Monday, June 12, 2006



Social Indicators: We are witnessing a remarkable cultural renewal in America. Violent crime rates remain at the lowest levels in the history of the Bureau of Justice Statistics' survey (which started in 1973). We are experiencing the sharpest decline in teen crime in modern history. Property crimes are near the lowest levels in the history of the federal survey. Welfare caseloads have declined almost 60 percent since 1996. Both the abortion rate and ratio are at the lowest levels we have seen in the 30-year period these data have been tracked. African American and Hispanic fourth-graders posted the highest reading and math scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. The use of illegal drugs by teens has dropped 19 percent since 2001, while the use of hallucinogens such as LSD and ecstasy has declined by more than half. The teen birth rate has fallen for a dozen consecutive years. The percentage of high school students who reported having had sex is significantly lower than in the early 1990s. The divorce rate has fallen steadily for over a decade. And teen smoking has dropped by almost 50 percent since the late '90s....

The Economy : The American economy is the strongest in the world and growing faster than that of any other major industrialized country. It grew at an annual rate of 5.3 percent in the first quarter -- the fastest growth in 2 1/2 years. It has added more than 5.3 million jobs since the summer of 2003, and employment is near an all-time high. The unemployment rate (4.6 percent) is well below the average for each of the past four decades. Mortgage rates remain near historical lows, homeownership remains near a record high, and sales of new and existing homes reached record levels in 2005. Real disposable personal income has risen almost 13 percent since President Bush took office; and core inflation rose just 2.3 percent over the past 12 months. The Dow Jones industrial average has risen from under 7300 in 2002 to above 11,000 for most of this year. Tax revenues are at an all-time high -- and so is total household net worth.

National Security : Perhaps no nation has ever been as dominant as the United States is today -- and we are using our military power to promote great purposes. As a reference point, it's worth recalling that the 1930s and early-'40s were regarded by many as the twilight of freedom. Democratic societies were threatened both internally (by a depression) and externally (by Nazism and fascism). There were only a dozen or so democracies on the planet.

Today we are witnessing one of the swiftest advances of freedom in history. In the past four years more than 110 million people have joined the ranks of the free -- and for the first time freedom is taking root in the Middle East. Once ruled by cruel dictatorships, the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are now governed by constitutions and are participating in national elections. The governments of the two countries once provided safe haven to terrorists; now they are engaged in a mortal struggle against them. This struggle is longer and harder than any of us would wish, but by any standard or precedent of history, Afghanistan and Iraq have made remarkable political progress. Kuwait's parliament has granted full political rights to women. Arab intellectuals are pushing for a rapid acceleration of democratic reform. After almost 30 years, Syrian troops left Lebanon in response to the Cedar Revolution. And Libya has abandoned its program of weapons of mass destruction. The biggest nuclear-smuggling ring in history, run by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, is being rolled up. The government of Pakistan has cast its lot with us against al-Qaeda.



PBS paying a price for bias: "House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs. On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees health and education funding approved the cut to the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes money to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. It would reduce the corporation's budget by 23 percent next year, to $380 million, in a cut that Republicans said was necessary to rein in government spending. The reduction, which would come in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, must be approved by the full Appropriations Committee, and then the full House and Senate, before it could take effect. Democrats and public broadcasting advocates began planning efforts to reverse the cut."

The Dutch decay: "The full-throttle and state-sanctioned hedonism of 21st century Holland finds no inspiration or legitimacy in the intellectual attitudes of any of the centuries preceding the Twentieth. In short, Dutch society used to have--dare I say it?--a more religious foundation on which the values of humanism, intellectual openness and tolerance were based. I think it can be convincingly argued that the departure from this past--and the virtual erasure of Holland's rich Christian humanism--has contributed directly to the rise of the culturally confused, politically cowed, self-negating and guilt-ridden Dutch of today. One might even say that the modern history of Holland is the history of Europe, writ small".

Dutch defeat: "The removal of an immigrant raising awkward political questions is a warning sign over the future of the tradition of free speech and tolerance in Holland. There are times when a small event raises an issue of enormous importance. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born politician and women's rights activist, is leaving Holland for good. It's a strange irony that a country which has for centuries welcomed all those fleeing persecution should find it impossible to continue to provide Hirsi Ali with a refuge".

Blowing up a "damnable tax": "During his 2006 State of the County address, Oakland County (Michigan) Executive L. Brooks Patterson called for a petition drive and ballot initiative to eliminate the state's economically destructive Single Business Tax. Patterson called the SBT a 'damnable tax' and correctly cited it as an important factor in holding down Michigan's ailing economy. Michigan has been in a 'one-state recession' for several years, while every other state except those slammed by hurricanes has experienced impressive growth. The causes of Michigan's recession are complex, but they largely come down to the fact the state is burdened with destructive business taxes, excessive regulations, and bad labor laws that give the state one of the least-competitive business climates in the United States."

Far Left most intolerant: "In 1998, 48 percent of people saying they were "extremely liberal" gave conservatives a score of 20 or under. By 2004, this had risen to 65 percent of this group. And about one in three of these people gave conservatives the lowest possible score: zero. (Note that in 2002, even Saddam Hussein received an average score of eight.) In contrast, the percentage of "extreme conservatives" giving an under 20 score to liberals inched up only slightly over this period, from 45 to 48 percent. Remember, thermometer scores are ratings of people, not ideas: An ice-cold score is equivalent to saying, "I don't like certain people simply because of the views they hold." It is the essence of intolerance, and it describes two-thirds of America's far left today (and nearly half of America's far right, which is not a whole lot better)."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

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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