Some stray thoughts from a quiet Sunday morning
1). It seems that the Gramscian surge through the educational system has left young Americans with virtually no knowledge of the foundation of their country. So it is only the old guys these days that know anything about that. I wonder if even the old guys know enough, however. How many people know, for instance, how "created equal" got into the Declaration of Independence? It sounds emabarrassingly socialist, does it not? And how come Jefferson, who admired Christ but didn't think Christ was God (which makes me a Jeffersonian, I guess) put something so religious into the Declaration? Did Jefferson just have a brainwave one day, write it all down and everyone promptly said "Great"?
I think you can guess the answer. The Declaration was the endpoint of a LOT of debate and controversy. The original draft had "born free" where Jefferson put "created equal". So why the change? "Born free" sounds a heap better to me: Conservative rather than socialist. The Jeffersonian version was in fact a stroke of genius. The slave States would NOT allow "born free", as that would be a clear condemnation of their own practices. So a compromise would have to be found that kept the South onside. Various clumsy compromise wordings were tried but Jefferson's version was greeted as a triumph. It was vague enough to suit everybody and sounded really good.
One book that gives a very detailed account, with documentation, of the whole pre-Declaration discussions is Slave Nation but the authors are Left-leaning so they get carried away in the end and claim that the revolution was fought to defend slavery! Balance seems to be just too hard for Leftists. The fact that a right to "liberty" was included in the next sentence of the Declaration doesn't seem to give them any trouble at all. It didn't give the slaveowners any trouble either. Strange company they find themselves in.
2). I am amazed that so many stockmarket investors are being so foolish at the moment. Selling when the market is way down is just about the most foolish thing imaginable. Yet people seem to be doing it in droves. My portfolio is down by a third in value but if I had any loose cash I would be buying now, not selling. The new high is always higher than the old high. You just have to be a bit patient. And my dividends are still coming in much as usual so why should I worry?
3). Australian banks have been only marginally affected by the financial crisis. Australia has a large minority population too but most of ours are Han Chinese. And I doubt that any Chinese has ever walked away from a mortgage. They just work harder. I am a great fan of the Han! My son has similar views -- as you will see from the photo of him below:
OK. It is a bit irrelevant for me to put up a picture of my son on a political blog but if a father cannot be proud of his son, it's not much of a life, is it?
4). Did you know that there are no Chinese in China (sort of)? "China" means the land of the Chin and the Chin dynasty is long gone. Chinese usually refer to their country as "The middle kingdom" and the majority race in China is the Han (Yes. China has minorities too). But you find Han people throughout Asia: Thailand, Malaysia etc. There are even Chinese restaurants in India! I went to one there once.
More on the current Leftist "downfall of America" gloat
A Yale history professor has some more level-headed comments. Excerpt:
Well, slow down a minute. It is one thing to argue that the United States has been weakened by fiscal extravagance and military overstretch. It is a separate thing to recall that, regardless of regime follies, from century to century economic and military balances do shift gradually from one country or part of the world to another.
Right now both of those developments - American political incompetence and geopolitical shifts - have joined in time to make the world a less easy place for the United States. But one of the "rise and fall" lessons of history is that great powers (the Ottomans, the Hapsburgs, the British) take an awful long time to collapse. They take knocks on the head, they suffer a defeat and humiliation here or there, plus a bankruptcy or two. But they hold on, a trifle diminished although not mortally wounded.
Often they hold on because the rising powers don't know how to replace them. They hold on, too, because they have massive resources. The Hapsburgs held on because they had an army that could operate in 14 languages. The British held on because of the City of London and a lot of useful naval bases. The short-lived 20th-century empires - Nazi, Japanese, Soviet - had no such back-up systems. They came, they went.
America's back-up systems are enormous. It is a super-great-power, with about 20% of the world's product, 50% of its military expenditures and most of its top research universities, massive R&D spending, a highly sophisticated services industry to complement its industrial base, an extremely strong demographic profile and the best agricultural acreage-to-population ratio among all the large nations. This is not an imperium that will tumble into the sand overnight.
Still, one wonders whether Ozymandias - "whose frown and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command" - might not deserve a contemporary thought or two. What Shelley was really commenting upon was how a great power is slowly eroded, by arrogance surely, but also by the passage of time. So far as we know, Ozymandias's enormous sandstone figure at Luxor was not pulled down by marauding Nubians or Arabs. It slowly fell apart, more from within than from without.
Stealing Pennsylvania: "Massive Fraud"
A retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice says that she is "not confident we can get a fair election" in the state come November. Justice Sandra Newman, accompanied by Dauphin County District Attorney Edward Marsico and Pennsylvania Republican State Chairman Robert Gleason, expressed her concerns at a Harrisburg press conference this morning. A thick document replete with photo copies of phony registrations and aerial shots of vacant lots used as "addresses" for "voters" was handed out to journalists.
Gleason was even more explicit. "Between March 23rd and October 1st, various groups, including ACORN, submitted over 252,595 registrations to the Philadelphia County Election Board" with 57, 435 rejected for faulty information. "Most of these registrations were submitted by ACORN, and rejected due to fake social security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, clearly fraudulent signatures, addresses that do not exist, and duplicate registrations. In one case, a man was registered to vote more than 15 times since the Primary election." .....
Perhaps most humorously was the role of 21st century technology in tracking down several attempted frauds. Through the wonder of Google, aerial shots displayed the following:
* 2418 Curtin Terrace in Philadelphia is -- an empty field.
* 3103 S. 24th Street in Philadelphia -- ditto.
* 4543 N. 11th Street in Philadelphia -- ditto....
All of this brings Pennsylvania into focus as yet another key battleground state where a serious effort is being made to, bluntly put, steal the presidency in a move reminiscent of the attempts made by the 2000 Gore campaign in Florida. Just as ACORN's efforts have been directed at key electoral states such as Florida, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico Ohio, and Wisconsin, so within Pennsylvania have its efforts been targeted at key Pennsylvania counties. For decades the internal electoral math of the state for Republicans has been to overwhelm the heavy Democratic vote in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with strong showings in the Philadelphia suburbs, Central Pennsylvania, and western counties outside Pittsburgh.
Thus have ACORN's fraud efforts -- those at least that have been detected -- been directed at Philadelphia (where increasing the Obama total to counter less enthusiastic support from white ethnics becomes critical), Delaware County in the pro-GOP Philadelphia suburbs, Dauphin County (in the heart of Central Pennsylvania) and Erie in the Northwest.
Is it really possible that the presidency could be stolen for Obama by virtue of a massive voter fraud here in Pennsylvania? And elsewhere? ACORN seems to think so. One so-called "non-partisan" ACORN member, Gleason pointed out, has been captured on video tape saying the group's objective was to "beat McCain down." Not exactly "non-partisan" sounding, is it?
Newman, the retired Supreme Court Justice, was blunt on the evidence: "I don't want a president who does this." ACORN clearly does. Makes you wonder: why?
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH (2), TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)