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

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30 November, 2010

Jihadis all over the place in Europe

Amid mounting terrorism fears in Europe, investigators on Tuesday arrested 10 suspects after busting an Islamic extremist network, which plotted to attack a Belgian port-city. The Belgian prosecutor's office said that an international terrorist group used an extremist Internet site, Ansar Al Mujahideen, for this to plot the attack. The Belgian investigators had been suspecting the network, which is based in Antwerp, home to both Muslim and Jewish communities, since last year.

Most of the suspects were arrested in Belgium, while the Dutch and German investigators also arrested some of the suspects in their countries. The prosecutor's office said that the attack’s target was not yet specifically determined, adding that they had "sufficient facts" to justify the raids.

The government's crisis center’s spokesman said that no additional security measures have been decided to date in Belgium.

Dutch prosecutors confirmed the arrest of three men in their late 20s in Amsterdam, adding that all three Dutch nationals have been arrested on Belgium’s request and would soon be extradited to Belgium. German police also arrested a man aged 31 in Aachen.

The Belgian prosecutor’s spokesman said that out of those 10 arrested were nationals from Belgium, the Netherlands, Morocco and Russia. The men are also believed to have recruited "jihadist candidates" and financed the Chechen terrorist group - the Caucasian Emirate.

The fresh arrests came after several people have already been detained in Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia under the same probe. The investigation was conducted in collaboration with the European Union's judicial cooperation unit Eurojust and a host of other nations.



Israel as a rogue state

My latest hero is a 19-year-old Canadian called Gabriel Latner, and for three reasons. The first is that he presented the most brilliantly audacious defence of Israel since Moses parted the Red Sea. The second is that he told his "ally" in a Cambridge Union debate, Lauren Booth (the dingbat half-sister of Cherie Blair) -- "I am going to nail you to the f***ing wall up there." He duly did. The third is that he is banned from life from the Cambridge Union for swearing in front of a lady. Yes, I know, that's where feminism has got us -- equality whenever it suits; otherwise a reversion to the swooning damsel of yesteryear.

Gabriel, who is also Jewish, was proposing the motion in the CU that Israel is a rogue state. He asked the fundamental question: well, what does rogue actually mean? He referred to the dictionary. 'Aberrant, anomalous, misplaced, occurring (especially in isolation) at an unexpected place or time'. In other words, just like Israel.

His first argument was statistical. There are 195 countries in the world; Christian, Muslim, secular. But Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish -- therefore, a rogue. That he is a better rhetorician than mathematician came in his next assertion, that the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051pc. Not true, Gabriel. Two decimal places out; it is 0.51pc.

His next argument came from its treatment of Darfurian refugees, the survivors of the Sudanese Janjaweed war of genocide, who are scorned throughout the Middle East, and even shot on sight in Egypt (Dear old Egypt). But they are welcomed in Israel, with the Israeli government even sending out its soldiers into the Sinai to rescue what are, in essence, illegal immigrants. Clearly, a rogue again.

Thirdly, the Israeli government engages in an activity that the rest of the world shuns -- it negotiates with terrorists. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators in talks with Israel. He was formerly a leader of the PFLP -- "an organisation that engaged in such freedom-promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli high-school students".

Gabriel argued that (amongst other governments) the British government would never negotiate with terrorists -- but he was on weaker ground here. Lauren Booth's semi-brother-in-law, yes Phony Tony, even had terrorists staying with him at his personal residence at Chequers. But his point is that to negotiate with murderers -- as Israel does -- is surely the mark of a rogue.

Fourth, Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. Quite so. As Gabriel himself said, there has never been a liberal democratic state in the Middle East -- except for Israel.

And of all the countries in the region, Israel is the only one where lesbians, gays and bisexuals enjoy equality. In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging or imprisonment, or both. In Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, homosexuals are put to death. Yet again, Israel is the rogue, for not killing queers, lezzies and trannies.

And fifthly, Israel is the only democracy in the entire Middle East. Again, clearly a rogue! Gabriel then added a sixth argument -- that Israel wilfully and forcefully disregards international law. Look how in 1981 the Zionists destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear bomb plant. The rogues!

Gabriel's co-sponsor of the motion, Lauren Booth, was clearly caught unawares by his brilliant definition of rogue. This convert to Islam divides her loyalties ecumenically between Shia and Sunni mosques in London, which makes her the Islamic equivalent of a Free Presbyterian-Roman Catholic.

She later complained about Gabriel's private use of the F-word to her (and I don't mean Fatima, the shrine at which she was converted to Islam). Well we know that if a man had complained about someone using the F-word to him, he would have been told to grow up, but poor Lauren is a WOOO -- Whingeing Owner Of Ovaries -- and the President of the Union, a silly boy named James Counsell, ordered Gabriel to apologise. The latter refused, (good man, Gabriel) and has accordingly been banned from the Cambridge Union for life.



Obamacare kills health insurance for children -- again

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.

The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.

The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.

The union fund faced a “dramatic shortfall” between what employers contributed to the fund and the premiums charged by its insurance provider, Fidelis Care, according to Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for 1199SEIU. The union fund pools contributions from several home-care agencies and then buys insurance from Fidelis.

“In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

More here


Empty Promises on Healthcare Will Hurt Obama

Barack Obama is only halfway through his term, but it's not too early to ask: What is the biggest whopper he has told as president? So far, the hands-down winner is, "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."

Obama made that particular pledge in a speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009, but he said the same thing, with slight variations, dozens of times during the healthcare debate. And now, exactly eight months after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, we're seeing just how empty the president's promise was.

The New York Times reports there is a "growing frenzy of mergers" in the healthcare field in which hospitals and other care providers, pressured by the new law's provisions, are joining forces to save money. "Consumer advocates fear that the healthcare law could worsen some of the very problems it was meant to solve," the paper reports, "by reducing competition, driving up costs and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses."

The Obama administration's answer to the problem will undoubtedly be more regulation. But the wave of mergers is just one of many signs of trouble with the new law.

For example, we know that the government's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has found that the new law will increase healthcare costs, rather than reduce them, in the coming decade. We know that cuts in Medicare, with the money saved going to pay for expanding coverage to the poor, will jeopardize seniors' access to care. We know the law will make it impossibly expensive for companies that currently offer bare-bones health coverage to low-income employees to keep doing so. We know several corporations are taking giant write-downs because the bill will increase the cost of providing prescription-drug coverage to retired employees. And perhaps most important, we know the law offers an enormous incentive for employers who currently provide coverage to workers to stop doing so, sending those workers to buy coverage in government-subsidized healthcare exchanges.

In sum, what the law means for millions of Americans is: No matter what the president said, if you like the coverage you have now, you can't keep it.



Liberal lid won't fit on boiling Tea pot

Whew. Liberals are breathing a sigh of relief after the Associated Press released a poll this past week showing that Tea Partiers are out of step with the rest of America. Doctrinaire liberal: "We just knew those people were wacko. Now we have proof."

Another doctrinaire liberal: "Thank goodness for polls like this and a reliable outlet like AP, or Sarah Palin and her backwoods family might yet dance their way right into the White House."

Here's how AP spun it:

" 'Tea party' backers fashion themselves as 'we the people,' but polls show the Republican Party's most conservative and energized voters are hardly your average crowd.

"According to an Associated Press-GfK Poll this month, 84 percent who call themselves tea party supporters don't like how President Barack Obama is handling his job - a view shared by just 35 percent of all other adults. Tea partiers are about four times likelier than others to back repealing Obama's health care overhaul and twice as likely to favor renewing tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans."

Doctrinaire liberal: "See? They're out of the mainstream. Now we can get back to pretending we care about the national debt. Hey, have we told you how debt talk can translate into higher taxes?"

Here's their problem: The only poll that counts was taken Nov. 2, when liberals were routed all over the nation in the Great Shellacking. So, either those Tea Partiers found a way to resurrect the dead like miracle-performing precinct captains in Chicago and Baltimore or the nation is closer to the Tea Party vision than liberals want to admit.

There is other evidence that Americans are not quite ready to jump back aboard the Hope and Change Express. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll on Wednesday showed that just 28 percent of voters "strongly approve" of how Mr. Obama is performing as president. Forty-two percent strongly disapprove, "giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of minus 14."

I'm not a statistician, but combined with rude comments from Democratic consultant James Carville about Mr. Obama's anatomy, these developments indicate that Mr. Obama's troubles are deepening and the Tea Party's moment in the sun may be just beginning.

Even if the AP poll is accurate and the Tea Party crowd is more adamant than other Americans about rejecting Obama Nation, that should not bring liberals any solace. People who are politically active are naturally more energized and motivated than other citizens. And it takes only a highly motivated minority to shift political tectonic plates.

Largely out of step with America, liberals have enjoyed decades of success because the liberal media have kept the spotlight off their prevarications and policy failures. But the new media have changed that.

Now, when you hear the New York Times or CBS touting "research" showing that global warming causes hair loss, herpes and acid rain in the Sahara, you can check out other sources.



Medical malpractice reform a good chance for a GOP win

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that medical malpractice reform would save $54 billion over the course of the next ten years.

Savings in the cost of insurance premiums doctors are forced to pay, coupled with savings from ending the defensive medical practices that result from fear of frivolous lawsuits which result in doctors ordering multiple expensive tests just to cover themselves.

Medical malpractice reform will not only save money for everyone involved in the delivery of health care, it will increase the availability of health care overall....

House Republicans have the opportunity to force Harry Reid’s Senate Democrats to confront the harsh reality of the deal they have made with the nation’s trial lawyers, and with some aggressive work by Senate Republicans, they would have to make a choice.

In the past two years, the Democrats chose their big money funders in the professional lawsuit industry over the needs of patients to gain access to quality, affordable health care. Republicans, if they hold every vote in their conference, have the opportunity to force them to choose again. While getting 13 votes to invoke cloture may be a bridge too far, it will only require the votes of four vulnerable or already partially supportive Democrats like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jon Tester of Montana, Tom Carper of Delaware and Virginia’s Jim Webb to force Reid into the uncomfortable position of opposing legislation that a majority of the Senate supports.

The imagery of Harry Reid and the Democrats turning their backs on African American expectant mothers who cannot find an obstetrician due to their acquiescence to the wealthy trial bar doesn’t fit nicely into the ObamaCare narrative for the 2012 election, and so the Republicans should have some political leverage.

Who knows? Maybe 2011 will finally be the year when our nation’s lawmakers deal with one of the key factors denying access to medical care and stand up to the powerful trial bar. At least one can hope.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


29 November, 2010

Liberalism’s Very Bleak Future

They impoverish the country -- and people are going to notice that they are going backwards

Perhaps, the best article on the recent election and the political trends that it represents was written by Chapman University professor, Joel Klotkin, in a Nov. 19 article for the Politico.

While the media trumpets trends that they believe signal the long-run demise of conservatism (e.g., demographics of immigration), Klotkin criticizes analysts for overlooking “the albatross of contemporary liberalism” and its devastating impact on the Democrats one month ago. He notes that liberalism is no longer interested in producing upward economic mobility for the middle class:
Modern-day liberalism, however, is often ambivalent about expanding the economy — preferring a mix of redistribution with redirection along green lines. Its base of political shock troops, public-employee unions, appears only tangentially interested in the health of the overall economy.

In fact, it is probably worse than Klotkin describes it because the environmentalists are completely opposed to any realistic use of carbon-based energy to power our economy. Thus, the Obama Administration’s EPA is instituting amazingly destructive regulations in tandem with its Dep’t of the Interior that does everything it can to prevent fossil fuel extraction in the United States.

Klotkin, who lives in California, also appears to believe that Texas is the new California – as he wrote in a recent Forbes column:
This state of crisis is likely to become the norm for the Golden State. In contrast to other hard-hit states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada, which all opted for pro-business, fiscally responsible candidates, California voters decisively handed virtually total power to a motley coalition of Democratic-machine politicians, public employee unions, green activists and rent-seeking special interests.

California is now liberalism’s Ground Zero with such winners in charge as Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, Henry Waxman, George Miller, etc. Oh, I forgot to list Jerry Brown who gave California public employees the right to unionize.

It is almost unimaginalble what has happened to California in twenty years. Yet, there was one enormous difference between California and the Southern states that supported Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 – the South has always been a right-to-work region. California was not and has harbored pockets of extreme Leftism never present in the South. The rise of the public employee unions along with environmentalists makes it virtually impossible for modern liberalism to present a pro-growth agenda – that is an albatross about which Coleridge could have written mournful verse.



The Fight to Shrink Government

The rarified world of government was recently shaken to its roots by Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey. He cancelled a railroad tunnel that was to be built under the Hudson River to connect New Jersey and New York City. Based on the screams from the left-wing media, you would have thought that life in America had come to an end.

Once Governor Christie made his announcement, the left erupted in its usual, tiresome manner – on the opinion pages of the New York Times – with articles penned by two of its house leftists, Bob Herbert and Dr. Paul Krugman. Mr. Herbert – never a stranger to pointless hyperbole – decried the downfall of America as a great nation. He questioned why a country that built the Erie Canal and the Hoover Dam could not build a rail tunnel like the one that had just broken ground. Funny thing though – not once in his column did he mention anything about cost. Dr. Krugman similarly bemoaned the decline of the country, but at least he mentioned the estimated price tag of the tunnel: $8.7 billion. Of course, he then proceeded to dismiss the impact of this cost on the residents of Governor Christie’s state.

As one would expect in a newspaper written by liberals for liberals, nowhere was there any description of the facts and circumstances that brought Mr. Christie to this decision. The cost of the tunnel, which had been in the works for almost 20 years, had recently risen from $5 billion to $8.7 billion. $3 billion of this was coming from the U.S. government (which certainly can’t afford the money). Another $3 billion was coming from the Port Authority of New York – which they tell us is not the State of New York, but really is – and that state is hopelessly in debt with an out-of-whack budget. The last $2.7 billion was coming from New Jersey. The hitch was that New Jersey was on the hook for any cost overruns after $9.8 billion. Some experts estimate this to be $2 billion right now, with the strong likelihood that the final (overrun) bill will reach $6 billion, all of which would be borne by the 8 million residents of New Jersey. Mr. Christie considered that to be real money.

The elitist left, of course, was apoplectic. It’s not as if the Upper Westside Left really wants to make life easier for the “bridge and tunnel” crowd, who they live to disdain. Perhaps they’re worried that once wealthy New Yorkers realize that New Jersey has a sane Governor, they may start to flee across the Hudson to escape the confiscatory taxes of New York. Or maybe they’ve just never seen a government project that they can’t support, especially one that must be built by their labor union friends.

It’s not as if America works like it did in the mid-20th century. The Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, was built in 410 days. Even more amazing is it took all of four months between conception of the project and the beginning of construction. Now flash forward about seventy years when we have all sorts of improvement in technology. At one of my local parks, three 2-story buildings, a total of about 50,000 sq. ft, are now being built. That is 0.8% of the size of the Pentagon. These buildings were five years in planning and (so far) two years in construction. Egad, our country appears to be regressing.

What are the differences? Certainly not the capabilities of the American people. There are, in fact, three culprits: First, our political leaders have far too little concern for our tax dollars. They think that if the price of a project goes up, they can just throw more money at it. They don’t insist upon realistic cost estimates out of fear that if people knew the real price tag, the project would be rejected. Second, NIMBYs and environmentalists now add enormous time and cost to the development process, an increase magnified by the time value of money. Finally, the requirement that union labor be used on public projects escalates the cost exponentially. It limits competitive bidding and drives costs into the stratosphere.

Governor Christie took a long look at this, and considered the recent history of large public works projects in the Northeast, like The Big Dig in Boston. The cost of that project started at $2.8 billion, ended at $15 billion, and with interest will cost a staggering $22 billion to pay off. He considered the fact that none of the underlying reasons for these cost overruns have ever been seriously addressed. And he realized that if he approved the project now, when they came back asking for another billion and another billion after that, he would have no choice but to approve it. He looked at all these factors and said NO – not on my watch.

Don’t blame the messenger. Blame the people who have caused every project, no matter how small, to be dragged out with study after study. Blame the rules that restrict competitive bidding and require that construction is done by overpriced union labor. Blame the politicians who have allowed this process to descend into this disaster all over our country. Governor Christie was just the first to say no more. For that, he should be declared a hero.



Our Leadership in Washington is the Problem, Not Body Scanners

Star Parker

The common explanation of why we cannot implement Israeli-style airport security here, despite acknowledging that the Israeli approach is the world's best, is logistics.

Israelis don't rely on machines. Their approach is human centered. All passengers get a quick interview by an agent trained to identify revealing behavior. Such an approach, the reasoning goes, is possible in a nation dealing with 10 million passengers annually, but with the 600 million we deal with, the logistics become unmanageable.

But this is not the whole story. It's true that the Israelis use primarily people rather than machines to screen. But the real difference in the Israeli approach and success is reliance on human judgment. Human judgment can never be removed from the equation. We've been sold, and we're buying, the big lie that machines can replace human judgment and responsibility.

All technology starts with people. It is people who define problems and then design machines to deal with those problems. If the problem is incorrectly defined to begin with, then the machine, no matter how technologically sophisticated, is not going to solve it. In other words -- garbage in, garbage out.

The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. The Israelis know their enemy. They know exactly what to look for and their priority is to identify and stop them. I wish I could say the same here. But I can't. And this is the problem.

How can we possibly use technology to identify and root out terrorists when the leaders of our country cannot, or refuse to identify with clarity who these individuals are and what they are about?

This latest round of humiliation that we citizens have to endure - electronic strip searches or intimate physical groping of our bodies - is the result of the so called "underwear bomber" incident from last Christmas.

Can we possibly forget that our Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the nation after that incident that "the system worked?" Or can we allow ourselves to forget that when Napolitano began her new job she wanted to expunge the word "terrorism" from our vocabulary and call these incidents "man-caused disasters?"

Or can we forget the exchange in congressional hearings between Congressman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Attorney General Eric Holder where Holder refused to acknowledge a link between terrorism and radical Islam? Holder said then, "There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them potentially religious."

Israelis can identify terrorists because they know exactly who they are and what they're about. If Eric Holder cannot, or refuses to see a connection between Islam and terrorism, what, in his view, does define who these individuals are? And if he cannot do it with more precision than "there are a variety of reasons why people do these things," how can we possibly hope to have an effective strategy for identifying and dealing with terrorists?

Now we've just had the latest product of Holder's impeccable judgment: All murder counts dismissed on al-Qaida operative Ahmed Ghailani because of Holder's insistence that terrorists be tried in civilian courts.

We're spending more and more on technologies designed to deal with the last terrorist incident, which they can readily circumvent by doing things a little differently the next time. Even if logistics make it impossible to do interviews as Israelis do, we could still design technologies to help zero in on likely suspects.

It's hard to sort out whether our current administration is simply confused and naive, or whether they actually sympathize with our enemies. Either way, we citizens are the ones paying the price, in the wasted money we're shelling out and the humiliating invasions into our privacy.

So let's be clear that body scanners are not the problem. They are the symptom. The problem is our leadership in Washington.



Beck derangement syndrome

Glenn Beck has taken over from GWB in driving "progressives" into insanity

One of the most celebrated American movies of all time is being hijacked by host Glenn Beck, according to a writer objecting to the talk-show host's decision to broadcast a show from a small town hit hard by the recession.

"Beck is now trying to steal the great 1946 Frank Capra classic 'It's a Wonderful Life' and turn it into a rallying cry for the conservative anti-government Christian right," said Lauri Lebo, a former newspaper reporter from Harrisburg, Pa., in a commentary posted online.

"Somehow, Beck manages to reinterpret the movie through an unregulated free-market ideological Ayn Rand prism and message of Christian conservatism."

"First of all, it's a Christmas movie with an angel in it and God, so I'm pretty sure that it's already got the religion thing in it," Beck said in response to Lebo.

Lebo had written "there are some terrific themes in that movie. Dare I even say it? Terrific progressive themes."

It was that remark about "terrific progressive themes" that sparked the most spirited reaction from Beck, as he explained: "Who saved the Building & Loan in Bedford Falls? The people did. George did, with his own private funds. The government didn't bail him out, and that's the deal. You remember the bank was bailing everyone out ... along with the government closing down the banks. The banks and the government were in collusion. ...

"The local banks were the ones that didn't have a problem. It's the gigantic banks run by people like [Mr.] Potter that were just trying to get rich and didn't care about people. The local banks are the George Baileys. That's not progressive. Progressive is about going past the Constitution and having people at a government level babysit people because they're all too stupid."




Anti-freedom vixens label Opt Out as “terrorism”: "Apparently not a glimmer of individual freedom and self-responsibility exists within the gray matter of at least three of the big government-worshipping political correctness-idolizing denizens of ABC TV’s morning gabfest fare, ‘The View.’ Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck accused We Won’t Fly founders Jim Babb and George Donnelly — by name — of planning ‘an act of terrorism’ with their peaceful anti-TSA National Opt Out Day and added that their names should be placed on a watch list.”

Kerry Honors Self With Symphony-Hall Bash: "The Drudge headline says it all: Sen. Kerry Rents Out 2,000-seat Boston Symphony Hall to celebrate ...himself. I guess if no one else is going to do it for you...or maybe his yacht was unavailable. The article points out that Kerry has been also asking "battle-weary Bay State Democrats" for cash for his re-election campaign, even though the election is four years away. Thanks, George W., for saving the country from four years of this".

Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientist: "Unidentified assailants riding motorcycles launched bomb attacks early on Monday against two Iranian nuclear physicists here, killing one of them. Some unofficial Iranian media reports, controlled by hardliners, described Mr. Abbasi as a loyalist supporter of the Iranian regime involved in nuclear research at the Defense Ministry and said both scientists were from the nuclear engineering department of Shahid Beheshti University. The attacks were similar to a bombing last January in which a remote-controlled bomb killed another physics professor, Masoud Ali Mohammadi, outside his home."

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


28 November, 2010

"Smart fraction" theory

There is now plenty of evidence of variability in national average IQs and equally strong evidence that the differences concerned matter a lot. To put it bluntly, low IQ nations tend to be hellholes and high IQ nations are prosperous and comfortable.

An odd exception to that was China, with a very high average IQ but also high levels of poverty. Recently, however, we have seen that with the yoke of communism partially removed from them, the Chinese have been going ahead economically in leaps and bounds -- and they will undoubledly soon arrive at the level of prosperity that their average IQ would indicate. China's recent advance is in fact an excellent validation of IQ theory. Just giving them the opportunity to realize their potential produced amazing successes. It is exactly what IQ theory would predict for a high IQ nation.

In all countries, however, economic advance is driven by a small minority. Most people are "wage slaves", not entrepreneurs. So among IQ researchers there has been a proposal that it might be more enlightening to look not at the average guy but rather at the top people in his nation's population. We should take (say) the top 5% (as measured by IQ score) of any population and look at THEIR average IQ rather than the average IQ in that nation as a whole. The average IQ of the "smart fraction" in a population might give us even better predictive power about that nation than the average IQ of that nation as a whole does.

Recently, some research has been done which tests that theory. They did not use IQ scores as such but estimated IQ from measures of educational attainment. Educational attainment and IQ are highly correlated. The journal abstract is below:
The impact of smart fractions, cognitive ability of politicians and average competence of peoples on social development

By Heiner Rindermann, Michael Sailer and James Thompson


Smart fraction theory supposes that gifted and talented persons are especially relevant for societal development. Using results for the 95th percentile from TIMSS 1995- 2007, PISA 2000-2006 and PIRLS 2001-2006 we calculated an ability sum value (N=90 countries) for the upper level group (equivalent to a within country IQ-threshold of 125 or a student assessment score of 667) and compared its influence with the mean ability and the 5th percentile ability on wealth (GDP), patent rates, Nobel Prizes, numbers of scientists, political variables (government effectiveness, democracy, rule of law, political liberty), HIV, AIDS and homicide.

Additionally, using information on school and professional education, we estimated the cognitive competence of political leaders in N=90 countries.

Results of correlations, regression and path analyses generally show a larger impact of the smart fractions’ ability on positively valued outcomes than of the mean result or the 5th percentile fraction. The influence of the 5th percentile fraction on HIV, AIDS and homicide, however, was stronger.

The intelligence of politicians was less important, a longitudinal crosslagged analysis could show a positive influence on the cognitive development of nations.


So the results supported the theory. How smart a nation's smarties were told us even more than average IQ did. Note the very large number of variables that were successfully predicted by the study. How smart your nation's smarties are is very important indeed.

Note also that how dumb the dummies were (the BOTTOM 5%) also strongly predicted a few things: The incidence of HIV, AIDS and homicide! To put it very bluntly, real dummies are murderous and will stick their dicks in anything.

Steve Sailer has a much more detailed discussion of the paper but misses the point that IQ in even the Jewish population of Israel (not counting the Arabs and the illegal immigrants) is bimodal. Most Israeli Jews are of Middle Eastern origin and hence not too bright. It is the minority of Israeli Jews who are of European origin (Ashkenazim) who account for Israel's advances. To really understand Israel, you need to treat the Ashkenazim as a separate population in its own right. They are in their own way a good example of how important the "smart fraction" is.


Why the British government has to make it easier to fire workers

Tomorrow, George Osborne will go to the House of Commons to make a statement about the defining task for this Government: getting the economy growing again at a decent speed. The Coalition is acutely aware that if it can’t do this, then it’ll be gone in five years.

Many in the business community worry that the Government isn’t doing enough on growth. They argue that the cuts, while vitally important, are not enough on their own to get the economy moving.

Osborne’s statement tomorrow will attempt to allay these fears. He will announce the creation of a new growth committee headed by himself and Business Secretary Vince Cable. This will bring Ministers before it and require them to set out what their departments are doing to help growth.

The Chancellor will also detail planned changes to the corporate tax regime, which have been designed to entice back British companies that have moved overseas.

For the next two months, Osborne, who is the real motor of this Government, will devote most of his time to trying to eliminate as many barriers to growth as possible. He’ll use his position to drive a rolling-back of regulation, sector by sector. The individual changes may be small but the cumulative effect could be considerable.

If its growth strategy is to be successful, though, the Government must avoid the trap of seeing everything from the perspective of big business. This is an easy mistake for any government to make. The businessmen that the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Business Secretary tend to see are those who run big multinational companies. These are the people who sit on the PM’s business council, act as trade ambassadors and accompany him on overseas trips.

These big businesses are global enterprises. When they grow, they often do so outside the UK. But around half of British jobs are with small businesses. When these businesses grow, it leads to more jobs here. If the Government could make it worthwhile for these 4.6 million businesses to hire one more person, the country’s employment problems would be solved at a stroke. Millions would be moved from the debit side of the ledger, welfare, to the credit side, taxpayers.

Lord Young was advising the Government on how to do this until his implosion last week. With him gone, this agenda is in danger. But if it dies, then so could the Government’s chances of getting the economy growing again at a decent lick.

One way to make small businesses hire more people is to make it easier for them to sack workers. At the moment, as soon as someone has worked for a company for 12 months they are entitled to a slew of employment protections that make them legally difficult to lay off.

This means that small companies, who don’t have in-house lawyers, are reluctant to take on more staff. Exempt them from this legislation and they’d be far more likely to expand their workforce. There is nervousness in Tory circles about doing this. Some worry that it would look too much like the work of the old ‘nasty party’.

They point to the fact that among the protections that would be hit are those designed to stop companies from sacking women for taking maternity leave. Others think that the Liberal Democrats wouldn’t wear it.

As so many of these regulations come from Brussels, the Coalition would have to be prepared to negotiate exemptions at the European level. The Foreign Office is reluctant to expend diplomatic capital on this.

But the Coalition needs to be prepared to make the case that these rules are making it far harder for the unemployed to move from welfare into work. It is just not fair to offer more and more protections to those with jobs at the expense of those without.

Whether the Government is prepared to take the political risk of exempting small firms from these regulations will be a crucial test of whether it is really serious about growth.



BOOK REVIEW: Sarah Palin's "America By Heart"

Sarah Palin’s new book, America By Heart (available free with a subscription to Townhall Magazine), comes out today, and any American who believes in faith, family, love of country and even history, will enjoy reading it. Just by taking a look at the cover, Palin is adorned in flags, clearly representing the pride she has for America.

Palin’s first New York Times Bestseller, Going Rogue, gave us an idea as to who Sarah Palin is, where she comes from, where she grew up, how she was raised, the feeling of moose eyeballs and of course, the 2008 Presidential campaign. Going Rogue allowed us to get to know Palin on a personal level without the political hoopla.

America By Heart emphasizes everything personal about her first book and touches on many of the same topics such as becoming a mother, guiding Bristol through her teenage pregnancy, Alaska, but it reflects much more heavily on conservative principles guided by her faith in addition to historical references dating back to Roman times, JFK putting a man on the moon, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan bringing down the Soviet Union and of course modern American politics.

She starts the introduction to the book with a brief history of the Tea Party movement. Why it started, who the Tea Party is; and to anyone involved with the Tea Party, it is no surprise the people she describes are everyday Americans dissatisfied with the current political atmosphere in Washington. She references the Constitution in description of them, and reminds readers that this founding document does not state “We the Government,” but “We the People.”

Palin writes about her gratitude towards the U.S. Military, and dedicates an entire chapter to American exceptionalism, quoting Ronald Reagan in his belief, and the belief of many Americans that our country is a “shining city on a hill,” that has offered the world more freedom and prosperity than any nation in the history of mankind.

On top of emphasizing the exceptionalism of America, Palin also points out the importance of states’ rights as outlined by the Constitution through the Tenth Amendment and how her own state of Alaska paved its own way to statehood after being controlled by Washington while Alaska was still a territory.

She cites the Obama Administration’s assault on Arizona for trying to secure its border, and takes aim at the mainstream media, or “lame-stream media,” for portraying the state as equal to Nazi Germany. In fact, she takes direct hits at President Obama throughout the entire book, covering every topic from shoving ObamaCare down the America peoples’ throats, his direction for NASA, spreading the wealth around and generally his overall decision to ignore the vision of the American people.

That vision described in the book is not completely policy based either. She stressed the importance of the American attitude of hard work, even when life isn’t easy, how the payoff of self work is much greater and sustainable than handouts because after all, the American Dream has never been a handout. Palin even goes so far as to defend American Idol judge Simon Cowell for his honesty towards contestants, rather than handing each of them a participation trophy for not being able to sing. She talks about how the entitlement attitude of America’s youth doesn’t allow future generations to earn success.

Most of the second half of the book is dedicated to Palin’s faith with a heavy emphasis on her dedication to prayer and the strength she pulls from God to help her through everything in life. She talks about the time she prayed before taking the national stage for the first time in 2008 at the Republican National Convention and when she prayed before her debate against then Senator Joe Biden. She also gives us a history of prayer in America by referring to the Founding Fathers’ reliance on faith throughout the Revolution until the finished version of the Constitution was signed. She talks about Martin Luther King Jr. and his reliance on faith and prayer while he was in Birmingham Jail and President George W. Bush’s never wavering faith in the aftermath of 9/11.

Palin also talks about her reliance on prayer when she found out she was going to have a special needs child, and writes, “I knew God wouldn’t give me something I couldn’t handle,” and dedicated the book to her son Trig, writing “I’m glad you’re here."

Palin takes on the issue of abortion in the book, digging into the history of racist Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood while emphasizing the miracle of life and being a mother. She describes putting family first is most important because they are the most “loyal friends and blessing we have in life.” Acknowledging that this drives liberal feminists crazy while at the same time would garner the approval of original women’s rights advocates like Susan B. Anthony.

Overall, Sarah Palin is not apologizing for her beliefs or for America, admits she is a chocoholic and strongly references the Constitution throughout America By Heart. This book lays out her principles and where they come from, how they have not only guided her, but the nation since its founding.

If Sarah Palin isn’t running for President, America By Heart sure does give us a really good tease.



A Redneck’s Bitter and Clingy Thanksgiving List

By the inimitable Doug Giles

I love Thanksgiving —not that I need a special day to remind me to be thankful to God for the insane provisions of His eternal grace and the temporal goodies He bestows on my goofy, sin-laden head. I live in a cloud of thankfulness on a daily basis. Yep, I am always giddy and ready to give praise to the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost for His person and work because without Him, this dork would be undone.

This past week on ClashRadio.com I rattled through a list of stuff that I’m especially grateful for. Here’s what I scribbled down as my bitter and clingy list of Thanksgiving gracias:

1. As a rank sinner I’m thankful for Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice for my multitudinous sins.

2. I’m thankful for the Scripture because through it I know that Jesus is not some squishy bearded lady communist whose chief goal is to make us lame doormats for evil spirits and the people and governments they inhabit.

3. I’m thankful He’s given His church the power of the Holy Spirit that affords us the wherewithal to overcome our sin nature, live a killer life, and through prayer and action topple the impenitent, godless idiots who are trying to turn our God-blessed nation into Courtney Love’s liver.

4. I’m thankful for my family. My wife of 22 years is bold and beautiful. That’s right, they named the soap opera after her. Good luck finding a woman like mine, gents. Also, both my daughters are badasses. They’re righteous and rowdy, are accomplished lasses, and haven’t cost our nation a penny. Matter of fact, Hannah saved our nation a few billion when her work exposed ACORN’s dirty deeds. In addition, I’m thankful for my soon to be son-in-law who is a true man is the classic sense of the word.

5. I’m thankful for America’s armed forces. To think that our troops are stomping those who virulently hate the USA into oblivion so we can go and do our thang from sea to shining sea gets nothing less than a standing ovation from me.

6. I’m thankful for the millions who comprise the Tea Party and how they’re at our government’s jugular vein for the myriad ways in which Washington D.C. attempts to screw us. Be afraid, D.C. Be very afraid.

7. I’m thankful for my guns. Yep, I’m forever appreciative for our nation’s recognition of the “no duh” God-given right to keep and bear arms. I love my various rifles, shotguns and handguns. I’m getting all emotional just thinking about them. I have guns for protection, sport and hunting. And you know what? Such a privilege isn’t afforded to certain citizens in crap nations, which makes me grateful that America hasn’t completely lost its mind. Join the NRA.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


27 November, 2010

The man who hasn't got a clue

All his simplistic policies have turned to ashes

Larry Elder

President Barack Obama walked into the Oval Office in January 2009 during a severe economic downturn led by a meltdown in housing prices -- and promptly made things worse.

By bailing out banks, insurance companies and auto firms -- done to a lesser extent by the previous administration -- Obama rewarded poor performers and punished their better-managed competitors. Prevented from pouncing on wounded rivals and thus increasing market share or buying the assets of the wounded at fire sale prices, Ford, for example, watched GM and Chrysler get a cash infusion from taxpayers. Despite GM's recent "successful" public offering, taxpayers lost billions of dollars.

Obama and the Democratic congressional supermajorities passed a nearly trillion-dollar economic "stimulus" package and then proceeded to award fiscally irresponsible states with "stimulus" funds, helping postpone the day of reckoning when states must meet their budgets by reducing spending and cutting the size of government. Stimulus supposedly "saved or created" 3.5 million jobs, but it merely succeeded in transferring money from the pockets of producer taxpayers into the pockets of others.

Obama spends billions to "invest" in mythical "green jobs of the future." Investing is the job of the private sector, which uses private funds to produce a product that addresses a need or desire. Success is determined by the willingness of the consumer to pay good money for said product. A bad bet means somebody loses his own money -- a possibility that the private investor weighed before he chose to risk his capital.

But government "investments" are driven by politics, with decisions made by bureaucrats operating under rosy scenarios with romantic wish lists. When taxpayer money goes down a rathole -- as is far more likely than with privately invested money -- nobody gets fired, but the country is impoverished a little bit more.

ObamaCare puts 30 million Americans on the rolls of the medically insured. Since its passage, insurance companies -- citing the cost of ObamaCare mandates, rules and regulations -- jacked up their premiums and cut coverage. Over 100 waivers have been granted to companies and organizations that, but for these waivers, would have had to drop coverage, increase copays or reduce medical benefits. Nice to have friends in high places.

The AARP, a staunch proponent of ObamaCare, announced a reduction in benefits for its own employees, lest the tax kick in for so-called "Cadillac plans." To "bend the cost curve," ObamaCare promised cuts in Medicare reimbursement. So doctors are dropping their Medicare patients.

The administration signed into law new banking and financial regulations that keep intact the very government agencies that helped precipitate the housing meltdown -- Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Under policies aimed at allowing everyone with a pulse and a dream to buy a home, these "government-sponsored entities" allowed the players in the housing market -- banks, borrowers, investment banks and buyers of "exotic securities" -- to play with taxpayer money.

The Obama administration's various government efforts to "keep homeowners in their homes" are floundering, serving only to postpone the necessary market re-pricing of homes that are now worth less than they once were. Cash for Clunkers induced people who were going to buy cars anyway into making their purchases earlier. When the program ended, car buying slumped. The result was more taxpayer dollars removed from the hands of producers and put into the hands of recipients.

The administration, with some Republican support, increased the minimum wage and several times extended unemployment compensation -- both well-intended policies, but job killers nonetheless.

Obama promised to raise taxes on the rich, who, under Bush, got tax cuts they "didn't need" and "didn't ask for." So the rich sit on their money, not knowing whether they will be allowed to spend or save or invest it -- or whether Washington has other ideas. Most Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and if not extended, rates will go up on income, capital gains, dividends and estates.

The recent Republican takeover of the House and loss of the Senate's Democratic supermajority likely mean that the rates will be extended for all -- including the dastardly, job-creating rich. But businesspeople cannot plan -- and are thus reluctant to hire -- until they know whether their taxes are going to increase.

Candidate Obama demagogued against trade agreements that "shipped jobs overseas," and promised to tweak the Bush administration-negotiated treaty with South Korea. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the pact would create 250,000 jobs in America and it would open up exports to a NAFTA-sized market. But during his recent trip to Asia, Obama failed to get the South Koreans to go along with his changes aimed at benefiting the American auto and beef industries. The South Koreans said no, insisting that they had a deal and that if the U.S. won't do business with them, other countries will.

For two years, Obama has practiced Obamalism: Spread the wealth; redistribute income; punish success; reward ineptitude; and encourage the victicrat-entitlement mentality by making the lack of health insurance the responsibility of others.



What’s Wrong With the Jobs Market?

What's needed is exactly what Obama and the Donks won't do

The terrible job market has vexed an entire generation. It shows no hope of improving anytime soon. Young people are shut out. College students are taking refuge in matriculation without end. Thirty-somethings are zoning out in their parents' basements and attics. Despair for the future has become a theme of American public life.

The question we must ask is: why is unemployment stuck at 10% in the narrowest measure and as high as 30% for some demographics?

The usual answer is that the broad economy is not recovering. That’s true but superficial; it explains nothing. We have a problem of a specific kind with the jobs market. To see it as just a symptom of slow growth is an excuse for politicians and central banks to resort to reckless policies in the name of fixing the big problem without addressing the reality on the ground.

Some new data reported by the Wall Street Journal helps get to the core of the problem in greater detail. In the current environment, which the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) laughably calls a recovery, business start-ups of job-creating companies have not kept up with closings.

As compared with other recession aftermaths, new businesses are not hiring as they once did. The number of companies with at least one employee continues to fall at a rate we’ve not seen in 18 years. Everyone speaks of this as a recovery, but the numbers don’t add up. New jobs in new companies are appearing a rate 15% less than the last recovery.

Let’s try to understand what is going on here. In boom times, companies tend to bloat up in every area, especially in their staffing. Unemployment is always a feature of the bust because businesses shed jobs and expect more efficiency and productivity out of the remaining staff. Many businesses close and lose all employees.

Whereas workers once had no problem finding jobs and naming their price, there is now a surplus of workers and a job shortage, at least at the wages that the unemployed are demanding.

What usually fills the gap here are new businesses. In recovery times, entrepreneurs initiate new projects and hire the unemployed workers to staff them. The unemployed are usually willing to work for less and are willing to learn new skills in a new business environment. These new businesses become a major source for economic growth and rising living standards.

Without new businesses, there would be no net job growth at all. In post-bust economies, it is these new businesses that are responsible for soaking up the excess labor. That’s because the older and larger businesses are not willing to take on the risk of new employees and have already adjusted to doing business with fewer.

Until these businesses come along, unemployment will likely persist. And this is precisely what is happening right now. And so, now that we have a better idea of the mechanics of the high unemployment rate, we have a better idea of what question to ask and how to solve the problem.

Where are these new businesses and why are they not starting as we might expect? Let us count the ways.

New businesses need to depend on a stable legal environment and a bright outlook for the future. These are both missing. The supposed recovery has been phonied up in every conceivable way: nationalizations, bad debt swept under the carpet, money creation by the Fed, make-work jobs paid for by the taxpayer. No one really believes all the hokum. The question is not whether the recovery is phony; it is: what is real and what is not real? No one knows for sure.

Despite every attempt by the Fed to provide oceans of free credit, banks are still extremely reluctant to lend when the payoff is not there and the risks of lending are extremely high. This means that prospective new businesses have to raise their own capital from a massively depleted capital stock.

Looking at the risks, it makes far more sense to hire no employees beyond temporary contract workers. Consider the payroll tax, the largest burden on both employees and employers. It does not benefit either party at all. It is sheer robbery that vastly increases the cost of hiring.

The problem of health-care mandates is very intense. Employees who expect these benefits are mostly going to choose between obtaining them and getting a job. But for certain firms and under some conditions, they are unavoidable and unpayable.

Business taxes are all too high and probably going higher. Regulations on all businesses in every sector of life have been intensifying for decades. No industry is free of them. Even formerly frontier sectors like software are becoming legal thickets of patents, protections, and scary mandates.

The minimum wage is way too high to encourage new job growth among new businesses. And given all the legal mandates and potential lawsuits, everyone knows that once you hire employees, you are pretty much stuck with them for some period of time. You can test the waters. But you have to be sure. And no one is sure.

Businesses thrive in an environment of freedom. But enterprise is no longer free in any area. In boom times, the consequences are less obvious. In the bust, the regulatory thicket, the taxes and mandates, and the legislative threats all become decisive in a way they were not before.

None of these problems are intrinsic to the business cycle. They are all imposed by government. The same problem afflicted the economy during the Great Depression, but back then the central planning was newly imposed. Now is different: the old central planning is killing us day by day, even without dramatic new legislation.

It could all be changed. Congress and the president and the courts could reverse it all tomorrow, restoring an environment of freedom and free enterprise. Jobs would recover quickly. Hope would be back in a matter of weeks and months. The economy would genuinely recover.



Pelosi Could Guarantee Destruction of Democrats in 2012

It was the dumbest thing the Democratic members of the U.S. House could have done. And it is already jeopardizing the chances of President Obama to reverse the fortunes of himself and his party. "It" was making Nancy Pelosi the minority leader of the House, and thus the head of what is now an even more liberal delegation of lawmakers.

I find it interesting when a veteran news/talk celebrity like Barbara Walters asks President Obama to respond to Sarah Palin's comment that if she runs for president in 2012, she believes she could win. Obama at first gracefully dodges the question, only to have Walters laugh and condescending suggest that surely he believes he could defeat Palin. So we're to assume automatically that Palin is a lightweight, but that someone like Pelosi is a political pro and an asset to her party.

If Pelosi is such a pro, she should realize that her hard stand of opposing an extension of tax cuts for so-called "wealthy Americans" as part of an extension of the George W. Bush tax cuts is placing what few moderates she has from her own party in Congress in political hot water. Moreover, this puts her at odds with the president. That's not to say he wants to extend these cuts for those who earn over $250,000 as a family. Rather, it's to say that, at least for the short term, he desperately needs to do so.

The problem is that Pelosi, who at one point was known vaguely by the public, is now becoming the left-wing spokesperson and a potential obstructionist to compromise. This will only hurt her own party and the president as she rises in name identification. It was Pelosi who was unapologetic for the beating her colleagues took in the elections. Now even major national newspapers are reporting that she is becoming a huge thorn in the side of a president who desperately needs to appear more moderate in order to have a prayer of re-election in 2012.

I have drawn the comparison between the Obama administration and that of Jimmy Carter's more than once. Now history truly is repeating itself. In the 1970s, Thomas "Tip" O'Neill was a powerful Democratic speaker of the House. At first, he and Carter worked together. But when Carter began challenging pet projects of O'Neill's, and also failed to push for universal heath care, O'Neill turned into the Nancy Pelosi of his era.

Many forget that while the Democrats held onto the House in 1980, O'Neill was used as a major weapon by the GOP in that year's presidential election. They argued that the Democrats were too liberal and that Carter had to go. And so Jimmy Carter went. Doubtless he was painfully aware of the large target O'Neill had placed on his back.

It seems likely that the more soon-to-be Minority Leader Pelosi opens her mouth, the more she will appear out of touch with political reality. For example, she never flinched over the use of government planes to fly her across the country, to and from her district. Did it ever dawn on her that the Republican speaker that Democrats most loved to hate, Newt Gingrich, generally flew commercial airliners to and from his district, most often in coach, unless he had earned a legitimate "frequent flier" upgrade?

This was before Pelosi's party got spanked on Election Day, of course. Her refusal to acknowledge the consequences of the elections, and her desire to soldier on with a pure leftist agenda, create not just problems for Obama with the public, but potentially within his own party, as well.

While Hillary Clinton has emphatically denied that she will seek the presidency, a recent PollPosition national survey showed her basically tied among likely voters in a Clinton-Obama contest in 2012. And recent surveys have shown Clinton's favorable polling percentages are higher than Obama's, while the president's unfavorable percentages among voters are higher than Clinton's.

Could this explain why, throughout the early days of the recent North Korea-South Korea crisis, Secretary of State Clinton has been nowhere to be found? Can you say "Bobby Kennedy in 1968"?

With President Obama having to deal with an inflexibly leftist Democratic House caucus, and at the same time needing to recapture the support of moderate voters who abandoned the Democrats in the recent election, the last thing he needs is a louder, shriller and more stubborn Nancy Pelosi. It could spell doom for him in the next presidential contest. Just ask Jimmy Carter.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


26 November, 2010

Sarah hits back at biased media over gaffes

SARAH Palin, who has been hammered by critics for making the occasional verbal gaffe, used her Thanksgiving message today to point out a number of bungles made by US President Barack Obama.

The former Republican vice-presidential nominee, tipped as a potential 2012 presidential candidate, posted the message titled, "A Thanksgiving Message to All 57 States", on her Facebook account.

In May 2008, while campaigning to be president, Mr Obama wrongly told an audience in Oregon that he "had been in 57 states, [with] I think one left to go."

Ms Palin opened her message today by listing what she termed "misstatements and verbal gaffes made by Barack Obama", along with accompanying YouTube clips. They include Mr Obama calling Europe a country; the US continuing to fight "to halt the rise of privacy" - when he meant "piracy" - in Somalia; and Israel being a "strong friend of Israel's".

"I didn't have enough time to do one for Joe Biden," Ms Palin added, in a reference to the famously outspoken vice-president.

"YouTube links are provided just in case you doubt the accuracy of these all too human slips-of-the-tongue. "If you can't remember hearing about them, that's because for the most part the media didn't consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe."

Yesterday, Ms Palin was lambasted in sections of the media after she mistakenly called North Korea an ally of the US. "The one word slip occurred yesterday during one of my seven back-to-back interviews wherein I was privileged to speak to the American public about the important, world-changing issues before us," Ms Palin explained.

"If the media had bothered to actually listen to all of my remarks on Glenn Beck’s radio show, they would have noticed that I refer to South Korea as our ally throughout, that I corrected myself seconds after my slip-of-the-tongue, and that I made it abundantly clear that pressure should be put on China to restrict energy exports to the North Korean regime.

"The media could even have done due diligence and checked my previous statements on the subject, which have always been consistent, and in fact even ahead of the curve. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?"

The Twittersphere lit up after the publication of Ms Palin's message, with critics jumping on her mention of 57 states - clearly not realising it was her joke aimed at Mr Obama.

Ms Palin also used the same Facebook message to deny reports this week she had been trying to convince the producers of Dancing With The Stars to cast Christine O'Donnell, the defeated Republican candidate in the Delaware Senate race, in the next series of the hit show. Ms Palin's daughter Bristol finished second runner-up on the show earlier this week.

"Why not just make up stories out of thin air - like the totally false hard news story which has run for three days now reporting that I lobbied the producers of Dancing With The Stars to cast a former Senate candidate on their show," Mr Palin said. "That lie is further clear proof that the media completely makes things up without doing even rudimentary fact-checking."

Ms Palin was lampooned during her failed vice-presidential campaign in 2008 for her emphasis on Russia's proximity to Alaska. "They're our next door neighbours and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska," she said.

Earlier this year she was ridiculed her for using the non-existent word "refudiate", that seemed to be a cross between "refute" and "repudiate". It was this month named 2010 Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary.



Giving thanks for the 'invisible hand'

by Jeff Jacoby

Where is the national turkey czar who arranged for turkeys to be in all the stores before Thanksgiving?

Today, in millions of homes across the nation, God will be thanked for many gifts -- for the feast on the table and the company of loved ones, for health and good fortune in the year gone by, for peace at home in a time of war, for the incalculable privilege of having been born -- or having become -- American.

But it probably won't occur to too many of us to give thanks for the fact that the local supermarket had plenty of turkey for sale this week. Even the devout aren't likely to thank God for airline schedules that made it possible for some of those loved ones to fly home for Thanksgiving. Or for the arrival of "Master and Commander" at the local movie theater in time for the holiday weekend. Or for that great cranberry-apple pie recipe in the food section of the newspaper.

Those things we take more or less for granted. It hardly takes a miracle to explain why grocery stores stock up on turkey before Thanksgiving, or why Hollywood releases big movies in time for big holidays. That's what they do. Where is God in that?

And yet, isn't there something wondrous -- something almost inexplicable -- in the way your Thanksgiving weekend is made possible by the skill and labor of vast numbers of total strangers?

To bring that turkey to the dining room table, for example, required the efforts of thousands of people -- the poultry farmers who raised the birds, of course, but also the feed distributors who supplied their nourishment and the truckers who brought it to the farm, not to mention the architect who designed the hatchery, the workmen who built it, and the technicians who keep it running. The bird had to be slaughtered and defeathered and inspected and transported and unloaded and wrapped and priced and displayed. The people who accomplished those tasks were supported in turn by armies of other people accomplishing other tasks -- from refining the gasoline that fueled the trucks to manufacturing the plastic in which the meat was packaged.

The activities of countless far-flung men and women over the course of many months had to be intricately choreographed and precisely timed, so that when you showed up to buy a fresh Thanksgiving turkey, there would be one -- or more likely, a few dozen -- waiting. The level of coordination that was required to pull it off is mind-boggling. But what is even more mind-boggling is this: No one coordinated it.

No turkey czar sat in a command post somewhere, consulting a master plan and issuing orders. No one rode herd on all those people, forcing them to cooperate for your benefit. And yet they did cooperate. When you arrived at the supermarket, your turkey was there. You didn't have to do anything but show up to buy it. If that isn't a miracle, what should we call it?

Adam Smith called it "the invisible hand" -- the mysterious power that leads innumerable people, each working for his own gain, to promote ends that benefit many. Out of the seeming chaos of millions of uncoordinated private transactions emerges the spontaneous order of the market. Free human beings freely interact, and the result is an array of goods and services more immense than the human mind can comprehend. No dictator, no bureaucracy, no supercomputer plans it in advance. Indeed, the more an economy is planned, the more it is plagued by shortages, dislocation, and failure.

It is commonplace to speak of seeing God's signature in the intricacy of a spider's web or the animation of a beehive. But they pale in comparison to the kaleidoscopic energy and productivity of the free market. If it is a blessing from Heaven when seeds are transformed into grain, how much more of a blessing is it when our private, voluntary exchanges are transformed -- without our ever intending it -- into prosperity, innovation, and growth?

The social order of freedom, like the wealth and the progress it makes possible, is an extraordinary gift from above. On this Thanksgiving Day and every day, may we be grateful.

More here


The difficulty of winding back entitlements

Every time the Democrats create a new entitlement, the more difficult it is to cut spending, and hence taxes

During Al Simpson's nearly 50 years in government, he hasn't been afraid to take on critics and naysayers of his work in the U.S. Senate or on a variety of high-profile commissions and committees.

But as the co-chair of President Obama's debt commission, the Wyoming Republican said he's been taking an unprecedented amount of flak for the commission's draft proposals to help erase the nation's $13.8 trillion debt.

"I've never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life," said the 79-year-old Simpson. "Just vicious. People I've known, relatives [saying], "'You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'"

Not surprisingly, many of the debt commission's draft proposals to cut the debt by nearly $4 trillion by 2020 -- from raising the retirement age to 69 by 2075 to bringing in $1 trillion more in tax revenue -- have won strong opposition from liberals and conservatives alike.

But Simpson said that while every interest group that testified before his committee agreed that the mounting federal debt is a national tragedy, they would then talk about why government funding to their area of interest shouldn't be touched.



More of Obama's carefully hidden history comes out

Guy Benson

Have you ever heard of a group called UNO of Chicago? No, not the deep dish pizza chain; the Left-wing community organizing outfit. How about the Midwest Academy? Does the name James Cone ring a bell? If you’re like most Americans – including many who consider themselves fairly well informed about President Obama’s background and associations – you’re probably drawing a blank on all three questions. That’s why Stanley Kurtz’s new book, Radical-In-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, is so important.

The key word in the title is “untold.” Kurtz, a respected investigative journalist and public intellectual, pored over reams of heretofore unseen documents and data from the president’s enigmatic past, and concluded that Barack Obama has been a movement socialist for much of his adult life. Despite its explosive title, the book is neither conspiratorial in nature, nor sensationalistic. It’s well-researched, and meticulously documented.

I sat down with Kurtz for a two-hour interview that will air in its entirety this Sunday evening on my radio program. For a flavor of the interview, here’s a partial transcript of just one exchange from our discussion, in which Kurtz details Obama’s relationship to the leader of a radical, ACORN-style group called UNO of Chicago:


GB: It’s 1985, and Barack Obama lands in Chicago, at which point he becomes caught up in an alphabet soup of community organization groups. Some of them, of course, I’d heard of – including ACORN – but others that I had not, such as UNO. Tell us about UNO, because that was one of the bigger eye-openers to me as I read [Radical In Chief].

SK: That is one of the more amazing things I stumbled across. Who knew that Obama had been part of a community organization that no one had ever heard of before? And yet Obama really was closely connected to a top leader…of a group called UNO Chicago. ‘UNO’ standing for “United Neighborhood Organizations.”

GB: This was a really poisonous group.

SK: They were hardcore Alinskyites. They really were kind of a predominantly Hispanic counterpart to ACORN, in that they were extremely confrontational in their tactics. They were famous, for example, for having trapped Republican Illinois Senator Charles Percy in a ladies’ bathroom to punish him. He was supposed to debate [Democrat] Paul Simon when they were running against each other [in 1984].

GB: And UNO members chased him into a women’s restroom?

SK: That’s right. They trapped him inside.

GB: Over what?

SK: He had refused to attend a forum they had set up. He quite rightly realized it was a set-up, that they were working with Simon, and that there would have been orchestrated boos and attacks in order to embarrass him.



None Dare Call It Desperation

Following two years of poor economic performance and electoral repudiation, liberalism is casting around for narratives to explain its failure -- narratives that don't involve the admission of inadequacies in liberalism itself.

For some, the solution is to lay the blame on President Obama. He hasn't been liberal enough. He can't communicate. "I cannot recall a president," says Robert Kuttner in the Huffington Post, "who generated so much excitement as a candidate but who turned out to be such a political dud as a chief executive." Obama is "fast becoming more albatross than ally."

This is an ideological movement at its most cynical, attempting to throw overboard its once-revered leader to avoid the taint of his problems.

But there is an alternative narrative, developed by those who can't shake their reverence for Obama. If a president of this quality and insight has failed, it must be because his opponents are uniquely evil, coordinated and effective. The problem is not Obama but the ruthless conspiracy against him.

So Matt Yglesias warns the White House to be prepared for "deliberate economic sabotage" from the GOP -- as though Chamber of Commerce SWAT teams, no doubt funded by foreigners, are preparing attacks on the electrical grid. Paul Krugman contends "Republicans want the economy to stay weak as long as there's a Democrat in the White House." Steve Benen explains, "We're talking about a major political party ... possibly undermining the strength of the country -- on purpose, in public, without apology or shame -- for no other reason than to give themselves a campaign advantage in 2012." Benen's posting was titled, "None Dare Call it Sabotage."

It is difficult to overstate how offensive elected Republicans find the sabotage accusation, which Obama himself has come very close to making. During the run-up to the midterm election, the president told a town hall meeting in Racine, Wis.: "Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win." Some Republican leaders naturally took this as an attack on their motives. Was the president really contending that Republican representatives want their constituents to be unemployed in order to gain a political benefit for themselves? No charge from the campaign more effectively undermined the possibility of future cooperation.

The sabotage accusation, once implicit, is now direct among panicked progressives. Part of the intention seems to be strategic -- to discourage Obama from considering Clintonian ideological triangulation. No centrist concessions, the argument goes, will appease Republicans who hate the president more than they love the country. So Obama should double down on liberalism, once again.

It is very bad political advice. It also indicates a movement losing contact with political reality. When an ideology stumbles, its adherents can always turn to alcohol -- or to conspiracy theories. It is easier to recover from alcohol. Conspiracy thinking is not only addictive, it is tiresome. It precludes the possibility of interesting policy debate or genuine disagreement -- how can you argue with a plot?

More here

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


25 November, 2010


Thanksgiving is mainly an American holiday and there is no such thing in Australia. But I am flying Old Glory from the flagpole in front of my house in honour of the occasion.

Australia's two great days of the year are both military commemorations -- Armistice day (aka Remembrance day) and ANZAC day. Australia has supported its brethren in Britain and the USA in most of their wars so we have many war dead to remember.


Reason to be thankful every day

Cal Thomas below draws on the experience of a refugee from Communist Vietnam to highlight how much Americans have to be thankful for. It is similar in Australia. Some decades ago when Vietnamese refugees began arriving in Australia, many of them set up restaurants -- most of which were successful. One of them was a very small Vietnamese restaurant in a side street in central Sydney. It was called the "New Hope" restaurant and it always brought a tear or two to my eyes whenever I walked past it. I felt how wonderful it was that Australia was able to give people new hope after they had obviously lost it in their own country

As millions of us gather at tables to offer thanks during this uniquely American holiday (OK, Canada has one, too, but without our Pilgrims), most will express gratitude to God for freedom and material blessings. This year, as in every year since 1989 when she escaped with other "boat people" from communist Vietnam, Kim Vu will offer thanks borne out of a deep gratitude for what America has meant to her since she and so many others risked their lives for something they regarded as even more valuable: freedom.

A generation has grown up since the boat people caught the public's attention. To many in what has become a self-indulgent generation, it may be difficult to fathom how anyone could go to such lengths to achieve something too many of us take for granted.

Vu was 20 years old when her father urged her to follow her brother, who was the first to escape. She is now 41. Vu says she was not afraid, though the Vietnamese communists sank boats they could spot and killed many who tried to escape. Vu tried twice to escape, but pulled back when she sensed danger. On her third try, she succeeded.

Vu's father, a retired officer in the South Vietnamese Army, gave her two gold bars to pay for the journey. She was taken in a small boat that held no more than three people to a larger boat that waited offshore in darkness. "We spent seven days on a trip to Malaysia with no food, only water and the water consisted of three bottle caps each day."

Later she was transferred to another refugee camp in the Philippines where she spent six months before the paperwork was completed and she was allowed to come to Virginia where her older brother lived following his escape.

What does freedom mean to Kim Vu? "It means a lot, because I lived with communists, who wouldn't let me go to school. I am very appreciative to live in this country." She became a U.S. citizen in 1995.

What would Vu say to her now fellow Americans who might take their freedom for granted and not appreciate the country as much as someone who once experienced oppression? "They need to see what other countries don't have that we have here. Some people don't see, so they don't know."

Kim now cuts hair at a shop in Arlington, Va. I ask her what she likes best about America. She laughs and replies, "Everything is good." How many native-born Americans think this way?

Vu maintains contact with relatives still in Vietnam (three of her six siblings are now in the U.S.). And while things are "better" in her native country than when the communists first took over, she says, "It is still a government-controlled country." Citing as one example the restrictions on her Catholic church, Vu says the church must ask permission from the government "about what time they can do the Mass."

America is too often criticized for its actual and perceived shortcomings. Critics seem incapable of appreciating America's exceptionalism, including President Obama who has dismissed the notion by saying everyone feels their country is exceptional. If that were true, why do so many want to come here? Perhaps it takes someone like Kim Vu to remind the rest of us not only of the cost of freedom, but just how fragile freedom is and how it must be constantly fought for if it is to be maintained.

More than anything else we might possess, or hope to possess, freedom ought to be at the top of every American's list of things for which we should be thankful every day, not just at Thanksgiving.



Counting Our Mixed Blessings

Suzanne Fields

The Thanksgiving holiday offers mixed blessings that run from anxiety to celebration. When the different generations gather together to mix memory with desire (as the poet sayeth), we recognize differences as well as affinities, angry feelings along with the affectionate. We hasten and chasten our will to make known.

We're blessed to live in America, and yet we take due notice of the dark shadow of terrorism that falls across the horizon. We dilute fear of traveling with jokes about pat-downs and body scans, trying to hide the disgust at having been brought low with humiliation. We salute the "grannies from Topeka" pulled out of line as suspects hiding detonators in their Wal-Mart underwear. We try to laugh at airport chaos, but only after we're home again in the comfort and cozy security of our homes. We worry deeply about the proper balance of public safety against private rights, the country's safety against personal dignity. We won't let the terrorists demoralize us, but we can't throw precaution to the winds.

The words of John F. Kennedy, assassinated 47 years ago this week, ring as true today as they did when he spoke them in 1961. "Terror is not a new weapon," he said. "Throughout history, it has been used by those who could not prevail either by persuasion or example."

To that we can add the words George Washington placed in his proclamation prayer for the first Thanksgiving, "to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed."

Americans traditionally accent the positive. As we join the extended family for the holidays, we delight at the youngest at the table and look forward to watching them grow up. We engage the adolescents while ignoring, or at least dropping our eyes, at the tattoos and piercings of the most rebellious, with hopes that they, like their aunts, uncles and older cousins before them, will eventually put away childish things. (We also hope they refrain from texting while eating.)

We politely ask young vegan adults about the tofu turkey recipe, while repressing a turkey-eater's smile of superiority. We appreciate it when they hide their contempt for the cannibals of fowl and cow seated with them. We indulge the tipsy uncle who lost his wife last year, and we encourage the oldest among us to tell their stories of Thanksgivings past.

The inevitable talk of politics -- this is Washington, after all -- differs from last year. Republicans no longer have to listen to Bush-bashing. The man from Prairie Chapel promoted his memoir, "Decision Points," with panache, grace and good humor, steadfast in his refusal to criticize his predecessor, no doubt made easier since so many others are doing it for him. He can see how tacky Jimmy Carter looks, parading his second-guesses and trying desperately to make his failed presidency look at least presentable for the historians. "Decision Points" is not Ulysses S. Grant's remarkable "Personal Memoir," but it resets W., like him or not, as a thoughtful guy.

Thanksgiving is our most traditional of holidays, still relatively unscarred by commercial marketing, even as we update it with contemporary fads and fashions, Googling what we don't understand or remember. Nostalgia nurtures the older folks as so much of the familiar disappears into microchips for safekeeping. Youngsters thrive on the latest gadgets with ingenuity and inventiveness, showing smarts and saving face with spell-checks and Wikipedia (we can only hope they learn to sort the wheat from the chaff).

The most traditional of holidays has come a long way since our Puritan ancestors stepped on Plymouth Rock to breathe the air of religious freedom, to brave the hazards of the New World. We are grateful to them and marvel at their courage (though they never had to confront a pat-down). No matter how life changes, and change it does, we continue to gather together to count our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.



Thankful for a Bygone Era and New Dawn

Armstrong Williams

Many of us consistently ponder and wrack our brains to put in perspective what every Thanksgiving mean to us and our fellow man. While we usually and traditionally are thankful for family, friends, and our soldiers who fight to defend our freedoms home and abroad, I'm reminded of my fears and concern as a boy growing up in rural South Carolina. Many of you may remember the drills that we endured in preparation for a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. We were absolutely convinced that America or the Kremlin would obliterate the world with their nuclear arsenals within our lifetime.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the Soviet Union. I know this sounds strange and dated, but bear with me. I’m thankful for Soviet Union because without it, I would not have grown up appreciating this great country as much as I do. When I’ve talked to our younger generation, from children to college students, over the past 10 years, I heard very little pride for being an American.

Growing up, the USSR was the Big Bad Enemy that was out to destroy America and Western Civilization. Because of this ominous and ever-present threat, we as Americans had to remain steadfast to the principles that made America great- Freedom, Truth, Hard Work, and Justice.

The fall of the Soviet Empire not only created a vacuum, but began to subtly provoke the questioning of whether America really was the “Good Guy”. It was easy when we knew who the bad guys were and could consider ourselves the underdog, in a way. We were now the biggest game in town, and as such, we became the target, culpable for every ill in this world. Africa is poor? America’s fault. Amazon rain forest being razed? America did it. AIDS? Secret American bio weapon. On and on. It did not take long for those within our borders to take up the refrain. It became to be seen as naive and puerile to be proud of and love America. Everything that had been great about America became an anathema. It also led us to slowly giving into the tyrannical and socialism policies of our former enemy – torture, foreign wars based on meager evidence, government handouts and bailouts, and world apology tours for the evils of our distant (and not so distant past).

Without our great antagonist, we began to fall asleep- allowing sloth, moral decay, and entitlement mentality to take over our way of life. Rather than act as the bulwark against this putrefaction, our government (both Republicans and Democrats) largely went along with it and even encouraged such behavior. Aside from the Watergate scandal, we have largely trusted our politicians over the past half century. In turn, the politicians took advantage of our trust to run roughshod over "We the People". Instead of trying to spur private sector growth through encouragement, they began paying off the electorate. Maybe it's just the greater access that the Internet and modern media have given us, but it seems to me that we have had more scandals from public officials over the past 20 years than we had from 1900-1990. When we can't look to our leaders for positive examples, to whom can we look? Well, we answered that question by looking to ourselves.

This past year, America finally started to wake up to the problems that have crept in over the past 20 or so years. The Tea Party, for all its warts, served as a shot across the bow to all politicians that under no political party, would we allow this great country to slip quietly into the wayside of history. I honestly thought the liberal ideas that President Barack Obama and the far left had been espousing were where we were headed, especially in regards to health care and their attempts to cosign America to “once great nation” status. I thought we had resigned ourselves to corrupt politician who gave lip service, at best, to our ideals.

But the American people restored my faith in this country by remembering the lessons we held so dear when the Red Menace loomed. Today, I am thankful to see our countrymen awakening and charging full speed ahead to a new dawn and recommitting ourselves to the principle ideals of the nation. Freedom! Liberty! Justice!

Thank God I’m an American!



Spreadin' the glove: TSA infecting U.S.?

Latex coverings 'have been in crotches, armpits, touching people who may be ill'

Those latex gloves Transportation Security Administration agents wear while giving airline passengers those infamous full-body pat-downs apparently aren't there for the safety and security of passengers – only the TSA agents.

That's the word being discussed on dozens of online forums and postings after it was noted that the agents wear the same gloves to pat down dozens, perhaps hundreds, of passengers, not changing them even though the Centers for Disease Control in its online writings has emphasized the important of clean hands to prevent the exchange of loathsome afflictions.

"Herpes via latex glove ... ewwww," wrote one participant on the independence-minded AR15 website forum.

Responding to the question, "Does the TSA change latex gloves after each sexual assault?" another wrote on the same forum, "I seriously doubt it. Gloves are for their protection, not yours."

In fact, TSA officials in both national and regional offices declined to respond to WND inquiries about the policy for changing gloves to prevent an infection that may be on the clothes or body of one passenger during a pat-down by TSA agents from being transmitted to other passengers, including children, in line.

Martha Donahue in a commentary at Resistnet said she'd spent 30 years in the medical industry. "For those of you who fly and opt for the 'pat down,' you need to demand the TSA thugs change their gloves. I've been watching on the news how they operate. People are being searched [with] dirty gloves ... gloves that have been in crotches, armpits, touching people who may be ill, people who pick their noses. Do you want those gloves touching you?

"These thugs are protecting themselves from you. You need to be protected from them," she wrote. "In a hospital, nursing home, in-home care, or even labs, that would never even be considered an option."

ABC reported one of its news employees documented how a TSA worker reached inside her underwear. "The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," the ABC employee said in the network's report. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate."

Asked today about the possibility of contamination being spread from one passenger to another on the gloves of TSA agents, a spokesman for the CDC bailed.

Much more HERE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


24 November, 2010

Rage against the x-ray machine

The criticism of tomorrow’s mass protest against airport scanners highlights how much liberals have become detached from liberty

The casual reader could be forgiven for thinking that this Wednesday, the day before Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, is going to be a day to remember.

According to Opt Out Day, ‘it’s the day ordinary [American] citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty and…’ And what? Rights, liberty – that’s grand-sounding stuff. So what else are Americans being urged to stand up for? What else are Americans being called upon to protest? Something equally impressive, right? Yes, that’s right, 24 November is the day ordinary citizens rise up and protest against ‘the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an “enhanced pat down” that touches people’s breasts and genitals in an aggressive manner’.

In short, it’s the day Americans stick it to the airport security man.

Despite the po-faced, snigger-worthy phrasing, this isn’t such a ridiculous cause. As anyone who has travelled by aeroplane in the past 10 years can attest, the level of airport security is absurd. No liquids. Take off your shoes. Show us your laptop. The level of uniform scrutiny – where even OAPs have to pad, barefooted, through the x-ray arches – is a genuine triumph of rules over reason.

But what’s really got certain people riled in the US are the new x-ray machines. Clearly designed by a teenage boy, these contraptions produce three-dimensional images of passengers in such detail that genitalia are outlined and breasts highlighted. For those passengers unwilling to submit to such imaging – on the grounds that it’s a bit intrusive – they get the ‘pat down’ treatment, a thorough, uninhibited frisking which touches what the x-ray can only outline. It was clearly the prospect of having his penis caressed by airport security that made an ‘opt out day’ martyr of software engineer John Tyner a couple of weeks ago. ‘If you touch my junk’, he shouts on the obligatory YouTube video, ‘I’ll have you arrested’. He is a supporter of the new campaign group, at optoutday.com.

The increasingly vocal objections to the invasive rigmarole of airport security have not met with universal support, however. The UK Guardian’s Richard Adams, for instance, responded with disdain. For Adams, not wanting to be viewed as a potential terrorist, not wanting to be treated as 3D object of suspicion, is not a sign of self-respect – it’s a sign of self-regard. ‘This is the revenge of the How-Dare-You generation’, he rails. ‘How dare you tell me what to do! How dare you look at me! How dare you touch my junk! Sexual assault! I hate you mommy!’ The fact that resisting authority, standing up to the arbitrary exercise of power, necessarily involves a bit of don’t-tell-me-what-to-do spunk seems to have escaped Adams.

It’s not hard to fathom why this has slipped Adams’ attention. He doesn’t see the content of the protest. He doesn’t see its rationale. He sees only a caricature of its protagonists. They’re mad. They’re right wing. They’re Tea Partiers. Heck, they’re probably racist, too. After all why would anyone object to excessive airport security? It keeps us safe, for chrissakes. Adams’ outlook is at one with the state. ‘Personally, I’d like to take a flight knowing that the plane is less likely to be blown up or hijacked and rammed into a building full of people’, he says. ‘Alternatively, I’d like to be able to work in a tall building in New York City, Washington DC or even London without having a 747 flown into it.’

I’m with Adams on this. I, too, would like to take a flight confident that it won’t be blown up or hijacked or rammed into a building. The same goes for working in a tall building without worrying about jumbo jets being flown into the cafeteria. Call me human or something, but that sense of self-preservation, of not wanting to die, is something I definitely share with Adams. And I would bet that those whom Adams lampoons as right-wing loons – like the Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who supports Opt Out Day – feel the same.

It’s just that the constantly expanding set of airport security measures does not actually make us safer. In fact, it doesn’t do much at all, except demean and annoy passengers. Little wonder that British Airways chairman Martin Broughton recently felt moved to suggest that laptop checks and shoe removal are completely pointless exercises. ‘We all know there’s quite a number of elements in the security programme which are completely redundant and they should be sorted out’, he said. Besides which, terrorist plots do not tend to be foiled by the vigilant x-ray machine operators or frisking officials with super-sensitive cuticles. They tend to be foiled before the would-be terrorists even get to the airport, through targeted intelligence operations.

To be fair, the ever-expanding number of security measures at airports is not entirely without effect. It does reassure us that there is something to be frightened of. Because if you weren’t worried about international terrorism before you entered an airport, there’s enough fear-stoking procedures within to ensure that you’re fully signed up to the ‘war on terror’ upon departing.

But for those who are less keen to live their lives according to the mindset of terrorists, there is something to be said in support of the Opt Out Day protests. While it may not be the most expansive of political protests, it does suggest that quite a few people are fed up with being treated as if they were about to kill a lot of people. In that respect at least, the cry of ‘don’t touch my junk’ isn’t quite as silly as it sounds.



No subsidy for NPR

by Jeff Jacoby

A BILL pulling the plug on federal funding for National Public Radio was thwarted last week when the lame-duck Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives voted down a Republican effort to bring the measure to the floor. Introduced last summer by Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn, the legislation would bar NPR and its local affiliates from spending federal dollars on NPR programming. Of course there was never any chance that a bill targeting one of the nation's most prominent left-of-center institutions would pass while Democrats still controlled the House. But a GOP majority is taking over in January, and ending NPR's taxpayer subsidies ought to be high on its to-do list.

NPR tarnished its reputation last month when it abruptly fired commentator Juan Williams, an engaging liberal who had conceded in an interview that he gets "worried" and "nervous" when he boards a plane and sees passengers "who are in Muslim garb and . . . identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims." Williams is nobody's idea of a bigot -- among other things, he is the author of Eyes on the Prize, a famous history of the Civil Rights Movement -- and NPR's reaction was widely regarded as highhanded, dogmatic, and hypocritical. It only made matters worse when NPR CEO Vivian Schiller told an audience in Atlanta that Williams should have kept his feelings between himself and "his psychiatrist or his publicist." (She later apologized for that remark.)

In the wake of such a public-relations fiasco, one might have expected NPR to react to the House vote protecting its government funding with a modest statement of appreciation and perhaps an acknowledgment that its critics have raised some legitimate points. Instead it issued a statement so pompous and illogical that it could have been drafted in the Ministry of Truth.

"Today, good judgment prevailed as Congress rejected a move to assert government control over the content of news," it declared. "Public radio's value in fostering an informed society has never been more critical. Our growing audience shows that we are meeting that need. It is imperative for federal funding to continue to ensure that this essential tool of democracy remains available to all."

The arrogance of that statement is exceeded only speciousness. "A move to assert government control"? Lamborn's bill was just the opposite: a move to end the government's entangling financial alliance with NPR, leaving it responsible for its own budget and programming. If NPR's "value . . . has never been more critical," why isn't its "growing audience" supporting it directly? And if NPR is such an "essential tool of democracy," how did the republic survive for so long without it?

Notwithstanding NPR's haughty air of entitlement ("it is imperative for federal funding to continue"), there are at least four reasons why its taxpayer subsidies should end.

1. They aren't fair. Other radio stations and networks, from Air America to Clear Channel to Univision to Westwood One, must sink or swim in a competitive market. They survive only if listeners and advertisers value what they do. Uncle Sam doesn't keep them afloat with tens of millions of dollars annually in direct and indirect subsidies. If they can operate without corporate welfare, NPR can too.

2. They aren't appropriate. In a free society, especially one with a robust tradition of press freedom, the very idea of government-underwritten media should be anathema. When news organizations depend on largesse from the treasury, there is inevitably a price paid in objectivity, fairness, and journalistic independence.

3. They aren't necessary. NPR's partisans claim that public broadcasting provides valuable news and educational content that listeners can't get anywhere else. That may have been a plausible argument in 1970. It is utterly implausible today, when audio programming of every description can be found amid a vast and dizzying array of outlets: terrestrial and satellite radio, internet broadcasting, podcasts and audio downloads.

4. They aren't affordable. At a time of trillion-dollar federal deficits and a national debt of nearly $14 trillion, NPR's government subsidies cannot possibly be justified. All the more so when public broadcasting attracts a fortune in private funding, from the gifts of innumerable "listeners like you" to the $200 million bequeathed to NPR by the late Joan Kroc in 2003.

More than anything else, the incoming 112th Congress has a mandate to stem the flood of red ink that is drowning Washington in debt. The tax dollars consumed by NPR are admittedly a drop in the enormous fiscal bucket. But if Congress can't even do away with a frill like subsidies for public radio, how will it stand a prayer of shoving far more formidable gluttons away from the federal trough?



Milwaukee voter fraud conviction makes ACORN's 2010 total at least 15‏

Yet another former ACORN employee was convicted of voter fraud last week. This brings the total number of convictions for former workers from the embattled group to at least 15 so far this year.

Kevin L. Clancy of Milwaukee pleaded guilty last week to participating “in a scheme to submit fraudulent voter registration applications,” according to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Clancy admitted to filing multiple voter registration applications for the same individuals and registering himself and other voter registration canvassers to vote multiple times while working on an ACORN voter drive.

Clancy received a 10-month prison term for his crime. Clancy’s sentence will begin when he completes another sentence he is currently serving for armed robbery.

“The integrity of elections is dependent upon citizens and officials insisting they be conducted lawfully,” Van Hollen said. “Wisconsin’s citizens should not have to wonder whether their vote has been negated or diminished by illegally cast ballots.”

So far 2010 has been a banner year for ACORN voter fraud prosecutions....




Zogby poll: Obama decline continues: "President Barack Obama's job approval rating has dropped to the lowest point of his Presidency at 39%, and in potential match-ups with Republicans in 2012, he trails Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich and is just one point ahead of Sarah Palin. The percentage of likely voters saying the U.S. is on the wrong track is now the highest since Obama took office at 69%. The President continues to lose the job approval of Democrats, going from 78% on Nov. 15 to 72% in this Nov. 19-22, 2010 interactive poll. His approval among independents stayed at 39%, and is 6% among Republicans."

Zogby poll: 61% Oppose Full Body Scans and TSA Pat Downs; 48% Will Seek Alternative to Flying: "The implementation of full body scans and pat downs by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as part of security enhancements at our nation's airports will cause 48% of Americans and 42% of more frequent fliers to choose a different mode of transportation when possible, a recent Zogby International Poll finds. Overall, 61% of the 2,032 likely voters polled from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22, oppose the use of full body scans and TSA pat downs. Republicans (69%) and Independents (65%) oppose in greater numbers than Democrats (50%). Of those polled, 52% believe the enhanced security measures will not prevent terrorist activity, almost half (48%) say it is a violation of privacy rights"

With new health law, hospital mergers a concern : "When Congress passed the health care law, it envisioned doctors and hospitals joining forces, coordinating care, and holding down costs, with the prospect of earning government bonuses for controlling costs. Now, eight months into the new law, there is a growing frenzy of mergers involving hospitals, clinics, and doctor groups eager to share costs and savings and cash in on the incentives. … Consumer advocates fear that the health care law could worsen some of the problems it was meant to solve — by reducing competition, driving up costs, and creating incentives for doctors and hospitals to stint on care, in order to retain their cost-saving bonuses.”

Could Dems give Obama trouble? Afghanistan war is key: "As Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg was leaving a Monitor breakfast last week, he was asked about the possibility that President Obama might face a Democratic primary challenge in 2012. Mr. Greenberg’s two-word answer: ‘Watch Afghanistan!’ Indeed, of all the issues on Mr. Obama’s plate, the war in Afghanistan is his biggest area of political vulnerability among his own Democratic base. … Among Obama’s own party, only 33 percent say the US is doing the right thing in Afghanistan; 62 percent say it’s not.”

General Motors: Never again?: "My charming wife hit me with this zinger: ‘Doesn’t GM’s stock sale show that you were wrong to complain about the bailout?’ Yikes. People just don’t get it. As one big investor (who prefers to remain anonymous because he fears government retaliation) wrote me: ‘Government bought 914 million shares at 43.71. Sold half at 33, own 500 million or so at 35. Taxpayers down about 9 billion. Why is there such celebration today about this ‘great government success?’ Not to mention the fact we don’t know what else might have been done with the bailout money. Had it been left in private hands, maybe someone would have invented a much better car, or airport security device, or Alzheimer’s cure.”

Empty promises on health care will haunt Obama: "Barack Obama is only halfway through his term, but it's not too early to ask: What is the biggest whopper he has told as president? So far, the hands-down winner is: "No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." Obama made that particular pledge in a speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009, but he said the same thing, with slight variations, dozens of times during the health care debate. And now, exactly eight months after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, we're seeing just how empty the president's promise was..."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


23 November, 2010

Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals

In the article below Dennis Prager extends his thesis that American liberals are less able to handle what he has previously called "sad facts". They are more easily upset.

I think he is getting to the heart of it. The next step however is to ask why. And the fact that political orientation is highly hereditary is most of the answer.

Leftists would appear to be born with what psychologists call emotional lability. They are dominated by their emotions to such an extent that reasoned argument is of very little interest to them. They have an emotionally releasing conclusion they want to come to and will put up any argument that leads to that conclusion -- regardless of the facts or logic of the matter

So in dealing with liberals one is dealing with emotional kneejerks -- and reason has little power to alter such things -- hence the intractability of the political divide

According to polls -- Pew Research Center, the National Science Foundation -- and studies such as Professor Arthur Brooks' Gross National Happiness, conservative Americans are happier than liberal Americans.

Liberals respond this way: "If we're unhappier, it's because we are more upset than conservatives over the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves."

But common sense and data suggest other explanations. For one thing, conservatives on the same socioeconomic level as liberals give more charity and volunteer more time than do liberals. And as regards the suffering of non-Americans, for at least a half-century, conservatives have been far more willing to sacrifice American treasure and American blood (often their own) for other nations' liberty.

Both of these facts refute the liberals-are-more-concerned-about-others explanation for liberal unhappiness. So, let's look at other explanations.

Perhaps we are posing the question backward when we ask why liberals are less happy than conservatives. The question implies that liberalism causes unhappiness. And while this is true, it may be equally correct to say that unhappy people are more likely to adopt leftist positions.

Take black Americans, for example. It makes perfect sense that a black American who is essentially happy is going to be less attracted to the left. Anyone who has interacted with black conservatives rarely encounters an angry, unhappy person.

Why? Because the liberal view on race is that America is a racist society. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, a black American must abandon liberalism in order to be a happy individual. It is very hard, if not impossible, to be a happy person while believing that society is out to hurt you. So, the unhappy black will gravitate to liberalism, and liberalism will in turn make him unhappier by reinforcing his view that he is a victim.

The unhappy gravitate toward the left for a second reason. Life is hard for liberals, and life is hard for conservatives. But conservatives assume that life will always be hard. Liberals, on the other hand, have utopian dreams. At his brother Robert's funeral, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy recalled his brother saying: "Some men see things as they are and say 'why?' I dream things that never were and say 'why not?'"

Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to the every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky to be born or naturalized an American.

Third, imagine two Americans living in essentially identical socioeconomic conditions. Both earn $45,000 a year, both have the same amount of debt on their homes and both have the same number of dependents. One seeks governmental assistance wherever possible; the other eschews any governmental help. Which one is likely to be the liberal and which one is likely to be the happier individual?

This is not a question only an oracle can answer. The one who yearns for governmental help is the one who is likely to be both liberal and less happy. Conservatism, which demands self-reliance, makes one happier. The more one feels that he is captain of his or her ship (as poor as that ship may be), the happier he or she will be.

A fourth explanation for greater unhappiness among liberals is that the more people allow feelings to govern them, the less happy they will be. And the further left one goes, the more importance one attaches to feelings.

It is liberal educators and liberal parents who have clamored for protecting young people from the pain of losing games. The liberal world came up with the idea of giving trophies to kids who lose; they don't want their children feeling bad. Conservatives, on the other hand, teach their kids how to lose well. They are less worried about their children feeling bad.

A couple of years ago, I gave a speech on happiness to the students and faculty of a prestigious high school in the Los Angeles area. The subject was the need to act happy even when one isn't feeling happy -- because it is unfair to others to inflict our bad moods on them and because we will never be happy if we allow our feelings to dictate our happiness.

From what I experienced that day and learned later, liberal students and faculty generally loathed my speech; conservative students generally loved it (there was no conservative faculty to speak of). Why? Because conservatives are far more likely to be comfortable with the idea that feelings are not as important as behavior. Those who know that feelings must not govern us, but that we must govern our feelings, are far more likely to be happy people.

The upshot of all this? There is an amazingly simple way to defeat the left: Raise children who are grateful to be American, who don't complain, who can handle losing and who are guided by values, not feelings. In other words, teach them how to be happy adults.



Save Us From the Intellectuals

Super-genius political science professor Charles H. Franklin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison recently gave loud voice to a widely held liberal belief: Ordinary Americans, especially conservative ones, are stupid.

At a conference by the Society of Professional Journalists, alternative newspaper editor Bill Lueders asked Franklin why "the public seemed to vote against its own interests and stated desires, for instance by electing candidates who'll drive up the deficit with fiscally reckless giveaways to the rich."

Franklin responded: "I'm not endorsing the American voter. They're pretty damn stupid." (Excuse my impertinence, but is there a grammatical glitch in the genius's formulation?)

First, we should note that Franklin implicitly accepted Lueders' premise as fact: The voters who claim to be motivated by a passion to end reckless Washington spending had just elected candidates who will be fiscally irresponsible because they support "reckless giveaways to the rich."

But how smart is it to mischaracterize a policy, misrepresent its likely consequences and ignore other relevant data to arrive at an ideologically preordained conclusion?

Extending Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more would not be a giveaway. We're not talking about the government's money, but money earned by individuals. Only leftists believe that all income is the property of the state and that the amount remaining after income taxes is a gift from the government to the individual.

Moreover, the tax rates we're discussing have been in place since 2003. To extend those rates would not be a cut. To fail to extend them would constitute a tax increase. I suppose "intelligence" doesn't require the honest use of terminology.

In addition, the premise is overly simplistic because it suggests that extending the Bush rates for the highest income bracket would cost the government revenues dollar for dollar, as if we have a completely static economy. The mentally gifted simply refuse to acknowledge the empirical evidence showing that reductions in marginal income tax rates during the Kennedy years, the Reagan years and the George W. Bush years resulted in increases in revenue. They also fail to factor in the economic truism that tax increases during bad economic times retard growth and thus constitute a drag on tax revenues.

Finally, the premise ignores that voters were rejecting Obama's big spending across the board and that the extension of the Bush rates would be only one small part of the equation. Those voting out the Democrats were overwhelmingly repudiating Obama's reckless spending in virtually every other category -- save defense. That is, they voted not against their interests, Mr. Lueders and Professor Franklin, but consistent with them.

You might be interested in some other pronouncements by Professor Erudition. One example: In an article in Politico about a year ago, Franklin wrote, "The issue that has dominated the summer and fall, health care reform, will most likely not remain high on voters' list of the most important problems in 12 months regardless of the outcome of legislation." Well, exit polls showed that 20 percent of voters believed health care was not only important but the most important issue. Doubtless, a full majority of voters believed it was among the most important problems, even if not the most important.

The liberal intelligentsia's contempt for the American people is well-established. Franklin's snarky outburst is little different from then-ABC anchorman Peter Jennings' statement that American voters had a temper tantrum when they delivered a congressional majority to Republicans in 1994, Obama's assessment that voters are irrational because they are scared, or the Bush haters bitterly decrying the 2000 and 2004 elections with their observation that red-state voters were "reality-challenged." And it's no different from liberals' perpetual characterization of Republican political figures as stupid, from Reagan to George W. Bush to Sarah Palin.

I'll tell you what is rather silly; I don't want to say "stupid." It's this repeated assertion that one's political viewpoint is based on intelligence, when it is far more related to one's worldview and disposition. For every brilliant, average or unintelligent liberal, I'll show you a brilliant, average or unintelligent conservative. Ideology is not a function of IQ, and political allegiances and policy preferences are often unrelated to facts.

If you want an example of "stupid" -- or at least intellectual negligence -- consider the childish willingness on the part of so many intellectuals, on the left and the right, to deify candidate Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Then again, hasn't it always been axiomatic that "intellectuals" lack common sense? In their minds, Jimmy Carter was going to make the ideal president. What's worse, many of them think he did. Please save us from the intellectuals.



A true Marine

One thing that has made America great is its long lineage of valiant leaders in every generation. These are the type of men and women about whom our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

One more extraordinary example of that type of leadership can be found in my friend and the new commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos.

In 2007, I visited our troops at 15 bases in Iraq with then-three-star Lt. Gen. Amos and four-star Gen. Bob Magnus.

After being recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June and endorsed by President Barack Obama in July, he was appointed on Oct. 22, which my wife, Gena, and I (among many others around the world) were thrilled to hear.

According to The Washington Post, military officials say Amos is an innovative thinker about future combat and a passionate advocate for finding additional resources to treat Marines diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. To boot, Amos is a man of great faith in God. And he's now the first Marine commandant with a background as a naval aviator. (In choosing Amos, Gates passed over Gen. James N. Mattis, who is one of the military's best minds regarding waging war on insurgents.)

Before Amos was selected as head of the Marine Corps, however, he weathered a rather unique vetting period. Amos' poise and leadership was vividly on display for the country and the world to see when he was grilled by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee for an hour in a hearing in which the questioning was almost exclusively about gays in the military.

Amos was again on the hot seat when he spoke recently with reporters during a Southern California visit to mark the Marines' 235th birthday. With American troops on the battlegrounds in Afghanistan and still deployed in Iraq, Amos said now is not the time to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military.

Amos explained: "This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness. ... There's risk involved. I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. ... There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women -- and when you talk of infantry, we're talking our young men -- laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers. I don't know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that's what we're looking at. It's unit cohesion; it's combat effectiveness."

I applaud Amos for caring more for the troops than for being politically correct. He deserves the accolades of military personnel and all citizens alike. Americans should feel proud and safer to have him serving as the commandant of the Marine Corps. If we had more leaders like him in this world, we wouldn't be in half the hurt that we are.




You can't win against the TSA thugs: "Amid the furore over airport security, Sam Wolanyk had a plan to avoid his second intrusive pat down in a week ... he stripped off. But Mr Wolanyk, who had previously campaigned for the right to openly carry guns, was arrested. He stripped to his underwear at San Diego International Airport but refused a body scan and pat-down search because "it was obvious that my underwear left nothing to the imagination.". Mr Wolanyk said he was patted down a week ago and he "was not willing to be molested again". "I figured that this way everyone would be happy: I don't get scanned or groped, they can verify that I'm not a danger to anyone and the line would actually move more quickly because those pat-downs take time," he said in a statement. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican believed to harbour presidential ambitions for 2012, said the heavy frisking should be reserved for likely terror suspects."

South Korea considers asking for US nukes: "South Korea’s defense minister raised the possibility of redeploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the country Monday, after North Korea showed off its latest advances in uranium enrichment. Kim Tae-young told lawmakers that such an option could be discussed next month at a newly created joint military committee to enhance deterrence against the North’s nuclear programs.”

Shrink the Fed before it shrinks the dollar: "The Fed has just embarked on yet another round of ‘quantitative easing,’ or QE2 — weasel words for money printing. So in addition to ‘end the Fed,’ we now hear ’sink the QE2.’ QE2 is the Fed’s Hail Mary pass, according to analyst Peter Schiff. The creation of so many new dollars would tend to depress the value of old dollars. But the Fed says inflation isn’t a problem right now. Instead, deflation is the problem. But the gurus are only talking about ‘price inflation,’ as measured by consumer price index.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


22 November, 2010

Why Jews Vote Democratic – Redux

By Bruce Bialosky

Many people in the Republican Party wonder why the majority of Jews continue to vote Democratic. The last time Jews preferred a Republican Presidential candidate was 1972. Not even in 1980, when the clearly anti-Semitic Jimmy Carter was running against Ronald Reagan, or when George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004 after proving himself the best friend of Israel ever to inhabit the White House, did the majority of Jews cast their ballots for a Republican. I have spent most of the last ten years attempting to change that pattern in hand-to-hand combat with the left. And yet despite my battle scars, I was still frustrated and enraged over a recent set of events that only confirmed how profoundly challenging it is to enlighten Jews who vote for Democrats.

Last month, a prominent temple in Los Angeles decided to open its doors to the four candidates running for Governor and U.S. Senate in California. Knowing that they would never get a debate between the respective parties, the temple invited each candidate to address the audience (both members and the surrounding community) in separate forums, believing that an opportunity to speak to a large audience of Jews would both benefit the candidates and promote the Temple’s mission of educating the public. The temple asked influential members of the congregation (of which they have many) to contact the campaigns and extend their invitation. Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for Governor, was the first to accept, followed by Carly Fiorina, who was running for the U.S. Senate. The Jewish press reported that Barbara Boxer declined the offer, and Jerry Brown’s campaign claimed that they never received a formal invitation; a statement known to be categorically false.

Once the first event with Meg Whitman was announced, there was a deluge of complaints from Democrats at the temple. If Whitman was coming, why not Brown? Ignoring the fact that Brown turned down his invitation, they attempted to suppress Whitman’s appearance. To its credit, the temple worked hard to promote the series – always making sure to remind its members that all four candidates were invited, and that the Whitman forum was merely the first one – but the complaints keep coming. To be fair, some of the kvetching died down when people were informed of the process, but several Democrats continued to be shrill and adamant: if Brown was not coming, then Whitman should not be allowed to speak.

Despite the behind-the-scenes discourse, the Whitman forum was wonderful: more than 800 people attended. It was held with a spirit of civility and decorum appropriate for a synagogue sanctuary. But the relentless whining of partisan Democrats took its toll on the temple leadership. They chose not to promote or publicize the next event, for Carly Fiorina. The only notice to the membership appeared in the temple bulletin. When I related this story to a churchgoing friend, he wittily replied with words of wisdom from his pastor, “If you want to make sure no one sees it, put it in the church bulletin.”

The attack on simple fair-mindedness was aided and abetted by other elements of the Jewish community. The Jewish Federation, the umbrella organization for the community, pulled out of involvement and conveyed that information through their Vice-President, a former staffer for Democratic Congressman Howard Berman. The Jewish Journal (formerly owned by the Federation and supposedly now “independent”) did a hatchet job reporting on the Whitman event which further chilled the Temple from promoting the Fiorina event.

The efforts were countered by the hard work of many and equally by the likes of Dennis Prager, who agreed to moderate the forum. Dennis helped publicize the event by promoting it on his radio show. The end result was over 1,000 people showed up to hear – and interact with – Ms. Fiorina. On the day of the Fiorina event, Jerry Brown was speaking in black churches in Los Angeles. There was no commensurate effort to invite Republican candidates to these events, and, of course, there was no outcry from partisan Democrats or friends in the press about him being there without an equal Republican opportunity.

The relentless effort by Jewish liberals to suppress the speaking opportunities of their political adversaries – behavior that is both shameful and un-American, and which violates the most fundamental principles of the Jewish community – is, regrettably, a constant theme of the left. This disgraceful incident points to an undeniable truth: there is a structural deterrent to even having a chance to present a competitive argument to the Jewish Community. Some live in denial of the fact that for the past 50 years, the Democratic Party has horribly misrepresented the interests of Jewish Americans, especially on the core value of our educational system.

They deny the fact that almost all of the Anti-Israel elements within America are not only found on the political left which are also major stakeholders and figures in the Democratic Party. They tell us we should support Jewish candidates despite the fact that none of them had the courage to stand up to President Obama while he was trashing Israel and its Prime Minister until Senator Chuck Schumer did after 18 months.

I now have a clearer picture of why our job has been so difficult. All we want is a fair, honest and open debate. There is a reason they don’t want to have it. They don’t have a winning case


Many conservative Jews have tried to answer the question Bialosky tries to answer above but it seems to me that both his and their answers only scratch the surface. Bialosky seems to be saying that Jews tend to be Leftist because Liberal Jews block other Jews from hearing the conservative side of the argument. And he is of course right about the way Leftists generally do their darndest to silence conservatives. "Free speech for Leftists only" seems to be their motto.

Jews are however in general intelligent people well able to seek out any information they want. It would be hard to imagine a group less likely to permit itself to be subjected to censorship. Just the suspicion of it would produce instant rebellion. So I think we will have to look deeper than Bialosky does.

I have been reading attempts to explain Jewish Leftism for a long time and have found none of the other explanations to be very persuasive either. I particularly took an interest in such explanations after I read in "Mein Kampf" Hitler's claim that all the Marxist rabble-rousers he encountered in Vienna of the '20s were Jews. He actually lists them in "Mein Kampf". He says that it was their constant preaching of Marxist class war and support for revolution that decided him that Jews were the enemies of the German people and hence must be eliminated. Read more on that here.

I am inclined to think that Hitler's account of his own mental processes is a straightforward one but I am not going to hang my hat on it. If someone can come up with a better explanation for Hitler's campaign against the Jews, I would be most interested to hear it. Most writers on the subject however have NO explanation of it at all, treating it as if it were a mystery of inspissated darkness. The only explanation usually proffered is that Hitler resented being rejected by the Jewish Rector of the Vienna art school and then took it out on all Jews -- but that is pretty laughable if one reads Hitler's own account of that matter. He actually agreed enthusiastically with what the Rector said!

At any event, it does appear that Jewish Leftism has a long pedigree, going back to Karl Marx himself, of course. And it does seem that the Leftism concerned has served Jews extraordinarily badly -- a point also made by Bialosky above.

Yet I don't myself see the motivation for Jewish Leftism as any more mysterious than the motivations of Adolf Hitler. Let me put the explanation in one sentence: Successful people in life tend to be Leftist and Jews tend to be successful in life.

Why successful people tend Left is of course a large topic in its own right so I will refer readers elsewhere for a full discussion of that topic.


Just in case you haven't seen it yet!

A Palestinian businessman:


Another video below -- explaining why American small businesses can't create jobs these days


TSA: One step behind the terrorists

by Jeff Jacoby

NOT EVERYONE has reacted the same way to the Transportation Security Administration's aggressively intimate new frisking technique. Air traveler John Tyner created a minor sensation when he recorded himself warning a TSA screener in San Diego to stay away from the family jewels: "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested." Journalist Emmett Tyrrell, on the other hand, says he would "welcome a soothing pat-down . . . especially if the patter-downer is a cute little number on the order of, say, Sarah Palin." It takes all types to fill a passenger plane.

But what are we to make of TSA Administrator John Pistole, who told a congressional committee last week that he has no intention of relaxing his agency's intrusive new screenings? These include not only the hands-on body search (which at least one pilot has compared to "sexual molestation"), but also, for those who prefer to be ogled electronically, full-body X-ray scanners that leave nothing to the imagination.

"I'm not going to change those policies," Pistole testified, brushing aside a flood of recent passenger complaints as the price to be paid for security. Why, TSA's current methods are so effective, he insisted, that had they been in effect last December they would have thwarted Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the al-Qaeda terrorist who tried to blow up a jetliner on Christmas Day with a bomb sewn into his underwear. That would have been quite an achievement, considering that Abdulmutallab was flying into the United States from Europe, and was never screened by TSA.

"There is an ever-evolving nature to terrorist plots," Pistole told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "It is clear we have to be one step ahead of the terrorists."

One step ahead? That isn't how TSA operates. Knives and sharp objects were banned from carry-on luggage after 9/11, so Richard Reid boarded American Airlines Flight 63 with a bomb built into his shoe. Passengers ever since have had to take off their shoes to pass through security, so the 2006 Heathrow terrorists came up with a plan to use liquid explosives. TSA responded by confining liquids to tiny containers sealed in baggies, but then Abdulmutallab smuggled explosive powder in his underwear. Now TSA scans or gropes even air travelers' nether regions, so terrorists based in Yemen hid two bombs inside printer cartridges and shipped them to addresses in Chicago. TSA promptly responded by announcing that "toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces will be prohibited on passenger aircraft in both carry-on bags and checked bags." Just who has been one step ahead of whom?

Precisely because terrorist plots are "ever-evolving," it is fruitless to keep trying to prevent the last terror attack. Yet that is just what TSA keeps doing. What's worse, it treats every airline passenger as a potential terrorist who must be searched for weapons -- any and all imaginable weapons -- before being allowed to board. That is a crazy system -- crazy in its ineffectiveness, crazy in its breathtaking cost, and crazy in the staggering degree of inconvenience and invaded privacy it imposes on innocent passengers. In security expert Bruce Schneier's cogent term, TSA provides not security, but security theater -- "measures that make people feel more secure without doing anything to actually improve their security."

Anyone who has traveled through Israel's Ben Gurion airport or on El Al, the Israeli airline, has experienced what is widely considered the finest aviation security system in the world. That system doesn't involve taking off shoes, confiscating water bottles, patting down toddlers, or conducting nude X-ray scans. Nor does it involve shutting down an entire terminal because a passenger inadvertently walked through the wrong door.

However, it does involve careful monitoring of behavior, individual conversations with every traveler, and a lack of politically-correct inhibitions about profiling. Unlike TSA, the Israelis focus not on intercepting dangerous things, but on stopping dangerous people. It is hard to argue with their results.

The federalization of airline security after 9/11 was a grave mistake. Instead of creating a vast new bureaucracy, Congress should have made the airlines themselves primarily responsible for guaranteeing their customers' safety, with clear legal liability if they failed. With their bottom lines riding on it, the airlines would have been far more likely than any government agency to figure out how to get security right. Instead, we've ended up with groin gropes, naked X-rays, and "security" procedures that irritate everyone while keeping nobody safe.

The time has come to rethink air-travel safety from the ground up. Eliminating TSA might make a good start.

SOURCE (See the original for links)



NC: Airport director wants private security, not TSA: "After recent controversy surrounding the Transportation Security Administration’s security screenings, the director of Charlotte’s airport said he wants a private company to take over the job. Federal law allows airports to replace TSA agents with private security guards. Right now, 17 airports across the country do this, and the Orlando Sanford Airport in Florida plans to be the 18th in January. Charlotte Douglas International Airport Director Jerry Orr said he’s wanted a private firm to do security screenings since 2001, when the TSA was created.”

Florida airport to opt out of TSA screening: "Amid concerns over radiation from scanners, civil lawsuits over pat-downs, and general ineptitude on the part of TSA airport personnel, one Florida airport has thrown in the towel. Orlando Sanford International Airport has announced that it will opt out of the TSA’s screening program.”

Groping toward Gomorrah : "The Transportation Security Administration knows with 100 percent certainty that John Tyner, the 31-year-old Oceanside man who refused to submit to one of those embarrassing body scans or be searched by TSA groin-grabbers during his recent attempt to fly from San Diego to South Dakota, poses no security threat to the United States or anywhere else. He is not a terrorist, just a citizen frustrated by the growing intrusiveness of TSA screening procedures. Nevertheless, after Tyner refused to complete his screening process, a TSA official told him that the agency is likely to sue him. If it did, Tyner could face $11,000 in fines and a possible ban from air travel – not because he did anything wrong, but because he refused to submit to the authorities, which used to be a proud tradition in our society.”

Obama regime tries to quell uproar over invasive pat-downs, scanners : "The Obama administration tried Sunday to quell an uproar over pat-downs at US airports, with air travelers in revolt against the new security measures described by some as invasive and humiliating. … A loose network of groups are calling for a boycott of the full body scanners on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving — a protest that threatens to gum up the works at airports across the nation on one of the biggest travel days of the year.”

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


21 November, 2010

Is Obama protecting himself from the red-head?

He certainly looks defensive. The red-head is Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia -- talking at the start of the NATO meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.


Sharing, not equality, is the human norm

I have excerpted today on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH an academic paper that takes a fair bit of concentration to follow but which is, I think, of fundamental importance. Its thesis is that charity (e.g. welfare payments to the poor) springs from a basic human instinct but that instinct is neither altruism nor a belief in equality. It is an instinctive expectation of reciprocity. In other words, we give to others in the instinctive expectation that we will get something back. We put resources into the common pot in the expectation that everyone else will do likewise. In modern societies that expectation is often violated, with welfare recipients giving nothing back. That offends our basic expectation of reciprocity and feels wrong. Hence there are periodic attempts made to get the poor to work for their welfare payments or to get them off welfare altogether

So the Leftist opposition to welfare reform is founded -- once again -- on a denial of basic human instincts. Despite their cloak of good intentions, Leftists are profoundly anti-human. They hate the world about them and that mostly means the people in it


Palin slams Obamas as unpatriotic and racist

Sarah Palin has accused Barack and Michelle Obama of being unpatriotic and has suggested they are racist. In leaked extracts of her new book, America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate argues that the first black US president is among those who regarded the Tea Party movement as racially prejudiced and who thinks "America is a fundamentally unjust and unequal country".

As proof, she quoted a 2008 campaign speech in which Mrs Obama said "for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country". Mrs Palin went on: "I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people."

Mrs Palin's second book is regarded as a launch pad for a bid for the 2012 Republican nomination, which she admitted this week she was "seriously considering".

The book criticises talent show contestants and the "cult of self-esteem", which she blames partly on Mr Obama: "No one they have encountered in their lives - from their parents to their teachers to their president - wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth. So they grew up convinced that they could become big pop stars like Michael Jackson."



Another vast bureaucracy about to hit America?

One of the threats from the present "lame duck" session of Congress is that they might at any time pass the "Food Safety Modernization Act", which sounds good but which would create great bureaucratic burdens on all American food producers. There is however a lot of opposition to it -- from Tea Party opponents of big government to organic farming freaks. With such bipartisan opposition to it, one would think it would fail to be passed, but that is not at all certain. Below is a comment from a conservative site followed by a video from the other side of the aisle, which seems to be somewhat more up-to-date. Calling your Senator to express opposition to the bill would certainly be a good move

First Health Care, Next the Food Supply

Just because the duck is lame doesn't mean it can't still do terrible damage to American freedom. Our new Congress, especially the new House, isn't yet seated, and this current Congress can still wreak terrible havoc on our rights if not stopped.

Case in point: Senate Bill 510, believed to be coming to the floor Wednesday, November 17 (pending). This is the food safety version of ObamaCare. Reading the thing will make your head hurt for all its cognitive dissonance. Trying to winnow out its complexity and hidden empowerments is stultifying.

Introduced by Dick Durbin of Illinois, the bill has moved through the usual phases of amalgamation and deal-making. The monstrosity advancing to the floor on Wednesday is not so much "food safety" as it is the decadence of the rights of small farmers, hobbyist food producers, garden-variety farmers markets, and your average small producer of foodstuffs. Under the rubric of safety, this Senate proposes a bill that establishes such new and sweeping powers over how you and I produce and consume foodstuffs that even the Pew Charitable Trusts * are calling S510 a clear and present danger. National Health Freedom says,

It is a dangerously broad regulatory bill giving extensive discretionary power to the FDA over the entire food supply chain without proper checks and balances to avoid abuse of power;

It would impose one-size-fits-all-regulations on thousands of small and mid-sized farmers, small-scale local farms and food producers, and would drastically burden, to extinction, basic natural and organic food suppliers, thus endangering the lives of Americans who depend on local wholesome foods;

It does not reflect a well-thought-out solution, or address the real causes of food safety issues stemming from the industrialized food supply chain; and:

It attempts to limit the authority of our own domestic U.S. laws when it includes language ensuring that our US law will not disturb other international agreements that we have made. It states: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the U.S. is a party."

Lee Bechtel of the National Health Federation, the nation's oldest health-freedom organization, says:

The concern for freedom and health freedom advocates with the legislation, and the NHF's concern, is not because it addresses existing conventional food safety system problems, tainted imported foods, peanut butter... et.al. but because of these non-conventional food safety attempts to expand FDA authority and impose more controls over the marketplace and the access to nutritional foods and supplements.

For example, Page 26 Manager's Amendment:

(d) SMALL ENTITY COMPLIANCE POLICY GUIDE.- Not later than 180 days after the issuance of the regulations promulgated under subsection (m) of section 418 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by subsection (a)), the Secretary shall issue a small entity compliance policy guide setting forth in plain language the requirements of such section 418 and this section to assist small entities in complying with the hazard analysis and other activities required under such section 418 and this Section.

Neither specified nor even alluded to is the empowering language of what "assist" or "hazard analysis" or "small entities" may mean. In federal empowerment legislation, this means whatever they want it to. Lee Bechtel goes on to write,

There is no legislative language that gives any clarity or defines what a "small entity" is. Instead, leaving it up to the FDA to decide the application of the law. The Senate bill unlike the House version does not include specific exemption language for small farmers, small organic farms, etc. In fact, Senator Testor has an amendment to address this matter, if the Democratic Senate leadership allows it to be offered.

Further, how about this for a TSA-brand of intrusion into your affairs? Pg. 3 of the Manager's Amendments to S510 -

(2) USE OF OR EXPOSURE TO FOODS OF CONCERN.-If the Secretary believes that there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to an article of food, and any article of a food, that the Secretary reasonably believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner, will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, each person (excluding farms and restaurants) who manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports such article can be acted upon by the FDA.

That would be you and me, if we're hobby farmers at the local farmer's market.

Dr. Silva Chandra says:

If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public's right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one's choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.

What are Republican thinking? Seven out of twelve co-sponsors are Republicans.

You know by now that the real dangers of federal legislation are hidden in a root-cluster of treaties, acts, bills, agreements, resolutions, and other governmental legerdemain that disguises the facts. Like with a metastasizing cancer, you have to run down all the tentacles that get back-doored and de-facto empowered rather than focusing just on the prima facia. Or, as Dr. Daniel Geer, Sc.D. says, Complexity is the enemy of security.

S510 puts all U.S. food production under the control of the Department of Homeland Security. And the Department of Defense. We lose not only private-citizen control of our food supply, but sovereignty as well. The bill sets in motion standardization of the food animal supply chain, focusing on eliminating biodiversity in food animal genetic stocks. It further mandates that the federal government control and empower hormonal, genetic, and antibiotic additions to our food supply while postponing most definitions of what will constitute "food crimes" under the bill's sweeping and generalized powers.

Remember Nancy Pelosi's infamous "we'll know after we pass it"?

You may be disposed to embrace a genetically modified, enhanced, and altered food chain, but for those of us who eat our foods unadulterated, raised naturally, and without benefit of the federal government mandating what we can and can't eat, S510 is one more giant step toward consolidating total power over the lives of free citizens. It is standardization on a scale never seen. Remember Ireland and its potato famine. That's what standardization accomplishes. One bug killed an entire economy.

This bill constitutes some of the worst of the worst of corporatist policies favored by the political class controlling our federal government. Conservatives must rebel at any sign of government intrusion into our private affairs, and criminalizing private food production is as wrong as it gets. S510 does just that, if reading between the lines of its muddy language suggests where the lame duck Pelosi-Reid Congress is headed. If implemented, S510 can define as a crime to clean, store, and own seeds or seed stocks unless granted that right by the federal government. Think you'll be granted that "right" when arguing against Monsanto's lawyers?

There's plenty of inflammatory news, blog entries, and postings on the internet regarding S510, and you'll find most of it from sources you'll consider Birkenstock-wearing greenies. So what? Read the bill. Follow the trail of what this bill embraces through the WTO, ending the 1994 Uruguay Agreements. Follow the failed Clinton money through Burson Marsteller (the giant public relations firm) and on through the empowerment of vague definitions within. And if you can read far enough on the faint trails of treaties, past legislations and acts, you'll realize that the federal government, under successive attempts by the corporatist Left, is grabbing not just your health care, but your food supply.

Its House companion Bill, HR 2749, empowers federal bureaucracies to totally prohibit the movement of any and all foods into or out of a given area (Section 133b, "Authority to Prohibit or Restrict the Movement of Food," sponsored by Congressman Dingell). Sure, sure, the idea may be to prevent the spread of dangerous foods, but once the camel's nose is under the tent, you know what can happen.

In other words, what are Republicans doing, signing on to legislation so grievous to the rights of the citizens they are sworn to protect?



Could California Sink The Obama Presidency?

There's a present-day crisis on the "left coast," and most Americans have no idea how bad it is. When more Americans get a grasp of the carnage - and once Barack Obama begins to act-out his natural tendencies towards "government bailouts" - the American electorate may very well become so outraged that the President destroys his own future political prospects.

California - the most populous state in our nation - is bankrupt. Just as is the case in Washington, D.C., nobody in The Golden State dares to say the word "bankrupt" to describe the state government right now, but it is still nonetheless true.

However, since Californians collectively defied the national trend of abandoning the bankrupting Obama-styled economic policies in the recent election, and instead voted for more of the same, the 31st state in our union is now on the fast-track for economic collapse. And it is a crisis that is custom-made for politicians like Barack Obama, who love to spend other people's money in an effort to make themselves appear heroic.

There is no political will in California to cut state government programs (at least not in any substantial way), and "deep cuts" just aren't going to happen. Similarly, there is plenty of "fat" that could be eliminated from the state budget - a swift cut in the state's generous unemployment benefits program would make sense - but again, no California politician has the courage to do something so sensible.

So instead, California is accruing $40 million a day in debt, just to keep their unemployment benefits checks flowing. This is the kind of fiscally lethal public policy that has brought down the country of Greece, yet California refuses to do what is necessary - cut government spending - and instead is poised to raise payroll taxes (again) as a means of partially paying for unemployment benefits.

So what's a guy like Barack Obama to do? Politically he can't afford to do nothing while the "biggest blue state" in the country begins to default on its debts, and he'll probably find it personally difficult to resist his natural tendencies to "rescue" and "control" things (think G.M. and Chrysler and the many "bailed out" banks). And while there won't be adequate support in the Congress to legislate an official "bailout" for California, one could envision the President "ordering" the U.S. Treasury to "offer assistance" of some sort, and perhaps trying to "command" revenues out of the private sector and into California government coffers (Mr. Obama had no constitutional authority to "demand" a "settlement" from B.P. oil, but he did it anyway).

But as Americans in the other 49 states learn more about the decades of fraud and waste that has brought about California's self-induced disaster, the more angry they will become at a President who drives the nation further into debt as a means of "enabling" California's dysfunction to continue.

California will lapse into some condition of "default," and President Obama will get involved. The nature of his response could determine his tenure at the White House.

More here

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


20 November, 2010

Carville questions Obama's manhood...

... while suggesting that Hillary has plenty to spare

From Politico:

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Democratic strategist James Carville dropped this one-liner: "If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two."

The quote was first noted by Tribune reporter Mike Memoli on his Twitter account.

Mark Stein on Rush Limbaugh's show moments ago reported that Obama was quick to suggest that no one would be touching his junk if he had any say in the matter though that's yet to be confirmed.

Neither can we confirm that Bill Clinton was quick to volunteer his junk for touching by any and all suitors.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)


What is Barack Obama?

Is Barack Obama a socialist? A Muslim? Anti-American? Pro-Palestinian? Or just a man who is right sometimes and wrong most of the time? Bill O'Reilly opts for the second option in his new book, "Pinheads and Patriots."

Bill rigorously focuses on what President Obama does, not on who he is. He refuses to speculate about motivation, preferring instead the more solid ground of observing and frequently condemning his policies. The whole is never larger than the sum of its parts in O'Reilly's book. In fact, they're not really added up at all.

In a world fraught with invective, Bill focuses instead on programs, statistics and facts. Abjuring adjectives, he speaks only in nouns and verbs. This style is refreshing in the world of national politics where any conservative is a "sellout" and any liberal a "socialist." He takes Obama's patriotic motivation for granted and proceeds to dissect his policies with precision and incisive commentary.

But, somehow, the mind still gropes with the central question about Barack Obama: Who is he? As one reads his book, you have to wonder whether Obama is mistaken or malign. Is he simplistic or socialist? An idiot or an ideologue?

As you study President Obama, you keep coming back to these basic questions. Did he really think that his stimulus spending would end the recession despite the failure of the George W. Bush stimulus of 2008 and the Japanese Lost Decade of similar economic policies? Or did he want to expand the public sector at all costs and seized this opportunity to do so?

Did he ever really believe he could lower health care costs through his legislation, or was he just saying that to socialize medicine in America? Does he truly think he can win hearts and minds in the Islamic world, or is he just anti-Israel? Is he overly concerned with the details of his version of our civil liberties, or is he not mindful of the jeopardy we face?

Because he inherently does not believe he can judge motivation, especially at a distance, O'Reilly presumes the best about the president's motivations and just criticizes his policies. He questions Obama's judgment, but never his good faith. He lambasts the president's management style, but never his core beliefs.

But then he does not take the inevitable next step and call into sharper question the man's intellect and ability. After all, the alternative explanation -- that he's dumb -- lacks credibility. Barack Obama pulled off one of the major political miracles of our time. He swept into the presidency after only four years as a U.S. senator -- two, really, since he campaigned the other two. He upended the major political machine in the Democratic Party to get the nomination and outmaneuvered the Republican attack armies to win in November. And he swept into office a record number of Democratic acolytes. Such achievements do not stem from stupidity.

And, until he was brought up short in the 2010 elections, he was well on his way to transforming our nation. He had dug us into so large a pit of debt that new taxes seemed inevitable. His health care program had taken over one-sixth of the economy, and his big spending had increased the public sector share of our economy from 35 percent to 45 percent in just two years. The intellect behind these accomplishments must be staggering. But, if so, the mendacity must be, as well.

O'Reilly's critique of Obama is one of the sharpest and most well argued ever written. But, somehow, it still begs the basic question: Is Obama on our side after all?



The party of evil -- and stupid?

First, House Democrats re-elected Nancy Pelosi to be their minority leader after historic-level losses. It's like promoting Custer had he survived Little Big Horn. I'm sure there's a strategy in there somewhere.

Now, the far-left is pushing President Obama to go into unconstitutional overdrive abusing Article II executive power through use of executive orders and regulations to create policy that is the constitutional prerogative of Congress.

Did anyone tell the far left about this Tea Party thing, which is creating an unprecedented, renewed concentration on the limits of constitutional authority?

Coming after the left was relentless in claiming that President George W. Bush abused Article II executive power, the Obama administration's earlier aggrandizement of power, such as creating Government Motors, and more recently, the TSA's new invasive airport screening angering everyone -- and which even the ACLU opposes -- we can only conclude that the Democratic Party has a political death wish.

The old line is that Democrats are the party of evil, and Republicans the party of stupid. Democrats appear to be poised to overtake Republicans as the party of stupid.



America's Economy Can’t Afford More GM “Success” Stories

Celebrating the company’s Wednesday initial public offering, President Barack Obama last night called his government takeover of General Motors a “success story.” “American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM,” he said. Left unsaid is the fact that if the Obama Administration keeps selling their GM stock at the IPO price, the U.S. taxpayer will lose $10 billion on the deal, and that does not include the loans GM still owes, cash for clunkers, the Chevy Volt subsidies, or the millions of unseen costs the unprecedented intervention has inflicted on our economy.

No matter what you hear from the President’s defenders, always remember that it did not have to be this way. As late as April 30, GM’s bondholders were willing to take a 58 percent equity stake in the company in exchange for canceling their $27 billion in unsecured GM bonds. But under their deal, the federal government would have had no control over this new company, while the United Auto Workers union would have received a minority share of the company and the taxpayers would have been protected as a secured creditor. An even better outcome would have been for the federal government not to have supplied taxpayer cash at all and let all creditors take their lumps from an unbiased bankruptcy judge. But President Obama just couldn’t keep his government out of it.

So he publicly bullied the GM bondholders into accepting a much worse deal. Under the White House plan, the federal government was awarded a 60 percent stake of GM, the Canadian government got 12.5 percent, and GM’s unions got 17.5 percent while the bondholders walked away with just 10 percent. Defenders of the bailout say all this was worthwhile because the effects of a failure of GM would have been catastrophic. But that ignores both the deal the bondholders first offered the unions and the possibility of an expedited—but non-political—bankruptcy proceeding.

Before this week, taxpayers put $49.5 billion into GM and held a majority stake in the company. The IPO allowed the Treasury to sell about a quarter of this at $33 per share, raising $13.6 billion. That leaves taxpayers, post-IPO, with $35.9 billion “invested” and about a 37 percent stake in the company. At $33 per share, that leaves taxpayers still almost $10 billion in the hole. The shares would have to jump to $51 for taxpayers to break even, a price level considered by most analysts to be unlikely.

But perhaps the biggest danger of all is the prospect of the GM “success” being used to justify future bailouts of other firms. That would be the true catastrophe. As George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux wrote:
The chief economic case against the bailout was not that huge infusions of taxpayer funds and special exemptions from bankruptcy rules could not make G.M. and Chrysler profitable. Of course they could. Instead, the heart of the case against the bailout is that it saps the life-blood of entrepreneurial capitalism. The bailout reinforces the debilitating precedent of protecting firms deemed “too big to fail.” Capital and other resources are thus kept glued by politics to familiar lines of production, thus impeding entrepreneurial initiative that would have otherwise redeployed these resources into newer, more-dynamic, and more productive industries. The “success” of the bailout is all too easy to engineer and to see. The cost of the bailout—the industries, the jobs, and the outputs that are never created—is impossible to see, but nevertheless real.

The legal and political chicanery used by the White House to produce the GM “success” story is also exactly why the United States fell from the ranks of the economically “free,” as measured by The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom this year. From Fannie Mae to Freddie Mac, from GM to Chrysler, from AIG to Citibank, our government continues to subvert the established rule of law. This lawlessness creates uncertainty in the business environment, and it is a huge reason why our economy is not recovering as it should be.



Attacking “The Wealthy” is an attack on employers

Great way to create jobs!

All eyes are back on Congress as the lame duck session continues. One topic on everyone’s mind: extending the Bush tax cuts. In fact, the showdown over the cuts is likely to be one of the biggest policy fights of President Obama’s term to date.

For months, the Administration officials said they would only accept an extension for the middle class, and fully intended to raise rates on “the wealthy” (defined as those making over $250,000 per year). So who are “the wealthy,” exactly? In many cases, the “wealthy” are small businesses.

Given that many small businesses aren’t structured as formal corporations, their owners file as individual taxpayers – meaning they are subject to increases in the income tax rate. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s 2008 Statistics of Income Data, there are 30 million small business owners in the country – 22 million sole proprietors, and 8 million partnerships and S-corporations. Ryan Ellis, director of tax policy at Americans for Tax Reform, estimates that two-thirds of small business profits face tax rate hikes under the White House’s plan.

Those successful small businesses – the ones with profits – are the ones who hire workers. They are the ones who purchase goods and services from other companies. These are the people who will be hit with tax increases. In an increasingly interconnected economy, it is impossible to penalize the few without injuring many. Pillaging these businesses' profits will mean less expansion, fewer jobs, and diminished output and will decrease incentives to be successful.



Parker's Sad Envy of Sarah Palin

Embarrassingly for CNN host and liberal commentator Kathleen Parker, not only does she suffer from a severe case of SPDS (Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome), but -- like a smitten tween trying to emulate her favorite actress in the Twilight series -- obvious envy and jealousy have prompted her to try and steal Palin's look based on the leather jackets Parker has been sporting of late on the air.

It's been asked numerous times by now, but what is it about Palin that sends wealthy, pampered, and elitist women like Parker and Maureen Dowd over the edge? Could it be something as simple as guilt? As in Parker and Dowd know full-well that they were in part -- very much like the Barack Obama they adore -- handed their status and title by the dictates of political correctness and affirmative action. Is that the truth which so enrages Parker and Dowd? That they were picked as columnists and commentators, not fully because of qualifications and experience, but because some white male editors needed to fill the "woman" space?

Before the predictable liberal attacks descend upon me, read what Parker herself once said on this very subject: "The way the market is set up, there has to be a left, there has to be a right, there has to be a conservative, there has to be a liberal, there has to be a man, a woman, a black, an Asian..." Whoops. There have to be token hires.

Okay. We may be on to something here. Next, is it possible that Parker and Dowd have this irrational dislike of Palin because she earned her place in politics? That in the male dominated state and political system of Alaska, Palin out-worked and out-smarted the entrenched and oftentimes corrupt old boys club to make herself a mayor and finally the governor of the state. Is that also what so bothers Parker and Dowd? That neither a white male editor nor the corrosive tenets of political correctness handed the titles unearned to Palin?

From my conservative, knuckle-dragging perspective, Palin, Parker, and Dowd are three very attractive women. That said, my very attractive wife (it's true, but best I mention so I don't have to sleep on the sofa) tells me that no one is more critical of an attractive woman than other attractive women. If that bit of psycho-babble is true, then that might account for another piece of Ms. Parker's and Ms. Dowd's mysterious "We Hate Sarah Palin Because..." puzzle.

While Kathleen Parker, Maureen Dowd and other politically correct creations may indeed be having trouble with the realization that they were hired, promoted, or syndicated to fill a token slot, that's really no reason to take it out on Sarah Palin. And yet, here we are. Again, and again, and again. Sad.




Attention, Catholics: Given to ACORN lately? "You probably think you've never given money to ACORN and its allies. But if you're contributing to the annual November Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) appeal of the Catholic bishops, you're doing just that. This weekend, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asks Catholics across the United States to contribute to the CCHD. Until just two years ago, much of this money collected by the bishops' appeal was funneled directly to ACORN. Scandals have forced the bishops to stop funding ACORN directly, but they still fund other groups closely tied to ACORN - groups that have the same aims and that use the same methods to promote a left-wing, extremist agenda."

Rangel Off the Hook, Rule of Law Off the Table: "On November 16th, the House ethics panel declared Representative Charlie Rangel guilty of 11 out of 13 counts of corruption. Rangel used a rent-stabilized apartment for campaign activities, failed to pay taxes on rental property in the Dominican Republic, and improperly used congressional letterhead to raise funds for a City University center to be built in his name. These were not small infractions. So, what did Rangel get? On November 18th, the panel recommended the House sentence him — to a censure. What’s that? It’s a lot like a reprimand, but according to a Congressional Research Service report, also “will generally involve a verbal admonition" ... That’ll show him."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


19 November, 2010

Bristol Palin's Hollywood and the MSM

By Dick McDonald [dickmcdonald73@att.net]

Bristol Palin has made it to the finals of Dancing with the Stars. From a dancing standpoint she should have been eliminated weeks ago. It baffles many why she has lasted so long. The left has advanced the ludicrous theory that it is because she is the daughter of their hated Sarah. Others say it is because she is an underdog. Other say it is because she was treated so poorly during and after her teenage pregnancy.

I believe in another theory. I think American families are using her as a protest against Hollywood, the leftist, the media, liberals and their immense displeasure with all things Obama and Pelosi and Reid. I think it is a subtle rebuke of Letterman, Bill Maher, Tina Fey, John Stewart and their ilk. The “people” have very few avenues to voice their hate for the daily barrage of leftist propaganda. I think Bristol is the lucky recipient of their rage.

Comment received by email


No You Can't. Is genius a simple matter of hard work? Not a chance

What do you think of when you hear the word "genius"? Most of us, I suspect, picture a fellow in a white coat who squints into a microscope, twiddles a knob, and says, "Eureka! I've found the cure for cancer!" More often than not, though, scientific and creative discoveries are the result not of bolts of mental lightning but of long stretches of painfully hard slogging. This unromantic reality is the subject of "Sudden Genius?: The Gradual Path to Creative Breakthroughs," a new book in which the British biographer Andrew Robinson examines key moments in the lives of such giants as Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci. The conclusion that he draws from their experience is that creative genius is "the work of human grit, not the product of superhuman grace." Along the way, Mr. Robinson also takes time out to consider one of the most fashionable modern-day theories of genius—and finds it wanting.

The theory is known in England as "the 10-year rule" and in the U.S., where it has been popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, the author of "Outliers," as "the 10,000-hour rule." The premise is the same: To become successful at anything, you must spend 10 years working at it for 20 hours each week. Do so, however, and success is all but inevitable. You don't have to be a genius—in fact, there's no such thing.

K. Anders Ericsson, the psychologist who is widely credited with having formulated the 10,000-hour rule, says in "The Making of an Expert," a 2007 article summarizing his research, that "experts are always made, not born." He discounts the role played by innate talent, citing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as an example: "Nobody questions that Mozart's achievements were extraordinary. . . . What's often forgotten, however, is that his development was equally exceptional for his time. His musical tutelage started before he was four years old, and his father, also a skilled composer, was a famous music teacher and had written one of the first books on violin instruction. Like other world-class performers, Mozart was not born an expert—he became one."

It's easy to see why the Ericsson-Gladwell view of genius as a form of skill-based expertise has become so popular, for it meshes neatly with today's egalitarian notions of human potential. Moreover, there is much evidence for the validity—up to a point—of the 10,000-hour rule. My own favorite example is that of Charlie Parker, the father of bebop. As a teenager, he embarrassed himself by sitting in at Kansas City jam sessions before he had fully mastered the alto saxophone, thereby acquiring a citywide reputation for incompetence. In 1937 the humiliation overwhelmed him, and he took a summer job at a Missouri resort and began practicing in earnest for the first time in his life. Eight years later, he had metamorphosed into the glittering virtuoso who teamed up with Dizzy Gillespie to record "Ko-Ko," "Groovin' High" and "Salt Peanuts," thereby writing himself into the history of jazz.

The problem with the 10,000-hour rule is that many of its most ardent proponents are political ideologues who see the existence of genius as an affront to their vision of human equality, and will do anything to explain it away. They have a lot of explaining to do, starting with the case of Mozart. As Mr. Robinson points out, Nannerl, Mozart's older sister, was a gifted pianist who received the same intensive training as her better-known brother, yet she failed to develop as a composer. What stopped her? The simplest explanation is also the most persuasive one: He had something to say and she didn't. Or, to put it even more bluntly, he was a genius and she wasn't.

To his credit, Mr. Robinson unequivocally rejects what he calls "the anti-elitist Zeitgeist." At the same time, he believes that while "genius is not a myth," it is merely an enabling condition that can be brought to fruition only through hard and focused work. This seems to me to strike the right balance—yet it still fails to account for the impenetrable mystery that enshrouds such birds of paradise as Bobby Fischer, who started playing chess at the age of 6. Nine years later, he became the U.S. chess champion. His explanation? "All of a sudden I got good."

Anyone who thinks himself capable of similar achievements would do well to heed the tart counsel of H.L. Mencken: "Is it hot in the rolling-mill? Are the hours long? Is $1.15 a day not enough? Then escape is very easy. Simply throw up your job, spit on your hands, and write another 'Rosenkavalier.'" Even if you don't care for Richard Strauss's most popular opera, you get the idea. Disbelievers in genius are hereby invited to prove their point by sitting down and creating an equally great work of art. You have until 2020 to comply. Any takers?


Since anecdote often helps to make a point vivid, let me illustrate the points above by recounting my own own background and where it led. I have never WORKED at anything academic in my life, though I always enjoyed academic things. So it should be no surprise that for my first degree I got lower second class honours and for my Master's degree second class honours. My Ph.D. took four years to get marked owing to dissension over it. So I started out on a very mediocre footing in academe.

Yet I started out during my Ph.D. studies submitting articles to academic journals for publication. And my very first published paper was admired for its clarity and concision. In the 20 years after that I got 200+ papers published, with papers coming out at nearly the rate of one a fortnight in my more involved years. By comparison, most academics aim at one paper a year. So I make no claim to being a genius but I was certainly extremely good in operating at the cutting edge of knowledge. Yet at no time did I ever work at it. I just did what I enjoyed and found interesting.

And my colleagues were extremely jealous -- as publications are the marker of academic excellence. They would have LOVED to get papers out at the rate I did but they simply could not. Neither hard work nor anything else enabled that in them. I was born with that talent and they were not. They could work for a year over a paper and end up having it rejected, whereas I sometimes wrote a paper in one day and had it immediately accepted.

It's a very limited talent that I have. I am so clumsy that I quite often cut myself just opening a can of beans or such. Most things I cannot do but there is that one thing that I do well. My abilities and non-abilities are not the product of anything I ever did. They just ARE


In Canada You May Die Waiting For Care, But Enjoy This Web Site

By David Hogberg

The Commonwealth Fund has another one of its surveys showing how health care in the U.S. is so much worse when compared with so many other nations.

A debate on what health care system is best is well worth having. But it’s hard to take such a debate seriously when the senior vice president for the Commonwealth Fund, Cathy Schoen, makes remarks like this: "The U.S. is the only country in the study where having health insurance doesn’t guarantee you access to health care or financial protection when you’re sick. This is avoidable — other countries have designed their insurance systems to value access and limit out-of-pocket costs".

But isn’t Schoen right? After all, under the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, people with bone marrow disease get access to the drug Vidaza, people with bowel cancer get access to Avastin, people with kidney cancer get access to Afinitor, and children with bone cancer get access to Mepact.

Oh, wait. No, they don’t. That NICE Committee said those drugs weren’t worth the cost.

Perhaps Schoen has a better case with Canada. After all, Canuck Diane Gorsuch had access to heart surgery under Canada’s system. Oh, wrong again! Ms. Gorsuch in fact had her surgery canceled twice and was waiting for her third one went she suffered a fatal heart attack. On the upside, she’s no longer on the waiting list.

One thing that Canada does guarantee its citizens — in British Columbia — is access to a Web site to check on wait times for surgeries. You simply click on the body part, and a list of hospitals appears showing the average wait times. For example, 50% of the people who need open heart surgery receive it within 3.3 weeks, and 90% receive it within 10 weeks.

Kevin Falcon, minister of health services in British Columbia, is a proud bureaucrat: “We’ve been recognized by groups like the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Wait Times Alliance as leaders in Canada in reducing surgical waits for key priority areas. The new wait times Web site will build on our success, giving patients more control over their surgical options by letting them see and compare surgery wait times from every hospital across British Columbia.”

So British Columbians may have a long wait for surgery ... but they don’t have to wait long to find that out.

Of course, maybe it won’t be long before we have such Web sites in the U.S., with politicians pushing us closer to a Canadian health system and the likes of Schoen cheering them on.



"Give Us Gridlock"

By Howard Rich

While it lacks the panache of Patrick Henry's impassioned "give me liberty" cry (which the Virginian borrowed from Cato, incidentally), the reality is that Republicans looking for a modus operandi in Washington next year could do a lot worse than "give us gridlock." In fact gridlock is really all that they can promise voters — at least for now.

While reaping historic gains in the U.S. House, the Tea Party-fueled GOP wave that broke with such force across the country last week was necessarily limited in its breadth. After all, the names of President Barack Obama and nearly two-thirds of the U.S. Senate did not appear on the ballot. Also roughly the same number of Democratic and Republican Senate seats were up for grabs in 2010 — which limited GOP gains in the upper chamber (along with the fact that Democrats were defending seats in liberal strongholds like California, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Vermont).

Meanwhile in West Virginia — where a Republican hasn't been elected to a full-term in the U.S. Senate since 1942 — the victorious Democratic candidate won his race by running a TV ad in which he picked up a rifle and literally shot a hole through Obama's proposed "cap and trade" energy tax hike. "I'll take on Washington and this administration to get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets," Gov. Joe Manchin said in the ad, sounding more like a Tea Party protester than a twice-elected Democratic governor.

In 2012 the stakes will be much higher. Not only must Obama himself face the voters but 23 Democratic Senate seats must be defended — several of them in GOP-leaning states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Virginia. Having slammed the brakes on the socialist overreaching of Obama and his Congressional allies in 2010 — in the next election, limited government advocates must commence the long-overdue national U-turn back to fiscal sanity, individual liberty, free markets and constitutionally-limited government.

Michael Tanner — a senior fellow at the Cato Institute — has been an instrumental voice in dissecting the fiscal betrayal that led to the GOP's "power loss" in 2006 and 2008. In analyzing last week's elections, Tanner described Republicans as being like the "proverbial dog that caught the car, wondering what they should do next."

That may be overstating things a bit given the extent to which Democrats still control the levers of power in Washington, but Tanner does offer some sage advice for the incoming Republican House Majority. "Republicans won this time simply by not being Democrats," he writes. "But having even a share of governing power means that just opposing the worst of the Obama agenda won't be enough next time. Republicans need to develop and put forward a positive agenda. They need to do this even if they know that the bills will die in the Senate or be vetoed by the president."

Indeed. And while "gridlock" may be the only result of the current congressional balance, this should not dissuade Republicans from vigorously advancing an agenda based on what fueled their dramatic gains – a reawakening of America's freedom-loving, limited government conscience. What should be on Republicans' agenda?

Obviously, the low-hanging fruit includes a permanent extension of the 2001/03 tax cuts (in their entirety) and an immediate reversal of other tax increases that are scheduled to take effect on January 1. According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, preventing these tax hikes would pump as much as $6 trillion into the U.S. economy over the coming decade.

Of course it is not enough to simply stop the coming "tax tsunami," Republicans must also mount an effort to undo the damage that's been done by a decade of unsustainable government growth and two years of full-blown socialism. That means repealing every word of "Obamacare," scrapping so-called "Wall Street reform" and restoring welfare laws that were gutted when the Obama bureaucratic bailout was passed.

And that's just a start. In addition to slicing trillions off of the deficit by axing "Obamacare" and eliminating dozens of new government programs created by Obama's bailout and "financial reform" laws, the government-cutting scalpel must go even deeper into Washington's needless layers of bureaucracy.

More fundamentally, Washington itself must be redefined. A culture of entitlement must be dismantled brick-by-brick and replaced by a government that's focused on core competencies. A cesspool of corruption dominated by career politicians must be swept aside in favor of clean government run by term-limited citizen legislators.

And the conventional Washington wisdom which holds that "getting things done" means passing new legislation and regulations must be turned completely on its ear. In fact, until citizen leaders committed to freedom and free markets hold all of the levers of power in Washington, "give us gridlock." After all, doing nothing is infinitely preferable to jumping off of a cliff.




The great radio blockade against competition: "The Radio Broadcasting Preservation Act turns 10 next month. If Congress believed in truth in advertising, it would have called the law the Radio Broadcaster Preservation Act, since its effect was to protect existing stations from a new wave of competition. Though even that name would have been a stretch: The new competitors would all be noncommercial outlets transmitting at no more than 100 watts of power, so they weren’t likely to put anyone out of business.”

AK: AP calls US Senate race for RINO: "After a two-week count of write-in ballots, the Associated Press has called the Alaska Senate race for incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski, who defeated Tea Party challenger Joe Miller, will be the first write-in candidate to win election to the Senate since South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond in 1954.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


18 November, 2010

'Stop touching me!' Fury as airport security staff are caught on camera searching a crying three-year-old girl

The national outcry over intrusive body searches at American airports intensified today after it emerged security staff were caught on camera frisking a crying three-year-old girl. Mandy Simon is seen sobbing and pleading with staff at Chattanooga, Tennessee airport. She had become upset after having to have her teddy bear put through an X-ray machine and can be heard screaming: 'Stop touching me!'

The incident involving Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff was captured by her television reporter father Steven Simon on his mobile phone. Mandy was searched after she set the metal detector off at the airport twice. It is TSA policy to do a pat down search after the second time whatever the age of the passenger.

In Washington the TSA defended themselves on Tuesday. TSA chief John Pistole told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that passengers who refuse to go through a full-body scanner machine and reject a pat-down will not be allowed to board, even if they reject the in-depth security measures for religious reasons.

'That person is not going to get on an airplane,' Pistole said in response to a question from Republican Sen. John Ensign whether the TSA would provide exemptions for passengers whose religious beliefs do not allow them to go through a physically revealing body scan or be touched by screeners.

Civil rights groups contend the more intensive screening violates civil liberties including freedom of religion, the right to privacy and the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.

The issue is getting new attention after John Tyner posted an item online saying he was thrown out of the San Diego airport for rejecting a full-body scan and pat-down groin check and instead insisting on passing through a metal detector.

Pistole acknowledged the incident was drawing wide attention but told the committee an officer involved was 'very cool, calm, professional' in dealing with the passenger.

One civil liberty group is urging air travelers to take part in a national opt-out day the day before Thanksgiving, refusing to go through the full-body detectors and insisting that any pat-down they receive as a result take place in full view of other passengers.

Several senators asked Pistole to address public criticism of the body-imaging machines and more intrusive pat-downs the agency is using. Pistole said the tougher screening is necessary, and that the FDA has found the imaging machines to be safe. Pistole said his agency was working to address pilot and flight attendant concerns about the screening.

Elsewhere at least two passengers, including a 54-year-old Missouri City man, have complained about airport staff putting their hands down the front and rear of their pants - as invasive new screening measures are increasingly criticised. Thomas Mollman, 54, said he experienced the controversial 'pat down' when he was travelling through security at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Mr Mollman, who was wearing shorts at the time of the search, said he was subjected to a 'groping' by a TSA officer, and he believe his experience was tantamount to sexual molestation.

He said: '[The officer] put his hand in between my underwear and my skin and did a 360 all the way around, touching certain sesitive points in the back and the front.' He added: 'This was an assault. This was no different than a sexual assault.'

Under TSA rules, those who decline the scans must submit to pat-downs that include checks of the inside of travelers' thighs and buttocks.

Radio DJ Owen Stone went further in his discription of his experience at an airport at the weekend. The DJ, known as 'OhDoctah', spoke on the Alex Jones radion show, saying how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded: 'I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants.'

Mr Stone said he chose to conduct the search in public, for fear that the TSA worker would be even more aggressive in a private room. He said that the agent pulled out the waistband of his sweatpants before patting his backside and his crotch. He said that even the TSA agent was embarrassed at what he had been told to do by his superiors, apologising profusely throughout the examination. Mr Stone was explicit in describing the procedure, saying the TSA agent directly felt his testicles, penis and backside while his hand was inside his pants.

The backlash against the full-body scans has grown in recent weeks as the holiday travel season fast approaches.

San Diego's John Tyner filmed his now-famous security encouter with a cell phone, during which he told the TSA employee 'You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested.' He objects to full body scans for health concerns, had checked before leaving that the airport in San Diego did not have the machines, and dislikes 'huge invasion of privacy' they represent.

The scanners show a body's contours on a computer stationed in a private room removed from the security checkpoints. Those who decline must submit to pat-downs that include checks of the inside of travelers' thighs and buttocks. Tyner ended up ejected from the airport, threatened with a $10,000 fine and did not fly.

Tyner's health concerns are backed up by various scientists and doctors, despite TSA claims they are safe.

A group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) raised scanner health concerns in a letter sent to the White House Office of Science and Technology earlier this year. 'While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high,' they wrote.

Rep. John Mica, the Republican who will soon be chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is also speaking out against the TSA and reminding airports that they have a choice. Mica wrote to the heads of more than 150 airports nationwide suggesting they opt out of TSA screenings. 'When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees,' he wrote.

'As TSA has grown larger, more impersonal, and administratively top-heavy, I believe it is important that airports across the country consider utilizing the opt-out provision' and use private screening.

Critics also fear that the TSA's 'security theater' of checks, shoe removal, liquid inspection and pat downs has become dangerously ineffective while trying to project the feeling of safety. 'It's a big Kabuki dance,' Mica told the Washington Examiner.



Why is the TSA so stupid?

When they could do it the Israeli way

While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification. That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.

Almost one year after it was published, Cathal Kelly's Star article is more relevant than ever:

"…in a nutshell … "Israelification" [is] a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.

…All drivers [coming to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport] are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from?

"Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," [Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy] said.

Officers are looking for nervousness or other signs of "distress" — behavioural profiling. Sela rejects the argument that profiling is discriminatory.

"The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security," he said. "To us, it doesn't matter if he's black, white, young or old. It's just his behaviour. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on when I'm doing this?"

Once you've parked your car or gotten off your bus, you pass through the second and third security perimeters.

Armed guards outside the terminal are trained to observe passengers as they move toward the doors, again looking for odd behaviour.

…Five security layers down: you now finally arrive at the only one which Ben-Gurion Airport shares with Pearson — the body and hand-luggage check.
"But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said.

"First, it's fast — there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes. They're not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you," said Sela. "Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes ... and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys."

…[All this] doesn't begin to cover the off-site security net that failed so spectacularly in targeting would-be Flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — intelligence. In Israel, Sela said, a coordinated intelligence gathering operation produces a constantly evolving series of threat analyses and vulnerability studies.

"There is absolutely no intelligence and threat analysis done in Canada or the United States," Sela said. "Absolutely none."

…So. Eight years after 9/11, why are we still so reactive, so un-Israelified?

Working hard to dampen his outrage, Sela first blames our leaders, and then ourselves.

"We have a saying in Hebrew that it's much easier to look for a lost key under the light, than to look for the key where you actually lost it, because it's dark over there. That's exactly how (North American airport security officials) act," Sela said. "You can easily do what we do. You don't have to replace anything. You have to add just a little bit — technology, training. But you have to completely change the way you go about doing airport security. And that is something that the bureaucrats have a problem with. They are very well enclosed in their own concept."

And rather than fear, he suggests that outrage would be a far more powerful spur to provoking that change.



The case against Obama's proposed money-creation binge

An impressive group of right-leaning technocrats has signed an open letter to Ben Bernanke, objecting to his adoption of QE2. And it’s hard to disagree with what they have to say:

"We believe the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called “quantitative easing”) should be reconsidered and discontinued. We do not believe such a plan is necessary or advisable under current circumstances. The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment."

It seems clear that the G20 meeting in Seoul achieved absolutely nothing largely because of the unfortunate timing of Bernanke’s QE2 announcement. It overshadowed everything else, it put Obama on the defensive, and it made it impossible for the G20 to agree on anything. I don’t think that the FOMC anticipated the volume of the international criticism of U.S. policy, and that alone is reason to reconsider what they’re doing. After all, if a policy designed to increase confidence only serves to increase mistrust, it probably isn’t working.

QE isn’t necessary: there’s no immediate and obvious harm which will befall the U.S. if it’s discontinued. If it doesn’t increase employment or decrease unemployment, there’s certainly no reason to do it. And so far the evidence that QE has any effect on employment is slim at best. So yes, there’s a case to be made that QE should be discontinued. The letter continues:

"We subscribe to your statement in the Washington Post on November 4 that “the Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy’s problems on its own.” In this case, we think improvements in tax, spending and regulatory policies must take precedence in a national growth program, not further monetary stimulus."

This is surely true, and I doubt that anyone on the FOMC would disagree. Indeed, the Fed’s own response to the letter explicitly agrees with this point:

"The Chairman has also noted that the Federal Reserve does not believe it can solve the economy’s problems on its own. That will take time and the combined efforts of many parties, including the central bank, Congress, the administration, regulators, and the private sector."

But back to the letter:

"We disagree with the view that inflation needs to be pushed higher, and worry that another round of asset purchases, with interest rates still near zero over a year into the recovery, will distort financial markets and greatly complicate future Fed efforts to normalize monetary policy.



Dude, Where's My Obamacare Waiver?

Michelle Malkin

More than one million Americans have escaped the clutches of the Democrats' destructive federal health care law. Lucky them. Their employers and labor representatives wisely applied for Obamacare waivers earlier this fall and got out while the getting was good. Now, it's time for Congress to create a permanent escape hatch for the rest of us. Repeal is the ultimate waiver.

As you'll recall, President Obama promised repeatedly that if Americans liked their health insurance plan, they could keep it. "Nobody is talking about taking that away from you," the cajoler-in-chief assured. What he failed to communicate to low-wage and part-time workers across the country is that they could keep their plans -- only if their companies begged hard enough for exemptions from Obamacare's private insurance-killing regulations.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, at least 111 waivers have now been granted to companies, unions and other organizations of all sizes who offer affordable health insurance or prescription drug coverage with limited benefits. Obamacare architects sought to eliminate those low-cost plans under the guise of controlling insurer spending on executive salaries and marketing.

It's all about control. If central planners can't dictate what health benefits qualify as "good," what plans qualify as "affordable" and how health care dollars are best spent, then nobody can. The ultimate goal, of course: precipitating a massive shift from private to government insurance.

McDonald's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Jack in the Box are among the large, headline-garnering employers who received the temporary waivers. But perhaps the most politically noteworthy beneficiaries of the HHS waiver program: Big Labor.

The Service Employees Benefit Fund, which insures a total of 12,000 SEIU health care workers in upstate New York, secured its Obamacare exemption in October. The Local 25 SEIU Welfare Fund in Chicago also nabbed a waiver for 31,000 of its enrollees. SEIU, of course, was one of Obamacare's loudest and biggest spending proponents. The waivers come on top of the massive sweetheart deal that SEIU and other unions cut with the Obama administration to exempt them from the health care mandate's onerous "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health care plans until 2018.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


17 November, 2010

How Does the U.S. Health-Care System Stack Up when compared with other countries?

The article below is a good approach to the facts involved but omits for obvious reasons something important that only a very wicked person like me would mention: American healthcare statistical averages are greatly weighed down by the large black element in the population. For reasons which need not detain us here, blacks have markedly worse life expectancies and morbidities than white Americans. An accurate comparison between healthcare statistics from one nation to another would need to compare like with like -- i.e. American whites with whites elsewhere

Richard Cohen of the Washington Post... was offended by Boehner’s comment that the American health-care system is “the best health care system in the world,”

Life expectancy at birth is a particularly limited measure of health-care performance across nations, because it generally fails to account for such important variables as lifestyle, culture, income level, and educational achievement. Life expectancy at older ages, such as at 65, gives a clearer picture — though it does not eliminate the confounding distortion of non-medical factors — and using that measure, the apparent life expectancy gap between the U.S. and other comparable nations narrows. In fact, if one goes further out on the age curve to age 80 and over, one finds that the U.S. probably leads the developed world in life expectancy.

These differences highlight the U.S.’s focus on subsidizing health care for the elderly, for whom medical interventions are more frequent, costly, intensive, and arguably more beneficial, and to whose future health non-medical factors matter less on the margin. (Their likelihood of voting is also higher…) A study published earlier this month in Demography finds that at age 55 and beyond, Americans are sicker by far than the English, yet older Americans don’t die earlier than their British counterparts: Death rates were equivalent for 55-to-64-year-olds, and beyond age 65, Americans had a slightly greater probability of survival. Why is this so? Perhaps because the U.S. health-care system diagnoses and treats illnesses (particular among the elderly) more aggressively than does the National Health Service — though, of course, all that extra screening and more intensive treatment costs more money.

The next old chestnut of international health-care comparisons that Cohen serves up is infant mortality (deaths in the first year of life). Major problems with infant mortality statistics have been pointed out by others in the past and include differences in data definition and common health-care practices. For instance, American medical practice more commonly resuscitates very small premature and nonviable-birth babies; these babies later die but are treated as “live births” in U.S. statistics. Countries such as France and Japan are likely to classify such babies as stillbirths, which aren’t counted. Infant mortality rates are also affected by outside factors such as the mother’s behavior and lifestyle (e.g., obesity, tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, recreational drug use, and marital status).

Somewhat better measures of perinatal mortality (death in the first week, plus fetal deaths that meet or exceed the minimum gestation time or weigh standards) and of birthweight-specific mortality reveal much smaller differences between U.S. rates and those of comparable nations. And, of course, I should note that Richard Cohen, who is pro-choice, mourns for infants who die “before they can get a cupcake with a single candle” but not for aborted fetuses, which have a mortality rate of 100 percent.

Next up on Cohen’s checklist is “avoidable mortality,” which purportedly estimates deaths from causes that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care.

The most notable proponents of this measure are British researchers Ellen Nolte and C. Martin McKee, whose 2008 study (supported by the Commonwealth Fund, which probably never met a person they didn’t think deserved more comprehensive levels of health insurance) compared trends in health-care-amenable mortality in different nations.

They concluded that the United States started with a relatively high amenable-mortality level in 1997–98 and then saw unusually small reductions over the next five years, relative to comparable nations. But, once again, there is much less here than meets the eye. For one thing, the study failed to adjust the proportionate share of deaths within given populations due to amenable mortality for changes in overall national mortality rates — in other words, the share of all deaths occurring in a given time period that were due to amendable mortality.

Even Nolte and McKee acknowledge that death is typically the result of a complex chain of processes including social and economic factors, lifestyle factors, and preventive and curative health care, and they concede that this renders the underlying concept of amenable mortality somewhat less than definitive as evidence of differences in health-care-system effectiveness.

Other critics of the Nolte/McKee approach point out that their study essentially only demonstrates how many people in each country died from an arbitrary list of particular diseases and conditions. It does not determine if individuals received care or if they could have been saved by care they did not get.

Returning to Cohen — he alludes to another cliché of health-care mythology: the free-riding uninsured people who postpone treatment until they land in overcrowded and expensive emergency rooms. The statistical reality is that among the under-65 population, the uninsured are no more likely than the insured to visit the emergency department, nor are their visits more likely to be triaged as non-urgent. On the other hand, persons under 65 with Medicaid coverage are more likely to have multiple visits to the ED than those other two categories. Adults with Medicaid accounted for most of the increase in ED visits from 1997 to 2007.

In the 2006 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), it was easy for the reader to see in the ED summary that those covered by Medicaid visit the ED more often than the uninsured (82 visits per 100 persons, as opposed to 48 per 100 persons). But the 2007 version has a different format, and it is now much harder to find figures for the visit rates to the ED per 100 persons based on payment source/insurance coverage. (Any connection between a new HHS administration selling expanded Medicaid coverage and this change from longstanding report format must be purely coincidental.) By the way, did you know that the number of visits to emergency departments actually decreased between 2006 and 2007, from 119.2 million to 116.8 million? Yes, I must have missed reading that headline in the mainstream health media, too.

Thoughtful observers might consider the possibility that an increase in ED visits primarily reflects broader delivery problems (e.g., physicians who don’t do evening or weekend hours, or answer e-mail, provider resistance to low-cost clinic competition, etc.) rather than increases in the number of uninsured Americans. They might also wonder whether the new health-care law’s plan to increase coverage primarily through expansion of Medicaid will help or aggravate the problem of emergency-care overuse. But Richard Cohen only had enough space, or attention span, to use the uninsured-in-the-emergency-room image as a throwaway line.

Cohen’s paragraph on the use of Bethesda Naval Hospital by some anti-Obamacare members of Congress is another miss. Criticism of the special health-care perks that members of Congress can get for a $500-or-so annual fee may be justified to some extent. They essentially receive personalized, all-that-you-want primary care from official congressional physicians on call in the Capitol, and this ties them in to quick, no-fuss referrals to specialists and admissions at Bethesda Naval — and, despite some disavowals on the record, when members check in to Bethesda, they do receive VIP-like treatment.

However, this is not dissimilar to the executive health-care benefits enjoyed by top officials in private corporations or by government officials in countries with national health-care systems. (It’s good to be the king!) Moreover, the same deal could not be extended to all, under either a private market or a public program, without either breaking the bank or putting practically everyone first in line (and therefore right back in the middle). In any case, taking advantage of such benefits, arguably in part on the taxpayers’ dime, is nothing new in Congress, and sometimes is no guarantee of quality care.

Essentially, Richard Cohen’s column is an overwrought, highly politicized reaction to the periodically shallow rhetoric of some Republican officeholders who refer to U.S. health care as the best in the world — which, in some respects, U.S. health care is: for instance, in cancer detection and treatment and in a number of relatively sophisticated procedures for life-threatening illnesses. But that’s not the point. The real issues are (1) how to improve it, particularly in terms of more consistent quality and greater affordability; and (2) how to refrain from worsening it, along with the economy, through a harmful prescription (Obamacare). Some Republicans have focused more on #2 than #1, which is equally important but more complex, but correcting their emphasis is hardly the most important mission we face.

More here


Deficit Reduction baloney

By Thomas Sowell

Another deficit reduction commission has now made its recommendations. My own recommendation for dealing with deficits would include stopping the appointment of deficit reduction commissions.

It is not the amount of money that these commissions cost that is the issue. It is the escape hatch that they provide for big-spending politicians. Do you go ahead and spend the rent money and the food money-- and then ask somebody else to tell you how to escape the consequences?

If President Obama or the Congress were serious about keeping the deficit down, they could have had this commission's recommendations before they spent hundreds of billions of dollars, handing out goodies hither and yon to their pet constituencies.

I don't know why people agree to serve on these bipartisan commissions, which save the political hides of the big spenders after they have run up huge deficits. Back in the 1950s, there was a saying: "If you didn't invite me to the take-off, don't invite me to the crash landing."

Deficit commissions make it politically possible to spend money first and get somebody else to recommend raising taxes later. They are a virtual guarantee of never-ending increases in both spending and taxes.

Why provide political cover? Leave the big spenders out there naked in front of the voters! Either the elected officials will change their ways or the voters can change the officials they elect.

There is no special information or wisdom available to unelected deficit commissions that is not available to elected officials. Nor are they more far-seeing than politicians.

The biggest immediate tax issue is whether the Bush tax cuts will be extended for everyone. Here, as elsewhere in politics, sheer hogwash reigns supreme.

The first big cut in income taxes came in the 1920s, at the urging of Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon. He argued that a reduction of the tax rates would increase the tax revenues. What actually happened?

In 1920, when the top tax rate was 73 percent, for people making over $100,000 a year, the federal government collected just over $700 million in income taxes-- and 30 percent of that was paid by people making over $100,000. After a series of tax cuts brought the top rate down to 24 percent, the federal government collected more than a billion dollars in income tax revenue-- and people making over $100,000 a year now paid 65 percent of the taxes.

How could that be? The answer is simple: People behave differently when tax rates are high as compared to when they are low. With low tax rates, they take their money out of tax shelters and put it to work in the economy, benefitting themselves, the economy and government, which collects more money in taxes because incomes rise.

High tax rates which very few people are actually paying, because of tax shelters, do not bring in as much revenue as lower tax rates that people are paying. It was much the same story after tax cuts during the Kennedy administration, the Reagan administration and the Bush Administration.



An old fallacy pops up again

Economist DON BOUDREAUX has been writing to the New York Times again:

Complaining about America’s trade deficit, Robert Lighthizer claims that foreign investments in the U.S. necessarily “will leave our children dependent on foreign decision makers” (“Throwing Free Trade Overboard,” Nov. 13). What jingoistic jabber!

When, for example, Ikea builds a store in Milwaukee, America’s trade deficit rises. But this investment in America by foreigners doesn’t make our children more “dependent on foreign decision makers.” Ikea cannot force Americans to shop or to work at Ikea; it must compete against other retailers and employers. Ikea has the same power over Americans and over “our children” as does Levitz and La-Z-Boy – which is to say, zilch.

In addition, Americans who supply the land and labor Ikea employs to build this store can use their proceeds to start their own firms or to invest in existing American businesses. To the extent that they do so, not only are both America’s trade deficit and capital stock thereby increased, but whatever decision-making ‘power’ Ikea gains in the U.S. by opening a store here is offset by the additional decision-making ‘power’ and prosperity Americans gain because Ikea’s operations in the U.S. enabled these Americans to make investments that would otherwise have not been undertaken.




Rangel: Guilty: "Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) was found guilty Tuesday of breaking 11 separate congressional rules related to his personal finances and fundraising efforts for a New York college. The eight-lawmaker subcommittee that handled the trial — which reached a unanimous verdict on 10 of the counts — now sends the case to the full ethics committee for the equivalent of sentencing.”

The (real) Party of No : "Liberal pundits called Republicans the ‘party of no’ for their opposition to Obamacare, Cap and Trade, etc. I think it’s good to say ‘no’ to bad ideas. Congressman Ron Paul has been right to make a career of that. I wish Republicans supported him years ago. Now that Obama’s fiscal commission has come up with some reasonably good ideas, Ross Douthat points out that the Dems have become the ‘Party of No,’ even to the point of defending corporate welfare …”

GOP senator deals setback to nuclear treaty: "An agreement between the United States and Russia to slash their nuclear arsenals was in danger of collapse Tuesday after an influential Republican senator said it should not be voted on this year. With a terse statement, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., dealt a major setback to President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve ties with Russia and to his broader strategy for reducing nuclear arms worldwide.”

High speed rail that isn't: "On Oct. 28, the Department of Transportation gave out $2.4 billion in grants to high-speed rail projects. This is on top of the $8 billion that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the "stimulus" package. If you think this money will usher in a new era of European-style trains, think again. Most of these projects are simply for slight upgrades to the network... in all of their cheerleading, high-speed passenger rail proponents never mention what is perhaps the most damning fact about these projects. Most are not even considered high-speed by international standards."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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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)


16 November, 2010

The Liberal Mind Rejects Sad Facts

Dennis Prager

I recently devoted my biweekly column in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles to analyzing why most Jews believe that people are basically good despite the fact that this belief is neither rational nor Jewish. In a lifetime of teaching and writing on Judaism, I have never encountered a single normative statement in 3,000 years of Jewish writing that asserted that man is basically good.

As I expected, the reaction -- apparently all from Jewish liberals -- was entirely negative. Almost an entire page of the journal was devoted to letters attacking me. One of the seven letters -- from a prominent Hollywood screenwriter -- bordered on hysteria.

The question is, why? Why would liberals in general, and Jewish liberals in particular -- given the Jews' singularly horrific history at the hands of other human beings -- react so strongly against someone who wrote that people are not basically good?

In my original article, I offered one explanation: Since the Enlightenment, the secular world has had to believe in man (or "humanity") because if you don't believe in God and you don't believe in humanity, you will despair.

But one critic opened my eyes to an even deeper reason most liberals do not acknowledge that people are not basically good. This is what he wrote: "What a sad world it would be if we all believed as Dennis Prager that mankind is inherently evil."

And this is what I responded: "I did not write that man is inherently evil. I wrote that he is not basically good. And, yes, that does make the world sad. So do disease, earthquakes, death and all the unjust suffering in the world. But sad facts remain facts." "A distinguishing characteristic of liberals and leftists," I concluded, "is their aversion to acknowledging sad facts."

Years ago, a woman writer, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, first made me aware of this. She wrote about liberals rejecting many facts about male and female natures. She used the French expression "les faits de la vie" -- the facts of life. The left, she wrote, rejects les faits de la vie. I believe this is so for two reasons.

First, as with my correspondent above, people on the left tend to be unwilling to accept the sadness and pain that recognition of such facts creates. Leftism is often predicated on avoiding pain. That is a major reason why the left dislikes capitalism and free markets. Free markets create winners and losers, and the left does not like the fact that some people lose and some win.

This antipathy to having losers expresses itself on the micro level as well. Many liberals oppose children playing in competitive sports because they can lose -- sometimes by a big score. That is why many schools now emphasize "cooperation instead of competition." They do not want children experiencing the pain of losing, let alone losing by many points. That is also why liberals introduced the absurd idea of giving sports trophies to all kids who play, win or lose. God forbid that only the winners receive trophies; the kids who didn't win may experience pain.

Second, the left lives by theories and dogmas into which the facts of life must fit. That is why left-wing ideas are usually wishful thinking.

Though either explanation suffices, the two explanations reinforce each other. Here are four descriptive statements rejected by the left for these two mutually reinforcing reasons.

1. People are not basically good.

Leftists tend to reject this because a) It is too painful to accept, and b) it undermines the leftist dogma that people do bad because of outside forces -- poverty, capitalism, racism, etc.

2. Men and women are inherently different.

Leftists have rejected this idea because some of the differences are too emotionally upsetting to accept. Men are variety-driven by nature? Too upsetting. Women may have less yearning for, and ability in, math and engineering? Only a sexist like former Harvard president Lawrence Summers would say such a thing. Moreover, the belief that men and women are inherently different violates the left's foundational principle of equality. Many liberals admit that they reject talk of male-female differences because it can easily lead to gender inequality.

3. Black males disproportionately commit violent crime in America.

Leftist reactions to this truly painful fact are to label one who notes it a racist and to decry American society as racist because there are more black males in prison than in college.

4. The United Nations is a moral wasteland.

Since before the U.N.'s founding in 1945, liberals placed much of their hope for a peaceful world in the United Nations. That the U.N. has turned out to be an abettor more than a preventer of violence is a fact that the left finds too painful to acknowledge. And it violates the left-wing belief that nationalism is evil and internationalism is the solution.

It is generally believed that as people grow older, they reject much of the liberalism they believed in when they were young. This is true, and one reason is relevant here: As we get older, we tend to make peace with painful faits de la vie.



Big government goes hand in hand with big spending -- and both are now America's big problems

Like the Democrats' health care "reform" measure, the Debt Commission's initial recommendations, which will be followed by the full report Dec. 1 contains some good ideas, but the overall template remains flawed because it fails to address the main problem, which is government that encroaches on individual liberty, personal responsibility and living within one's means.

Federal spending now costs nearly $30,000 per household, according to Brian Riedl of The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org). That's because, he writes, just "in the past three years, the budget has leapt by $727 billion and now stands at $3.5 trillion." And that's without the cost of Obamacare and the burden to Social Security and Medicare retiring baby boomers will add.

The Debt Commission doesn't touch Obamacare, which, says Heritage analyst Alison Acosta Fraser, will add "at least $2.5 trillion over its first real decade of implementation, when both revenue and benefit payouts are included."

The Debt Commission summary assumes a role for government the Founders never intended it to have. Where is the reminder of Thomas Paine's dictum, "The government is best which governs least," or this from Thomas Jefferson: "...the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." Jefferson also said the "fore horse" of a society's decline is public debt: "Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."

Are we to pay attention and learn from the likes of Paine and Jefferson only when their thoughts affirm what we wish to do in modern times, or were these men philosophers whose ideas are sound for all time?

There is nothing in this preliminary report about the joy of liberty and the responsibility of individuals to first care for themselves, turning to government when all else has failed rather than at the start, which can only lead to dependency and subsidized failure.

Every government agency and program should be periodically re-authorized. All spending should be justified before congressional committees responsible for oversight and reduced, or ended, if it fails to fulfill its purpose. The federal workforce must be reduced as the British coalition government has proposed doing in the UK. Individuals who make wise decisions, care for themselves and refuse Social Security and Medicare (which should be means-tested) ought to receive tax breaks. The government beast must be put on a diet.

Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican, is on to something with a bill he has introduced (H.R. 4946). He wants to "put teeth back in the 10th Amendment." Cole argues "So much of the government overreach we've seen the past few years could be prevented just by enforcing the constitutional protections we already have." His bill -- the 10th Amendment Regulatory Reform Act -- would give "special standing to certain, specific state executive and legislative leaders that would allow them to challenge in federal court regulations issued by federal administrative agencies attempting to implement new federal laws or presidential executive orders."

That's a start, but it should be accompanied by history's lessons, which have much to teach us about debt. Playwright Henrik Ibsen said: "There can be no freedom or beauty about a home life that depends on borrowing and debt." That also applies to countries.



Economic and moral conservatives converging?

There was always a degree of alliance there but the Tea Partiers reveal that it is now very strong

Pat Buchanan

Other than being the highest-profile Republican victims of Tea Party candidates, what do Lisa Murkowski, Mike Castle, Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter have in common?

Other than being tea party insurgents who routed establishment Republicans in high-profile primaries, what do Joe Miller, Marco Rubio, Christine O'Donnell, Pat Toomey, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Ken Buck in Colorado and Mike Lee in Utah have in common?

The answer, writes Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner, is that all the former are pro-choice on abortion, all the latter pro-life.

Tea Party types and pro-life conservatives seem to be twins separated at birth. Carney continues: "Almost without fail the strongest advocates of limited government in Congress are pro-life and vice versa. Think of (Jim) DeMint and (Tom) Coburn in the Senate and Ron Paul and Jeff Flake in the House. They top the scorecards of the National Taxpayers' Union and also have perfect scores from National Right to Life."

Carney's point: While all Tea Party insurgents and Tea Party-backed candidates seemed to agree on the economic issues -- deficits, debt, taxes, Obamacare -- they also seem united on other issues. Looking at the down-ballot battles in 2010, being pro-life is just one of them.

Three Iowa Supreme Court judges who ruled that the state constitution requires recognition of same-sex marriages were denied retention, and Gov. Terry Branstad campaigned for giving Iowans a referendum to decide if they wish to outlaw it.

Tea Party types and Iowa conservatives were not only opposed to the idea of men marrying men, they detest the idea of judicial dictatorship.

In Arizona, Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action initiative, which prohibits race, gender and ethnic preferences, won with 60 percent of the vote. Michigan, California and Washington have already adopted the Connerly amendment.

Tea Partiers also united to back the Arizona law that requires cops to determine the immigration status of any whom, in a routine police encounter, they suspect of being an illegal alien.

Passage of the law last April brought crazed comparisons with Nazi Germany. Opponents tended to go mute, however, when they learned that 70 percent of America stood with Arizona. GOP candidates for governor subsequently ran on pledges to adopt similar statutes.

In Oklahoma, a proposition to prohibit use of Shariah law in state courts passed with 70 percent. Shariah law is the basis of law in many Muslim countries, as the Bible was once the basis of much law in America.

What do these overlooked stories of Election Day 2010 teach?

Far more than the Beltway Right, the Tea Party is in tune with the heart of America -- not only on taxes, spending and Obamacare, but on social, cultural and moral issues. National Republicans may stay out of these bloody battles, but they hold great potential for bringing out voters and driving wedges through Obama's national base.

Consider. Establishment Republicans recoil from the issue of gay marriage. But, in 2008, while McCain was winning 5 percent of the African-American vote in California, blacks in California, urged on by pastors and preachers, voted 70 percent to outlaw same-sex marriage.

The pro-life position is also a far more popular cause among black and Hispanic Americans than is the Republican Party.

Oklahoma's prohibition against any use of Shariah law should be seen as a cry from the heart of America that we are and wish to remain a Western nation, a predominantly Christian country, and we wish to be ruled by our Constitution and laws enacted pursuant to it.

The national outpouring of support for Arizona after that state came under attack for its law requiring suspected illegal aliens to show ID demonstrates how explosive the immigration-amnesty issue is. Republicans should not run away from it, for our elites are further out of touch with the people on this issue than any other.

As for the Connerly amendment abolishing affirmative action, if the GOP wishes to win in 2012, the party will put this measure on every possible state ballot, especially crucial states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

What this panoply of issues testifies to is the true identity of the Tea Party. These folks are not single-issue voters, and they are not motivated by pocketbook issues alone. They have seen the America they grew up in virtually vanish. Look at how far we have traveled.

We seem no longer able to balance our budgets, win our wars or secure our borders. Compared to what our culture was, it is a running sewer today. Working-class wages and middle-class incomes seem to have been stagnant for decades. Factories and jobs continue to hemorrhage to Asia. Company towns become ghost towns. Made in China has replaced Made in America. And as one drives through cities and suburbs, one encounters vast concentrations of people who speak some language other than our own.

The Tea Party people are rising up to take their country back, and that's why they're not going away.




Tea party senators stare down McConnell on earmark ban: "In a surprise reversal, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky announced today that he will join House GOP leaders in voting to ban ‘earmarks’ — member projects often criticized as pork barrel spending — thus avoiding an early clash with tea party freshmen committed to ending the practice. The issue was seen as a litmus test of how far the Republican leadership would go to satisfy freshmen lawmakers and the tea party movement that propelled some of them to victory. In the past, Senate Republicans have defended their right to use earmarks, but the process has been a primary tea party complaint.”

Tax-cut extension deal takes shape on Hill: "The White House and Republicans in Congress edged ever closer to a deal Sunday on at least a temporary extension of all of the George W. Bush-era tax breaks that are due to expire at the end of the year. White House senior political adviser David Axelrod and Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who has emerged as a major power broker for the chamber's ascendant conservative bloc, signaled in appearances on Sunday talk shows a willingness to cut a deal in the lame-duck session of Congress that convenes Monday. The two sides, however, remain well short of an agreement. With taxpayers facing major increases in their tax bills after Jan. 1, congressional Republicans have pressed for a permanent extension of all the tax cuts. Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats, citing what they say is the negative effects the cuts will have on deficits, want to preserve "middle-class" tax breaks while ending them for wealthier Americans."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


15 November, 2010

Destructive Democrat hostility to business

The Democrats running things the past two years proved they have no clue about the business of business. In their world, the real world of the private economy is an abstraction, a political figment.

Exhibit A: Along the road to ObamaCare, the party's planners inserted into the bill the now- famous 1099 provision, requiring businesses to do an IRS report for any transaction over $600 annually. No member of Congress, White House staffer or party flunky thought to say, "Oh, wow, this 1099 requirement will crush people running their own businesses. Are we sure we want to do this?" Yes, and that 1099 fiasco is a metaphor now for the modern Democratic Party.

Exhibit B: The Obama ban on offshore oil drilling. It floated out of the White House, Energy Department and EPA without anyone thinking: "Whoa, this is going to kill hundreds of working-class guys and their families."

In recent days, both President Obama and Speaker-to-go Nancy Pelosi have said that the message of the voters in the election was that they wanted jobs. To be sure.

President Coolidge was more eloquent on this truth. The American people "are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. The great majority of people will always find these are moving impulses of our life."

But much of what this Democratic Congress did, or tried to do, was like throwing Molotov cocktails at business. It began in early 2009 with the cap-and-trade climate bill. The country was going to have to chow down its provisions no matter how many jobs got lost in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan and other coal-using states. The bill portended so much damage to businesses in these states that some of the Senate's most liberal members had to beg off supporting it.

At his news conference last week, Mr. Obama still wouldn't rule out the EPA's impending "carbon finding" to regulate emissions, another Freddy Krueger nightmare for the average business.

The air is filling now with suggestions of what the Democrats and Mr. Obama need to do. Always mentioned is that the president needs to repair his bad relations with "business." But this is noted as just one item on the post-election to-do list: adjust the message, go to church more, reconnect with business, put up the storm windows.

The party's decoupling from vast swaths of America at work didn't start with Barack Obama. Al Gore and John Kerry ran hard against the depredations of the insurance, pharmaceutical and oil industries. The post-modern Democrats, starting at the top, convey the impression that the average company consists entirely of three guys in spats, silk vests and top hats, like the little character on the Monopoly cards, who deserve to be indicted or monitored.

And so any argument that the top marginal tax rate hits sole proprietorships and the like blows right by them. The "rich" gotta pay. They do pay, stop hiring and then they send money to American Crossroads to unelect Democrats.

As to the future, look at a map done by the National Conference of State Legislatures showing state-level party control now. The southeastern states, one of the most economically vibrant regions of the country, is wholly red. North Carolina has its first Republican senate since 1870. What's still blue on this map suggests the Democratic Party is collapsing into mostly urban, public sector redoubts—Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago.

One might argue that what the post-November 2010 Democrats need is their own tea party reform movement. Problem is, they just had their version—the Soros-MoveOn-Daily Kos activists who threw over the Clintons and put the party firmly in the hands of the progressive House chairmen who stopped thinking about the private sector 35 years ago.



Soros, the damaged man

J.R. Dunn

It will come as no surprise that Glenn Beck's broadcast biography of George Soros last week has triggered a vast brawl concerning his interpretation and treatment of the topic.

The uproar revolves around Beck's portrayal of Soros' role in the Holocaust. Beck repeats the widely-known story concerning Soros' involvement in handing deportation orders to Jewish families on behalf of the Nazis. He emphasizes that Soros was only fourteen at the time, and does not condemn the activity, asserting that the matter remains "between Soros and God".

I happen to have researched the episode in depth for my upcoming book Death by Liberalism, and I can state here that Beck's narrative is completely accurate. His treatment of it is commendable, in particular his statement that no one has a right to judge the efforts of Jews to survive in Nazi-occupied Europe.

All the same, the segment has triggered a firestorm among the usual suspects, who appear to view Soros as sharing in Obama's divine status. In a hagiographic fresco dealing with the Advent of the One, the Soros halo would only be slightly smaller than that of Obama himself. In this regard, he must be defended at all costs.

First off -- as stated above, there's no question that the incident occurred. In fact, there's considerably more to it. Soros also assisted in the collection of Jewish chattels -- clothing, furniture, and the like -- for shipment to Germany. We have this on the highest authority, from an eyewitness of unimpeachable status: Soros himself. During a 1998 60 Minutes interview, Soros admitted to the entire story without hesitation, He also stated that he felt no guilt, adding that the situation cannot be understood be anyone who was not there. Then, in what might be called typical Soros style, he concludes by comparing his cooperation with the Nazis with his later activities in the markets.

As to the import of the episode -- many of the comments draw very close to Holocaust denial. How do we know, they ask, that the Jews in question were being sent to the death camps? They could have been going anywhere "to Hawaii", one thoughtful commentator states.

The truth is simple: every Jew deported from the European ghettos went directly to the camps. Most of them were gassed immediately and then -- as the survivors put it -- went up the chimneys. There is no denying this, or eliding it, or making it mean anything else other than what it is.

On to the claim that Beck is slandering Soros as a Nazi. This type of smear is not uncommon, and is usually seen headed from the left in a rightward direction, under the assumption that both conservatism and Nazism are "right-wing" doctrines. The Prescott Bush libel is instructive here. Apparently the bank on whose board Bush sat loaned money to Nazi Germany during the 1930s. This is enough for him, his son, and his grandson to be damned from here to eternity as Nazi collaborators of the foulest type, according to the American left.

In truth, Bush was in no way involved in the day-to-day operations of the bank. He may not have been aware of the loan, he may not have voted on them, he may well not have been asked his opinion. Many international banks loaned money to Germany during that period. We can judge none of them by hindsight. In the early to mid 30s, Hitler was considered to be a strongman much like Mussolini or Ataturk, a man whose stern policies and harsh ways were required by the needs of the moment. His attacks on Jews were dismissed as crowd-pleasing rhetoric. Such lofty figures as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rexford Tugwell, Adolf Berle, Evelyn Waugh, and Wyndham Lewis all expressed admiration for Hitler and Nazism in the early 1930s. Even Winston Churchill, Hitler's deadliest enemy, wrote that if Britain was ever caught in the same predicament as Germany, he hoped that a figure as strong as Hitler would appear to lead her out of it.

That attitude began to fade with Hitler's intervention in Spain in 1936, and vanished entirely when 1938's Kristallnacht fully revealed his monstrous intentions. Hitler's previous admirers turned away in horror, leaving only mad, capering Ezra Pound to sing his glories.

That's how such slurs work -- a nugget of fact wrapped in endless layers of distortion and innuendo. That is not what Beck is involved in. As we've seen, he retails the story straightforwardly, with no embellishment or speculation. He withholds judgment on grounds of moral discretion, and implicitly encourages others to do the same.

Then why mention the story at all? Because it's necessary. An honest portrayal of George Soros would be incomplete without it. There's an aspect of Soros' behavior that has gone unexamined and virtually unmentioned: the complete disconnect between his activities as a businessman and his ambitions as a philanthropist. Soros has, at the very least, skirted financial regulations in most or all of the countries in which he has operated. He has done worse in France, Malaya, and Thailand -- the French fined him millions, while the Southeast Asian states are reportedly very interested in speaking to him in private. He has caused enormous misery through his currency manipulations. He evidently feels no guilt concerning these matters either.

Yet this same man professes to be the greatest living champion of the "open society", the bearer of the legacy of Karl Popper (one of the few liberty-loving political philosophers of the last century), and the architect of a true people's democracy, working together with his protégé, Barack Obama.

There's something terribly wrong here. This is not the way a benefactor of humanity actually behaves. It's as if Gandhi financed his independence movement through a network of casinos, or Martin Luther King sat on the councils of Murder Incorporated. What can the explanation be?

I believe that it can be found in Budapest in 1944. The Holocaust left deep and lasting scars on all who survived it, scars that often acted to cripple their psyches for decades afterward, if not for their entire lifetimes.

It's highly unlikely that George Soros is an exception. Did the brutalization of those days find a response in buccaneer raids on the financial markets? Did the memories of what he was forced to do transform him into one of those creatures who "loves humanity and hates human beings"? Is he now little more than a shattered clockwork figure attempting in his twilight years to "do good" without the vaguest notion of what such a concept might entail?

I think the argument could be made. I await Glenn Beck's interpretation with interest. One thing we can be sure of: the left will not be any happier about it than they are with what they've already heard.



Obama's Dirty Health Care Secret

One of the dirty little secrets of Obama’s health “care” debacle is that Medicare reimbursement rates are set to go down for all health care providers effective December 1. This means that the medical professionals to whom you trust your health, and, indeed, your very life, are having a 20-30 percent pay cut forced upon them in less than a month. Imagine, say, the autoworkers--or the teachers’ unions--having to take such a pay cut. The indignant outrage would be swift and immediate. The simple fact is that doctors, whose training and wisdom often stand between us and pain or death, are more important than autoworkers or even teachers.

Doctor's rates are going down to pay for ObamaCare. ObamaCare seeks to nationalize health care by placing so many restrictions and unfunded mandates on private insurance companies that they will go out of business. Government will then step in to “manage” Medicare for the entire population, rather than only the elderly. The government monopoly on health care will most surely go just about as well as the monopoly on the post office or public education. Medicare, even if kept only for the elderly population, is going bankrupt. The only question is when, not if, Medicare (along with Social Security) will run out of money.

So how is the federal government, who has been busy creating a national deficit stretching into the trillions of dollars, supposed to sustain a program for the entire population that can’t even sustain for the elderly? Obama’s supporters glaze over and mumble, “Well, it's Medicare. It cannot go away. So stop talking about it."

The psychological process required for a catastrophe to mentally "settle in" usually comes in stages. A catastrophe such as the future implosion of entitlement benefits in America will come in stages. The first stage is happening on December 1: The decrease in reimbursement rates for doctors under Medicare. Congress might reverse the fee reductions for another month or so, but then what? The rate cuts in the legislation prove that members of both parties are aware that the government cannot continue to finance Medicare as we know it--even before the mandates imposed by ObamaCare go into full effect when government becomes the primary payer for all medical care.

Perhaps you think doctors make "too much." Specialists working outside the third-party reimbursement system (plastic surgeons, for example) can do fairly well, but general practitioners who accept Medicare do not earn as much as the liberals would like you to think. So, by what formula do you determine the right amount? Do you trust the private marketplace to set the prices by negotiation between individuals and their doctors? Or do you trust politicians in Washington, DC to determine a "one size fits all" price? If you actually believe the latter, remember that "you get what you pay for." If you think doctors, who spent thousands upon thousands for their training, are going to work twice as hard for 30 percent less pay (at least), then you had better think again. Would you? If not, then why would a doctor?

Our only hope for maintaining the quality and availability of competent doctors is the possibility that ObamaCare will be torn apart by the new Congress, or struck down by the Supreme Court before it does too much damage. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that Medicare, not to mention the entire federal government, is long since bankrupt and wallowing in ever-increasing debt. By pumping money into the financial system, the Federal Reserve is risking the greatest run of hyperinflation since the Weimar Republic of Germany, the failed government that gave rise to Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. And bigger problems are looming. The massive course reversals required of our government, and needed by the entitlement-addicted American people, are much bigger than the Tea Party or anything stated in the recent election campaigns.

Don't just feel sorry for your doctors, who will be paying for our “free” health care. Feel even sorrier for yourself—whether you’re currently a patient, or might need medical care in the future. Our lives will be in the hands of doctors who have been told that they don't matter and that they are employees of the state. Their incentive will no longer be to provide excellent care. Their incentive will be to simply clock in, clock out, go through the motions and retire as soon as the government pension kicks in. Not all that different from many existing government employees.

The solution? Restore the free market, where doctors who work harder will earn more for their skill and dedication. Patients will once again be consumers who choose from competing practitioners for the best care possible. The government must get out of the way, and let people purchase their own health care in the open market--no different than how we buy computers, cars, airplane flights, food and everything else produced and delivered by people who compete for your dollar.

The transition to the free market might be uncomfortable at first. But what's the alternative? If doctors work for the government, then medical care will no longer be a profitable profession. The best and the brightest will no longer be compensated for their efforts. As with anything the government touches, the mediocre will thrive, but the brilliant will not. Innovation (the cornerstone of our medical industry) will end. Oh, yes, medical care "for all" will exist on paper. But it won't be worth the paper it's printed on.


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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


14 November, 2010

The civilizing effects of capitalism

Economic historian Deirdre McCloskey has just published the second volume of her multivolume look at the history of capitalism and its relationship to the “bourgeois virtues.” What she means by the latter are the basic virtues of the middle class, from prudence to love to justice. What makes this approach interesting is that critics of capitalism have long suggested that there were very few virtues associated with the bourgeoisie, mostly because capitalism itself requires and encourages what they saw as the unvirtuous behavior related to greed and self-interest.

In the first volume McCloskey convincingly argues that market relationships civilize us and lead us to treat one another, especially strangers, with openness and kindness, which was previously unknown in history. In the words of economic anthropologist Paul Seabright, markets turn strangers into “honorary kin.”

Markets do this because they encourage us to treat others as equals in that we approach them, especially strangers, most often as traders. They have rights to their property, we have rights to ours, and those rights limit the ways we can interact. But they leave exchange available as a way to get the things we want. The mutuality and reciprocity of exchange both require and encourage us to treat one another humanely, with justice, and as equals. In other words, markets lead us to treat strangers as fully human.

Contrast this with the way the State operates. Think about your interactions with agents of the government. By the very nature of what they do and your relationship to it, that interaction can never be one of equals. All such interactions are based on inequalities in power not reciprocity. The agent of the State ultimately has power over you and can use it to bend your actions to his or her will. This is very different from the reciprocity and humanity of the marketplace. From the IRS to the TSA to the police to the border patrol, the essence of the State’s relationship with you is domination and hegemony — not equality, contract, and exchange.

Compare and Contrast

To see this vividly, consider what happened to a colleague of mine last week. He is not a U.S. citizen but has the legal right to live and work in the country. He had to travel across the Canadian border to drop a relative at the airport. Crossing into Canada and again on his return he was subject to lengthy harassment by border guards of both countries, including verbal intimidation, scattering of his citizenship papers, and various threats to bar him from returning to the United States because they couldn’t figure out his status and his paperwork. He described the interaction as “humiliating.” He could feel the power of the State.

Compare that to the other interesting part of his trip. His car broke down in Canada, requiring it to be towed to a local Volvo dealer in a sparsely populated area. Not only did the Canadian Automobile Association respond quickly and politely to his call, but its agent also gladly towed him to a Volvo dealer, presumably one the agent was familiar with. However, my colleague was concerned about being taken advantage of. After all, information differences are common in such situations, opening the possibility of opportunistic behavior; this was made even worse by the likelihood he’d never be back to that dealer: Reputation wasn’t an issue. But despite this clear opportunity, the dealership treated him honestly, completing the repair in about an hour at a very reasonable price.

More interesting is that my colleague struck up a conversation with the service manager while he waited, comparing stories about their young children and extended families. My colleague said that when he left he felt like he had made a friend. That’s a far cry from what he felt after both stops at the border.

Sure the Volvo dealer wanted the business, but faced with a perfect opportunity to take advantage of a stranger, the staff made him feel welcome and comfortable — they made him feel human. He became, for that short time, honorary kin. It was the bourgeois virtues in action.

The next time someone tries to tell you that markets are dehumanizing and that we need government regulation to prevent people from treating each other like mere objects, you might share my colleague’s story.



Honesty not required in the Leftist media

Bill O'Reilly

After last week's election results rolled in, some on the left became distraught and went after Fox News big time. Of course, we are used to the growing problem of Fox-o-phobia: an irrational fear of the Fox News Channel. On election night, FNC won the national ratings race, even defeating the network news operations, which is incredible because cable channels are much harder to access than single digit network channels.

Immediately after the votes were counted, the incoming fire began. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote that Fox News held "a victory party" for Republicans on the air. Milbank then stated: "To be fair and balanced, Fox brought in a nominal Democrat, pollster Doug Schoen."

A nominal Democrat? Well, that is flat-out false. FNC had seven Democrats on the air that night, and I believe Geraldine Ferraro and Joe Trippi might be surprised to see themselves described as "nominal."

So, why did Milbank mislead his readers, and how does he get away with it? We put the second question to Fred Hiatt, Milbank's editor at the Post. After a few hours of deliberation, he told us he didn't think Milbank had implied that only one Democrat was booked on FNC's election coverage. Either Hiatt is having trouble with the English language, or he really doesn't care. I'm betting the latter. Neither Hiatt nor Milbank would come on my program to explain themselves.

As to why the columnist wants to mislead readers, it's simple. He despises Fox News and wants to spread the loathing. But that's lazy. There are plenty of things to criticize about any national news organization, especially one that broadcasts 24 hours a day. Milbank just wanted to vent and didn't care about being accurate. He cared about being hostile and bitter.



Why Obama Will Not Move to the Center

He comes to destroy America, not to save it

President Obama told students in India that the 2010 election “requires me to make some midcourse corrections and adjustments,” but Americans are wondering whether he really understands that voters rejected his policies in the early-November mid-term elections. Instead of acknowledging that his policies are behind the defeat, the president blames “faulty communication,” as though the election massacre were just a public relations miscue.

Even Congressional Democrats blame the president for the “shellacking” the party suffered in losing the House to the GOP. They see a “tone deaf” and “distant” president who is “inattentive” and runs a “hapless political operation.” Some Democrats get highly personal in describing their president’s “holier-than-thou” attitudes and posturing. On November 8, Politico reported, “Many Democrats privately say they are skeptical that Obama is self-aware enough to make the sort of dramatic changes they feel are needed — in his relations with other Democrats or in his very approach to the job.” This view is supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) refusal to step aside for new leadership and her public assertions of pride at their “historic achievements.”

In short, few people see a humbled Obama; instead, they see a man who “learned the wrong lessons.”

In an editorial closely scrutinizing President Obama’s trip to India, the Washington Times characterized the trip as an announcement of “the decline of the United States as an economic power.” Mr. Obama, according to the Washington Times, “ignores the fact that it was American invention, innovation and competitive spirit that gave the country its economic pre-eminence in the first place. Rather than lecturing Americans to get in the game, he would do better to reverse the anti-business political climate he has helped foster.” Further, the Times wrote, the president “has never been comfortable with American global pre-eminence.” The Times summarized their analysis:

“In place of liberty, [Mr. Obama] substitutes redistributionist notions of social justice. Rather than a single American nation, he institutionalizes differences for political gain. Instead of patriotism and pride, he promotes internationalism and guilt. America’s decline is not the result of historical forces out of our control, but of condemning the history that brought the United States to its position of leadership. America will only resurge when it recaptures the moral image of the country as a land of individualism, opportunity and patriotism. That is an America Mr. Obama would rather do without.”

In addition to all of the non-American, “hate-America” people who had influence on the president during his formative years, Shapiro also notes the socialists and other “hate-America” mentors that the president chose as his friends and associates later in life. America’s supposed decline, Shapiro believes, is for our president — in accordance with all he was taught by his hate-mongering pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright — a matter of the “chickens coming home to roost.”

Clearly, the election of 2010 was a rejection of Mr. Obama’s ideology and agenda — a matter of the president’s chickens coming home to roost. The Obama presidency — with its anti-exceptionalism, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom emphases — is a wake-up call for America.



Obamacare reduces the incentive to work

It’s not that fewer Americans are searching for work. There are, to put it simply, less of us who want to work and to produce, and even among those of us who still want to work and produce, many of us are choosing to work fewer hours and to produce less. And the reason for this is simple: because of the generous federal entitlements provided in the new “Obamacare” law.

According to none other than the Congressional Budget Office, many of us have decided we no longer will have to work as much as we once did, given all the “assistance” we can get via Obamacare.

This is not just political “spin” or partisan punditry. It comes directly from Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the non-partisan C.B.O., a federal agency within the legislative branch of our government that employs people to analyze government policies, and consider their impact on the federal budget, and on the economy. The C.B.O. likely produces some of the most objective, “fair,” and non-politicized data that we receive from our government.

Speaking at a little-noted event at the University of Southern California’s Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Mr. Elmendorf noted that, outside the healthcare sector of our economy, the greatest impact of the Obamacare agenda will be in the labor market. It was October 22nd, just days away from the big midterm election, and Elmendorf’s presence at this conference, and his remarks at the conference, did not receive nearly the amount of press attention that they deserved.

Mr. Elmendorf stated that, in some cases, Americans will simply choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid funding that is provided for in the Obamacare law. As Journalist Matt Cover noted at CNSNews.com (he was one of few journalists that actually reported on this event), this assessment of Obamacare by Mr. Elmendorf coincides with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s remarks last May. Back then, Speaker Pelosi insisted that Obamacare would allow “artists” to “quit their day job” and pursue their art, free from the constraints of having to provide for one’s self, because the government would now take care of artists’ healthcare needs.

That all sounded so good, right? It seemed like President Obama was making good on his agenda of, as he likes to say in his folksy fashion, “gettin’ people some help…”

But notice the gravity of what Mr. Elmendorf is describing. He’s talking about Medicaid, a social care program from our federal government that is intended to offer short-term assistance to poor and lower income households. And the head of the C.B.O., the individual described as the “top accountant to Congress,” is making the observation that we have, as a result of Obamacare, given increasing numbers of Americans a reason not to work (or to “not work as much”), and to choose instead to avail themselves to a government welfare program.

In short, our federal government has incentivized (some) people to consume more than they produce. And this is a very destructive thing.

Unfortunately, this is also a common thing. When government tells people “you don’t have to provide for yourself, you can instead choose to subsist off of somebody else’s effort,” it is inevitable that some people will choose the latter. And when people make this type of choice, it does long term damage to themselves and their families and to the broader society as well.



Why Do Christians Remain Silent About the Persecution of Christians in Muslim-Majority Societies?

Christians in Iraq have been, and not for the first time, deliberately targeted in a major terrorist attack. Indeed, from Indonesia to Pakistan to Iraq, from the Gaza Strip to Egypt to Sudan to Nigeria, Christians are being assaulted, intimidated, and murdered by militant Muslims.

Yet virtually never do Christians in any of these countries-perhaps with some occasional exceptions in India--attack Muslims. In the West, there have been no armed terrorist attacks on Muslims or the deliberate killing of Muslims. There does not exist a single group advocating such behavior.

Have you seen any of this in the Western mass media? Have any Christian church groups-some of which find ample time to criticize Israel-even mentioned this systematic assault? Indeed, on the rare occasions that the emigration of Christians is mentioned, somehow it is blamed on Israel, as one American network news show did recently.

I'm not writing this to complain about double standards, since one takes this problem for granted, but out of sheer puzzlement. Presumably, much of the Western media and intelligentsia-along with a lot of the church leadership, assumes that it is impossible for a non-Western, "non-white" group to ever be prejudiced. There is also a belief that if one dares report the news about pogroms carried about by Muslims against Christians it will trigger pogroms by Christians against Muslims.

The Catholic Church is quiet because it fears that complaints will increase persecution. Indeed, at a recent high-level Synod for the Middle East, leading Catholic clerics from the region blasted Israel and talked about how wonderfully Christians are treated in Muslim-majority countries. Iraq was singled out as a country where there were no problems in Muslim-Christian relations. Apparently, though, appeasement isn't working.

The al-Qaida terrorists said that all Iraqi Christians would be "exterminated" if two "Muslim women" in Egypt were not freed. Apparently, these were two young women, both married to Coptic Christian priests, unlikely candidates for conversion to Islam. They were in fact kidnapped and forcibly converted.

Thus, aggression against Christians is turned into a rationale to persecute Christians, a pattern we have often seen used elsewhere by Islamists. Yet many of the attacks in these countries are not carried out by revolutionary Islamist groups but simply by regular people, sometimes in large groups... Increasingly, Islamists are making it clear that any presence of Christians in Muslim-majority countries is unacceptable, just as the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East is unacceptable.

I just cannot understand how this factor and these attacks so often go unnoticed, and certainly unprotested. Isn't it time for Christians to try to help their persecuted brethren before they are wiped out--or at least forced to flee--altogether?


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


13 November, 2010

Dems extol facts and science but act on ideology

President Obama recently fretted that our politics has become so rough-and-tumble that "facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day all the time." Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser just before the election, the president worried that Americans were so rattled by economic anxieties that they might lose their heads and choose Republicans over Democrats -- a fear that became a reality on Nov. 2.

But his larger point was that Democrats are guided by facts and science and argument while Republicans act on ideological or even irrational motives. As liberals and Democrats are fond of saying, they are part of the "reality-based community."

Except when they're not. In the course of the Obama administration we have seen examples of Democrats in the White House, Congress and across the government pursuing ideological goals that are not only not based on facts and science and argument but actually fly in the face of facts and science and argument. Some examples:

» Offshore oil drilling. Recently the inspector general of the Interior Department discovered that White House officials altered a report to claim that the administration's six-month moratorium on offshore oil drilling had the approval of the nation's foremost engineering experts. "The recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering," the administration declared. In fact, the experts had not reviewed, nor did they approve, the proposed drilling moratorium. The administration insists it was all a mistake.

» The "clean energy economy." President Obama speaks frequently about "accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy." Neither Obama's promises of breakthroughs in solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources -- which can supply only a tiny fraction of the nation's energy needs -- nor his claims that his policies will create hundreds of thousands of "green jobs" in a new clean energy world, are supported by solid economic analysis. Numerous studies found that the president's favored cap-and-trade program would not have led to economic growth, and the concept of "green jobs" is so fuzzy as to be almost useless.

"They are ignoring the fact that subsidized green jobs destroy jobs elsewhere and direct capital and resources away from their most efficient use," says Nick Loris, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "If these technologies were economically competitive and profitable, they wouldn't need the subsidies and mandates the administration is supporting."

» High-speed rail. The administration wants to build high-speed rail links in 13 densely populated areas around the country, at a price tag that could reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The president touted high-speed rail at no fewer than five campaign appearances in October. But there is virtually no hope that such projects, even if built exactly as the administration hopes, would bring the progress Obama claims. Recently Newsweek economic columnist Robert Samuelson concluded that the rail lines would not result in "any meaningful reduction in traffic congestion, greenhouse-gas emissions, air travel, or oil consumption and imports. Nada, zip."

The disregard of facts and science and argument when they contradict ideological goals is nothing new for some key figures in the Obama circle. For example, back in 1996, while an aide in the Clinton White House, Obama Supreme Court pick Elena Kagan rewrote the opinion of an expert board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on the subject of partial-birth abortion. The board found that it could "identify no circumstances under which this procedure ... would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman." But Kagan, eager to aid the White House fight against a partial-birth abortion ban, refashioned the experts' opinion, saying the procedure "may be the best or the most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstances to save the life or preserve the health of a woman." She just made it up.

During the Bush years, liberals and Democrats often accused the administration of ignoring science and expert opinion if it conflicted with conservative ideological goals. That would change, we were told, if rational, pragmatic Democratic leaders were given a chance to run the government.

Now we have had two years in which Democrats, with cherished ideological objectives of their own, have been fully in charge of Washington. Given what has taken place, can the president really claim that his is the party that values facts and science and argument above all?



Big, evil industries funded… which party?

Now that election 2010 is over, let’s go back over to OpenSecrets and look at which evil corporations stole our democracy and bought Congress for the Republicans — the RepubliCorp!

First suspect: the military-industrial complex!

Defense Contractors: 55% Democrat, 44% Republican ($18 million)
Oh, really? Well, then, it must have been Wall Street! That’s it: Wall Street bought Congress for the GOP!

Securities & Investment: 53% Democrat, 46% Republican ($8.2 million)

Oh. Well, even if Wall Street as a whole preferred Democrats, it must have been the real bad guys, those risky Hedge funds and exotic investors…

Hedge Funds: 53% Democrat, 46% Republican ($6.8 million total)
Venture Capital: 64% Democrat, 36% Republican ($6.4 million)
Private Equity: 56% Democrat, 43% Republican ($4.6 million)

Huh. Well, then, it must have been the big health insurers and for-profit hospital corporations! They didn’t want reform! I know because I heard President Obama say so at least 64 times!

HMO/Health services: 58% Democrats, 40% Republicans ($9.4 million)
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: 51% Democrats, 48% Republicans ($10.4 million)

Medical Supply: 57% Democrats, 42% Republicans ($4.4 million)
Hospitals/Nursing Homes: 63% Democrat, 36% Republican ($14.9 million)

Huh. Well…then it must have been those evil lobbyists that President Obama has been fighting against ever since he got to Washington! That’s it!

Lobbyists: 65% Democrat, 34% Republican ($23.5 million)
What? You mean all that time I’ve spent watching Keith Olbermann hasn’t taught me any real facts???? You mean my head is now full of garbage and White House propaganda?

For good measure, here are a few industries that did, in fact, support Republicans (although most of them by narrow margins).

‘Tonsil Thieves‘ (Dentists): 37% Democrat, 62% Republican ($5.3 million)
Health professionals: 48% Democrat, 50% Republican ($55 million)
Credit/Finance: 48% Democrat, 52% Republican ($5.8 million)
Commercial Banks: 41% Democrat, 59% Republican ($15.4 million)
Insurance (Health, life and property): 48% Democrat, 52% Republican ($31.2 million)
Agribusiness: 41% Democrat, 58% Republican ($40 million)

The challenges I see ahead for the new GOP House will be (1) reining in Agribusiness subsidies and (2) forcing banks to live without hope of future bailouts. The first is probably the bigger challenge, at least in the short run.



Time says Tea Party will cause hyperinflation

If hyperinflation arrives, Time Magazine wants its readers to know who the real culprits are. It won’t be the federal government that hiked annual spending by 38% in three years and began running trillion-dollar deficits. It won’t be the Congress that kept raising debt limits to allow for that spending spree. And it won’t be the Federal Reserve that, in desperation over the government’s spending and debt spree, began printing money to artificially keep interest rates low. No, the real culprit will be the political movement that opposes all of the above, according to The Curious Capitalist:
In a recent paper, called Temporarily Unstable Government Debt and Inflation, which can be downloaded from this website, Leeper has a chart that he unofficially calls the Tea Party shock graph, on page 25. Before the Tea Party, inflation is rising slowly. But in the first year the Tea Party or a group with similar views wins the Presidency or takes over Congress, whamm-o. Inflation doubles, and keeps going up. He wrote the paper in October, so he puts the potential date of Tea Party takeover as 2019, but after this election Leeper concedes Tea Party induced hyper-inflation could come much sooner than that. So is Palin riding the Hyper-Inflation Express? Maybe. Here’s why …

But here’s the trick. Leeper doesn’t just model actual tax policy. He is looking at tax expectations. You don’t actually have to lower taxes for inflation to rise. Nor do you have to raise taxes to get inflation to fall, for that matter. Leeper says as we get closer to the point that is looks like the government is unwilling to raise taxes people will get increasingly nervous about our debt. And that’s the problem with the Tea Party.

Now before you go claiming that Leeper’s research is a Liberal hit piece consider this: Leeper agrees that when governments have high levels of debt higher taxes do slow growth and cause massive inflation. But we’re not there yet. Currently, our US Federal Debt is equal to about 62% of annual GDP. That’s a lot, but not enough to make higher taxes a threat. According to Leeper’s calculations, at our current level of US Federal Debt higher taxes, even modestly higher taxes, tends to reduce inflation by three quarters of a percentage point. And the inflation fighting affect of higher taxes tends to grow as the level of debt rises closer to one. Inflation drops by about 1.3 percentage points when the US Federal deficit equals GDP. After that the equation shifts. When debt hits 120% of our annual debt, that’s when the trouble hits. At that point, higher taxes tends to make inflation rise, not fall. But even if Bush’s tax cuts are kept in place we are ten years or more from hitting that point.

Perhaps at some point, Mr. Curious (or Mr. Capitalist) can explain why we had runaway inflation in the 1970s even with a low debt-to-GDP ratio and a predilection for higher taxes. Curiously, when we started cutting taxes in the 1980s, that inflation disappeared, and remained under control during a long period of low tax rates, especially in the 1980s and in the last decade as well. Those years of low taxes, low inflation, and consistently high real growth in GDP would tend to argue that tax cuts don’t create inflation but actual growth — as well as confidence in both the economy and the currency.

Not only does Mr. Curious fail to take that into account, he also fails to use accurate accounting of our debt. With a projected GDP growth rate this year of 2.5%, we can estimate the final GDP for 2010 at around $14.48 trillion, rounding up a little generously. According to the Treasury’s own debt calculations, our national debt stands at $13.73 trillion as of November 9th, which would put our debt-to-GDP ratio at 94.8% of our GDP even if we didn’t add a single dollar from now until the end of the year. By this measure, the ratio was 55.9% in 2001, and 65.6% by the end of 2007. In 1995, it was 67.3%. The rate now is significantly worse than any time in the last 60 years.

Time Magazine gets to 62% by ignoring intragovernmental holdings, which are IOUs held by such trivial creditors as, say, the Social Security Administration (and that’s actually 63%, not 62%). So our debt ratio is only 63% if one is inclined to believe that the government will simply eliminate Social Security and default on its debt to other governmental trust funds, rendering them defunct. The CBO leaves out intragovernmental holdings because, technically, Congress isn’t committed to honoring those IOUs until it approves the expenditures in each annual budget. That debt is just as real as the “public” debt, though, with perhaps even bigger political and economic consequences for defaults.

By the way, when we last experienced hyperinflation at the end of the 1970s, our debt-to-GDP ratio was … 33.4%, one of the lowest levels of debt we have experienced in that same period.

Uncontrolled inflation doesn’t get created from tax cuts; it arises from bad monetary policy, ill-advised government interventions, and a serious lack of confidence in the currency. Tax cuts uncoupled from spending cuts can certainly make for bad policy and set the stage for inflation, but all one has to do is look at the last nine years of stable tax rates and the runaway rate of spending increases in Washington to determine where the actual problem lies. It’s not the tax rates that kept changing, nor is it a decline in revenue that created the massive deficits. For most of the last ten years, revenues have increased, with the exception of the last two years of deep recession; the deficit problem resulted from spending increases that have far outstripped the revenue increases.

Finally, the Tea Party may be philosophically inclined to low taxes (seeing how well they worked in the 1980s and in the early 2000s in stimulating growth), but that’s not the issue on the table. Democrats in Congress want to raise taxes on the employer class, not cut taxes for everyone else. The Tea Party and Sarah Palin want to cut spending instead and shrink government, a strategy that has worked to restore economic growth in this country when it was tried in the 1960s, the 1980s, and in 2001-3, and in none of those cases created runaway inflation. Perhaps Time needs a little more intellectual curiosity.



How Republicans Can Break Obamacare Before They Repeal It

Opponents of Obamacare should stay focused on two tracks: first, show why Obamacare fails to address the fundamental health-care problems afflicting the nation while spending trillions on a new health-care entitlement; second, make moderate voters comfortable with their own health-care reform agenda. Here's how they can do it.

Earlier this year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., committed an infamous gaffe when she said: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." House Republicans should help this process along and hold hearings to examine all the unintended consequences that have resulted (and will result) from Obamacare: Companies like McDonald's and other employers threatening to drop coverage; rate increases for private insurers due to new insurance regulations; and hundreds of billions of dollars in uncounted implementation costs for the legislation. Worst of all, 16 million Americans will be forced into the broken Medicaid program - and then struggle to find doctors and specialists who accept the program's low payments and cumbersome bureaucracy.

Republicans should also highlight how Obamacare is unaffordable. The president promised that health-care reform would "bend the curve" of health-care costs, but independent observers, from the Medicare Actuary to the Lewin Group, estimate that it will increase U.S. health-care spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Rather than reducing federal health-care spending, Obamacare will create new entitlements that we can't afford while sapping hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes and fees from the private sector to pay for it.

Republicans should bring a parade of governors to testify to Congress. States led successful welfare-reform efforts in the 1990s, and states should take the lead in health-care reform now.

Instead, Obamacare dictates health-care reform from the top down and inflicts new costs on state governments--from expanding Medicaid eligibility to the start-up costs associated with running new state insurance exchanges. Republicans should give governors a platform to voice their concerns and highlight the efforts of state leaders like Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind., to create more affordable health-care options for low-income Americans.

Finally, Republicans should push legislation that will attract bipartisan support and dare the president to veto it. Proposals could include using targeted defunding efforts to kill unpopular parts of the legislation--like the Independent Payment Advisory Board for Medicare; creating a national, interstate market for health insurance; enacting tort reform to rein in junk lawsuits against doctors; and killing the 1099 IRS reporting requirement for suppliers that will drown small businesses in paperwork.

By fighting smarter now, Obamacare's critics can improve the situation in the short term--and perhaps even lay the groundwork for repeal in 2012, when the president will have to defend his choices directly to the American people.


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


12 November, 2010

A very influential book

It isn't often that a book -- any book, even a popular, bestselling book like Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto -- can be said to have changed the course of American politics and history. The phenomenon is rare, extremely rare, usually taking both the country and even the author by surprise.

Yet Levin's book has done just that, saluted by Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in an exclusive talk with The American Spectator as "providing [the] intellectual balance and foundation" of the Tea Party movement. A movement that stands triumphant this week in the wake of the conservative landslide that Levin himself believes can revitalize the conservative cause that Ronald Reagan once led to the White House.

The results of the 2010 revolt against the Obama Era are staggering. The success of the Tea Party; the defeat of over 60 of Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats; the election of a half dozen U.S. senators, ten governors and almost 700 state legislators.

What startles even more is that one campaign after another focused on the issues Levin featured in his book -- the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, statism, the dangers of a powerful central government. Campaigns "motivated and inspired" specifically, says Bachmann, by Levin's Liberty and Tyranny.

Levin himself emerged as an unlikely rock star in the cause of the Constitution, the author literally besieged at book signings as thousands waited hours for a seconds-long meeting and signed copy. This video posted by a Levin fan of a book signing at Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside a rainy Washington, D.C., illustrates a fraction of the Liberty and Tyranny phenomenon that was sweeping the country.

Liberty and Tyranny's red, white, and blue flag-and-flame cover bearing Levin's bearded visage was waved aloft at Tea Party rallies. Bachmann marvels that "it's difficult to educate a nation" but says Tea Partiers made a point to "take copies of the book to town hall meetings" to grill House and Senate members on their knowledge of the Constitution they had taken an oath to obey.

The book's cover itself appeared in poster form. One memorable photo captured former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally seated next to a soldier, the Levin book clearly visible in her lap.

Another Liberty and Tyranny fan went to work mocking Obama's famous 2008 campaign poster, replacing Obama's image with an iconic rendering of Levin, the caption changed from "Hope and Change" to read simply: "The Great One." Inevitably, there was a bumper sticker with a simple message: Mark Levin: President 2012.

In 1960 Barry Goldwater, then a rising spokesman of the fledgling modern conservative movement as the U.S. Senator from Arizona, wrote The Conscience of a Conservative. The book, adapted from Goldwater's speeches by Brent Bozell, an editor at William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review (and the father of today's Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center), was an unexpected sensation. It explained what Goldwater called "the conservative philosophy" and "spelled out conservative principles in everyday language" -- challenging head on the then-consensus view that the liberal agenda was a stellar political gift to mankind.

Daring to ask questions that liberals of the day sought to portray as extremist and out of the mainstream -- just as they still do today -- the book had a first printing of a mere ten thousand. Eventually, it sold more than 4 million hardcover and paperback copies, helping to build the foundation for what became the modern conservative movement. It also helped Goldwater to the 1964 Republican presidential nomination while making possible Ronald Reagan's 1980 election and the Reagan Revolution that followed.

When Mark Levin decided -- in 2008 -- that it was time to write a book about the importance of what he saw as "the modern liberal assault on Constitution-based values" no one, Levin included, could see what was coming.

LEVIN IS, FAMOUSLY, a considerable talk radio star, ranked number four in the nation with eight and a half million listeners. He is as well the longtime head of the conservative Landmark Legal Foundation. A former Reagan aide, Justice Department lawyer (serving as chief of staff to Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese III, among other positions in the government) and conservative activist who began his march on liberalism as a precocious 13-year old, Levin is no recent entry into discussions of law, politics, or conservative principles.



Of Course Sarah Palin's 'Unfit': She's a Republican

How much of the "Sarah Palin is not ready for prime time" criticism is sincere? When the harping comes from the left, it's difficult to take it seriously. Try to follow the bouncing standards.

Barbara Walters gushed over John F. Kennedy Jr. and foresaw a political future for him. Never mind that the young man had flunked the New York bar exam -- twice.

"Dumb" former President George W. Bush, caricatured as a slacker in an Oliver Stone movie, made better grades in college than did Al Gore, his opponent in 2000. Gore dropped out of divinity school after earning five F's. Then he entered law school and dropped out. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-global warming crusade, and his documentary won an Academy Award, but Gore got a D in science at Harvard. Bush also scored higher on his verbal SAT than did Rhodes scholar and "brainy" presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

"Dumb" former President Ronald Reagan majored in economics. But the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who ran for the presidency, got expelled from Harvard for hiring someone to take a Spanish test.

"Dumb" Republican former President Gerald Ford was ridiculed as a bumbling doofus by Chevy Chase on "Saturday Night Live." Democratic former President Lyndon Baines Johnson famously quipped that Ford, who played football for the University of Michigan, "spent too much time playing football without a helmet." But Ford graduated from Yale Law School, the same school that produced Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The worldly and literate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who ran for president in 2004, didn't exactly kill on his military aptitude test. He got half the questions right and half the questions wrong -- dead average. He explained his poor showing by insisting, "I must have been drinking the night before."

Vice President Joe Biden's 1988 quest for the presidency evaporated when he plagiarized a speech by a British politician. When someone questioned his academic credentials at a campaign stop, the offended Biden claimed that he had a full academic scholarship at law school and graduated in the top half of his class. In fact, he had a need-based half-scholarship and graduated near the bottom -- 76th out of 85.

Biden, in his political career, has stacked up enough gaffes for a dozen politicians. Where to start? How about the time, during a 2008 campaign rally, when Biden stood at the podium and implored a local lawmaker to "stand up." The man in question was in a wheelchair. Or at a campaign rally when he said the opponent's plan would do nothing about "a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."

Biden opposed the first Gulf war, the "good" one. He voted for the Iraq War and co-authored a Washington Post op-ed piece in which he warned that our involvement would take a decade and urged the nation to show patience. When the war went south, along with public opinion, Biden suggested breaking Iraq into three parts. Then Biden reversed his support, said he regretted his vote, and opposed Bush's successful "surge."

Former CBS reporter Dan Rather tried to prove -- based on documents that turned out to be fraudulent -- that Bush received preferential treatment in getting into the Texas Air National Guard. Former President Bill Clinton, on the other hand, used familial political and social connections to deliberately delay issuance of his draft notice until after he began his first year at Oxford.

Ordered to report for induction the next summer, Clinton again used connections -- including the approval of Arkansas Selective Service director Willard Hawkins -- to join the University of Arkansas ROTC while he attended law school, getting him a reservist deferment and nullifying his draft notice.

Palin, if she decides to run, faces a grueling series of challenges -- just like the other candidates. Except she'll not benefit from the selective standard that liberals apply when evaluating "their own."



The Fed Trashes the Dollar

Pat Buchanan

If it is the first responsibility of the Federal Reserve to protect the dollars that Americans earn and save, is it not dereliction of duty for the Fed to pursue a policy to bleed value from those dollars? For that is what Chairman Ben Bernanke is up to with his QE2, or "quantitative easing."

Translation: The Fed is committed to buy $600 billion in bonds from banks and pay for them by printing money that will then be deposited in those banks. The more dollars that flood into the economy, the less every one of them is worth.

Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation.

He is reducing the value of the dollar to make U.S. exports more competitive and imports more expensive, so that we will consume fewer imports. He is trying to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit by treating the once universally respected dollar like the peso of a banana republic.

Sarah Palin has nailed cold what Bernanke is about:

"We shouldn't be playing around with inflation. It's not for nothing Reagan called it 'as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.'

"The Fed's pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed's proposals 'clueless.' When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it's time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist.

"We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings."

Egging Ben on is the Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Fed policy is too timid, says Krugman.

When Bernanke said we are not "going to try to raise inflation to a super-normal level," he blew it, says Krugman, and "there goes the best chance the Fed's plan might actually work."

What the Fed should do, he says, is change expectations "by leading people to believe that we will have somewhat above-normal inflation ... which would reduce the incentive to sit on cash."

But "sit on cash" is a definition of saving. Is saving bad? Once, Americans were taught that saving was a good thing.

Not to Krugman. He wants to panic the public into believing the money they have put into savings accounts and CDs will be rapidly eaten up by Fed-created inflation, so they will run out and spend that money now to get the economy moving again.

Whatever the economics of this, the morality of it is appalling.



Obamacare Hits the Most Vulnerable

Mona Charen

Everyone agrees that the burden of dealing with escalating health care costs should not fall on the most vulnerable, right? Democrats in particular are always at pains to convince us that they are sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate. Yet among the many new taxes Obamacare will impose is one that hits wounded veterans and sick children especially hard -- the 2.3 percent annual tax on medical device manufacturers set to begin in 2013.

All of those fantastic prosthetic limbs, powered wheelchairs, stents, pacemakers, artificial hips, and other miraculous technologies that improve the lives of maimed soldiers will now be more expensive. Some estimates suggest that the tax will amount to 17 percent of profits for the industry.

As Ed Morrissey reported last May, Massachusetts medical device companies have already begun to plan layoffs to cope with the new tax. According to the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council, "(A)bout 90 percent of the 100 medical-device firms said they would reduce costs due to the new tax tucked into the recently passed health-care reform bill."

Almost certainly, this will mean reductions in research and development. As the maxim goes: If you want less of something, tax it. If you want more of something, subsidize it. By taxing medical devices, Obamacare has probably postponed the day my 17-year-old Type I diabetic son is most looking forward to -- the invention and marketing of an artificial pancreas.




Obama’s Labor Department again pushes forced unionism: "You are at work one day and a couple of police vehicles pull up. They go into the administrative office area and the next thing you know, your CEO is escorted out in handcuffs. While the local news crews are capturing the moment permanently, a buzz quickly circulates through the company that the union had him arrested for egregious corporate corruption. The ‘perp walk’ is reserved for hardened criminals in order to give our law enforcement agencies an opportunity to showcase their abilities to protect the public.”

NASA’s Webb Telescope in money trouble : "NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the long-anticipated successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is in serious financial trouble, according to a project review panel. The culprits: bad management and flawed budgets from managers, the panel concludes — not hardware challenges or a tightfisted Congress. Overall, the telescope’s cradle-to-grave budget, currently pegged at $5 billion, will need another $1.5 billion to live up to its scientific promise, the review panel estimated in a report released late Wednesday afternoon.”

Typical British government data security: "The British Ministry of Defence is investigating how an army officer’s laptop containing sensitive military data was bought on eBay for less than £20 ($32). The Toshiba Satellite A30 laptop computer, which is now held by the MoD, contained details of every police command post in a town in Helmand in Afghanistan, along with photos of each post and a list of the men, their ammunition, patrols and weapons. The files were not encrypted or password sensitive. It also contained details on those who had joined the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


11 November, 2010

Progressives don't really get progress, but the American people do

Progressives claim to have a monopoly on progress – designed by intellectuals who 'know better' and brought about by a big, beneficent government. But Americans voted in last week's elections that this brand of progress actually impoverishes, and that a free market is much smarter

By Donald J. Boudreaux

President Obama and other progressives attribute the Democrats’ electoral shellacking last week to their failure to communicate with ordinary Americans. The implication is that most Americans are too slow to appreciate the noble and courageous government programs that progressives enacted for the public good. Another implication is that progressives are unusually smart and visionary.

The very label “progressive” suggests a forward-looking intelligence – a desire to progress past present superstitions and misinformation into a future enlightened by ideas rather than benighted by ignorance.

And because, for progressives, progress is believed always to involve a larger role for the state, the hallmark of progressive thinking is the outpouring of ideas about what government can do. Anyone objecting to the implementation of these ideas is, therefore, a nonprogressive – someone content to allow past habits and irrational notions to interfere with big, bold, collectively imposed ideas for improving society.

Trouble is, progressives’ understanding of the source of progress is regressive. It reflects an outmoded belief that society advances only if it is consciously designed by well-meaning and smart intellectuals and steered by a beneficent and powerful government.

Free markets regulate themselves

No one more famously exposed the wrong-headedness of this belief than did Adam Smith way back in 1776. Leave individuals free to pursue their own goals as they each see fit, said Smith in effect, and the result will be an orderly, prosperous, and growing – a progressing! – economy that no one did or could design.

Since Smith, generations of economists have refined our understanding that a decentralized, free-market economy is far smarter than is even the best set of ideas concocted by the world’s most brilliant intellectuals.

When markets are free – when individuals are prohibited only from violating the property rights of others and from breaking their contractual promises – the economy swarms with countless ideas. Countless entrepreneurs generate creative ideas for supplying new goods and services that consumers will value; legions of engineers work to develop techniques for producing outputs more efficiently; armies of attorneys devise new ways for contracting parties to better reduce and share risks; bankers around the globe each work to improve methods of getting liquidity into the hands of borrowers who can use it most effectively.

These ideas, constantly bubbling up from millions of different minds, compete with each other. Each of these ideas is tested in the real world, but without being forced on anyone. Also, the feedback on these ideas’ usefulness comes not from seminar participants, but from millions of actual producers and consumers putting their own money on the line. Ideas that actually work survive. Ideas that don’t, don’t.

One size doesn't fit all

Here’s an even better part. In markets, one size does not fit all. Ideas that work for, say, consumers with traditional tastes will survive for the benefit of those consumers, but will not crowd out very different ideas that work for consumers with tastes that are avant-garde. A billion flowers bloom. And as Matt Ridley points out in his book “The Rational Optimist,” these many different ideas will often cross-pollinate with each other, giving birth to yet another generation of ideas – a generation that exists only because of the large and diverse number of ideas that preceded them.

Contrast the multitude of different market-generated and voluntarily adopted ideas with the ideas of progressives – for example, progressives’ idea that government must regulate the fat content of foods.

Each of us can decide how much we value, say, juicy burgers and double-dark chocolate ice cream compared to how much we value a trim waistline and longer life expectancy. And each of us values these benefits differently. The dietary choices that I make for myself are right for me, but I cannot know if they are right for anyone else. Progressives, in contrast, falsely assume there’s a single correct metric, for the whole country, that determines for everyone how to trade off the satisfaction of eating tasty but fatty foods for the benefit of being healthier.

It’s in this way that progressives’ ideas are indeed big and bold – for these ideas are about how millions of other individuals should live their lives. In practice, these are ideas about how one group of people (the politically successful) should engineer everyone else’s contracts, social relations, diets, and even moral sentiments.

'Big Ideas' are big mistakes

Progressives’ ideas, then, are about replacing the market’s unimaginably large multitude of diverse and competing ideas – each one individually chosen, practiced, assessed, and modified in light of what Austrian economist and free-market philosopher F.A. Hayek called “the particular circumstances of time and place” – with a relatively paltry set of Big Ideas. These Big Ideas are politically selected and centrally imposed. And they are enforced not by the natural give and take of the everyday interactions of millions of people but, rather, by political authority.

What’s worse, this political authority rests with those whose overriding “idea” is among the most simple-minded and antediluvian notions in history – namely, that those with the power of the sword are anointed to lord it over the rest of us.

In this respect, progressive attitudes aren’t limited to Democrats. Republicans have fallen prey to the notion that Americans would be better off if only the power of the big, federal government could be marshalled for conservative purposes. How else to explain Republican support for such policies as No Child Left Behind or government funding to promote “healthy marriage” and “responsible fatherhood”?

Far from paving a path to prosperity and progress, progressives’ ideas are a recipe for impoverishment and regression.

The good news is that voters in America seem to get that. As pollster Scott Rasmussen noted last week, “voters don’t want to be governed from the left, the right, or even the center. They want someone in Washington who understands that the American people want to govern themselves.”




Zogby Interactive: Obama Approval Slips to 42%: "President Barack Obama's approval rating among likely voters has slipped after the mid-term elections, and is now at 42% compared to the 45% approval a Zogby Interactive poll found on the day before elections. The President's approval rating held steady at 38% among independent voters, but fell six percentage points from Nov. 1 among Democrats, 87% to 81%. The poll conducted from Nov. 8-10, 2010 also found the percentage of voters saying the nation was on the wrong track increasing to 63%, compared to the 58% found on Nov. 1."

Iraq: Christians fear they could be wiped out: "In the flickering candlelight of Our Lady of Salvation Church, Nagam Riyadh sits against a pillar singing Ave Maria, her voice rising to the shrapnel-marked rafters. ‘We are singing the hymns we couldn’t finish on Sunday,’ says Ms. Riyadh, who was in the choir on Oct. 31 when gunmen stormed the church in an attack that has traumatized the Christian community here and raised questions about its future. On the first Sunday mass after the attack, Nov. 7, she’s one of hundred of survivors and mourners who have gathered here. They light candles in the shape of a cross on the marble floor next to the names of more than 50 dead. At the top are photographs of the two slain priests. ”

The injustice of domestic violence policies: "October was Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness month, but the flurry of articles, speeches, and calls for increased funding omitted crucial data. Current DV arrest policies are blatantly unjust and need to be reinvented. Every year, an estimated one million Americans are arrested on DV charges. Typically they spend several days in jail. According to the Criminal Justice Review, only 30.5 percent of those arrested are convicted.”

The 2010 union pension bailout bills: "Get ready to give some of your hard-earned cash — again — to the cronies of Congress who are pushing for yet another bailout. Two bills in Congress propose using taxpayer dollars to bailout private union pension funds. If either one becomes law Congress for the first time will allow the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) to use public funds — the money you earn and pay to the government — to shore up horribly mismanaged union pension plans. Estimates for the current shortfall go as high as $165 billion.”

Deficit panel offers “painful” program for US politicians: "The chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission on Wednesday outlined stark recommendations they say are necessary to secure the nation’s fiscal standing, including reforms of the tax code and entitlement programs that would likely spark opposition from lawmakers and interest groups. … Proposed changes to Social Security — the so-called ‘third rail’ of American politics — may be particularly challenging to enact. The draft proposal suggests raising the retirement age, altering the formula for cost-of-living increases, and raising the payroll tax threshold.”

Cut more spending!: "A draft from the Congressional Deficit Commission that Obama appointed came out today, and it actually has a lot to like. For instance: — Raising the retirement age …. reducing foreign aid by $4.6 billion — freezing federal salaries for three years — eliminating popular tax breaks, such as mortgage interest deduction — cuts in farm subsidies — cuts in the Pentagon’s budget … That sounds like a lot of spending cuts — and it would be a good start — but it’s still not nearly enough to get around Medicare’s $38 trillion unfunded liability. So the Deficit Commission also proposes tax increases.”

Iraq: PM to stay on as political deadlock ends: "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will return to power for another four-year term after Iraqi lawmakers working late into the night Wednesday agreed on a tentative deal to form a new government, lawmakers said. The deal breaks an eight-month impasse that paralyzed the government, encouraged insurgent attacks and rattled potential foreign investors.”

Dinner with the militia: "The story of a female grad student who aspires to do refugee work with children in war torn countries, who is a daughter, a girlfriend, a friend, and is also a member of the local militia, might sound strange to most. Once you understand the truth about militias, my life doesn’t seem strange at all. Militia members are normal everyday people. We are just like you, and some of us may be your neighbors, your friends, and your family.”

Market alternatives for food safety: "Most Americans go about their daily lives convinced that the Federal government, through the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, protects them from eating poisoned food. If not for the USDA or the Food and Drug Administration, they imagine, every food item on the store shelf would be suspect. Restaurateurs would unwittingly sell E. coli-infected meat and produce to their customers on a daily basis, and the simple act of eating would become like a game of Russian roulette. But what if that protection was largely an illusion? What if there were other simpler, quicker, and more efficient alternatives to food safety than the USDA?”

Joe Biden’s weak case for government meddling: "Joe Biden believes that government played a large role in the success of railroads in the 19th century. In this video, Don Boudreaux points out that that isn’t actually true. There were four transcontinental railroads. Three of them received subsidies. The fourth was the Great Northern Railway, founded by Canadian immigrant James J. Hill. He alone rejected any special government favors.”

The election’s over, so let’s get back to business: "President Obama recently warned that the current high unemployment could be ‘a new normal’ in the United States. If his administration doesn’t change course on policies, he may be right. Myriad policy options — from deregulating and cutting taxes to slashing the size of the federal government — remain untried. Add to that mix fostering entrepreneurship by letting foreign entrepreneurs come to the U.S.”

Congress should “shellack” the president’s executive orders: "‘Stroke of the pen, law of the land — kinda cool’ — that’s how Paul Begala described rule by executive order back in 1998, as his boss President Clinton prepared a passel of them, the better to bypass an uncooperative Congress. After last Tuesday’s ’shellacking,’ it’s a fair bet President Obama will find rule by decree kinda cool as well."

Besmirch and divert: "If Mr. Obama and his acolytes cannot produce anything that’s better than charges of racism and bigotry against their political or intellectual adversaries, they are in effect admitting that their viewpoint is bankrupt. No one with even a modicum of merit to his or her argument will resort to ad hominems. The arguments being advanced are supposed to carry the weight of the position and there would be no need for trying to discredit with smears those who oppose it.”

Big government’s final frontier: "It is time for conservatives to recognize that Apollo is over. We must recognize that Apollo was a centrally planned monopolistic government program for a few government employees, in the service of Cold War propaganda and was therefore itself an affront to American values. If we want to seriously explore, and potentially exploit space, we need to harness private enterprise, and push the technologies really needed to do so.”

Competitive trash pickup under fire: "It seems that Fountain Hills, AZ had competitive trash pickup, and the city council wanted to bid out trash pickup as a single-provider city service instead. The people of Fountain Hills reacted like a bunch of 1950’s anti-communists, calling it socialism and likening it to Obamacare. John Cole and his comment section went ape-shit, in the original post and follow-ups here and here. Quite a few commenters suggested that if we don’t have municipal trash collection, we’ll look like third-world countries where people just bury, burn, or leave their trash out on their property to rot. Strangely, I hadn’t heard a single report of uncollected trash in Fountain Hills leading to this change.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


10 November, 2010

Sarah hits the nail on the head

She sees how destructive is Obama's orgy of printing new money

"We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth brought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings," the former GOP Vice Presidential nominee said. "We want a stable dollar combined with real economic reform. It's the only way we can get our economy back on the right track."

Mrs. Palin's remarks may have the beneficial effect of bringing the dollar back to the center of the American political debate, not to mention of the GOP economic platform. Republican economic reformers of the 1970s and 1980s—especially Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp—understood the importance of stable money to U.S. prosperity.

On the other hand, the Bush Administration was clueless. Its succession of Treasury Secretaries promoted dollar devaluation little different from that of the current Administration, while the White House ignored or applauded an over-easy Fed policy that created the credit boom and housing bubble that led to financial panic.

Misguided monetary policy can ruin an Administration as thoroughly as higher taxes and destructive regulation, and the new GOP majority in the House and especially the next GOP President need to be alert to the dangers. Mrs. Palin is way ahead of her potential Presidential competitors on this policy point, and she shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand.



Political Judges

Thomas Sowell

The runaway arrogance that politicians get when they have huge majorities in Congress is a more or less common arrogance among federal judges with lifetime tenure or state judges who are seldom defeated in elections to confirm their appointments to the bench.

It was a surprise to many-- and a shock to media liberals-- when three judges on Iowa's Supreme Court were voted off that court in the same recent elections in which a lot of politicians were also sent packing.

These judges had taken it upon themselves to rule that the voters of Iowa did not have the right to block attempts to change the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples. Here again, the particular issue-- so-called "gay marriage"-- was not as fundamental as the question of depriving the voting public of their right to decide what kinds of laws they want to live under.

That is ultimately a question of deciding what kind of country this is to be-- one ruled by "we the people" or one where the notions of an arrogant elite are to be imposed, whether the people agree or not.

Those who believe in gay marriage are free to vote for it. But, when they lose that vote, it is not the role of judges to nullify the vote and legislate from the bench. Judges who become politicians in robes often lie like politicians as well, claiming that they are just applying the Constitution, when they are in fact exercising powers that the Constitution never gave them.

If they are going to act like politicians, then they should be voted out like politicians.

Media liberals, who like what liberal judges do, spring to their defense. The media spin is that judges were voted off the bench because of "unpopular" decisions and that this threatens judicial "independence."

Since this was the first time that a justice of the Iowa Supreme Court was voted off the bench in nearly half a century, it is very doubtful that there was never an "unpopular" court decision in all that time. The media spin about "unpopular" decisions sidesteps the far more important question of whether the judges usurped powers that were never given to them by the Constitution.

As for judicial "independence," that does not mean being independent of the laws. Being a judge does not mean being given arbitrary powers to enact the liberal agenda from the bench, which means depriving the citizens of their most basic rights that define a free and self-governing people.

While removing three state Supreme Court justices at one time in Iowa is news today, the very same thing happened in California back in the 1970s. Every single death penalty imposed by a trial court in California was overturned by the state Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Rose Bird voting 64 times in a row that there was something wrong with the way each trial had been conducted. That was world-class chutzpah.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Arizona does not have a right to require proof of citizenship before someone can vote. Where does it say that in the Constitution?

The time is long overdue to stop treating judges like sacred cows, especially when they have so much bull



No Illegal Alien Pilot Left Behind

Michelle Malkin

Chalk up another Code Red Elmo moment for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While Islamic terrorists groom suicide bombers starting in kindergarten, the grownups in charge of protecting America can't seem to reach an elementary level of competence.

More than nine years after the 9/11 jihadist attacks, untold numbers of high-risk flyers have been able to board, ride and pilot American planes -- some with Transportation Security Administration approval to boot.

Outside Boston, one shady flight school provided single-engine pilot lessons to at least 33 illegal immigrants from Brazil. But clear counter-terror rules ban illegal aliens from enrolling in U.S. flight schools. Clear counter-terror regulations require TSA to run foreign flight students' names against a plethora of terrorism, criminal and immigration databases. Head-scratching airport security officials were at a loss last week to explain how dozens of these illegal alien students eluded their radar screen when the agency "performs a thorough background check on each applicant at the time of application" and checks "for available disqualifying immigration information," the Boston Globe reported.

A cluebat for the Keystone Kops: No matter how DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano might spin it, the "system" is not "working" in any sense of either word.

Whistleblowers have warned for years about the gaping holes in both the TSA's and the Federal Aviation Administration's foreign pilot screening systems. In 2005, aviation safety inspector Edward H. Blount of the Alabama Flight Standards District Office sent a letter to the TSA warning of federal policies that were "fostering illegal flight training by foreign individuals" in the U.S. on improper visas. Blount reported that he and another investigator were told by a TSA official that the agency was "not going to look at the visa status" of pilot applicants.

In 2008, ABC News discovered that thousands of foreign nationals were able to enroll in flight schools despite the strict flight security rules. "Some of the very same conditions that allowed the 9-11 tragedy to happen in the first place are still very much in existence today," one regional TSA officer warned. "TSA's enforcement is basically nonexistent," former FAA inspector Bill McNease told the network. The matter was kicked upstairs to DHS higher-ups in Washington. And there it gathered dust.

Compounding those persistent gaps are the myriad ways the open-borders lobby has undermined secure identification. Homeland security officials were warned years ago about the use of bogus Mexican matricula consular cards by illegal aliens boarding planes. American banks have pandered to the pro-amnesty lobby in search of illegal alien customers; the financial industry championed the use of the matricula consular cards as identification despite widespread fraud, inability to verify validating documents and lack of any central database. Dozens of municipalities have incorporated consular cards as "valid" ID for illegal aliens, and three states still issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Open-borders ideologues populate every corner of the Obama administration, from DHS to the Department of Justice, where civil rights division head Thomas Perez has long crusaded for illegal alien licenses.

These comprehensive failures are partly attributable to incompetence, partly attributable to industry pressure and partly attributable to the intentional undermining of the very immigration laws Congress passed after 9/11 -- laws specifically designed to prevent future alien hijackers like the 9/11 monsters from so easily exploiting the homeland security lapses that allowed them to live and train here for years unencumbered even after their temporary visas had expired.



The media were not defeated by the mid-terms

Now Obama, Pelosi and their troops in the media are going to turn to the proposition that the House Republicans must be defeated. Oh, the irony. Weren't their knickers in the tightest of knots when Rush Limbaugh stated he wanted Obama to fail?

Trying to reduce our $3.5 trillion annual budget by $100 million, liberals now insist, is "impossible." So said morning host Harry Smith on CBS. But Team Obama adding $2.7 trillion to the deficit over the last two years was a piece of cake.

The insatiable left is defining as "realistic" anything that keeps the gravy train rolling, and trying to slow it down is utterly unthinkable. Smith wouldn't be caught dead reading a new study from the Heritage Foundation showing how to cut $343 billion per year in federal spending, or more than one-fourth of the 2010 deficit, as a down payment toward a balanced budget.

Despite controlling only one house of Congress, the GOP has been handed all the accountability for government spending by the press. In every interview, the media are pounding tea party politicians to announce where they're going to cut. Liberals are never challenged to put forth specifics when they genuflect at the altar of fiscal responsibility because everyone knows they really mean tax hikes.

So most Republicans are avoiding specifics like the Heritage plan because they know that for any spending cut they propose, the media will go hunting for potential victims of alleged Republican viciousness. They remember 1995, when ABC was doing stories on the brief government shutdown with tear-jerking lines about poor bureaucrats, like "Joe Skattleberry and his wife, Lisa, can't afford a Christmas tree."

It's as simple as this: Reporters don't want the budget to be cut. That's why a look at the Big Three network newscasts by the Media Research Center from Sept. 1 through Oct. 25 found the networks repeatedly telling the voters they faced a choice between reasonable Democrats and freakishly far-right Republicans.

There were 35 evening news stories that conveyed the message that conservative and tea party candidates were "extreme," "fringe," or "out of the mainstream." But there was not a single network story that spent one second of time to suggest that the conservatives asserted the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Democrats, responsible for the most radical legislative agenda in history, were "out of the mainstream."

When the voters went to the polls and rejected the Democrats, they were rejecting the Old Media as well.

Network reporters consistently implied or stated that Obama was already in the center of the political conversation, and the GOP was off-the-charts conservative. They applied 62 ideological labels, and 77 percent were aimed at conservatives, and only 23 percent were for liberals. Both Delaware's Christine O'Donnell and Alaska's Joe Miller were tagged as "ultraconservatives"; apparently, that's a synonym for the tea party, but no Democrat -- not one -- was ever branded an "ultraliberal."

In the Pennsylvania Senate race, CBS called Republican Pat Toomey "conservative," but Democrat Joe Sestak (American Conservative Union rating: zero) was not a "liberal." CBS stooped lowest by airing an entire story on loud-mouthed loser Alan Grayson (another ACU zero), but never called him a "liberal," despite his claim that the Republican health care motto was "Die Quickly." To the liberals in denial at CBS, Grayson wasn't "extreme" on anything, but they felt it necessary to tag his opponent Daniel Webster as "conservative."



The Bashing of American Exceptionalism

Daily Beast columnist Peter Beinart railed against the GOP's "lunatic notion" of America's exceptionalism. In particular, Beinart was infuriated by Senator-elect Marco Rubio's claim that "America is the single greatest nation in all of human history." Doesn't the Florida politician know, Beinart wonders, that China and Brazil are opening opportunities to their citizens too? According to Beinart, Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, is too ideologically blinkered to know that "the American dream of upward mobility is alive and well, just not in America."

What's bizarre about Beinart and Kinsley's rendition of American exceptionalism is that it hinges on the premise that the idea of American exceptionalism is an artifact of right-wing jingoism, xenophobia or ignorance. Even Obama flirts with this sort of thing every time he chalks up opposition to his agenda to the fear, bigotry or small-mindedness of the "bitter" souls "clinging" to their antiquarian beliefs.

Forget that every Fourth of July we celebrate the fact that we fought the Revolutionary War to become an exceptional nation. From their dismissive condescension, you'd think these three educated men didn't know that American exceptionalism has been a well-established notion among scholars for more than a century.

"The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in "Democracy in America," "and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one." Ever since, historians have argued that America's lack of a feudal past, its Puritan roots, the realism of its revolutionary ambitions and many other ingredients contributed to America's status as the "first new nation," to borrow a phrase from Seymour Martin Lipset, who spent his life writing about American exceptionalism....

Now that Europe has turned its back -- at least temporarily -- on lavish Keynesian spending, folks like Beinart must turn to developing countries such as China and Brazil for inspiration. Countries that pay millions of workers pennies a day are not normally role models for the left. But, hey, if it makes Republicans appear backward, they'll give it a shot.

Ultimately, it's not that liberals don't believe in American exceptionalism so much as they believe it is holding America back, which might explain why they're lashing out at the people who want to keep it exceptional. But that too is nothing new. "The Coolidge myth has been created by amazingly skillful propaganda," editorialized The Nation in 1924 about the unfathomable popularity of Calvin Coolidge. "The American people dearly love to be fooled."

For the record, I'm with Rubio. America is the greatest country in the world. That doesn't mean it's perfect. But it is, and remains, the last best hope of Earth.

But, by all means, Democrats, listen to the sophisticates who chortle at the idea that there's anything especially good about America. That will solve Obama's "communication problem."


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


9 November, 2010

That old hatred of IQ again

It's seldom that I laugh out loud while reading a bit of Left-leaning, do-gooder nonsense but I have just had that experience.

I don't know how the editor of the Green/Left "New Scientist" (Roger Highfield) got to write for the generally conservative "Daily Telegraph" but it has happened -- but not in a good way. After a series of dogmatic and unreferenced assertions in which he pours out contempt and contumely on conventional IQ tests, he then says that there is a new type of test which is much better. He then however goes on to admit that he doesn't know if the new test works!
Dr Owen is part of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. With his colleague, Adam Hampshire, he has devised the ultimate intelligence test. Drawing on data from brain scans, his test – featuring a dozen tasks – triggers as much of the brain's anatomy as possible, combining the fewest tasks to cover the broadest range of cognitive skills.

For example, spot-the-difference puzzles boost activity in a range of areas at the back and bottom of the brain. Similarly, when you navigate your way around an unfamiliar supermarket, you rely on visuospatial working memory, which is linked to activity in the ventrolateral frontal cortex behind the eyes and the parietal lobe at the back and on top of the brain. However, as the questions become more complex, demanding more use of strategies and stored memories, broader regions of the frontal and parietal lobes become active – in particular, the large area behind the temples known as the dorsolateral frontal cortex.

Adrian and Adam regard this as the ultimate intelligence test – so all that is left is to find out whether it works. To that end, New Scientist has put it online, in a joint project with the Discovery Channel. If you have a half-hour to spare, and want to put your brain through its paces while advancing the cause of neuroscience, have a go here.


Highfield has obviously drawn his conclusions before he has seen the evidence -- which is exactly the opposite of what scientists do. But that is just standard Leftist practice so we must not be at all surprised.

The only further comment I would make is that it is quite an absurd assumption to say that a good measure of intelligence should use as many areas of the brain as possible. The brain does many things and problem solving is only one of them. That problem solving ability should involve only a few parts of the brain would seem a much more reasonable expectation.


Death panel convening already

Federal officials are conducting an unusual review to determine whether the government should pay for an expensive new vaccine for treating prostate cancer, rekindling debate over whether some therapies are too costly.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which dictate what treatments the massive federal health-insurance program for the elderly will cover, is running a "national coverage analysis" of Provenge, the first vaccine approved for treating any cancer. The treatment costs $93,000 a patient and has been shown to extend patients' lives by about four months.

Although Medicare is not supposed to take cost into consideration when making such rulings, the decision to launch a formal examination has raised concerns among cancer experts, drug companies, lawmakers, prostate cancer patients and advocacy groups.

Provenge, which was approved for advanced prostate cancer in April, is the latest in a series of new high-priced cancer treatments that appear to eke out only a few more months of life, prompting alarm about their cost.

"This absolutely is the opening salvo in the drive to save money in the health-care system," said Skip Lockwood, who heads Zero - the Project to End Prostate Cancer, a Washington-based lobbying group. "If the cost wasn't a consideration, this wouldn't even be under discussion."



Barack Obama joined Muslim prayers at school, teacher says

AS a schoolboy in Jakarta, Barack Obama attended Muslim prayer sessions with his classmates against the wishes of his mother.

The US President's former grade three teacher said that Mr Obama - who was known as "Barry" when he attended the Menteng One school in Jakarta - studied the Koran and went to classes on Islam, despite the objections of Ann Dunham, a Catholic.

The teacher's recollections will add to speculation about Mr Obama's links to Islam during his much-anticipated visit to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, as part of his ten-day tour of Asia.

His middle name, Hussein, and the fact that his stepfather was a Muslim, have combined to perpetuate rumours about Mr Obama's religious leanings. The number of Americans who think that he is a Muslim has grown since his inauguration to one in five.

Mr Obama moved to Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, when he was 6, and lived there for four years. In his memoirs he recalled his time in the country as the "bounty of a young man's life" and there is affection and pride among Indonesians for the boy who ended up as President of the United States.

The teacher, Effendi, who taught at Menteng One for 29 years, remembers Mr Obama as a "fat, curly-haired, curious boy". The school had an international mix of pupils, including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

Mr Obama attended classes on Islam while the Christians attended classes on Christianity, said Effendi. Barry, he said, was alone among the pupils in that he insisted on attending both.

"His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said 'Why did you teach him the Koran?'" said Effendi. "But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam. He would also join the other pupils for Muslim prayers."



SIEU thugs again

Obama's "friends"

Two employees who voiced support for a rival union were wrongfully dismissed during contract negotiations with a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate, according to a complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

According to the complaint, the SEIU-affiliated Rochester Regional Joint Board of Workers United carried out unfair labor practices by “negotiating to insert new language in a labor contract that reduced the pay and work opportunities of the employees,” The Examiner reports. Both dismissed individuals were employees of Sodexo who worked in cafeteria and catering jobs in New York.
After an investigation, NLRB found there was enough evidence to support the employees’ allegations that Workers United engaged in illegal conduct against them in retaliation for their support of a rival union, Local 471-UNITE HERE. The NLRB complaint specifically alleges that during negotiations for a new contract in May 2010, Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, demanded new contract language that reduced the vacation pay of Rodrigue.

The SEIU affiliate reportedly also demanded that catering assignments be based on seniority, reducing the work opportunities and pay of one of the anti-union employees.
The NLRB alleges that the SEIU affiliate engaged in this illegal conduct to retaliate against [the two employees], who supported Local 471-UNITE HERE, and also “to discourage other employees from supporting” Local 471-UNITE HERE.

By this conduct, the union “has been restraining and coercing employees in the exercising of rights guaranteed” under federal labor laws, according to the complaint. As part of the remedy for the alleged unfair labor practices, the NLRB is seeking to have Workers United pay lost wages, with interest, to the affected workers.

The SEIU-affiliated union — not the Sodexo company — must answer to the complaint by Wednesday and an NLRB Administrative Law Judge will rule in a hearing on the complaint in January.



Prosecutors who attended GOP election party dismissed from Dallas County DA's office

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins dismissed two prosecutors after they attended a party where Republican candidates and supporters were watching results on Election Day.

But the DA's office on Monday denied that the two were related. "The District Attorney's Office does not comment on personnel matters; however, your information is wrong," Watkins' spokeswoman Jamille Bradfield said in an e-mail. "It is not true that anyone was let go because they attended the Republican election night party."

After a bitter campaign, Watkins narrowly defeated Republican Danny Clancy on Nov. 2 to be elected to a second term. The Republicans, including Clancy, gathered at the Hotel Palomar at Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane to watch election results come in.

Grau and Nowak declined to comment about their dismissals but both said they are looking for other work. Nowak said he is "hopeful" he will find another job as a prosecutor. Grau, who marked 25 years as a Dallas County prosecutor last week, was the chief prosecutor in one of the felony courts. Grau is eligible for retirement later this month and may be able to take vacation days or sick time until then. Nowak, who joined the district attorney's office in 2005, was a child abuse prosecutor.

Clancy, a defense attorney and former judge and prosecutor, said he was "saddened" by the dismissals. "Dallas County has lost two great prosecutors," Clancy said. "I'm saddened that it appears as though their termination was directly linked to their showing of support for the Republican Party." ....

"She said, 'We all serve at the pleasure of the DA,' and I think that's right," Neerman said. "They're not protected under any kind of civil service" laws.




What Republicans can — and can’t — do about ObamaCare: "So as Republicans celebrate and Democrats pick through the electoral rubble, what can we expect to happen next with health care? The new Republican House majority will undoubtedly schedule a quick vote on repealing the health care law, perhaps as early as January. It will pass the House quite easily; not only will every Republican vote for repeal, but there are still a dozen Democrats in the House who voted no last March. But that is as far as repeal is likely to go.”

The price of power: "The Tea Partiers are demanding drastic change in Washington. They want an immediate end to all wasteful federal spending. Let us all applaud this goal, and then lament its improbability. The fact is, the Republicans will never touch the majority of the federal budget.”

Election opens up a gaping divide: "This year’s tumultuous midterm election cycle cut deeply into the ranks of moderates on Capitol Hill, helping usher in a Congress that scholars say could produce the most partisan voting pattern since the Civil War era. The lack of moderate voices has led to fears that lawmakers will be deadlocked over an array of issues, even though a large swath of voters tell pollsters they want compromise — and progress. ‘It will be increasingly difficult because of the divided nature of Congress and the extreme polarization that exists between the two parties,’ said Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, a leading moderate Democrat who did not seek reelection. ‘There is also a complete lack of tolerance for any deviation from party orthodoxy on both sides.’"

Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians: What’s the difference?: "People sometimes ask what the differences are between liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. The primary differences are moral and philosophical. Libertarians believe that people should be free to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful.”

Obama’s radical agenda dead, for now: "Supporters of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and smaller government have something to celebrate after Tuesday’s GOP landslide. Republicans, who all too often do not fall into the above category, should start worrying. The American people have spoken loud and clear, again, that they want politicians who will stop spending money we don’t have and burdening our grandchildren with insurmountable debt. Americans have been demanding this for decades and the political class just can’t seem to understand.”

Who are the true exploiters?: "Was it the ‘free market’ that exploited Japanese Americans in World War II? Was it ‘capitalism’ that drafted thousands of young men to be sent off to Vietnam, with many to return in body bags? Is it the free market that implements mandatory wage and price controls, takes a third of each American’s income, and leeches money to politically connected corporations? Who is the true exploiter, free markets or government?”

GOP won on economy, so focus on it: "It always feels great to win an election. But the real job for fiscal conservatives and smaller-government advocates starts now.”

TSA is evil AND stupid: "Richard Reed tries to smuggle explosives in his shoes. The TSA, after hundreds of thousands of committee man-hours, finally grinds out a policy requring everyone to take off their shoes …. Someone (maybe) tries to smuggle liquids on planes. Hundreds more committee man-hours …. Someone straps explosives to his leg. … Someone smuggles explosives on a Fed Ex package. … I wonder how long it will be before someone in al Qaeda smuggles explosives onto a plane in his rectum — and deliberately lets himself get caught — so the entire civil aviation system will be effectively shut down by TSA’s new mandatory cavity searches for everyone.”

USDA puts fox in charge of guarding the hen house: "I’ve learned about some troubling new regulations on the livestock industry proposed by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). GIPSA may not be as sexy a regulator as PCABO or NHTSA, but this is one more example of obscure regulatory agencies run amok. What makes this particular proposal especially problematic is that the GIPSA Administrator, a former trial lawyer named J. Dudley Butler who made his bones suing poultry producers, seems to have intentionally introduced a level of vagueness into the rule that, in his own words, makes it a “plaintiff lawyer’s dream.”

Should Britain rediscover private toll roads?: "One result of the Comprehensive Spending Review is that there are more opportunities for private investment to provide what the government can no longer afford. One project to be cut is a proposed relief road in the Midlands, which was meant to ease pressure on a key artery linking the region with Felixtowe. However, the Department of Transport describes the scheme as unaffordable. Cue a sensible alternative — a private toll road.”

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


8 November, 2010

More Hitler history

The account of Hitler given below is reasonable on the whole but is rather laughable in the way it reveals that none of the authors concerned seem to have actually read "Mein Kampf". They breathlessly reveal that Hitler's conversion to antisemitism did not happen until he was in Vienna in the 20s. Yet that is precisely what Hitler said of himself in "Mein Kampf".

They also seem to find it surprising or hypocritical that he had a brief flirtation with Bavarian Reds in the immediate aftermath of the war. But that should not be remotely surprising. Nazism had much in common with Marxism. Its major difference was in being a more moderate version of Marxism! Hitler rejected the "class war" ideas of Marxism in favour of a war against the Jews but that was the major point of difference.

They also say that Hitler's war service was not in the front lines and imply that it was not therefore dangerous. If so how did he get gassed?

And if they had read "Mein Kampf", they would not conclude "we still haven't answered the question of what turned Hitler into an anti-Semitic idealogue". Hitler offers a perfectly cogent explanation of that in "Mein Kampf" but they make no attempt to discuss it so clearly have not read it. See here for a summary. Whether or not one agrees with Hitler's account of how his own thinking developed, it was surely worth discussing

Incidentally, the fact that Hitler reached only the rank of "Gefreite" (corporal) in WWI was not seen by him as any embarrassment. He in fact put up posters boasting about it in his election campaigns. He saw it as credentialling himself as a plain man of the people

Translation: "The Marshall and the corporal fight alongside us for peace and equal rights"

When Nazi Germany took over Austria in March 1938, there was an outburst of not just anti-Semitism but outright sadism against the Jews. They were, among much else, made to scrub the slogans of the previous regime off walls and pavements. Then the expropriations started. An elderly Jewish couple who lost their shop appealed to Hitler in Berlin. Did His Excellency the Chancellor, they wrote, perhaps remember that as a young painter before the war selling his paintings on the corner of the Siebensterngasse, he would when it rained drop in at a certain shop and be given a cup of tea? Could he now see his way to helping the people who had treated him with such kindness? Hitler marked that the letter should be ignored, and the old couple surely went to a death camp.

We owe our knowledge of this fact to a remarkable 1999 book: "Hitler's Vienna" by Brigitte Hamann. Her extensive research revealed that Hitler was not really an anti-Semite until after World War I. What had happened in those crucial wartime years is the question that Thomas Weber now answers in "Hitler's First War." Like Ms. Hamann, he has searched out original documents and found new material. Like her, he fundamentally alters our understanding of one of the most studied figures of the 20th century.

Hitler wrote about his war experiences in "Mein Kampf" (1925), and biographers have generally relied on his account. He put himself across as a soldier-hero: a "runner" carrying messages back and forth through machine-gun fire and artillery, twice decorated with the Iron Cross for bravery, wounded and then, toward the end of the war, blinded by poison gas. He learned of the end of the war at a military hospital in Pasewalk, not far from Berlin, and he wept.

In Hitler's version, the weeping soon turned vindictive against the soft-brained academics, Jews and members of the left who, he alleged, had caused Germany to lose the war. Remaining in the army, he was sent to Bavaria to fight against left-wing revolutionaries. (And yet Mr. Weber has discovered that, briefly at the turn of 1918-19, and unmentioned in "Mein Kampf," Hitler wore a red brassard and supported the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic.) Demobilized, he became an informer for the army's propaganda unit— though whether he volunteered or was coerced because of his short-lived involvement with the Bavarian Soviet Republic, Mr. Weber admits we cannot know—and was sent to monitor a meeting of the obscure German Workers' Party, soon to be re-named National Socialist German Workers' Party. Hitler was deeply impressed by the party's hypernationalism and anti-Semitism and joined within a week of attending his first meeting. He also found that he was a tremendously effective public speaker. The speeches do not translate: What sounds superb in one language can sound plain comic in another. But desperate Germans were soon paying to hear Hitler speak, and, as the party's chief source of revenue, he took over the leadership.

How did the young Hitler—diffident, gauche, without solid political convictions—turn into the fascist demagogue of 1922? There is no simple answer to this question, but "Hitler's First War" debunks some of the standard responses. Biographers have long assumed that the war marked a turning point: the comradeship of the trenches, the common soldier's hatred of the profiteers in the rear and the sense of betrayal with the peace made in 1918. Yet there was the nagging question of why the brave, decorated soldier of "Mein Kampf" was not promoted. Hitler served more or less for the whole of the war and never rose above the rank of corporal, which, given that he undoubtedly had leadership qualities, comes as a considerable surprise.

With some luck and a lot of diligence, Mr. Weber has discovered the missing documents of Hitler's war service, and it is fair to say that very little of Hitler's own account survives the discovery. There were indeed two Iron Crosses, but his regimental runner's job was not necessarily dangerous, and he lived in relative comfort at the regimental headquarters away from the front lines. Ordinary soldiers referred to such men as Etappenschweine ("rear pigs") —all armies have such a word: "cushy number" and "base wallah" are British examples. Officers had to dish out a quota of medals, and if you did not offend them they would just put your name on the list. Hitler was not, it appears, particularly courageous. He was just there. And, as it happens, a Jewish superior officer, Hugo Gutmann, recommended Hitler for his first Iron Cross. He was not thanked for this act in later life—though his fate, emigration to the United States, was greatly preferable to that of the old couple in Vienna.

There also wasn't much comradeship. When Hitler broke surface in politics, he asked his old comrades in the regiment for support and discovered that on the whole they had not liked him one bit. Men who had fought at the front in World War I were, moreover, not at all keen on staging a second war, and extraordinarily few of Hitler's old comrades went along with Nazism. Most supported the Weimar Republic. Mr. Weber's research shows that it's not really possible to connect the brutalization of men in the trenches to the birth of National Socialism.

It is very much to Mr. Weber's credit that he has managed to dig out the details, and we can place his book together with Ms. Hamann's as a triumph of original research in a very stony field. The conclusion that might be drawn is that Hitler was far more of the opportunist than is generally supposed. He made things up as he went along, including his own past. If we still haven't answered the question of what turned Hitler into an anti-Semitic idealogue, at least attention has been shifted to the Bavarian years of 1919-22. Ms. Hamann and Mr. Weber point the way forward for the next scholar's diligent researches.



Some America-hating sponsored by Obama

Obama appointed Jim Leach as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leach is a RINO with a Master of Arts degree in Soviet politics and a series of Green/Left "achievements" in Federal politics. RINO though he is, it is hard to believe that he authorized the hate below for any other reason than to pander to Obama

In July 2010 the NEH sponsored a workshop for college professors at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii. The title of the conference was "History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War." As one of the 25 American scholars chosen to attend the workshop, Professor Penelope Blake anticipated an opportunity to visit hallowed sites such as Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Punchbowl Cemetery and engage with scholars who share her interest in studying this often neglected part of World War II history.

Instead, Professor Blake was treated to the most disturbing experience of her academic career, a conference which she found to be driven by an overt political bias and a blatant anti-American agenda. Professor Blake has forwarded to us the following letter dated September 12, 2010, to Illinois Rep. Donald Manzullo, her congressman, documenting examples of what transpired at the conference. Copies of the letter were also sent to members of the NEH Council and to Leach. Professor Blake writes
Dear Congressman Manzullo:

As one of twenty-five American scholars chosen to participate in the recent National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Workshop, "History and Commemoration: Legacies of the Pacific War in WWII," at the University of Hawaii, East-West Center, I am writing to ask you to vote against approval of 2011 funding for future workshops until the NEH can account for the violation of its stated objective to foster "a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups" (NEH Budget Request, 2011).

In my thirty years as a professor in upper education, I have never witnessed nor participated in a more extremist, agenda-driven, revisionist conference, nearly devoid of rhetorical balance and historical context for the arguments presented.

In both the required preparatory readings for the conference, as well as the scholarly presentations, I found the overriding messages to include the following:

1. The U.S. military and its veterans constitute an imperialistic, oppressive force which has created and perpetuated its own mythology of liberation and heroism, insisting on a "pristine collective memory" of the war. The authors/presenters equate this to Japan's almost total amnesia and denial about its own war atrocities (Fujitani, White, Yoneyama, 9, 23). One presenter specifically wrote about turning down a job offer when he realized that his office would overlook a fleet of U.S. Naval warships, "the symbol of American power and the symbol of our [Hawaiians'] dispossession...I decided they could not pay me enough" (Osorio 5). Later he claimed that electric and oil companies were at the root of WWII, and that the U.S. developed a naval base at Pearl Harbor to ensure that its own coasts would not be attacked (9, 13).

2. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor should be seen from the perspective of Japan being a victim of western oppression (one speaker likened the attack to 9-11, saying that the U.S. could be seen as "both victim and aggressor" in both attacks); that American "imperial expansion" forced Japan's hand: "For the Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western Imperialism" (Yoneyama 335-336); and the Pearl Harbor attack could be seen as a "pre-emptive strike." (No mention of the main reason for the Pearl Harbor attack: the U.S. had cut off Japan's oil supply in order to stop the wholesale slaughter of Chinese civilians at the hands of the Japanese military.) Another author argued that the Japanese attack was no more "infamous" or "sneaky" than American actions in Korea or Vietnam (Rosenberg 31-32).

3. War memorials, such as the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery (where many WWII dead are buried, including those executed by the Japanese on Wake Island and the beloved American journalist Ernie Pyle), are symbols of military aggression and brutality "that pacify death, sanitize war and enable future wars to be fought" (Ferguson and Turnbull, 1). One author stated that the memorials represent American propaganda, "the right to alter a story" (Camacho 201).

4. The U.S. military has repeatedly committed rapes and other violent crimes throughout its past through the present day. Cited here was the handful of cases of attacks by Marines in Okinawa (Fujitani, et al, 13ff). (What was not cited were the mass-murders, rapes, mutilations of hundreds of thousands of Chinese at the hands of the Japanese throughout the 1930s and 40s. This issue is a perfect example of the numerous instances of assertions made without balance or historical context.) Another author stated that the segregation in place within our military and our "occupation" of Germany after the war was comparable to Nazism ('we were as capable of as much evil as the Germans") even though the author admits, with some incredulity, that he "saw no genuine torture, despite all the [American] arrogance, xenophobia and insensitivity." He attributes American kindness towards conquered Germans to our "wealth and power" which allowed us to "forego the extreme kinds of barbarism" (Davis 586). Another author/presenter compared the temporary relocation camps erected by Americans during the war to Nazi extermination camps (Camacho 206). (This is perhaps the most outrageous, offensive and blatantly false statement I have ever read in a supposedly scholarly work).

5. Those misguided members of the WWII generation on islands like Guam and Saipan who feel gratitude to the Americans for saving them from the Japanese are blinded by propaganda supporting "the image of a compassionate America" or by their own advanced age. One author/presenter questioned whether the Americans had saved anyone from anything (Camacho 177, 209), arguing that the Americans could be seen as easily and justifiably as "conquerors and invaders" (199).

Much more HERE


Race and the 2010 elections

Star Parker

Will the NAACP be celebrating the arrival of two new black faces to the U.S. House of Representatives? Don’t hold your breath. They certainly will not. These two new black congressmen are Republicans.

There’s a powerful message here that should and must be digested. We have arrived in post-racial America but establishment blacks – lodged in the political left – refuse to accept it and are doing all they can to get black citizens to refuse to accept it.

The sobering reality is that the black political establishment doesn’t want Dr. King’s dream. They don’t want an America where people are judged by the content of their character. They want an America that is Democrat and left wing and this is what they promote today under the banner of civil rights.

The campaign by the NAACP and leading black journalists – all liberals – to paint the Tea Party movement, the push back against government growth and intrusiveness over the last two years, as motivated by racism is shameful.

Shortly before the elections, the NAACP produced a tome called “Tea Party Nationalism,” alleging racist connections to the Tea Party movement. The day before the elections, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote a column suggesting that the Tea Party movement was a well funded racist pushback against President Obama which started the day of his inauguration.

Tim Scott and Allen West, our new black Republican congressmen, are both aggressive and unapologetic voices for everything the Tea Party movement stands for. They were just elected in districts that are overwhelmingly white. Both also defeated white Republican opponents in their primaries.

Scott’s district is Republican. But West’s is not. Florida’s 22nd district that just elected West voted for Barack Obama in 2008, John Kerry in 2004, and Al Gore in 2000. I guess these white Democrats and Independents didn’t get the racism memo.

The political tsunami, washing in a wave of new Republicans to Washington, was caused by a major shift in the vote of political independents, overwhelmingly white, and who largely voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

Who turned on the light after the presidential election that caused these white voters to discover that the man they voted for, to their horror according to the NAACP and Eugene Robinson, is black?

Tim Scott and Allen West won their races. But there were 14 blacks total running as Republicans in congressional races around the country, including me. We hate racism because it denies that what is in a person’s mind and heart has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Almost everyone in America today, Thank God, appreciates this truth. When will the left wing black establishment wake up to it?


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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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)


7 November, 2010

The GOP gets a second chance

by Jeff Jacoby

THE MOST encouraging thing about the Republican triumph in last week's midterm elections is that so many Republicans acknowledge that it wasn't a Republican triumph.

"We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party," Florida's impressive senator-elect, Marco Rubio, said in his victory speech Tuesday night. "What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago."

The same sentiment was expressed by the likely next House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia. "There isn't a lot of confidence focused on the Republicans yet," he told CBS the morning after the election. "It isn't necessarily a vote of confidence for Republican leadership."

Outside Congress, too, influential Republican strategists have been warning the victors against hubris and the temptation to gloat. "Republicans must not delude themselves," wrote political mastermind Karl Rove. "The voters didn't throw out the Democrats because they are enraptured with the GOP. . . . Republicans are on probation."

So they are. Voters have been betrayed in the past by Republicans who ran for office vowing to shrink the scope and cost and intrusiveness of government, only to end up presiding over ever-more-bloated budgets, record-setting deficits, increasingly unaffordable entitlements, and disgraceful ethical lapses.

The last time a GOP majority took control of the US House of Representatives -- under Newt Gingrich in January 1995 -- Republicans produced a list of more than 300 unnecessary federal agencies, funds, and programs that they intended to "zero out" as proof of their fiscal responsibility. Yet nearly every item on that list was still alive and well when the Republicans lost their majority 12 years later.

The tidal wave that swept so many Democrats out to sea last week was a repudiation of the extremely liberal Obama-Pelosi agenda of the past two years -- the tax increases, the massive health-care overhaul, the trillion-dollar deficits, the regulatory explosion, and the condescending, we-know-best disdain for anyone who opposed them. As the lesser of two evils, Republicans ended up the big winners on Election Day. But they will not regain the trust they squandered the last time around without proving that they deserve it.

What is it time for, then? First and foremost, it is time to reverse the destructive Obama policies that have alarmed so many voters and made businesses so uneasy. It is essential that Republicans keep tax rates from rising. They must roll back spending decisively. And they must dismantle as much of the misbegotten health-care law as a party in control of just one house of Congress can.

They must also make it clear that they have learned from the failure of the previous GOP majority. That means permanently ending the pork-and-earmark culture that has so corrupted the budgeting process. It means defunding, not perpetuating, the corporate welfare and agriculture subsidies that violate every free-market principle Republicans claim to stand for.



Tea Party Boosted Republicans in 2010

There is no question that the tea party movement has dramatically contributed to the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and narrowing the margin in the Senate. In addition to providing boosted turnout — it helped raise turnout to an estimated 41.5 percent (some 90 million) — since early 2009, the tea parties and other citizen activists have helped to dramatically shape the debate toward limiting the size and scope of government.

In fact, the American people set the agenda in the midterms. Their staunch opposition to the failed $812 “stimulus”, ObamaCare, the carbon cap-and-tax, bailouts, and government takeovers emboldened, empowered, and encouraged Republicans on Capitol Hill to take strong a stand on their behalf.

Whoever is saying the tea parties were somehow a hindrance to the GOP in 2010 need to get their heads examined. Republicans in the House picked up the most seats of either party since 1948. To argue the tea parties were inconsequential, or an impediment, one has to maintain that such a turnaround in the fortunes of Republicans was somehow inevitable.

It was not. Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson recently wrote that Republican opposition to the Obama statist agenda “gave the American people confidence that they had representation — that they had a voice.” That was a critical development. Republicans were extremely unpopular when they were completely driven out of power in 2008.

Nor was there any guarantee after Obama was elected that the GOP would even unite against his agenda. When they did, that was when the American people responded.

Wilson called the outcome of the election “decisive,” adding that “The American people have spoken, and because of their efforts, House Republicans and a growing number of Senate Republicans have been offered a second chance to bring the nation’s fiscal house into order.”

“But the work is not over with a mere election,” Wilson added. “Now, the American people must hold the new Congress accountable for their pledges to pay down the debt, repeal ObamaCare, create jobs, and end the bailouts once and for all.”

Wilson said the early indications that Republicans are listening are “favorable,” and wrote that Boehner and McConnell “deserve praise for leading the opposition during the first two dark years of the Obama presidency.”

Certainly, it is clear that Republicans have been given a new lease on political life by the American people. This would not have been possible if Republicans were divided on Capitol Hill over whether to support the Obama agenda. That would have had the effect of sucking the energy out of the tea party movement, and would have wrecked their 2010 prospects.

At the press conference, McConnell said that Democrats “may have missed the message” of the elections. “I get the impression that they’re thinking — their view is that [Republicans] have not cooperated enough. I think what the American people were saying yesterday that they appreciated us saying ‘no’ to the things that the American people indicated they were not in favor of.”

In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, McConnell got more specific about what he means, outlining his “primary legislative goals”: “repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government”.

If they do indeed make good on their pledges to voters, Republicans will find that the tea party movement will be continue to be a valuable ally. Those activists who propelled them back into power will remain vital to shaping the debate and pressuring members of Congress to vote to limit government. If the American people continue to hold Congress accountable for their actions, 2010 will have just been the beginning.



Coastal Leftism

Here's my question: If this week's election returns demonstrate that the vast majority of the country is moving to the right, why do the West Coast and the Northeast continue to embrace liberalism, especially when it has led to economic disaster?

Both California and New York are on the verge of bankruptcy and, according to Forbes magazine, are hostile to business by way of high taxation and strict regulation of commerce. California currently owes $158 billion, and New York is holding $60 billion in debt. But Sen. Barbara Boxer in the Golden State and New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, all big spenders, won their respective races easily.

Boxer is a classic tax-and-spend liberal who never met an entitlement program she didn't want to vacation with. So why did she coast on the Coast? The answer has to be that the "where's mine" culture has taken deep root out west; people want stuff from government, and deficits be damned.

In the Atlantic states north of the Mason-Dixon line, it is union power and Democratic machine politics that hold sway. In Philadelphia, for example, it is all liberal, all the time. Even Ben Franklin couldn't move that bunch. New York City politics and Boston politics are similar -- Democrats dominate the union vote and most ballots in the inner city.

So while the rest of the country has thrown the big-spending rascals out, the liberal power structure holds on in select areas no matter how dismal the economy is. In his press conference after the Democrats got hammered, President Obama showed some humility, but he also knows that come 2012, he'll begin with 86 electoral votes courtesy of California and New York no matter what he does.

Thus, the United States is not really united anymore. We are now a nation of coalitions. The tea party movement is largely supported outside the big cities, while the progressive base is mostly urban. If you listen closely to what the two groups are saying, there is no common ground at all. The president says he wants to work with his opponents and find policies that all can embrace. Does that seem likely to you?



Why Palin Petrifies Progressives

Doug Giles

Here’s why I believe the dour democratic dames particularly dislike Palin. Check it out:

1. Palin’s hot and can rock a pair of heels, hunting boots, or any garment she dons. And you can tell she knows it and likes it. Most of the ladies on the Left, however, cannot—and we all know how jealous and petty some chicks can be when they’re aesthetically upstaged (cat fight).

2. They hate Sarah because she’s supposedly anti-intellectual. However, I’d love to see Tina Fey, Katie Couric or Joy Behag go mano a mano with her on any given topic and see who comes off looking like Snooki.

3. The feministas don’t dig SP because she’s had five kids (one of whom has Down’s Syndrome) and has never considered offing any of them in her womb.

4. She believes in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and they hate Christians.

5. She’s a conservative, and they hate conservatives.

6. She’s insanely successful, and she did it without curtsying to their wacked weltanschauung.

7. Her husband’s not some prissy, manicured metrosexual man-child but an ass kicking Alaskan.

8. She hunts and fishes. Her motto: Shoot it. Stuff it. Hang it on a wall, baby.

9. She’s unapologetic to all of the above.

10. And finally, they know that if she ever makes it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that she’s going to hand the Dems their shriveled BB-sized cojones on a free market platter while the majority of the USA gives her a standing ovation.

And that, my children, is why Palin petrifies the paranormal progressives.



Will Obama Triangulate?

Now that President Obama has experienced the same baptism of fire as Bill Clinton did in the midterm elections, the obvious question is whether he will move to the center in a bid to save his presidency and win re-election. The move worked well for President Clinton, as he sought to combine the best aspects of each party's program in a third approach that came to be known as triangulation. Will Obama follow suit?

He won't because -- even if he wanted to -- he can't.

The issues today are very different from those that separated the parties in 1994 and do not lend themselves to common ground. Obama's programs during his first two years in office have been so radical, far reaching and fundamental that any compromise leaves the nation so far to the left of where it has always been and wants to be as to make it unacceptable to the American people.

When Obama took office, the federal, state and local governments controlled 35 percent of the American economy. We ranked 15th among the two dozen advanced countries. Now it controls 44.7 percent, ranking us seventh, ahead of Germany and Britain. So where is the compromise? Are we to raise taxes and cut spending so that government is only, say, 40 percent of our economy?

To raise taxes to cover even a part of that increase would be to lock in a level of big government that is anathema to our free enterprise system. You cannot have a free market economy with a government that big sitting in the middle of your economy, hoarding capital, pouncing on all available credit, taking away such a major portion of your national income.

While negotiation is always possible on spending cuts, raising or lowering them or redirecting their focus, the bottom line of sharp deficit reduction is not up for discussion. Both parties are locked into the need to bring down the debt before it strangles our economy. With this imperative in mind, a zero tax increase policy will require budget cuts that Obama and the left will find unacceptable. For them, the slashes in social spending will also preclude a search for middle ground.




Informal production of pro-social behavior: "My view has always been that what really holds a society together is not the body of law enacted by a legislature or handed down by a king, but peer pressure, social opprobrium, and moral approbation. When somebody breaks a society’s rules, a trial of some type ensues, to determine who’s right, what harm has been done, who should be compensated, and so forth. Juries are one way people have developed for helping to determine these things. But I would argue that the state is not a necessary part of any of this.”

Prince Andrew criticizes British defence chiefs: "The Duke of York has attacked the “hopeless” Ministry of Defence for failing to order armoured vehicles that could save soldiers’ lives. He accused defence chiefs of sitting on their “fat backsides” and stalling on bringing in British-built Rangers, which are said to have three times the blast resistance of troop carriers currently in use. His comments are likely to embarrass David Cameron, who has insisted that defence cuts will not compromise the safety of those serving in Afghanistan. They also amounted to a breach of protocol, which dictates that members of the Royal family should avoid expressing political views. The Duke was applauded by relatives of fallen soldiers. The 50-year-old Duke, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot and colonel-in-chief of five Army regiments, has regularly visited Afghanistan to see the challenges faced by British service personnel."

Anglican bishops set to resign over the ordination of women: "Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to announce the resignation of two bishops on Monday, in the first of what is feared will be a wave of departures from the Church of England by traditionalists converting to Roman Catholicism. The Bishop of Richborough, the Right Rev Keith Newton, 58, is expected to become leader or the Anglican Ordinariate, set up to provide Catholic refuge to Anglicans who leave the Church of England over the issue of women bishops. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Rev Andrew Burnham, 63, is also expected to join the Ordinariate, along with the Bishop of Fulham, the Right Rev John Broadhurst, who announced last month that he will be resigning at the end of the year."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


6 November, 2010

Global anger mounts at 'clueless' Fed actions

Obama's minions keep devaluing the dollar by printing a torrent of new dollars. They're deposits in banks etc rather than folding notes but the effect is the same

Global anger at a fresh round of liquidity injections into the US economy swelled on Friday as Germany called the move "clueless" and emerging nations protested that it will wreak havoc on them.

Harsh criticism poured in as President Barack Obama headed for Asia on a trip he had hoped to use as a springboard for pressuring China to revalue its yuan but may end up in a fractious Group of 20 leaders summit next week.

The United States has been pressing China, largely unsuccessfully, to let its yuan currency rise more quickly to reflect the strength of what is now the world's second-largest economy and help correct global trade imbalances.

The Federal Reserve's decision this week to buy $US600 billion in long-term bonds with new money to try to revive the flagging US economy have increased fears of more money pouring across borders in search of better returns.

China landed its own blows by saying a US proposal for numerical targets for surpluses and deficits - akin to a range for yuan appreciation - smacked of outmoded central planning that won't win any friends for the United States.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, who is China's chief G20 negotiator, told a news briefing that he was also worried at the prospect of a flood of money pouring into global markets in search of higher yields. "They owe us some explanation," Cui said. "I've seen much concern about the impact of this policy on financial stability in other countries."

Fed liquidity creating problems in other countries

A "common theme" is emerging that "excess liquidity in the US is creating problems in other countries," Brazil's Central Bank Governor Henrique Meirelles told reporters in Chicago.

Resentment abroad stems from worry that Fed pump-priming will hasten the US dollar's slide and cause their currencies to shoot up in value, setting the stage for asset bubbles and making a future burst of inflation more likely.

"With all due respect, US policy is clueless," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a conference. "(The problem) is not a shortage of liquidity. It's not that the Americans haven't pumped enough liquidity into the market, and now to say let's pump more into the market is not going to solve their problems."

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking to students in Florida, seized the opportunity to defend the move by saying "a strong US economy, a recovering economy, is critical, not just for Americans but it's also critical for the global economy."

New US unemployment figures on Friday, showing a surprisingly strong 151,000 jobs were created in October, caused some analysts to question whether the Federal Reserve's pledge to buy up to $US600 billion of Treasury securities was even necessary. But with a jobless rate stuck at 9.6 per cent, few doubted the Fed will proceed with buying.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will address US policy in Group of 20 discussions on exchange rates, a government source said, adding that she shared Schaeuble's criticism.

Policymakers from the world's new economic powerhouses in Latin America and Asia have said they would consider fresh steps to curb capital inflows after the Fed's move.

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said Fed policy "undermines the spirit of multilateral cooperation" that the G20 had sought to achieve. The money will find its way into financial markets of emerging nations with potentially devastating impact on their exports, he charged.

Zhou Xiaochuan, China's central bank governor, said while Beijing could understand that the Fed was implementing more monetary easing in order to stimulate US recovery, it may not be a good policy for the global economy.



Now, it is time to govern

Without specifically saying so, modern conservative leaders have moved toward a view of conservatism as a fixed political philosophy based on the principles of the Founding, themselves informed more by Locke, Hobbes and Montesquieu than by Burke. As a result, the Republican class of 2011 is positioned to advance an articulated and cohesive ideology. This class brings to office a critical mass of members who know what they think and why they think it. They will anchor Congress more firmly to the right than ever before and shift the center of gravity rightward.

The Left has always had guiding principles and that is why it has been so easy to map its direction and define its agenda. Its effort has always been the advancement of an articulated ideology. That is why it has so efficiently advanced that agenda in its inexorable march toward its ideal society. In contrast to conservatism, it has been a philosophy, not a lifestyle. For the first time, its philosophy will be challenged by an opposing philosophy rooted in a completely different philosophical tradition and based on defined first principles with very different civic goals. For the first time, the debate will force the evaluation of fundamental assumptions on both sides. This will not be political jockeying. It will be a true clash of ideas.

The evolution of conservatism from an inchoate, uneasy sense that things are just not right to a defined set of ideas, is a refreshing development. It enables conservatives to re-imagine the shape and purpose of government and lends cohesion to its approach to governance and coherence to its approach to public policy. It is no longer left “standing athwart history yelling ‘stop!’”, in Buckley’s formulation but, like the Founders, with the task of defining its idea of the proper role of government and its relationship to the citizen.

With Republican majorities so immediately looming, it is worth contemplating what conservatives should do with them. Conservative electoral victory presents peril even greater than its promise. It is important to note that the Republican Party’s electoral success came not from a turn to the middle, as urged by such as David Brooks and David Frum, but from a hard turn to the right. Republicans were urged by Colin Powell and other fair weather Republicans, to reject voices on the right that suggested that the Party’s troubles were not the result of too close an adherence to conservative principles but by the abandonment of them. So much for the received wisdom of Colin Powell.

It would be seductive for conservatives to indulge themselves in the sort of overweening triumphalism that led the left to its current state of electoral ruin. After so many years in the wilderness, leftists misread their mandate with Obama’s election. They thought their victory was an endorsement of their ideological goals. In the flush of victory and believing the nonsense of columnists who suggested they would never again face viable opposition from the right with the death of conservatism and the marginalization and imminent death of the Republican Party, they pursued a radical and comprehensive program that shocked the nation and roused the deep, abiding and fundamental conservatism of the American public. Conservatives must not make the same mistake.

Republicans need to deliver. But they cannot deliver everything all at once, as Democrats attempted to do these past two years. They should pursue an aggressive, but limited, agenda that addresses the immediate concerns of voters. They should pursue the art of the possible, understanding that they may not succeed at each effort.

People are scared. They see an economy in free fall and unemployment in double digits. They have seen their retirement accounts disappear and their home values plummet, if they still even have homes. They have seen their careful retirement planning evaporate and they suffer a deep sense of insecurity. It must be addressed and addressed boldly.

Conservatives know what it takes to revive an economy. They know that the free market has always provided the greatest good for the greatest number. They know, too, the destructive impact of government interference with the private sector. They know, then, what it will take to generate the economic activity that will prompt growth and job creation.

They must turn their attention, first, to opening up the flow of money so banks begin lending for the expansion of business activity. It is hard to feel sorry for bankers, but they are faced with an administration that demonizes them at every opportunity. They are told that they must start lending but, also, that if they make a mistake, their banks will be seized and they will see themselves on the 6 o’clock news being marched off to jail. They have been hit with regulations on regulations that have them tied in knots, assuming they have yet digested the comprehensive new rules that purport to create safety but which disincentivize them from making loans to any but the most creditworthy customers.

Entrepreneurs are seldom the most creditworthy of customers but they make up the engine of job creation. Loans with some inherent risk are the very loans necessary to get the economy moving again. Entrepreneurship is the balancing of risk to potential reward. Current regulation, in so completely limiting risk, has, at the same time, strangled the prospect of reward.

Republicans must first, therefore, take the step of cutting financial regulations and encouraging business and real estate lending by allowing bankers to loosen lending standards. Until lending starts to flow, the economy will languish.

Regulation is throttling economic growth. The new Congress should start the hard work of reviewing all federal regulations – one by one – and challenging any for which there is no effective continuing rationale. Hearings should be organized to which the industry groups of those most affected by regulation should be invited and at which they will be asked to present the impact of regulation on their businesses. They should be encouraged to specify which regulations the cancellation of which would be most likely to promote growth. Nothing should be off the table. If outright repeal is not possible, de-funding surely will be as the House, with its budgetary power, can refuse to fund any department, agency or program that stands in the way of economic expansion.

Closely related to challenges to regulation is the size and scope of government. Fewer regulations will diminish the rationale for current federal programs and, therefore, current personnel levels. Conservatives have consistently criticized the growth of government but neither Republicans nor Democrats have done anything but slow its growth. The time has come to reverse that growth; to actually reduce the size of government.

Both houses of Congress have committees for each department of government. Each should commence studies with an eye toward the elimination of programs and the actual reduction of departments by challenging, first, their continuing necessity and, second, their staffing and spending levels. Congress cannot cut government unless it knows what government is doing. The studies should be accompanied by the stated goal of actual budget reduction of at least 10%. The studies must be finished promptly so reform can be proposed within the year. They should, therefore, have short dates for the completion of work; say, summer of 2011.

The House should implement a policy of zero based budgeting, requiring that every department and program justify its budget requests not by reference to what has been spent before but by showing that the programs for which funding is sought continue to have a reason to exist.

Spending reduction must be started in earnest. This summer, it was reported that federal employees enjoy salaries and benefits that are twice those in private industry. The House can, in connection with its budgeting power, implement the indexing of federal salaries and benefits to those in private industry. That single reform would reduce federal spending by a significant percentage. After all, the single biggest governmental expense is personnel. Public employee groups notwithstanding, the work done by federal workers is completely analogous to that in private industry. Clerical staff is clerical staff. Middle management is middle management. Purchasing is purchasing. There is no reason for such a disparity in salary and benefit levels other than that successive Congresses, Republican and Democrat, have been asleep at the wheel. Republicans need not fear the wrath of federal employees. They are not a Republican constituency.

Everyone knows that budget reduction cannot be achieved without addressing entitlements. David Stockman has argued that unless entitlement payments are reduced (or taxes raised), the budget will never be controlled, never pausing to consider that the cost of administering entitlement programs represents an enormous percentage of the total spent. Administration can be dramatically cut without a concomitant reduction in benefits. It should be undertaken immediately. That is not to say that other reforms are not necessary. They are. But they can be addressed after less controversial reductions have been achieved and we can see the impact of those reductions.

Perhaps the most dramatic immediate reform Republicans should initiate is the streamlining of the tax system. If Republicans cannot achieve this single initiative, it is difficult to imagine their achieving anything of substance. Polling shows there is a national consensus, cutting across party lines, for a system of taxation that is fairer and flatter. Yet when Republicans had control of the legislative and executive branches of government, they never seriously considered the matter. It is time to do so. Resistance will be fierce from the left and its friends in the media. Republicans will be accused of trying to take food out of the mouths of widows and orphans. They will be accused of heartlessness. But a flatter, simpler tax can result not only in a huge saving in a much reduced bureaucracy but also in the time and attention Americans must spend in determining and paying their taxes. There is even a constituency for a flat tax among Democrats. Jerry Brown, the once and future governor or California, proposed a flat tax during his presidential runs. Elected Democrats might resist it, but their constituents will support it.

A national value added tax, combined with a repeal of the income tax and the 16th Amendment that allows it to exist, would pick up the massive underground economy and would not only yield a fairer means of taxation but would give everyone a stake in the game. It would, at once, simply the system of taxation and, at the same time, fully fund government.

Finally, Republicans should cut off the head of the snake. There is little constituency for the pensions and public sector spending that are breaking the bank other than public employee unions. Their wealth and political support have kept leftism alive well past its expiration date. Freedom to work is an important American value and the vast majority of Americans no longer see a need for supporting unions, especially public sector unions. Those unions are driving states, counties and cities to insolvency and the policies they have championed by way of bloated pensions, represent a burden on generations to come and a drag on economic growth. A national right to work law would not only implement fairness for workers but would, at the same time, reduce the impact of self-interested union political spending.

If a right to work law cannot be passed over likely Democratic opposition and the threat (or reality) of presidential veto, those instrumentalities that extend undue protection to unions, such as the plethora of programs extant in the Department of Labor, can be defunded by majority vote in the House of Representatives. That could set the stage for a compromise that would begin to move the ball toward a free market in labor.




People are buying stocks while their dollars are still worth something: "Stocks rallied Thursday to their highest level since September 2008. The Dow surged nearly 220-points to its highest level since September 2008 thanks to the Federal Reserve's plan to buy $600 billion in treasurys. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 219.71 points, or 1.96%, to 11434.84, its highest closing level since just before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed. Dow components Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Caterpillar propelled blue chips to their fifth gain in a row and biggest climb since Sept. 1."

Unemployment not budging: “October marks the 18th straight month that unemployment has been at or above 9.4 percent—the longest period of time of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression. That is as remarkable as it is sad for millions of American families who increasingly cannot make their mortgage payments. Foreclosures are still at all time highs, even as Barack Obama claimed that the worst of the crisis was behind us. Obama’s policies have failed to put America back to work. “It is time for the Obama Administration to change course, and for the newly elected Congress to plot a new direction. ObamaCare and its many mandates are getting in the way of hiring decisions by employers."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


5 November, 2010

Republicans to unpick Obama's health reforms

Barely 24 hours after the Republicans stormed back to take control of Congress, the first roadblocks to bipartisanship appeared over the President's healthcare reforms.

Although talk after the midterm congressional elections was marked by tones of compromise and contrition, the probable new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, repeated Republican pledges to try to repeal Barack Obama's policy.

"I believe that the healthcare bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world and bankrupt our country," he said.
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"That means we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance."

But Mr Obama made clear that he was only interested in tinkering with of the bill and explained Tuesday's landslide as reflecting people's "number-one concern . the economy".

He rejected suggestions that he was taking the country in the wrong direction, but appeared to leave the door open to compromises that could see an extension of the George Bush-era tax cuts to everyone, including the rich, as well as the fine-tuning of his financial regulatory reforms and the plans for energy independence.

But he wants the Republicans to agree to extend dole payments to long-term unemployed beyond the current 99 weeks, with as many as 2 million jobless set to lose their benefits at the end of this month.

Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is likely to become the Republicans' leader in the House, unveiled a plan of budget cuts and Obama policy reversals.

Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is in line to chair the House Budget committee, insisted: "We should not allow any tax increases, period, because it's going to slow the economy down. If you want to get this deficit down, you need two things: economic growth and spending cuts."



Soak the rich? An interesting vote from the other Washington

Do Americans share President Obama's desire to impose redistributive social justice on the well off? In liberal Washington State, of all places, voters gave a definitive answer this Tuesday: No! The resounding rejection of a punitive "Robin Hood" initiative shows that it's not just red-state Republicans who oppose extreme tax hikes on the nation's wealth generators.

As Capitol Hill resumes debate on whether to extend the so-called "Bush tax cuts," the White House should pay special heed to the fate of little-noticed Initiative 1098. Its defeat by a whopping 65-35 margin doesn't bode well for Team Obama's class warriors still clinging bitterly to their soak-the-rich schemes. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insisted this summer that saddling higher earners with higher taxes was "the responsible thing to do." Given the chance to weigh in at the ballot box, a diverse majority of voters in the other Washington determined otherwise.

The Evergreen State is just one of seven states in the nation without a personal income tax. The ballot measure, which would have enacted a state income tax on the wealthiest 1 percent of Washington residents to raise $2 billion for bankrupt public schools, was sponsored by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his left-wing corporate lawyer father. Top donors? The Service Employees International Union, whose state and national chapters threw in a combined $2.5 million of its members' hard-earned dues money, and the National Education Association, which pitched in nearly $760,000.

Hiding behind kiddie human shields, the I-1098 campaign assailed the wealthy for "not paying their fair share" and plastered their campaign literature with sad-faced students and toddlers. Big Labor has been pushing a punish-the-wealthy movement for months. According to Forbes magazine, "six of the 10 states with the highest income tax rates -- Oregon, California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina -- raised their levies on high earners, at least temporarily" last year.

But business owners large and small, representing companies from Bartell Drugs to Amazon.com, successfully fought back against the job-killing measure in Washington State. Disavowing the Gateses, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer also joined the opposition. The software company's senior executives expressed grave concern "about the impact I-1098 will have on the state's ability to attract top tech talent in the future."

Liberal newspaper editorial boards including the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune added their objections, citing I-1098's reckless targeting of wealth-creation in the middle of a recession and the inevitable extension and increase of income taxes to the middle class. And economists at the independent, nonpartisan Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University found that I-1098's tax burdens would lengthen and deepen the current economic downturn by destroying private sector jobs, reducing residents' disposable income and prolonging the state's high unemployment rate.

Amber Gunn of the free-market Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Wash., gave the bottom line on I-1098's unreality-based advocates: "Initiative proponents like to operate in a Keynesian world where higher tax rates and their effects on human behavior and competitiveness among states don't matter. But those effects are present in the real world and must be accounted for."

Republicans must stop allowing the White House to demonize America's entrepreneurs and producers. By continuing to refer to them as beneficiaries of the "Bush tax cuts" instead of as the besieged victims of Obama tax increases, the GOP cedes the moral high ground. It's time to make the White House own its noxious war on wealth.



Obama's Big Spending Days Are Over

The new conservative majority in the House and at least six more Republicans in the Senate gives the GOP de facto control of Congress and its agenda for the next two years.

Nothing can be enacted without the approval of the GOP House, and the enlarged Republican caucus in the Senate has significantly strengthened Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's hand against a smaller, weaker and more fractured Democrat majority.

With fewer (52 or 53) Democrats on his side of the aisle, Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a lot of narrow votes and, more than likely, losing ones. President Obama's stalled tax-and-trade energy bill never went anywhere in the Senate because a bunch of Democrats from fossil-fuel-manufacturing states and the Republicans teamed up to block it. Now the votes are there to kill it.

The Obama administration's big-spending agenda is going to get the cold shoulder, too, when the president sends his budget plan up to Capitol Hill next year. If the voters spoke loud and clear on any issue, it was their belief that government has grown too big and spends too much.

After racking up nearly $3 trillion in deficits in just his first two years in office, with another $1 trillion-plus deficit in store for next year and the year after that, Republicans have made it clear that the days of Obama's spending sprees have come to an end.

A chilling new budget analysis released last week by the Heritage Foundation reveals the extent of the fiscal crisis that looms over us in the coming decade. "Soaring spending drives these dangerous deficits," says the think tank's chief budget analyst Brian Riedl. "By 2020, federal spending is set to soar to 26 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), after having averaged 20 percent after World War II."

"If Congress does nothing and simply continues existing taxing and spending policies, annual federal deficits will grow, reaching a projected $2 trillion deficit in just 10 years -- and even that assumes a return to peace and prosperity," Riedl says.

This is why a number of politically vulnerable Democrats, who will face the voters in 2012, will be lining up with Republican colleagues to vote for smaller budgets, too.

With Republicans gaining more than 60 seats in the House, their largest majority since the Truman years, they are going to be able to drive the budget process in Congress, and Harry Reid won't be able to block them in the Senate. Under the budget's reconciliation rules, there is no filibuster requiring 60 votes to take up the measure that needs only a simple majority to pass it.




A defense of the enterprising rich: "With the mid-term elections having arrived, I would like to take a moment to defend the people among us, those designated as ‘rich,’ who seem to be considered less fellow citizens than sheep to be shorn. In the prevailing attitude towards those so designated, in the redistributionist policies promised by craven office seekers to the voting mob, we treat these people less as human beings than as lambs to be slaughtered for the gratification of our greed and envy. We need to take a moment and think about what we are doing, because by attacking them, we attack ourselves.”

The real “Party of No” is government bureaucrats: "Shortly before Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. tomorrow, put-upon bureaucrats will hold their own event. They’ve dubbed it the ‘Government Doesn’t Suck’ rally. Really? Try telling that to Esmerelda Rodriguez. The Chicago resident spent an entire year trying to get the permission of Chicago’s bureaucracy so she could open a children’s play center. … Rodriguez ran out of money long before Chicago ran out of red tape, and she was forced to give up her dream.”

Another A380 engine explodes: "Passengers on the giant Qantas Airways jet forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore on Thursday said they heard a loud bang and saw pieces of one of the engines fall off soon after take-off for Sydney. The Airbus A380, which had originated in London and was carrying 459 people, suffered failure of one of its four engines. Australian officials said no one on board was injured. One passenger said an explosion ripped off the engine's rear casing. "I just heard this massive bang, like a shotgun going off," Tyler Wooster told Australia's Network Nine television. "Part of the skin had peeled off and you could see the foam underneath, pieces of broken wires sticking out."

United Nations says Norway is the best place to live, and Australia is second-best: "The United Nations has named oil-rich Norway as the country with the best quality of life, followed by Australia and NZ, while Asia has made the biggest strides in recent decades. Norway - with its 81 years of life expectancy and average annual income of $US58,810 - has topped the Human Development Index (HDI) for all but two years since 2001. Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland, in order, also made the top five."

Military wants to fly more sophisticated drones: "The military aims to develop more sophisticated, high-tech drones and surveillance aircraft that can collect intelligence in increasingly dangerous combat airspace, a senior Air Force leader said Thursday. Under pressure from Pentagon leaders, the Air Force has already dramatically increased the number of armed and unarmed drones over Afghanistan and Iraq. But there are growing worries that the U.S. needs aircraft able to gather information and wage electronic attacks in airspace that is more contested, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.”

Poll: Obama would beat Palin, but not Huckabee: "The midterm elections are so yesterday. The eyes of many political insiders are already turning to 2012. President Obama would handily beat Sarah Palin in the next presidential election, despite strong anti-incumbent feelings and the Democrats losing the House to the GOP this week, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates. And while Obama would win against the Tea Party favorite, 52% to 44% among registered voters, pit the President against Mike Huckabee and it’s an entirely different story.” [If Obama continues on his present path, a half-dead monkey should be able to oust him]

DC: Three top committee chairmen ousted: "Some of the Democratic Party’s heaviest hitters went down in the House on Tuesday, a sign of the breadth and scope of voter discontent with incumbents …. Ike Skelton, a 34-year incumbent and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, lost his central Missouri seat despite a reputation as a conservative Democrat …. In South Carolina, John Spratt, House Budget Committee chairman, lost a hard-fought campaign for a 15th term in a district that had not elected a Republican since 1883. And Jim Oberstar, Transportation Committee chairman and dean of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, succumbed to a political novice after 36 years …” [Three ”Blue Dogs” who only barked on cue]

French arrest two suspected of planning attack: "The French interior minister says police have arrested two brothers suspected of planning a terrorist attack in France. Brice Hortefeux said that the two French citizens are suspected of ‘criminal association with a terrorist enterprise’ and are being questioned Thursday. He spoke on France-2 television, which said the two were arrested in a Paris suburb on Wednesday.”

France announces $22.8 billion in deals with China: "France announced euro16 billion ($22.8 billion) in deals Thursday to sell uranium, technology and more than 100 Airbus planes to China, and the two countries also agreed to a sweeping strategic partnership on nuclear power. Chinese President Hu Jintao’s three-day state visit to France opened with a red carpet welcome, Chinese flags flying on the streets of Paris and dinner at the Elysee Palace — as well as a flurry of deals that made clear how much the countries’ ties have improved.” [They are selling navy ships to Russia too]

Don’t save Social Security: "For one thing, Social Security can always be there. After all, won’t there always be young people who are working to make a living? Isn’t that where the money comes from? So what’s the problem? All that people in their 60s and above have to do is have the government take more money from young people and redistribute it to the seniors.”

The TSA: America’s real child pornography/molestation machine: "Authorities are hot to prosecute individuals for possession of ‘child pornography,’ and even parents who innocently took pictures of their young children in the bathtub have been prosecuted as ‘child pornographers.’ Even to glance at a picture of a nude child in America today is a crime and can land an unsuspecting person in prison. One would think that federal and state authorities, then, would be highly interested to know that each day, individuals wearing costumes engage in both child pornography and ‘bad touches,’ and do it in full view of others.”

Unelected monopolists fear competition: "Tim Adler reports on political panic in London over the Rupert Murdoch-led News Corporation’s proposed buyout of BSkyB, a British pay-television company …. And what better defender of democracy than Lord Puttnam, a member of an unelected legislative body whose members are appointed (for life terms) by the sitting government, in Puttnam’s case because he was one of the Labour Party’s biggest donors. Of course, Puttnam needs to tread out the ‘threat to democracy’ argument because he has no other case against the BSkyB buyout …” [In Britain, you are forced to buy the government media product. You have to buy a license to watch TV -- and the proceeds go straight to the bloated and biased BBC]

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


4 November, 2010

Welcome, Senate Conservatives: Remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom


Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.

Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them."

Don't let them. Co-option is coercion. Washington operates on a favor-based economy and for every earmark, committee assignment or fancy title that's given, payback is expected in return. The chits come due when the roll call votes begin. This is how big-spending bills that everyone always decries in public always manage to pass with just enough votes.

But someone can't be bribed if they aren't for sale. Here is some humble advice on how to recognize and refuse such offers.

First, don't request earmarks. If you do, you'll vote for legislation based on what's in it for your state, not what's best for the country. You will lose the ability to criticize wasteful spending. And, if you dare to oppose other pork-barrel projects, the earmarkers will retaliate against you.

In 2005, Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) offered a measure to kill funding for the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." Before the vote, Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), an appropriator, issued a warning on the Senate floor.

"If we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next," she said. "When Members come down to the floor to vote on this amendment, they need to know if they support stripping out this project, Senator Bond [a Republican appropriator] and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations."

The threat worked. Hardly anyone wanted to risk losing earmarks. The Senate voted 82-15 to protect funding for the Bridge to Nowhere.

Second, hire conservative staff. The old saying "personnel is policy" is true. You don't need Beltway strategists and consultants running your office. Find people who share your values and believe in advancing the same policy reforms. Staff who are driven by conservative instincts can protect you from unwanted, outside influences when the pressure is on.

Third, beware of committees. Committee assignments can be used as bait to make senators compromise on other matters. Rookie senators are often told they must be a member of a particular committee to advance a certain piece of legislation. This may be true in the House, but a senator can legislate on any matter from the Senate floor.

Fourth, don't seek titles. The word "Senator" before your name carries plenty of clout. All senators have the power to object to bad legislation, speak on the floor and offer amendments, regardless of how they are ranked in party hierarchy.

Lastly, don't let your re-election become more important than your job. You've campaigned long and hard for the opportunity to go to Washington and restore freedom in America. People will try to convince you to moderate conservative positions and break campaign promises, all in the name of winning the next race. Resist the temptation to do so. There are worse things than losing an election—like breaking your word to voters.

At your swearing-in ceremony, you will, as all senators do, take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution." Most will fail to keep their oath. Doing these five things will help you maintain a focus on national priorities and be one who does.

Congress will never fix entitlements, simplify the tax code or balance the budget as long as members are more concerned with their own narrow, parochial interests. Time spent securing earmarks and serving personal ambitions is time that should be spent working on big-picture reforms.

When you are in Washington, remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom. Millions of people are out of work, the government is going bankrupt and the country is trillions in debt. Americans have watched in disgust as billions of their tax dollars have been wasted on failed jobs plans, bailouts and takeovers. It's up to us to stop the spending spree and make sure we have a government that benefits America instead of being a burden to it.

Tea party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country—not be co-opted by the club. So put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today.



Is this how Harry Reid got re-elected?

November 2nd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—The Department of Justice is deploying "more than 400 federal observers and department personnel to 30 jurisdictions in 18 states" to monitor today's elections. Of note, however, is that two notable states where irregularities have already been reported, North Carolina and Nevada, are not on the list of states.

In Clark County, Nevada, FOX 5 Vegas reported voters who, when they entering the voting booth, noted that Harry Reid's name was already checked off. Controversy emerged when it was reported that the SEIU Local 1107, which supports Harry Reid, controls the ballot boxes by contract through their representation of the voting machine technicians.

In North Carolina, a similar situation has emerged where voters attempting to vote the Republican ticket had the opposite result recorded in the machine, despite repeated attempts. And in Havelock, NC, at one point the machines only tallied 250 votes cast when 400 people had signed into vote.

However, no federal agents have been called in. Instead, they are going to Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.



ACORN's latest fraud

Bertha Lewis, the potty-mouthed chief organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) announced today that her group has filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides for the liquidation of the estate of an indebted individual or corporate entity. This is different from Chapter 11 which often provides debtors with temporary protection from their creditors while they reorganize their affairs.

Regardless of what happens in the bankruptcy case, ACORN will still exist, albeit in a different form.

Its legally separate voter mobilization division, Project Vote, which used to employ President Obama, remains open for business and continues to be located in ACORN’s office in the nation’s capital. Project Vote’s current voter drive is being run by ACORN executive Amy Busefink, who goes on trial in four weeks in Las Vegas for conspiracy to commit voter registration fraud. ACORN itself is also a defendant in the criminal case. ACORN Housing still operates. It changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America.

The evidence strongly suggests ACORN’s bankruptcy proceeding is an exercise in public relations, rather than a genuine winding down of the group’s affairs. In 14 states plus the District of Columbia ACORN chapters have incorporated themselves under new names. In many cases the “new” groups are located in old ACORN offices and run by ACORN leaders.

According to investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Lewis has been busy this year hoarding ACORN’s remaining assets. Investigators believe the group has about $20 million in cash spread out over 800 bank accounts and that ACORN affiliates hold $10 million in property.

In his book, “Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group,” published months ago by Vanderbilt University Press, ACORN historian John Atlas said ACORN plans to resurface under a new name after the 2010 elections.

One new institution tentatively called the Community Action Support Center will be created “to provide a range of training, technical assistance, and oversight services to the new community organizations.” ACORN’s Brian Kettenring will be interim executive director. Lewis plans to create a Black Leadership Institute. ACORN executive director Steve Kest, who recently joined Van Jones as a “senior fellow” at the left-wing Center for American Progress, quit ACORN “but will work with the new community groups in a consulting and voluntary capacity.”

“The emerging community organizations will retain ACORN’s commitment to building national power, and are beginning discussions toward a process to federate at some later date, presumably after the 2010 elections or in 2011,” Atlas writes. ACORN leaders are working on “voter engagement activities.” They intend “to engage the surge voters of 2008 and turn them into permanent voters in 2010 and beyond.”

ACORN executive Nathan Henderson-James made similar statements in a leaked e-mail. ACORN will be back. In fact, it never actually went anywhere.



As America prints money wholesale, Europe says no to deficit-spending 'stimulus'

Jeff Jacoby

Britain was the birthplace of John Maynard Keynes, but the British government is pursuing precisely the opposite of a Keynesian approach to fiscal policy. Rather than trying to boost demand and create more jobs through extravagant increases in spending and debt, London is practicing austerity. The coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron is sharply cutting public spending, pruning back everything from welfare benefits to the military. Even the sums allocated to maintain the Queen's household will be shrunk. About 8 percent of Britain's roughly 6 million public-sector jobs, or 490,000, will be eliminated.

"We have taken our country back from the brink of bankruptcy," George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, told the House of Commons. "There is nothing fair about running huge budget deficits and burdening future generations with the debts we ourselves are not prepared to pay."

Britain is not an outlier. Across Europe, The New York Times reports, "governments from Germany to Greece are slashing public outlays. . . . The debate in Europe is more on how fast to cut government spending rather than whether such reductions are the right thing to do. . . . In Europe there is hardly a policymaker to be found who is making the argument that governments need to spend more, not less."

Results so far? Economic growth in the United States has been weaker, and the loss of jobs steeper, than in the 16-country euro zone. Especially striking is the contrast with Germany, which resisted heavy US pressure to undertake substantial new deficit spending. While the US economy has been growing at an anemic annual rate of barely 2 percent in recent month, Germany's economy is currently soaring at a 9 percent annual rate. Unemployment in Germany has fallen to 7.5 percent, the lowest it has been in 18 years. Here, it has scarcely fallen at all. What does Berlin understand that Washington doesn't?

"Governments should not become addicted to borrowing as a quick fix to stimulate demand," the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said in June, in response to the Obama administration's criticism of Germany's austerity measures. "Deficit spending cannot become a permanent state of affairs." President Obama, on the other hand, speaks blithely of "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come."

You can find economists to back up any point of view. Some will even tell you that the best way out of a hole brought on by too much debt is to dig even deeper into debt. The feeble US recovery suggests that the real world doesn't agree with those economists. Yesterday's election suggests that the voters don't, either.




In California, even a dead Democrat defeats a Republican: "With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, deceased candidate, Democrat Jenny Oropeza, defeated Republican John Stammreich in the race for State Senate in the 28th district. Oropeza, 53, died on Oct. 20. Because her death was within 10 days of the election, her name remained on the ballot. A week after her death, Democrats sent out mailers to residents, calling for voters to still reelect Oropeza. The mailers featured Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Democratic Party general counsel Martha Escutia. The 28th district includes parts of Los Angeles, Long Beach and the South Bay."

IA: Voters oust three judges who ruled in favor of homosexual marriage: "Opponents of an April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that made Iowa the first state in the Midwest to sanction same-sex marriage celebrated on Wednesday after the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in the ruling. Bob Vander Plaats, lead spokesman for the pro-removal Iowa For Freedom [sic] campaign, hailed the outcome as a victory against a court that overstepped its bounds, and added he believes the vote will ripple beyond Iowa as a sign to other jurists who rule in gay-marriage cases.”

Two cheers for the gridlock: "Although I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome on November 2, 2010, that Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer, among others, would be headed back to the nation’s capital to try to continue to shore up the government’s powers, at least the election had the favorable result of producing a gridlocked regime for a while. I say, let them be bogged down in their partisan bickering. This may have the unintended consequence of making life less regimented for most Americans, even free up our productive energies somewhat.”

Unions can bully a country into bankruptcy: "We are all familiar with the power gained by labor unions in present-day Europe. Lately, it seems that they have also gained the privilege to turn to violence each time their demands aren’t met. It’s safe to say that a union’s decision has become as important as a governmental decree. Trade unions set wages, working time, retirement age, and social benefits; then they oversee and enforce them by going on strike each time the government is unwilling to succumb to their demands.”

OR: Man wins right to give police the finger: "An Oregon man has settled a federal lawsuit over what he says was his First Amendment right to express himself by giving the finger to sheriff’s deputies. The Oregonian reports Robert Ekas settled the suit for $4,000. In his lawsuit, Ekas said that in July 2007, he flipped off a Clackamas County deputy while driving, and the deputy gave him tickets for illegal lane change and improper display of license plates. Ekas was acquitted on the citations. A month later, he gave the finger to another deputy, who detained him but wrote no tickets. Ekas alleged he was being harassed. … County officials say it was cheaper to settle the case than to proceed with defending the suit.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


3 November, 2010

Winners and losers in the mid-term elections

OK, we know that the Republicans won and the Democrats lost. But let’s drill down a bit. Which individuals and groups ended up with net pluses and minuses? Here are some thoughts.


1. John Boehner. He’s the new Speaker. He was known as a weeper and he didn’t let us down.

2. Sarah Palin. She’s the biggest star of the Republican party right now and the Republicans surged. OK, not everything she touched turned to gold but overall she came out of this very well. What now for 2012?

3. Republican minorities. First female Indian-American governor. First Latina governor. Cuban-American Senator in Florida. Two black congressmen, the first since 2003. About time and there could be more but conservative diversity is moving in the right direction.

4. The Tea Party. Not a sweep across the board by any means but in the Senate there will be Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson and possibly Ken Buck, as well as numerous House members. There’s no doubt that the Tea Party is a major force in American politics.

5. Candidates who lie about their military service. Dick Blumenthal, a Democrat, won in Connecticut, despite having pretended he served in Vietnam. Mark Kirk [R] exaggerated his naval record but still prevailed in Illinois.

6. The GOP presidential nominee in 2012. Whoever it is, they’re looking a lot more like a possible winner over Barack Obama than they did 24 hours ago.


1. Barack Obama. Ronald Reagan recovered after 1982 and Bill Clinton came back after 1994. But is Obama in the same league as either man? Right now, he looks like a one-term president.

2. Nancy Pelosi. Odds are she’ll leave Congress and retire to San Francisco.

3. Money. Democrats spent more and lost. Meg Whitman spent more more than any other candidate in history and also lost. Money can’t buy you love – or political office in America.

4. Harmony. Whether between the parties (who, right now, loathe each other viscerally) or within the parties (Democrats are forming a circular firing squad and the wounds left over from the Tea Party insurgency during party primaries this year have still to heal) don’t expect much sweetness and light for quite some time.

5. David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Robert Gibbs. Democrats are in an ugly mood and Obama’s inner circle (as well as Obama himself) are being blamed. Surely there’s a shake-up in the offing?

6. Professional politicians. A lot of the Good Ole Boys who brought back the bacon year after year were booted out. Gene Taylor, Rick Boucher, Ike Skelton and John Spratt found that incumbency was a liability this time. In January, Capitol Hill will welcome the biggest class of freshmen and women for decades.

7. Moderates. Some Blue Dog Democrats, like Heath Shuler, just survived. Some GOP moderates, like Mark Kirk, were elected. But overall, the Democratic caucus in the House is more liberal as well as being smaller and their Republican counterparts are more conservative. One effect of the Tea Party successes will be that Republicans concerned about losing primary challenges will be nudged to the Right.

8. Health care reform. This battle isn’t over. Republicans will seek to freeze funds and delay implementation in preparation for a post-2012 bid to repeal the whole thing and, as Senator-elect Mike Lee of Utah put it, dance on its grave.

9. START. Obama will struggle to get the new treaty ratified. Ditto climate change legislation.

10. Young voters. In 2008, 18 percent of voters were ages between 18 and 29. In 2010, it was only 10 per cent. The rest, presumably, decided to stay in bed.



The far Left of the Democratic party is behind Democrat losses

Below is an excerpt from a very insightful article about the two major factions in the Democratic party -- factions that in most of the world would be called Social Democrats and far-Leftists. The writer below calls them "Moderate Progressives" and "liberal progressives". The whole article is well worth a read -- as it has important lessons for conservatives too. The article is such a good one that I have reposted it here in case it gets taken down

Liberal progressives say necessity should have a minimal role in constraining the pursuit of progressive justice. If voters don’t agree with a progressive view of rights, recourse to the courts to overrule them is proper. Voters’ desire, and especially well-off voters’ desire, to keep taxes low and the economy growing ought not to be a significant factor in bringing medical care to poor people or saving the planet from greenhouse gasses.

Moderate progressives take the contrary view. Justice can be secure only if it is secure in the hearts and minds of the people, they believe. They place more faith in, and pay more deference to, voters’ desires, not because they don’t believe in progressive aspirations, but because they believe those goals can best be achieved through incremental measures that receive broad popular support.

We can see this clash most clearly in the reactions of both camps to the Clinton presidency and to Hillary Clinton’s once and future candidacy. To liberal progressives, the Clinton presidency is anathema. It was too timid when it had power in 1993–94, and too conciliatory when it shared power with a Republican Congress thereafter. This belief fueled the challenges to Al Gore in 2000 by Bill Bradley in the primaries and Ralph Nader in the general election. It fueled Howard Dean’s 2004 bid, and was the impetus behind much of the support for Barack Obama’s challenge to frontrunner Hillary Clinton in 2008.

To moderate progressives, the Clinton presidency is the model of progressive action in the modern world. Clinton’s go-slow approach, coupled with his continued pursuit of progressive spending and social policies where possible, meant that progressive policies became imbedded in the middle-class mindset, making them impervious to conservative counterattack.

Today’s liberal progressives are directly descended from the “New Left” of the 1960s. By this I do not mean student radicals, SDS members, Yippies, and others of the radical fringe of this movement. Instead, I define the “New Left” as those Americans — largely bearers of college and postgraduate degrees — who sought not merely to ameliorate some of the hardest edges of American life, as FDR did with the New Deal, but rather to transform American life now. They sought to eliminate, not ameliorate, poverty now. They saw Americans’ pursuit of ever-increasing wealth as an impediment to these goals; why should already well-off families have more when some people had little? And they saw American defense spending as a crucial obstacle to these goals; if no one was attacking us directly, why shouldn’t we spend on butter rather than bombs?

The New Left was characterized as much by its impatience as by its lofty ambitions. Its advocates saw the non-attainment of their goals as a moral crime. As such, those who stood in the way of those goals were not merely adversaries, they were enemies: selfish, unlettered, in need of enlightenment. This sentiment is the source of the arrogant condescension that many Americans and most conservatives have felt all too frequently is a defining feature of today’s Left.

Thus was born the now endemic battles between the progressives and the old guard (unions and party bosses in the ’80s, the DLC in the ’90s and ’00s) in Democratic nomination contests. The liberal progressive candidate would win educated voters — the “wine set,” as Ron Brownstein has labeled them — while the moderate progressive candidate would win the middle and working classes — Brownstein’s “beer set.” Since beer drinkers have always outnumbered wine drinkers in Democratic primaries, the candidates who excited the most progressive elements always lost — until Barack Obama broke the mold in 2008 by attracting African-American “beer drinkers” into the progressive camp.

Liberal progressives view these consistent defeats as examples of justice denied. Their consistent rejection by the voters is seen not as a rejection of their impatience or lofty ambitions, but as something more sinister. The voters were bamboozled by the Teflon Great Communicator, by Willie Horton ads, by triangulating good old boys, by corporate interests, and by blockheaded Texans backed by unscrupulous Mayberry Machiavellians. Something is the matter with Kansans if they don’t back progressives; it must be devious politicians who divert middle- and working-class voters with the bread and circuses of phony social issues and unnecessary foreign wars.

As the continued failure of progressive candidates in Democratic presidential primaries shows, a majority of Democrats are not of this lineage. These moderate progressives place a very different interpretation on what went wrong in the ’60s and ’70s, and have adopted a very different view of how to engage in and shape American politics.

Moderate progressives view the rejections of the Democrats from 1968 to 1984 as a sober lesson delivered by a sober populace. They view Americans today as wanting the same things economically that their parents and grandparents wanted from the New Deal: an active safety net that helps them move up in American life. In this view, Americans support Democrats when they use government to support and enhance middle-class values and aspirations. Moderate progressives believe Democrats got away from that heritage when they started to be perceived as worrying more about people who did not work than about those who did, as worrying more about criminals than the victims of crime, as worrying more about American aggression than about the freedom of the West.

For moderate progressives, then, the very impatience and lofty ambitions that animate liberal progressives were seen to be the causes of Republican and conservative victory. Moderate progressives like Bill Clinton believed that voters would choose conservative Republicans if they were not offered a Democratic alternative that sought to modernize Roosevelt’s legacy for modern times. By pledging to “end welfare as we know it” and support the people who “work hard and play by the rules,” Clinton sought to place that alternative before Americans. He did, and he won.

The very victory that moderate progressives view as legitimizing their approach, though, is seen as destructive by liberal progressives. This difference is encapsulated in how each side views welfare reform, the passage of which is widely viewed as securing Clinton’s reelection. Moderate progressives are proud of that legislation, wishing that it had provided more economic support to single mothers but generally supportive of the fact that it helped move millions of people into work. Liberal progressives, though, believe that it did little or nothing to end poverty, and as such was a sell-out of the progressive commitment to the poor. The fact that the public demanded that the welfare-reform bill or something like it be passed weighs large in the calculus of the moderate progressives, but not at all in that of that liberal progressives.

Fast forward to the past two years, and we can see that this tension within the Democratic party is a factor in every major decision the administration and the congressional leadership has made. From the start, President Obama, with the enthusiastic backing of liberal progressives, declared that his would be a transformative presidency. This meant that his agenda would largely be that of the liberal progressives: health-care reform with a major emphasis on near-universal coverage, cap-and-trade, a large economic stimulus focused more on government projects than on tax relief, a consumer-protection agency to regulate financial instruments. Truly, this crisis would not be allowed to go to waste: Forty years of wandering in the political wilderness would finally be over.

Political urgency was coupled with this intellectual impetus. Democrats were acutely aware that they had supermajorities they had not possessed since 1980. With the increase of the partisan use of the filibuster, a phenomenon not widely seen until the Clinton years, they felt they would not have this degree of power again in the near future. Many argued that the window for bold action was narrow, and it could not be let to close without fulfilling liberal-progressive dreams.

Any one of these measures would have defined a Congress. To push all of them simultaneously, plus a major financial-regulation bill to address what was argued to be the causes of the financial crisis, proved to be too much. Nevertheless, time after time, when political warning signals went up, the administration and the congressional leadership pushed forward.

None of this would have mattered if the liberal progressives had been right about the reasons they have lost in the past. If Americans genuinely wanted quick implementation of liberal-progressive economic measures, then there would have been no electoral retribution to fear. Indeed, this was the argument many liberal progressives made when the decision was made to go forward with the health-care bill.

Moderate progressives argued that Brown’s election was a wake-up call. Pointing to many polls showing that Americans did not want the health-care bill to pass and that independents were growing more concerned about the deficit and moving against the Democrats, men such as Mark Penn and Doug Schoen argued that electoral disaster loomed unless the administration changed course. They pointed to the landslide of 1994 as an example of what could happen if the Speaker and the president persisted. In essence, moderate progressive argued that the Democrats lost in 1994 by trying to be three steps ahead of public opinion instead of one.




IL: GOP takes Senate seat formerly held by Obama: "A Republican is taking over President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois. Mark Kirk, a five-term Republican congressman from Chicago’s suburbs, beat Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in a bruising race for both.”

Feingold out: "Republicans have claimed a prominent liberal incumbent, toppling three-term Democratic Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin. Feingold was the second Democrat incumbent senator to fall, after Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Republicans also have taken away two other Democratic seats, in Indiana and North Dakota, where the incumbent lawmakers were retiring. Republican Ron Johnson, an multimillionaire Oshkosh businessman and first-time candidate, beat Feingold"

PA: Toomey defeats Sestak for Senate: "The GOP eeked out a victory in one of the nation’s most heated and most watched Senate races. Voters are sending investment banker and former Congressman Pat Toomey back to Washington on promises he will work to end corporate bailouts, to promote fiscal conservatism and to limit government.”

NY remains NY: "For two months, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has said he was more focused on governing in January than winning the race for governor Tuesday. And as expected, nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers picked the Democratic son of ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo to take the reins of state at a time when budget deficits range in billions, unemployment persists and despair over whether New York’s government is equipped to serve us run high.

CA: A Democrat stronghold holds out: "Democrat Jerry Brown won as Governor over Republican Meg Whitman. Governor Brown succeeds Republican former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now holds the record as the oldest (so far) person to become California’s governor. Governor Brown won the gubernatorial race even under a lot of criticisms from the former chief executive of eBay, Mrs. Whitman. Democrat re-electionist Senator Barbara Boxer has also triumphed over Republican senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina, a past Hewlett-Packard chief executive. Senator Boxer described the race against Mrs. Fiorina as the “toughest and roughest campaign of [her] life.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


2 November, 2010

Why are the Republican Leaders Silent?

An eve of Election Day message from Richard A. Viguerie

In the closing weeks of this election, I've been disappointed by the lack of a clear, strong message by Republicans, summarizing the meaning of this election.

In October, President Obama has been in the news explaining daily his side of what a Republican victory would mean for America. But the national GOP voice in reply has ranged from silence to a whisper, almost as if they were keeping their vision and plans secret -- or really don't have one worth telling after all.

Of course, there was the Pledge to America, which was unveiled on September 23 and quickly forgotten.

Yesterday, however, Sarah Palin presented a strong and articulate case for Republicans in a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace. But I doubt more than 1 or 2 million people heard her on a Sunday afternoon.

Republicans never win elections unless the elections are nationalized. GOP candidates and committees have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the closing months of this campaign, but it has been spent almost entirely on individual races.

If 2% of that money had been spent on national TV summarizing the core issues in this election, many more state legislators, House, Senate, and Governor races would have been won by the GOP.

However, since the Republicans have failed to lead, let us conservatives rise to the occasion and pick up the leadership role. I'm sending this email to about 400,000 conservative leaders, bloggers, talk show hosts, and activists.

If each of you would forward this email to everyone on your e-lists, and ask each person to forward it to those on their lists -- by tomorrow morning (election day), we will have reached over 20 million people.

I urge those who have the time, to write their own version of a message about President Obama. Writing to your family and friends in your own words is usually going to be more effective than a letter from a stranger. However, feel free to take any, all, or none of what I've written, but please send something. You owe it to yourself, your children and grandchildren, and to this great country that we inherited from those who came before us.

A Message that America Needs to Hear:

America is close to being changed forever from the wonderful land of liberty and freedom with unlimited opportunities and freedom, to a country ruled by an elite leader and ruling class who feel that they know what's best for us.

President Obama:

1...Is Anti-business -- which means the economy will not improve (and probably will worsen) as long as those who create the jobs are under attack by the President with higher taxes, more burdensome rules and regulations, more lawsuits and legal attacks;

2 ...Is Pro-higher taxes on everyone, especially those who work hard, are productive and successful;

3...Is Anti-energy independence -- He wants to put the coal industry out of business and opposes a large part of domestic oil and gas exploration;

4...Favors redistribution of wealth -- as he told Joe the Plumber and Charlie Gibson of ABC in a 2008 Democratic primary debate;

5...Is a Socialist (at best) who
a...Gave us a failed stimulus plan of almost $1 trillion

b...Gives us $1.3 trillion dollar annual deficits as far as the eye can see, to be paid by our children and grandchildren if America doesn't go bankrupt first

c...Took over 2 of our 3 car companies (GM and Chrysler)

d...Took over our largest banks

e...Took over the entire student loan program

f...Took over one of the worlds' largest insurance companies (AIG)

g...Took control over your and everyone else's health care (17% of our economy);

6...Is offended (or embarrassed) by America's exceptionalism and traveled around the world going from dictator to dictator apologizing for America;

7...Has a long history, starting as a teenager, of studying, befriending, and admiring socialists, Marxists, and communists

a...As a teenager, he spent most every evening listening to a card-carrying communist, Frank Marshall Davis, who extolled the so-called evils of America and the so-called virtues of Communism

b...Moved to Chicago as a young man and studied at the Saul Alinsky school for radicals

c...In his autobiography, he states that in college he sought out communist professors

d...While in Chicago, he became good friends with Bernadette Dorin and Bill Ayers, members of the infamous Weatherman Underground,and he held his first political fundraiser in their living room
e...For 20 years, he attended a church led by a radical anti-American preacher, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Successful political campaigns give voters a tune they can whistle. Since Republican leaders have failed to lead, let us conservatives and Tea Partiers in the final hours pick up the fallen torch and lead.

Never before has the American way -- our foundations of individual freedom, free markets, family, and faith -- been so much at the mercy of one man and dozens of czars and a cadre of ruling class elites who mock and deride those American values, expressed in our Declaration of Independence and put into the law that governs our government -- the Constitution.

We are at a point in time when we can turn it all around, or become another failure of history. We cannot rely on the current GOP leadership, and we must take up this great cause ourselves.

Thank you for all you do and have done for the cause of freedom. I would appreciate your letting me know approximately how many people you contacted.

I've spent a lot of time preparing this and I ask you to take just a few minutes and forward it to many others.

Millions who came before us paid dearly for the freedoms we enjoy. Please, with their sacrifices in mind, take a few minutes and forward this message or your version of it, to all your email contacts.

Thank you and God bless you, your family and America.

Received by email from Richard A. Viguerie [rav@ConservativeHQ.com]


Obama says Americans are saving too much

Based on a totally wrong theory of why businesses are not hiring. Who would hire when you never know what burden on businesses the out-of-control brainiacs in Washingtom are going to dream up next?

Alarmed by the rising savings rate, which liberal Keynesian economic theory views as potentially bad in a weak economy, intellectuals with close ties to the Obama administration, such as Matthew Yglesias, and liberal commentators such as Noam Scheiber, are floating the idea of a trillion-dollar bailout at taxpayer expense, using government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bailout would involve Fannie and Freddie writing off part of the mortgage balances of many people who are perfectly capable of making their mortgage payments, not in order to prevent defaults, but just in order to increase borrowers’ purchasing power so that they can spend more money. (The bailout would not cover all Americans, only many of the loans held by Fannie and Freddie.)

The cost of this bailout — perhaps a trillion dollars — would be borne by taxpayers, since Fannie and Freddie are already insolvent, and are expected to need as much as $363 billion more in taxpayer bailouts, even if this massive bailout proposal is not adopted. (Democrats in Congress recently blocked GOP proposals to reform Fannie and Freddie or limit their bailouts.)

This entire proposal, like many of the administration’s stimulus proposals, is based on the faulty assumption that weak consumer demand is the primary reason for the slow recovery. In fact, personal consumption has resumed rising, while private investment has fallen and remains low. Private investment is way down compared to past recoveries, driven partly by lack of confidence in the administration (a well-deserved lack of confidence given the administration’s anti-business policies). The savings rate has only increased slightly and remains lower in the U.S. than in most of the world.



Governments much more likely to destroy jobs than create jobs

Songs that are "golden oldies" have much less pleasant counterparts in politics-- namely, ideas and policies that have failed disastrously in the past but still keep coming back to be advocated and imposed by government. Some people may think these ideas are as good as gold, but brass has often been mistaken for gold by people who don't look closely enough.

One of these brass oldies is the idea that the government can and must reduce unemployment by "creating jobs." Some people point to the history of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment peaked at 25 percent, as proof that the government cannot simply stand by and do nothing when so many millions of people are out of work.

If we are going to look back at history, we need to make sure the history we look at is accurate. First of all, unemployment never hit 25 percent until after-- repeat, AFTER-- the federal government intervened in the economy.

What was unemployment like when the federal government first intervened in the economy after the stock market crash of 1929? It was 6.3 percent when that first intervention took place in June 1930-- down from a peak of 9 percent in December 1929, two months after the stock market crash.

Unemployment never hit double digits in any of the 12 months following the stock market crash of 1929. But it hit double digits within 6 months after government intervention-- and unemployment stayed in double digits for the entire remainder of the decade, as the government went in for one intervention after another.

The first federal intervention in June 1930 was the passage of the Smoot-Hawley tariffs by a Democratic Congress, a bill signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover. It was "bipartisan"-- but bipartisan nonsense is still nonsense and a bipartisan disaster is still a disaster.

The idea behind these higher tariffs was that reducing our imports of foreign goods would create more jobs for American workers. It sounds plausible, but more than a thousand economists took out newspaper ads, warning that these tariffs would be counterproductive.

That was because other countries would retaliate with their own import restrictions, reducing American exports, thereby destroying American jobs. That is exactly what happened. But there are still people today who repeat the brass oldie that restricting imports will save American jobs.

You can always save particular jobs in a particular industry with import restrictions. But you lose other jobs in other industries, not only because other countries retaliate, but also because of the economic repercussions at home.

You can save jobs in the American sugar industry by restricting imports of foreign sugar. But that results in higher sugar prices within the United States, leading to higher costs for American candy producers, as well as American producers of other products containing sugar. That leads to higher prices for those products, which in turn means lower sales at home and abroad-- and therefore fewer jobs in those industries.

A study concluded that there were three times as many jobs lost in the confection industry as were saved in the sugar industry. Restrictions on steel imports likewise led to an estimated 5,000 jobs being saved in the steel industry-- and 26,000 jobs being lost in industries producing products made of steel.

Similarly, the whole idea of the government itself "creating jobs" is based on regarding the particular jobs created by government as being a net increase in the total number of jobs in the economy. But, since the government does not create wealth to pay for these jobs, but only transfers wealth from the private sector, that leaves less wealth for private employers to create jobs.

Songs that are golden oldies bring enjoyment when they return. But brass oldies in politics just repeat the original disasters.

A statistical analysis by economists, published in 2004, concluded that federal interventions had prolonged the Great Depression of the 1930s by several years. How long will future research show that current government interventions prolonged the economic crisis we are living through now?




UN official honors chief Tiananmen butcher: "A United Nations official who has courted controversy in the past has presented an award to the military leader of the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protests ahead of an official visit to China by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Sha Zukang, a Chinese national who is U.N. Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, gave the award last week to Gen. Chi Haotian, a former Chinese defense minister. Gen. Chi was chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army when he ordered the attack on the pro-democracy demonstrators.”

The media are Statist rather than liberal: "It’s telling that the loudest voices opposing pot legalization are coming from the mainstream media, politicians, and law enforcement. The three have a lot in common. Indeed, the Prop. 19 split illustrates how conservative critics of the mainstream media have it all wrong. The media — or at least the editorial boards at the country’s major newspapers — don’t suffer from liberal bias; they suffer from statism. While conservatives emphasize order and property, liberals emphasize equality, and libertarians emphasize individual rights, newspaper editorial boards are biased toward power and authority, automatically turning to politicians for solutions to every perceived problem.”

Taxman comes for online hotel booking: "Municipalities seeking to boost revenues to cover budget shortfalls caused by overspending are setting their sights on online booking companies such as Orbitz and Expedia. Booking hotels online has helped lower the cost of travel for consumers, offering discounted rates for budget, mid-range, and upscale hotels. However, state and local occupancy taxes collected by the hotels also reflect the discount.”

Government art: "I hope you like it, you helped pay for it. During times of cut-backs in the private sector, and voiced government concern over the deficit, why are we paying for this stuff? To me, the piece is even quite visually appealing, but if this really adds value to society there are foundations out there that will give grants to pay for these types of things. With no real budgetary pressure to efficiently allocate resources, governments have no way to figure out the appropriate amount or type of art in society.”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


1 November, 2010

The meteor falls to earth

A Leftist mourns the decline of Obama

Watching Barack Obama labour his way through a curiously passive, stoically disengaged appearance on US comedian Jon Stewart's The Daily Show last week, it was hard not to avert one's eyes in sympathy and embarrassment. Why, in the majesty of presidential office, would you present yourself for vivisection on the operating table of a self-aggrandising TV satirist masquerading as a moral saint? And then, even if there were some earthly purpose to this, why spend the last significant TV appearance of your election campaign in the company of a few hundred hooting and wailing college undergraduates, not a single one of whom has even considered voting Republican? "This is my fate," Obama's weary, disheartened, tolerantly amused face seemed to say. "And I must endure it as best I can." And yet, what is the purpose of expending your best and highest impulses in the public's service, when by your essential inertness and passivity of spirit you are doomed to lose all joy of it?

The Daily Show is probably as good an indicator as exists of the swamp of self-indulgence into which Left politics has slipped over the last generation. Since earnestness is by definition uncool, and since the sophistication of one's politics is chiefly to be measured by the potency of one's negative wit, clever folks who wish to be thought progressive are nowadays required to engage in a rather complicated ballet, the dual purpose of which is to appear more caring and sympathetic than other people, even as you project a general attitude of ironic disdain towards the objects of your care and sympathy.

And yet Obama's personal and emotional assets, you would have thought, were more or less the opposite of this. In The Audacity of Hope he presents a delicately observed but unsentimental portrait of his generation, sundered by the great cultural divide of the 1960s and 70s into rival camps of cultural avant-gardists and defenders of hearth and home. There he clearly imagined himself as straddling both camps, drawing upon the emotional power of tradition and continuity, and upon the "incorrigible, sweet-natured romanticism" of his beloved mother. In practice, though, his presidency has been merely a kaleidoscope of the various disembodied aspects of his persona. One moment he presents as the cool-eyed centrist pragmatist; at the next he is the cool-cat Chicago inner-city liberal. Yet in the end he has succeeded only in convincing those to his left of his political inconstancy, and those to his right of his essential insincerity of heart.

And yet, for all this, it is hard not to feel sympathy for the President's predicament. He was drawn by the overwhelming magnetic force of the Democratic Party's moral compass into a chaotic and inconclusive struggle over health policy, a struggle that disbarred him from taking any decisive stand in his own right, and in the resolution of which he was doomed to gain little credit, even as it deprived his presidency of the best part of a year's worth of borrowed time. He had no realistic choice in the first months of 2009 but to follow his predecessor's stimulus posture, even as evidence failed to prove it was having any marked effect. Now he finds himself caught between the poles of an unbalanced and intellectually irresponsible debate between scholars who assert that no money should have been spent whatever, and others, such as Princeton's Paul Krugman, who suggest that no amount of public spending on demand-stimulation could ever be enough; thus rather neatly ensuring their purity of intention by advocating a course of action they know will never be followed by any responsible president, and which will never have to be tested by events.

And yet, as honest and serious-minded scholars have shown, we know very little about why Obama's stimulus failed, or whether further stimulus would do help or harm. As Harvard's Edward Glaeser points out, there is no clear correlation in any American region between the level of economic stimulus and the quality of economic response. As a team of scholars from Stanford recently demonstrated, what we do know about the diminished multiplier effects of economic stimulus nowadays chiefly points to the differences between our world and that of the 1930s. In any case, the root cause of the global crisis lies not within the US economy itself, but rather in the extraordinary and grotesque imbalances of supply and demand within the global economy, so that the world's most dynamic industrial economy is also one of its poorest, by the deliberate design of its rulers. And yet this is a problem that excessive demand-stimulation within the US will only serve to exacerbate, even as it adds to the volume of US Treasury bonds held in the vaults of China's state banks. In these circumstances, there is in truth little choice but to proceed on a tentative, experimental course, tending to the domestic economy's frailties without adding too much to its global indebtedness.

In the hollering, wailing cadence of Stewart's studio audience, we can perhaps take some measure of the acute trouble in which centre-left parties such as the US Democrats and our ALP presently find themselves. The country's most gifted and educationally fortunate souls, it so happens, are not commonly its most political mature or worldly, even as they may be the most impatient of disappointment. And so the job of holding together the fragile alliance of social democracy - between the idealists and the worldly wise, cosmopolitans and suburbanites - is becoming almost intolerably hard. For a time Obama seemed to point towards a solution to this problem. Now he appears to have been consumed by it in his turn. And with him, you might think, goes another of the few remaining chances for America's reasonable centre-left to reinvent itself.



Simple Math and Simple Politics

If you spend anytime at all perusing the blogosphere, you will find a common theme coming from self-described liberal or progressive bloggers, and that is that those on the political right are ignoramuses. The argument is that they are just too stupid to know what's what - they are even anti-science, rejecting knowledge itself -- and consequently they support dumb candidates advocating ignorant policies. Such arguments are particularly evident in the corner of the blogosphere that discusses the climate change issue. This line of argument of course is a variant of the thinking that if only people shared a common understanding of scientific facts they would also share a common political orientation (typically the political orientation of whomever is expressing these views).

Today's New York Times explains that top Democrats, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have bought into this view, leading to charges of elitism from their political opponents. Here is an excerpt:
In the Boston-area home of a wealthy hospital executive one Saturday evening this month, President Obama departed from his usual campaign stump speech and offered an explanation as to why Democrats were seemingly doing so poorly this election season. Voters, he said, just aren’t thinking straight.

“Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared,” he told a roomful of doctors who chipped in at least $15,200 each to Democratic coffers. “And the country is scared, and they have good reason to be.”

The notion that voters would reject Democrats only because they don’t understand the facts prompted a round of recriminations — “Obama the snob,” read the headline on a Washington Post column by Michael Gerson, the former speechwriter for President George W. Bush — and fueled the underlying argument of the campaign that ends Tuesday. For all the discussion of health care and spending and jobs, at the core of the nation’s debate this fall has been the battle of elitism.

And here is what the NYT reports about Bill Clinton expressing similar views:
Former President Bill Clinton has a riff in his standard speech as he campaigns for Democrats in which he mocks voters for knowing more about their local college football team statistics than they do about the issues that will determine the future of the country. “Don’t bother us with facts; we’ve got our minds made up,” he said in Michigan last week, mimicking such voters.

But if they understood the facts, he continued, they would naturally vote Democratic. “If it’s a choice and we’re thinking, he wins big and America wins big,” Mr. Clinton told a crowd in Battle Creek, pointing to Representative Mark Schauer, an endangered first-term Democrat.

The problem with such arguments is that they are simply wrong, Facts do not compel particular political views, much less policy outcomes.

But for the purposes of discussion, let's just assume that those on the political right are in fact ignoramuses. Even if that were the case, appeals to the wisdom of the educated (and the stupidness of others) would still be a losing electoral proposition as shown by the graph at the top of this post (data here in XLS): Americans older than 18 registered to vote with a college degree represent only 32% of the voting population. Those with an advanced degree represent only 11% of the population registered to vote. For those smart folks on the left, I shouldn't have to explain the corresponding electoral implications.

It should also be fairly obvious that when highly educated people tell those who are less educated that they are too stupid to know better, it probably does not lead to acceptance of claims to authority, much less reinforce trust in experts. In fact, it might even have the opposite effect.

For those on the left who spend a lot of time explaining how intelligent they are, their politics are not always so smart.



You blew it, Mr President: Sarah Palin's pre-vote TV taunt to Obama

Barack Obama's Democratic Party faces being swept from power in Washington by a ‘political earthquake’ in tomorrow’s U.S. mid-term elections, Sarah Palin claimed last night. ‘You blew it, President Obama,’ she taunted during a TV interview. ‘We gave you two years to improve the economy. The message has been sent to Democrats that they blew it.’ Most Americans want a ‘smaller, smarter’ government, the former Republican vice presidential candidate added.

Pressure was piling up on Mr Obama as he launched a last-ditch tour of the country ahead of tomorrow’s crucial ballot which is being seen as a referendum on his presidency.

Washington analysts were united in their belief the Republicans would come out on top – it was just a question of by how much. All 435 House of Representatives seats are up for grabs along with a third of the Senate, while 36 states will be choosing new governors.

The Democrat-controlled House – the party has a 39-seat majority – is expected to fall to the Republicans and the fate of the Senate is finely balanced. If there is a Republican landslide, it will pitch the White House into an implacable stand-off with Congress in attempts to push through any more Obama initiatives.

A new poll revealed just 51 per cent of Democrats believe Mr Obama should run unopposed for the White House in two years’ time. Most of the 47 per cent who say another Democrat should run against him for the next party presidential nomination had backed Hillary Clinton in her doomed primary campaign, the Associated Press-Knowledge Networks study found.

A real Democratic challenge to Mr Obama is unlikely at this stage but the findings underscored how disenchanted his own party has grown. Among American voters, 51 per cent said he deserves to be defeated in November 2012, and 47 per cent support his re-election.



Despite Democrats insisting that Tuesday’s mid-terms are not a “referendum” on the president, Obama himself clearly thinks it is

Here in Chicago, a couple of things about President Barack Obama’s final appeal to the voters has been striking. The first is that he’s even campaigning in his home neighbourhood of Hyde Park, a liberal, university enclave on the South Side of the Windy City.

Illinois is a deep blue state yet Democrats could well lose both the governorship and Obama’s old Senate seat – a major symbolic blow to his personal prestige. At one point he pleaded: “Chicago, I need you to keep on fighting! I need you to keep on believing!”

If Obama is having to defend home turf at this stage of the election campaign, what does that say about his party’s prospects? It’s as if George W. Bush found himself having to give a stump speech in Midland, Texas.

The second striking thing is the extent to which Obama’s pitch to voters is, well, all about him. Despite Tim Kaine, DNC chairman, insisting that Tuesday’s mid-terms are not a “referendum” on the president, Obama himself clearly thinks it is. But I’m not sure that Obama’s almost mournful tone in looking back at 2008 will do Democratic candidates much good.

The speech was long – 33 minutes – and this self-referential riff seemed to me distinctly odd:
You know, in the introductions, I think some people mentioned a dear friend of mine who passed this past weekend. Bishop Brazier had a church right down the street. Michelle and I used to go to church at Apostolic sometime. And here’s somebody who knew me when I was a young lawyer, had just moved to Chicago. And I remember when I was making the decision to run for President, I called him. And I said, ‘You know, Bishop, I’m really not sure this is possible. I don’t know if I’m going to make it, but I think it’s worth trying’. And he says, ‘I don’t know what God has in store for you, Barack. But he did say you won’t know either unless you try’.




The usual bureaucratic efficiency: "In the past decade, Washington sent over $1 billion of your tax dollars to dead people. Washington paid for dead people’s prescriptions and wheelchairs, subsidized their farms, helped pay their rent, and even chipped in for their heating and air conditioning bills. In some cases, these payments quietly gather in a dormant bank account. In many others, however, they land in the pockets of still-living people, who are defrauding the system by collecting benefits meant for a now-deceased relative. Since 2000, the known cost of these payments to over 250,000 deceased individuals has topped $1 billion, according to a review of government audits and reports by the Government Accountability Office, inspectors general, and Congress itself. This is likely only a small picture of a much larger problem."

From fugitive guerrilla to Brazil’s new president: "Dilma Rousseff, who was elected as Brazil's first female president on Sunday, once told reporters that as a typical Brazilian girl in the 1950s she dreamed of becoming a ballerina. But as a fighter for Brazil's left-wing guerrilla movement in 1969, she exchanged a wedding dress for fatigues and went underground, taking on names such as Luiza, Wanda and Estela to avoid the authorities. With her trademark pixie-short hair style and thick glasses, she became one of most Brazil's most wanted fugitives, branded by some as a "subversive Joan of Arc." [Pity Brazil]

The free market of religion: A privatization success story: "While the dual concepts of liberty of conscience and free exercise of religion were still being developed in the 17th century, they were sufficiently conceptualized by 1791 to warrant the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The language of the First Amendment to the Constitution not only guarantees that the federal government will not establish any religion, it also guarantees the right of each individual to freely exercise their religion according to their conscience. For the first time in Western history, a national State allowed religion to be fully privatized, no longer sheltering it from market forces of competition, and no longer subsidizing it to keep it solvent. Evidently the view of the federal government in 1791 was that religion was NOT too big to fail.”

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, 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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left.

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among people who should know better, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

“Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics.” -- C.J. Keyser

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state – capitalism frees them.

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931–2005: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I am an unabashed Monarchist. I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. And since I live in a constitutional monarchy (Australia) I am very happily situated. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is!

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here