Friday, August 21, 2009

Google update

At the time of writing, Google is still blocking me from putting up new posts on three of my blogs. So go instead to the mirror sites for the latest posts. As under:

Political Correctness Watch

Food & Health Skeptic.

Eye on Britain


Google have just taken the lock off FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC. Let's hope that small bit of sanity spreads


Israeli government Minister: Some of Obama's policies are 'borderline anti-Semitic'

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reject US President Barack Obama's request for a freeze on natural growth in Judea and Samaria, Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz said Sunday, based on conversations with Netanyahu. In an interview with the science and technology minister at his Jerusalem office, Herschkowitz told The Jerusalem Post that he did not believe Netanyahu would cross any red lines of Habayit Hayehudi, the most right-wing party in his coalition.

"From my own talks with the prime minister, I can say confidently that I don't think he will freeze natural growth in the settlements," Herschkowitz said. "I am sure he is in favor of allowing natural growth, but he must navigate smartly and walk between the rain drops to ensure that he will get along with the American administration."

Herschkowitz suggested that an arrangement could be found that could allow construction in the settlements to continue without public acknowledgment. He said this would be preferable to the opposite scenario of press reports of settlement construction when in fact there is none.

A former resident of Madison, Wisconsin, where he was a mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin, Herschkowitz did not hold back criticism for Obama, especially his decision to grant the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former UN human rights commissioner and longtime Israel basher Mary Robinson. "I am disappointed in Obama's policies," Herschkowitz said. "Some of the steps he has taken, like giving a medal to Mary Robinson, are borderline anti-Semitic. Israel is an independent state. Relations with the US are important, but relations must go both ways. I don't know if Obama understands it, but most Americans believe that Israel is their only anchor in the Middle East."

Herschkowitz has been criticized by the Right for praising Netanyahu's June 14 policy address at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center in which he conditionally endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state. He said he himself opposed a Palestinian state, but a prime minister had to speak differently than the average politician. "It was a good speech, because he shifted the ball to the other side by setting important conditions," Herschkowitz said. "If they can't accept recognizing a Jewish state and the end of the conflict, it shows their real face. But if they would have, there would have been something to talk about. A leader must say yes, and not just no, so it's ideal to say yes while shifting the ball back to the other side."

The Habayit Hayehudi leader said there was a consensus that Israel did not want to control the Palestinians. He said a demilitarized Palestinian state as Netanyahu outlined it would not be that different from the autonomy the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians already had.

But Herschkowitz said he did not think a peace agreement could be reached. "It is clear that there is no partner," Herschkowitz said. "Every diplomatic plan, even the most conservative one, is wishful thinking, because there is no plan that both sides would accept."



Where Are The Cost Cuts Going To Come From?

Your Only Options Are Less Care, Less Incentive To Become A Caregiver, Or The Magic Secret Formula For Super-Cost-Efficient Government. Excerpt below

One of the central selling points used by President Obama to push the Democrats’ health care plan is the notion that a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system will reduce costs. But costs to who, and how? Let’s step back a minute and try to figure out how Obama’s cost-cutting argument could possibly be so.

Prologue: Tax That Man Behind The Tree

First, a quick reminder of two reasons why cost-cutting is such an important selling point.

Number one, the core of what the Democratic base, in particular, wants from health care “reform” is universal coverage. You often hear statistics thrown around about there being 30 or 35 or, last I heard, 47 million people without health insurance, and the implication that these people are receiving zero or negligible healthcare. Debunking those statistics and assumptions is itself a cottage industry, but let’s leave that aside for the moment, because the fact of the matter is that in a country of 300 million people, when you strip out the people who

(1) already have health insurance and expect to continue having it,

(2) don’t especially want to buy health insurance,

(3) are only briefly without health insurance and not worried about it, or

(4) don’t or can’t vote,

what you end up with is a very small slice of the electorate that would benefit from getting health insurance they currently lack or fear lacking. Now, voters don’t only vote their own self-interests on any issue - but the fewer people who benefit directly from legislation, the harder it is to drum up public support for a bill that may threaten the self-interest of others. So, it becomes politically necessary, if the bill is to be as sweeping and ambitious as most of the versions circulated have been, to sell it to the public on the basis of some argument above and beyond insuring the uninsured. That’s doubly so because if your goal was solely to insure the uninsured, much of what is in the various bills would be unnecessary.

Second, specific to the issue of saving money for the federal government, the Obama Administration and the Democrats have already severely tried the electorate’s appetite for massive expansions of federal spending, especially deficit spending. The explosion of new spending, most notably the pork-laden “stimulus” bill, makes prior complaints about spending under Bush look like complaints about the deck chairs on the Titanic and flatly contradicts Obama’s read-my-lips pledge during two of last October’s debates that his proposals would result in a net reduction of federal spending. The voters have noticed that they’re not getting anything resembling what they were promised. Thus, Obama has repeatedly pledged, with the same assurance as his campaign pledge on spending, that the health care bill would be “deficit neutral.” The Congressional Budget Office, typically a liberal redoubt, has repeatedly thrown cold water on the claim that any of the proposals on the table would be deficit-neutral. Clearly, to get there, cost savings would need to be found somewhere to completely offset outlays.

How’s that gonna work?

Let’s review the options. The Democrats’ main argument is that restructuring the entire health care sector will reduce the nation’s total (public and private) outlay for health care. When you boil it down, though, there are only three variables you can cut: reduce the amount of medical care provided; reduce what providers of medical care earn for their products and services; and reduce intermediary costs. All are problematic.

I. Less Medical Care

The most obvious way to cut spending on medical care is to buy less of it. That’s at the crux of the public’s worry about “death panels” cutting off care, about rationing; it’s why so many of the people showing up agitated at town halls are senior citizens worried about getting less medical care.

The “death panel” phrase was shorthand, of course, but it neatly captured the core of the problem: government already rations care, albeit not very efficienctly, in programs like Medicare and Medicaid (see, e.g., here - then again, the failure to do more rationing explains those programs’ exploding, budget-busting costs) and the end-of-life consulting procedures criticized by Palin and subsequently dropped by chastened Democrats are not the only way in which government incentives could or would be brought to bear on physicians to push patients from consuming health care to preparing for death or assisted suicide. More here, among many other places. But you don’t have to be looking at the end-stage to see that any plan premised upon cost-cutting by reducing the amount of care provided would, well, reduce the amount of care provided. And if the costs being cut are taxpayer costs, the power to do so would end up being vested in some sort of governmental entity, likely a panel of government-appointed “experts,” as Mickey Kaus notes was alluded to by President Obama himself back in April



Free Speech And Yoo

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," those on the left were fond of saying when President Bush was in office. Today, with a Democratic president in power, we're finding out what a cynical pose that is. That can be seen in the sad case of John Yoo, a brilliant law professor from the University of California at Berkeley known for his staunch support of the Constitution.

Yoo, working for the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003, allegedly wrote what the left absurdly calls the "torture memos," which justified the kind of tough, coercive interrogations the military used to break up a number of terrorist plots after 9/11. Yet today, for rendering his honest legal opinion to President Bush, Yoo finds himself vilified and attacked by the left — with loud calls for Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School to fire him.

The campaign of harassment and intimidation against Yoo is sickening. Yoo and his family have been verbally assaulted, spat upon and threatened. On Monday, returning to school, he was met with shouts of "war criminal" by "war protesters" — those who yelled similar things at President Bush but who now under a Democrat utter nary a peep of protest.

Yoo's case shows how those on the extreme left deal with free speech that isn't their own. As blogger Andrew Breitbart noted, it comes straight out of radical organizer Saul Alinsky's playbook: "Rule 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Change the target from right to left, and you'd have a phalanx of ACLU lawyers coming to his defense. Left-leaning think tanks, always keen to support "civil rights," would take up the cudgel. Not this time. Berkeley law school dean Christopher Edley Jr. rejected calls to fire Yoo, but his reason was pathetic. The university, he said, didn't have the resources to investigate Yoo's work fully.

Memo to Edley: Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution explicitly gives the president the right to "require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices . . ." It seems clear that Yoo is covered. Maybe the federal judge who recently ruled Yoo could be sued for his legal opinions by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla should also actually read the Constitution.

Sadly, Yoo isn't the only recent target of hatred and intolerance of any opposition to the left's far-reaching agenda. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey incurred its wrath by suggesting a massive government takeover of health care was a bad idea. Now, for Mackey's apostasy from liberal orthodoxy, the left is organizing a nationwide boycott of his grocery chain. This is how the left works these days. It's a sad state of affairs when those who make the greatest claims of constitutional rights for their own behavior are the least willing to grant them to others.




There's a new conservative blog up with the ambitious title The Truth. It's got some good stuff on Obamacare. There's a BIG coverage of that issue up again today on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE too.

Princess Michele requires more than twenty attendants: “No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn’t perform any official duties. But this hasn’t deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary. How things have changed! If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michele are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public"

"Cash for clunkers" won't be running much longer, government says: "The government will announce a plan as soon as tomorrow for winding down its popular but problem-plagued 'cash for clunkers' program. The announcement by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came as a New York dealership group said that hundreds of its members had stopped doing clunker transactions because of delays in getting reimbursed by the federal government."

Yale surrenders: "The capitulation of Yale University Press to threats that hadn't even been made yet is the latest and perhaps the worst episode in the steady surrender to religious extremism -- particularly Muslim religious extremism -- that is spreading across our culture. A book called The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Danish-born Jytte Klausen, who is a professor of politics at Brandeis University, tells the story of the lurid and preplanned campaign of 'protest' and boycott that was orchestrated in late 2005 after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. (The competition was itself a response to the sudden refusal of a Danish publisher to release a book for children about the life of Mohammed, lest it, too, give offense.) By the time the hysteria had been called off by those who incited it, perhaps as many as 200 people around the world had been pointlessly killed. Yale University Press announced last week that it would go ahead with the publication of the book, but it would remove from it the 12 caricatures that originated the controversy."

Hutterites steamrolled by the state: "On July 24, in a case brought by the Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Alberta government is entitled to require a photo on the Hutterites' drivers' licenses. 'The negative impact on the freedom of religion of Colony members who wish to obtain licenses,' the decision summary explains, 'does not outweigh the benefits associated with the universal photo requirement.' The Hutterites-a sect or a religious group as one might want to call them-refuse to have their pictures taken for their driver's licenses and for a related digital photo data bank."

Airline deregulation: "Even the partial freeing of the air travel sector has had overwhelmingly positive results. Air travel has dramatically increased and prices have fallen. After deregulation, airlines reconfigured their routes and equipment, making possible improvements in capacity utilization. These efficiency effects democratized air travel, making it more accessible to the general public. Airfares, when adjusted for inflation, have fallen 25 percent since 1991, and, according to Clifford Winston and Steven Morrison of the Brookings Institution, are 22 percent lower than they would have been had regulation continued (Morrison and Winston 2000)."

Another genuine case of a police officer "acting stupidly" (so where's Obama?) "A 38 year-old mother of three, who posed no threat the police or anyone else, was tasered right in front of her children in January of this year. Yet to my knowledge, President Obama has failed to address this genuine case of the police 'acting stupidly.' Maybe it's because Audra Harmon cannot help the president make his case about the 'history' of race relations and the police since Mrs. Harmon appears to be a Caucasian woman. No, Mrs. Harmon doesn't have the ability to claim she was racially profiled for DWB but this does not make the actions of Deputy Sean Andrews any less shameful."

The broken windshield fallacy: "When governments follow criminally stupid policies, criminals can end up improving overall welfare. This may well be the case with Germany's reprehensible cash-for-clunkers program. Germany's police union, the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter, estimates that about 50,000 cars destined for the scrap yard under Berlin's trade-in scheme have been illegally resold to Africa and Eastern Europe. The government had paid around ƒ,ª125 million for these vehicles to be destroyed so that people would buy new, more fuel-efficient cars. German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe predicts a doubling of illicit exports by the end of the year. It's probably only a matter of time before American clunkers will likewise find their illegal way to the streets of Mexico and beyond. And humanity would be better off if they did. Imagine if the Salvation Army were ordered to destroy all the used clothing and furniture it receives instead of distributing it to the poor. No doubt this would be considered an outrage. But it is no less economically foolish and morally repugnant to deny poor people in the developing world access to these old cars."

Promises, promises, promises -- from the British Labour party: "Over the past decade we have all felt New Labour's grip tightening around our lives, but perhaps one of the most adversely impacted demographics from their time in power are the young adults who will have to face the New Labour legacy. Throughout its time in power, New Labour has made a series of empty promises to young people in Britain putting them in an increasingly disadvantaged position. Instead of leaving them free to grow up in a more prosperous society, they are now subject to live with falling standards in youth health, rising youth crime and non-existent community cohesion. Despite Tony Blair's promise of 'education, education, education', young people now find themselves with fewer opportunities than when he came to power."

That efficient British bureaucracy again: "The Ministry of Defence has lost track of equipment worth £6.6 billion, prompting calls for a review of the department’s record-keeping. The National Audit Office (NAO) refused to approve the MoD’s accounts this summer after auditors were unable to find equipment worth £6.6 billion, including about a sixth of the vehicles, weapons and radios used by British troops. In a statement released last night, the MoD said that the figure — which is equivalent to the department’s entire annual equipment budget — was simply an extrapolation made by the Audit Office after the MoD was “unable to satisfy the NAO’s demand for paperwork from stock checking to verify their (assets) presence over the year”. This year the NAO said that the strains of war often meant that frontline units were not able to reply to the annual census of equipment, but added that there was a shortage of staff to run the complex registers that keep track of equipment used by troops."


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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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