Sunday, July 05, 2009

Rally for the people of Iran a week from now

If you live in NYC or thereabouts, Sunday 7/12 from 2 PM -5PM there will be a big anti-regime rally in front of the UN headquarters. Many Iranians are expected to attend but all are welcome.


Sarah Palin hints at White House bid by quitting as governor of Alaska

The blogs are overflowing with comments on the Palin announcement but no-one really knows where it is leading. The following article from the "Times" of London probably represents mainstream thinking at the moment, however

Sarah Palin set off a storm of speculation about an imminent White House bid when she said yesterday that she was stepping down as governor of Alaska. Americans were stunned by the surprise announcement, made from her home in Wasilla, Alaska, on the eve of Independence Day celebrations.

There has been intense speculation in recent weeks that Mrs Palin was considering running for the Republican nomination in 2012, bolstered by heavy hints she dropped earlier this week in the guise of an interview about jogging. Few expected her not to see out her first term as governor where, despite her polarising effect, she was seen as a shoo-in for re-election.

Mrs Palin’s announcement that she will stand down on July 25, handing the reins to the state’s Lieutenant Governor, had some commentators questioning whether another scandal surrounding herself and her family was about to break, after the 2008 campaign revelations about the pregnancy of her teenage daughter and an embarrassing ethics investigation into allegations she sacked a state official over a family feud.

The first investigation by the state legislature into the scandal — popularly known as Troopergate — found her guilty of breaching ethics, prompting Mrs Palin to order a second investigation by a special counsel which cleared her of wrongdoing.

The resignation also sparked a flurry of speculation that she might seek a Senate seat in 2010 as a prelude to a White House run in 2012. Critics branded it a high-risk strategy for a future in public life, inviting criticism that she is not capable of finishing the job she started. Mrs Palin has a reputation for doing things her way and refusing to take advice of more experienced political operatives.

Much of the criticism that dogged her during her vice-presidential campaign in November centred on her parochialism and lack of national and international experience — something she might seek to improve on a national stage. In a pointed reference to her recently expanded international experience, she said that her decision had been bolstered by a trip to visit American troops serving in Kosovo, and to the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where wounded servicemen and women from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated.

Her announcement came days after the publication of a damning Vanity Fair profile in which McCain campaign workers turned on her, blaming her “narcissistic personality disorder” for sinking the campaign. Todd Purdum, the author, described Mrs Palin’s public life as “an unholy amalgam between Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure”, a cult Nineties comedy about Alaska and mocked her for once saying: “Believe me, Alaska is a microcosm of America.” “Believe me, it is not,” he wrote.

Her voice shaking Mrs Palin told journalists that she was stepping down for the good of Alaskans, expressing her anger at the battering the state has taken in the press as a by-product of her governorship. “I’m not going to put Alaskans through that,” she said. “That’s not what’s best for Alaskans. She addedthat she believed she could be more effective “outside government”. She later corrected her remarks to “outside the governor’s office”, leaving the door back to public life ajar.

Mrs Palin has courted so much attention on the national stage of late — leading parades and appearing on national talk shows — that she has attracted criticism in her home state for failing to serve their needs. The former Alaskan governor, Wally Hickel, Mrs Palin’s mentor, broke with his protegee over what he saw as her over-arching personal ambition. “When Governor Palin was elected in 2006 we believed she would put Alaska first. But once elected, she put Sarah first,” he said in a statement last month. “Because of her national ambitions she is promoting an agenda that will allow outside corporations to dominate Alaska’s resources, including our energy and the jobs it provides.”

Mrs Palin said her decision had been made with the encouragement of her family. “Much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults,” she said, a reference to her youngest child who suffers from Down’s syndrome.



Why the Left hate Sarah Palin

By Jim Geraghty

Tuesday night on Hugh's program, we discussed the Vanity Fair article about Sarah Palin and why, eight months after the election, Palin still arouses such fury amongst liberals and so many rank-and-file Democrats.

My first thought was that it tied heavily to her appearance. In liberals' minds, conservatives are supposed to look like the couple from the painting American Gothic: Dour and joyless, aged, spartan and frail. Political leaders aren't supposed to be young, really good-looking women, full of energy, smiles, and winks.

Hugh suggested it tied to the contrast between her lifestyle and her critics: "She is the embodiment of the anti-choice, the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made — as to going back home instead of moving to the west coast, having children, having a child with Down's, staying married to one man the whole time, choosing rural or suburban over urban and living a generally conservative lifestyle, working with her hands . . . That everything she is is the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are, so it's not just enough to say, 'I disagree with you,'; she has to be repudiated and crushed."

And now, I would submit a slight refining of that idea, that the seeming happiness of Palin's life is a 24-7 irritant because it challenges the way some liberals see the world.

Liberals believe that their ideas, philosophy, worldview, and policies liberate believers, and that the conservative equivalents limit people. Liberals see themselves as rejecting outdated beliefs and obsolete ideas, overturning established orders, and discarding traditions established by superstitious and ignorant forebears who weren't as enlightened as we are. Conservatives, in their minds, are runaway cultural superegos, always wagging their fingers about individual responsibility, dismissing excuses, reminding people that they can't always do what they want because of the consequences to themselves and to others.

Conservatism, they suspect, will leave you in a marriage that doesn't satisfy you, burden you with children you don't want, repress your passions, and trap you in a empty, boring, and unfulfilled life, with no hand of government able to help.

Today almost everyone faces some sort of challenge in balancing work and family; I don't know too many people who believe there are sufficient hours in a day. And then along comes this woman who's made all of these "conservative" choices and now has an amazing career, a supportive husband, a beautiful family, and great health and appearance, and she bears it all, including the inevitable hard times, with pluck and a smile, as far as we can tell. (For all we know, perhaps behind closed doors, Sarah Palin screams into a pillow when it all gets to be too much. But what we know about her suggests she relieves her stress by shooting moose.)

A short while back, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum suggested, only half-jokingly, that actress Angelina Jolie's "entire Oscar-winning, serial-adopting, Brad Pitt-snagging, plane-piloting, unattainably hot-looking existence makes women around the world feel hopelessly inadequate and therefore unhappy." Perhaps Sarah Palin is the Angelina Jolie of the political world.

In her opponents' minds, Palin's made all the wrong choices, and cannot, they insist, be very bright. Yet she's happy and successful. She is an anomaly that invalidates their worldview, and for that, they attempt to immiserate her — regardless of whether she wishes to run for national office again.


Carol Platt Liebau adds:

Governor Palin has been attacked with the kind of ferocity that few people in the public eye have ever experienced -- except, perhaps, for Justice Thomas and (to a lesser extent) Joe the Plumber. Why does the left reserve their most vicious derision for these three, and those like them? As I wrote last fall in a Townhall column:

Justice Thomas, Governor Palin and Joe the Plumber have one thing in common: Their lives make a mockery of the Democrat Party’s raison d’etre – its foundational assertion that minorities, women and “regular guys” can get a “fair shake” in America only through government action. What’s more, all three of them have made it clear that they don’t want the government’s “help.” For that apostasy, and for their sheer ingratitude – after all, aren’t the Democrats the ones who “care” about blacks, women and “working men”? – the left has tried to destroy them.



Ol' Stupid begins to notice things

Too bad for Barack Obama and the Democrats, but George W. Bush is the shrinking man of American politics, growing ever smaller on the far horizon. Merely invoking his name will soon no longer frighten women and horses.

The not-so-new president has treated his predecessor as his training wheels, invoking his presence every time (which is often) the ground trembles, a dog barks, the wind blows, the rain falls and he threatens to topple over. We were promised nirvana, or at least a lollipop, if only we could banish George W. and the inept and evil Republicans. Banish we did, and the messiah from the South Side of Chicago has been practicing miracle-working for five months. Alas, there's no sign of clearing skies.

Five months is not very long, of course, and it's unreasonable to expect nirvana so soon, but that's the nature of the impatient American public. Reason, like love, has nothing to do with it. With every nightfall, the news gets worse, or at least not any better, and growing numbers of Americans are beginning to doubt that he has all the answers he so confidently insisted he did. The public-opinion polls clearly show deteriorating public confidence in the confidence man. Worse than not having the answers is the growing suspicion that Mr. Obama and his wise men even understand the question.

The unemployment numbers, the closely watched benchmark by which presidents are judged, stood at 7.2 percent when Mr. Obama took his oath, and Thursday, it inched up to 9.5 percent. The average workweek subsided in June to 33 hours, lowest since the feds began keeping such records in 1964. Cutting hours and freezing pay has spread even to companies awash in profits, with managers, never wanting to waste a crisis and looking to an uncertain future, are taking advantage now, just in case. "We are in some very hard and severe economic times," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told an interviewer in the wake of the new bad news. "The president and I are both not happy. I do think the public needs to be patient. We know they are hurting."

The president is saying the things every president says when recession hits and panic and depression threaten. Some of the president's friends insist they see "tiny green shoots" on the landscape, promising prosperity soon. The president himself concedes the economy is in a hole and blames the man who preceded him. His predecessor's policies "have left us in a very deep hole," he says, "and digging our way out of it will take time, patience and some tough choices." The secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, likes the shovel-ready metaphor, too. "You know," she told a television interviewer the other day, "we are in just so many deep holes that everybody had better grab a shovel and start digging out."

What "somebody" should do is hide those shovels from "everybody." If you're in a hole, as any ditch digger could tell you, the only thing you can do with a shovel is dig yourself a little deeper into the hole. Not a good idea. A speechifyer such as Barack Obama is expected to be more careful with his metaphors (Hillary gets a pass), and the president's growing problem is that growing numbers of voters who imagined he was "the one" now think he's in that hole and over his head.

The Democrats diverted attention from shortcomings big and small for a decade of depression by hauling poor old Herbert Hoover out for frequent floggings, and Mr. Obama obviously thinks he can similarly use George W. Bush. But that was then and this is now; no president now can monopolize the microphone as FDR did, with his mastery of press and radio and equipped with a terrified and compliant Congress. Barack Obama once imagined he could make it so by saying it's so, but that only works for a little while. He's learning what presidents before him learned, that the job of president is harder than it looks.

As the effects of the stimulus, such as they are, begin a slow fade, the unemployment number, already the highest in 26 years, is projected to keep rising. Shrinking payrolls naturally restrain growth. A jobless recovery driven by federal spending may improve certain numbers, but "it's the economy, Stupid." Stupid, standing in the rain out there on the street will say, "Where are the jobs?" Stupid is not actually as stupid as presidents sometimes hope he is. He's not so stupid that he can't see who that is in the White House.



A roundup of commentary on the economy

The 'stimulus' promised a jobless peak of 8%; it's now 9.5%: "About the best we can say about yesterday's June jobs report is that employment is usually a lagging economic indicator. At least we hope it is, because the loss of 467,000 jobs for the month is one more sign that the economy still hasn't hit bottom despite months of epic fiscal and monetary reflation. The report is in many ways even uglier than the headline numbers. Average hours worked per week dropped to 33, the lowest level in at least 40 years. This means that millions of full-time workers are being downgraded to part-time, as businesses slash labor costs to remain above water. Because people are working less, wages have fallen by 0.3% this year. Factories are operating at only 65% capacity, while the overall jobless rate hit 9.5%. Throw in discouraged workers who want full-time work, and the labor underutilization rate climbed to 16.5%. The news is even worse for young people, with nearly one in four teenagers unemployed".

Today’s employment situation: “First of all, let’s compare the current situation with employment with what the Obama Administration told us would happen if we didn’t pass the stimulus package. As has been obvious for some time now the stimulus is not — as we repeatedly predicted — substantially impacting the employment situation. Instead, employment has risen by more than 3%.”

5% unemployment: Still a decade away?: “This could become the third time in a row that Americans struggle out of recession only to find themselves in a so-called ‘jobless recovery.’ The phrase became popular back in the early 1990s, when a frigid post-recession job market paved the way for Bill Clinton to defeat incumbent George H. W. Bush in the 1992 presidential election. Then the pattern was repeated after the 2001 recession, in a more pronounced way. Despite a disappointing monthly jobs report Thursday, the good news is that economists generally expect the US economy to start growing again later this year. But the report, showing 9.5 percent unemployment in June, served as a reminder that the current environment for US workers is unusually tough.”

Texas the model: "In a time when many states are experiencing fiscal crises and economic decline, one state stands out above all others as a success story: Texas. I recently heard Governor Tim Pawlenty say that during the year or so before job growth turned negative and the country as a whole was still adding payroll jobs, 53% of all of the jobs created in the U.S. were created in one state: Texas. No wonder that Texas' government is running a surplus and its economy remains strong despite trying times."

Obama's spending blitz worries Powell: "Colin Powell, one of President Obama's most prominent Republican supporters, expressed concern publicly for the first time Friday that the president's ambitious blitz of costly initiatives may be enlarging the size of government and the federal debt too much. "I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them," Mr. Powell said in an interview with CNN's John King. It was released by the network Friday. Mr. Powell, a retired U.S. Army general who rose to political prominence after a long and accomplished military career, said that health care reform and many of Mr. Obama's other initiatives are "important" to Americans. But, he said, "one of the cautions that has to be given to the president - and I've talked to some of his people about this - is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all."


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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)


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