Saturday, September 20, 2008

Political attitudes are predicted by physiological traits

Study finds that conservatives react more strongly to apparent danger. Conservatives are more cautious! Nice to see it demonstrated physiologically but not a big surprise

Is America's red-blue divide based on voters' physiology? A new paper in the journal Science, titled "Political Attitudes Are Predicted by Physiological Traits," explores the link. Rice University's John Alford, associate professor of political science, co-authored the paper in the Sept. 19 issue of Science.

Alford and his colleagues studied a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs. Those individuals with "measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism and gun control, whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism and the Iraq War," the authors wrote.

Participants were chosen randomly over the phone in Lincoln, Neb. Those expressing strong political views -- regardless of their content -- were asked to fill out a questionnaire on their political beliefs, personality traits and demographic characteristics.

In a later session, they were attached to physiological measuring equipment and shown three threatening images (a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face and an open wound with maggots in it) interspersed among a sequence of 33 images. Similarly, participants also viewed three nonthreatening images (a bunny, a bowl of fruit and a happy child) placed within a series of other images. A second test used auditory stimuli to measure involuntary responses to a startling noise.

The researchers noted a correlation between those who reacted strongly to the stimuli and those who expressed support for "socially protective policies," which tend to be held by people "particularly concerned with protecting the interests of the participants' group, defined as the United States in mid-2007, from threats." These positions include support for military spending, warrantless searches, the death penalty, the Patriot Act, obedience, patriotism, the Iraq War, school prayer and Biblical truth, and opposition to pacifism, immigration, gun control, foreign aid, compromise, premarital sex, gay marriage, abortion rights and pornography.

The paper concluded, "Political attitudes vary with physiological traits linked to divergent manners of experiencing and processing environmental threats." This may help to explain "both the lack of malleability in the beliefs of individuals with strong political convictions and the associated ubiquity of political conflict," the authors said.

Source. More details here. Original journal abstract follows:

Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits

By Douglas R. Oxley et al.

Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals' experiences, recent research suggests that they may have a biological basis. We present evidence that variations in political attitudes correlate with physiological traits. In a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs, individuals with measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism, and gun control, whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism, and the Iraq War. Thus, the degree to which individuals are physiologically responsive to threat appears to indicate the degree to which they advocate policies that protect the existing social structure from both external (outgroup) and internal (norm-violator) threats.

Science 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5896, pp. 1667 - 1670


The Economic Reform Wave

What do Azerbaijan, Albania and the Kyrgyz Republic have in common? They're all Eastern European or Central Asian states, and they all currently top the list of the world's most enthusiastic economic reformers.

So says "Doing Business 2009," the latest instalment in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation's series of annual reports on the state of pro-growth policies around the world. There's little change at the top of the league table in absolute terms -- Singapore still ranks No. 1, with the U.S., Hong Kong, U.K., Canada and Australia also in the top 10. But a look at the changes in other rankings shows a still-growing tide of liberalization just about everywhere.

This year the report's authors count 239 pro-growth reforms in 113 economies in the year from June 2007 to June 2008, compared to 200 reforms in 98 countries last year. Yet again, cutting the red tape on business start-ups is the most popular kind of reform and 49 countries took such steps. Top reformer Azerbaijan, for example, opened a one-stop shop to handle new business registrations and cut the number of regulatory steps to six from 13. For these and many other improvements, it now ranks 33rd, up from 97th last year.

Other countries are attracting investment by cutting tax rates or by making it easier and cheaper to file. Malaysia did both, simplifying and cutting corporate income taxes (now a 26% flat tax, which will drop to 25% next year) and introducing online filing. It moved up to 20th from 25th. Colombia, South America's top reformer, embraced trade by cutting export- and import processing times via a host of administrative reforms, helping to improve its ranking to 53rd from 66th.

One notable bright light here is in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa still lags far behind other regions, and the average ranking for countries there is 138th, compared to an average of 111 for the next-worst region, South Asia. But Senegal, Burkina Faso and Botswana this year made the list of top 10 reformers. Senegal improved its ranking to 149th from 168th, in part by speeding customs clearance for trade. Burkina Faso slashed red tape on construction permits and it cut taxes, helping bump it to 148th from 164th.

A lot of work clearly remains to be done; and some countries, such as Indonesia, Bulgaria and Bolivia, slipped down in the rankings. Yet overall this report is a welcome sign that many countries are pushing ahead with reforms.

The timing couldn't be better: The IFC notes that countries with liberalized business regulations frequently grow faster than their peers and are more resilient when tough times hit. In today's uncertain economic climate, every competitive advantage helps.




Republican energy leads to comeback in polls : "New polling suggests that the Republican Party is beginning to regain some of its luster and, perhaps as important, is experiencing a surge in excitement among its political base. A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports that independent voters have an equally favorable opinion of both parties, 50 to 49 percent, a one-point edge for the GOP. That compares to an 18-point Democratic advantage as recently as August, a wide gap that had generally held for more than a year. And half of registered voters overall now have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, the highest GOP ranking in three years. Slightly more voters, 55 percent, continue to have a favorable view of the Democratic Party. The GOP convention and the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate have also generated considerable enthusiasm among the party rank-and-file. Pew found that three in four Republicans express satisfaction with their presidential choice. In June, only half said the same.

French nanny state bans internet alcohol advertising: "France may be home to some of the world's finest wines but it could be about to join the tiny club of Muslim states that forbid their promotion on the internet. Winemakers and other players in the drinks industry are fighting to avert a ban on advertising, sales and even vineyard websites that has been looming ever since a court ruled that the internet should be included in France's strict laws regarding alcohol advertising. The Heineken beer company was forced by the ruling last February to block French access to its corporate site. Since then, some of the biggest drinks brands have shut out French visitors for fear of prosecution. "Today in France, the sight of a bottle of wine has become as offensive as a picture of war or pornography," said Daniel Lorson, a spokesman for CIVC, the industry body of champagne producers. The industry complains that it is being demonised and that an internet ban would penalise hugely one of the glories of the French economy and the national heritage. [Not a big help to the French economy, one imagines]

Euro-snoops put US to shame: "The U.S. government gets rapped frequently for its growing tendency to use wiretaps, engage in surveillance and compile information about people who are doing nothing more than exercising their right to criticize political leaders -- or even people who are just going about their daily, apolitical business. Especially since 9/11, but even for decades preceding that event, government officials have engaged in a disturbing frenzy of nosiness about the communications, activities and opinions of private citizens. But, in certain circles, it's become the norm to assume that the U.S. government is the worst of the worst. That it practices control-freakery to an extent that shocks, shocks our friends overseas. Would the sophisticated French ever engage in such abusive shenanigans[?] Well, yes, they would."

Father of Palin account hacker David Kernell is Tennessee Democrat State Rep: "The son of state Rep. Mike Kernell has been contacted by authorities in connection with a probe into the hacking of personal e-mail of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Kernell told The Tennessean. Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, said his 20-year-old son David had been contacted by authorities investigating the hacking of Palin's personal e-mail account, the newspaper reported on its Web site this afternoon. The FBI and the Secret Service started a formal investigation Wednesday into the hacking, according to the Associated Press."


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, September 19, 2008

Wow! Google are getting tough on conservative blogs

Dick MacDonald had a pretty mainstream conservative blog here. Click the link and see what you get now. Dick is a man in his 70s and a former accountant so you can guess that he wasn't doing anything extreme. His main interest is social security reform. They took his blog down over copyright breaches. Email him on dickmcdonald73* (Replace the star with @, of course) to get on his mailing list. He is worth reading.


Wherein I Do My Part to Aid the Social Sciences

A good post from Ace below:

Dear Editor of Ace of Spades,

I am writing you on behalf of a research team from the Psychology Department at New York University, in the hopes that you might be able to help us with our timely and important research about the cognitive bases of electoral decision-making. We would be very grateful to you if you could possibly help us recruit politically inclined respondents to our survey by posting to your blog the link to the online survey we are conducting as part of this research...

And on and on and on.

My response:
With all due respect, why bother? I've read these studies before. You already know all the answers: Liberals vote out of rationality and hope; conservatives vote out of irrational prejudice and fear. There's no point collecting data when the conclusions have already been drafted. Thank you for your interest, but I can write your paper for you without bothering with the middleman of data collection.

Added a PS:
To make my complaint clear:

We all know that conservatives are more fond of tradition and liberals are more fond of fads and "new things." Now, we already know that. There is no reason to even collect data on it. It's a fact. It's 75% of what makes conservatives conservative and liberals liberal. But rather than framing it neutrally, you -- if you are anything like the six bazillion psychologists before you -- will say "liberals show they are more OPEN-MINDED and RECEPTIVE OF NEW IDEAS AND NEW EXPERIENCES than conservatives, who are CLOSED-MINDED and FEARFUL OF ANYTHING NEW OR DIFFERENT.

I could take the same data and give it a different spin: Conservatives are more mature and comfortable with themselves. Liberals, however, similar to juveniles, are seek out fads and transient fashions, much like teenagers "identity shop" by trying out new personae until one fits.

The thing is, the data should be reported straight. Neutrally. And if you're going to spin a value judgment on to it, there is no reason to favor the "CONSERVATIVES FEARFUL" spin over of my own "LIBERALS FADDISH AND ONLY PARTIALLY-FORMED IN THEIR ADULT PERSONAE" spin.

But I know in advance -- well, I know to a 99% certainty, based on the all of the similar studies I've read previously -- that it's going to be CONSERVATIVES FEARFUL. Why bother? Let's just skip the whole pretense of faux scientific rigor and get right to the money graf: Conservatives suck, liberals are better and smarter. And like trying out new foods and listening to "World Music."



There is no Democrat majority

Much has been made this year about how the fundamentals favor the Democrats. An unpopular Republican president, a war that has dragged on beyond the limits of public tolerance, a declining number of people identifying as Republicans and a worrisome economy all set the stage for the Democrats to reclaim the White House.

While citing these factors, Rasmussen Reports and many others have not often pointed out another fundamental-the difficulty Democrats have in attracting a majority of the popular vote.

Since 1860, the year that Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president, only three Democrats have won the White House with a majority of the popular vote. Each of the three-Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter-were aided by extraordinary circumstances.

Roosevelt was elected during the depths of the Great Depression. Johnson was elected less than a year after he assumed the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Carter was elected in the immediate aftermath of Watergate, a time that makes even the current challenges faced by the Republican Party seem tame by comparison.

For a while, it appeared to many that Barack Obama might be able to expand the traditional limits of Democratic appeal and break through the 50% ceiling. But despite all the polling done by Rasmussen Reports and others this season, he has not yet broken through that barrier....

Democrats are in trouble. The national security issue is one on which they are rightly not trusted and it comes to the fore in Presidential elections. The results of the Johnson and Carter administration as well as the Clinton administration give added reasons not to trust the Democrats on this issue.




Amazing China thaw: "One of the most visible signs of warming China-Taiwan ties is the presence on the island of Chinese tourists, who can now fly direct from five cities on the mainland. Most come in tour groups, seeing the sights and, in some cases, relatives. "My cousin married a Taiwanese, so she lives here," said Liu Xingxing, one of the approximately 12,000 mainlanders who have come to the island since direct flights started in July. "I wanted to visit her, and also to see my fellow countrymen." Tucking into her breakfast, Ms Liu, from Shenzhen, said that Taiwan's best selling point was its greenery and its cleanliness. "There are lots of trees and the hygiene standards are much better. But the shopping is better in Hong Kong."

Hillary Backer Donald Trump Endorses McCain: "Donald Trump, the flamboyant New York magnate, said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday night that he is supporting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president. Trump, never shy with his opinions, went on to say that McCain appears to be winning, and that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) should have chosen Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as his running mate. "I know John McCain, and John McCain's a great guy, a tremendous guy," Trump told King. "I've known him for a long time. And I'm with him, and I'm with him based on the fact that I have great knowledge of John McCain. Also, this is not the right time for tax increases. And Obama wants to increase your taxes drastically."

More Is Less : "Crucial Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level on record, continuing an alarming trend, scientists said Tuesday," the Associated Press reports from Washington. But if you read the second paragraph carefully, you see that this isn't necessarily a continuation of the "alarming trend": The ice covered 1.74 million square miles on Friday, marking a low point for this summer, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Last summer, the sea ice covered only 1.59 million square miles, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1979.. That is, there was more ice this year than last year. We won't be able to draw any conclusions for a few more years, but this latest datum is consistent with a reversal of the trend".


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, September 18, 2008

Democrats feel at home at home in fantasyland

Ted Nugent doesn't like Hollywood pinheads and is rather fond of Sarah Palin. He delivers a nice slap at simpleton Matt Damon and his idiotic statements last week.
Anyone who has watched Ted Nugent appear on talk shows over the years knows he can deliver a punch when he deems it necessary. In an email exchange The Vote had with Nugent this morning, the rock star starts off diplomatic. "To be concerned is prudent, but his references are without merit," Nugent wrote. "Her record in politics proves she is a tough woman of intellect, logic, common sense, integrity and defying courage. Theoretically, Matt's concerns would better be aimed at and earned by Barack Obama."

Nugent had high praise for the Republican vice presidential nominee, who - like Nugent - is an avid hunter. "I like her a lot," he said. "I have examined her record and she is my kind of elected official. She may very well be the best Republican in America today." ...

Nugent, an outspoken conservative, is a minority in the entertainment community. When asked why the celebrity crowd seems to better connect with the Democratic party, Nugent becomes the Nugent you know on TV - unfiltered.
"With all due respect, many in the entertainment industry are deep into mind-altering substance abuse, and when one's logic and intellectual calculating powers are replaced with dopey feel-good, fantasy-driven denial, the democratic party serves them well," Nugent blasted.

Ouch. Speaking of Hollywood celebutards, John McCain delivered his own slap at Obama and Barbra Streisand today.
"He says he's siding with the people just before he flew off for a fundraiser in Hollywood with Barbra Streisand," McCain said of his rival. "Let me tell you my friends, there's no place I'd rather be than right here with the working men and women of Ohio."

McCain used the line as his close at an airport hangar rally, drawing loud applause.



About the Situation on Wall Street

Quite a few good articles on different aspects of the big crashes. An excerpt from this one: "What makes me laugh - ruefully, I assure you - is when our office seekers trot around the country promising "accountability" for Wall Street. Lehman just went bankrupt - in a market economy, things don't get more "accountable" than that. What everyone wants to know is how serious the current situation is. Step back from the ledge, and for goodness sakes ignore Senator Obama's ignorant hysterics. What we have now is a market correction. Firms that made poor decisions are being devoured by the market's unforgiving nature. Today the Dow is steady, the American economy having easily withstood the shock of the weekend's events.

Another good comment here. It starts: "Democrats have spent more time investigating Sarah Palin than they have the crooks in their own party who are responsible for the financial crisis!"

Another comment includes this excerpt: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were run by Clinton cronies who received millions of dollars from the organizations. Democrats were in bed with these companies and refused to listen to George Bush when, in 2003, he "recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago"

My comment: It all started out with the Democrats pressing the banks to lend to blacks -- regardless of whether the blacks looked like good risks or not. The banks did as they were told and passed on the risks to the financial sector generally. The result was entirely predictable.



Obama: Don't Listen to McCain. Do What He Says!: "Barack Obama is presently droning on about the economy with the kind of rhetoric you would expect from a liberal of the bigger-the-government-the-better-the-government stripe, but what I thought was hilarious was his attack against John McCain for suggesting we need a 9/11 type commission to study what has gone wrong recently, only to turn around several minutes later and insist that we need a regulator's committee. So we need a committee, not a commission. Is that what Obama means by "change?"

Obama and Negotiating With Iraq: "Media priorities: A major newspaper reports that a presidential candidate tried to undermine U.S. war policy while overseas and the rest of the media obsesses about Sarah Palin's tanning bed. That must be one heckuva tanning bed."

Obama's murky past: "While the New York Times crack investigative staff is busily pursuing a 4-H pal of Sarah Palin's, they seem to have missed the biggest story of this election cycle. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn are unrepentent terrorists who even today advocate communism and the overthrow of the United States government. They launched and orchesterated Barack Obama's career, providing him with the qualifications necessary to run for major political office. Repeat: communists and terrorists launched Obama's career. And the fossils at the Times, who are rapidly sinking into financial quicksand, can't bother to report the story."

Some sense from the Netherlands: "The North Pole is not melting and school children should not be 'indoctrinated' into thinking that it is, says Martin Bosma, an MP for the anti-immigration party PVV, in today's Telegraaf. 'Our schoolchildren should be learning to spell and do sums not that pathetic polar bears are drifting around on ice floes because we go on holiday by plane,' the paper quotes him as saying.

Mad cow or mad bureaucrat: "Of the 35 million cattle slaughtered each year, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) tests about 1% for BSE, or Mad Cow Disease. But Creekstone Farms wants to test 100% of the cattle they process, at their own expense. The USDA won't let them, and the USDA's rule has been backed by the federal courts. You see, if Creekstone tests all its beef and boasts of it in its marketing, their larger competitors could feel obliged to do the same, and this additional expense may lower their profit margins or raise the price of beef."

Yet another episode in England's black crime nightmare: "A greengrocer was stabbed to death in a revenge attack after a row over a 90-cent orange, a UK court has heard. The 25-year-old greengrocer, Khalil Nasseri, was allegedly knifed in the chest by 39-year-old Delroy Brown after he caught Mr Brown trying to steal the orange from a South London fruit shop in January, the Daily Mail reported. "[Brown] took an orange from the greengrocers' fruit display in the street and he began to peel it with a knife," Peter Kyte, QC, told a court. "He appeared unwilling to pay for that orange. Khalil Nasseri challenged him to pay for the orange and a disagreement between these two people ensued." Brown first attacked Mr Nasseri with a hammer he took from his car, but was disarmed by other shopkeepers and chased from the store, but not before warning Mr Nasseri: "I will return. This is not over ... I'm coming back for your blood", the Daily Mail said. "He was chased away from the scene by a number of people and he returned a couple of days later, this time he came with reinforcements, two other black men," Peter Kyte, QC, told the court. One of the men had a knife, Mr Kyte said. They assaulted shopkeepers at the store before stabbing Mr Nasseri to "almost instantaneous death", he 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)


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Google's "Help Obama" campaign

Heh! I have thought of an amusing response to Google's harassment of my Obama blog. I have moved it not to another platform but to another blogspot address! It is now at

I call it DUMBama in reference to the fact that all Obababy seems able to do is spout Leftist boilerplate in a nice voice.

Google will probably delete the old blog once I cease making requests to remove the spam flagging but that hardly matters. Being a cautious old conservative, I already have duplicate archives online elsewhere -- e.g. here.
Google harassment continues

They still seem to be intent on driving my Obama blog off their platform. Their silly letter-copying task before I can post is still in place.

So I am getting a bit more serious about moving my Obama blog elsewhere. The trouble is finding another template that I like. I have put up a test site on Wordpress that badly needs some colour in it. If anybody knows Wordpress well enough to put some colors there, I would be interested to hear from them.
Joe McCain (younger brother) reports

(A true conservative: A man with a sense of humor rather a sense of grievance or a sense of superiority)

Here is a titbit for you. I am sure you all heard the quip vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin made before the assembled multitudes at the Republican convention in Minnysooda last week. "You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" she asked. Then she did a nice take, paused, pointed to her mouth without changing expression: "Lipstick." Biggest laugh of the night. Maybe of the convention, though former senator Fred Thompson had them reaching for their inhalers the night before.

The titbit? That line was not in her speech. She stuck it in there when mentioning her start in politics as a hockey mom joining the parent-teacher association. It seems that she had told that joke a couple of times in Alaska when people called her a soccer mom. She wanted to point out the subtle differences between a sport where boys in shorts kick around a nice black-and-white ball versus guys wearing more armour than medieval swordslingers going at each other with hardwood sticks tipped with a hooked blade.

In fact she went off book so much, and so far, that the teleprompter operator went half mad trying to find out where he had messed up: national convention teleprompter operators who get lost are sometimes hanged from the rafters by irate speakers ... er ... readers. Finally, just before taking his cyanide capsule, he realised his text and her speech had the similarity of Saturn and a lawn chair, so I hear he just turned it off.

To Republicans, Palin, the little known Governor from big Alaska, was an inspired choice to run with John McCain. To many Democrats it was a pact with the Salem witches. If you look at my last name on the byline, you'll sorta get which way I lean. What led to the decision to put the convention in St Paul - and our hotel in Minneapolis, 16km away - I am not sure. Despite my last name I am but a foot soldier in the McCampaign, far removed from the lofty magi who make high rulings and whisper in my brother's ear. Which is fine with me, by the way, for I'd much rather be out on the heaths and moors talking about him than be around his campaign.

I remember once in his 2000 primary run against George W. Bush, a fellow operative named Justin Oppman and I were advancing a PoWs-for-McCain tour when we ran into the Straight Talk Express in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We got invited to get on the bus with John and go back to the hotel HQ. Well, it was like being on Jupiter, with its super-dense gravity and dozens of moons in tight orbits - aides all whispering into one ear or the other - "Senator, here is the latest TV ad", "John, you need to take a look at this new paragraph", "Senator, Governor Whatsisname is on the phone". Consultants, advisers, experts, counsellors all overlapping, and John able to sort through all the radio signals beamed at him. But I could not. It was mindless to us who had been driving from one small town to another in South Carolina, talking to a couple of reporters about the PoW tour and checking with scheduled sites to make sure they had survived the latest urban renewal. "Justin, let's get the hell out of here," I whispered to him. And we made our escape, hit a local pub, and took a nice nap in our van.

I had two jobs at this convention, one to speechify to various state caucuses at breakfasts, lunches, meetings, wherever they were gathered. And sometimes they would pick a restaurant 45 minutes down the Mississippi River. At each I would show them John's flight jacket when he was shot down and captured in 1967 and relate his extraordinary story. The other was to be a member of the McFamily. And that meant wearing a bunch of badges: to get you on to the family floor of the Hilton, on to the communications floor, into the finance office, into the hotel. We even had a Secret Service badge we had to put on once John and his wife, Cindy, arrived mid-convention, which is traditional.

One night I was working on a speech and went out of my room to the place where there were some soft drinks. Being in a bathrobe, I forgot my Secret Service pin. A tall guy in a dark suit and that coiled white earpiece stepped in front of me and politely asked who I was. Now, I look so much like John that they call me the Discount John McCain, but I understood the guy had a serious job to do, I explained I had forgotten to put it on. He accompanied me back to my room to fetch it, asking me politely to keep it on when leaving my room. I thanked him for doing his job. I don't think he smiled the whole time. And I look kind of funny in this white samurai bathrobe a former girlfriend gave me.

Going to the caucuses was fine - they always assigned me a McNanny, for I am always forgetting something or just getting lost - it was being a family member that was a bit stultifying, because we were all told to meet in a certain gathering place, then wait; get in certain vans, wait; get to the convention centre, wait; get inside the centre, wait; then be led to either seats on the floor of the convention or up into a special box for kinfolk and contributors. Because of this we were always there for the big speeches but missed some of the cooler prelims, such as the ones by Governor Mitt Romney, one of John's main opponents in the primaries, and Governor Mike Huckabee, another primary warrior, both of whom enthusiastically endorsed John.

Except for seeing the nomination to the nation's highest office of my brother, a true war hero who turned down an early release from a brutal Hanoi PoW camp, the highlight was meeting Palin. All I can tell you is that she is a smart, bright, alert, tough, and pretty lady. I'd say a babe, but I am not sure even a potential first bro gets to be so flippant with a sitting Governor and vice-presidential nominee. I can't wait for the first debate between Palin and Joe Biden. Because Palin was not only a beauty queen - she was second runner up in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant - but also a tough-playing point guard on her state high school basketball championship team in 1982. So tough she was nicknamed Sarah Barracuda. She doesn't much like the nickname, but we do. Careful, Joe. Oh, and she married an Alaskan steelworker who has won the National Snowmobile title four times. If they still had the Marlboro Man ads, he'd be a finalist.

OK, you gotta forgive me, that's enough storytelling tonight. I gotta go out and campaign for my big bro: 50 days left!




McCain-Palin On Wall Street Crisis: "The latest McCain-Palin ad shows a willingness to run with the news cycle, not against it. With shudders running through Wall Street that are felt by anyone with a 401(k), Team McCain releases an ad that says experience and real reform credentials trump the puffed up rhetoric of the community organizer and the senator from MNBA. It is very effective because it reminds people that real crises aren't solved on teleprompters:

McCain Pulls Ahead or Breaks Even in 5 Swing States: "Polling in five key battleground states shows John McCain and Barack Obama neck-and-neck with seven weeks left until Election Day. McCain holds a slight advantage over Obama in Colorado, Florida, and Ohio, while the candidates are tied in Pennsylvania and Virginia. In only one state - Florida - does the gap between McCain and Obama exceed three percentage points in polls with a four-and-a-half percentage point margin of sampling error... The biggest change is in Colorado, where McCain now leads by 48 percent to Obama's 46 percent. Just a week ago, Obama had a three-point edge in this western state. The current results are similar to the Rasmussen Reports Colorado polling conducted in Aug., just before the Democratic convention."

Poor getting richer: "When all sources of income are included -- wages, salaries, realized capital gains, dividends, business income and government benefits -- and taxes paid are deducted, households in the lowest income quintile saw a roughly 25% increase in their living standards from 1983 to 2005. (See chart nearby; the data is from the Congressional Budget Office's "Comprehensive Household Income.") This fact alone refutes the notion that the poor are getting poorer. They are not."

The French have cojones after all: "Two French nationals held hostage by Somali pirates for two weeks have been freed by the French army in an operation in which one pirate was killed. 'One pirate was killed and six others were captured" during the operation overnight ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy, a statement said. "The president is happy with the success of this operation" and sent "warm congratulations" to the troops who took part, it said. Hijackers captured the 16-metre Venezuelan-registered French sailing boat Carre d'as in the Gulf of Aden on September 2 and took it to Bargal village, a pirate den in Somalia's northern semi-autonomous Puntland region."

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


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, September 16, 2008

Google harassment

The powers that be at Google definitely do NOT like anti-Obama bloggers. My Obama blog has had a word-completion restriction on posting since August 10 and none of my many requests to lift the restriction have been heeded. Such restrictions are normally lifted within a day or two. Definite evil there.

It is a childish level of harassment but I am beginning to think seriously of transferring my Obama blog to another host. If I can find a template elsewhere that I like, I will.

Though the fact that Obama will probably be a feather duster rather than a rooster after the first week in November may make any action rather pointless at this stage.

Mike Gravel on Palin

Here is a rare moment for me, a politician with whom I can't disagree. Mike Gravel, the former Senator from Alaska was invited onto a Left-wing radio show. It seems clear that the hosts were hoping to use him to rip into Sarah Palin and they brought up numerous lies and distortions about Palin that the Left have been insidiously spreading around. Senator Gravel, of course, is intimately aware of Alaskan politics and he doesn't let them get away with it. While he makes it clear he would never endorse McCain/Palin he also makes it clear that lying about her just isn't right.

I've read so many distortions about Palin in the last few days I've lost track of them all. Sadly I've even seen friends who were taken in by some -- such as the list of books that Palin supposedly tried to have banned.

Where Gravel was excellent was the so-called Troopergate incident. A state trooper, who had been married to Palin's sister was fired and Palin was "blamed" for that. The way the Left portrays this she had him fired because he and her sister were divorcing. The fact is that the trooper was fired after a series of violent incidents by himself. He tasered his young stepson, he threatened various people with harm and/or death. He was a thug who deserved to be fired. And Gravel is shocked that these Lefties seem to be siding with the cop in question in spite of his violent record -- just so they can attack Palin.



George Bush (remember him?) Has a Good Economic Record

Successive speakers at the Democratic National Convention poured scorn on President Bush's economic record. The clear aim was to justify the party's call for "change," and to undermine support for Republican presidential nominee John McCain. His election would mean a "third Bush term," delegates groaned. Yet Democrats cited no good evidence for their claims that the administration has produced a stagnant economy, widening disparities of income and wealth, high unemployment, and a heavy burden of government debt (supposedly resulting from an unwise military intervention in Iraq).

How does the performance of the U.S. economy really compare with other advanced economies over the eight years of George Bush's presidency? Data published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the International Comparison Program (ICP) (a cooperative venture coordinated by the World Bank) and the U.S. Census Bureau allow a nonpartisan, factual assessment. Here are some of the findings:

- Economic growth. U.S. output has expanded faster than in most advanced economies since 2000. The IMF reports that real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 2.2% over the period 2001-2008 (including its forecast for the current year). President Bush will leave to his successor an economy 19% larger than the one he inherited from President Clinton. This U.S. expansion compares with 14% by France, 13% by Japan and just 8% by Italy and Germany over the same period. The latest ICP findings, published by the World Bank in its World Development Indicators 2008, also show that GDP per capita in the U.S. reached $41,813 (in purchasing power parity dollars) in 2005. This was a third higher than the United Kingdom's, 37% above Germany's and 38% more than Japan's.

- Household consumption. The ICP study found that the average per-capita consumption of the U.S. population (citizens and illegal immigrants combined) was second only to Luxembourg's, out of 146 countries covered in 2005. The U.S. average was $32,045. This was well above the levels in the UK ($25,155), Canada ($23,526), France ($23,027) and Germany ($21,742). China stood at $1,751.

- Health services. The U.S. spends easily the highest amount per capita ($6,657 in 2005) on health, more than double that in Britain. But because of private funding (55% of the total) the burden on the U.S. taxpayer (9.1% of GDP) is kept to similar levels as France and Germany. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 84.7% of the U.S. population was covered by health insurance in 2007, an increase of 3.6 million people over 2006. The uninsured can receive treatment in hospitals at the expense of private insurance holders. While life expectancy is influenced by lifestyles and not just access to health services, the World Bank nevertheless reports that average life expectancy in the U.S. rose to 78 years in 2006 (the same as Germany's), from 77 in 2000.

- Income and wealth distribution. The latest World Bank estimates show that the richest 20% of U.S. households had a 45.8% share of total income in 2000, similar to the levels in the U.K. (44.0%) and Israel (44.9%). In 65 other countries the richest quintile had a larger share than in the U.S....

- Employment. The U.S. employment rate, measured by the percentage of people of working age (16-65 years) in jobs, has remained high by international standards. The latest OECD figures show a rate of 71.7% in 2006. This was more than five percentage points above the average for the euro area. The U.S. unemployment rate averaged 4.7% from 2001-2007. This compares with a 5.2% average rate during President Clinton's term of office, and is well below the euro zone average of 8.3% since 2000.

The evidence shows that much of the Democratic Party's criticism of President Bush's economic record is wide of the mark. True, the economic slowdown now affecting most advanced countries will likely result in rising unemployment over the coming months. But thanks to sensible policies pursued by the Bush administration (not always with adequate support from a Democratic-controlled Congress), the U.S. economy is sufficiently flexible to keep unemployment below the 7.7% peak reached in the last postrecession year of 1992.

The main risk is that, if elected, Barack Obama will pursue a "social justice" strategy. This would encompass higher taxes on entrepreneurs, savers and investors, more direct government intervention in the economy, and protectionist policies (including revoking existing trade agreements) aimed at safeguarding the jobs of his union backers in "old" industries and public services. If so, the pain is likely to be more widespread and prolonged.

More here



Super ignorant history professor Juan Cole (who thinks Iraq is on the Mediterranean and who does not know that a large part of the USA was once part of Mexico) has an article under the heading "What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick". Would YOU pay for your kid to be taught by someone so thick that he cannot tell the difference between Islam and Christianity?

There is a good and sympathetic background story about Sarah Palin's growing up in Alaska in a BRITISH paper. All that American papers seem to want to do is dig dirt on her. Don Surber is disgusted at that it takes a British paper to do such a story.

Fundraising: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's selection as McCain's running mate has lit up the Republican National Committee's online fundraising, creating a vibrant and fresh source of income to add to the party's already formidable big donor program. RNC officials said Internet donations have quadrupled since Palin joined the ticket."

Democrat deception: ""Congress returns... for an abbreviated session, with energy being the number one issue on the agenda. Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner, spent the August recess pushing for Congress to enact an `all of the above' package to increase energy supplies and lower gasoline prices, and they will continue to do so. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, clearly thrown off balance by public opinion polls showing that a decisive majority of the electorate agrees with the Republicans on drilling, have a different, irresponsible agenda: running out the clock and preventing a straight up-or-down vote on drilling. But to do this successfully, they will have to continue their strategy of pretending to support compromise, while loading up energy legislation with poison pills that will make expanded drilling impossible... In the House, the Democratic leadership will offer a `compromise' plan to allow drilling more than 100 miles from shore. (Which presumably means that if the next Prudhoe Bay is discovered 25 miles off the coast of Virginia or 50 miles from North Carolina, consumers should just shut up and be happy with oil from Mexico, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela instead.)"

A rare bit of sanity from the British government: ""Families in cramped homes are to benefit from a scheme to scrap planning permission for many extensions and loft conversions, the government has said. The regulations, effective in England from 1 October, will mean 80,000 fewer applications and save up to 50 million pounds, Housing Minister Caroline Flint said. She said families struggling to move due to the credit crunch would benefit."


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, September 15, 2008

Jonathan Haidt on voting

Jonathan Haidt is an anti-gun activist who thinks a poodle is his nephew. He is also a distinguished psychologist. Few people will be surprised by that juxtaposition. His orientation is of course Leftist and he accepts some of the convenient myths that Leftist psychologists cling to.

Anybody who has attempted to read German philosophers such as Hegel and Kant will be acutely aware of how long-winded and hard-to-follow many intellectuals are. Haidt is a junior member of that tribe. He is a student of something that is important to conservatives: morality. He has written much on the topic and has recently presented what seems intended as a summary of his findings under the heading: "WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN?". It is very long, however, so I thought I might summarize the summary for the convenience of readers here. What he has found is that conservatives are much more complex in their thinking about morality than Leftists are. If he had listened to his fellow Leftists and their constant mantra "There is no such thing as right and wrong" he would have known that already.

He must be credited with getting on board with reality eventually, however: never easy for a Leftist dreamer. So he concludes that people vote for conservative parties because conservative parties give more comprehensive attention to moral issues. Listening to almost any conservative spokesman would have told him that conservatives address moral issues that Leftists ignore or spit upon.

Haidt's own thinking on gun control would seem to be an excellent example of how simplistic and deficient Leftist thinking is on moral issues. Conservatives look at the fact that gun control takes guns out of the hands of law-abiding people but not out of the hands of criminals and see that as a huge problem. Leftists seem to see that as no problem. To conservatives, anybody who ignores that problem seems to have a bit missing in his brain.


Charlie Gibson's Gaffe

By Charles Krauthammer

"At times visibly nervous . . . Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of 'anticipatory self-defense.' " -- New York Times, Sept. 12

Informed her? Rubbish. The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong. There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?" She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?" Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense." Wrong.

I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism," I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." This "with us or against us" policy regarding terror -- first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan -- became the essence of the Bush doctrine.

Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

It's not. It's the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy's pledge in his inaugural address that the United States "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson's 14 points.

If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration. Not the Gibson doctrine of preemption...

Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.




More details here of the way ABC News edited out key parts of the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson. Much of the media really are quite shameless in their bias.

Even the L.A. Times is critical of the Gibson interview

Far Leftist broadcaster Randi Rhodes smears Sarah Palin as a molester of teenage boys -- on zero evidence, of course. How desperate can you get?

Pelosi's Gang Feels the Pressure: "At the recent Democratic convention, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer bragged his party had 75 pick-up opportunities. Or maybe not. Slowly, without much notice, the political landscape has changed. House Republicans are getting traction on issues like energy and reform, and a boost from a newly energized McCain-Palin ticket. An even bigger problem for Democrats is that Nancy Pelosi's liberal governing has put her own vaunted freshmen at risk in their conservative districts. Some Republicans now cautiously predict they might keep losses to the single digits. Some Democrats morosely agree. One big shift is in the way voters are looking at Republicans. The GOP brand may still stink, but has lost at least some of its odor. Republicans have closed the gap in polls that ask whether voters are more likely to go for a generic Republican or a generic Democrat -- and in some cases reversed it. New polls also show a real majority of voters in today's GOP-held districts would prefer to keep a Republican in office."

Blue-collar America is smarter than you may think: "'They treat us like mules,' the guy installing my washer tells me, his eyes narrowing as he wipes his hands. I had just complimented him and his partner on the speed and assurance of their work. He explains that it's rare that customers speak to him this way. I know what he's talking about. My mother was a waitress all her life, in coffee shops and fast-paced chain restaurants. It was hard work, but she liked it, liked 'being among the public,' as she would say. But that work had its sting, too -- the customer who would treat her like a servant or, her biggest complaint, like she was not that bright. There's a lesson here for this political season: the subtle and not-so-subtle insults that blue-collar and service workers endure as part of their working lives. And those insults often have to do with intelligence."


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, September 14, 2008

Latest attack on Palin: She prays!

The first cut [later redacted] of Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin reveals someone embarrassingly unprepared. His name is Charlie Gibson. Here's the transcript:
Gibson: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

Palin: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

Gibson: Exact words.

Palin: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said--first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.

Palin was right, as we noted Tuesday. Although she had spoken the words Gibson attributed to her, his rendition of the quote was a dowdification. He took the words out of context to make a prayer that "the task is from God" appear to be an assertion that it is....

ABC seems to have realized its mistake as well. The version of the interview that aired on ABC's "World News" last night (video here) edited out the lines in which Palin disputes the accuracy of Gibson's quote and Gibson replies, "Exact words." In their place is a YouTube clip of Palin speaking at the church. Again, as far as we know, ABC has not expressly acknowledged the error.

The journalists at AP, CNN and ABC who took liberties with Palin's quote might or might not have intended to deceive. But there can be little doubt that they intended to further a stereotype of Palin as some sort of religious nut. What's interesting is that in the course of doing so, they ended up disparaging her for praying.

As we noted yesterday, some of the less well-grounded members of the political media have been harshly attacking Palin for having a baby. Egads! Can we really have a heartbeat away a Christian who prays, or a woman who has borne children? It really does seem as though the media and the Angry Left loathe Sarah Palin precisely because she is normal. Through the words of his supporters, Barack Obama has become the candidate of those who oppose religion and motherhood. With friends like these, who needs Karl Rove?

More here


ABC's Gibson grilled Palin hard, but it may backfire

There were no surprises, no knockout zingers, but also no bloopers Thursday night in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's first TV interview since becoming the Republican vice presidential nominee. Charles Gibson of ABC News was out for blood and inherently applied a double-standard compared with the kid gloves George Stephanopoulos used on Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois on Sunday night.

Gibson was out to embarrass Palin and expose her presumed ignorance from the word go. By contrast, when Obama referred to his "Muslim faith" on Sunday and did not correct himself, Stephanopoulos rushed in at once to help him and emphasize that the senator had really meant to say his Christian faith. By contrast, Gibson tried to embarrass Palin by referring to her Christian faith in asking people to pray for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Palin countered by pointing out she was following the precedent set by Abraham Lincoln....

The double-standard Gibson applied to Palin, compared with the uncritical media platforms repeatedly offered to Obama, who has had zero executive experience running anything, was especially striking. ABC and Gibson focused on Palin as if she were running right now for the presidency rather than the vice presidency. He and other media pundits, by contrast, have never asked the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, if he has ever had to make a decision on anything.

Gibson's aggressive approach appeared to take Palin by surprise: He was clearly attempting to put her on point by presenting her as having extreme religious views. This again, however, appears to be a double-standard, as Palin grew up in the Assemblies of God, one of the largest Christian denominations in America with 16 million members, and is now a member of the Wasilla Bible Church. Even now, Obama has yet to receive any comparable grilling on his 20-year attendance in the congregation of the notoriously racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright.... Gibson's aggressive questioning on her religion and her son's coming military service in Iraq, by contrast, runs the risks for the Democrats of strengthening support for Palin among working-class, married women, especially those with husbands or sons serving in the military.

More here


Stupid Democrats fail to see that two can play the protectionism game

You want to shaft foreign countries? They will usually shaft you back -- making everyone losers

Senators Robert Byrd and Sherrod Brown, please take a bow. The West Virginia and Ohio Democrats have succeeded in getting Japan to slap another year of punitive duties on some U.S. products because of their attempts to rig trade rules for their business buddies.

Specifically, Japan's cabinet decided late last month to slap a 10% tariff on ball bearings and tapered roller bearings that could knock U.S. producers out of competition in Japan. The decision cited what Japan's Ministry of Finance accurately calls "illegal disbursement under the 'Byrd Amendment.'" That follows a European Union decision in May to extend punitive duties on a range of other American products. The tariffs hit just as U.S. exports have become the main source of American growth amid the housing slump and credit crunch.

Europe and Japan are hurting their own consumers here, but they are in the legal right. The Byrd Amendment is a toxic 2000 law that distributed tariff money not to the U.S. government but directly to U.S. companies that complained about "unfair" foreign competition. The World Trade Organization ruled in 2002 that the Byrd Amendment violated global trade rules, and Congress finally repealed it in early 2006. But the disbursements continue to complaining U.S. companies for as many years as it takes to collect duty due for alleged dumping of foreign products before October 1 of 2007; last year alone the payout was more than $264 million.

Worse, as we recently reported, Senators Byrd and Brown are trying to resurrect the law, probably by attaching it to a "must-pass" piece of legislation in some Senate backroom. That's how it passed the first time. We're glad to say our editorial at least smoked out the Senators, who recently defended their protectionism in a letter to the editor. We trust the pair will also stand up and take credit for the new tariffs against U.S. exporters. Perhaps the Senators will tell workers who lose their jobs as a result that they need to take one for the Byrd-Brown team.




Hilarious! ObaBaby attacks McCain's patriotism! "A pretty scathing charge from Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., this morning as he spoke to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and assailed Sen. John McCain's, R-Ariz., position on free trade. "Just ask the machinists in Pennsylvania who build Harley-Davidsons," Obama said of McCain's record. "Because John McCain didn't just oppose the requirement that the government buy American-made motorcycles, he called Buy American provisions 'disgraceful.' Just ask the workers across this country who have seen their jobs outsourced. The very companies that shipped their jobs overseas have been rewarded with billions of dollars in tax breaks that John McCain supports and plans to continue. "So, when American workers hear John McCain talking about putting 'Country First,'" Obama said, "it's fair to ask -- which country?"

Cheering, partisan crowd welcomes Gov. Sarah Palin on return to Alaska: "Gov. Sarah Palin arrived home to a chanting, cheering crowd, a blur of smiling supporters eager to embrace her after a whirlwind of national scrutiny since she was named Republican presidential nominee John McCain's running mate. "It's been an amazing couple of weeks," Palin told the crowd of more than 2,000 gathered inside an airport hanger. They chanted, "Sarah, Sarah," waved signs that said, "Palin Is great." She received the loudest bursts of applause when promising to push for drilling in this oil-rich state. "Our state, Alaska, will be a leader in our nation's energy policy and bring us one step closer to energy independence," she told the audience, at one point straying from her prepared speech to say, "I feel like I'm preaching to the choir because you guys already know this." This was Palin's first stop on her first campaign trip without McCain, who escorted Palin and her husband, Todd, to a Washington airport Wednesday. Palin told the hometown crowd "I can't wait to introduce you to John McCain. He's a friend of Alaska." Palin, joined on the stage with her husband and three of her five children, soaked up the crowd's cheers."

A very strange church: "The Church of England expressed deep concerns last night about the spread of creationist views as it prepared to unveil a website promoting the evolutionary views of Charles Darwin. Anglican leaders fear that "noisy" advocates of a literal interpretation of the Bible - especially in the United States, where even the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, is a vocal supporter - are infecting the perception of Christianity worldwide. The Church will launch the website on Monday, a few weeks after the 150th anniversary of Darwin's first public proposal of natural selection and amid growing controversy over the teaching of creationism in schools."


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)