2.4 billion in goods across 40 states. California, an important supplier of fresh fruits, dried fruits and nuts to Mexico, will be hit hard."

Markets rally as Fed cranks up the printing press : "Financial markets did a dramatic 180-degree turn Wednesday, with stock markets erasing losses to surge higher, the U.S. dollar plunging, bond yields tumbling and gold soaring after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would crank its printing press into higher gear in an all-out effort to revive credit markets and thwart deflation. The U.S. Federal Reserve said it would buy up to US$300-billion worth of longer-term treasury bonds over the next six months, wading into the market to buy up government paper for the first time since the 1960s, and expand an existing program to buy mortgage-related securities by another US$850-billion to US$1.45-trillion this year."

West Bank: Israelis round up Hamas political leaders : ""Israeli soldiers rounded up at least seven of the Islamic militant group's political leaders in the West Bank in a pre-dawn arrest sweep Thursday, Hamas officials and relatives said. The detentions come after the failure of recent efforts to win the release of an Israeli soldier Hamas is holding in Gaza. . Israel has detained dozens of Hamas politicians in the West Bank on various occasions since the capture of Sgt. Gilad Schalit, 22, in a cross-border raid in June 2006. The detainees in this latest raid include Nasser Shaer, a former Palestinian deputy prime minister, and several Hamas lawmakers, Hamas officials and relatives said."

Pentagon to phase out "stop loss" at last: "The military will phase out its 'stop loss' program, the contentious practice of holding troops beyond the end of their enlistments, for all but extraordinary situations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday. Instead, the military will use incentives programs to encourage personnel to extend their service."

Obama drops plan to bill veterans' private insurers : "President Obama yesterday abandoned a proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment at VA hospitals of combat-related injuries amid an outcry over the measure from veterans' service organizations and members of Congress. The proposal would have authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs to charge private companies for treating injuries and other medical conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that are related to military service. The measure was intended to save VA about $530 million a year, but the administration's pursuit of third-party billing sparked resistance from leaders of veterans groups, who met this week with Obama. "

How FDR promoted racial segregation: "President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a reputation as a friend of black people, yet he signed laws that promoted racial segregation throughout the United States. The laws were supposed to promote `affordable housing.' Concerns about risk were borne out during the Great Depression, when people across the United States defaulted on their mortgage loans. FDR stepped in so that more people could afford to buy their homes. On June 13, 1933, he established the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) which replaced his predecessor Herbert Hoover's Federal Home Loan Bank. HOLC spent some $3 billion refinancing mortgages for people who had trouble making their mortgage payments. In the process, HOLC promoted the long-term, self-amortizing mortgage. As many as 40 percent of HOLC-financed properties ended up in foreclosure. In an effort to minimize risks, HOLC developed more formal, consistent methods for assessing properties. HOLC rated properties and neighborhoods on a descending scale from most desirable to least desirable, and maps were produced to help speed-up the process of evaluating mortgage applications. Neighborhoods were marked as A (green), B (blue), C (yellow) or D (red). An "A" neighborhood was suburban with recent construction, low crime, business and professional people - a white neighborhood. A "D" neighborhood was inner city, old buildings often in need of repair, sometimes high crime - a minority neighborhood. HOLC avoided "D" neighborhoods. This was how official redlining began."

This is the Army, Mrs. Jones! : "The biting winds of change are blowing through ObamaNation. The same `volunteerism' that kept America running since the days of its founding, wiped out with the stroke of a pen, will no longer be volunteerism. It becomes forced labor and like the practice of another era, presses American citizens of all ages and creeds, unknowingly into military service. On paper, H.R. 1388 is the `Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act;' the more innocuous sounding `The Give Act,' for short. But `The Give Act' is not part of Obama's distant future for unsuspecting American citizens, because it hits the House floor tomorrow. . `The Give Act' puts tow-headed school children and silver-haired seniors in the official uniform of the new State, and encompasses every walk of life in main-street America."

Insuring disaster : "In last summer's blockbuster `The Dark Knight,' the Joker invites one of the top crime lords of Gotham City to the rundown warehouse where he has stashed his ill-gotten gains. The mobster stares in awe at the huge stack of money the arch-criminal has amassed. But a moment later, his awe turns to horror as the Joker sets the money aflame. `This town deserves a better class of criminal,' he explains. The exchange reveals the deep evil of the Joker. Unlike a common criminal, he doesn't just want to steal money from others. He wants to destroy their wealth. When Americans discovered a few weeks ago that federal officials had spent another weekend of Diet Coke-fueled all-nighters concocting yet another bailout of the American International Group, they might have been reminded of this scene. This was the fourth time since September that taxpayers had rescued AIG from collapse."

Cleaning up someone else's mess: "They were the responsible ones: thousands of service station owners and other business people across New England who made the effort to properly dispose of waste oil and antifreeze by sending it to the sprawling Beede Waste Oil Co. in Plaistow, N.H. Now they are being punished for their conscientious ways. Owners of gas stations and auto repair shops are being billed tens of thousands of dollars each to pay for the more than $65 million cleanup at the deeply contaminated Beede site. Its owners were prosecuted but don't have enough money to pay for the work. Under the federal Superfund law, aimed at cleaning up the nation's most polluted dumps, if the people or companies that made the mess can't clean it up, anyone who generated waste that wound up in a Superfund site such as Beede is responsible to pay for it - even if they broke no laws."

MO: Libertarians condemn "strategic report" as political profiling : "The Missouri Libertarian Party, the third-largest political party in the state, issued the following statement regarding a `Strategic Report' issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) on February 22nd, which became known to the public late last week: `An internal document designed for law enforcement education purposes inaccurately and dangerously implies that among the indicators of possible involvement in extremist, militant militia activity is support for the Libertarian Party. This memo and its findings are potentially dangerous to both the people of Missouri and to our system of free political speech.'"

Conspiracy theories still thriving: "The highest levels of the Obama administration are infested with members of a shadowy, elitist cabal intent on installing a one-world government that subverts the will of the American people. It sounds crazy, but that's what a group of very persistent conspiracy theorists insists, and they point to President Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, as the latest piece of evidence supporting their claims."

Let freedom do it: "Those of us who advocate freedom and capitalism run up against a difficult problem. Even though these ideas, hampered as they have always been by government intervention, have led to all the good things people say they want (wealth, justice, progress, personal liberty, etc.), they haven't got a prayer against the grandiose promises of those who prefer the alternate route of command and control. Government promises to protect us, feed us, comfort us, instruct us and make life fair. Freedom promises nothing more than the ability to pursue one's dreams as one chooses. There's no promise of utopia in such a system, but the results of leaving people free to their own devices tend to be pretty good, on balance. The utopian systems are the ones where you find the concentration camps and dungeons, despite the flowery rhetoric."

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

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

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

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19 March, 2009

Supporters of Capitalism Are Crazy, Says Harvard

In their usual projective way, Leftist psychologists, sociologists etc. have been trying for over 50 years to portray conservatives as mentally ill in some way. The article below refers to the latest such attempt. I have myself written at great length in the academic journals on claims of this sort (e.g. here and here) but the article below does such a good job of ridiculing the Leftist jerk-offs concerned that I will say no more

Last weekend, Harvard University sponsored a conference called (I am not making this up) "The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences." Its purpose was to try to figure out why, since everyone knows the current crisis amounts to a failure of the market economy, the stupid rubes continue to believe in it. The promotional literature for the conference opened with That Quotation from Alan Greenspan - the one in which he suggested that there was, after all, a "flaw" in the free market he hadn't noticed before.

Well, that does it, then! If our Soviet commissar in charge of money and interest rates says the free market doesn't work, who are you to disagree? The promotional material continues:

If the current state of the U.S. economy makes clear that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's faith in free markets was misplaced, the question remains: what was it about free markets that proved - and still continues to prove - so alluring to economists, scholars, and policy-makers alike?

Because, of course, if there's one guiding principle behind the largest government in world history, it's free markets. Ahem. This conference, we were told,

brings together leading scholars in law, economics, social psychology, and social cognition to present and discuss their research regarding the historical origins, psychological antecedents, and policy consequences of the free market mindset. Their work illustrates that the magic of the marketplace is partially an illusion based on faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches.

The speakers then spent the day, I am sure, laying out their own faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches, and studiously ignoring the Austrian School of economics.

In short, the conference was about this: Why do people still think the interaction of free individuals is a superior economic system to one directed by Harvard Ph.D.s like us? I mean, apart from the failure of central planning in every case in which it's been tried, a failure so staggering that only a blockhead could miss it, why would people cling to the idea that being herded into a collective run by the experts isn't the best way to live?

So by assuming from the outset the very thing that needs to be proven - namely, that the current state of the economy just occurred spontaneously, as the result of wicked market forces - our betters relieve themselves of the need to consider that central banking, a government-established institution, just might have had, you know, a little something to do with what happened.

George Reisman has already demonstrated the absurdity of referring to our present system as a "free-market" one. Naturally, of course, none of the participants bothered to notice that a Soviet commissar in charge of money and interest rates amounts to something like the opposite of the free market, or that the economic distortions he causes cannot, therefore, be the fault of the free market. This is exactly why, in my book Meltdown, I call the Fed "the elephant in the living room." We're not supposed to notice it, and we're supposed to pretend the damage it causes is the result of wildcat capitalism, unfettered free markets, or whatever other juvenile phrase is currently in vogue to describe the usual bogeyman.

Now I don't want to list all the paper topics at this conference, since it'd be a shame to make all of you feel stupid for having frittered away your weekend when you could have listened to, say, Stephen Marglin's paper on "How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community." Now there's a topic I haven't heard quite enough platitudes about. (If you must, you can view the whole schedule here.) You could also have heard a bunch of totally conventional polemics about how the market economy allows for "too much" pollution, when in fact a genuine free market - which, I need hardly point out, is not actually considered in any of these alleged papers - would punish polluters and bring about the internalization of so-called externalities. Murray Rothbard dealt with this matter in an extremely important article none of the participants had read.

I wonder if anyone at the conference asked questions like these:

* When Greenspan flooded the economy with newly created money and brought interest rates down to destructively low levels, thereby distorting entrepreneurial calculation as well as consumers' home-purchasing decisions, was that the fault of the free market?

* Do you think the Fed's creation of cheap credit out of thin air makes market participants more careful or less careful in how they allocate borrowed funds?

* When Alan Greenspan bailed out Long Term Capital Management in 1998, was that a "free market" phenomenon? Do you think he thereby encouraged more or less risk taking among other major market actors?

* The Financial Times spoke in 2000, in the wake of the dot-com boom, of an increasing concern that the so-called "Greenspan put" was injecting into the economy "a destructive tendency toward excessively risky investment supported by hopes that the Fed will help if things go bad." "All the insane dot-com investment we've seen, all this destruction of capital, all the crazy excesses of the past few years wouldn't have happened without the easy credit accommodated by the Fed," added financial consultant Michael Belkin. Did the free market cause that?

* Do lending standards decline for no particular reason, or could this phenomenon have a teensy weensy bit to do with (a) government regulation aimed at increasing "homeownership" and (b) loose monetary policy by the Fed? (When the banks get the additional reserves the Fed creates, they naturally want to lend it out - and in order to do so, they wind up lending it to people they either have or would have rejected previously. As I show in Meltdown, the phenomenon of lax lending standards in the wake of an inflationary boom by a central bank is traceable all the way to the 19th century. There is nothing even slightly unexpected - or market-driven - about it.)

Questions like these could go on and on. Not one, you can be certain, was raised at this conference.

Now if you really wanted to sponsor an event whose purpose was to try to understand why people believe inane things that have been falsified by reality, you'd do much better to hold a conference on socialism, or on Keynes and his school. It would be fascinating to learn the psychological motivation behind the persistence of Keynesian economics, whose popular version is a nonfalsifiable, ersatz religion....

People who believe in the market economy support a social order in which free individuals make voluntary contracts with each other, and no one can initiate physical force against anyone else. Is that vision so obviously unattractive that we have to refer its supporters for psychological evaluation?

We might instead wonder at the psychological condition of those who would denounce such a system: might they be motivated, for all their noble talk, by nothing but base envy of those with more material wealth than they, or by a pathological desire to dominate other people? I'm sure that will be covered at next year's conference.

More here

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IN THE BEGINNING.... JUST TO JOG YOUR MEMORY ABOUT WHO PROMOTED JUNK HOME LOANS

It wasn't "capitalism" or the "free market". Fannie Mae is a Federal government instrumentality. The article below by STEVEN A. HOLMES appeared in the New York Times: Thursday, September 30, 1999

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders. The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits. In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.'' Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's. ''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent. In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.

The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE



Obama's road to Fascism: ""President Obama is taking over production in the American economy. President Bush admitted to doing the same with the banking, real estate and insurance industry bailouts, proclaiming he `abandoned the free market to save the free market.' Besides being oxymoronic, he was admitting he moved from a system where people control production (capitalism) to a planned economy where government controls production (there are three main types of planned economies - fascism, socialism and communism). While refusing to similarly label his own actions, President Obama at least admits he is following what President Bush did first. I have been arguing since November that the type of planned economy we are moving toward is most like fascism, not socialism."

The NYT version of a "moderate": "Barack Obama has selected a leftist, David Hamilton, to be his first nominee for the federal bench. Hamilton is Obama's nominee for a spot on the Seventh CIrcuit Court of Appeals. Appropriately enough, Hamilton reportedly was once a former fund-raiser for the radical activist outfit ACORN, a key Obama ally. He is also a former leader of the Indiana chapter of the ACLU. Hamilton's record as a federal district judge confirms his ultra-liberalism. Recently, he invalidated a law requiring the registration of sex offenders. He also prevented enforcement of an Indiana law that required information and a waiting period before an abortion. The Seventh Circuit (the court to which Hamilton now has been nominated) found that the law in question was materially identical to a law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Casey decision. It noted that no judge in the land, other than Hamilton, has found such a law invalid since Casey was decided"

More destructive Obama-ism: It seems that not all forms of recycling are to be embraced. In a move that will greatly increase the cost of ammunition and may cause several US manufacturers to lay off workers, the Defense Department is ending a long standing practice of selling expended brass cartridges to domestic ammunition manufacturers. Instead the readily recyclable casings are to be melted down and recast for sale as scrap metal. To add insult to injury it should be noted that a scrap metal the brass will sell for substantially less than the expended casings themselves now bring!"

Israel: Netanyahu may become PM, finance minister: "Benjamin Netanyahu may take the finance minister's job himself when he becomes Israeli prime minister and forms the next government, a source close to the right-wing leader said on Tuesday. Netanyahu, facing the difficult issues of national security and the flagging economy, is in the process of forming a governing coalition after the February 10 parliamentary election. The source said Netanyahu, whose free market policies won praise from investors during his 2003-2005 tenure as finance minister, is weighing up whether to hold the post himself again or hand the job to a businessman with no political ties."

British Big Brother is watching: "The travel plans and personal details of every holidaymaker, business traveller and day-tripper who leaves Britain are to be tracked by the Government, the Daily Telegraph can disclose. Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade. Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. So-called "booze crusiers" who cross the Channel for a couple of hours to stock up on wine, beer and cigarettes will be subject to the rules. In addition, weekend sailors and sea fishermen will be caught by the system if they plan to travel to another country - or face the possibility of criminal prosecution."

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

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

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

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

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18 March, 2009

When Will Atlas Shrug?

What is the breaking point? Where will the resistance form? Heavy questions, but unavoidable in the current political climate. The productive members of society can only be pushed so far, some say. What they envision is not defiance of law or a reversal of the election. It is people’s growing disengagement from a new economic order that punishes effort and rewards envy – the creepy future that Barack Obama and the Democrats intend for us. Columnist Michelle Malkin calls that withdrawal, “going Galt.”

Malkin was the first speaker when several hundred Coloradans gathered for a free-market leadership conference in Colorado Springs on March 6-7. Her reference was to John Galt, the individualist hero of Ayn Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” She told of seeing a placard at the Denver protest rally for Obama’s stimulus bill signing that warned: “Atlas will shrug.”

So what, you ask. So in human behavior, incentives matter. People are choosers, not automatons. Mess them over enough and they’re out of here. All history proves it. “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us,” the bitter joke among Soviet factory drones, sums up collectivism’s ultimate failure wherever tried.

Of course in the 1950s, when Rand was writing her epic about a slow-spreading spontaneous strike among Americans fed up with big government, tomorrow supposedly belonged to New Soviet Man. Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II, the three champions of freedom who would prove otherwise, weren’t yet heard of.

But we’re now told that 2008, with its routine recession and its celebrity election, showed freedom is untrustworthy after all. Economic makeover via legislative intervention is the fashion fad of 2009, driven by Obama and congresssional Democrats under Pelosi and Reid. Suddenly everyone’s a socialist, crows Newsweek. Suddenly the headlines mirror “Atlas Shrugged,” laments the Wall Street Journal.

The novel -- with John Galt as capitalist superman and Dagny Taggart, Ayn Rand’s alter ego, as railroad tycoon – may not be great literature. But its message of radical self-reliance has inspired millions across the decades. And as a Coloradan, I like it that the story is set right here. “We can’t lose Colorado. It’s our last hope,” says a Taggart employee at the start. A Rocky Mountain valley is the retreat from which Galt triumphs at the end.

Retreat attendees in Colorado Springs, where Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute spoke after Malkin and “Atlas Shrugged” was assigned reading, weren’t about to unplug Galt-style from daily life in protest against wind power, national health care, and charity-choking taxes. But they took seriously the disincentive effects against wealth creation and social comity in these and other collectivist proposals. We should too.

As ever more people ride in the wagon and fewer are left to pull it, there will come a breaking point. Crowding taxation onto the highest earners and debt onto our kids, as President Obama proposes, invites collapse. Ignoring the constitution at will, as statists and the spending lobby do, breeds contempt. Ruin must result. Did the USA learn nothing from the USSR’s implosion, wondered Vladimir Putin recently.

Yes, we did. Cold War victory taught us the power of ideas. The East crumbled when the West asserted the superiority of liberty, wakened by thinkers like Hayek with his expose’ of the road to serfdom and Bastiat with his ridicule of “everyone seeking to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Also influential was Rand with her capitalist commandos. Galt and Taggart’s crusade was idea-powered. With moral truth they defeated the lies of something for nothing and freedom through coercion. Not even the government office of Morale Conditioner, censoring radio, could stop their entrepreneurial comeback. Their strike against the redistributionist guilt trip was fiction. But we can shrug it off for real. The Tea Party movement is a symptom. Colorado may again play a role.

SOURCE

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Iran-loving Jewish slime is confronted with reality -- but stays slimy

Sadly, "Judenhass" is not confined to Gentiles. There's a lot of it among Jews too

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen sparred with members of Los Angeles' Iranian Jewish community about his recent columns on Iranian Jews. JTA has the story, and the L.A. Jewish Journal has the video from the synagogue forum last Thursday night. Cohen offers his own reflections of the event in his column on Monday.

This time, after hearing from Iranian Jewish expats, he makes one concession in his rosy analysis of the status of Jews in Iran. He writes: "Just how repressive life is for Iran's Jews is impossible to know. Iran is an un-free society." He also manages to note one good thing about Israel -- because it serves to make a positive point about the government in Iran: "This is the Middle East's least undemocratic state outside Israel."

But that's as far as the good news from Cohen goes. He suggests Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is "pragmatic," describes Washington's ties with Israel as a "cozy, static regional relationship" and echoes those who have blamed the "Israel lobby" for the withdrawal of Charles "Chas" Freeman's candidacy for a senior intelligence post in the Obama administration.

Though the Times itself has endorsed that last point in its coverage of the Freeman affair, JTA's Ron Kampeas laid that myth to rest in a brilliant blogpost on March 9, a day before Freeman withdrew his name from consideration for the post, and in countless blogposts since (see Capital J, JTA's politics blog, for ongoing coverage of the Freeman affair).

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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BrookesNews Update

The Obama economy and the stock market: What gives with the markets? The recent rally did not reflect any improvement in the real economy, which is still contracting. Perhaps it is time that economic commentators took an interest in Bernanke's monetary shenanigans and how they might be influencing the markets not to mention their possible detrimental effect on future economic developments
Obama challenges the law of markets : Obama's economic policies are guaranteed to solve nothing while doing a great deal of harm to the US economy, even if Bernanke's monetary expansion works in the short term. Unfortunately, it is far easier to state an economic fallacy than it is to refute one. This is why refutations tend to be rather lengthy
Christian socialism: an oxymoronic doctrine: Christian socialists are just as ignorant and as bigoted as secular socialists when it comes to the market place and capitalism. To read this lot you would think the world was on the verge of destruction and that the 'exploited' masses are clothed in rags. Fortunately Obama has arrived to save the day
Booms and busts are like whiskey and gunpowder : The Fed raised interest rates and flooded the market with dollars 80 years ago, and caused the great depression. It did the same thing between 1995 and 2000, by increasing the money supply 52 percent, which caused the 'dot com' bubble to burst. The Fed's lowering interest rates eleven times to help us out of the dot com bubble, started the housing bubble. And as is par for the course the free market gets the blame for the consequences of the Fed's gross monetary mismanagement
Recession and Recovery: Six Fundamental Errors of the Current Orthodoxy : The Obama administration's ambitious plans for government action on many fronts fill vulgar Keynesians with hope that a Great Leap Forward is now beginning in which huge increases in government spending, debt, regulations and monetary expansion will transform the US economy into a Statists paradise. It ain't going to happen
Has illegal immigration and its effect on education become the "third rail of politics?" : The Democrats implicit support for illegal immigration and a corrupt media's vicious demonization of anyone who raises the issue has had catastrophic consequences for California. The idea that open borders promote growth and harmony has been exposed as a sick joke
Democrats fiddle while America burns : While the Obama administration blunders on the investment drops, unemployment rises, allies are insulted, foreign affairs goes to hell and America's enemies make hay while a corrupt media run interference for him. But the guy still gives great speeches

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

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

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

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

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17 March, 2009

The Cause of Poverty

by Jacob G. Hornberger

Liberals are saying that President Obama isn't really a socialist because he doesn't favor complete government ownership and control of everything, which is the strict definition of socialism. Since he "only" favors massive government involvement in some things, such as education, healthcare, mail delivery, transportation, retirement, employment, airports, money, bailouts, subsidies, grants, banks, insurance companies, the stock market, occupations, the drug war, and trade restrictions and immigration controls as well as progressive income taxation and equalization of income - well, according to liberals, all that makes Obama "free enterprise" instead of socialist. I wonder what Fidel Castro, who also favors all those things, would say about that.

Lost in all this debate on whether Obama is a socialist or not is one simple but important point: It is the dead hand of government that is the cause of America's economic woes. That means that the more that Obama does to restore wealth and prosperity to America with his increases in borrowing, spending, and printing money, the worst things are going to get. The situation is akin to someone suffering from arsenic poisoning. He goes to the doctor and asks for an antidote. The doctor prescribes more arsenic.

What liberals, who purport to love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged, fail to recognize is another important point: It is the dead hand of the state that is the cause of poverty. Or to be more precise, it is massive government involvement in economic activity that prevents or inhibits a society from becoming wealthy. Call it socialism, fascism, welfare-statism, central planning, inflationism, wealth equalization, or just massive government involvement in the economy, the fact remains: the heavier the hand of government in people's pocketbooks and business activity, the poorer people will be.

Consider my hometown of Laredo, Texas. It is located adjacent to the Rio Grande. On the other side of the river sits Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. It's actually one great big metropolitan area, separated by a river. Yet, the standard of living of people in Nuevo Laredo is markedly lower than that of those living in Laredo. It's a phenomenon that one cannot help but notice the minute he crosses the border into Nuevo Laredo. People in Nuevo Laredo are a lot poorer than those in Laredo.

I'll bet that most Americans would never ask themselves that simple one-word question that they used to constantly ask when they were children, before they had it drummed out of them in those government-run schools their parents were forced to send them to: "Why?" Why are people in Nuevo Laredo significantly poorer than those in Laredo? After all, if one travels to the American city of St. Louis, he'll find that the standard of living of people in East St. Louis, Illinois, is about the same as that in St. Louis, Missouri. That city is separated by the Mississippi River rather than the Rio Grande. Could that be the difference?

No. The reason that people in Nuevo Laredo are so much poorer than people in Laredo is this: The dead hand of the state is much more prevalent in Mexico than it is in the United States. As bad as things are in the U.S. with respect to taxes, welfare, regulation, inflation, and bureaucracy, they are 1,000 times worse in Mexico. While we have Big Government in the United States, Mexicans have Mega Government.

That's the reason people are poorer in Mexico than they are in the United States. It's also the reason that people in North Korea are poorer than those in Mexico. The dead hand of the state is more prevalent in North Korea than it is in Mexico.

All this should provide a clue for liberals, who are supposedly interested in helping the poor. If one wants to raise standards of living for people, the solution is not to increase taxes, spending, borrowing, and regulation but instead to slash them, such as by abolishing the income tax and the IRS and by completely separating the economy and the state. That's the way to help the poor.

Alas, however, liberals move in precisely the opposite direction - higher taxes, borrowing, spending, welfare, regulation, bailouts, and stimulus plans. Even worse, they continue to force children into those government-run schools where they learn to memorize, regurgitate, and conform to this destructive nonsense rather than learn how to critically analyze and challenge it.

SOURCE

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The Economy: Sound After All!

As we noted here, Barack Obama has had to calibrate his position on the economy carefully to achieve a series of political goals. During the Presidential campaign, he said the economy was in dire straits and relentlessly ridiculed John McCain when McCain said the economy was "fundamentally sound." Once he took office, the situation became even graver, as Obama wanted to 1) make the sure the bar was set so low that anything that happens in the next four years will be seen as an improvement, and 2) justify a series of liberal initiatives that have nothing to do with the financial crisis, e.g., socialized medicine and a tax on carbon. ("Never let a crisis go to waste!")

But then the market went into an extended tailspin, and Obama seemed to realize--perhaps for the first time--that words can have non-electoral consequences. So he and his advisers started moderating their bleak view of the economy.

We've now come full circle, as this morning, Christina Romer, Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, agreed with McCain that the economy is "fundamentally sound." What is most interesting about this is that even the Associated Press couldn't miss the irony:
The economy is fundamentally sound despite the temporary "mess" it's in, the White House said Sunday in the kind of upbeat assessment that Barack Obama had mocked as a presidential candidate. ...

During the fall campaign, Obama relentlessly criticized his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, for declaring, "The fundamentals of our economy are strong." Obama's team painted the veteran senator as out of touch and failing to grasp the challenges facing the country.

But on Sunday, that optimistic message came from economic adviser Christina Romer. When asked during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the fundamentals of the economy were sound, she replied: "Of course they are sound."
Do you think Obama will apologize to McCain for his conduct during the campaign? No, I don't think so either.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

NY: Senate to propose "soak the rich some more" tax scheme: "Democratic leaders in the State Senate will seek income tax increases on at least some affluent New Yorkers and a sales tax increase of a quarter of 1 percent to help balance the state budget, a Senate official with knowledge of the plans said in an interview over the weekend. . The move by Senate Democrats, who have a slim majority, will significantly increase pressure on Gov. David A. Paterson, who has said he would consider raising income taxes only as a last resort and only after the Legislature had agreed to steep cuts in state spending."

Iraq: US troops to stay in insecure areas: "U.S. troops will not be removed from areas of Iraq that are not completely secure or where there is a high probability that attacks could resume after the Americans leave, Iraq's prime minister said Sunday. Nouri al-Maliki said in an interview with The Associated Press that he had told President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials that any withdrawals `must be done with our approval' and in coordination with the Iraqi government."

Obama to unveil small business proposals: "Amid misgivings over his spending blueprint, President Barack Obama has decided to provide billions of dollars in federal lending aid aimed at struggling small business owners. The broad package of measures to be announced Monday includes $730 million from the stimulus plan that will immediately reduce small-business lending fees and increase the government guarantee on some Small Business Administration loans to 90 percent. The government also will take aggressive steps to boost bank liquidity with more than $10 billion aimed at unfreezing the secondary credit market, according to officials briefed on the plan who demanded anonymity to avoid pre-empting the president's announcement."

Incredible. After $170 billion US bailout, $100 million in AIG bonuses: "Despite being bailed out with more than $170 billion from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, American International Group is preparing to pay about $100 million in bonuses to executives in the same unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year. An official in the Obama administration said yesterday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner had called AIG's government-appointed chairman, Edward M. Liddy, on Wednesday and asked that the company renegotiate the bonuses. Administration officials said they had managed to reduce some of the bonuses but had allowed most of them to go forward after the company's chief executive said AIG was contractually obligated to pay them."

Scottish independence referendum: "Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has demanded the Scottish Government ditches its planned independence referendum. Mr Scott told the SNP to drop the `independence panto' and focus on tackling the recession. At the Scottish Lib Dem conference, he branded the SNP government's planned Referendum Bill a waste of cash."

Nutty Harvard feminism: "Here is a tasty bit of circular reasoning used by a feminist from Harvard's law school, Diane Rosenfeld. Ms. Rosenfeld "teaches" a course on feminist theory. Rosenfeld went up against civil libertarian Nadine Strossen to `discuss' pornography. She says that the students really want to discuss pornography but never `have the space to do it' except, apparently, in her alleged course. She claims, `There's not a good way to talk about it, there's not a forum in which to really talk back to pornography, to the extent that we consider pornography as speech.' Of course, this is rubbish. There have been endless discussions of pornography, endless conferences, forums and debates. There is no shortage of academic article, hysterical feminist diatribes, preachy sermons and energetic defenses of the material. What could Rosenfeld mean when she says no place exists to discuss the topic? In my experience what such comments tend to mean is that the other forums are not entirely controlled by feminist ideologues."

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

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

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

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16 March, 2009

Is Rand Relevant?

Ayn Rand died more than a quarter of a century ago, yet her name appears regularly in discussions of our current economic turmoil. Pundits including Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli urge listeners to read her books, and her magnum opus, "Atlas Shrugged," is selling at a faster rate today than at any time during its 51-year history. There's a reason. In "Atlas," Rand tells the story of the U.S. economy crumbling under the weight of crushing government interventions and regulations. Meanwhile, blaming greed and the free market, Washington responds with more controls that only deepen the crisis. Sound familiar?

The novel's eerily prophetic nature is no coincidence. "If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society," Rand wrote elsewhere in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal," "you can predict its course." Economic crises and runaway government power grabs don't just happen by themselves; they are the product of the philosophical ideas prevalent in a society -- particularly its dominant moral ideas.

Why do we accept the budget-busting costs of a welfare state? Because it implements the moral ideal of self-sacrifice to the needy. Why do so few protest the endless regulatory burdens placed on businessmen? Because businessmen are pursuing their self-interest, which we have been taught is dangerous and immoral. Why did the government go on a crusade to promote "affordable housing," which meant forcing banks to make loans to unqualified home buyers? Because we believe people need to be homeowners, whether or not they can afford to pay for houses.

The message is always the same: "Selfishness is evil; sacrifice for the needs of others is good." But Rand said this message is wrong -- selfishness, rather than being evil, is a virtue. By this she did not mean exploiting others a la Bernie Madoff. Selfishness -- that is, concern with one's genuine, long-range interest -- she wrote, required a man to think, to produce, and to prosper by trading with others voluntarily to mutual benefit.

Rand also noted that only an ethic of rational selfishness can justify the pursuit of profit that is the basis of capitalism -- and that so long as self-interest is tainted by moral suspicion, the profit motive will continue to take the rap for every imaginable (or imagined) social ill and economic disaster. Just look how our present crisis has been attributed to the free market instead of government intervention -- and how proposed solutions inevitably involve yet more government intervention to rein in the pursuit of self-interest. Rand offered us a way out -- to fight for a morality of rational self-interest, and for capitalism, the system which is its expression. And that is the source of her relevance today.

Source

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Complaints about Obama, largely from establishment Democrats

A selection from Howard Fineman's even longer list of complaints from the establishment about the performance of President Obama so far:
If the establishment still has power, it is a three-sided force, churning from inside the Beltway, from Manhattan-based media and from what remains of corporate America. Much of what they are saying is contradictory, but all of it is focused on the president:

* The $787 billion stimulus, gargantuan as it was, was in fact too small and not aimed clearly enough at only immediate job-creation.

* The $275 billion home-mortgage-refinancing plan, assembled by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, is too complex and indirect.

* The president gave up the moral high ground on spending not so much with the "stim" but with the $400 billion supplemental spending bill, larded as it was with 9,000 earmarks.

* The administration is throwing good money after bad in at least two cases-the sinkhole that is Citigroup (there are many healthy banks) and General Motors (they deserve what they get).

* A willingness to give too much leeway to Congress to handle crucial details, from the stim to the vague promise to "reform" medical care without stating what costs could be cut.

* A 2010 budget that tries to do far too much, with way too rosy predictions on future revenues and growth of the economy. This led those who fear we are about to go over Niagara Falls to deride Obama as a paddler who'd rather redesign the canoe.

* A treasury secretary who has been ridiculed on "Saturday Night Live" and compared to Doogie Howser, Barney Fife and Macaulay Culkin in "Home Alone"-and those are the nice ones.

* A seeming paralysis in the face of the banking crisis: unwilling to nationalize banks, yet unable to figure out how to handle toxic assets in another way-by, say, setting up a "bad bank" catch basin.
Hey, give the guy a break. After all, this is really the professor's first real job besides conducting cool classes with break-out discussions and some real sharing of feelings and whatever.

Source

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The Boy President

President Obama's performance in his first months in office has reinforced my belief that it would be a big mistake to elect a boy to do a man's (or woman's) job.

Note to the politically correct language police: I am very much aware that "Boy" was long a racist, insulting, demeaning term used, especially in the South, to refer to black men. I do not choose to use that term in reference to President Obama because of his race but because of his callow youthfulness. Not his youthfulness per se - John Kennedy was even younger when he was elected, but he was no boy - but his unseasoned, callow youthfulness.
callow, adj., Lacking adult maturity or experience; immature....
Obama is like a normally sober and well-behaved little boy left unattended by adults (there being few of those in Congress, and even fewer among his governing party) in a candy store - our candy store, the treasury where all our goodies are stored. Faced with so many tempting treats that he is unable to decide which to eat first, he rushes from this jar to that in a mad effort to devour as much as he can before someone makes him stop, knocking over many jars in the process but oblivious to the waste caused by his haste. His appetite is matched only by his overweening faith in his own abilities, another conceit of untempered youth, a quality nicely captured today by George Will:
The president's confidence in his capacities is undermining confidence in his judgment. His way of correcting what he called the Bush administration's "misplaced priorities" has been to have no priorities. Mature political leaders know that to govern is to choose - to choose what to do and thereby to choose what cannot be done. The administration insists that it really does have a single priority: Everything depends on fixing the economy. But it also says that everything depends on everything: Economic revival requires enactment of the entire liberal wish list of recent decades.
Obama, in short, is acting as though he believes that he must cram as much as he possibly can, and then some, down his (and by extension, our) throat right away, because sooner or later the adults will surely come in and insist on a balanced budget diet, delaying the gratification of dessert until after we've eaten our vegetables.

Source

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Paying the Piper

[Chinese] Premier Wen Jiabao's knickers are in a bunch about his country's loans to the United States, estimated at 1 trillion.
We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S., so of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. Frankly speaking, I do have some worries.
The best case scenario, I think, would be for China to stop buying the US Treasury bonds that we use to fund our day-to-day spending. Think about it: there would simply be no money to fund ACORN, anti-life activism, and corporate welfare. Some argue that inflation (and disaster) would be inevitable; I like Philip Klein's conclusion:
...as John H. Cochrane, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, explained in a recent article of mine, "Once you have a flight from U.S. government debt, there's nothing the Fed can do about it...If people don't want more U.S. Treasury debt, then the Fed is out of ammunition."
Either way, Jiabao's words were a good kick in the tush for our spendthrift leaders. I'm all for even more international pressure.

Source

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ELSEWHERE

A list of some of the promises that Obama has broken already

The jocular Bob McCarty says that it's Time to Stop Celebrating Cinco De Mayo and celebrate the CINCO DE MUSTARD instead! (Site a bit slow to load)

Americans' Opinion of United Nations at Record Low: "The Obama administration's attempts to revamp the U.S. relationship with the United Nations comes at a time when Americans' opinion of the world body's effectiveness has dropped to an all-time low. In the latest annual Gallup poll on the subject, only 26 percent of respondents said the U.N. was doing a good job "in trying to solve the problems it has had to face." The score marks a new low point in a steady decline since 2002, when 58 percent of respondents thought the U.N. was doing a good job. This year's is also the lowest score registered by Gallup in more than half a century of tracking the issue. Gallup previously attributed the downward trend since 2002 to the U.N.'s stand on the 2003 war in Iraq, corruption and scandals including the oil-for-food affair and sexual abuse by peacekeepers in Africa. But even subsequent attempts to reform the U.N. and the departure of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006 do not appear to have checked the slide."

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

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

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

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

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

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15 March, 2009

Behind FDR's betrayal of the Jews of Europe

The role played by an anti-Jewish Jew

Sixty-five years ago this week, American Jews gathered in their synagogues to celebrate Purim, the holiday recalling how a Jewish woman used her influence with the king of Persia to save the Jewish community from Haman's planned genocide. What the Purim revelers of March 1944 did not realize, however, was that at the very moment they were reading their megillas and shaking their groggers, a senior Jewish adviser to president Franklin Roosevelt was presented with the opportunity to use his influence to help save European Jews from the Nazis.

By early 1944, millions of Jews had already been slaughtered by the modern-day Haman, but there were many more who could be rescued. The Roosevelt administration had long opposed taking special steps to save them, but in January 1944, under strong pressure from the activist Bergson Group, Congress and the Treasury Department, FDR belatedly established the War Refugee Board. Its declared purpose was to rescue refugees from the Nazis. Although given only token funding, the Board, under the leadership of Treasury lawyers John Pehle and Josiah DuBois, Jr. - both Protestants - dove into the task with passion and determination.

One of the Board's first proposals to Roosevelt was that he issue a declaration threatening to punish anyone involved in persecuting Jews, and pledging to provide havens for Jewish refugees. Pehle and DuBois felt such a declaration was needed in part because the most recent Allied statement regarding European Jewry had been so disappointing. The American, British and Soviet foreign ministers, meeting in Moscow the previous October, threatened postwar punishment for Nazi war crimes against conquered populations, but named only "French, Dutch, Belgian or Norwegian hostages... Cretan peasants... [and] the people of Poland" - with no reference to the Nazis' primary victims, the Jews.

Arthur Szyk, the famous artist and Holocaust rescue activist, remarked that the suffering of European Jewry was being "treat[ed] as a pornographical subject - you cannot discuss it in polite society." Obscuring the Jewishness of the victims made it harder to mobilize public interest in their fate - and sent a message to the Nazis that the Free World was not terribly interested in their plight.

IN CONSULTATION with treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Pehle and DuBois prepared a draft of the proposed declaration. It immediately ran into opposition. Assistant secretary of war John McCloy wanted to tone down the text to make it "less lurid." State Department officials opposed issuing the declaration at all, on the grounds that the Germans would use it as proof the Allies were fighting for the sake of the Jews. The White House, too, had objections, as Pehle discovered on the evening of March 8, 1944, when he met with Samuel Rosenman, FDR's closest Jewish adviser and a leading member of the American Jewish Committee.

Just down the road from Rosenman's office, at Washington's famous Adas Israel synagogue, the Purim holiday was getting underway. Worshipers listened to the ancient words of the Purim story, recalling how Queen Esther pleaded with King Ahasuerus to scuttle Haman's plan to slaughter the Jews. Rosenman now found himself with the opportunity to become a kind of modern-day Esther.

The problem was that Rosenman was a deeply assimilated Jew who had always been uncomfortable calling attention to Jewish concerns. For example, after the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, he warned FDR that admitting more refugees would "create a Jewish problem in the US." In 1943, he counseled Roosevelt to snub the "medieval horde" of 400 rabbis who had marched to the White House to plead for rescue. Rosenman also tried to undermine the campaign that brought about the creation of the War Refugee Board.

NOW, IN MARCH 1944, faced with the proposed presidential declaration, Rosenman had one more chance to do the right thing. But he chose otherwise. He told Pehle that he had "advised the president not to sign the declaration because of its pointed reference to Jews." According to Rosenman, such explicit references to Jews "would intensify anti-Semitism in the United States." Pehle was surprised and disappointed by Rosenman's position.

The next day - Purim - Pehle discussed the matter with assistant secretary of state Edward Stettinius, and then reported back to treasury secretary Morgenthau. It had become apparent, Pehle told Morgenthau, that Rosenman had already turned the president against their draft: Stettinius had told Pehle that Roosevelt said the wording "was too pointedly on the Jews."

Rosenman was already at work on a revised version of the declaration. Morgenthau was particularly concerned about the fate of the draft's "very strong" second paragraph, which acknowledged that the Jews were being slaughtered "solely because they were Jews." Morgenthau's worries were justified; sure enough, that key paragraph ended up on Rosenman's cutting-room floor.

Rosenman made other significant changes as well. Three of the six references to Jews were deleted. A pledge to give refugees temporary haven in America was watered down to "We shall find havens of refuge for them," without specifying the United States as a haven. Three paragraphs were added at the beginning of the statement about the German mistreatment of "Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Dutch, Danes, French, Greeks, Russians, Chinese Filipinos - and many others" - but not Jews. The plight of the Jews was pushed all the way down to the fourth paragraph.

The weakened statement was issued later that month. It was, of course, better than nothing, but it could have been much stronger. And its fate foreshadowed the obstacles the War Refugee Board would face from within the Roosevelt administration itself in trying to carry out its mission.

That this all took place on Purim is, of course, bitter irony. Both Queen Esther and Samuel Rosenman were uniquely positioned to influence the highest authority in the land to intervene on behalf of the Jews. Esther's heroic response has been enshrined for all time in the celebration of Purim. How different history might have been had Rosenman chosen to follow Esther's example.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

There is here a link to an unusual book called "Denying history". Synopsis: "Denying history" takes a bold and in-depth look at those who say the Holocaust never happened and explores the motivations behind such claims. While most commentators have dismissed the Holocaust deniers as antisemitic neo-Nazi thugs who do not deserve a response, historians Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman have immersed themselves in the minds and culture of these Holocaust "revisionists." In the process, they show how we can be certain that the Holocaust happened and, for that matter, how we can confirm any historical event. This edition is expanded with a new chapter and epilogue examining current, shockingly mainstream revisionism.

Obama's Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth: "It is simply wrong for commentators to continue to focus on President Barack Obama's high levels of popularity, and to conclude that these are indicative of high levels of public confidence in the work of his administration. Indeed, a detailed look at recent survey data shows that the opposite is most likely true. The American people are coming to express increasingly significant doubts about his initiatives, and most likely support a different agenda and different policies from those that the Obama administration has advanced. Polling data show that Mr. Obama's approval rating is dropping and is below where George W. Bush was in an analogous period in 2001.

Black Democrat had financial ties to bank she pushed bailout loot for: "Top banking regulators were taken aback last year when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation's largest black-owned banks. Waters's husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank's board until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 of its stock."

Netherlands: Seven accused of Amsterdam bomb plot: "Seven people were arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb densely populated areas in Amsterdam, Netherlands, police said Thursday. One member of the group of six men and one woman has ties to a bombing in Madrid, Spain, said Amsterdam police spokeswoman Shermain Canbamme. Late Thursday, police were still searching buildings where the arrests were made, she said. Several shopping areas and the area around a soccer stadium had been closed as a precaution."

Congress considers changing Constitution: "Following tumultuous turnovers in Illinois and New York, lawmakers yesterday asked whether it was time to change the Constitution so that voters, and not state governors, fill Senate vacancies. Appointments by governors, said Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, `are an unfortunate relic' of the first century of the nation's history when senators were picked by state legislatures."

FBI obstructs information requests: "The FBI tells two out of every three Freedom of Information Act requesters that it can't find the records they asked for - a failure rate five times higher than other major federal agencies, a private study has found. The FBI's performance results from an outdated and deliberately limited search process, according to the National Security Archive, a private group that publishes declassified government documents and files many FOIA requests."

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

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

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

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

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14 March, 2009

Obama's strange mortgage plan

President Obama and his big spenders are moving quickly, to the relief of those who are facing foreclosure on their mortgages. But the program they are offering will do nothing for those most in need. In the fine print, Obama's plan provides no relief for any homeowner whose mortgage exceeds the total value of his home. But these folks are the ones who have been conned into taking sub-prime mortgages so loaded with brokerage commissions, interest rate subsidies, bank fees and lawyer and title-company charges that the amount of the mortgage has ballooned. These high mortgage amounts, coupled with declining property values, have turned about 20 percent of American mortgages upside down, so that the debt exceeds the value of the property.

By excluding these homeowners from help, Obama is guilty of a holier-than-thou hypocrisy. Was it not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that encouraged such over-mortgaged properties? Was it not the Democrats in Congress who passed legislation urging Fannie and Freddie to weaken the standards to allow more low- and lower-middle-income families to buy homes?

How can Obama suddenly pretend to be so shocked - shocked - that about 20 percent of America's home mortgages are now worth more than the property they finance? It was the insistence of liberal Democrats that made it so. When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros demanded that Fannie and Freddie invest 42 percent of their assets in buying low- and lower-middle-income mortgages, and when his successor Andrew Cuomo raised the quota to 50 percent, what did they think would happen? When they explicitly told Fannie and Freddie not to insist on down payments in the mortgages they purchased, how did they think the purchase would be funded? Obviously, if you don't require the borrower to put money down, the full purchase price must be covered by the mortgage. To now, piously, refuse to come to the rescue of those who fell for your party's seeming generosity and bought homes on the terms it suggested is hypocritical at best.

But it is not only the over-mortgaged whom Obama will ignore, but those who have lost their jobs! If you do not make enough money such that your mortgage payments come to 31 percent of your income, you can't get your mortgage refinanced. If your income has dropped to a point where your monthly payments on your loan consume a greater part of your earnings than 31 percent, you are stuck.

So we have Obama rushing to the aid of those who have been hurt in this bad economy, but exempting from his proposed relief anyone who has lost his job and seen a cut in income or whose property values have dropped below the amount of his mortgage. In other words, he'll help anyone but those most in need.

Source

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Trading Places with China?

For years, the Communist Chinese have been the butt of American jokes for their Maoist principles and centralized government planning. They've also received scathing international criticism for their at times brutal suppression of human rights - and deservedly so. But in the years since Tiananmen Square, China has moved steadily towards a market-based economic system while America has racked up increasingly large deficits for centralized, socialist spending - with a growing percentage of our accumulating public debt held by Chinese creditors. Also, China has taken steps to improve its human rights record in recent years, while American liberties have gradually eroded under the weight of an ever-expanding federal government.

Clearly repression and communism are still the laws of the land in China, but it is worth noting how one nation waxes and the other wanes - particularly when crisis comes. Just look at the divergent approaches taken by the American and Chinese governments with respect to their economic "stimulus" plans. Like our country, China is operating under the flawed assumption that investing in additional government will somehow bring about economic revival. But, there are critical differences in these two superpowers' positioning and plans which could make the economic downturn much easier for China to manage.

Supporters of the "American approach" like point to the fact that China is ballooning its deficit from 0.4 percent to 3 percent of its national income to pay for its plan - but that argument ignores the fact that America's deficit currently stands at 12 percent of its national income. We also have an $11 trillion (and climbing) national debt - of which China was holding $681 billion prior to the most recent U.S. bailout. China, meanwhile, entered 2009 with nearly $2 trillion in foreign currency reserves.

There are also huge differences in the "meat" of the two plans. In China, the majority of the stimulus package was actually devoted to bricks and mortar. Huge chunks were also devoted to business tax breaks, and a full quarter of the package was devoted to rebuilding an area of the country devastated by the Sichuan earthquake last May. Has it worked? Few trust China's optimistic estimates of 8 percent growth in 2009, but the country's lending, spending and consumer confidence has largely stabilized.

By contrast, America has poured billions of dollars into the same failed financial institutions and government bureaucracies that conspired to create its current crisis - not surprisingly, to no avail. The first bailout failed miserably to stimulate lending or lift the Dow Jones out of its doldrums, while the second bailout resulted in another massive selloff on Wall Street over fears that it "didn't do enough to stimulate the economy." Talk about the understatement of the millennium.

While China at least pursued its flawed interventionist philosophy (it's still a communist country, remember) with a modicum of common sense, America has plunged herself deeper into big government insanity. For example, billions of dollars intended for small businesses were stripped from the final version of the "stimulus" package, which ended up as a liberal special interest goodie bag routed through the same old inefficient, unaccountable agencies.

Also, China pumped in its "stimulus" money immediately where it would have the maximum effect, whereas the U.S. approach is to engage in a protracted, multi-year federal spend fest on government programs with no immediate economic benefit.

Source

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Obama Proposals Put Six Million Jobs at Risk

By Bob McCarty

President Barack Obama will increase U.S. reliance on foreign oil by eliminating the deduction for drilling in the U.S. and put at risk up to 6 million jobs directly and indirectly reliant on the industry. That's the message being delivered to all who will hear it by official and unofficial representatives of the American Petroleum Institute, according to a recent article in Business Week.

More specifically, the magazine reported that the national trade association representing all aspects of America's oil and natural gas industry is battling President Obama's proposals to reduce the industry's tax breaks through presentations to newspaper editorial boards and visits to Washington by top oil company executives and employees, plus drop-ins by ordinary shareholders.

When contacted about the article via e-mail, API spokesperson Jane Van Ryan said editorial board visits and drop-in visits are part of API's ongoing lobbying effort and then went on to discuss the main premise of the Business Week article that deserves attention.

"It implies that various businesses and industries are very concerned about the administration's tax proposals," Van Ryan explained. "That is correct. "The oil and natural gas industry is very concerned because of the possible impact on everyone who lives and works in the U.S.," she continued. "If the administration makes the U.S. an exceedingly expensive place to do business and continues to keep the best energy resources impossible to access, the impact won't be helpful to anyone. "The energy business is global, and the companies must answer to their shareholders. Therefore, if they can get a better return on investment elsewhere, why shouldn't they reduce their investments here and go overseas?"

The result of going overseas, of course, would be that thousands of Americans would lose their jobs, billions of dollars in tax revenues would go away and the United States would become even more dependent on foreign oil and experience more market volatility.

"No one wants that to happen - certainly not the oil companies and the 6 million people who depend on them for direct and indirect jobs," Van Ryan added. "So it's fair to say that the oil companies will not merely accept these huge tax increases. Rather, they and API will try to have meaningful discussions with a variety of people in hopes of explaining what I've just said to you."

Source

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

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

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

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

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13 March, 2009

Has free trade harmed the USA?

My old and respected friend Keith Burgess Jackson says that free trade has been a disaster for the U.S. I would like to look briefly at some ways in which that is true and some ways in which it is not true.

What I imagine Keith has in mind is the peaceful and largely self-sufficient existence America had in the 50s. In Australia too the 50s are often remembered as a golden age and it was a time when Australia had extensive tariffs that blocked a lot of foreign trade. One of the attractive aspects of that era was diversity (in the non-Leftist sense, among whom it seems to mean "blacks"). Practically everything was made in the home country so there were a great variety of occupations at work and that offered a wide range of opportunities for job-seekers.

Now whole industries have crossed the ocean to China so the industrial scene is much less variegated than it was and America is heavily dependant on other countries for many important things -- not forgetting oil.

I am actually old enough to have a clear memory of the 50s and I sometimes wish that we could go back there. Life was simpler and everything was more "human". People did things rather than machines doing them. When you rang up a firm you were always answered by a person rather than some infernal answering machine which asks you to press buttons. That must seem like an impossible dream to some young people today.

The other side of the argument is however very simply expressed: lower costs. I bought myself a "3 in one" the other day (printer, scanner and photocopying machine all in one). I remember when such machines first came out that they were selling for around $900. The one I just bought cost me $29 -- and it works brilliantly. It is of course made in China to an American design. And I am mightily pleased at the increased convenience my new machine has given me.

And look at the much-reviled Wal-Mart, China's major American outlet. It has bought all sorts of goods to within the purchasing power of poorer Americans because of the low prices it asks.

So are all those low prices worthwhile? I think they are, despite my happy memories of a different past. Low prices affect us all every day, one way or another.

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INDIA

The article below is off the beaten track compared to what I usually put up but I agree with it so thoroughly that I want to share it. I have been to India three times and have often been tempted to go and live there. Instead I have several polite Indian gentlemen living with me here in Australia and I fly the flag of the Republic of India from my flagpole

In my family, dad's the travel guru. Anything you want to know, he'll tell you (or he'll find out - or he'll make something up). Like the song from the annoying ad, he's been everywhere, man. He was born in Australia, grew up in Hong Kong, went to school in Scotland, then joined the merchant navy to work on ships. If a country's got a coastline with some sort of pier attached to it, you can pretty much guarantee my dad's been there. So when one day, somewhere in the middle of a rollicking travel tale, he piped up and announced there was one country on earth that everyone should experience, I listened up.

"It's ridiculous buddy, crazy," he said. "You might love it, you might hate it. But everyone should go ..." ... to India." It probably took about 10 years from then for me to actually make it there. And dad was right.



I loved it. I hated it. I felt sheer joy, and frustrated anger. I saw sublime beauty, and indescribable filth. Everything that's good, bad (and in between) about travelling, I found in India. No one leaves the subcontinent untouched (usually physically as well as metaphorically). No one jumps on the plane out, shrugs their shoulders and goes, "Yeah, it was alright." It's a place that leeches into your bones, for good and bad reasons.

I don't usually write about single destinations, but I've felt moved to pen something about India for some time, especially since the terror attacks in Mumbai, and a little film that's got everyone talking. It seems like those attacks, the sight of all those slums, plus the worsening security situations in neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, will start to turn people off travelling to a country they'd probably be a little hesitant to visit in the first place. But don't give up on India yet.

A trip to India is not really a holiday - not in the traditional "relaxing" sense, anyway. Each day you wake up, dress, then take a moment to steel yourself before flinging open the doors and letting India back into your life. All of a sudden it's all honking horns, wandering cows, rickshaw wallahs, chai wallahs, smog, touts, open sewage, wafts of spices... And that's just the hotel lobby.

India will drive you nuts. Nothing happens the way you've been brought up to expect it should. You soon find out that everything's negotiable, and a little baksheesh will get you a long way. Strangers approach you. Hundreds of strangers. Some genuinely want to talk to you, and find out what the hell you're doing in their town, and how the hell Zaheer Khan can get Ricky Ponting out. Some want to run up and touch you as a dare from their mates. Some, if you happen to be female, will go ahead and touch you anyway. Some want to be in a photo. Some want to know your entire social and financial history within five minutes, with the intention of perhaps offloading an excess daughter. Some genuinely want to rob you, or talk you into a scam, or sell you a carpet. Your rickshaw driver will want to take you to his cousin's marble emporium.

Men urinate in side alleys. Slum-dwellers take their morning dump beside the train tracks. Everyone cleans themselves [after defecation] with a jug of water and a left hand.

The Taj Mahal will bring a tear to your eye. So will the slums. The nouveau riche flout their money with abandon. The poor beg for a piece of it. People laugh, cry, clap and cheer in movie cinemas. The stars dance ridiculously.

There are pristine beaches in Kerala, and corpse-ridden rivers in Varanasi. There are snow-capped Himalayas, and camel-riding-tourist-ridden deserts.

The food is often indescribable - mainly because you have no idea what you're eating. Old men at street carts sell snacks that would rival any Michelin-starred chef's creations. You eat with your right hand. You smear spice-laden gunk over your face as you attempt to wolf down a thali. You sip steaming fresh chai in rickety huts with men who've done so every day of their lives, and will do for the rest of them.

You talk about cricket. You talk about cricket. And you talk about cricket. And it's impossible to get bored. I've spent a month in India, and barely scratched the surface. I met people who'd been there six months and still didn't think they'd properly taken it in. I'll definitely be going back there. Hopefully, with my dad.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

US official: Obama won't cut off military aid to Israel: "U.S. President Barack Obama will not cut the billions of dollars in military aid promised to Israel, a senior U.S. administration official said Wednesday. The $30 billion in aid promised to Israel over the next decade will not be harmed by the world financial crisis, the official told Israel Radio. He spoke on condition of anonymity."

Utah, Hawaii, Wyoming top "happiness" poll: "Looking for happiness - it's family-friendly communities for some, tropical paradise or the rugged West for others. A survey of Americans' well-being, conducted by Gallup in partnership with Healthways and America's Health Insurance Plans, gives high marks to Utah, which boasts lots of outdoor recreation for its youthful population. Speaking of outdoor recreation, the islands of Hawaii took second place and Wyoming was third in the poll that rated such variables as mental, physical and economic health."

UK: Web founder's "snooping" warning: "The integrity of the internet is under threat if online 'snooping' goes unchecked, one of the web's most respected figures has told Parliament. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said browsing habits could now be monitored as if someone had put a `TV camera in one's room.' Laws must be better enforced to ensure such 'sensitive' data was not misused for commercial gain, he added. . Parliamentarians are worried about technology allowing firms to track which websites people visit and to share the information with companies for the purpose of sending what is known as `behavioural advertising.' Google has become the latest firm to launch a system to send advertisements to web users based on their online activities."

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

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

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

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

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12 March, 2009

IS OBAMA AN AUTHORITARIAN?

I wrote the article below for the Philadelphia "Bulletin" and it appeared there on 10th. I think its interest is not confined to Philadelphia, however, so I reprint it below. My many academic papers on authoritarianism can be accessed here

Among psychologists, the word "authoritarian" has a meaning quite different from how that word is used elsewhere. And thereby hangs a tale.

In normal usage, the word is most used to describe people who boss others around -- with government by dictatorship being the extreme case of authoritarianism. But psychologists use it to describe people whom one researcher summed up as "fearful toadies". There is certainly no evidence that they boss anybody around.

How come? It originates from an attempt by a Marxist-led group of psychologists to square the circle. Theodor Wiesengrund (aka Adorno) and his Leftist friends had a big problem immediately after World War II. Everybody was aware at that time that Hitler's doctrines were simply a more aggressively-pursued version of what the American Left of the day (the "Progressives") had been preaching for over half a century. In the first half of the 20th century, the enthusiastic preachers of eugenics and racism were all on the Left and Hitler had generally been in good odor among the prewar Left. He did after all call his movement "National SOCIALISM".

But that had all now become disastrous. Being associated with Hitler was now beyond the pale. So some means had to be found to dissociate the political Left from Hitler. And if you could show that Hitler was in fact a conservative so much the better. And as we all now know, Wiesengrund and his team succeeded. Most people now believe that Hitler was of the Right. So how did they do it?

They said, correctly, that Hitler was an authoritarian and produced evidence to show that conservatives were more authoritarian than the Left. But the "evidence" they produced used their own very peculiar definition of "authoritarian". It consisted of an opinion poll that used statements that were simply popular beliefs of the day -- and if you agreed with lots of such statements you were arbitrarily said to be an "authoritarian". That it would be more reasonable to describe such people simply as "agreeable" was glided over. Wiesengrund put forward Freudian-type theories to argue that even if such people were not likely to boss anyone around personally, they would support others who did. Wiesengrund never proved that but he may have been correct. It is plausible to argue that such people might well put up with ANY government of any character, whether or not they agreed with it.

So what was the point of all that? The point is that people who agreed with a lot of Wiesengrund's collection of opinion statements tended to be politically conservative! That could probably have been interpreted as showing that easy-going guys tended to be conservative but within Wiesengrund's theory it meant that authoritarians were conservative! Which is what he had set out to prove. In his mind, he had shown that the most likely supporters of Hitler and his ilk were conservatives! But note the leap of logic there. Even if we accept Wiesengrund's claim that easy-going people are authoritarian, his findings do not show that conservatives are in general authoritarian. There are disagreeable conservatives too. It is like saying that some dogs are poodles so therefore all dogs are poodles.

But anyway, Left-leaning professors loved it all. It got them off the hook as chief supporters of Hitler. And from then on, they preached it so incessantly that almost everyone now believes that Hitler can be blamed on conservatives. The historical fact that Hitler's most unrelenting enemy was a conservative -- Winston Churchill -- is quietly glided over. Freudian speculation is preferred to historical fact.

So where does Obama fit into that? Clearly, he is not a "fearful toadie", so he is not an authoritarian in Wiesengrund's sense. There are however things about him and his supporters that are interesting from a psychological viewpoint. There are a number of things which are alarming when taken together. Any one of the things that I am going to mention leads to no conclusions by itself. But when those things make a set (or a "syndrome" in medical parlance) conclusions tend to be suggested.

Let's start with the obvious: Obama comes across as a nice guy. So did Hitler. The tremendous "hold" that Hitler had on Germans is generally unexplained in textbooks but the cause of it is in fact simple. He came across to Germans as a father-figure who loved his people.

Obama gained power through a democratic election. So did Hitler. Enough people voted for him for him to win control of the German government.

Obama has support among his followers that verges on the hysterical. So did Hitler.

Obama supporters are predominant in the media. Hitler dominated the media of his day too.

Hitler wanted the government to control most things without entirely abolishing the private sector. Obama is trying to vastly expand the role of government too.

All that is just by way of introduction, however. The most troubling thing about Nazism is that it was psychopathic. It showed no awareness or right and wrong and no respect for truth versus falsehood. And that fits in perfectly with the modern Leftist doctrine that "There is no such thing as right and wrong". And Hitler did not just preach that. He carried it out. It is perhaps early days to see what Obama's ideas of right and wrong (if any) will add up to but we CAN see what his ideas of truth and falsehood are. Like clinical psychopaths, Obama is a fantasizer with no regard for the truth at all. His latest claim (on Feb. 24) that the automobile was invented in America (all schoolboys used to know that it was actually Germany) is a minor example of that but he has been fantasizing often and for a long time. Take this excerpt from 2007:
"Speaking early this month at a church in Selma, Ala., Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said: "I'm in Washington. I see what's going on. I see those powers and principalities have snuck back in there, that they're writing the energy bills and the drug laws." . . .

But not only did Obama vote for the Senate's big energy bill in 2005, he also put out a press release bragging about its provisions, and his Senate Web site carries a news article about the vote headlined, "Senate energy bill contains goodies for Illinois." . . .

On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported that an extensive search found no basis for an episode Obama recounts [in his 1995 book, "Dreams From My Father"] about a picture he ran across in Life magazine of a "black man who had tried to peel off his skin" in a failed effort to use chemicals to lighten it. Obama writes that "seeing that article was violent for me, an ambush attack." The Tribune reported: "Yet no such Life issue exists, according to historians at the magazine. No such photos, no such article. When asked about the discrepancy, Obama said in a recent interview, 'It might have been an Ebony or it might have been . . . who knows what it was?' (At the request of the Tribune, archivists at Ebony searched their catalogue of past articles, none of which matched what Obama recalled.)" . . .

As another example, consider Obama's stirring tale for the Selma audience about how he had been conceived by his parents, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham, because they had been inspired by the fervor following the "Bloody Sunday" voting rights demonstration that was commemorated March 4. "There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala.," he said, "because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Ala. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Ala."

Obama was born in 1961, and the Selma march occurred four years later, in 1965. The New York Times reported that when the senator was asked about the discrepancy later that day, he clarified: "I meant the whole civil rights movement."
He just makes things up as he goes along with no concern about the truth at all. But the silly thing about such fantasies, and the thing that brands them as psychopathic, is that they sound good only at the time. Subsequently they are easily found out as false and therefore tend to cause distrust of the speaker. The psychopath just floats along on a sea of fantasy until people eventually find him out and cut him off. And I think there are already signs that Obama's proposed solutions to America's problems are fantasies too. The "stimulus" that did not stimulate seems likely not to be the last fantasy that does not work out in reality.

So Obama has a lot in common with the Fascists of history, with his clear psychopathic tendencies being the most worrying. He is in that real-life sense an authoritarian.

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

Obama's destructive appointments

The Obama Administration currently (03/09/09) has 50 executive nominations pending before the Senate for confirmation. This includes the Timothy Geithner nomination to the International Monetary Fund. What follows is a brief look at seven of them.

Karen Gordon Mills - Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator

Karen Mills is a millionaire dilettante with a reverse Midas touch. An heir to the Tootsie Roll fortune, her experience is for the most part is in ventures that have either failed or brought mediocre results to investors. Like many Obama appointees, Ms. Mills went to Harvard. During the 2008 cycle Ms. Mills made political contributions totaling $47,100, $29,500 of which went to the Obama campaign. Ms. Mills is a member of the venture capital community which is attempting through legislation to divert funds from real small businesses to small firms largely owned by huge venture capital funds. This destroys the entire purpose of the SBA.

Gil Kerlikowske - Drug Czar

Mr. Kerlikowske is currently the Chief of Police in Seattle Washington. He has a "don't ask" policy on illegal immigration, favors stringent restrictions on private firearms ownership, has a very poor record on civil rights and to top it off feels the enforcement of some drug laws (marijuana) have a very low priority. His law enforcement skills were tested during an unnecessary Mardi Gras riot in 2001. Chief Kerlikowske pulled the police back and let them watch as one young man was killed and over 70 were injured. The city of Seattle reached a settlement with the slain man's family. Seattle agreed to pay $1,750,000 to the family and acknowledged that its police strategy had presented a public safety threat. In March of 2001, the Seattle Police Officers' Guild overwhelmingly (88%) voted no confidence in Kerlikowske.

Gary Locke - Secretary of Commerce (Third Choice)

Mr. Locke, the former governor of Washington, is a partner in a Seattle law firm practicing among other things, "corporate diversity counseling." During Locke's tenure as governor questions were raised regarding conflicts of interest stemming from the state's business dealings with his brother-in-law's company. His brother-in-law happened to be living in the executive mansion at the time. Locke also seems to have used the Buddhist temple method of campaign fundraising similar to Al Gore, collecting money from people who later didn't remember making the contributions. Locke's administration also apparently liked to keep secrets such as the details of a $3.2 billion tax break to Boeing Corporation. When his administration wasn't handing out subsidies like this tax break it was promulgating regulations such as the ergonomics standard from the state OSHA, a standard that the business community estimated would cost over $725 million per year.

Dr. Ashton B. Carter - Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

Dr. Carter of Harvard has made his reputation opposing weapons not acquiring them. His first appearance on the national scene was outspoken opposition to President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. He is another Clinton retread having served in that administration as Assistant Secretary for International Security Policy. His confirmation to that post was held up for over 6 months because he was clearly exercising the authority of his office before he was confirmed. He is currently a partner Global Technologies Partners a firm founded by former Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry. While the firm claims not to lobby it appears to advise defense contractors how to get contracts. The firm's web site brags that it "Identified a unique, classified U.S. government technology as a critical enabler for an aerospace company's growth strategy, identified a way to acquire that technology, and advised in its acquisition and integration."

Julius Genachowski - Chairman Federal Communications Commission

Little is known of Mr. Genachowski views at this time. What is known can be classified as truly bizarre. Mr. Genachowski sits of the board of an organization name Beliefnet. The organization's web site touts the belief in such things as Wicca, Unicorns, Faeries, Astrology and various other belief systems that are to say the least out of the mainstream.

Roy Kienitz - Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy

A brief analysis of data available to anyone over the internet shows that Americans choose private transportation over public transit at a rate of about 20 to 1. Mr. Roy Kienitz, President Obama's appointee for Transportation policy, has a track record of advocating anti-car policies. From 1996-2001 he worked at the Surface Transportation Policy Project, a non-profit that advocates growth that does not involve cars or infrastructure for cars, in favor of public transit, or what they call "smart growth." Under his direction, the STPP put out a paper claiming that the solution to aggressive driving is to limit how much people drive and how fast they can drive, through "smart growth" policies (including public transit and the engineering of roads to make people drive slower) and another claiming that solution to traffic congestion was not road expansion so that the greater number of people wanting to drive could do so, but public transit, since more roads simply breed more cars. He was a founding member of another organization called "Smart Growth America," that advocates similar policies.

His time in public office shows that he brings these private sector views to public service. As Secretary of Planning for the State of Maryland in 2001 he intervened in three land use proceedings in order to "support transit -oriented development": in one case, he had the state oppose the building of a Wal-mart in Kent County, because it was inconsistent with his "smart growth" policies, and in the other two he had the state government come out in favor of development in Gaithersburg and Annapolis that was centered around public transit and other forms of transportation. As deputy chief of staff to Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, he advocated placing tolls on I-80 through Pennsylvania, as well as the leasing of the PA Turnpike to a foreign company, in order to raise revenue for "roads, bridges and public transportation." It is clear that Mr Kienitz, if confirmed, will advocate public transit over maintaining and expanding the roads that Americans support as a transportation choice over 20 to 1.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2006 there were 244 million registered cars in the United States of America. According to the American Public Transportation Association in the fourth quarter of 08 there were 2,670,023 trips taken on unlinked transit. Rounding generously and assuming that this was an average quarter that comes to about 11 million transit rides in 2008. While it would seems that car registration has probably gone up since 2006, the rough figure of 244 million registered cars should serve for the purposes of this comparison. Thus, a rough comparison shows us that Americans are choosing cars 22 to 1 over public transit.

Ron Sims - Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Ron Sims has been a disaster as King County Executive. Time and again he has been told of county problems, and time and again he has ignored those warnings. He has tolerated and even praised gross incompetence and mismanagement. He has knowingly violated the law, and he has turned a blind eye as his employees refused to comply with the law. He has catered to the union fat cats and ignored the plight of the hard- working average citizens adversely impacted by his and his employees' actions.

Ron Sims seems to have the view that whatever he does is right. He was perfectly willing to trample the law to get the $1.8 billion Brightwater boondoggle built; and he was remorseless about trampling the rights of rural county residents by arbitrarily and capriciously limiting their ability to use their own land.

Ron Sims also seems to believe that county employees are uniformly doing a very good job. After the numerous problems at the medical examiner's office, the animal shelters, the elections office, and the jail, one wonders what Ron Sims thinks a firing offense looks like. Ron Sims may be a nice man, but he is one of the last who should be given control of a $39 billion budget.

SOURCE

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Freeman Withdraws as Head of National Intelligence Council

Charles Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia under attack for his Middle Eastern and Chinese ties, withdrew from consideration as chairman of the National Intelligence Council because of what he called "distortions" and "falsehoods" about his record. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, who named Freeman to the post, yesterday accepted the decision "with regret," according to a statement from his office.

Freeman was in the final stages of getting security clearance to head the council, which helps put together National Intelligence Estimates about potential threats around the world and foreign policy issues for the president and head of intelligence services.

His withdrawal was the culmination of weeks of criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers and pro- Israel lobbyists who questioned Freeman's objectivity on issues in the Middle East. Some lawmakers also questioned his views on China.

In a letter to supporters yesterday, Freeman said he withdrew because of a concerted effort by pro-Israel lobbyists to spread "libelous distortions" about his experience. "The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth," Freeman wrote.

Lawmakers who opposed his appointment were unapologetic. "His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration," Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement after the withdrawal was announced.

Republicans said they were concerned that Freeman was president of the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington- based group they said was funded by Saudi Arabia. Freeman also drew fire from critics for having been a member of the International Advisory Board of Cnooc Ltd., China's biggest offshore oil explorer.

Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the choice of Freeman was another sign that the vetting process had broken down in President Barack Obama's administration. "It calls into question the essential judgments being made," he said in a statement.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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11 March, 2009

Supreme Court Decision Against Racial Gerrymandering Hailed

Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie today hailed a new U.S. Supreme Court decision prohibiting the use of the Voting Rights Act to supercede other laws to create predominantly black voting districts, saying the decision is a new protection against the abuse of civil rights laws for potential partisan gain.

"It continues to confound me that those whose party is responsible for preventing blacks from voting until 1964 now want to illegally redefine voting districts because it serves their best interest," said Massie. "It should go without saying that creating special black voting districts - for partisan gain or otherwise - is against the spirit of civil rights."

In the case of Bartlett v. Strickland, a 5-4 decision by the Court struck down the redistricting of District 18 in North Carolina. The prevailing concern among lawmakers involved in the redistricting process after the last census was adherence to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. This requires the political process to be "open equally" to minority voters. In doing so, a state law prohibiting the division of counties to create voting districts was violated to raise the percentage of blacks of voting age in the new District 18 from 35 percent to over 39 percent. One of the affected counties challenged the North Carolina General Assembly's process.

This decision is important because it can prevent the political manipulation of voting district boundaries based on race. In his majority opinion, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: "Section 2 does not guarantee minority voters an electoral advantage."

More here

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BrookesNews Update

Obama's economic train wreck gathers speed: It's becoming increasingly clear to market players that Obama and his merry band of economic vandals are completely clueless about economics and the role of markets. These people are purely political. For them, economics is simply a matter of tax, spend and regulate. The thought that their economically and socially destructive policies could also rip the electoral ground from under them has yet to materialize
Green fanatics attack economic growth : The two great power cults of the last century were Marxism and Naziism. Between them they probably killed some 150 million people. Another power cult has now emerged and it's called green movement and it has already killed millions of Third World peasants
Obama's economic policy: the same Old New Deal : The reason the New Deal didn't work was not that government didn't do enough, but that it did too much. The economic growth and job creation that this country so sorely needs now must ultimately come from the private sector. Obama doesn't understand this nor does he care to. He a fanatical statist who is determined to massively expand the power of the state regardless of the economic consequences
Israel: Netanyahu, Carpe Diem : Obama has ordered that from now Israel's purchases from the US will be limited to defensive armaments and systems aimed at preserving its "qualitative edge" against its enemies. Can you imagine this happening to our only friend in the Middle East? In the meantime, other so-called world leaders fund terrorists who bomb Israeli schoolchildren. Perhaps they hope Islamic fanatics will finish Hitler's work
Why do Liberals rally for terror and tyranny?: Why do Liberals side with evil, failure and error? Because they have come to believe that rational and moral thought are acts of bigotry and that as "multiculturalists" all cultures are equally right and equally valid, then, in the words of Dinesh D'Souza, the multiculturalist must de facto become an apologist for tyranny
The Arab-Israel Conflict: 25 forgotten facts : As a matter of policy Arab refugees were not absorbed or integrated by the rich Arab oil states that control 99.9 per cent of the Middle East landmass. They are kept as virtual prisoners by the Arab power brokers with misplaced hatred for Jews and Western democracy. Moreover, Pan-Arabism or the doctrine of Muslim Caliphate declares that all land that used to belong to Muslims must be returned to them. Thus, Spain, for example, must eventually be re-conquered

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ELSEWHERE

The 10 Biggest Amateur Mistakes By the Obama Administration So Far : "During the 2008 presidential campaign, people speculated whether someone like Barack Obama, who has never really run anything or had any major achievements other than winning political office, could handle a three AM crisis call. Well, as it turns out, Obama has been such a bumbling incompetent that he probably couldn't handle a trip through a Wendy's drive-in window without a teleprompter telling him what to order and whether he wants a Coke or a Mountain Dew. Even though Obama has been in office less than two months, he has already made more boneheaded errors than most Presidents do in an entire term."

Oath keepers: Orders we will not obey: "We are a non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, peace officers, and veterans who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic . and meant it. Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the President, and that oath will be kept. We won't `just follow orders.' Below is our declaration of orders we will NOT obey because we will consider them unconstitutional (and thus unlawful) and immoral violations of the natural rights of the people. Such orders would be acts of war against the American people by the government and thus acts of treason. We will not make war against our own people. We will not commit treason. We will defend the Republic."

More charges for Palin hacker : "A University of Tennessee student who was indicted last year for allegedly hacking into the private e-mail account of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, is facing new charges. A federal grand jury added three charges to the one count that 21-year-old David Kernell was previously facing. Kernell was indicted in October on one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Now in addition to that charge, Kernell faces one count of identity theft for allegedly impersonating Palin to access her e-mail account; one count of wire fraud related to posting information from and about Palin's account on a web forum; and one count of obstruction of justice for destroying evidence."

Well-run banks to be ripped off: "FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair announced last week that the quasi-public insurance monopoly would become insolvent in the next few months if it is not allowed to implement a one-time, draconian surcharge on all U.S. banks. This charge will, in some cases, wipe out last year's profits. At the same time, the FDIC has requested an additional $500 billion `loan' from Congress. Small, solvent, well-run local and regional banks have objected. They rightly claim that they are not the problem. These banks have a solid and growing deposit base and many of them service their own loans and so did not get caught in the trap of originating bad loans and dumping them on the secondary mortgage market in federally-guaranteed bundles. Whether they know it or not, these banks intuit that, like Social Security, there is no FDIC `fund.'"

Obama's weak snort at pork : "Earmarks buried in a $410 billion spending bill now before Congress aren't all `pork' - spending of dubious value. And they total less than 2 percent of the bill's cost. So why would their passage be such a rite of passage for President Obama? Many Americans seem ready for Mr. Obama to veto this bill as proof he will exercise the fiscal discipline he so often promised in his campaign and continues to advocate. They already have doubts about his $787 billion stimulus bill that received scant review in Congress before being passed and is likely laced with poorly thought-out mandates to spend. These earmarks add insult to injury. When will the president stand up and say thus far and no farther to such dubious spending?"

Remember the war on drugs? : "In times of economic and political unrest, reforms that stood little chance of passage sometimes get a second look. One idea that deserves careful consideration is ending the war on drugs. Even a prosperous nation cannot afford the hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year in law enforcement outlays and losses to drug-related crime in our fruitless quest to ban recreational drugs. It's an especially foolish waste of resources in times of economic distress and high national security anxiety."

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

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

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

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10 March, 2009

PURIM

Today is the festival of Purim. Purim must be particularly significant for Jews this year. It commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.

This year another Persian empire is now posing a dire threat to Israel. The mad Mullahs of Iran now have enough fissile material to make a nuclear device and they have of course vowed to wipe Israel off the map. If I were a Jew I would go easy on the celebrations this year and do a lot of praying. Come to think of it, Purim might be a good day for an Israeli raid on the Iranian nuclear installations. Maybe I shouldn't have said that.

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Obama is not trying to solve the economic crisis. He is using the crisis to socialize America.

"Not letting a good crisis go to waste." This idea popped up multiple times in the past seven days as multiple members of Obama's administration seemed to be in total agreement. Their conclusion: by not quickly solving the crisis of the American economy, we can create drastic social and structural change. Not surprisingly, this is the path even President Obama alluded to in his Saturday address to the nation.

On Saturday the President challenged his country to see its hard times as a chance to "discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis." "That is what we can do and must do today. And I am absolutely confident that is what we will do," Obama said in his address. But is that what "we the people" hired him to do? To use "great opportunities" to change the face and fabric of the nation?

"We the People" were promised swift and effective action towards getting the markets repaired by President Obama, but they have dropped about 1400 points each week since he's taken power. "We the People" were promised greater fiscal responsibility by candidate Obama, yet his own proposals throw us down a black hole of debt, the likes of which we've never seen in a single year of an administration, much less in the first sixty days of one. "We the People" were promised the greatest commitment ever to oversight of the federal use of the money we send the government. What we've been handed is a series of embarrassing nominations of people who are willing to use the force of a gun to make you pay your taxes, but did not think twice about not paying theirs. "We the People" were told that his push for a stimulus would get people working again, yet barely 3% of it goes to actual job creation and projects that can even be initiated in the next 24 months. "We the People" were promised greater employment fulfillment and more vibrant business and economic outlooks when Obama's administration finally put together their plan to save the lending institutions. What we are dealing with is a greater spike in the unemployment numbers in Obama's first sixty days than was experienced under President Bush in his first seven years. "We the People" were promised an earmark free, pork free, bare bones budget, but as of last count Obama's omnibus bill contained 9200 earmarks.

So I don't find it surprising that recently even Obama supporters are now openly questioning his plan to revive the economy. As of last month, we know that more than 55% of the American people wanted help for the economy to come primarily through the reduction of taxes. The same poll found that only a little over 20% think more government spending was the answer.

Whoopi Goldberg surprised even herself on The View this week, unintentionally criticizing President Obama's plan to tax the American people into better economic conditions. She doesn't believe that she should have to turn around and write a check to Washington DC for nearly 40% of what she earns. Who could blame her?

Yet it is important to point out that there are now far more economists on record that have advised the President against larger government and pushed him towards tax relief, than those who supported the increased centralized control of a soft socialism that President Obama seems destined to aim for. And "We the People" should be asking ourselves why? If it makes no sense to the free market economists that populate the best economics programs across the nation, if it weakens the ability for the average family to make ends meet, and if it does not increase the number of people actually working, why is President Obama so stubbornly continuing to pursue his economically diabolical plan of destruction?

Because it's part of the master plan to "not let a good crisis go to waste." ... And in refusing to allow a "good crisis" to go to waste, the strategic move to remake Amerika anew has begun.

More here

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One government that gets it

These days, you have to travel far to find a national leader who is talking about market-based approaches to the global recession. All the way to the other side of the world. "We don't tell New Zealanders we can stop the global recession, because we can't," says Prime Minister John Key, leaning forward in his armchair at his office in the Beehive, the executive wing of New Zealand's parliament. "What we do tell them is we can use this time to transform the economy to make us stronger so that when the world starts growing again we can be running faster than other countries we compete with."

That idea -- growing a nation out of recession by improving productivity -- puts Mr. Key and his conservative National Party at odds with Washington, Tokyo and Canberra. Those capitals are rolling out billions of dollars in stimulus packages -- with taxpayers' money -- to try to prop up growth. That's "risky," Mr. Key says. "You've saddled future generations with an enormous amount of debt that then they have to repay," he explains. "There is actually a limit to what governments can do."....

Mr. Key's coalition government, which includes parties to the right and left of the Nationals, has moved fast to implement a program of tax cuts, regulatory reform and government retooling. He won't label it supply-side economics and smiles when I ask if he's a Milton Friedman or Friedrich Hayek acolyte. "I'm not deeply ideologically driven," he says. "I believe in good center right politics."

Mr. Key is returning the country to a formula for prosperity that's worked in the past. As in Britain, the U.S. and Australia in the 1980s, New Zealand's government implemented a wide-ranging program of economic liberalization, including deep reductions in tariffs and subsidies, and privatization of state-run industries. The plan, nicknamed "Rogernomics" after then-Finance Minister (now Sir) Roger Douglas, was akin to Reaganomics, and the island nation grew smartly.....

Mr. Key's program focuses first on personal income tax cuts, which -- given that the new top rate, as of April 1, will be 38% -- are still high, especially when compared to Hong Kong and Singapore. "We just think it's good tax policy to lower and flatten your tax curve," he says. "People will move in labor markets and they look at their after-tax incomes."

For now, the prime minister is focusing on chipping away entrenched regulations that drive away foreign capital -- a contrast to the U.S. and Australia, which are reregulating their markets in the wake of the financial crisis. "Good regulatory reform can be an important catalyst toward driving economic growth and coming out of the recession faster," Mr. Key says. His government is revising legislation meant to protect New Zealand's pristine environment from private-sector development but misused by greens to stymie all stripes of business plans.

More here

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Yes, We Did Plan for Mumbai-Style Attacks in the U.S.

Why the latest assault on Bush antiterror strategy could make us less safe

After 9/11, we had a responsibility to consider all possible threats. In the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes on New York City and Washington, D.C., these were hypotheticals no more. They became real scenarios for which responsible civilian and military leaders had to plan. The possibility of such attacks raised difficult, fundamental questions of constitutional law, because they might require domestic military operations against an enemy for the first time since the Civil War. Could our armed forces monitor traffic in a city where terrorists were preparing to strike, search for cells using surveillance technology, or use force against a hijacked vessel or building?

In these extraordinary circumstances, while our military put al Qaeda on the run, it was the duty of the government to plan for worst-case scenarios -- even if, thankfully, those circumstances never materialized. This was not reckless. It was prudent and responsible. While government officials worked tirelessly to prevent the next attack, lawyers, of which I was one, provided advice on unprecedented questions under the most severe time pressures.

Judging from the media coverage of Justice Department memos from those days -- released this week by the Obama administration -- this careful contingency planning amounted to a secret plot to overthrow the Constitution and strip Americans of their rights. As the New York Times has it, Bush lawyers "rush into sweeping away this country's most cherished rights." "Irresponsible," harrumphed former Clinton administration Justice Department officials.....

Imposing Fourth Amendment standards on military action would have made the Civil War unwinnable -- combat occurred wholly on U.S. territory and enemy soldiers were American citizens. The military does not have the time to obtain warrants before soldiers fire upon enemy targets and personnel; the battlefield does not provide the luxury to collect evidence needed to meet probable cause standards in civilian courts. Even if the Fourth Amendment applied, we believed that courts would judge military action under a standard of "reasonableness" -- as they might review a police officer who fires in self-defense -- rather than demand a warrant to use military force to stop a terror attack.

In releasing these memos, the Obama administration may be attempting to appease its antiwar base -- which won't bother to read the memos in full -- or trying to look good for the chattering classes. But if the administration chooses to seriously pursue those officials who were charged with preparing for the unthinkable, today's intelligence and military officials will no doubt hesitate to fully prepare for those contingencies in the future. President Obama has said he wants to "look forward" rather than "backwards." If so, he should not restore risk aversion as the guiding principle of our counterterrorism strategy.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

McCain gets it: "President Barack Obama should let failing car giants go bust rather than prop them up with public money, his former White House rival John McCain said. Mr McCain led a Republican attack on the Obama administration's bailout for motor manufacturers, saying that bankruptcy was the best option for the firms. He accused Obama of failing to make the "tough choice" and said General Motors should go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and come out better than before. "I think the best thing to let happen for GM, in my view, is to go into Chapter 11, reorganise contracts, come out of it stronger, leaner," he told Fox News Sunday."

Leftist taxes slowly destroying Britain's most profitable industry: "Brit Insurance, the patriotically named insurer best known for sponsoring the Oval cricket ground, is expected to confirm today a plan to move its headquarters out of the UK for tax reasons. The company's decision comes after months of deliberation and is based on what many see as an unfavourable corporate tax regime. It is understood that Dane Douetil, Brit's chief executive and a leading figure on the Lloyd's of London market, favours a move that keeps the company within the European Union. Brit confirmed last summer that it was looking at relocating its tax headquarters, hiring a number of advisers including Ernst & Young to examine its options, which will also take into account where it holds its capital. A number of companies have re-domiciled, or signalled such an intent, including Shire, the pharmaceuticals group, United Business Media, the business publisher, and WPP, the advertising group".

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

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

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

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

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9 March, 2009

The lesson from Canada's Israel Apartheid Week: Anti-Semitism is now a creature of the left

The writer below is perfectly correct. All he misses is that the Left (including the socialist Hitler) has been the principal home of antisemitism at least since the days of the furiously antisemitic Karl Marx. See here. There was a brief let-up in Leftist antisemitism after WWII but the dog has now returned to its vomit (Proverbs 26:11)



People speak of anti-Semitism as if it were a monolithic evil. But it's not. There are two distinct strains of Jew hatred. Unfortunately, our society is still fixated on fighting the one that went out of style four decades ago. The difference between the two begins with the way Jews are depicted. Look at the images on this page. The one on the left, a poster published in German-occupied Poland in 1941, exemplifies the Jew-hatred spouted by the Nazis. (The caption reads: "Jews and Lice: They cause typhus.") The image on the right, a poster circulated on Canadian campuses this week to mark "Israel Apartheid Week," typifies the more recent variant.

Aside from the obvious - the language and style of illustration - what crucial difference do you notice? In the Nazi poster, the Jew is a piece of filth - a rogue pathogen within gentile society. The image perfectly captures Hitler's view of Jews as a "bacillus infecting the life of peoples." Now look at the image on the right. Aside from retaining the general sense that the Jew (or, to give the fig leaf its due, "the Jewish state") is a scourge upon the world, everything has changed. The Jew is no longer diseased and wretched. Just the opposite: He is an omnipotent, teched up superman, murdering a defenseless Palestinian child from above.

In this latter detail - the use of a child victim to communicate the extent of the Jew's evil - the anti-Israeli propaganda of today is similar to the posters and textbooks of the Nazi era, which often showed shadowy Hebrews menacing German children. But the Nazis usually took care to personalize the Jew as a craggy, hook-nosed ghoul - an image meant to further the idea that Jews were so genetically inferior as to be literally inhuman. Aside from editorial cartoonists in the Arab world (many of whom faithfully copy Nazi-era stereotypes to this day), anti-Semitic propagandists of our own age typically omit the Jew's features altogether in favour of a faceless, Star-of-Zion-emblazoned tank or helicopter. As in the Nazi era, the Jew isn't fully human - but now he's an all-powerful Nazgul instead of a pitiful Gollum. What explains this radical transition in the presentation of anti-Semitic propaganda? Three factors.

The first is ideology: When the Nazis went down to defeat, they took with them the intellectual basis of "germ-theory" anti-Semitism - the toxic notion that certain races or groups are genetically inferior or parasitical. In our era, to compare Jews to leeches is to announce oneself as a bigoted creature from society's discredited fringe.

The second reason is tied up with the history of Israel itself: After the Jews established their own state in 1948, it became impossible to typecast them as mere parasites contaminating foreign hosts. This was especially true after the Six-Day War of 1967, in which Israel scored a crushing military victory against Egypt, Jordan and Syria - not the sort of maneuver you'd expect from typhus-stricken old men.

The third reason is political: The leaders who find anti-Semitism useful today aren't extreme nationalists such as Hitler, Stalin or Mussolini (though Hugo Chavez admittedly has been wandering into that territory). Instead, they are radical Muslims - and their allies in Western activist groups, who speak the tropes of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-Americanism, anti-racism and all the other fashionable antis. In this left-wing intellectual climate, disparaging any race or religion per se is off limits. The preferred tactic is to disparage the allegedly colonial, imperialist, racist etc. nature of their actions.

In keeping with our society's obsession with victimhood, the propaganda strategy against Israel now is entirely passive aggressive. While the Nazis loved to dwell on the virility and superhuman indomitability of Aryans, the Jews' enemies now are represented in propaganda by 5-year-olds carrying teddy bears. (For more in this vein, watch the 60-second promotional movie on the Israel Apartheid Week web site, in which you will see a cartoon mock-up of Gaza's population that contains no men of military age - just a bunch of sorrowful kids, mommies and granddads.) The moral dimension of the conflict - terrorism versus counter-terrorism, a society seeking peace versus one that seems addicted to war - has been replaced by a sentimental Marxist-inspired tale of the virtuous oppressed rising up against an evil oppressor.

Broadly speaking, in other words, the locus of anti-Semitism has moved from the right side of the political spectrum to the left. Here in Canada, you still do see a few isolated anti-Semites of the Nazi persuasion here and there - David Ahenakew is one rare example. But for the most part, the neo-Nazi movement is confined to a few self-parodic Internet chat rooms (many of whose members, we've learned in recent years, are actually bored human-rights bureaucrats looking to stir up hate-speech charges). These days, the hatemongers targeting Jews' right to live peacefully spout the mantras of "social justice" and "peace studies," not racial purity. Their movement is dominated by the sort of leftists and minority activists whom the Nazis (neo or otherwise) would have up against the wall in a heartbeat if they had the chance. (Running down through the published list of 11 speakers at the University of Toronto's Israel Apartheid Week, for instance, you will find no fewer than three Canadian aboriginal activists. Who knew these people were such experts on the Middle East?)

It also must be admitted that the anti-Semitism of today is a lot more subtle than the old-fashioned variety: Except in clear cases of blood libel such as the IAH poster, it's often hard to tell where legitimate criticism of Israel ends and Jew-hatred begins. As a result, Jews themselves - middle-aged university professors and career feminists, most typically - are often drawn into radicalized campaigns against Israel, and sometimes even can be seen marching gullibly arm-in-arm with Kafiyeh-clad protestors chanting for Jewish blood in Arabic.

It's a disgusting spectacle, especially when you hear their maudlin rhetoric - "massacre," "crime against humanity," "genocide," "holocaust," etc. If these words may be applied to the unintentional killing of several hundred Gazans during a counterterrorist operation, how does one describe the wholesale slaughter of tens or hundreds of thousands in places such as Chechnya and Darfur? ("Mega-massacre"? "Giga-genocide"?) You don't have to be anti-Semitic to pervert language or logic in this way, but it certainly helps. And I can see why many of my correspondents want universities to ban Israel Apartheid Week, or at least the most vicious IAW propaganda.

Though I personally don't care much for censorship, one might even think that this is the sort of issue in which our country's human rights commissions (last seen defending a Muslim woman's right to appear masked in court) might take an interest. But you'd be wrong. Our entire human-rights establishment was built in the 1960s and 1970s on the assumption that anti-Semitism would always be a creature of the extreme right. And to this day, the dinosaurs who run the nation's HRCs - along with their allies in the identity-politics industry - persist in the ridiculous notion that the main threat to Jews emanates from drunken old fossils like Ahenakew, or the eight unemployed hamburger-flippers who get together in Calgary every year to exchange badly rehearsed Hitler salutes.

They treasure this conceit for an obvious self-serving reason: Vilifying Nazis is easy. Taking on politically correct Muslims and campus lefties on parade is hard. Anti-Semitism thrives when lazy people look the other way. That much, at least, hasn't changed.

SOURCE

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The stupidity rational people are up against

Below is an email recently received from an antisemite, complete with strange grammar, spelling etc. I think it is just schizophrenic thought-disorder but Muslim comments about Jews mostly have a poor grip on reality too

Euthenasia law signed by Hitler Was never put into use because the rest of germany would not vote for it, plus, the intended targets of euthenasia were gone during the war - you know, they died from starvation and cold.

Your site is misrepresenting a lot of facts. It looks to me like you are on the jews side.

What are you going to do next, create a retirement community and leave the old people out to die like the jews did? I have family pictures of old people whose families were milked for a lot of money, as they were well off, and thought their old people would be well taken care of, who in fact had their old people left out to die, starved to death, their houses left cold, and the jews put on this big ruse with the family like they were still alive and kept taking their money. Plus, those hideours jews would go back to look all the time at the bodies, and would go to other towns to find more victims and bring them back. In addition, they spent the money they earned paying for hits on local law enforcement until they could take over a whole village and move more of their relatives in.

Also, the jews killed their own kind. They were killing the polish jews to the best of their ability by sucking them into the villages they ended up owning, and getting them sick as experiments and watching them suffer and die, in order to know more about "medicine". They were all worse than any dr. mendela. Dr. Mendela is mostly blame victim, and reason for the Germans themselves to end world war II - You know, they put him up there in order to get the allies to blame just one man instead of the whole german population for stuff the jews had been doing themselves. Because the germans got blamed for what the jews were doing in their country, you know, it's like "why did you germans let those jews get so out of hand?" Better cover up for your countries weakness by taking the blame, HUH? DUH? Because you've probably studied all this to a T and know it anyway. You are most likely evil people who want to continue to perpertuate blame on an innocent german country forever, because it's fun to see all the germans ever born on earth suffer, like they are all responsible for the nazi movement, which by the way was only the sociopathic germans, not the normal ones. I was born into a neonazi family, and the neonazis were responsible when they ran WW I and WW II, they never got out of hand like Hitler did. And by the way, during WW II, the brightest and best generals were in their 70's, so germany had plenty of espionage experience to draw from

Lisa Hawthorne [lisahawthorne3@msn.com]

Note: I make no claim that the "Lisa Hawthorne" who wrote the above email is in any way connected with the various Lisas Hawthorne to be found by a Google search. I simply have no information on that

Update:

The appallingly incompetent way in which Lisa has expressed herself led me to suspect schizophrenic thought-disorder, a symptom of psychosis. A reader however has what is in a way an even more depressing suggestion. He says that her words are typical of a postmodernist young adult’s attempt at writing English.

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ELSEWHERE

The issue of whether Obama is qualified to be U.S. President has not gone away. The huge resistance he has put up to demands that he produce an American birth certificate seems clear proof that he is not American-born. But the fight to nail him goes on. Latest episode here

By any criterion except ideology, Ashkenazi Jews are a highly intelligent group -- so it has long been a puzzle that Israelis do not score highly on IQ tests. Tests conducted on Israeli army intakes show an average IQ of 100, which is dead average for European countries. This post however gives a better explanation for the anomaly than my facetious one (that smart Jews stay in New York). It points out that a majority of Israelis are of Middle-Eastern (Sephardi and Mizrahi) origin rather than European (Ashkenazi) origin and that the large gap between Sephardi and Ashkenazi IQ is well-known. So an average of 100 for all of Israel still implies a quite high average IQ for Ashkenazi Israelis. Nice to have that puzzle solved.

More reason to fear government involvement in business: "In December 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg thought he had a slam dunk. He along with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and developer Bruce Ratner struck a deal for a $4.3 billion development project that was to remake downtown Brooklyn by building expansive residential and retail space, and a gleaming new $950 million arena that would bring the New Jersey Nets to the borough. Now, more than five years later, what's been brought to Brooklyn is a very large hole in the ground and a project that is coming to symbolize why large government projects can be riskier than allowing local residents to fix up their own communities. What we see in Brooklyn is the beginnings of the failure of a massive government plan to revive the economy of a neighborhood."

Zoo Director to Head Obama's Office of Personnel Management: "President Obama has announced his intention to nominate John Berry to serve as the next director of the Office of Personnel Management. A veteran of the Treasury and Interior departments and current director of the National Zoo, Berry also once served as legislative assistant to Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)..... At the Interior Department, he served as director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, working with then-inspector general Earl Devaney to address several financial and management issues. Appointed director of the National Zoo, Berry implemented a strategic plan, a management reorganization, a 20 year capital master plan and secured funding for infrastructural improvements. Under his watch, the Northwest Washington zoo has also renovated the popular elephant house and seal and Sea Lion exhibits".

Antisemite running America's intelligence: "Charles Freeman is now officially ensconced as the head of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, and will produce the National Intelligence Estimate. It's a done deal it seems. All USA intelligence (and a lot of stupidity) will flow through this one man and be edited by him. He will produce America's official picture of the Middle East and the world. Freeman's qualifications for the job include being President of an Arab lobby organization, MEPC, that accepted a million dollar donation from Saudi Arabia and published the full length version of "The Israel Lobby." Freeman is, or at was, also on the board of directors of another Middle East Lobby - The American Iranian Council. Freeman's views about Israel and its enemies can be summed up in this one quote: "I'm a very practical man, and my concern is simply this: that there are movements, like Hamas, like Hezbollah, that in recent decades have not done anything against the United States or Americans, even though the United States supports their enemy, Israel. By openly stating and taking action to make them-to declare that we are their enemy, we invite them to extend their operations in the United States or against Americans abroad." Just because the Hezbollah blew up a few marines in Lebanon is no reason to hold a grudge, right? And just because Hamas insists that it wants to wipe out every Jew on the planet, that's no reason to slight them either, correct? And the demonstrations with huge crowds chanting "Death to America" are no reason to hurt these wonderful Islamic gentleman either, are they?"

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

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

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

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

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8 March, 2009

Media Malpractice: Propaganda Replaces News

A new documentary movie by courageous filmmaker John Ziegler entitled "Media Malpractice" made its theatrical d,but last night in Seattle, Wash. The movie systematically proves how corrupt and dishonest the American media were during the campaign of 2008.

The film was revealing, coming just days after a similar well-orchestrated effort by the Obama administration, Democratic Party officials, and liberal advocacy groups in league with the mainstream news media against Rush Limbaugh and Gov. Bobby Jindal as their primary targets. Even the president played his part in the bizarre, staged play by telling congressional Republicans, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

Ironically, the plan to attack Limbaugh was already being hatched while the unfair attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin, documented by Ziegler, were reaching a crescendo last fall.

The manipulation can only be called propaganda. Old-fashioned, unbiased journalism has died. The Limbaugh attacks in the news, we now know, were cooked up by Democratic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg last fall. Internet-based Politico reveals the White House involvement in the conspiracy when it reported, "A senior White House aide has been tasked with helping to guide the Limbaugh strategy."

Members of the media are performing their part of the script. Three speeches and the media's response to them serve as concise illustrations of the media role in the propaganda machine. They acted in unison, attacking and vilifying Limbaugh and mocking Jindal. Conversely, they are a choir of praises for the "tone of his speech" when reporting about Obama's address to Congress.

Limbaugh delivered his terrific speech at the CPAC conference and it was broadcast nationwide. He detailed the differences between ultra- liberal Barack Obama's big government agenda and the ideal of smaller government. He explained why conservatives care about the individual. Limbaugh's speech inspired the crowd, reminding them of the founding principles of America. He showed how starkly Obama's philosophy differed from traditional American ideas, while explaining what exactly is at stake in this present debate.

However, you wouldn't know this by listening to the mainstream media. Bill Schneider on CNN said "Well, it was an angry tone... this was a very angry speech. They didn't do so well last year but they're still angry. The tone of this speech was mocking, bullying, it was full of contempt, and I thought it was a very harsh speech." David Letterman and Katie Couric joined the fun mocking Limbaugh's clothing and his delivery, this, given the fact that none of the late night comedians have poked any fun at Obama while they viciously mocked Bush. Chris Matthews lambasted Limbaugh while needling his guests to disown him.

Now, compare the reception of Limbaugh's speech with the media's reaction to Obama. They criticized Limbaugh's tone, ignoring the content. For Obama, instead, they focused on the rhetoric he uses to mask his agenda, overlooking his leftist content. While universally praising Obama's rhetorical flair, most commentators ignored what Obama actually said in his address. They omitted talk of the huge deficits, tax hikes for all through carbon taxes, and the return to class warfare.

David Gergen oozed about "a rousing speech, took us up to the mountaintops." The New York Times reported Obama's words, "were often stern, but laced with optimism and humor," and "he framed his argument with fresh urgency." Chris Matthews simply called it "Churchillian." To top it off, CBS host Maggie Rodriguez said, "And Americans loved it.then out comes Bobby Jindal." Rodriquez called Jindal "Debbie Downer, saying 'hated it, it's not going to work'" because he didn't agree with Obama's leftist plan for America.

Talking heads praised Obama before and after his speech. MSNBC introduced the Jindal speech and Matthews unprofessionally audibly muttered, "Oh God," as Jindal approached the camera.

As if muttering "Oh God" weren't enough, Matthews introduced Jindal saying "we're going to hear a fairly right-wing speech tonight." Charlie Gibson echoed those sentiments, "He is a very conservative Republican and you'll hear that reflected, I think, in his remarks tonight." Yet, not one utterance was heard from the media about how liberal Obama and his agenda are. Maybe the most ludicrously biased comments were by Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger, who "found his (Jindal's) Manson eyes disturbing." The only exception to the discussion of the content of his speech was to say that Jindal was far-right.

These three different speeches provide clear examples of the media's preferential treatment for liberal ideas. The media shield the public from true debate. Instead they propagandize for Obama and the political left. Unfortunately, media bias didn't end after November 2008.

Source

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Britain loots the savings of the elderly to pay for the mistakes of the banks

The implicit message: Spend your money as soon as you get it and depend on the pittance provided by the government in your old age

In a mere 24 hours the size of the pension deficits facing some of Britain’s biggest companies has jumped by around 100 billion pounds to a record 390 billion - the equivalent of over 150,000 for every member of a final salary scheme. The increase is a direct result of the Bank’s announcement this week to create 150 billion and pour it directly into the financial system, experts said.

It sparked further criticism of the authorities for endangering the financial future of Britons’ savers in their efforts to bring the financial crisis to an end. The Government and Bank have already been accused of obliterating the incentive to save by slashing interest rates on savings accounts and visibly attempting to stoke up high inflation in the years to come.

The Bank was accused of hammering the final nail into the coffin for Britain’s final salary pension schemes, which have seen their deficits climb in recent years, partly as a result of Gordon Brown’s decision as Chancellor to levy a 6 billion tax raid on pension funds’ dividends. Some 2.5 million workers are currently signed up for these schemes which provide retirees with a guaranteed annual income when they reach the appropriate age. Having enjoyed a small surplus only a year ago, these funds have also been hit by the fall in the stock market over the past year.

However, the effect of the Bank’s scheme has been to increase the deficit between what is in the funds and what is needed to pay out future pensioners by an almost instant 100 billion. Although some expect the deficits to fall in the years ahead as the economy improves, insiders warned that this could be the final straw that persuades companies to shut down these schemes altogether and turn instead to far less generous defined contribution plans.

However, experts warned that even these more parsimonious schemes, which 8 million workers are subscribed to, will suffer as a direct result of the Bank’s actions. The amount these people receive from their pension depends not only on the size of pot they amass over their working life but on the rate of the so-called annuity which provides them an annual income from the moment of retirement. Over 600,000 people are due to retire onto these schemes over the next year. Should annuity rates fall a further percentage point, it will mean the annual pension of someone with a 100,000 pension pot may drop from around 7,000 to 6,000. Experts said anyone retiring in the coming years may face an instant decrease in what they could hope to expect from their pension.

Tom McPhail of Hargreaves Lansdowne said: “The sad truth is that pensions savings are going to be what pays the price for these efforts to bail out the economy in the short term. The apparent plan is to try to fix today’s problems at the expense of our children - by paying a shedload of money which will have to be paid back tomorrow. "It will hammer the final nail in the coffin of final salary schemes, as well as cutting the annuity rates for anyone with a defined contribution set to retire imminently.”

However, public sector workers, many of whom are on generous final salary schemes, will be unaffected by the increase in deficits, since their pensions are paid by taxpayers rather than cash-pressed companies.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

US jobless rate still unstimulated: "The U.S. unemployment rate spiked to 8.1 percent in February, reaching the highest rate in a generation as employers slashed 651,000 jobs. Both figures were worse than analysts expected. Wall Street reacted with a rally right after the opening bell, but as of midmorning the Dow and Nasdaq showed small losses. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the net job loss in February came after even deeper reductions in the prior two months. The economy lost 681,000 jobs in December and 655,000 in January."

MN: High court denies Franken bid for election certificate: "The Minnesota Supreme Court today ruled that Al Franken was not entitled to be certified winner of the U.S. Senate election pending the outcome of a trial challenging his 225-vote recount lead. The court said state law says a certificate of election cannot be issued until the state courts have finally decided an election. The court also said federal law did not require states to certify senators by the time a new term begins in January. Moreover, it said the U.S. Senate could always seat Franken even without a certification. . Coleman's team has argued in court that the recount, which gave Franken a 225-vote lead, was flawed and that hundreds of wrongly rejected absentee ballots should be tallied."

Why I miss Bill Clinton: "If Barack Obama achieves nothing else in his presidency, he may do something that once seemed impossible: give a lot of people who aren't crazy about his party a new respect for Bill Clinton. Clinton, for all his appetites and excesses, was a cautious, centrist sort of Democrat. He had innumerable ideas for things the government could do, but most were small and fairly innocuous. He was willing to go along with Republicans on some of their sound ideas .. He proclaimed - or conceded - that the `era of big government is over.' But Clinton never foresaw Barack Obama. From the sound of his budget speech last week, the new president hopes the era of big government is just beginning."

Beating back Obamanomics : "It's raining, pouring economic fallacies by the hour, followed by a flood of horrible policy that is driving us ever further into economic depression. The regime in charge has really gone nuts, revealing itself as both deeply ignorant and horribly evil. We find ourselves facing the horror of what has always been the Achilles' Heel of the left wing: its abysmal ignorance of economic science. The ideological tendency has gone from Keynesianism to outright socialism in a matter of a few weeks. And the trajectory seems to be accelerated mainly by the logic of the interventionist cycle: bad policy leads to bad results that are addressed through bad policy, and so on, straight down the fast track to serfdom."

British decline: "The last surviving railway restaurant car service is to be scrapped and the space used to cram in more passengers, ending a 130-year tradition of fine dining on trains. Passengers will no longer be able to watch the countryside slip by at 125mph as a waiter serves them a four-course dinner at a neatly laid table. Instead, they will have to bring their own food or buy snacks from trolleys. National Express, the last train company to offer a frequent restaurant service, is closing its dining cars under a secret deal with the Government. Over the past two months it has axed all 22 daily restaurant cars on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street route and 81 on the East Coast Main Line from Edinburgh to London King's Cross. Now the company is considering withdrawing the remaining 15 daily restaurant cars on East Coast routes and converting the kitchens into seating."

In defence of tax havens: "Given that Britain's banking sector is currently lurching from one crisis to the next, and seemingly always on the verge of complete collapse, is the prime minister - who oversaw Britain's finances for 11 years - really in a position to lecture anyone about how their banks are regulated? And how on earth is outlawing 'shadow banking systems' going to protect people's savings? Even for a consummate liar like Gordon Brown, that one's a stinker. There is little doubt that the shadow banking systems Brown is referring to are considerably more secure and stable than those in Britain or the USA. That's why people put their money in them. As for tax havens, well, there Brown is being even more transparently dishonest. His dislike for tax havens has nothing whatsoever to do with the security of people's savings, and everything to do with the fact that high-spending governments like his detest international tax competition."

British government has `blood on its hands over unsafe vehicles': "A former senior SAS officer in Afghanistan has said that the Government has "blood on its hands" over the deaths of four soldiers killed by a roadside bomb. Major Sebastian Morley, who resigned last October from his post as the most senior reservist SAS officer in Afghanistan, said that army commanders and Whitehall officials ignored his warnings that "unsafe" vehicles would lead to the deaths of soldiers. Major Morley, 40, stood down after what he called the "unnecessary deaths" of four soldiers when their Snatch Land Rover hit an anti-tank mine in Helmand province in June last year. Among the dead was Corporal Sarah Bryant, the first servicewoman to be killed in Afghanistan. Major Morley accused Quentin Davies, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, of telling an "unacceptable lie" when he said after the deaths that commanders could choose which vehicles they used in combat."

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

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

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

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

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7 March, 2009

Obama's kneejerk Leftist explanations defy the reality of America's economic situation

The logic of Obama's address to Congress went like this: "Our economy did not fall into decline overnight," he averred. Indeed, it all began before the housing crisis. What did we do wrong? We are paying for past sins in three principal areas: energy, health care, and education -- importing too much oil and not finding new sources of energy (as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf?), not reforming health care, and tolerating too many bad schools.

The "day of reckoning" has now arrived. And because "it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we'll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament," Obama has come to redeem us with his far-seeing program of universal, heavily nationalized health care; a cap-and-trade tax on energy; and a major federalization of education with universal access to college as the goal.

Amazing. As an explanation of our current economic difficulties, this is total fantasy. As a cure for rapidly growing joblessness, a massive destruction of wealth, a deepening worldwide recession, this is perhaps the greatest non sequitur ever foisted upon the American people.

At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the entire banking system. One can come up with a host of causes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed by Washington (and greed) into improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan's Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful homebuyers.

The list is long. But the list of causes of the collapse of the financial system does not include the absence of universal health care, let alone of computerized medical records. Nor the absence of an industry-killing cap-and-trade carbon levy. Nor the lack of college graduates. Indeed, one could perversely make the case that, if anything, the proliferation of overeducated, Gucci-wearing, smart-ass MBAs inventing ever more sophisticated and opaque mathematical models and debt instruments helped get us into this credit catastrophe in the first place.

And yet with our financial house on fire, Obama makes clear both in his speech and his budget that the essence of his presidency will be the transformation of health care, education and energy. Four months after winning the election, six weeks after his swearing in, Obama has yet to unveil a plan to deal with the banking crisis.

What's going on? "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. "This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before." Things. Now we know what they are. The markets' recent precipitous decline is a reaction not just to the absence of any plausible bank rescue plan, but also to the suspicion that Obama sees the continuing financial crisis as usefully creating the psychological conditions -- the sense of crisis bordering on fear-itself panic -- for enacting his "Big Bang" agenda to federalize and/or socialize health care, education and energy, the commanding heights of post-industrial society.

Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core. Health, education and energy -- worthy and weighty as they may be -- are not the cause of our financial collapse. And they are not the cure. The fraudulent claim that they are both cause and cure is the rhetorical device by which an ambitious president intends to enact the most radical agenda of social transformation seen in our lifetime.

SOURCE

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Obama is just another callous Leftist who does not care about people at all

And he shows desperate economic ignorance

As the stock market plunged below the Dow's 7,000 mark -- a loss of 1,500 points since his inauguration -- Obama casually dismissed the sharp drop in equity values, comparing it to the ups and downs of a poll. The stock market "is sort of like a tracking poll in politics," he told news reporters. "You know, it bobs up and down day to day. And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."

Excuse me? Tracking poll? That's like dismissing a severed hand as a hangnail. The stock market represents the life savings and investments of millions of workers. More than 50 percent of American households own shares in public companies. We are talking about people's retirement finances here that they see vanishing before their eyes, and millions of these investors are middle-class Americans struggling to make ends meet.

This is a time that called for a little sympathy about what this recession is doing to investors. "The stock market is the country right now. This is where people's wealth is, this is their pension plans, their 401(k)s and IRAs," CNBC's investment guru Jim Cramer said last week.

But the president's seemingly callous shoot-from-the-hip response may have been the result of the political pressure he is coming under as the economy significantly worsens on his watch. Add to this the growing chorus of critics who are blaming the stock market's plunge on his policies. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that President Obama's policy agenda is a factor in driving down the Dow," economic policy strategist Cesar Conda wrote last week in his Politico blog. "The reason is simple: The threat of significantly higher tax rates on economic success, more government regulation and intrusion in the free market, and explosive increases in government spending and debt have all combined to reduce economic returns on equity investment," he said.

Cramer, whose views on stocks are closely followed by millions of CNBC viewers, said he wanted "some sign that Obama realizes the market is totally falling apart. His agenda has a big hand in that happening."

The other White House blunder came last week, too, when Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, took a shot at conservative radio-talk-show king Rush Limbaugh, saying he was the leader of the Republican Party. That triggered a GOP counterattack that took the White House to task for engaging in the kind of political blood sport that Obama had campaigned against, promising to change the tone in Washington. Cable-TV talk shows fueled the controversy and, by midweek, the White House was in full retreat as it realized their attacks had misfired and backfired. Not a pretty picture. A somewhat embarrassed presidential press secretary, Robert Gibbs, confessed that the low-road episode had been "counterproductive."



But Republicans were gleefully ridiculing the White House's failed attempt to tie the GOP to the hugely popular Limbaugh's nuclear attacks on the president's policies. "Now that the Obama administration has declared their own distractions, diversions and manipulations strategy to be counterproductive, House Republicans would like to see this administration join us in our bipartisan national conversation about job creation, stimulating small business and middle-class tax relief," said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican. "They should apologize to the American people for supporting these tactics and get back to work," he said.

Meanwhile, the government was moving at its typical snail's pace to get the administration's stimulus money into the states, in large part due to the dozens of critical deputy-secretary posts that remain empty at Treasury and other key departments that have the job of dishing out the funds.

The economy is tanking, and Wall Street still had little confidence that Obama's spending stimulus would work (since only a portion of its funds will be spent this year). And in Congress, the Democrats were doing what they do best, spending more money, this time a massive omnibus fiscal 2009 bill containing 9,000 earmarked provisions that will needlessly cost taxpayers and the economy billions of hard-earned dollars. The American people are willing to be patient for now, but we are by nature an impatient people and eventually that patience is going to start running out.

SOURCE

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Save Us From the "Saviors"

Barack Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress have made one thing perfectly clear: ideology trumps everything-including common sense, basic free market economics, and patriotism.

That's right. I said patriotism. Patriotism is defined as a love for one's country. In order to love one's country, one has to believe it is preponderantly good. Not perfect, but a place where, when you add up all the plusses and minuses, you come with a net plus. A big net plus.

It has become more than apparent that the vast majority of Congressional Democrats and the president himself believe America is an inherent minus. So much so, that "tweaking around the edges" of the most successful and prosperous nation the world has ever produced will not suffice. For these profoundly misguided Americans, 220 years of exceptionalism must be tossed aside to make way for a new era of social utopianism-which can only be achieved by massive government involvement in every important aspect of American life. That's not patriotism. That's unbridled hubris and a lust for control that should infuriate every reasonable American.

Note that word "reasonable." Never before in modern American history have we had a presidential election where reason mattered less. We had hope and change. We had a thrill running up a leg. And we had the surest sign that those who believe America is fundamentally flawed nation were confident they could sell that ideology to a majority of the electorate. To wit:

"I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal ... This was the moment .... this was the time ... when we came together to remake this great nation " - President Barack Obama

Only in the fevered imaginations of egomaniacal ideologues could the idea that all the goodness the world has to offer was waiting for their ascension to power. But give them credit. They calculated their strategy well. "Hope,""change" and "messiah" got them to election day. Now "fear," "catastrophe," "depression" etc., will be wielded like a billy club in order to smash any resistance to their agenda.

They even have their "Emmanuel Goldstein." Goldstein was the enemy of the state in Orwell's "1984," a man whose presence on a viewscreen required "two minutes of hate." Democrats started with George W. Bush for obvious reasons, but they're smart enough to know that demonizing the former president for standing against their worldview has a limited shelf life.

Enter Rush Limbaugh. Both the president and Democratic members of Congress, with ample help from their media cheerleading section, have made it clear that this radio host-that's right, a radio host-will replace the former president as the symbol of everything that is wrong with America. They are also calling him the "de facto head of the Republican party" in order to demonize them as well.

Note who else they've belittled whenever it suits their purposes: Wall Street, bankers, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, coal companies, insurance companies, Americans who don't think, as Joe Biden remarked, "paying higher taxes is patriotic"-and Americans who think there's something wrong with paying their neighbor's mortgage along with their own.

Are some people deserving of scorn? Certainly. But bad people don't equal a bad system. Our system of Constitutional government combined with our brand of free market capitalism has produced unparalleled bounty and freedom for the entire world. That it can falter on occasion has far more to do with human foible than systemic failure.

Yet it is the perception of the latter which is being heavily promoted. Without the fear of systemic failure, Americans cannot be convinced that the massive transfer of wealth from the private sector to the federal government is anything more than a naked power grab. They will not be persuaded that the rewarding of sloth, irresponsibility and stupidity-in the name of "social justice," no less-is anything more than the entitlement mentality run amok. So, as Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel remarked, Democrats are not about to let "a serious crisis go to waste"-even if they have to sustain it longer than necessary to get what they want.

Options for those who want to stop the madness? I can think of three. One is immediate and the other two either untimely, or unlikely. First and foremost, hammer our Congressional representatives with emails, letters and phone calls-just like we did when they tried to foist illegal immigration "reform" on us two years ago. Tell them you have no interest in mortgaging the country's future to satisfy the ambitions of those whose core belief is the idea that Americans are "too stupid" to run their own lives without massive government interference.

Two, vote these socialist, do-gooder hacks out of office in 2010. I know, Republicans aren't much better, but given a choice between Hitler and Mussolini, you vote for Il Duce. And two years is a long time, but it's better than four.

Lastly, maybe it's time Americans demanded to know-without the slightest ambiguity-whether or not the president of the United States is an American citizen. Perhaps I am succumbing to the fever known as "conspiracy theor-itis," but I am hard-pressed to imagine how someone with America's worst interests at heart could have an agenda substantially different from the one being proposed by our current president. I find it incredible that the same mainstream media which found a twenty-year-old drunk diving charge lodged against the former president are uninterested in whether or not a basic tenet of our Constitution is being violated.

I love this country-warts and all. Those seeking to completely remake it like to think of themselves as patriots, but their ambitions betray them. They yearn for a Euro-lite, socialist nation where entitlement, mediocrity and victimhood are embraced, and Americans are, as Churchill put it, "equally miserable." We're better than that. Far better.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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6 March, 2009

The Obama Economy

Obama is the new FDR -- the man who created the Great Depression by his anti-business policies

As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama's policies have become part of the economy's problem.

Americans have welcomed the Obama era in the same spirit of hope the President campaigned on. But after five weeks in office, it's become clear that Mr. Obama's policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery. From punishing business to squandering scarce national public resources, Team Obama is creating more uncertainty and less confidence -- and thus a longer period of recession or subpar growth.

The Democrats who now run Washington don't want to hear this, because they benefit from blaming all bad economic news on President Bush. And Mr. Obama has inherited an unusual recession deepened by credit problems, both of which will take time to climb out of. But it's also true that the economy has fallen far enough, and long enough, that much of the excess that led to recession is being worked off. Already 15 months old, the current recession will soon match the average length -- and average job loss -- of the last three postwar downturns. What goes down will come up -- unless destructive policies interfere with the sources of potential recovery.

And those sources have been forming for some time. The prices of oil and other commodities have fallen by two-thirds since their 2008 summer peak, which has the effect of a major tax cut. The world is awash in liquidity, thanks to monetary ease by the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Monetary policy operates with a lag, but last year's easing will eventually stir economic activity.

Housing prices have fallen 27% from their Case-Shiller peak, or some two-thirds of the way back to their historical trend. While still high, credit spreads are far from their peaks during the panic, and corporate borrowers are again able to tap the credit markets. As equities were signaling with their late 2008 rally and January top, growth should under normal circumstances begin to appear in the second half of this year.

So what has happened in the last two months? The economy has received no great new outside shock. Exchange rates and other prices have been stable, and there are no security crises of note. The reality of a sharp recession has been known and built into stock prices since last year's fourth quarter.

What is new is the unveiling of Mr. Obama's agenda and his approach to governance. Every new President has a finite stock of capital -- financial and political -- to deploy, and amid recession Mr. Obama has more than most. But one negative revelation has been the way he has chosen to spend his scarce resources on income transfers rather than growth promotion. Most of his "stimulus" spending was devoted to social programs, rather than public works, and nearly all of the tax cuts were devoted to income maintenance rather than to improving incentives to work or invest.

His Treasury has been making a similar mistake with its financial bailout plans. The banking system needs to work through its losses, and one necessary use of public capital is to assist in burning down those bad assets as fast as possible. Yet most of Team Obama's ministrations so far have gone toward triage and life support, rather than repair and recovery.

AIG yesterday received its fourth "rescue," including $70 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program cash, without any clear business direction. (See here.) Citigroup's restructuring last week added not a dollar of new capital, and also no clear direction. Perhaps the imminent Treasury "stress tests" will clear the decks, but until they do the banks are all living in fear of becoming the next AIG. All of this squanders public money that could better go toward burning down bank debt.

The market has notably plunged since Mr. Obama introduced his budget last week, and that should be no surprise. The document was a declaration of hostility toward capitalists across the economy. Health-care stocks have dived on fears of new government mandates and price controls. Private lenders to students have been told they're no longer wanted. Anyone who uses carbon energy has been warned to expect a huge tax increase from cap and trade. And every risk-taker and investor now knows that another tax increase will slam the economy in 2011, unless Mr. Obama lets Speaker Nancy Pelosi impose one even earlier.

Meanwhile, Congress demands more bank lending even as it assails lenders and threatens to let judges rewrite mortgage contracts. The powers in Congress -- unrebuked by Mr. Obama -- are ridiculing and punishing the very capitalists who are essential to a sustainable recovery. The result has been a capital strike, and the return of the fear from last year that we could face a far deeper downturn. This is no way to nurture a wounded economy back to health.

Listening to Mr. Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, on the weekend, we couldn't help but wonder if they appreciate any of this. They seem preoccupied with going to the barricades against Republicans who wield little power, or picking a fight with Rush Limbaugh, as if this is the kind of economic leadership Americans want.

Perhaps they're reading the polls and figure they have two or three years before voters stop blaming Republicans and Mr. Bush for the economy. Even if that's right in the long run, in the meantime their assault on business and investors is delaying a recovery and ensuring that the expansion will be weaker than it should be when it finally does arrive.

Source. Background on FDR here, here, here, here and here

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Brookes News update

Obama's spend, tax and borrow policies will wreck the US economy : Obama's massive spending binge is built on a myth. A myth that could have the severest consequences for American living standards. His administration's understanding of how economies works is minus zero. He and his advisors are infatuated with statist solutions for problems created by statist policies and lousy economics
American union leader's wage argument collapses along with Krugman's : Mike Fishman, like his fellow union leaders, is a thoroughgoing economic ignoramus who doesn't give a stuff about America. His argument in favour of compulsory unionism is totally dishonest and anti-democratic. Moreover, the idea that unions raise living standards is a dangerous myth that the left and the Democrats have fostered. If Obama gets his way union militancy could see a replay of 1937 when it destroyed a potential economic recovery
What is Obama's 'Stimulus' bill all about? : Obama's phony stimulus will supply the corrupt Democratic Party with billions of taxpayers' money for years to come. It will give it opportunity to become the dominant political party for the next generation massive payoffs to the special interests, creating millions of dependents and setting up more bureaucracies that will defend their interests, They want a one-party system headed by a popular man and they damn well intend to get it. By electing Obama did America's inadvertently deal a fatal blow to the very foundation of their republic?
The Obama Steamroller: Is resistance futile? : If Obama wins two terms he will turn the US into a European like economy, with much slower growth prospects, crushing deficits, increased entitlement and spending as far as the eye can see. And of course, there will be the need for ever higher tax rates on the diminishing share of the population who pay income taxes, and for ever larger amounts of debt to be financed mostly by foreigners. Europe will have arrived. Obama will have succeeded in his dream to destroy America as a superpower. He will have done to the US what Peron did to Argentina. It won't be "Don't cry for me, Argentina" but "Don't cry for me, America"
Obama's Economics: Financial Stability, or Fascist Decline?: History and economics is not on the side of the Obama administration. Yet as long as he continue to insist on a government solution, so long will the market continue to flounder and corporations fail. And the blame will rest securely on his government which will have manipulated the economic crisis for its own selfish ends
Mandating markets for wind power - a stealth tax on electricity consumers : Federal and some state governments stand accused of trying to impose stealth taxes on electricity consumers by forcing power retailers to buy expensive power from inefficient and costly renewable energy sources. There are no climate benefits whatsoever in forcing consumers to buy an increasing proportion of their electricity from expensive and unreliable suppliers like wind farms

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ELSEWHERE

Obama's Crooked Cabinet: Yet Another Post Nominee Turns Out to Be a Tax Evader: "Former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk, who is President Obama's nominee to be the U.S. trade representative, failed to pay almost $10,000 in taxes during the past three years because of a series of mistakes, the Senate Finance Committee said this week. Kirk's errors involved honoraria from speeches, on which he should have paid taxes; the cost of sports games, for which he deducted too much; and improper treatment of accounting fees on his income taxes. Kirk has agreed to file amended returns, the Washington Post reports. An Obama spokesman declared the issues "minor" and said the administration is confident that the nomination is on track for a scheduled hearing Monday with the Finance Committee. "

Useless British regulator: "The Financial Services Authority is facing a multimillion-pound compensation claim from a group of investors who say that the City watchdog failed to stop the activities of a suspected rogue trader. Former clients of GFX Capital Markets, which has collapsed with estimated losses of ś44 million, say that the FSA knew of serious concerns about its boss, Terry Freeman, but allowed him to continue trading. The accusation comes as the regulator is struggling to cope with the most serious loss of public confidence in its decade-long history. It was accused of being negligent in its monitoring of Northern Rock, the mortgage lender that was nationalised last year, and the regulator's chairman, Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, has been forced to draw up radical plans to improve its ability to police the City. The Times understands that FSA officials had gathered intelligence on Mr Freeman, 60, a foreign exchange trader, for more than two years. The authority knew that he had changed his name after being disqualified as a director in response to a conviction."

Dumb Turkish pilots caused crash: "A faulty altimeter and apparent inattention by the pilots caused the Turkish Boeing 737 crash in Amsterdam, the accident investigation showed yesterday. The investigators' preliminary report confirmed the widespread theory that the pilots let the automatic systems slow the plane to a dangerously low speed as it approached Schiphol airport. At 450ft, as the pilots scrambled to speed up, it stopped flying and flopped on to the ground, killing the three flight deck crew and six others on board. The radio altimeter had "told" the automatic flight system that the plane was 8ft below the surface when it was still nearly 2,000ft in the air. This caused the autothrottle to pull back the power to idle, as if the plane were touching down. Normally, pilots are expected to monitor the performance of the automated approach system. According to a conversation recorded between the plane's captain, first officer and an extra first officer on the flight, the pilots had noticed the faulty altimeter earlier but did not consider it a problem and did not react" [Contrast that with the video here]

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

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

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

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5 March, 2009

Taxing "The Rich"

Obama is trying to get tax hikes on "the rich" through Congress to pay for all his promises to other people. But his simplistic Leftist worldview seems to have prevented him from seeing who the people are whom he proposes to tax more. Who are the people earning over $250,000 a year whom Obama wants to hit? Income is a sort of a pyramid. There are a few very rich people at the top but most of "the rich" whom Obama wants to tax are near the base of the pyramid: fairly close to that $250,000 mark. And most of them are hard-working people: doctors, dentists, businessmen and professionals generally.

So will they just pay the extra tax and grin and bear it? If the tax increase were limited to paying 39.6% instead of 33% on any income above $250,000, those just over the mark might not think the change worth bothering about -- and sneering Leftist Jonathan Chait makes that point. But Chait fails to acknowledge that there is a lot more to Obama's tax proposals than the new top rate. Obama also wants to cut out a lot of tax deductions available to those earning over $250,000 and he also has proposed increasing their tax rate on capital gains and dividends from 15 to 20 percent. So many professionals will take a fairly big hit if they carry on as before. So lots of them will reorganize their affairs so that Obama gets exactly nothing extra from them.

And The Corner has a collection of emails from high earners that gives lots of detail about what many of them will do. One example:
"My wife and I are both pediatricians. We own our own practice together. We have one PA and 7 other employees. We each gross about $200 K a year. We have 3 young children at home, 2 of whom are not in school. We also employ an in-home nanny. My wife has been torn for years about not being at home for these children, which are our biggest investment in the future. We operate parallel S corporations as PC's, with a 50/50 ownership of the LLC that is our business. We file taxes jointly. After crunching some numbers concerning the President's tax hike proposals, I have come to the following conclusions. If the President's plan is enacted, we will do the following:

1. My wife will become a stay at home mother.

2. At least 3 of my 7 employees will be released.

3. The practice will downsize to a smaller office space, i.e. less rent.

4. The number of patients cared for on a daily basis will drop by 40%.

5. My wife will come out of the forced ER call schedule for good.

6. I will gross $249,999.00 a year, exactly.

7. The net income of our personal home will decrease by less than $10 K a year from where it would have been if we changed nothing.
So a lot of important service providers will reduce the services they provide in response to the simple-minded ideas of the simple-minded Leftist in the White House -- and America will be the poorer for it. Wealth is not money. Wealth is the goods and services that money can buy and reduced services available reduces the total national wealth. And that's no abstraction. As one of my medical correspondents notes:
"Seeing that almost half of doctors are women, and most are married and many have children, it should be obvious that many will reduce their hours worked. And with all the problems that Obama Care will create, there WILL be a shortage of doctor hours to care for patients. So EVERYONE will EQUALLY WAIT IN LONG LINES FOR CARE.
Another relevant excerpt which shows that the loss of wealth will be large:
"President Lyndon Johnson's administration was known for his War on Poverty. President Obama's will become notable for his War on Prosperity. We're speaking, of course, of Obama's plans to hike income taxes on the most wealthy 2 or 3 percent of the nation. He's not just raising the top rate to 39.6 percent; he's also disallowing about one-third of top earner's deductions, whether for state and local taxes, charitable contributions or mortgage interest. This is an effective hike in their taxes by an average of about 20 percent.

And soon the next shoe will drop - he'll announce that he's keeping yet another of his campaign promises: to apply the full payroll tax to all income over $250,000 a year. (Right now, the 15.3 percent Social Security tax only applies to the first $106,800 of income - you neither pay the tax on income above that, nor accumulate added benefit.) For many taxpayers in this bracket, this hike will raise their total taxes by about half. Finally, he's declaring war on investors by raising the capital-gains-tax rate to 20 percent. These increases are politically insignificant: The top 2 percent of the nation casts only about 4 percent of the votes, barely enough to attract the notice of even the most meticulous pollsters. But they have enormous economic significance. Those who earn more than $200,000 pay almost 60 percent of America's income taxes and account for a third of its total disposable income. If these spenders and investors are hunkering down, waiting for the revenuers to beat down their doors, their confidence will be anything but robust. Their spending will drop; they'll be unlikely to invest (except in new tax shelters)."
So Obama's increase in the tax rates could well bring about not an increase but a REDUCTION in the amount of tax revenue received.

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Obama's attack on American oil producers

When there are huge cries for energy independence, Dumbo is doing his best to throttle the investment that could make it happen

Last summer, when the price of oil rocketed nearly to $150 per barrel, presidential candidate Barack Obama scored political points by calling for a windfall-profits tax on the so-called "Big Oil" companies. Obama's plan was to wallop them with extra taxes for every barrel they sold, so long as prices remained over $80 per barrel. By Inauguration Day, though, the global economic crisis and plummeting oil demand had driven prices to less than $30 per barrel, and with no windfall profits available to tax (and gas prices at the pump no longer an issue), the Obama team quietly dropped the idea. But now, in his proposed budget, Obama has found a new outlet for his desire to punish Big Oil-and, ultimately, the American public-with higher taxes.

Announced last week, the president's budget aims to raise more than $31 billion from energy producers over the next ten years by assessing new levies, repealing existing tax deductions, and rejiggering accounting rules. Among the new charges is an excise tax on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, which the administration hopes will raise $5 billion over 10 years. Obama also wants to limit companies' ability to deduct their oil and gas drilling costs, thereby raising their taxable income. And he would impose a fee on non-producing oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico on top of the rents and fees companies already pay for leases.

This last item supports a dubious claim made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and others during last summer's high-gas-price hysteria: that Exxon Mobil and its brethren were limiting supply and boosting prices by refusing to produce oil and natural gas from federal leases that they held. What the conspiracy theorists never mentioned was that companies must pay rents on leases whether they produce or not, and that companies buy leases from the government for the right to investigate whether the sites contain extractable resources. Often, of course, they don't contain enough extractable oil or gas to make drilling worthwhile, though the government keeps all fees and royalties. There are other instances in which leases are legitimately non-producing. Leaseholders must negotiate an expensive bureaucratic maze to gather the necessary environmental permits to begin exploration and drilling. That can take years. Moreover, environmental organizations like Earthjustice and the Sierra Club routinely take leaseholders to court as a way to sow delay and drive up energy companies' costs.

Perhaps the surest sign that Obama wants to go after the oil and gas industries is his proposal to make them completely ineligible for the manufacturing-tax deduction. Congressional Democrats have long sought this move, calling it a repeal of a special tax break that Washington supposedly gives the petroleum industry. The reality is just the opposite: the manufacturing-tax deduction is available to virtually every manufacturing industry in the United States, not just oil and gas producers. Denying the deduction to Big Oil won't snatch away an ill-gotten favor in the name of fairness; it will unfairly penalize an industry denounced in recent years for the sin of making money.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Corporatism: FDR's "right path" is alive and well! : "`I believe that President Roosevelt has chosen the right path. We are dealing with the greatest social problem ever known. Millions of unemployed must get their jobs back. This cannot be left to private initiative.' And, sure enough President Barack Obama's overall Budget will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the Government sector, people who will be grateful voters in the next election. Here is the Washington Post's piece on that: I'll bet readers thought the opening quote above was perhaps by our President Barack Obama, an admitted admirer of the New Deal. Actually, it was Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief, in 1933, speaking admiringly of the New Deal as the way for National Socialism to follow."

Obama's audacious agenda: Who's paying for it? : "Audacity on steroids. How else to describe the Obama administration's fiscal 2010 budget proposal, unleashed on an American public so staggered by the events of the last few months that they cannot comprehend the magnitude of the plans Mr. Obama and his still-inchoate Cabinet have for the nation. The list of problems the new president has resolved to put right reads like a roll call of the loftiest policy ambitions of every administration since FDR. . That each of these projects failed to one degree or another would give pause to most administrations intent on tackling any one of them. By contrast, Obama has declared that, amidst the greatest financial crisis since World War II, he will solve all of them."

Stimulus bill is really lawyers' full employment act: "A law firm announced last week it was building a special legal team to help its clients acquire some of the $787 billion in the stimulus bill. `We recognize this is an extraordinary opportunity to help advance the interests of our clients,' said team leader Doug McGarrah of Foley Hoag LLP, with offices in Boston and Washington, DC. The clients will need all the help they can get, because deciphering the legal complexities of the stimulus bill is going to occupy lawyers for decades."

An uncharitable tax : "The federal government budget proposed by the president imposes higher taxes on incomes above $250,000. One of the provisions is that charitable donations would no longer be tax deductible. . Without a tax deduction, charitable donations get tax punished. When the beneficiaries of donations are the poor and other good causes, these suffer from fewer gifts. A tax on charitable donations hurts the homeless, the hungry, the wildlife that does not get preserved, the ignorant who do not get educated, and all humanity which loses knowledge and more of its natural legacy. When government taxes the rich like this, it taxes the poor."

Mormon polygamy: Your tax dollars at work: "One of the things I mentioned to Jessop was how I was convinced that Mormon polygamy, for the most part, could not survive without the active help of government. Officially none of the multiple wives are legally married - they are single mothers eligible for all sorts of financial aid from the county, state and federal governments. When you consider that the media age in polygamous Mormon communities is around 12 or 13 you will understand precisely how many millions of dollars politicians are willing to give the sect `for the sake of the children.' Jessop agreed and said: `You can't support three kids these days by yourself, let alone 28.' She confirmed that millions in taxpayer funds were flowing in to polygamous communities keeping the[m] alive. Jessup says that these communities have individuals whose job is to write up grant proposals and submit them to various levels of government. So housing rehabilitation grants, highway grants, educational grants, development grants, etc., pour into these communities. With virtually no separation of church and state in these communities, the church uses the millions showered on the local governments, for its own purposes. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said that the polygamists `proved themselves the master of grant applications.'"

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

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

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

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

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4 March, 2009

Material success and social failure?

More junk epidemiology below. The authors find less social dysfunction in Nordic countries and in Japan and say that is because incomes are more equal there. So, like nearly all epidemiologists, they make causal inferences from correlational data -- which you cannot logically do. They allegedly spent 30 years arriving at their conclusions so I am sorry to say that it took me approximately two minutes to see an alternative explanation for their findings: ethnic diversity. Japan to this day has few immigrants and the Nordic countries have only recently begun to have a large immigrant population. And as Robert Putnam has famously shown, social homogeneity expands trust and co-operation. So there is less social dysfunction because people feel happier and safer and more co-operative in a country where most people are like them.

And, without looking at it in detail, I am guessing that the same applies to U.S. States. States with the largest minority populations (the South?) have the highest level of social dysfunction.

How nasty of me to undermine so quickly conclusions that so suit the prejudices of the Left! But even if all of the explanation that I have just given is wrong, the point still stands that "correlation is not causation". You learn that in Statistics 101 but if you are a grand epidemiologist, you are allowed to ignore that, apparently. And BOTH of us could be wrong. There could be some third process at work generating the numbers concerned. Assigning causes from epidemiological data is always mere speculation


It is common knowledge that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Likewise, large inequalities of income are often regarded as divisive and corrosive. In a groundbreaking book, based on 30 years' research, Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor at The University of Nottingham together with co-author Kate Pickett from the University of York, go an important stage beyond either of these ideas to demonstrate that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them - the well-off as well as the poor.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett forcefully demonstrate that nearly every modern social and environmental problem - ill-health, lack of community, life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness , long working hours, big prison populations - is more likely to occur in a less equal society, and adversely affects all of those within it.

The remarkable data the book presents and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare the conditions of different societies. It reveals that if Britain [Which has always received lots of immigrants and which as a consequence now has a large and troublesome minority population] became as equal as the average for the four most equal of the rich countries (Japan, Norway, Sweden and Finland), levels of trust might be expected to increase by two-thirds, homicide rates could fall by 75 per cent, everyone could get the equivalent of almost seven weeks extra holiday a year, and governments could be closing prisons all over the country.

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, shows us how, after a point, additional income buys less and less additional health, happiness and wellbeing. The issue is now community and how we relate to each other. This important book explains how it is now possible to piece together a new, compelling and coherent picture of how we can release societies from the grip of pervasive and schismatic dysfunctional behaviour, a picture which will revitalise politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organise human communities. It is a major new approach to how we can improve the real quality of life, not just for the poor, but for everyone.

More here

The above post also appears today on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog, which is where I normally debunk epidemiological theorizing

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ELSEWHERE

Obama and special interests: "In his weekend radio address of February 28, 2009, President Obama once again talked about how he isn't captive to any special interest group. As he put it, `The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don't. I work for the American people,' Obama declared. `I didn't come here to do the same thing we've been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November.' . Who are all these (mean, vicious) special interests? And who are all the (honorable, virtuous) American people? Lo and behold they are the very same citizens of the country! Yes these special interest groups are composed of Americans who are represented by experts at approaching the government for various types of support. They are farmers, artists, merchants small and large, teachers, steel workers, auto workers, bankers, brokers, dentists, doctors, and so on and so forth. That is who all these nasty, vicious special interest groups are made up of, the same folks who are so noble and innocent, The People!"

The return of big government: "Despite the bad economy he inherited, the political circumstances, for Obama at least, are favorable. He's popular, as new presidents usually are. He talks about `hard choices' but hasn't made any. With large Democratic majorities in Congress, he's free of worry about rebellion on Capitol Hill. Despite glitches in picking his cabinet, his cool demeanor is unshaken. He governs campaign-style, largely with speeches and announcements. No wonder he enjoys being president. Accountability comes later. But there's a problem. Candidates don't have to deal with reality. They talk about the wonderful things they can accomplish as if advocating them is the same as achieving them. They live in a world of political make-believe in which everything from reconciling conflicting interests to paying for costly programs is easy. That's the world Obama continues to inhabit."

Waiting for Godot?: "Is he really just a one-trick pony? What does he do but grind out speeches? What meat-grinder is running behind him, fed with lists of great words, lists of lofty leftist platitudes? His fans swoon, hearing only heavenly hope, nothing but the sweetest swill. Obama is surely the greatest speechmaker in generations. I think he tops Clinton, he challenges Ronald Reagan, Eugene McCarthy, even Franklin Roosevelt. Are we rats following the pied piper? What is the substance? Where is the beef? No beef."

It would be cheaper to fight World War II again: "What is the right word to describe the U.S. government's current and proposed fiscal condition: fantastic, unbelievable, surreal? The Obama administration now expects a budget deficit in fiscal year 2009 of $1,750 billion, or more than 12 percent of GDP. Total federal spending this year is expected to be $3,940 billion, or 27 percent of GDP. President Barack Obama promises that the deficit will be brought down to $1,170 billion in fiscal year 2010. Don't bank on it. Did anyone, even two or three years ago, expect this situation to develop? We need to go back only ten years, to fiscal year 1999, to reach a time when the government's total outlays were smaller than this year's deficit."

Bureaucratic corruption: "Televisions, X-Boxes, alcohol, Internet software and tuition. Inspector General auditors say those are just some of the questionable purchases made by Tennessee Valley Authority employees on their government charge cards. An audit of the program created to pay for small business-related expenses finds spending has swelled to more than $75 million annually, with nearly a third of those purchases over $5,000. One unidentified cardholder had nearly $6 million in charges on six cards in two years. The auditors say the program lacks `accountability and physical control.' TVA managers agree and say they are cracking down."

How big government infrastructure projects go wrong : "The recently enacted $787 billion 'stimulus' program appears to be the down payment on a sweeping `new New Deal' that will include many other ambitious government programs - including the possible nationalization of health care. Given the size and scope of such interventions into the economy, it's important to remember that big government programs often have results that are very different than what was intended. We can gain particular perspective by reflecting on the experience of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most ambitious infrastructure program, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)."

Scotland: Price control for booze -- to put the price UP, not to keep it down: "Scotland will enter a new age of temperance under radical plans aimed at curbing endemic drinking in a country with some of the worst alcohol abuse rates in the world. Ministers unveiled new plans yesterday which will set a minimum price for drinks, based on the number of units they contain, and a ban on promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free offers. If the plans are approved, Scotland will become the first country in Europe to fix a minimum price on drinks."

Capitalism is the cure not the cause: "Capitalism has become an easy scape-goat recently. This is best exemplified by the Obama Administration's New Deal on steroids. Rather than let the market process work on its own, the Administration has seen it fit to use this as an opportunity to naively think that by spending more money in order to create jobs, the economy will recover. President Obama's logic comes from the vantage point that government, not individuals, create wealth and prosperity and the institution must intervene in areas of human need, such as housing and healthcare, when people are unable to help themselves. Even when the economy slumps. If history is any guide, this is pure fantasy."

The beautiful harmony of collective community: "One of the arguments against decentralized decision-making is that it's too selfish. There's no collective action. There's no community. When the government does stuff, it's collective and therefore - so goes the argument - there's an opportunity for everyone to be acting on everyone else's behalf. These arguments have always struck me as strange. There's lots of collective action, it just isn't coerced. And I've never understood the `community' created by taxation."

China's first moon probe crashes to lunar surface: "China's first moon probe Chang'e 1 intentionally crashed into the lunar surface on Sunday after more than year of science observations, according to state media reports. . Chinese space officials said they planned to launch a follow-up mission - Chang'e 2 - by 2011. Chang'e 1's intentional crash was slated to be a dry run for a potential moon landing, they said Sunday."

The infinite dullness of PBS TV news: "Over the last few months I have had my TiVo record the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, the famed PBS TV program deemed very highfalutin by my liberal colleagues and pals. It's not so much that I lack news sources but more a matter of my own limited amateur investigative journalism. I am curious how a substantially government-funded news program deals with the current national and international economic fiasco. By now I have watched over three months of this program and just as I suspected, it is so terribly biased, so uninterested in balanced reportage that it has become very boring to watch it evening after evening."

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

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

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

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

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3 March, 2009

Obama and the "Mikoyan syndrome"

A comment received from Gerard Jackson of Brookesnews

A number of people have commented on the hypocrisy of Obama and his rich supporters, whose attitude is one of "do as I say and not as I do". Critics do not realise that this is characteristic of leftists. They always exempt themselves from their own strictures. I call this behaviour the Mikoyan syndrome.

Anastas Mikoyan was a communist agitator in oil refineries at Baku Batoum that were owned by an industrialist called Zubalov, Mikoyan led strikes, protests and organised study groups. One can think of him as the pre-Soviet equivalent of a "community activist". However, once the Soviets grabbed control of the state he took Zubalov's mansion for his own, including the servants, cracked down on strikes, shot protestors, banned study groups that questioned the party's authority and sent their organisers to labour camps. He was justified in doing this because - like today's Democrats - he believed that anyone who challenged the Party was evil or stupid. I regret to say that Mikoyan survived Stalin's purges and died of old age, unlike thousands of his victims.

At the end of the day, Obama is nothing but a highly polished Hugo Chavez with the same corrupt instincts. To him the crisis is an opportunity to plunder Americans and then - with the willing assistance of America's corrupt media - use the loot to effectively turn the US into a one-party state.

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Obama adds to the mortgage problem

An email from the National Association of Realtors. Simplistic Leftist thinking about "the rich" is going to make the financial crisis worse

You may have seen news reports about President Obama's budget proposal that was released today at 11:30 AM Eastern Time. A small section of the sweeping budget plan has the potential to become a major impediment to a recovery in real estate markets across the nation. NAR is 100% opposed to the provision that modifies the Mortgage Interest Deduction and is prepared to use its formidable array of resources against its enactment.

As currently drafted, the plan changes the Mortgage Interest Deduction by reducing the amount of mortgage deductibility on families earning over $250,000. This proposed change in the Mortgage Interest Deduction will result in further erosion of home prices and home values. If this proposal is enacted it will lead to a new round of price depreciation, will cause greater distress on the balance sheets of banks as the collateral value of mortgage backed securities declines. A second credit crisis could emerge before the first one is resolved.

As you read this NAR is launching a multiphase plan of action to eliminate this provision from the budget plan. In the next 24 hours, NAR will be expressing our concerns directly to President Obama, to all members of the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, placing advertisements in the publications read by Washington, DC decision makers. Additionally, NAR will be forming a coalition with other groups affected by this proposal.

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Does the Media Still Love Obama?

Obama is struggling to adjust to a media that isn't fawning over him as much as they used to. From the Canada Free Press
The day following President Obama's State of the Union speech I opened my daily newspaper to read the headline "What the president said and what the facts say." It was an Associated Press story and it drove a tank through the President's various promises and assertions.

The AP reporters weren't the only people who had some doubts. A Reuters news story confirmed my prediction, noting that "Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors found little new in a major speech by President Obama on how he planned to stabilize the economy, while gloomy home sales data weighed on the market." Facts are stubborn things. Eventually they cannot be ignored.

I have previously pointed out that this new President's start in office has had what is surely the shortest "honeymoon" on record with both the public and the media. We're not talking about FDR's famous "first hundred days." We are talking 56 days as this is being written.

There is, I suspect, a growing feeling among both the public and the media that this recession, if the White House and Congress had done NOTHING, would have run its course. All recessions do. But Obama came out almost immediately calling it a "catastrophe" in order to gin up support for a "stimulus" bill that surely had been in the works for the last two years that Democrats had control of Congress, but were unable to get passed because of a potential presidential veto by George W. Bush.
Obama's inexperience has cost him some media credibility and if his economic program doesn't work he will be looking for a new job in 2013.

SOURCE

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Conservatives and Porn

You're going to be hearing about this:

Porn in the USA: Conservatives are the biggest consumers

A quick look at the study reveals all sorts of problems: It doesn't examine individuals, but rather averages across areas, which leads to a red state vs. blue state analysis that allows for startling headlines but in fact tells us very little. One of the findings is that Utah has more per-capita online porn subscriptions than other states. It's probably also true that Salt Lake City is one of the toughest places in America to pay for a lap dance or a peep show. So what do porn-prone Utahns do? They go online, and skew the very statistics now being trumpeted as newsworthy.

For an antidote, read this data-driven NRO piece by Arthur Brooks on conservatives, liberals, and romance. One highlight, drawn from the 2006 General Social Survey:

About 60 percent more Democrats than Republicans confess to having watched at least one pornographic movie in the past year.

This finding never made the news. I wonder why.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Hamas tortures other Palis: "The world makes too little of the oppression of Palestinians--by other Palestinians. So Amnesty International is to be applauded for its recent report on Gaza. The nub of it is, "Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of 'collaborating' with Israel, as well as opponents and critics." The details are characteristically disgusting, and Hamas has been doing this for years. (So has the PLO but that is another story. No, actually the same one, pretty much.) At least a big human-rights group has taken notice. People who claim to care about Palestinians but speak only of Israel are pretending.

WA: State "death with dignity" law takes effect: "Terminally ill patients with less than six months to live will soon be able to ask their doctors to prescribe them lethal medication in Washington state. But even though the `Death with Dignity' law takes effect Thursday, people who might seek the life-ending prescriptions could find their doctors conflicted or not willing to write them. Many doctors are hesitant to talk publicly about where they stand on the issue, said Dr. Tom Preston, a retired cardiologist and board member of Compassion & Choices, the group that campaigned for and supports the law." (03/01/09)

AG: Justice Department will stop medical marijuana raids: "In a little-noticed remark Wednesday, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries established under state laws but technically prohibited by the federal government. The decision marks a shift from the Bush Administration, which was more draconian in its approach to hunting those who sought to dispense marijuana for medical purposes. Numerous states have decriminalized marijuana in recent years, and new fiscal pressures are turning more states toward being more lenient toward first-time drug offenders as the cost of keeping drug users in jail becomes untenable for state budgets. The remark was caught by The Huffington Post's Ryan Grimm."

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

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

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

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2 March, 2009

The Left do NOT mean well

Fifteen years ago Jeff Jacoby's first regular column appeared in the Boston Globe. He has recyled it recently. See below. I usually agree with him but I have some reservations about this column that I set out at the foot of it

So what's a nice conservative like me doing in a newspaper like this? Wondering, for a start, why so many liberals think of conservatives not so much as people they disagree with, but as people they despise.

Most mainstream conservatives acknowledge that liberals are essentially well-meaning. Misguided, to be sure. And naive? Certainly. And elitist, self-righteous, collectivist know-it-alls, chronically unwilling to learn from their mistakes, clueless when it comes to the workings of the marketplace, always persuaded that the next government program will fix whatever went wrong with the last government program? Yeah. But well-meaning.

It should go without saying that you can mean well and do ill. Those liberal good intentions have helped pave more than a few of the 20th century's roads to hell, from the Evil Empire to the welfare state to the meltdown of the American criminal justice system. Conservatives condemn the demonic results that liberal good intentions have led to, and with gusto. What they don't do, as a rule, is demonize their opponents. Liberals do.

Liberals look at conservatives and see moral cripples: Conservatives hate the poor. Conservatives are greedy. Conservatives have no compassion. Conservatives are Neanderthals . . . racists . . . homophobes . . . warmongers. To be conservative, in the eyes of many fervent liberals, is to be by definition a vile human being -- someone to recoil from, not reason with; someone to damn, not to debate.

Personal vignette: It was a roundtable discussion about poverty and social welfare policies in Massachusetts, and I had made some point or other about welfare and illegitimacy. The representative from the prominent, Boston-based foundation spoke up in disagreement. "People like Mr. Jacoby can say that because they don't care about the poor," she began. "But the rest of us . . ."

"They don't care about the poor". Period, end of story. No room for differences of philosophy here. You're a conservative? Then you're morally defective, your views are warped, and would you please get out of the marketplace of ideas before you stink up the joint. Think of Ted Kennedy's slander of Judge Robert Bork in 1987 ("Bork's America is a land in which . . . blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids . . ."). Or of Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey's foul comparison of his colleague, conservative James Kelly, to a Nazi ("It would be like electing David Duke . . . he has the same politics and rhetoric as David Duke.")

"Liberals go for the jugular," says David Horowitz, the one-time antiwar activist and editor of the radical magazine Ramparts. "With them, it's always about character assassination. If you're conservative, you're either sick or in some way deeply malevolent."

The most flagrant recent example oozed across The New York Times op-ed page last month, when columnist Frank Rich launched a vitriolic personal assault on conservative journalist David Brock, author of a controversial article on Bill Clinton's extramarital adventures. Brock's "motives are at least as twisted as his facts," wrote Rich. "It's women, not liberals, who really get him going. The slightest sighting of female sexuality whips him into a frenzy of misogynist zeal. All women are the same to Mr. Brock: terrifying, gutter-tongued, sexual omnivores."

Imagine a conservative trying to discredit a liberal by sledgehammering him as an unhinged woman-hater, or none-too-subtly "outing" him as a homosexual. Actually, that's hard to do: The last well-known conservative with a taste for baseless personal invective was named Joe McCarthy.

At the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Tip O'Neill -- the great-hearted, much-mourned late Speaker himself -- voiced his opposition to President Reagan's policies thus: "The evil is in the White House." The evil. Never would Reagan have used such language to describe O'Neill.

But then, Reagan wasn't a man of the left. He wasn't on a utopian crusade. Like most conservatives, he didn't think the blights of the world could be ended by transforming human nature. And he certainly didn't imagine the only thing blocking that transformation was wrong-thinking people who must be gotten out of the way -- or excommunicated as "evil."

So what's a nice conservative like me doing in a newspaper like this? Why, conserving. Looking to the past to figure out what has succeeded, and trying to apply its wisdom to the conundrums of the present. Acknowledging that there are no guarantees and that life is unfair, but knowing that the best road for the pursuit of happiness is the one marked with the old signposts: Freedom. Responsibility. Virtue. Work.

Source

I think Jacoby is right in saying that many conservatives give Leftists the benefit of the doubt -- but I think that is a mistake. I think Leftist motives have to be inferred from their deeds, not their words -- and their deeds are with eerie consistency destructive of the wealth and wellbeing of the society in which they live. That cannot just be a mistake. Except for Joe Biden, Leftists are not stupid people. I think that the Leftist AIM is destruction of the world they see about them and which they hate for various reasons. Conservatives may or may not support the status quo but Leftists uniformly want to destroy it. And the Leftist hatred of conservatives is a part of that. They see that conservatives do NOT want to destroy the society in which they live so conservatives are hated obstacles to Leftist aims. I think conservatives should view Leftists as evil. They have no hesitation in viewing us that way. It is of course an old Leftist dodge to see in others what is true of themselves ("projection"). Conservatives need to wake up to that. "You're just projecting" should become a standard reply to Leftist abuse.

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Obama misrepresents his opposition

Why does he routinely ascribe to opponents views they don't espouse?

By KARL ROVE

President Barack Obama reveres Abraham Lincoln. But among the glaring differences between the two men is that Lincoln offered careful, rigorous, sustained arguments to advance his aims and, when disagreeing with political opponents, rarely relied on the lazy rhetorical device of "straw men." Mr. Obama, on the other hand, routinely ascribes to others views they don't espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama told Congress and the nation, "I reject the view that . . . says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity." Who exactly has that view? Certainly not congressional Republicans, who believe that through reasonable tax cuts, fiscal restraint, and prudent monetary policies government contributes to prosperity. Mr. Obama also said that America's economic difficulties resulted when "regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market." Who gutted which regulations?

Perhaps it was President Bill Clinton who, along with then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, removed restrictions on banks owning insurance companies in 1999. If so, were Mr. Clinton and Mr. Summers (now an Obama adviser) motivated by quick profit, or by the belief that the reform was necessary to modernize our financial industry?

Perhaps Mr. Obama was talking about George W. Bush. But Mr. Bush spent five years pushing to further regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was blocked by Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank. Arriving in the Senate in 2005, Mr. Obama backed up Mr. Dodd's threat to filibuster Mr. Bush's needed reforms.

Even in an ostensibly nonpartisan speech marking Lincoln's 200th birthday, Mr. Obama used a straw-man argument, decrying "a philosophy that says every problem can be solved if only government would step out of the way; that if government were just dismantled, divvied up into tax breaks, and handed out to the wealthiest among us, it would somehow benefit us all. Such knee-jerk disdain for government -- this constant rejection of any common endeavor -- cannot rebuild our levees or our roads or our bridges." Whose philosophy is this? Many Americans justifiably believe that government is too big and often acts in counterproductive ways. But that's a far cry from believing that in "every" case government is the problem or that government should be "dismantled" root and branch. Who -- other than an anarchist -- "constantly rejects any common endeavor" like building levees, roads or bridges?

During his news conference on Feb. 9, Mr. Obama decried an unnamed faction in the congressional stimulus debate as "a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing." Who were these sincere do-nothings? Every House Republican voted for an alternative stimulus plan, evidence that they wanted to do something. Every Senate Republican -- with the exception of Judd Gregg, who'd just withdrawn his nomination to be Mr. Obama's Commerce secretary and therefore voted "present" -- voted for alternative stimulus proposals.

Then there's Mr. Obama's description of the Bush-era tax cuts. "A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy," he explained in his Tuesday speech, after earlier saying, "tax cuts alone can't solve all of our economic problems -- especially tax cuts that are targeted to the wealthiest few."

The Bush tax cuts were not targeted to "the wealthiest few." Everyone who paid federal income taxes received a tax cut, with the largest percentage of reductions going to those at the bottom. Last year, a family of four making $40,000 saved an average of $2,053 because of the Bush tax cuts. The tax code became more progressive as the share paid by the top 10% increased to 46.4% from 46% -- and the nation experienced 52 straight months of job growth after the cuts took effect. And since when is giving back some of what people pay in taxes "transferring wealth?"

In his inaugural address -- which was generally graceful toward the opposition -- Mr. Obama proclaimed, "We have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord." Which Republican ran against him on fear, conflict and discord?

Mr. Obama portrays himself as a nonideological, bipartisan voice of reason. Everyone resorts to straw men occasionally, but Mr. Obama's persistent use of the device is troubling. Continually characterizing those who disagree with you in a fundamentally dishonest way can be the sign of a person who lacks confidence in the merits of his ideas.

It was said that Lincoln crafted his arguments in "resonant words that enriched the political dialogue of his age." Mr. Obama's straw men aren't enriching the dialogue of our age. They are cheapening it. Mr. Obama should stop employing them.

SOURCE

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A Leftist realizes that Obamism is Fascism

Here's some news: a liberal has proven capable of recognizing true fascism. Here's liberal journalist Robert Scheer on NPR, via The Hawblog:
I don't think the idea of nationalizing, as it's now being called - which means bailing out these banks, setting them straight, then letting them go private again, which is the model that everybody is using, and the people who get screwed are the people whose retirement funds had common or preferred shares and they get wiped out, and these bankers come out richer than ever at the other end - that's not a leftist idea and it's not socialism. This is what we used to, in Comparative Economic Systems, call fascism. It's putting government at the service of the big financial interests. That's what happened in Italy, that's what happened in Germany, that's what happened in Japan.
Despite the "down with bankers" slant, Scheer is correct that fascism is what you get when an authoritarian government entangles its tendrils with ostensibly private industry. Tony Blankley was on hand to ask,
What I don't understand is how my colleagues on this show, who I believe were for Obama, are now saying he's leading a fascist regime. Did he mislead them a few weeks ago when he was still running?
Scheer's befuddled response is something we'll be hearing more often as liberals who aren't total fiends wake up and realize what they've done to this country:
To answer your question, I am disappointed in Barack Obama and I'm not quite sure what he's doing.
It's going to be a little difficult to pretend the Moonbat Messiah is whoever you want him to be, now that he is actively engaged in destroying our economic system to pave the way for authoritarianism - as anyone familiar with his background should have predicted he would do.

SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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1 March, 2009

Obama embraces the Bush legacy

Though the headlines from the President's speech mostly focused on his promise to end all U.S. combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010 -- and withdraw U.S. forces fully by the end of the following year -- there was considerably more to it than that. For starters, Mr. Obama again acknowledged that our forces in Iraq had "succeeded beyond any expectation," not least his own.

Mr. Obama was also rightly generous in his praise of outgoing U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno, "two of our finest generals." All three men were Bush appointees, and all were instrumental in devising, advocating and implementing the surge strategy that Mr. Bush pursued amid the derision of his critics, including then-Senator Obama.

President Obama also recognized that Iraqis themselves have made significant political progress, and that "there is renewed cause for hope in Iraq." That's a far cry from his message of last July, when he told reporters, after visiting Iraq, that "So far, I think we have not seen the kind of political reconciliation that's going to bring about long-term stability in Iraq."

But more important than Mr. Obama's implicit repudiation of his own positions as a candidate (and the implicit vindication of Mr. Bush's position, to say nothing of John McCain's) is his decision to maintain a sizable U.S. military presence in Iraq -- in the range of 35,000 to 50,000 troops -- past the August 2010 "withdrawal" date. That "transitional force" is roughly the size of the U.S. military presence in South Korea through the Cold War. And its mission, involving training of Iraqi forces, U.S. force protection and "targeted counterterrorism missions," largely describes what the U.S. is already doing in Iraq.

Most of Iraq's provinces are under full Iraqi security control, and U.S. forces will be out of all Iraqi cities and towns by this July, as stipulated in the Status of Forces Agreement that the Bush Administration concluded with the Iraqi government last year. By making it clear a sizable U.S. force will remain in Iraq, Mr. Obama is showing a commitment to Iraq's continued democratic progress and should help deter a revival of ethnic tensions. He's also making clear the strategic advantage of having a stable U.S. ally in the heart of the Persian Gulf.

More here

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Obama's Budget Will Harm Small Businesses and Destroy American Jobs

Simplistic Leftist theory gets it wrong again

Few would suggest that Barack Obama would intentionally kill American jobs and persecute the small businesses that create them. Unfortunately, that's precisely the effect of his new budget and tax scheme. By raising taxes on small business and reneging on his campaign promise to provide them capital gains tax relief, he will punish the very entrepreneurs that create most American jobs and market innovations.

Obama, of course, would righteously protest that he seeks to help small businesses, and will only raise taxes on the "wealthy" earning over $250,000. The simple truth, however, is that most taxpayers filing above the $250,000 benchmark are not individual fat cats or trust-fund babies. Rather, over 65% of them are actually small businesses, which file as individuals rather than corporations because they have fewer than 100 shareholders and do not pay dividends. Small businesses constitute 99% of employers, and employ over half of all private-sector employees in America, and many of them file above the $250,000 threshold.....

According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), which defines "small businesses" as those employing between 3 and 199 people, these entrepreneurs employ over 50% of the nation's private-sector employees and account for over half of American non-farm private gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, given the dynamic nature of our economy, these small businesses create approximately two-thirds of net new jobs and provide the first job for most new entrants into the workforce, according to the NFIB, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the United States Census Bureau. In fact, America's small businesses would comprise the world's third-largest economy (after the United States and Japan) if standing alone, and represent an astounding 99.7% of all employers in America.

If Obama really wanted to stimulate the American economy and create jobs, he would stop punishing small businesses with tax increases that falsely target "the rich." Instead of repeatedly shoveling billions of dollars to well-connected big businesses that employ armies of lobbyists but refuse to correct their defective business models, he might provide relief to small entrepreneurs like those who created Wal-Mart, Apple or Microsoft. Instead of raising taxes on small businesses, he would honor his campaign promise to cut them. Instead of futilely attempting to preserve jobs at failing giants, he would provide the incentives for the smaller businesses that create jobs. Along the way, he might consider reducing payroll taxes or providing tax hiatuses for new small businesses until they successfully transcend their fledgling early stages.

President Obama and Congress, your massive spending bills are only worsening the market and harming the economy. If you really want to restore American innovation and begin creating jobs again, stop targeting supposedly "rich" small businesses and raising their taxes. You'll be amazed at the economic growth that follows.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

There is a new website called A Faithful Soldier which may be worth a look. It honors everyone in the US military all around the world. Dog tags are sold on it and 15% of all proceeds is said to go to a charity (Soldier's Angels) which helps injured soldiers or families of those that lost their lives in the military. The tags could be personalized with either your name or someone you know in the military and could be good as gifts.

A good comment here on the huge political bias in the reports by snopes.com -- something I have myself mentioned two or three times.

Where are all those "Green jobs"?: "California's unemployment rate jumped to 10.1% in January, the highest since 1983, as employers in the nation's most-populous state cut 79,000 jobs in the month. Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday declared a state of emergency to address California's third-straight year of drought, ordering officials to take steps to reduce urban water consumption and to expedite water transfers throughout the state. The rate, released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department, is up from a revised figure of 8.7% for December 2008. The national jobless rate for January was 7.6%. There were 3.3% fewer jobs in California than a year earlier. The report said there were 1,863,000 unemployed Californians, up 754,000 from January 2008."

A few fountains of bias to dry up: "After 150 years the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News landed on readers' doorsteps yesterday morning with the headline "Goodbye, Colorado". It is Colorado's oldest newspaper and the largest-circulation daily to succumb to the crisis in the newspaper industry. The 144-year-old San Francisco Chronicle is in danger of closing "within weeks", making San Francisco the first big city in the United States without a major daily paper. The Seattle PostIntelligencer and Tucson Citizen could also shut down if no buyer steps forward. Analysts predict that other titles will follow the 210,000-circulation Rocky Mountain News because of the economic downturn and the flight of advertising and readers to the internet"

Good demographic news from Israel: "According to the CBS, the country's Jewish population is getting younger and the Arab population getting older. The number of annual Jewish births increased by 45% between 1995 (80,400) and 2008 (117,000), as a result of aliya from the USSR, the shift by the Soviet olim from a typical Russian rate of one birth per woman to a typical Israeli rate of two-three births, the rising secular Jewish rate and the sustained high Orthodox and haredi rate. The number of annual Arab births has stabilized - since 1995 - at around 39,000, reflecting a most successful integration by Arabs into the country's infrastructures of education, health, human services, commerce, finance, culture, sports and politics. The fertility gap is down from six births per woman in 1969 to 0.7 in 2009, and the proportion of Jewish births has grown from 69% (of total births) in 1995 and 74% in 2007 to 75% in 2008. The downward trend typifies, also, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria due to large scale emigration, entrenched family planning, reduction of teen pregnancy, rapid urbanization, expanded education especially among women, record divorce rate and higher median marriage age. The Westernization of Arab fertility rate (3.5 births per woman in pre-1967 Israel and four in Judea and Samaria) is apparent throughout most of the Arab and Muslim world."

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

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

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

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

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