Sunday, January 08, 2006


I don't even try to follow all the minutiae of American politics so for those like me I thought the following sounded like a rather fun summary of a man very much in the news these days:

"Here are some of the details of the Abramoff story. He made more money as a lobbyist than anyone had ever even imagined making. He bilked two Indian tribes out of $82 million by representing both of them -- as they waged a fight against EACH OTHER. The longer they fought, the more money he made off BOTH OF THEM. He bought off libertarian newspaper columnists. It appears he owned at least one congressman who was willing to do his bidding by using the Congressional Record as a weapon in his private business dealings.

In the course of those dealings, he bought a casino cruise-ship company with a mobbed-up former owner of the Dial-A-Mattress concession in Washington, D.C. Less than a year after that transaction, the original owner of the casino company was shot to death on a Fort Lauderdale street, and three members of the Gambino crime family have now been arrested for the murder. Those three Gambino-ites were put on the company's payroll by the Dial-A-Mattress guy. Meanwhile, in Washington there was Abramoff's partner, the former chief of staff to the House Majority Leader. This guy, Michael Scanlon, had set up a "think tank" at his beach house in Delaware to launder lobbying money -- a think tank run by a bartender and a yoga instructor who might well have been "more than friends" of Scanlon's.

This is like a really bad novel. An Orthodox Jewish lobbyist stealing money from Indian tribes, funneling it through a yoga instructor at the beach, and being a possible accessory to a gangland hit in Florida? And it's all true. It's the best Washington story in years!"



ACLU moves further Left: "Not satisfied with its ongoing anti-President Bush campaigns (the group took out a full-page Ad in the "we-hate-Bush-all-the-time" NY Times that blasted the president), the ACLU has already come out against any and all probes into who leaked information to the Times' staff , in regards to formerly top-secret national security information. In fact, the ACLU is veritably furious that the Justice Department has the audacity to actually investigate treacherous behaviors. How dare the Justice Department work toward protecting the country? In a press release, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero stated: "President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens. But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss. Our nation is strengthened, not weakened, by those whistleblowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law!" In other words, according to the ACLU President Bush has no right to protect the United States (the question of NSA intercepts of terrorist phone calls--regarding legal v illegal--appears to have an equal number of legal scholars on both sides of the debate), but allowing and condoning treason (as long as it also hurts any Republican-president) is "okay" with the ACLU. Besides, Romero told us that leaking national security information is a good thing--as long as it "gets Bush". In fact, any far-Left agenda is acceptable to the ACLU--as long as it promotes its cause toward the destruction of the USA".

Islam is the religion of violence: "Christian women are being abused on the streets of Baghdad by Islamo-fascist thugs for not wearing the hijab. Shop owners--mostly Christians--who sold beer under Saddam without fear are now being shot dead in their own places of business. Four churches were bombed in a single day in Baghdad, priests have been threatened and killed, Christian children are being forced to read the Qur'an and Christian Midnight Mass was cancelled this year because of fears of being bombed..... Islamo-fascism is ubiquitous. Seventeen thousand police officers are currently deployed in Jakarta, Indonesia, to protect Christian churches from those who believe 'Burn, baby, burn' is second only to 'Allahu akbar.' Twenty-nine churches were hit on Christmas Eve five years ago and the Indonesian government didn't want a repeat of that--at least not while applying for assistance at Uncle Sam's Welfare Office. Hundreds of thousands of East Timorese have been murdered by Muslim terrorists over the past decades and, more recently, generic Qur'an-spouting psychopaths beheaded three Christian schoolgirls.... And the sorry tale continues: The Palestinian Authority has driven tens of thousands of Christians out of Jerusalem, the persecution of Coptic Christians continues unabated in Egypt. In Pakistan, Christian children are still being kidnapped and raised as Muslims. From Australia to Zanzibar, thousands of non-Muslim women are being gang-raped by sexist chauvinist pigs inspired by the Qur'an."

American poverty now comes with a color TV, DVD and computer: "In case there was any doubt, a study has confirmed that Americans have a lot of what economists know, technically, as stuff. The computer has surpassed the dishwasher as a standard household appliance. The poorest Americans have posted a sharp rise in access to air conditioning. The richest Americans still own the most cars, but they are choosing to own slightly fewer of them than they used to. These Census findings, released in December, were true even before gifts piled up under trees. These nuggets provide a glimpse of American lifestyles that isn't captured in the raw data of monthly economic reports. At a time of concern about the standard of living for future generations, the study offers hopeful signs of tangible progress, even as the pace of income growth has slowed in recent years.... by almost all measures, the data show rising well-being for all of society. And while the wealth gap may not be narrowing, the rich-poor gap in lifestyles has narrowed substantially since 1992 when measured in many of these tangible items. "In terms of the items people have ... it amazes me the number of people who are at or near the poverty line that have color TVs, cable, washer, dryer, microwave," says Michael Cosgrove, an economist at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas.... Two-thirds of those in poverty had air conditioners in 1998, up from 50% in 1992. Personal computers have grown increasingly ubiquitous. Where fewer than 20% of homes had them in 1992, nearly 60% did in 2002 (more than own dishwashers). Two-thirds of those in poverty had air conditioners in 1998, up from 50% in 1992. Personal computers have grown increasingly ubiquitous. Where fewer than 20% of homes had them in 1992, nearly 60% did in 2002 (more than own dishwashers).

Our law-abiding ways of doing things make us rich: "Economists are gradually shifting the way we think about the determinants of economic well-being. Traditionally, the focus was on resources. Increasingly, we appear to be moving toward a focus on beliefs. A new study from the World Bank, called Where is the Wealth of Nations? (which I first saw mentioned in Ronald Bailey's article in Reason magazine), is a landmark event in this transformation of economic viewpoint. First, it adds to the growing body of evidence that institutional factors, such as property rights, play a significant role in economic development.... Over the past 50 years, economists have become less materialistic. No, we have not become hippies, rejected consumerism, and discovered spirituality. As social scientists, however, we have noticed that a large share of wealth comes from factors other than basic labor and capital.... The current consensus is that institutions matter. The rule of law is important. Clear property rights are important. On the negative side, protectionism, corruption, and barriers to entrepreneurship are important."

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. On Social Security see Dick McDonald and for purely Australian news see Australian Politics (mirrored here).


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

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" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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