Saturday, March 28, 2009

The big news

The Fed has just "printed" one trillion dollars of new U.S. Greenbacks. It has created a huge amount of new money out of thin air. Governments have that prerogative. It doesn't actually run the printing presses faster. It does it in a more complicated way than that but the result is the same. Its main effect is to put fresh cash in the pockets of the banks and other financial institutions. The good news is that it is not debt. The taxpayer is not going to be required to pay more tax to fund it. The bad news is that it will devalue whatever greenbacks you at present own. They will buy less in the future -- "inflation" in other words. So it IS a tax in the long run.

Will it work? Will it get the banks lending again? Will it create jobs? Nobody seems terribly optimistic. The real problem is to restore business confidence so that businesses start hiring again but most of the O-man's agenda is anti-business and intent on jacking up business taxes so it will do nothing for that. Abolishing regulatory burdens on business (e.g. Sarbox) and halving company tax is what is needed to perk up business. Like FDR before him, Obama thinks business is the enemy -- when it is in fact the only way out of the present problems. Kicking business when it is down so stupid that only a Leftist could do it. But that is the FDR/Obama thinking.

Lots of commentary here


‘Palestinians’ Who Helped Create Israel

By Daniel Pipes

Palestinians have so loudly and for so long (nearly a century) rejected Zionism that Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, Yasir Arafat, and Hamas may appear to command unanimous Palestinian support. But no: polling research finds that a substantial minority of Palestinians, about 20 percent, is ready to live side-by-side with a sovereign Jewish state. Although this minority has never been in charge and its voice has always been buried under rejectionist bluster, Hillel Cohen of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has uncovered its surprisingly crucial role in history.

He explores this subject in the pre-state period in Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917—1948 (translated by Haim Watzman, University of California Press); then, the same author, translator, and press are currently preparing a sequel, Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948—1967, for publication in 2010.

In Army of Shadows, Cohen demonstrates the many roles that accommodating Palestinians played for the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in the Holy Land. They provided labor, engaged in commerce, sold land, sold arms, handed over state assets, provided intelligence about enemy forces, spread rumors and dissension, convinced fellow Palestinians to surrender, fought the Yishuv's enemies, and even operated behind enemy lines. So great was their cumulative assistance, one wonders if the State of Israel could have come into existence without their contribution.

The mufti's absolute rejection of Zionism was intended to solidify the Palestinian population but had the opposite effect. The Husseini clique's selfishness, extremism and brutality undermined solidarity: using venomous language and murderous tactics, declaring jihad against anyone who disobeyed the mufti, and deeming more than half the Palestinian population "traitors" pushed many fence-sitters and whole communities (notably the Druse) over to the Zionist side.

Consequently, Cohen writes, "As time passed, a growing number of Arabs were willing to turn their backs on the [rejectionists] and offer direct assistance to the British or Zionists." He calls collaboration with Zionism "not only common but a central feature of Palestinian society and politics." No one before Cohen has understood the historical record this way.

He discerns a wide range of motives on the part of the Yishuv's Palestinian allies: economic gain, class or tribal interests, nationalist ambitions, fear or hatred of the Husseini faction, personal ethics, neighborliness, or individual friendships. Against those who would call these individuals "collaborators" or even "traitors," he argues that they actually understood the situation more astutely than Husseini and the rejectionists: accommodationists presciently realized that the Zionist project was too strong to resist and that attempting to do so would lead to destruction and exile, so they made peace with it.





AMERICA'S enemies smell blood and it's type "O." All new administrations stumble a bit as they seek their footing. But President Obama's foreign-policy botches have set new records for instant incompetence.

Contrary to left-wing myths, I wasn't a fan of the Bush administration. (I called for Donald Rumsfeld to get the boot in mid-2001.) But fair's fair. Despite his many faults, Bush sought to do good. Obama just wants to look good. Vice President Dick Cheney was arrogant. Vice President Joe Biden is arrogant and stupid. Take your pick.

Don't worry about the new administration's ideology. Worry about its terrifying naivete. Consider a sampling of the goofs O and his crew have made in just two months: China: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (you know that gal married to the Saudi hireling) crawled to Beijing to tell the party bosses that human rights don't matter. Our "relationship" is more important than freedom and human dignity. Beijing's response? A staged military confrontation with an unarmed US Navy vessel; continued screw-America currency cheating; a renewed crackdown on dissidents and, yesterday, a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar. Thanks, Hill. You're a sweetheart.

Pakistan: With viral corruption throughout and Islamist fanatics sweeping half of its territory, Pakistan's coming apart. Its Dem-adored prez tries to ban opposition parties and gut the judiciary. It has nukes and seethes with hatred of America. And Islamabad controls our primary supply route into Afghanistan, using it as an extortion tool. Obama's response? Billions in new aid for Pak pols to pocket. We'd be better off handing the money to AIG to pay out more bonuses.

Afghanistan: Obama's Vietnam. Am I the only American who remembers that candidate Obama had a plan to capture Osama bin Laden and fix our previous "mistakes" in Afghanistan? President Obama doesn't have a clue.

Iran: Obama tried to reach out, to talk. After all, talking got him to the White House. But America-bashing is what keeps Iran's leaders in office, it's their political essence. After 30 years of fierce hostility, hasn't anyone figured out that the senior mullahs need us as an enemy? Without the Great Satan America to blame, they'd have some real explaining to do to their homies. So O got the left-hand finger.

He wanted to chat with the Taliban, too. They told him he could stick it where the sun don't shine.

North Korea: Obama wanted a fresh start. North Korea's response? Threats of war with South Korea and the kidnapping of two American journalists. And the renewed pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, along with rocket tests.

Cuba: Obama would like to liberalize our relationship. The Castro boys told him to kiss off. They need an enemy, too. (Dear Mr. President: It's not always about us or how evil America is.)

Venezuela: Guess who else needs an enemy?

Mexico: The good news: Obama knows where it is on a map and recognizes that Mexico's government faces a narco-insurgency that threatens our country, too. His first action? Cave to the Teamsters, violate a lawful treaty on cross-border trucking, reignite fading anti-Americanism and undercut President Felipe Calderon.

Poland: Obama's stance on our bravest ally on the European continent? The Russians are more important than you are. He's sending the same message to Ukraine and Georgia.




There's a new conservative blog called The moderate curmudgeon that takes a rather humorous approach to news commentary.

Obama firm on Afghanistan: “Confronting an inherited and faltering war, President Barack Obama plans to dispatch thousands more military and civilian trainers to Afghanistan by the fall on top of the 17,000 combat troops he has already ordered, senior administration officials said Thursday. Obama’s war strategy, which he plans to announce Friday, includes no timeline for withdrawal of troops. The war began more than seven years ago.”

NY: Deal reached to repeal “Rockefeller” drug laws: “Gov. David A. Paterson and New York legislative leaders have reached an agreement to dismantle much of what remains of the state’s strict 1970s-era drug laws, once among the toughest in the nation. Opponents of the so-called Rockefeller drug laws held a rally outside the governor’s office in Manhattan on Wednesday. The deal would repeal many of the mandatory minimum prison sentences now in place for lower-level drug felons, giving judges the authority to send first-time nonviolent offenders to treatment instead of prison. The plan would also expand drug treatment programs and widen the reach of drug courts at a cost of at least $50 million.”

Clinton admits it: US antidrug policies have failed: “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Mexico yesterday with a stark admission, saying that decades of US antinarcotics policies had been a failure and had contributed to the explosion of drug violence south of the border. ‘Clearly what we’ve been doing has not worked,’ Clinton told reporters on her plane at the start of her two-day trip. She said it was unfair for the United States ‘to be creating a situation where people are holding the Mexican government and people responsible. That’s not right.’ Clinton’s comments appeared to be the most sweeping by a top Obama administration official in accepting a US role in the drug violence in Mexico.”

Obama says automakers need “drastic changes”: “President Barack Obama said Thursday his administration will help Detroit’s struggling automakers only if the companies and their stakeholders make ‘pretty drastic changes’ to reshape their industry. Obama, responding to a question during an online town hall meeting, said the current business model for U.S. carmakers was unsustainable and the Big Three would need to change their ways. The president said he planned to announce decisions on the future of the industry in the coming days.”

The MTV president : “However talented the man might be, Barack Obama as silver-tongued savior, is in reality a creation of the mainstream media. When George W. Bush was inarticulate at times, he was the butt of jokes and worse; a buffoon who got through life on the coattails of his father. Yet, when Obama stutters through rehearsed speeches or maniacally laughs while discussing our ailing economy on 60 Minutes, these gaffes are either ignored or oddly offered as further proof of his oratory genius. But why? Because those who control most major newspapers and TV are immature dreamers still stuck on their vision of a socialist utopia; the stuff of teenaged vows to ‘change the world.’ And their hero epitomizes all they hold dear; a hip, youthful knight who champions activism — whatever that means — and looks good doing it.”


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, March 27, 2009


The Obama administration has embarked on a spree of borrowing that eclipses anything seen in world history. The Democratic Congress is nervous, but seems willing to go along. But this borrowing is not occurring in a vacuum; many other governments are also floating debt. So, who's going to lend the trillions of dollars that governments need to disguise the fact that their ideas are bankrupt? Maybe nobody.

Yesterday, the British government offered its "gilt-edged bonds" for sale. For the first time in over a decade, the auction failed as not enough buyers appeared to cover the bonds that were offered:
Fears are growing on the financial markets that Britain may not be able to repay the billions of pounds in debt it is amassing to rescue banks and revive the economy. The Government admitted yesterday that, for the first time since 1995, investors had been unwilling to buy the full complement of its so-called gilt-edged bonds at one of its official auctions.

Britain's failure roiled Wall Street, as Noel Sheppard reports:
Wall Street got rocked Tuesday by a "debt bomb" economists have worried about for decades. Hours after the United Kingdom failed to attract enough buyers for its auction of $2.5 billion of 40-year bonds, the United States Treasury had similar difficulties with its sale of $34 billion worth of five-year notes and was forced to raise their interest rate to a much higher yield than had been anticipated. Such problematic debt offerings came on the heels of Germany having two failed auctions of its bonds already this year.

The amount of debt the Obama administration intends to float dwarfs any historical experience. More from Bloomberg:
Treasury 10-year note yields rose the most in more than two weeks after an auction of $34 billion in five-year notes drew a higher-than-forecast yield, spurring concern record sales of U.S. debt are overwhelming demand. ... President Barack Obama's government is selling record amounts of debt to revive economic growth, service deficits, and cushion the failures in the financial system. Debt sales will almost triple this year to a record $2.5 trillion, according to estimates from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

What most Americans may not yet understand is that the vast majority of the debt that the Obama administration intends to incur, not just this year but for years to come--assuming it can find the requisite creditors--has nothing to do with the present financial crisis. Rather, Obama intends to finance a grotesquely swollen federal government, with socialized medicine just one item on the agenda, by borrowing the money. How to pay it back? Hey, not our problem--Obama will be out of office by 2017 at the latest, so paying off trillions in needless debt will be up to our children.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


BrookesNews Update

America-hating leftists lie to protect Obama's dangerous economic program : The left are pulling out all the stops to make sure Obama's programs of massive tax increases, colossal spending and borrowing, more regulatory controls and his appeasement Policy are imposed on the American people. In an effort to fool Americans leftists are trying to justify Obama's dangerous economic policies by saying they cured the Great Depression. This is a brazen lie. The extreme leftwing Campaign for America's future is playing a significant role in spreading this lying propaganda
Why Obama's big spending big taxing regime will cripple the US economy : Obama's statist dream of using high taxes and big government to drive the economy forward are doomed to failure. Unfortunately, the case for lower taxes is not as easily made as is the case for big spending projects. This is because the latter are built on economic fallacies that focus on end results instead of processes. The case for tax cuts and savings rests on sound economic logic and this must be solidly understood before lasting progress can be made
The Great Depression — then and now and bloody journalists: The economic crisis and the debate — what there is of one — about the alleged anti-recessionary effects of big government spending policies has once again raised the spectre of the Great Depression and once again our commentators get it wrong, particularly journalists, that pesty brood of pseudo intellectuals for whom honest research appears to be an anathema
In California it's bad economics as usual: California's politicians broke the budget deadlock by combining billions of dollars worth of spending cuts with billions of dollars worth of tax increases and billions of dollars worth of new borrowing authority. Chronically unable to live within their means, the governor and legislature apparently have concluded that fiscal business as usual is the way to resolve the state's financial crisis. As Ronald Reagan might have said: 'There they go again'
Heads roll in Havana as Raul Castro tightens his grip : Last week, Raul Castro purged almost twenty regime officials. The most prominent among the purged were the youngest and most reform-minded — at least as these things are measured within a Stalinist regime. All have now been replaced by diehard communists with military and secret-police backgrounds. So much for 'Hope and Change'
America: People vs their Government: The people of the United States are more honest and astute about the Arab-Israel conflict than is Obama and his advisors. They can see, especially after 9/11, that Fatah, Hamas and Al-Qaida are the part of the same Islamic ideology: Global domination by Islam
What is Marxism? : Marxist claims have been thoroughly discredited by history. Despite this fact thousands of academics and intellectuals still cling this patheted dogma by studiously ignoring anything that contradicts it: In doing so they reveal that Marxism is nothing but a power cult
Will what destroys Israel also destroy the United States?: Americans should realize that if Israel does not survive the Islamic onslaught and is destroyed, the United States will not be far behind. As long as people like Barack Obama are placed in charge of our country, our future is dim: the question is only which will destroy us first — socialism or Islam?



There is a vastly incorrect but rather striking article here comparing the attractiveness of Britain's female politicians with female politicians elsewhere. There's some pretty rough-looking British ones.

Obama’s middle class tax cut may not survive budget: "President Obama’s budget chief hinted Wednesday that the president’s signature campaign issue — a middle-class tax cut — will not likely survive a budget battle with Democrats on Capitol Hill. On a conference call with reporters in advance of the president’s trip to the Hill to speak before the Senate Democratic caucus, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag indicated that, while 98 percent of the budget mark-ups in the House and Senate are on par with the administration’s budget blueprint, some campaign trail promises, like middle-class tax cuts, may get left on the cutting room floor.”

Obama’s budget: It’s absolutely insane! “At his press conference last night, President Obama insisted once again that he inherited the budget deficit, and ‘we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.’ But the deficits over the next 10 years that Obama proposed in his budget are not George Bush’s deficits. They are the deficits that Obama has proposed, resulting from the $1 trillion in increased spending he adopted in the no-stimulus stimulus bill, and the $400 billion supplemental spending bill he supported and also adopted the following week, and the $275 billion housing bailout he proposed the next week, and the $1 trillion bank bailout plan his Treasury Secretary just proposed this week, and the $638 billion he has proposed as a ‘downpayment’ on a new national health insurance entitlement. … Does this sound like he is ‘doing everything we can to reduce that deficit?’”

Karl Rove: Obama has made taxes and spending the big issues again: "Something powerful is stirring in the land, and it may not be good news for President Barack Obama, his agenda or the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama said Tuesday night his budget moves America "from an era of borrow and spend" to "save and invest." But people are realizing he would add $9.3 trillion to the national debt, doubling it in six years and nearly tripling it in 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). How can that be "save and invest"? In his inaugural address, Mr. Obama told us, "The stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply." He wants to turn to new issues of education, health care and green jobs, which he plugged at every opportunity in Tuesday's press conference. Suddenly, though, it doesn't seem like a time of new politics and new concerns. Many Americans are anxious -- and in some cases angry -- about a set of old issues: deficits, taxes and the national debt. Mr. Obama's radical budget, his administration's slapdash operating manner, and events such as the AIG bonuses have revived animosity over government's size and cost."

Capitalism is morally superior: “People say that capitalism is based on greed, which must be restrained. No it isn’t. It’s built on self-interest — which is perfectly natural to us all, and beneficial to our community. Markets are about free people, voluntarily exchanging cash for goods or services. You can only prosper in the market if you give your customers what they want. In every transaction, both sides benefit — they wouldn’t do if they didn’t — and with millions of sales and purchases going on every day, that spreads benefit through the whole society. Capitalism is a vast, worldwide collaborative system. It doesn’t need political arguments to decide what should be done. It doesn’t need force to make people produce things. It produces enormous variety and plenty without any conflict or coercion at all.”

Gordon Gekko is a Democrat: "How did Republicans get saddled with Wall Street? Obama just got the biggest campaign haul from Wall Street in world history, and Republicans still can't shake the public perception that they are tied at the hip to Wall Street bankers who hate them. Maybe if the financial capital of the nation were located in Salt Lake City, rather than Manhattan, the financial community would support Republicans. But Wall Street is a street located in New York City. No one in the top echelons of the financial industry who has a weekend place in the Hamptons is a Republican".


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, March 26, 2009

Defining conservatism

The claims below seem rather stupid and narrow-minded to me. They amount to saying that religious unbelievers cannot be conservative. Yet Australia is one of the world's most conservative countries but it is also a place where very few people are religious. The proportion of the Australian population present at church on a typical weekend is well under 10% and even a lot of them are there for mainly social reasons. And the churches are almost all Left-leaning in fact. So conservatism in Australia has nothing to do with religion. Australian conservatives generally respect religion but there are heaps of them who are not themselves religious. I think my definition of conservatism works a lot better: That conservatives just want to be left alone to get on with their own lives in their own way with as little government interference as possible -- which is why they tend to be strong advocates of individual liberty

If you want to learn to recognize the mark of a true conservative, read Mark Levin's new book, "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto." Levin is the real thing -- a longtime intellectual and activist leader of the conservative movement -- who writes with unmatched authority and clarity about the conservative vision and how it ought to be pursued today by you and your children and anybody else you know who wants to preserve American liberty....

Like our Founding Fathers and like other first-rate conservative thinkers, Levin recognizes that America's rise to greatness was not rooted in ideology but in a worldview defined by basic -- and true -- assumptions about the nature of the world and the nature of man. Fundamentally, Levin explains, conservatives recognize that there is an immutable natural law ordained by God that all men and nations must obey. He also makes clear that while human beings have a God-given right to individual liberty, they are also imperfect by nature and, thus, if given too much power, are likely to abuse the God-given rights of others.

"Some resist the idea of a Natural Law's relationship to Divine Providence, for fear it leads to intolerance or even theocracy," writes Levin. "They have it backwards. If man is 'endowed by (the) Creator with certain inalienable rights,' he is endowed with these rights no matter his religion or whether he has allegiance to any religion. It is Natural Law, divined by God and discoverable by reason, that prescribes the inalienability of the most fundamental and eternal human rights -- rights that are not conferred on man by man. It is the Divine nature of Natural Law that makes permanent man's right to 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.'"

Levin deftly isolates why modern liberal class warriors -- those of President Obama's ilk -- must reject this understanding of the world. "The Statist cannot abide the existence of Natural Law and man's discovery of 'inalienable rights' bestowed on all individuals by 'their Creator,'" writes Levin. "In ideology and practice, the Statist believes rights are not a condition of man's existence but only exist to the extent the Statist ratifies them. Furthermore, rights do not belong to all individuals. They are rationed by the state -- conferred on those whom the Statist believes deserving of them, and denied to those whom the Statist believes undeserving of them."

As on his radio show, so in this book, Levin is unapologetic in his indictment of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and successive generations of FDR acolytes -- including LBJ and BHO -- for perpetrating a "counterrevolution" against the limited government prescribed by our Constitution and for creating and expanding a welfare state that breeds dependency in the people and that -- if not soon dismantled -- will bankrupt our nation.

"The significance of the New Deal is not in any one program, but in its sweeping break from our founding principles and constitutional limitations," he says. "Roosevelt himself broke with the two-presidential-term tradition started by George Washington by running for four terms. His legacy includes a federal government that has become a massive, unaccountable conglomerate: It is the nation's largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider and pension guarantor."

This is the truth about what liberals have done over the last 80 years of American history. American freedom cannot survive another 80 years of expanding government and diminishing individual autonomy.



I am now a Chromer

Google Chrome, that is. In Australia "chroming" refers to a very stupid practice by some young people, mostly indigenous, of inhaling fumes of solvents, gasoline, paint-thinners etc. in order to get "high". It fries their brains but in some cases you would hardly notice, given their low starting point in that department.

I found that Firefox was in important ways worse than IE. I guess that there are work-arounds for the problems concerned but they were not obvious. I could find no way of altering my default home-page for instance. And the "Back" button mostly did not work. And it kept closing windows on me if I had more than one open. Quite mad. I have none of those problems with Chrome. It definitely beats both both IE and Firefox, though there are some things that I can only do with IE so far. I don't like Google's politics but they do make good software.


Two interesting posters

A reader sent me them a little while ago but I have no details about their origins. I am wondering if any reader can help me identify them: When and where they came from and where originals or copies of them are housed these days.

I can't help noticing the artistic superiority of the Nazi effort. Hitler was an artist, even if a mediocre one, and Nazi images are often quite attractive -- perhaps precisely because Hitler kept pretty close to an average taste rather than being original in any way.

The Soviet effort is very dismal. Where the Nazi effort displays primarily individuals, the Soviet effort just hints at masses of people in the very bottom of the image. The Red army did use the Swastika long before the Nazis did so I have no doubt of the authenticity of the images above.

The "Roman" salute is generally said to have been invented by Mussolini but Musso was a Marxist who knew Lenin well so it is perfectly reasonable to believe that Stalin was influenced by Musso's ideas for a while.


It appears that the posters above come from a documentary film called Soviet Story. See here. The film has had a lot of praise from people who should know so I think that vouches pretty well for the authenticity of the posters. I would like to get dates for them, though -- and where they were first used. Academic caution and all that -- though a lot of academics these days are anything but cautious in their pronouncements.


The old days weren't so bad

There is a fascinating video here showing that an experienced Morse code operator can transmit a message faster than someone using text messaging. It certainly gives old guys like me a bit of a fillip as the Morse telegraph was invented before I was born -- and I DID on occasions send telegrams in the old days. I must say that I still find Morse transmissions rather eerie. It is hard to believe that human beings do it. The manual dexterity involved seems to beat even playing the harpsichord. And yet lots of people did it in the old days. Those rapid bleeps were normal once. I am quite pleased that those skills have not been totally lost. I guess it is just a hobby these days. When I was a kid we were all taught one tiny bit of Morse: The Help signal. People still understand the expression SOS to this day but how many know that SOS is a call for urgent help because it is very simple to remember and transmit in Morse? Not many young people, I'll warrant.


The military shows who it prefers: GWB or Obama

I guess most readers here have seen this striking video by now but, if not, here it is:


Pain Iran Can Believe In

Diplomacy has no chance without tougher energy sanctions

As a general rule, economic sanctions are a poor foreign policy instrument: hard to enforce (think Burma), prone to corruption (think Oil for Food), rarely effective (think Cuba). But in the case of Iran, let's make an exception.

We say this after five years of futile diplomatic efforts -- spearheaded by the Europeans and backed by the Bush Administration -- to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear programs and comply with binding U.N. Security Council resolutions. Now the only thing standing between the mullahs and a bomb is either punitive sanctions or a military strike, probably Israeli, which could engulf the Middle East in a regional war. Which option do you prefer?

So here's a fact: Despite being a leading oil exporter, Iran imports roughly 40% of its gasoline because it lacks adequate domestic refining capacity. Any cut-off in supply would do immediate damage to the fragile Iranian economy and could bring about social unrest, as happened in 2007 after the regime imposed gasoline rations. Here's another fact: Iran is supplied with gasoline by a mere handful of foreign companies, all of which do substantial business in the United States.

Final fact: There is a growing bipartisan consensus in favor of gasoline sanctions. As candidate Barack Obama put it in the second Presidential debate last October, "If we can prevent [Iran] from importing the gasoline they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis [about the advantages of a nuclear arsenal], that starts putting the squeeze on them."



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, March 25, 2009

Secret document leaked: The Obama administration is branding libertarians and abortion opponents as hidden terrorists

Even the ACLU is opposing this Gestapo-like effort

Do you like Ron Paul or oppose abortion? You may be a member of a militia, according to a new report by a government information collection agency. If you're an anti-abortion activist, or if you display political paraphernalia supporting a third-party candidate or a certain Republican member of Congress, if you possess subversive literature, you very well might be a member of a domestic paramilitary group.

That's according to "The Modern Militia Movement," a report by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), a government collective that identifies the warning signs of potential domestic terrorists for law enforcement communities. "Due to the current economical and political situation, a lush environment for militia activity has been created," the Feb. 20 report reads. "Unemployment rates are high, as well as costs of living expenses. Additionally, President Elect Barrack [sic] Obama is seen as tight on gun control and many extremists fear that he will enact firearms confiscations."

MIAC is one of 58 so-called "fusion centers" nationwide that were created by the Department of Homeland Security, in part, to collect local intelligence that authorities can use to combat terrorism and related criminal activities. More than $254 million from fiscal years 2004-2007 went to state and local governments to support the fusion centers, according to the DHS Web site.

During a press conference last week in Kansas City, Mo., DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called fusion centers the "centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing" in the future. "Let us not forget the reason we are here, the reason we have the Department of Homeland Security and the reason we now have fusion centers, which is a relatively new concept, is because we did not have the capacity as a country to connect the dots on isolated bits of intelligence prior to 9/11," Napolitano said, according to a DHS transcript.

"That's why we started this.... Now we know that it's not just the 9/11-type incidents but many, many other types of incidents that we can benefit from having fusion centers that share information and product and analysis upwards and horizontally."

But some say the fusion centers are going too far in whom they identify as potential threats to American security. People who supported former third-party presidential candidates like Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr are cited in the report, in addition to anti-abortion activists and conspiracy theorists who believe the United States, Mexico and Canada will someday form a North American Union.

"Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups," the report reads. "It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material." Other potential signals of militia involvement, according to the report, are possession of the Gagsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag or the widely available anti-income tax film "America: Freedom to Fascism."

Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, told that he's taking steps to get his name removed from the report, which he said could actually "dilute the effectiveness" of law enforcement agencies. "It can subject people to unwarranted and inappropriate monitoring by the government," he said. "If I were the governor of Missouri, I'd be concerned that law enforcement agencies are wasting their time and effort on such nonsense." ...

Michael German, national security policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the report "crosses the line" and shows a disregard for civil liberties. "It seems to implicate people who are engaging in First Amendment protected activities and suggest that something as innocuous as supporting a political candidate for office would mean that you're harboring some ill-intent," German told "It's completely inappropriate."

German, who claims the number of fusion centers nationwide is closer to 70 said the centers present several troubling concerns, including their excessive secrecy, ambiguous lines of authority, the use of data mining and military participation. "No two are alike," German said. "And these things are expanding rapidly." ....

ACLU officials blasted a Texas fusion center last month for distributing a "Prevention Awareness Bulletin" that called on law enforcement officers to report activities of local lobbying groups, Muslim civil rights organizations and anti-war protest groups.




There is an argument here that allowing AIG to go bankrupt would have been best. I find it amazing that a Leftist government is propping up bloated capitalists instead of letting them go broke. Who are the defenders of the status quo now? I guess that protecting failures trumps hatred of the status quo. More likely the Left know how good the status quo has been to them -- even while they snarled at it.

America’s Ignorance of Her Heroes: "During a recent commercial flight from Jacksonville (Fla.) to Baltimore, a flight attendant offered free drink coupons to any of the 150 passengers who could name just one of the five Medal of Honor recipients from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Awkward moments of silence followed until one man, Navy veteran Dale Shelton of Annapolis, Maryland, spoke up and named Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith. No other passenger was able to name a recipient. The flight attendant then asked the passengers to name an American Idol winner. “The cabin lit up like a pinball machine as 43 passengers scrambled to push their attendant call button,” according to a piece by the American Forces Press Service... Which brings us to our recognition this week of National Medal of Honor Day, the significance of the award, and the necessity of honoring the heroes who wear it. In 2007, Congress designated Mar. 25 (of each year) as National Medal of Honor Day: The date coinciding with the same date in 1863 when Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton presented six Union Army soldiers with the first-ever Medals of Honor... For as Pres. Abraham Lincoln said, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure.”

Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama: "The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized—and, in some cases, clobbered—President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security. It's not unusual for Barack Obama to take a little friendly fire from the Times. But it's perhaps unprecedented for him to get hit on the same day by columnists Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd—and in the paper's lead editorial. Their critique punctuated a weekend that started with a widely circulated blog post by Paul Krugman that said the president’s yet to be announced bank rescue plan would almost certainly fail. The sentiment, coming just two months after the president was sworn in, reflects elite opinion in the Washington-New York corridor that Obama is increasingly overwhelmed, and not fully appreciative of the building tsunami of populist outrage".

Obama Hacks Off France In Latest Foreign Policy Blunder: "Someone forgot to tell Barack Obama that Jacque Chirac is no longer the President of France. We would like to think that this is a joke. Sadly, the French media is reporting as true that Barack Obama sent a letter to the President of France pledging support and friendship. His actual words were: “I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.” There’s just one problem: he sent it to the wrong guy. That’s right. Barack Obama sent the letter to the former President of France, not the present President. And Nicholas Sarkozy is not amused. As my wife said, we no longer have to worry that Obama is the anti-Christ — he’s too incompetent.

More British government computer bungling: "Security flaws have halted work on the internet database designed to hold the details of 11 million children and teenagers. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) admitted last night that it had uncovered problems in the system for shielding details of an estimated 55,000 vulnerable children. These include children who are victims of domestic violence, those in difficult adoptions or witness protection programmes and the children of the rich and famous, whose whereabouts may need to be kept secret. ContactPoint is a £224 million online database that contains the names, addresses, dates of birth and details of schools, GPs, social workers and support services of all 11 million people aged under 18 in England. It is intended to improve child protection. The project has been dogged by controversy since its inception in 2003 and the loss of many big databases has dented public confidence. ContactPoint was supposed to go live nationally this year but a spokeswoman for the DCSF said that the department had ordered a “pause in the ongoing data update” pending an investigation into the shielding problems."

Who's French Now?: "The voice of fiscal restraint does not normally have a Gallic accent. But in our newly upside-down world, it's the French who are warning Americans about runaway spending and false Keynesian stimulus hopes. The latest Frenchman to deconstruct Obamanomics -- after President Nicolas Sarkozy came out last week against raising taxes -- is Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank. As central bankers are wont to do, Mr. Trichet avoided criticizing U.S. policies directly. Yet the dangers of trying to spend your way to prosperity that he outlined will sound familiar to Americans. Governments, Mr. Trichet said in an interview with the Journal's Joellen Perry and Stephen Fidler published Monday, have to "reassure [their] own people that [they] have an exit strategy, to reassure households that [they] are not putting in jeopardy the situation of the children, and to reassure businesses that what is done today is not done to the detriment of their own taxation in the years to come."

Union in labor dispute with its employees: “As it helps push for legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize, the country’s fastest-growing union is engaged in its own labor dispute with employees it is seeking to lay off. The Service Employees International Union, considered the most influential union in the nation, has notified the union that represents about 220 of the SEIU’s national field staff members and organizers that it is laying off 75 of the employees. In return, the workers union, which goes by the somewhat postmodern name of the Union of Union Representatives, has filed charges of unfair labor practices against the SEIU with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers union’s leaders say that the SEIU is engaging in the same kind of practices that some businesses use: laying off workers without proper notice, contracting out work to temporary-staffing firms, banning union activities and reclassifying workers to reduce union numbers.”

Shortages are bad: “When I was a teaching assistant for introductory microeconomics, one of the main lessons I really tried to impress on the students was the wastefulness of shortages caused by price controls. Lots of issues are controversial in economics, but the wastefulness and pure social loss of shortages are not one of them. Usually the students understand this quite well. And then I read articles like this, and I despair …. When the city privatized the meters, then the price for parking went to something resembling a market-clearing rate. And what happened? Well (surprise!) there are no longer chronic shortages of parking spaces. Imagine! What’s exasperating in this article is the idea that the optimum quantity of open parking spaces is zero.”


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, March 24, 2009

Slander of Israel by Ha'aretz

Ha'Aretz ("The Earth") is Israel's NYT -- a major Leftist paper that hates its own country. Comments below by Melanie Phillips in Britain

On his eponymous BBC TV show this morning, I listened open-mouthed as Andrew Marr invited Tory foreign affairs spokesman William Hague to express his views about the
pretty appalling looking reports coming out of Israel where members of the Israeli Defence Force who were involved in the Gaza operation have talked about effectively being told to shoot at civilians.

Hague replied:
Well those are absolutely appalling stories. There is no question about that. We don't yet know the truth of them. I think it's very important to say that. This is evidence that now has to be looked at, of course, by Israel's military investigations unit; and it is a good thing that Israel does have provision for that, for investigating these things and for bringing to book any who were responsible for behaving in such a way. But we will expect… I think across the world, we will expect Israel to deal decisively with anybody who committed such crimes. It will be very important for Israel to do that if it is to keep any moral authority in these situations in the future. So we're all appalled by that and we hope that it will be dealt with.

Of course Hague was careful to say the truth of this evidence was not yet known. But there is no evidence. So far, there is simply nothing to prove or disprove from these reports of the soldiers’ discussion carried in Ha’aretz last week, here and here -- just innuendo, rumour and hearsay, demonstrably (read the second account) wrenched out of context and refracted through the patent prejudice of the soldiers’ instructor Danny Zamir, an ultra-leftist who had previously been jailed for refusing to guard settlers at a religious ceremony and who said of the soldiers who spoke at the meeting in question that they reflected an atmosphere inside the army of ‘contempt for, and forcefulness against, the Palestinians.’

So what are these
pretty appalling looking reports

absolutely appalling stories?

There are precisely two charges of gratuitous killing of Palestinian civilians under allegedly explicit orders to do so. One is what even Ha’aretz made clear was an accidental killing, when two women misunderstood the evacuation route the Israeli soldiers had given them and walked into a sniper’s gunsights as a result. Moreover, the soldier who said this has subsequently admitted he didn’t see this incident – he wasn’t even in Gaza at the time – and had merely reported rumour and hearsay.

The second charge is based on a supposedly real incident in which, when an elderly woman came close to an IDF unit, an officer ordered that they shoot her because she was approaching the line and might have been a suicide bomber. The soldier relating this story did not say whether or not the woman in this story actually was shot. Indeed, since he says ‘from the description of what happened’ it would appear this was merely hearsay once again. And his interpretation was disputed by another soldier who said:
She wasn't supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn't be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn't right.

So two non-atrocity atrocities, then. What else?

Soldiers mouthing off -- in conversations of near-impenetrable incoherence – that instructions to kill everyone who remained in buildings designated as terrorist targets after the IDF had warned everyone inside to get out amounted to instructions to murder in cold blood. There cannot be an army in the world which would not issue precisely such instructions in such circumstances, where Hamas had boasted it had booby-trapped the entire area.



Many Arabs badly want Israeli Citizenship

While most Arab and Muslim countries consider Israel an enemy, hundreds of thousands are still eager to live here and gain Israeli citizenship. Arab groups in Israel are pressuring the state to grant citizenship to enemy citizens who marry Israeli Arab women, a move that demographers warn could swamp the Jewish state with hostile foreigners.

Professor Arnon Sofer warns that many of the so-called marriages between Israeli Arabs and foreign Muslims are pure fiction. Many Israeli Arabs claim marriage to a foreign spouse and then divorce just weeks later, he said.

The trend of bringing in foreign spouses is growing, Sofer says, and more than 16,000 foreign Muslims are living as spouses of local Muslims in the Jerusalem area alone. In the Negev, roughly 14,000 foreign spouses have entered the area, he says, creating a situation where Israel struggles to convince Jews to move in while simultaneously allowing tens and hundreds of thousands of hostile Arabs to flood the country.

In the above video, Sofer describes the situation that has resulted from Israel's demographic policies, and warns what the implications of granting citizenship to all foreign spouses could be.



What The Times and AP Won’t Tell You About The UN’s homosexual Rights Resolution

By uncritically publishing an Associated Press report on the Obama administration’s decision to support a United Nations statement on “gay rights,” The New York Times once again told only part of the story — the part that suited its purposes. America’s Gay Newspaper of Record reported that unlike that old meanie, George Bush, Obama will sign what it called the “UN Gay Rights Declaration” — which supposedly does no more than call for the decriminalization of homosexual behavior.

Right from the get-go, The Times and AP got it wrong. The French-sponsored measure isn’t a declaration (which has to come out of a U.N. committee) but a statement presented at the United Nations for member-states to sign.

After noting that the statement was “endorsed by all European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries,” the paper suggested that Bush refused to sign on due to states-rights concerns. (Some states allow landlords and private employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.)

But, among its 13 provisions, the French statement “reaffirms … that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” Also, signers are committed to ending “harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Do the bans on same-sex marriage in 30 states and the federal Defense of Marriage Act constitute “discrimination” based on “sexual orientation”? Is our refusal to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military the sort of “exclusion” the statement condemns?

What’s purported to be a “declaration” calling for the decriminalization of homosexual acts, is actually far-reaching and could force changes on this nation that voters have consistently opposed. Not that you’d have know it from the AP story in The Times.



Freedom to Choose

I find it curious that, when it comes to the “pro-choice” crowd, the choice is actually quite limited. Those offering alternatives to abortion are branded as religious fanatics and even as dangerous. Pregnancy resource centers which provide options other than abortion are labeled as “fake clinics.” Now, there’s even a move to eliminate the choices of medical professionals when it comes to performing abortions.

If you doubt this, witness the effort by the Obama Administration to get rid of a Health and Human Services rule that ensures the conscience rights of medical professionals as far as abortion is concerned.

As one doctor concerned about the situation noted, if physicians have no conscience rights, no one is safe from forced abortions, government-sanctioned euthanasia, and other actions hostile to life. The right to die becomes the duty to die; the right to abort becomes the requirement to abort. And the culture of our nation suffers in the process.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity for ordinary citizens to fight back against this latest instance of government intrusion. The American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYNs is asking taxpayers to make their voices heard on this issue.

If you visit the website, you can send a message to the Department of Health and Human Services, registering your complaint as either a patient or a health care professional. You can note how you want your doctor to be free to follow principles such as the Hippocratic Oath, the Nuremberg Code, and general moral standards. Medical professionals can point out how they do not want government to restrict their freedom to practice medicine by forcing them to violate ethical standards of care.

At this time of government takeovers, a morally bankrupt government takeover of the health care industry is appalling. We can be thankful that the Freedom2Care Coalition is standing up to this over-reaching power grab by the federal government. As the coalition states, its mission is “to protect and advance the free exercise of conscience rights in health care, thereby protecting patients and upholding American ideals and law.”

One’s conscience should be considered sacred. It’s that little voice inside, placed there by the Almighty, which enables us to distinguish between right and wrong. Despite 36 years of attempted brainwashing, there are doctors today who realize that abortion violates that voice within. Let’s do our part to support these caring medical professionals who are willing to confront the pro-abortion political machine. Go to and give voice to your convictions today.



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, March 23, 2009

"Some of them masked"?

An interesting excerpt from Calgary, in Canada:
"A group of anti-racist activists held a “celebration of diversity” on the steps of city hall Saturday morning as part of efforts to overshadow the message of a white supremacist group reportedly planning a separate event later today. About 150 people, many waving anti-racist signs and some of them masked, gathered for a series of speeches and songs promoting multiculturalism."

Masked in preparation for acting violently or afraid that their fellow citizens will not like their cause? I am sure that the Ku Klux Klan would understand. So-called "anti-Fascists" are the real Fascist thugs these days.



By email from Barry Rubin of Israel's GLORIA CENTER

I’m not going to criticize President Barack Obama for offering an olive branch to Iran, complete with Farsi subtitles. The funny thing is that everyone seems to have forgotten that the last few presidents tried similar approaches without success. The real issue will be when Obama discovers that the fish aren’t biting or, to put it a very different way, the shark has eaten the olive branch and is chasing him out of the Gulf. It is revealing to parse, however, a couple of his lines:

--A "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement. This no doubt seems clever to White House staffers but a new beginning implies forgetting the past. The Iranian regime, based after all on ideas and events of 1400 years ago, isn’t too big on forgetting the past. In Tehran this will be interpreted as being told to forget past evil deeds of the Great Satan.

--"My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties," I believe him but what is this “full range” of issues? Iran wants to dominate Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinians; be the hegemonic power in the Gulf, wipe Israel off the map; have nuclear weapons; extend influence and promote Islamist revolution quite widely; throw U.S. and Western influence out of the region; and sponsor terrorism wherever it wishes. So how is Obama going to address that? You can talk all you want but that won’t erase real interest conflicts.

--The United States wants Iran to take its "rightful place in the community of nations…. You have that right--but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization."

This is nicely worded but it really reminds me of what former presidents Clinton and two Bushes said almost word for word. But how do Iranian leaders think when they hear this? First, perhaps we define our “rightful place” differently. If Iran just wanted to be another power in the Middle East, with no one bothering it, that goal could have been achieved easily years ago. Iran sees its rightful place as a world leader, most powerful state in the Middle East, and inspiration for a lot of Islamist regime franchises.

What we have here are two different definitions of “rightful place.” And, to the Iranian regime, what is the “rightful place” of the United States? Outside the Middle East, and standing by while Iran becomes regional hegemon and destroys Israel along with just about every other existing Arab regime except Syria, that’s where. Fine words and nice sentiments won’t erase that either.

But my favorite line is Obama telling the Iranians that force, military power, and terrorism won’t work for them. Oh, really? Well they’ve worked pretty well so far. They think America and the West is weak and fearful. Unless these factors stand up to Tehran, the Islamic regime will walk all over them. In fact, Iran has two slogans that explain its behavior: “Change!” and “Yes we can!”


The emptiness of Obama

Not so long after castigating Senator McCain for saying that the fundamentals of the economy were okay and Governor Palin for trying to talk to the people, past the press-- Obama encouraged everyone to focus on the sound fundamentals of the economy and decided to talk to the people and past the press, by going on Leno.

But then of course originality had never been Obama's strong point. With catchy slogans and book titles raided from everyone from Jeremiah Wright to Alice Walker, and a stylized portrait stolen from an AP photograph, Obama stumbled first to fame and then to power. Two months in and it's painfully obvious even to the press that Obama is a failure.

The double standard that kept him going this long required an endless propaganda loop and infinite second chances. It demanded that the public think the best of Obama and the worst of his opponents. So when Obama talked about visiting 57 states, it was written off as a meaningless gaffe, but when Palin talked about seeing Alaska from her house, it was transformed into an ongoing taunt.

And now thanks to the wonders of the teleprompter and carefully screened questions from the press, we have a man in the White House who might be more incompetent than he is corrupt, or more corrupt than he is incompetent. With the economy stumbling further, stock in incompetence is rising, even while no other stock is.

There's no question about it, the paint is flaking, the antenna is bent and the wheels are coming off. To increasing numbers of Americans who did vote him, Obama is a nice guy who's completely out of his depth. A year in, the assessment is likely to be far worse.

Much more HERE



Heroism that the major media ignored: "The Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey, presented seven Fort Campbell soldiers with awards for their heroism in Iraq and at home. Casey said he was honored to give the medals to the soldiers, saying their actions were incredibly courageous. First Lt. Nicholas Eslinger, a West Point graduate from Oakley, Calif., was awarded the Silver Star. He was leading a patrol on foot in Samarra, Iraq, north of Baghdad, when a grenade was tossed in the middle of his platoon. "I saw the hand come over the wall and I quickly did a hop, skip and a jump and landed on my side pinning the grenade between the ground and my chest," Eslinger said. Eslinger was able to grab the grenade and toss it back over the wall, where it exploded seconds later. No soldier was killed or wounded that night"

Men die in lake because cowardly British police had a boat but no lifejackets: "Two men died today and two more were feared drowned after their boat sank just hours after they arrived for a fishing trip at a picturesque loch. The men, aged between 30 and 47, had got into difficulties in heavy fog as they returned to their campsite by boat from a pub across the loch in the early hours. A rescue operation was launched after the one man who remained on shore heard their cries for help and raised the alarm. But it took more than two hours to reach them, as rescuers waited for a boat and life jackets to arrive by road from Renfrew near Glasgow, almost 70 miles away. Police admitted that one of the reasons a rescue had not been launched earlier in another boat was because their own men at the scene and firefighters had no life jackets. Shortly after the rescue boat arrived Mr Carty and Mr Currie were discovered unconscious in the water and died shortly afterwards... The 38-year-old man who had remained on shore had been sleeping but awoke when he heard their cries for help at about 3.40am. He called the emergency services but the rescue boat did not arrive until just after 6am. Speaking at the scene, Detective Inspector Andrew Mosely said: ‘It’s not about commandeering a boat, it’s about the visibility and hazards. 'It’s not about a boat. It’s about having buoyancy aids for your staff.’ [No guts]



The mentally sub-normal Vice President of the United States has made yet another stupid and grossly incorrect claim. Jeff Jacoby savages it.

Airhead at work: "Former President George W. Bush is personally responsible for the current financial crisis and should give every penny of his family fortune to the American people as a result. So proclaimed financial advisor Suze Orman in an article published Friday at WWD. Ironically, the piece also pointed out that Orman didn't foresee the collapse of the financial services industry, and not only continued to recommend people buy real estate as the bubble was being pumped, but also purchased an expensive apartment in New York City close to the peak. That's probably Bush's fault, too.

Busted justice system in Britain: "The Crown Court in England and Wales is at "breaking point" after a 5 per cent rise in cases to 136,000 a year, an independent watchdog has found. As a result there are delays of several months in the hearing of serious criminal trials and the congestion is so bad that the Courts Service, the agency in charge, is spending millions of pounds converting magistrates' courts to tackle the backlog. Meanwhile, only 70 per cent of cases last year were committed for trial within 16 weeks of coming before the magistrates and the Courts Service missed its target of dealing with 78 per cent of cases within 26 weeks. Delays are worst in London and the South East. The findings by the National Audit Office were put this week to Chris Mayer, chief executive of the Courts Service, when she came before the Commons Public Accounts Committee. Edward Leigh, its chairman, who has described the system as "almost at breaking point", condemned the delays and "time-wasting" as "scandalous", adding: "Is this really a dysfunctional organisation? Can you run it properly?

Britain's decayed Foreign Office: "Our man in Havana and the staff in other embassies worldwide are supposed to be the frontline ambassadors putting the best shine on Britain’s image abroad. Back home it is a different story. A damning report has painted a picture of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as full of incompetents, “cowards” and “clones”. Films like Carlton-Browne of the FO, starring Terry-Thomas, used to portray the pin-striped failures of British diplomacy. The upper-class twits may have been replaced by a new generation of bright young ethnically diverse civil servants, but they are being ruined by inertia and ineffective leadership, according to the study. In the report, which the FCO has suppressed, management consultants mourn the “tragic” descent into mediocrity of a once fine institution, expressing disbelief at the culture that operates in the offices behind closed doors at its imposing Whitehall headquarters."

British unionists prefer the Conservatives: "Confidence in Gordon Brown has crumbled so badly that members of Unite, the country’s biggest union and one of Labour’s most generous donors, now think David Cameron would make a better prime minister. According to a poll by Populus, more than half, 52%, of Unite’s members thought Cameron was “up to the job” of leading the country, against just 42% for Brown. The poll suggests the prime minister is failing even to shore up Labour’s core vote in the recession. More Unite members still intend to vote Labour than Conservative, but this lead has plunged from 26 points at the 2005 general election to three now. Although the poll was commissioned by the Conservative party, its results will be taken seriously because it was carried out by Populus, a respected independent company. It questioned a sample of just over 1,000 Unite members earlier this month".


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, March 22, 2009

Obama's Spoiled Red Herring

This week, the President waxed highly indignant that American International Group (AIG), Inc. gave out some $165 million in contractual bonuses after receiving more than one-thousand times that amount, some $173 billion, in taxpayer-guaranteed bailouts.

Unfortunately for the White House, the whole episode ultimately has unwittingly turned into a net negative for the president. It's an irony, and one that could prove quite damaging in 2010.

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney laid out the beginnings of the Great Bonus Scam just on March 15th in some detail in his piece, “Bracing for a Bailout Over Wall Street Bailouts,” writing that “The administration's sharp rebuke of the American International Group on Sunday for handing out $165 million in executive bonuses… marks the latest effort by the White House to distance itself from abuses that could feed potentially disruptive public anger.”

At first the feigned outrage was nothing more than a contrived red herring to divert and deflect public outrage over bailouts away from government that gave undeserving bailouts onto the undeserving firms that gobbled them up.

Only Mr. Obama forgot to wash the pungent scent of the herring off his hands before posturing and preening at the podium. And, instead of throwing off the trail, once the hounds were done ripping the red herring to shreds, they showed up back on the doorstep of the White House, itself.

What they discovered was the fact that the President had actually signed the legislation—the $787 billion “stimulus”—that guaranteed that the controversial contractual bonuses would be paid. What's worse was the admission by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) that he inserted the amendment at the explicit direction of Mr. Obama's Treasury.

To be fair to the President, it is possible that he still has not read the 1100-page bill that he made law. So it not altogether surprising that he is the first president to denounce his own legislation—only a month after enacting it. Bravo.

More here


Obama Gives the GOP an Opening


President Barack Obama and his West Wing lieutenants are playing on the world's largest stage, yet act as if no one is watching them when they contradict their campaign promises. That behavior is unwittingly giving the Republicans an opening.

For example, Team Obama thinks the president, having spent a good portion of the campaign decrying the $2.9 trillion in deficits during the Bush years, can now double the national debt held by the public in 10 years. Having condemned earmarks during the campaign, the Obama administration now believes it can wave through 8,500 of them in the omnibus-spending bill, part of the biggest spending increase since World War II.

With the Dow at 7,486 and unemployment at 8.1%, Mr. Obama says the economy is fundamentally sound. Does he suppose the nation won't recall him attacking John McCain last September for saying the same thing -- when the Dow was at 11,000 and unemployment at 6.2%?

Candidate Obama vowed to end "the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics." Yet his administration geared up to lead a left-wing coalition to pressure Republicans and centrist Democrats, organized a daily conference call to coordinate liberal attack dogs, and strategized with Americans United for Change on ads depicting the GOP as the party of "no."

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster. Email the author at or visit him on the web at

Rather than working with Republicans on the budget, the administration attacked them as mindless obstructionists. Yet the administration's policies are not nearly as popular as one might suppose.

For example, the liberal Center for American Progress recently found that 61% of Americans say government spending is almost always wasteful and inefficient, and 57% think free market solutions are better than government at creating jobs and economic growth. A late February poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal found that 61% were concerned "the federal government will spend too much money" and "drive up the budget deficit" versus 29% concerned the government "will spend too little."

These general attitudes translate into opposition to specific policy initiatives. For example, CBS found support for the stimulus bill falling to 51% in February from 63% in January. Meanwhile, opposition to more money to bail out banks rose to 53% in March from 44% in February.

This, in turn, is affecting Mr. Obama's job approval ratings, already just average for a new president. Last week's Pew poll showed Mr. Obama's approval at 59% with 26% disapproval, down from February's 64% approval and 17% disapproval. His standing on the economy is also falling: Newsweek found in January that 71% were confident Mr. Obama would be able to turn around the economy, while 26% were not. By March, his ratings had fallen to 65% confident, 33% not.

Republicans sense the opportunity. The House GOP leadership deputized the top Budget Committee Republican, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, to prepare an alternative budget. The GOP budget won't raise taxes, gets spending and debt under control, and will result in a stronger economy with more jobs. House Republicans plan a major selling effort back home during the coming recess. Minority Leader John Boehner is already up on YouTube extolling the plan.

Senate Republicans will not prepare a complete alternative, but they will offer a robust package of amendments, with a wave of proposals for each of the three weeks the upper chamber will devote to the budget. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander foreshadowed the GOP's theme by saying the Democratic budget taxes, spends and borrows too much.

Sen. Alexander is also working with Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Budget Committee Republican, on a statement of budget principles that sharpens the contrast between the two parties' approaches to America's economic future.

The GOP's challenge is winning attention for its vision. True, its megaphone isn't nearly as big as those of the White House and the Congressional Democratic majorities, and Mr. Obama still has the upper hand. Yet by discarding so much of what people found appealing in him, Mr. Obama may change that.

Every president eventually depletes his political capital. Some have done so advancing great, difficult causes. Others squander it because of missteps, and what the public views as breaches of faith. Having been president for all of eight weeks, Mr. Obama retains much residual goodwill and could still change course on the budget to reach across the aisle. But his current strategy has made him weaker than he was and weaker than he needs to be. It's turning into a costly two months for America's 44th president.



The Republican Civil War

Thomas Sowell

As if it is not enough that they have been decimated by the Democrats in the past couple of elections, the Republican survivors are now turning their guns on each other. At the heart of these internal battles have been attacks on Rush Limbaugh by Republicans who imagine themselves to be so much more sophisticated because they are so much more in step with the political fashions of the time. New Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele's cheap shot at Rush's program as "ugly" set off the latest round of in-fighting. That is the kind of thing that is usually said by liberals who have never listened to the program.

Regular listeners to the Rush Limbaugh program or subscribers to the Limbaugh newsletter know that both contain far more factual information and in-depth analysis than in the programs or writings of pundits with more of a ponderous tone or intellectual airs.

Why Michael Steele found it necessary to say such a thing-- except as a sop to the liberal intelligentsia-- is one of the many mysteries of the Republican Party. Steele has since apologized to Rush but you cannot unring the bell. More important, the mindset it betrays is at the heart of many of the problems of the Republican Party, going back for years, long before Michael Steele appeared on the scene.

There has long been an element of the Republican Party that has felt a need to distance themselves from people who stand up for conservative principles, whether those with principles have been Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh or whomever. The latest example is John McCain's daughter, who has said how embarrassed she is by having to explain Ann Coulter to her friends. If it wasn't for articulate conservatives like Ann Coulter, both the Republican Party and the country would be in even worse shape than they are now, for there are extremely few articulate Republican politicians who can make the case for any principle. Certainly Ms. McCain's father is not one of them.

The only time John McCain led Barack Obama in the polls last year was after Governor Sarah Palin joined the ticket. The economic collapse doomed their candidacies but McCain would have had no chance at all with another inconsistent and inarticulate Republican like himself on the ticket. Yet many in the Republican Party seem to have felt as embarrassed by Governor Palin as they have been by others who articulated principles, instead of trying to be in step with the fashions of the time-- fashions set by liberals. Maybe those Republicans who put a high value on being accepted in elite circles should be embarrassed by the narrowness of their elite friends, who disdain or demonize people whose principles they disagree with, instead of answering their arguments.

There has even been an undercurrent among some Republicans of a sense that it is time to move away from the image of Ronald Reagan, to update the party and court newer and less embarrassing segments of the voters than their current base.

There is certainly a lot to be said for inviting wider segments of the population to join you, by explaining how your principles benefit the country in general, and those segments in particular. But that is fundamentally different from abandoning your principles in hopes of attracting new votes with opportunism.

No segment of the population has lost more by the agendas of the liberal constituencies of the Democratic Party than the black population. The teachers' unions, environmental fanatics and the ACLU are just some of the groups to whose interests blacks have been sacrificed wholesale. Lousy education and high crime rates in the ghettos, and unaffordable housing elsewhere with building restrictions, are devastating prices to pay for liberalism. Yet the Republicans have never articulated that argument, and their opportunism in trying to get black votes by becoming imitation Democrats has failed miserably for decades on end.

There seemed, for an all too brief moment, that Michael Steele might have been the one to provide such much overdue articulation-- and possibly he still might, but only if he stays out of the Republican trap of trying to appease opponents by throwing supporters to the wolves.




An interesting photo essay here about Ward Churchill, showing who the real "Little Eichmanns" are.

Obama sending America deep into the red for a long time: "President Barack Obama's budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month. The Congressional Budget Office figures, obtained by The Associated Press Friday, predict Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That's $2.3 trillion worse than the White House predicted in its budget. Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level. The latest figures, even worse than expected by top Democrats, throw a major monkey wrench into efforts to enact Obama's budget, which promises universal health care for all and higher spending for domestic programs like education and research into renewable energy"

Iran's Axis of Nuclear Evil: "While President Obama's unanticipated Nowruz holiday greeting to Iran generated considerable press attention, his video wasn't really this week's big news related to the Islamic Republic. Far more important was that a senior defector -- Iran's former Deputy Minister of Defense Ali Reza Asghari -- disclosed Tehran's financing of Syria's nuclear weapons program. That program's centerpiece was a North Korean nuclear reactor in Syria. Israel destroyed it in September 2007. At this point, it is impossible to ignore Iran's active efforts to expand, improve and conceal its nuclear weapons program in Syria while it pretends to "negotiate" with Britain, France and Germany (the "EU-3"). No amount of video messages will change this reality. The question is whether this new information about Iran will sink in, or if Washington will continue to turn a blind eye toward Iran's nuclear deceptions."

Webster's dictionary redefines 'marriage': "One of the nation's most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term "marriage" should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition. The new definition references "marriage" as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife. But the definition also includes "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage."

Germany preparing to quit Durban II: Germany appears to be preparing to ditch the Durban II anti-racism conference for being an attack on Israel. A spokesman for German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, however, that Germany wants joint European action as well. That may come this week, after foreign ministers have a chance to review a revised conference resolution due to be distributed late Monday or Tuesday. Sources at the chancellery confirmed to JTA that Germany was on the verge of dropping its effort to influence the draft resolution. The Durban Review Conference is scheduled to take place at the end of April in Geneva. Steinmeier said Monday in Brussels that he would call for a joint European Union withdrawal from the event if the resolution document retains its one-sided critique of the Middle East conflict, the German Foreign Ministry spokesperson told JTA in a telephone interview from Belgium."


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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)