Saturday, August 30, 2008

I somehow never quite made it to Denver but a reader has sent me a program from it that makes me feel that I am almost there:

Democratic National Convention Order of Speakers

5:00-6:00 pm - Jimmy Carter. Topic: Lets give Appeasement a Chance (sung to John Lennon tract).

6:00pm-7:00pm - John Edwards. Topic: Standing erect behind my principles

7:00pm -8:00pm - Jesse Jackson. Topic: I am not bitter OK and if you don't believe me I will cut your nut off. (In place of Al Sharpton's Apolcalypse Now speech: "Do you smell that? It's a race riot, son. Nothing else on the world smells like that. I love the smell of a race riot in the morning. Actually I love the smell of a race riot in the afternoon too.Come to think of it...)

8:00pm 9:00pm - Arrival of Al Gore's personal jet followed by speech. Topic: Do as I say not as I do. (Snacks to Follow .... Drinks sponsored by the Kennedys)

Concurrent workshops (8:00-9:00pm)

Workshop A: 150 ways of using the word `change' by the Obama Speech writers collective (Thesaurus not required).
Workshop B: Milking the `Blame-it-on-Bush-Line'. Can we get another four years out of this? Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi
Workshop C: Why I plan to go to Cuba for my brain surgery? By Michael Moore
Workshop D: George Soros pays tribute to Obama - background song `Puppet on a String' Sandie Shaw
Workshop E: Some deep thoughts on global politics by Maggie Gyllenhaal/Sean Penn and Scarlet Johansson (10 minutes only)

9:00 pm -10:00pm - Hilary Clinton: Reciting I could have been a contender from 'On the Waterfront'.

10:00pm - Barack Obama arrives in a chariot to the lyrics of Jesus Christ Superstar

10:00-11:00pm - Barack Obama's speech. Special Lottery: Guess the number of references to JFK? (Special Note to delegates: Don't mention the 'sucess of the surge' or we'll give you the Joe Lieberman treatment)

11:00 pm - 'God', one of the few outstanding celebrities, officially endorses Obama (pending an ACLU objection). Apparently it was Oprah who swung him over.

Convention clears. Exit Strategies initialized.




Judge orders release of Rosenberg trial evidence: "A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release of a further eight grand jury transcripts from the 1951 espionage prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a lawyer for the National Security Archives said. The Rosenbergs were convicted in 1951 of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953. Rosenberg supporters describe the case as a frame-up amid anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria and Cold War fear. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein allows the release of secret testimony from some key prosecution witnesses and offers historians an almost complete record of the secret testimony, lawyer David Vladeck said."

"Recession" over: "Wall Street shares muscled higher today after a stronger-than-expected revision to US second-quarter growth helped ease fears of a prolonged economic malaise. The Dow Jones Industrial Average vaulted 202.98 points (1.76 per cent) to 11,705.49 at the closing bell. Revised official data showed exports helped US gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerate to a 3.3 percent annualised pace in the second quarter, up from an earlier estimate of 1.9 percent and a strong rebound from the 0.9 per cent increase in the first quarter. Analysts said that the report showed better-than-expected economic momentum even if some of the growth came from exports helped by a weak dollar and consumer spending fueled by one-time tax rebates. "This was a surprisingly strong report that should end the discussion about a recession, at least for now," said Joel Naroff at Naroff Economic Advisors". [How awful for the Donks!]

US marine acquitted of war crimes in ground-breaking trial: "A former US Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi prisoners has been acquitted after a ground-breaking trial in which a civilian jury determined whether he was guilty of war crimes. The Californian jury took six hours to find Jose Luis Nazario Jr. not guilty of fatally shooting or causing others to shoot dead four Iraqi detainees during fierce fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, on November 9, 2004. The case marked the first time a former member of the US military accused of a combat crime had his case tried in a civilian court. Nazario, 28, who could not be prosecuted in a military court because he had left the Marines, sobbed so loudly after his acquittal that the judge called for order. His family and friends also broke down in court. The former Marine Corps sergeant was accused of shooting dead two of the captives himself before ordering two subordinates to kill the others during the 2004 storming of Fallujah, known as Operation Phantom Fury."

Stupid do-gooder learns about reality the hard way: "A British woman has been raped by a gang of asylum seekers in Calais, it has been alleged. The journalism student wanted to highlight the plight of migrants who sleep rough in a squalid camp at the French port before trying to sneak into Britain. She was subjected to a horrific attack by six Afghan men she intended to write about, it was claimed. French riot police rounded up 200 migrants for questioning. Ten remained in custody tonight and police said it was possible all had been involved in the rape, which detectives described as 'extremely brutal'. Police said the 31-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a London student who had travelled to France 'to highlight problems surrounding clandestine immigration'... The victim remains in Calais, with police hoping she will be able to identify her attackers. Tonight she was described as 'utterly traumatised and receiving counselling'."

Lucky town. No government: "Only eight months on the job as supervisor of the small town of Ancram, Thomas Dias finds himself faced not with a crisis in government but no government at all. That's because three of the town's five board members abruptly resigned last week, leaving the town with a government unable to hold its scheduled monthly meeting Thursday or take any action, including paying its bill. Dias has asked Gov. David Paterson to appoint at least one councilman so the board has a quorum and can conduct business until replacements are chosen by voters in the fall. Ancram is a rural Hudson Valley town of 1,500 people once known for its lead mines. Located 90 miles north of New York City, it and other Columbia County towns are experiencing gentrification that is causing friction between families who have lived there for generations and Manhattanites buying weekend and vacation homes. Tension was evident in two of the resignation letters. James Bryant, a Democrat, wrote that he hopes "the board will be objective in meeting the needs of both the old and new residents, as this town belongs to everyone that calls Ancram their home." "We're going as quickly as we can and the town is not facing emergency services being cut or anything like that," Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said."


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)


Friday, August 29, 2008

Congressional fumbling should help McCain


Democrats and Republicans have scripted their conventions as tightly as possible. But after delegates return home with buttons, badges and banners, the curtain will rise on a more unruly drama: the fall session of Congress. And it could affect the November election more than the conventions. The House and Senate return to Washington Monday, Sept. 8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hope it will be a short session, ending on Sept. 26. That will allow members to go home and campaign, not to return until after Election Day. Good luck.

Congress hasn't yet passed any one of the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. And Congress isn't likely to pass them through both houses and get them to the president before leaving town. The goal here for Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi is to delay passing a budget until the next president is inaugurated. If the Democrats get their wish and sweep the November elections, Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony will mark the opening of the spending floodgates.

Before they get there, however, this Congress must first pass stopgap legislation that will pay the federal government's bills for the next few months. Usually, that is done with a "continuing resolution," a bill that simply funds the government at its current level for a short period of time. But a continuing resolution is fraught with political problems for Democrats. Members, desperate for their election-year pork-barrel spending, could band together and threaten to withhold support if their earmarks are not inserted into spending bills. If that happens, say goodbye to Democratic claims of fiscal responsibility.

Another problem is oil. There is a congressional ban on drilling on the outer continental shelf that will expire on Oct. 1, if it isn't first reauthorized. Typically, the ban is reauthorized as part of the Interior Department appropriations bill. But this year the president says he will veto that bill if the House and Senate don't allow an up-or-down vote on drilling there. That sets up a political showdown. Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid could try stuffing the ban into the continuing resolution. But that runs the risk of a government shutdown over spending and increasing domestic energy supplies -- a fight that is sure to focus public attention just weeks before the election.

Adding fuel to this fire is Sen. Charles Schumer, the Democrat in charge of increasing his party's majority in the Senate. He said recently that "the drilling issue has peaked," and is therefore less inclined to support a compromise to open the outer continental shelf. Normally politically acute, Mr. Schumer is either bluffing or out of touch with public opinion, which seems to favor Republicans on the issue nearly everywhere. Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid could offer a drilling expansion bill that doesn't do much to open new territory, but which would include billions in new spending and would impose a "windfall profits" tax. But voters would sniff out such a phony ploy to do something about $4 gas....

The end result of all of these messy fights is that a Congress -- which hit a record low 14% approval rating in a July Gallup Poll before its members left on summer vacation -- may become even more unpopular.

Inevitably, John McCain and Barack Obama will be drawn into these fights. And, although both are sitting senators, the advantage may go to Mr. McCain. Democrats control Congress, so they are accountable. Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi are two of the worst advertisements for Congress imaginable. And Mr. McCain has an impressive record of political reform he can invoke, whereas Mr. Obama, who has yet to complete his first term in the Senate, has no accomplishments to point to that demonstrate that he is an agent of change. The 110th Congress is an excellent target for Mr. McCain. He ought to take careful aim at it and commence firing.

More here


How the Georgian Conflict Really Started

'Anybody who thinks that Moscow didn't plan this invasion, that we in Georgia caused it gratuitously, is severely mistaken," President Mikheil Saakashvili told me during a late night chat in Georgia's presidential palace this weekend. "Our decision to engage was made in the last second as the Russian tanks were rolling -- we had no choice," Mr. Saakashvili explained. "We took the initiative just to buy some time. We knew we were not going to win against the Russian army, but we had to do something to defend ourselves." ....

"I got a call from the minister of defense that Russian tanks, some 200, were massing to enter Tskhinvali from North Ossetia," Mr. Saakashvili told me. "I ignored it at first, but reports kept coming in that they had begun to move forward. In fact, they had mobilized reserves several days ahead of time."

This was precisely the kind of information that the Russians have suppressed and the world press continues to ignore, despite decades of familiarity with Kremlin disinformation methods. "We subsequently found out from pilots we shot down," said Mr. Saakashvili, "that they'd been called up three days before from places like Moscow. We had intelligence coming in ahead of time but we just couldn't believe it. Also, in recent weeks, the separatists had intensified artillery barrages and were shooting our soldiers. I'd kept telling our guys to stay calm. Actually we had most of our troops down near Abkhazia where we expected the real trouble to start. I can tell you that if we'd intended to attack, we'd have withdrawn our best-trained forces from Iraq up front."

According to the Georgian president, the Russians had been planning an invasion of his country for weeks -- even months -- ahead of time: "Some months ago, I was warned by Western leaders in Dubrovnik to expect an attack this summer," he explained. "Mr. Putin had already threatened me in February, saying we would become a protectorate of Russia. When I met Mr. Medvedev in June, he was very friendly. I saw him again in July and he was a changed man, spooked, evasive. He tried to avoid me. He knew something by then....

I put it to Mr. Saakashvili that there was also the question of why now? Why did the Russians not act before or later? It was a matter, he said, of several factors coming together: the useful distractions of the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. elections, the fact that it took Mr. Putin this long to consolidate power, the danger that tanks would bog down in the winter. But two factors above all sealed Georgia's fate this summer, it seems. In April, NATO postponed the decision to admit Georgia into the organization until its next summit in October. Mr. Saakashvili believes Moscow felt it had one last chance to pre-empt Georgia's joining NATO.

More here


Some interesting history

It is well known that the American Founding Fathers were profoundly influenced by England's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688, which had overthrown a reactionary British monarch in the name of Enlightenment principles, religious liberty and representative institutions. Yet were those truly the ideals of the 1688 Revolution? If not, "the spirit of 1776" was based on a false premise.

Lisa Jardine, a professor at the University of London, pursues this theme in "Going Dutch," a thoroughly researched and provocative revisionist study. She argues that the Glorious Revolution was far from glorious and less a revolution than a blatant invasion. Nor was it a great blow for liberty: 1688, she contends, was a naked power grab by the Statholder of Holland, William of Orange, who sought to oust his father-in-law, King James II, for the sake of his own interests and those of the Dutch Republic; all the talk of liberty and high ideals was just Dutch propaganda.

If Ms. Jardine is right, men like Jefferson, Franklin and Adams were duped, for, as Michael Barone recounted last year in "Our First Revolution," 1776 was a conscious re-run of 1688. Was the U.S. created at least partly out of piety toward a slick Dutch con job?

Ms. Jardine presents a close analysis of the plotting going on in William's court before his fleet of 500 ships and 30,000 men set sail for England on Nov. 1, 1688; months of preparation, she shows, went into creating the right political conditions for the invasion. She persuades us that, in part, a fear that France would invade Holland led William to attempt the attack on James II, hoping to use London to foil Louis XIV's designs. In part, she argues, William sought to exploit England's maritime power on behalf of Holland, or at least to negate British hostility to Dutch global expansionism, especially in the East Indies....

Once William had landed on the south coast of England on Nov. 5, 1688, and found himself cheered in the streets, he marched swiftly on to London, while James II fled, dropping the Great Seal of England into the Thames and burning parliamentary writs, vainly hoping that such efforts might stymie William's legislative legitimacy. English regiments such as the Coldstream Guards were deftly negotiated out of London, and only Dutch troops were allowed to keep order in the capital.

It is a beguiling thesis, but flawed, for the simple reason that William was invited to invade by the English Whig aristocracy and that his "Declaration," far from being "spin," was the only basis on which he was allowed to set foot in England. If the domestic Protestant governing classes had not effectively chosen William over James, the Dutch invasion fleet would have met the fate of the Spanish Armada.

The 1688 revolution was indeed glorious, and also a revolution, because it replaced -- without bloodshed, until James sought to reverse the outcome two years later -- an obscurantist would-be dictator of alien religious views with William III, the savior of English liberties, commercial practices, religious beliefs and world-outlook. That he was Dutch was immaterial ... William of Orange's "Declaration," then, was an honest document, as his benevolent rule -- and that of his wife, Mary -- would prove. Together they passed a Toleration Act and a Bill of Rights, furthering religious and political liberty. They founded the Bank of England, greatly increased trade and stayed out of war with France until Louis XIV rashly recognized James Stuart, James II's son, as England's rightful king. The reign of William and Mary, in short, was a golden age in British history. The Founding Fathers were right to draw inspiration from it.

More here


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)


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Punitiveness, not compassion, drives the Left

It's all part of their basic hate-motivation and it's why their policies are so regularly destructive

William McGurn, in a brief but splendid article in The Wall Street Journal yesterday, helps us to understand the way that moralism plays out in Obama's policy prescriptions. The key term, McGurn notes, is "fairness," a loaded word that Obama (like many liberals) deploys as a moral bludgeon. Consider the issue of taxes. At Saddleback Church in Southern California the other day, one of the issues Rick Warren asked McCain and Obama about was taxes. "Define rich," he asked. "I mean give me a number. Is it $50,000, $100,000, $200,000? Everybody keeps talking about who we're going to tax. How can you define that?" Some on the Left have pilloried McCain for saying that he considered an income of $5 million a year "rich," but the gravamen of McCain's response, as McGurn points out, came in his elaboration: "I don't want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich."

How different was Obama's response. What he was looking for, he said, was "a sense of balance, and fairness in our tax code. It is time for folks like me who make more than $250,000 to pay our fair share."

"Our fair share." That is the Obama refrain. "[W]e will save Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share." It's a small step from the invocation of "our fair share" to Obama's call for a tax on "the windfall profits of oil companies," a tax increase on capitals gains, elimination of the tax on Social Security tax, etc., etc.

The crucial point here is that what Obama is interested in is not increasing but in promulgating redistributionist policies that make it harder for people to prosper economically. McGurn recalls Obama's response to ABC's Charlie Gibson when Gibson observed that rasing taxes led to decreased revenues: "Well, Charlie," Obama replied, "what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness."

"For purposes of fairness": that means, "for purposes of economic egalitarianism." McGurn comments:
[I]t doesn't really matter whether a tax increase actually brings in more revenue. It's not about robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Robbing from the rich will do, especially if it's done in the name of fairness.

Now there are good reasons Mr. Obama is not likely to pursue the revenue side of the fairness question. As this newspaper noted in a recent editorial, the latest data from the Internal Revenue Service does not show to Mr. Obama's advantage. As we come to the end of the Bush administration, the top 1% of American taxpayers already pay 40% of all income taxes - the highest level in 40 years. The top 10% of income earners pay 71% of the taxes.

The bottom line is that when Obama invokes "fairness," he wants us to feel guilty about economic success. This is the secret of his appeal to to socialistically inclined. It is also the reason why the rest of us are so uneasy about the prospect of an Obama administration.

It has long been recognized that liberalism and feelings of guilt go together as predictably as tea and crumpets. In the title essay of his remarkable book The Chatham House Version, Elie Kedourie criticizes the anti-Western bias of Arnold Toynbee's multi-volume A Study of History. "In my eyes," Toynbee wrote in his concluding volume, "the west is a perpetual aggressor." Kedourie points out that behind Toynbee's impressive erudition ("the far-fetched analogies, the obscure references, the succession of latinate, polysyllabic words") one discerns "the shrill and clamant voice of English radicalism, thrilling with self-accusatory and joyful lamentation. Nostra culpa, nostra maxima culpa: we have invaded, we have conquered, we have dominated, we have exploited."

One finds the same emotional compact among socialistically-inclined liberals in this country: a conviction of superior virtue punctuated by declarations of unappeasable guilt. Whose guilt? Ours-or, to be more precise-yours: all you who have not yet fully acknowledged the miserable condition of Western society, especially the more affluent purlieus of Western society, and above all those parts of affluent Western society that happen to be white, male, and Christian.

This phenomenon, though long recognized, was without a proper name until James Piereson, writing in The Weekly Standard a few years ago, coined the perfect epithet: "punitive liberalism." In this, as in so much else, Obama hearkens back to the radical policies of an earlier era. "From the time of John Kennedy's assassination in 1963 to Jimmy Carter's election in 1976," Piereson writes,
the Democratic party was gradually taken over by a bizarre doctrine that might be called Punitive Liberalism. According to this doctrine, America had been responsible for numerous crimes and misdeeds through its history for which it deserved punishment and chastisement. White Americans had enslaved blacks and committed genocide against Native Americans. They had oppressed women and tyrannized minority groups, such as the Japanese who had been interned in camps during World War II. They had been harsh and unfeeling toward the poor. By our greed, we had despoiled the environment and were consuming a disproportionate share of the world's wealth and resources. We had coddled dictators abroad and violated human rights out of our irrational fear of communism.

Piereson's great insight is to stress the punitive, the chastising side of this orgy of guilt. Liberals like Obama come telling us they are making a better world; they omit to mention that what they mean by "a better world" is a world that is distinctly worse for certain groups, in particular groups that liberals decided had hitherto been unfairly privileged. "The punitive aspects of this doctrine," Piereson writes,
were made especially plain in debates over the liberals' favored policies. If one asked whether it was really fair to impose employment quotas for women and minorities, one often heard the answer, "White men imposed quotas on us, and now we're going to do the same to them!" Was busing of school children really an effective means of improving educational opportunities for blacks? A parallel answer was often given: "Whites bused blacks to enforce segregation, and now they deserve to get a taste of their own medicine!" Do we really strengthen our own security by undercutting allied governments in the name of human rights, particularly when they are replaced by openly hostile regimes (as in Iran and Nicaragua)? "This"-the answer was-"is the price we have to pay for coddling dictators." And so it went. Whenever the arguments were pressed, one discovered a punitive motive behind most of their policies.

It was, as Piereson notes, one of Ronald Reagan's great achievements to overcome, at least temporarily, the emotional mandate of punitive liberalism. Piereson quotes from Reagan's speech at the Republican Convention of 1980: "My fellow citizens," Reagan said, "I utterly reject that view. The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a better world for others by moving backwards ourselves." What a breath of fresh air, especially after four years of Jimmy "Mr. Malaise" Carter!

The question that confronts us now is what reservoirs of confidence we still can draw upon. Did Reagan really "vanquish" punitive liberalism, or did he merely rebuff it momentarily? The extraordinary, uncritical acclamation accorded to Obama by the Left suggests that "we have scotched the snake, not killed it." But at least now we know what we are fighting. Punitive Liberalism is alive and well in the Democratic Party, at The New York Times, in our courts and universities. It would be nice if another Ronald Reagan were to appear and remind us that we cannot move forward by moving backwards. Perhaps John McCain is that person. Although I do not endorse all of his policies, I admire his forthrightness. In any event, I hope that people will begin calling Obama's "fairness doctrine" by its real name: it's not fairness, but punitive liberalism. The first step towards freedom is calling things by their real names. With the phrase "Punitive Liberalism," we at last have a truthful name for the toxic doctrine that would have us believe success is a form of failure.



BrookesNews Update

Why Obama's tax 'rebate' plan cannot succeed: The last thing the US economy needs - or any other economy - is an Obama tax and spend policy, which would be better named tax and destroy. However, the real problem is not Obama but economic illiteracy and entrenched Keynesian fallacies
Is deleveraging bad for the US economy?: Those who accuse the US banks of endangering the economy by deleveraging have failed to grasp that saving is real stuff and has nothing to do with money as such the so-called paradox of thrift turns out to be a logical impossibility
For Democrats politics is a war of extermination against their opponents: The battle for Florida is still being waged with Obama and his corrupt media cohorts leading the charge against the Constitution. This battle will continue until either the Democrats have turned the US into a one-party state or until they have been beaten to the point where they will permanently cease to be a threat to American liberties. And that also goes for the their media pals
Carbon taxes and renewable energy: a disaster in the making: With nuclear power and oil shale banned, and plans to tax coal, oil and gas out of existence, man is headed back to the "green" energy sources of the Dark Ages - muscles, horses, firewood and sunshine
Not only is freedom of speech threatened by Muslims, so is freedom of religion: Muslims aided and abetted the Nazis in their extermination of Jews since they shared a belief system that relegated Jews to the category of 'dogs and apes'. Unlike the Nazis Muslims disdain all religions other than Islam. It is not only accepted but prescribed by Islam to destroy the Holy Bible and those who worship the word of God as opposed to the Islamic reverence of Allah
Democratic Platform's hidden Soros slush fund: Obama and his mate the 'democracy-loving' Soros plan to rip millions of dollars out of taxpayers and funnel them into Dem fronts. In short, this pair are going to use taxpayer dollars to fund their campaigns. If this ain't corruption then what the hell is?
Georgia and the left's double standards: Russia invades Georgia, a tiny democracy, and the left - through their silence - condone this atrocity. Georgia's crime is that it is a democracy that aligned itself with the US. So once again the left's corruption, mendacity, treason, duplicity, hypocrisy and politically depravity is on public display. In short, the left are scum


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)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Understanding the modern-day Left

As is so often the case with some of the world's most destructive ideologies, they are born from the honest and high-minded efforts of intellectuals, politicians, and historians to right a perceived societal wrong, often coupled with a desire to redress the purported victimization of a people or a nation. One cannot fathom the power of these revolutionary movements without at least attempting to understand their appeal. Few, if any, successful revolutionary movements were based on the embrace of the dark side of human nature; on the contrary, most were clothed in the shining raiment of goodness and equity. The most violent excesses of the French Revolution were -- at least, originally -- carried out in the firm belief that they were working for the betterment of mankind.

The fervor with which these Great Causes were embraced by so many otherwise 'normal' people did not come from their perception of themselves or The Cause as the virtual incarnation of Evil, but rather as the victory of the Good. Whether we are contemplating Islamism, Fascism, Nazism or Communism, or even the rise of an unmitigated monster such as a Pol Pot or an Osama bin Laden, we cannot comprehend these sweeping political upheavals without first acknowledging their loyal adherents' unquestioned self-perception as the embodiment of justice and righteousness. The road to hell is paved with such well-intentioned movements.

The closest this contentious world has ever come to achieving true social equity has been in those modern nations which have embraced the combined principles of freedom, capitalism, and democracy. They are simply the most judicious and honorable systems yet devised. Unfortunately, this glaring truth does not render these privileged societies impervious to the machinations of those who know better, those who understand history better, and can better interpret its meanings, those who have conceptualized a better vision of the future, embodied in a better system. There is always a 'better system' out there. And as we have seen to our despair, oftentimes those same old ugly lies reappear in the guise of some newer 'better system', and subsequently a whole new generations of believers is born.

Thus we now have our New Left. A New Left which really isn't all that new; and yet, despite its undeniable previous history of abject failure and brutal oppression, it still manages to attract a whole new roster of converts. And once again, this is not because it appeals to the evil hearts and minds of these newest disciples, but rather beckons to their higher selves. They believe that they have a better grasp of historical truth than the rest of us. They believe that they have the answers for the rest of us. And, as with all those other monumental idealistic disasters that have befallen mankind, they will be our ruin unless we can stop them. And we cannot hope to stop them unless and until we understand them.

If I understand it correctly, the argument of the liberal, multicultural, internationalist left goes like this: Over the course of history, the concept of nationhood has been thoroughly discredited: it has wrought nothing but divisiveness and trouble to the world community. The two greatest and most destructive wars in human history were the direct result of the opposing selfish ambitions of several major nation states. Nationalism breeds patriotism; patriotism breeds chauvinism; chauvinism, in turn, breeds ultra-nationalism -- or as it is more commonly known, fascism. Therefore, for the sake of world peace, the idea of individualistic nations with finite borders and selfish agendas must be done away with completely and forever and replaced by the more rational, humanistic concept of internationalism.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the left lost its champion for the worldwide movement of internationalism, which it had hoped would defeat the self-interested powers of nationalism and capitalism. Following the disintegration of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R., and the abject failure of communism in general, the left had to look for a new paradigm, and for new leaders. Not surprisingly, the new left would find its leaders amongst the liberal intelligentsia, who were, themselves, largely products of the radical protest movements of the Sixties and the "cultural elite". This new social revolution would be led by artists, writers, academics and left-leaning politicians of the world who would unite to create a new internationalist order.

Whereas the goals of the Communist state-based old left were primarily political, the new left's battles are primarily cultural -- political power, as such, is seen only as a means to an end. This internationalist new left is ideologically opposed to any intrinsic national characteristics -- such as, language, monetary systems, customs, etc. -- which would set one nation apart from another. Most particularly, they are opposed to borders -- borders, after all, define nations, which, as has been proven, are a fundamentally disruptive and dangerous concept. Secondly, once the whole construct of nationhood is done away with, then those intransigent problems of racism and immigration (two issues high on the new left's agenda) would disappear.

In the last several decades Europe has already moved (perhaps irreversibly) in this direction, with its creation of the European Union, the introduction of the Euro, the pan-European capitol at Brussels, with its International Court at the Hague and, of course, its "moral" opposition the the "nationalistic" United States. More ominously, Europe's intrinsic cultural identity is in the process of being obliterated by the mass influx of (mostly Muslim) immigrants who, rather than assimilate, more often than not form their own separate enclaves, follow their own cultural leaders and laws, and continue speaking their own languages. Less and less do these new immigrants show any sense of affiliation with, or loyalty toward their new European host countries.* In fact, in many instances, they thoroughly despise these liberal societies which they have infiltrated and actively seek to tear them down from within and replace them with something more "internationalist", like the universal religion of Islam. Unfortunately, far from being some compassionate, all-encompassing, peace-loving world order, this radical form of jihadist Islam -- whose rights the new leftists so passionately defend -- is, in the end, far more tyrannical and fascistic than any of these so-called brutal imperialist nations that they would like to do away with.

These ideological battles with the forces of the multicultural, internationalist new left and their allies at the ACLU, the universities, Hollywood and the media, etc., are being played out daily in our own country with our ongoing and hotly contested debates over border enforcement, immigration legislation, English language issues, illegal alien rights, racial profiling, etc. The new left's Utopian and monumentally ambitious goal is to eventually have an America without borders, either northern or southern, a North American Union, similar in concept to the EU, a thoroughly homogeneous socialist society, minus, of course, any culturally unique Americans, governed by international laws, adjudicated by international courts.

These current societal conflicts are essentially battles of migration, similar to the great Germanic migrations that overwhelmed the increasingly vulnerable Roman Empire of the third, fourth and fifth centuries. They are battles of demographics. And they are battles that, for various reasons, the peoples of the Western Democracies are losing. However violent and bloody they might be, the most serious threats to our democratic societies do not necessarily come from these well-publicized, intermittent terrorist attacks but, rather, from these insidious -- and seemingly unstoppable -- ubiquitous cultural invasions, against which we, in our liberal and open societies seem woefully incapable of defending ourselves.




I guess I must be a sentimental old fool. I read recently a story in "The Times" which I cannot get out of my head. I have posted it on Paralipomena. It is about a man who was adopted out as a baby but who finally traced his birth mother when he was 41. Such stories are usually emotional but you read such stories often so what was unusual about this story? The striking thing is in the very last sentence -- a sentence that is at once totally crazy and totally right. I am sure that no self-obsessed Leftist would think anything of it but it brings tears to my old eyes. If you choose to read it, do read the whole story first. Peeking at the last sentence first may well deprive it of much of its impact. A recent post on Wicked Thoughts has got some memorable entries in it too.

Two major Left-leaning Australian newspapers cut back: "Fairfax Media Ltd says it will cut five per cent of its workforce under a new business improvement program to save costs. The program will be implemented in the first half of 2008/09 and extend across the group's corporate division, Australian publishing and printing businesses and Fairfax New Zealand. "A wide range of initiatives will result in a head count reduction of approximately 550 employees in Australia and New Zealand, or approximately five per cent of the company's full time workforce," it said in a statement. The program will deliver around $50 million in annualised cost savings. Some $25 million of the savings will flow into the 2008/09 annual result. Fairfax will book a one-off charge of about $50 million for redundancy and associated costs. [The papers mainly affected are the Melbourne "Age" and the "Sydney Morning Herald"]

Economic myths : "By taking a couple of courses in economic theory, we could immunize ourselves from nonsense spouted by politicians and pundits, but in the meantime check out Professor John R. Lott's `Freedomnomics: Why the Free Market Works.' His first chapter is `Are You Being Ripped Off?' It addresses myths about predation where it's sometimes alleged that corporations will charge below-cost prices to bankrupt their rivals and then charge unconscionable prices. There's little or no evidence that corporations would choose predation as strategy; there are too many pitfalls."

Affirmative-action ban on 2 state ballots: "Backers of a November ballot measure to ban affirmative action will focus on two states - one of them a battleground in the presidential election - after their efforts failed elsewhere. Nebraska on Friday joined Colorado as one of two places where voters will decide whether to end programs that increase minority and female participation in government and education. The measure did not receive enough valid signatures in Arizona, Missouri and Oklahoma."


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)


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Associated Press still not Leftist enough

According to the nutroots at FireDogLake. An AP writer actually dared to make some criticisms of Obama/Biden! Excerpt:

As recently as last year, Ron Fournier considered working for the McCain campaign. Instead he took a job as Washington bureau chief for the AP, but it looks like he's still working for McCain.

Fournier say in a new AP piece that the Biden choice demonstrates that Obama "lacks confidence," that Biden is the "ultimate insider," and that it threatens to undermine Obama's message of "change." It could've come straight off the fax machine of the McCain press shop, with no need for editing (indeed, the McCain campaign says it loves the Fournier piece). Its sentiments have been echoed all morning across cable news.

But this kind of journalistic opinionating is what Fournier likes to see in his campaign coverage. Earlier this year, Fournier outlined what his vision of new journalism is:
The journalistic ethics of old do not apply to the new guidelines over at the Associated Press. The new ethics are called "accountability journalism," and the new bureau chief, Ron Fournier, believes that the conventional press model, where both sides of an argument are entitled to equal weight, is exactly what journalists need to avoid.

Fournier believes those old journalistic ethics are what stops reporters from telling the truth as they see it.

In March, Fournier wrote that Obama is "a bit too cocky," and that he and Michelle "ooze a sense of entitlement." I guess that's "how he sees it." It's simply not acceptable that the head of the AP's Washington bureau, in charge of presidential campaign coverage, sees the AP as little more than an extension of the McCain Campaign's message...

More here


Hate is the Democrat alternative to policy

Even Left-leaning columnist David Ignatius can see it. Excerpt:

The partisanship of the congressional leadership has been a virtue for Democrats, up to a point. By being as tough and unyielding as their GOP rivals, they won back control of Congress. But they haven't done much with their majorities these past two years, beyond bashing Bush.

Which raises a question to ponder as you watch the convention this week: Will Mr. Cool be a strong enough leader to transform the Democratic-controlled Congress from a reflexive role into a force for change? Can the Get-Even Gang become the Get-Ahead Gang? Or will Obama remain the aloof, judicious ex-professor who gives a great speech but leaves the dirty work of governing to Pelosi and Reid?

As an extra-credit assignment before this week's convention, I've been reading the recent books published by congressional leaders. And I must say, these are not works that rank with the political novels of Anthony Trollope. The titles -- Pelosi's "Know Your Power" and Reid's "The Good Fight" -- sound almost pugilistic. They reveal the mindset that has made these leaders such effective partisan brawlers.

Pelosi and Reid are each throwbacks to the muscular Democratic Party of several generations ago. It's telling that both grew up in homes that celebrated the Democratic godfather -- Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reid's mother displayed in their little home in Searchlight, Nev., an embroidered pillowcase with a quote attributed to FDR, "We can. We will. We must." Pelosi's father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., led the Democratic machine in Baltimore, serving eight years in Congress and 12 as mayor. When constituents came to ask for favors, they would walk past a large portrait of FDR.

These old-fashioned Democrats don't just oppose Republicans; they seem to actively dislike them. Pelosi describes how, as a young woman, she refused to rent a house in San Francisco because the owner was serving in the Nixon administration. Reid is almost contemptuous in voicing his antipathy toward George W. Bush, who he says "will rank among the worst presidents -- if not the worst -- in the history of our country."

Pelosi and Reid rose to leadership positions during the hyper-partisan years of Republican control of Congress, and it shows. They are the people who refused to be Swift-boated, DeLay-ed, or otherwise crushed by the Republican attack machine. They attacked back, and were as vengeful as the Republicans.

Pelosi describes with relish her strategy for trouncing Bush's plan to privatize Social Security -- which was to blast it mercilessly, without offering an alternative. The implicit message is that negotiation and compromise are for losers. The reality that Social Security is facing bankruptcy seems not to interest either Pelosi or Reid. Indeed, their memoirs are largely policy-free zones.

More here



When a Russian navy ship returned to port after operations against Georgia recently, it was welcomed by some Russian bikini babes. Click HERE to see the pic. I haven't got the heart to display it on this blog. (Via Ace)

Britain feels the impoverishing effects of socialism: "The study by, a price comparison website, found that the figure - gross income minus taxes, social contributions and essential bills - fell 2,582 pounds, or 15 per cent, from 17,102 last year to 14,520. The average household's disposable income is just 2,491 higher than it was in 1997, according to uSwitch. The fall wipes out much of the gains made in the 11 years since Labour took office. Ann Robinson, uSwitch's director of consumer policy, said people were in "a lose/lose situation where everything is shooting up except their income". Although average pay has risen by 3.4 per cent in the past year, that has been more than wiped out by inflation in the shops and tax rises."

Coalition forces capture two key al-Qaeda leaders in Baghdad: "Coalition forces captured two suspected senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders in Baghdad during recent operations, dealing AQI a hefty blow by removing experienced terrorists from the top of the extremist network. Salim `Abdallah Ashur al-Shujayri, also known as Abu Uthman, was captured during an operation Aug. 11. He is reportedly the AQI emir of the Rusafa district of Baghdad. Ali Rash Nasir Jiyad al-Shammari, also known as Abu Tiba, was captured Aug. 17. Both men are assessed to be longtime members of AQI."

Who knew--Natural gas production up and prices down?: "American natural gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline. The new drilling boom uses advanced technology to release gas trapped in huge shale beds found throughout North America - gas long believed to be out of reach. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, releasing less of the emissions that cause global warming than coal or oil. Rising production of natural gas has significant long-range implications for American consumers and businesses. A sustained increase in gas supplies over the next decade could slow the rise of utility bills, obviate the need to import gas and make energy-intensive industries more competitive."


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)


Monday, August 25, 2008

Exactly How Biased is the American Media? The Sad Hard Facts

The donations tell the tale

The average American voter is starting to come to grips with the fact that those who control the flow of their information, "the media," are neither independent nor unbiased. In a September 2007 Gallup survey of American voters, 45% said the media is too liberal, compared to only 18% who said the media is too conservative and 35% who said the media is about right. The results of that survey demonstrate how far left 18% of Americans are today, and how uninformed another 35% are. Only 45% have a good sense of just how biased the media really is, before they follow the money and confirm their suspicions.

It's the information age, so the media is made up of several sectors today. American thought patterns and political sentiments are influenced almost entirely by a combination of all of these sectors, collectively referred to as the media.

The Media Sectors and their to-date 2008 Political Investments

* Computer & Internet - $24,255,207 (62% to Democrats)
* Books, Magazines & Papers - $12,187,548 (78% to Democrats)
* Computer Software - $8,922,053 (61% to Democrats)
* Motion Picture Industry - $7,523,136 (88% to Democrats)
* Cable & Satellite TV - $6,303,046 (63% to Democrats)
* Music Recording Industry - $2,983,755 (79% to Democrats)
* Television Production and Distribution - $2,322,587 (86% to Democrats)

These numbers are 2008 total individual and PAC donations coming from the people who make up these media sector industries. But the picture is even more convincing when we begin to look at individual organizations. Ever wonder why our education system is slanted hard left? Here are some of the biggest publishers of educational materials.

* Reed Elsevier Inc. - $135,250 (69% to democrats) - Publisher and information provider, operating in four core segments: science and medical, legal, education, and business.
* Houghton Mifflin - $132,000 (97% to democrats) - Major publisher of textbooks, reference works, fiction, non-fiction, and educational software and video.
* National Geographic Society - $79,463 (95% to democrats) - provides free maps, photos, videos and daily news stories.

Ever wonder why the news media has a hard left bent?

* General Electric/NBC/MSNBC/CNBC - (88% to democrats)
* Disney - (86% to democrats) - Walt Disney Studios, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, and Miramax; owns television interests including ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN; runs dozens of local television and radio stations.
* ABC News - (99% to democrats)
* BBC International - (62% to democrats)
* CBS News - (99% to democrats)
* CNN News - (99% to democrats and Ron Paul)
* Newsweb Corp - (100% to democrats) - a publisher of ethnic and alternative newspapers in the United States, based in Chicago, Illinois.
* Cox Newspapers - (100% to democrats) - Publishers of sixteen local newspapers in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Ohio.
* Time Inc - (66% to democrats) - the largest magazine publisher in the US.
* News Corp - (95% to democrats) - Rupert Murdoch's global vertically integrated media company includes properties in film, television, cable. (Donor facts provided by Open Secrets)

Think the internet is more fair and balanced? Guess who manipulates search engine results (aka online headlines)?

* Google Inc. - (81% to democrats) - Biggest search engine and online news source.
* Yahoo! Inc - (86% to democrats) - Search engine and online news source.
* MSN - (91% to democrats) - Search engine and online news source.

In case you think the money trail doesn't prove anything. a glance at the last 18 years of political funding will change your mind!

Abortion is alive and well at the expense of a million innocent children a year because the pro-abortion lobby has spent $16,497,110 since 1990, 81% of it with Democrats while the pro-life lobby has spent only $5,906,234 during the same period, 94% of it with Republicans. Ever heard that the squeaky wheel gets the oil?

Americans still have the right to keep and bear arms thanks to the gun lobby spending $19,746,376 since 1990, 85% of it with Republicans while the gun control lobby has only spent $1,739,542 during the same period, 94% of it with Democrats.

Our public education system is still a mess because the teacher union lobby has spent $146,422,869 since 1990 to keep it that way, 71% of it with Democrats who are protecting union thugs instead of protecting students, many of whom can't even read their high school diploma. But teachers who won't teach have tenure... making sure they can continue to turn out illiterate voters who will undoubtedly become reliable leftist adults.....

More here



Defending the Baltic states : "Fred Kagan, the intellectual author of the successful US "troop surge" plan in Iraq, believes Nato's presence in the Baltics must be massively strengthened to pre-empt the risk of them being invaded in the same way as Georgia. Such measures would infuriate Moscow, which last week warned that the installation of a US missile defence shield in Poland would ignite a new "arms race" between East and West. But Mr Kagan, an expert on the Russian military who has the ear of hawks within the US administration, said that the West needed to match words with deeds if it was to stop Russia turning into an "intolerable, aggressive imperialistic" power."

Pakistan attacking the militants: "He has one of the world's most dangerous jobs -- turning back the seemingly unstoppable tide of al-Qa'ida and Taliban-linked jihadi militancy sweeping across nuclear-armed Pakistan. And Rehman Malik, as we talk in his Islamabad office, makes it clear that the days of pussyfooting in Pakistan's fight against the militants are over. "Look, we've got two choices," says Malik, formerly one of Benazir Bhutto's closest aides and now Pakistan's security supremo who heads the Interior Ministry. "Either we can hand this country over to the Taliban, or we can fight. I am going to fight." Later, speaking to MPs in the National Assembly, he is even more forceful: "The Government of Pakistan will not tolerate any nonsense," he says. "Wherever the Government's writ is challenged, we will take action." Of the jihadi militants, he says: "We will wipe them out. We will not surrender before them."

Economic reform bears fruit in Israel: "It is also becoming clear that Israel's economy is growing faster than all Western economies. Even the war did not slow the pace. The mirror of growth is employment, which has improved greatly. A total of 240,000 Israelis joined the workforce in the past three years, supporting themselves instead of relying on government handouts - and that is the most important news for society. The unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in a decade, to 8.3 percent of the workforce compared to 10.7 percent in 2003. The number of people receiving unemployment payments fell from 97,000 in 2003 to 57,000, and the number receiving income support decreased from 155,000 to 140,000 in the same period".

The moronic TSA again. "Inspector" damages 9 aircraft: "Nine commuter aircraft were grounded for safety inspections Tuesday at Chicago's O'Hare airport after a federal security inspector climbed onto them by grabbing sensitive outside instruments, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday. "It delayed a lot of folks getting to where they had to go yesterday," said American Eagle spokeswoman Andrea Huguely. "This was something we had never experienced before." The inspector used the total air temperature probe and the jetway to haul himself through the open doors of seven of the nine planes he inspected, a TSA official said. The inspector aimed "to look for and test, among other things, access vulnerabilities or areas were someone with ill intent could gain access to the aircraft," the TSA said, adding: "Aircraft operators are required to secure each aircraft when left unattended." Sam Mayer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Union, said the maneuver could have damaged the probes. Pilots use readings from the probes to gauge the probability of icing. "Apparently the TSA inspector hoisted himself up using the TAT probe as a stirrup. He repeated the same procedure with nine aircraft. Most TAT probes have a painted decal on the side that reads 'NO STEP,' " he said."

VERY sad news about Margaret Thatcher's decline.


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)


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iraqi Army's Rise enabling U.S. Withdrawal

The Bush administration's preliminary security pact with Iraq calls for withdrawing most American combat troops by 2011, a development that seemed almost unthinkable even a few months ago. One reason they're thinking about it now: the new assertiveness of Iraqi soldiers such as Brig. Gen. Sabah Fadhil Motar al-Azawi. His brigade helped chase militants from Ramadi and wrest control of Basra from the once-feared Mahdi Army. Now, it's helping to push the U.S. out of Iraq.

Several factors have helped bring a withdrawal deal closer. Tribal leaders from the Sunni Muslim sect turned against the terrorist group al Qaeda in Iraq; the Mahdi Army called a cease-fire; and the U.S. began a new counterinsurgency strategy, deploying units to small outposts in Iraqi towns and neighborhoods.

But above all, the Iraqi army has needed to reverse a track record of high-profile failures. In earlier years, Iraqi forces often fled and left heavy fighting to the U.S. Now the Iraqis are mounting large-scale operations in restive areas like Diyala Province, a longtime stronghold of Sunni insurgents, and holding large swaths of territory -- 10 of Iraq's 18 provinces -- largely on their own.

"History is replete with armed forces having to get bloodied a little bit before they get better," says Maj. Gen. Michael Oates, who commands U.S. forces in central and southern Iraq. He says the Iraqi forces have improved from five years of fighting and from mentoring by U.S. military advisers. The recent surge in U.S. troop levels allowed senior commanders to deploy larger numbers of American trainers, accelerating the Iraqis' improvements, U.S. officials believe.

The U.S. gives Iraqi troops access to American air power and helps them resupply their forces, but many of the Iraqi units plan and conduct their operations independently. In many of the Iraq army's 10 provinces there are no U.S. troops at all, and where there are, U.S. troops coordinate their operations with the Iraqis. When the former Soviet country of Georgia unexpectedly recalled its 2,000-soldier contingent to fight the Russians, Iraqis, not Americans, were sent to replace them.

The Iraqi army's growing capabilities bolstered Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's insistence on setting at least a rough timetable for U.S. withdrawal. The preliminary security pact calls for the Iraqi army to take responsibility for all major cities next summer, with most U.S. combat forces withdrawing to the outskirts and then leaving the country altogether by 2011. The pact still has to be formally approved by the Bush administration and several layers of Iraqi government. Some of its provisions -- including the target dates -- could still change before it's final, and the draft also allows for U.S. and Iraqi officials to jointly change the withdrawal goals later based on security conditions.

Much more here


California County Weighs Push for Offshore Drilling

There's oil on their beaches all the time from natural leakage anyway!

Almost 40 years ago, a major oil spill off the coast here helped launch the environmental movement. Now, some in this wealthy seaside community are trying to sway the energy debate again -- this time in favor of offshore drilling. On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors will decide whether to urge California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to "consider a change in policy that would allow expanded oil exploration and extraction in our county." Supporters and opponents expect the board to approve the measure on a 3-2 vote.

The county board doesn't have jurisdiction over offshore drilling, which is banned by the state and federal governments. But the vote could have a symbolic impact at a time when offshore drilling is gaining favor because of high gasoline prices. "It's a sea-change," said Brooks Firestone, the county supervisor who is expected to cast the deciding vote. Last year, he voted to oppose drilling, but has since changed his mind.

Tucked in a valley and surrounded by hills that swoop to the ocean, Santa Barbara looks like a Mediterranean village, with red-tiled roofs and white stucco walls lining the tourist-clogged downtown streets. Along the coast, waterfront mansions attract the wealthy and famous. But some of the county supervisors represent inland areas to the north that tend to be more conservative and pro-oil than the picture-postcard south coast.

The national debate on energy production is playing out in smaller battles across the country. Authorities in Pennsylvania are concerned about the millions of gallons of water needed for natural-gas production there. Residents in Fort Worth, Texas, are clashing over pipelines being built in neighborhoods. Western states have seen fights over drilling in environmentally sensitive areas. But there are few places where the debate is felt as keenly as in Santa Barbara. Tourists on Stearns Wharf can still see the oil platform that caused the 1969 oil spill -- and is still operating under a grandfather provision of the federal drilling ban....

The group was founded several years ago as Bring Oil Back, a direct challenge to Get Oil Out, a prominent local environmental group. Its members, many of them self-described environmentalists, argue a range of issues to support their view: the improved safety record of the oil industry, the dangers of dependence on foreign oil and the impact of revenue from increased oil production.

Publicly, the group focuses on a particularly local issue: oil seeps, natural emissions that leave a sheen on the ocean surface and balls of tar on the sandy beaches. Now named Stop Oil Seeps California, the group touts a 1999 University of California at Santa Barbara study suggesting that oil production could reduce the emissions by relieving pressure in undersea oil fields. One of the study's authors, Bruce Luyendyk, says the group is "extrapolating these results in ways that are not justified." But the seeps issue has given drilling supporters an argument they hope will win over locals.

The group's most important convert is Supervisor Firestone, whose district straddles the county's north-south divide. A hybrid-driving former Republican state assemblyman, Mr. Firestone said the county's strained budget is a key argument. "With potential reserves out there, we might be able to solve our deficit problem," he said.

More here



Buffett: "Game is over" for Freddie and Fannie: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage finance companies, 'don't have any net worth,' the billionaire investor Warren Buffett said. 'The game is over' as independent companies said Buffett, the 77-year-old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway .... Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae touched 20-year lows yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange on speculation a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. ... Fannie and Freddie mispriced their products and 'kept existing because they had the federal government behind them,' Buffett said."

This will drive the Left conspiracy theorists nuts: "A major voting machine maker has notified its customers in 34 states that a programming error discovered during testing may cause votes to be dropped when they are uploaded to a computer server from the machines' vote-holding memory cards. Premier Election Solutions Inc. supplies touch-screen voting systems as well as scanners for paper ballots to large and small customers throughout the nation. The error communicated in a Tuesday product advisory occurs when multiple memory cards are uploaded at the same time, and it is more likely to occur in jurisdictions that have several voters and use touch-screen voting systems, said Premier spokesman Chris Riggall. The Allen, Texas-based Premier is a unit of North Canton-based Diebold Inc. In Ohio, where the glitch was discovered, it caused at least 1,000 total votes to be dropped in 9 of the 44 counties that used Premier's equipment during the March presidential primary and previous elections. The dropped votes were discovered within several hours by election officials who noticed the memory cards weren't being read properly. Workers re-fed the cards into the server until they worked, and the votes were added to the overall vote totals."

The British Labour party has finally killed the Thatcher boom: "The longest period of uninterrupted economic growth in British history has ended, leaving the country on the brink of recession. Almost two decades of increasing employment, disposable income and house prices ground to a halt in June, official figures showed yesterday. After 16 years, or 63 consecutive quarters, of continuous growth it is likely that Britain is already in recession, City analysts say. Another downgrade in a month's time could confirm that the economy has shrunk. The latest data, from the Office for National Statistics, showed a slump in every part of the economy as the credit crunch and the rising cost of living took their toll."

Misleading Obama ad: "An Obama ad in Georgia ties McCain to former Christian Coalition executive Ralph Reed and the Abramoff lobbying scandal. It doesn't give a full picture. The ad says that Reed "is now raising money for McCain's campaign." But McCain has said, "I neither seek nor want his support." It says McCain, as a committee chairman, "never even called Reed to testify" about Abramoff, which is true. But McCain's public report embarrassed Reed and damaged him politically nonetheless."


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)