Saturday, June 20, 2009

As Obama prints billions of greenbacks, the smarties are moving into Swiss francs

The more he prints, the less value each one has. Sad when a small Alpine country is more trusted than the mightiest power on earth. But it is really bugging out the Swiss. They are printing more Francs to cope with the demand but the excessively high value being placed on their currency is still distorting their trade with other countries

THE Swiss franc has weakened sharply against other currencies, hours after the Swiss National Bank said it would intervene to stop an irrational rise in the franc against the euro. The SNB had no comment on the move, saying they already issued a statement after a policy meeting at which the central bank kept interest rates stable at 0.25 per cent.

However, currency analysts suspect it was an intervention, as the SNB likely acted to prove their resolve when the euro actually crept lower despite an early warning statement. The Bank for International Settlements, which traders say would have been the one to sell Swiss francs on behalf of the SNB, also declined to comment.

The franc's sharp move comes as the SNB has promised to fight the risks of deflation and shrinking economic growth, made worse by a strong currency, which also puts the price of their exports at a disadvantage. Investors have been flocking to the franc because it is considered a safe haven amid the global financial crisis....

"I think what we are seeing is a real battle," said Simon Derrick, a currency analyst at the Bank of New York Mellon. "For the past three months, the SNB has been fighting a losing battle with verbal intervention. Every time they have commented on the strength of the Swiss franc, the market has taken less and less notice.” ...

The SNB last officially intervened in the currency markets in March, when it sold the Swiss franc to push the euro up from the SwFr1.48 area to over SwFr1.53. The aim of the SNB's purchases of foreign currencies was to prevent an appreciation of the Swiss franc against the euro, in its role as a save-haven currency, SNB's Mr Jordan said.



Idiocy: Congress wants to pay you to destroy your car

When we first heard the phrase "cash for clunkers," we thought the reference was to a Congressional pay raise. Alas, no, it is the bright idea out of Congress to pay Americans to turn in their old cars so they'll go out and buy a new one. As columnist George Will recently observed, this isn't as insane as the New Deal policy of slaughtering pigs to raise pork prices, but it's close enough for government work.

Under cash for clunkers, drivers would be offered vouchers of up to $4,500 to swap their current wheels for a more environmentally correct set with better mileage. The cars they turn in for destruction would have to get less than 18 miles per gallon, be drivable, and insured to the owner for at least a year.

That last provision is presumably intended to deter political arbitrageurs from raiding used-car lots for trade-in wrecks. But as economic policy, this is still dotty. It encourages Americans to needlessly destroy still useful cars and then misallocates scarce resources from other, perhaps more productive, uses in order to subsidize replacements. By the same logic, we could revive the housing market by paying everyone to burn down their houses to collect the insurance money and build new ones.

The proposal is really intended to help Detroit out of recession by subsidizing new car purchases, while also satisfying environmentalists who want gas guzzlers off the roads yesterday. But the politicians can't even agree on how green this uncreative destruction should be.

Under the House version sponsored by Ohio Democrat Betty Sutton, drivers could get $3,500 if their new SUV, pickup truck or minivan gets a mere two mpg better gas mileage than the one they're sending to the scrap heap. As Senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins wrote on these pages Thursday, that means the government would subsidize the purchase of guzzlers like the Hummer or Dodge Ram. A five mpg improvement would net the full $4,500. Call it a subsidy for single guys.

The plan would also have the unintended consequence of taking inexpensive used cars and parts out of circulation, making it harder for financially pinched families to afford a car or keep an old one running. Recycling old parts and cars is a major industry, extending the life of cars while limiting the production of replacements.

Responding to the cash for clunkers proposal in May, the United Recyclers Group, which represents auto parts recyclers, blasted the bill as an auto bailout at the expense of the environment. According to Richard Filley, executive director of the GreenCARR Foundation, "The environmental costs of new parts manufacturing are far higher than the use of 'green' parts which are reused." Poor Mr. Filley doesn't understand that he is operating in the land of green gesture politics, where what matters is how a policy looks, not whether it actually helps the environment.

For most consumers, the subsidy won't make a major difference in their purchasing decision on a new car, either because they don't have a trade-in or because a new car is still out of reach even with the voucher. But the policy will cost the Treasury revenue that the politicians will eventually claw from someone else, and it will further distort car markets and investment decisions.

A far better cash for clunkers idea would be if Members of Congress gave themselves a $1 million voucher each in return for retiring. Then we could start all over with fewer economic dunces.



The coming storm: Obama and American Jewry

There's a storm coming. It will pit a well-organized community of substantial resources but also substantial insecurity - particularly when it comes to charges of dual loyalty - against a popular president of considerable eloquence but misguided policies that identify Israeli settlements as the main obstacle to Middle East peace. The inevitable clash will separate sunshine Jewish patriots who back Israel when convenient against those who stand with Israel even when it means losing their invitation to the White House Hanukka party.

The bogus issue of settlements is already being swallowed whole by many well-meaning Jews. Last week Dan Fleshler, a leader of Americans for Peace Now, wrote in the New Jersey Jewish Standard that Obama has no choice but to pressure Israel because "it is fruitless for a well-armed, occupying power to negotiate the terms of a viable settlement with an almost defenseless occupied people unless a third party mediates and presses both sides."

In reading Fleshler one wonders whether he has been himself occupied with building a settlement on the moon with no knowledge of events on Earth. Is he seriously suggesting that the thousands of Katyusha rockets and nonstop suicide bombers that have killed more than a thousand Israelis (the equivalent of 30,000 dead Americans) have come from a "defenseless" foe? Would Fleshler likewise argue that the US ought to have pressure from, say, Russia or China to make peace with the terrorists in Afghanistan, seeing that America now represents a "well-armed, occupying power" against the comparatively defenseless Taliban? Or is it only Israel that is forbidden from defending itself? Sorry Mr. Fleshler, but Jewish values do not dictate that the only moral Jew is a dead one who refuses to fight in the face of a 60-year terror onslaught.

Any return to the 1967 borders, which is what Obama's attack on the settlements represents, is simply suicide for Israel. The borders are utterly indefensible. The Arabs know it, which is why they press for it. Had Israel not dismantled its settlements in Gush Katif, Gaza would not have become a terrorist state ruled by Hamas, an organization that kills even more Palestinians than it does Israelis....

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out, our president undermines his moral authority when he pledges that henceforth America will "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," but then only applies that pledge to Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, but not to Israel.

Last year, right after Obama captured the democratic nomination, I received a phone call from his campaign asking if I would serve as one of the national chairs of "Rabbis for Obama." It was a tempting offer. I was moved by the candidate's remarkable personal story, his iron discipline, his soaring oratory and, most of all, the fact that his victory would be the culmination of my hero Martin Luther King's dream of a man being judged by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. In the end I declined because I feared that Obama would draw a moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians and pressure the former to appease the latter. But even I never suspected that it would happen so quickly and so lopsidedly.



American big business is comfortable with Fascism

A "partnership" between big business and the State was the central idea of Mussolini's Fascism -- and we saw where that led. It removes a large obstacle to complete State power

Everywhere we look we see the great and once-great beneficiaries of free markets running to the state for protection from the cruel bullying of competition. On health care, insurance companies and others repeat the mantra that they want to be "at the table rather than on the menu," all the better to be positioned as a tax collector of the welfare state. General Motors and Chrysler have gone from being pimped-out prostitutes of the state to outright chattel more akin to the leather-bound gimp in "Pulp Fiction," eager to do the bidding of the president and the UAW.

Once-proud companies like GE have become seduced by global warming schemes, because they recognize that there's more money to be made selling white elephants to Uncle Sam than there is selling competitive products consumers want. Indeed, cap-and-trade taxes promise to deliver precisely the protectionist industrial policies the left has dreamed of for decades, only under a "progressive" label.

This week, Philip Morris, the biggest of the Big Tobacco companies, supported and won passage of an "anti-tobacco" bill that will make it easier for Philip Morris (a subsidiary of Altria) to sell cigarettes by making it harder for smaller, more innovative firms to compete. One way it will do that is by curtailing the First Amendment rights of tobacco companies, making it harder to advertise their products (including healthier alternatives to normal cigarettes). Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro and other established brands, already controls 50 percent of the market. That's why it lobbied government to keep it that way.

Also this week, the White House announced its plan to deal with "systemic risk" in the financial markets. The basic idea is that big firms -- giant banks, insurance companies, etc. -- cannot be allowed to fail if their failure threatens something called "stability." The Obama administration is confident that with its new organizational flow charts and enhanced job description for the Federal Reserve, bureaucrats will suddenly see clearly what they couldn't see before. These regulators will know exactly when bubbles get too big, when booms last too long, and when tens of thousands of managers, investors, actuaries and bankers make bad or sub-optimal decisions.

The problem, other than the shortage of Jedis and shamans to fill these posts, is that big companies will understand the surest way to attain immortality is to become too big to fail. Once they've achieved that privileged status, these companies will become de facto wards of the state, insured for life at taxpayer expense like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and in exchange they will do whatever Uncle Sam asks.

It's too soon to tell which companies will leap at the opportunity to sell their souls for immortality, but you can bet that many of those already suckling the TARP teat will be among the first to celebrate the sagacity of the new system.

While doctrinaire socialists might feel betrayed by liberalism's cozy embrace of big business, their betrayal pales in comparison to the bitterness of free-marketers who defend big business's freedom to operate, only to see these businesses use that freedom to hide behind the skirts of the nanny state. Real freedom means the freedom to fail as well as succeed. Big business wants to be protected from the former and deny competitors the latter. And their betrayal, more than anything, disheartens those who would defend both freedoms.




And you thought American inner city ghettoes were bad: "More than a quarter of South African men have admitted to raping a woman or girl, with 9.8 per cent forcing themselves on a victim for the first time before the age of 10, a study has found. The Medical Research Council study of 1,738 men found that nearly half had done so more than once, driving home South Africa's reputation as one of the world's worst rape capitals. Among the men surveyed, 27.6 per cent admitted to raping a woman or girl. One in five of confessed rapists had HIV, added the study, which canvassed men of all race groups, different socio-economic backgrounds, and urban and rural areas. Nearly 10 per cent of the men said they had forced a woman or girl into sex for the first time when aged under 10 years old. Nearly 73 per cent of the men committed their first rape while under age 20. The incidence of HIV among rapists was similar to the rate among the general population. But 27.8 per cent of the men who said they had committed same-sex assaults tested positive for HIV. More than 42 per cent of men in the study said they were physically violent to their partners, and those men were more likely to have HIV, the council said in its study released today. South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of reported rape, with 36,190 cases - 99 per day - reported to police in 2007, but experts say only a small number of attacks are reported. The country has the highest number of HIV infections in the world."

High court adds hurdle to age-bias suits: "The Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for employees to win claims of age discrimination, a ruling with implications for aging baby boomers who hope to hold on to their jobs in the face of lost retirement savings in last year's stock market crash. With age-discrimination claims skyrocketing, the court said in a 5-4 decision that a worker must prove age was the dominant factor in his or her firing or demotion in order to be successful. Previously, workers had to prove only that age was a factor in the decision, as is the case for discrimination based on sex or race. "The burden of persuasion does not shift to the employer to show that it would have taken the action regardless of age, even when a plaintiff has produced some evidence that age was one motivating factor in that decision," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, which included Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. It upheld a lower court ruling that said a 54-year-old vice president of an Iowa financial company didn't prove he was demoted in a reorganization because of his age."

Obama’s Honeymoon is Over: "Early in his presidency, Barack Obama had a grace period when the public saw the nation’s problems as ones he inherited, but two new polls -- by New York Times/CBS News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News - make clear that there are rising concerns about his policies. The biggest public concern is over the size of the deficit being run up by Obama’s economic recovery proposals and how much more it will rise if his plan to overhaul health care and increase coverage for uninsured Americans is enacted. But there is also discomfort about his intervention in the auto industry and taking a big government stake in ownership of General Motors. And voters also disagree with Obama on closing Guantánamo. On these issues, the new polls track with surveys done by Gallup. Gallup found strong job approval ratings for Obama in a late May poll but disapproval of his handling of the federal deficit and controlling federal spending. A Gallup poll conducted June 9-10 found a majority disapproving of the government’s investing in GM. Gallup said that voters opposed closing Guantánamo by more than a 2-to-1 margin."

Maher: Barack Obama obsessed with being on TV: "Self-described libertarian pundit Bill Maher ripped Barack Obama during a lengthy monologue on his HBO program Friday night, accusing the president of being obsessed with appearing on TV and failing to come through on pre-election promises. "This is not what I voted for," Maher said. “I don’t want my president to be a TV star.” Maher criticized Obama's constant television coverage ("I get it: you love being on TV") and said the president should focus on fixing the nation's problems instead. "You don't have to be on television every minute of every day -- you're the president, not a rerun of 'Law & Order,'" Maher said. “TV stars are too worried about being popular and too concerned about being renewed." Maher continued: "You're skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady -- but so is Lindsay Lohan. And just like Lindsay, we see your name in the paper a lot but we're kind of wondering when you’re actually going to do something.” Maher added that Obama's presidential rival John McCain was right to say Obama acted like a celebrity and, amazingly for Maher, the comedian suggested Obama needs to act more like his predecessor. “I never thought I’d say this: What [Obama] needs in his personality is a little George Bush.”


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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)


Friday, June 19, 2009

PETA Wishes Obama Hadn't Swatted That Fly

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the flyswatter in chief to try taking a more humane attitude the next time he's bedeviled by a fly in the White House. PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside. "We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."

During an interview for CNBC at the White House on Tuesday, a fly intruded on Obama's conversation with correspondent John Harwood. "Get out of here," the president told the pesky insect. When it didn't, he waited for the fly to settle, put his hand up and then smacked it dead. "Now, where were we?" Obama asked Harwood. Then he added: "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker."

Friedrich said that PETA was pleased with Obama's voting record in the Senate on behalf of animal rights and noted that he has been outspoken against animal abuses. Still, "swatting a fly on TV indicates he's not perfect," Friedrich said, "and we're happy to say that we wish he hadn't." Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House has no comment on the matter.



Obama’s AmeriCrooks and cronies scandal

President Obama promised he would end “Washington games.” But his abrupt firing of the AmeriCorps inspector general is more of the same. The brewing scandal smells like the Beltway cronyism of the Bush years. And the apparent meddling of First Lady Michelle Obama in the matter smacks of the corruption of the Clinton years. If Obama keeps up with this “change,” we’ll be back to the Watergate era by Christmas.

News of AmeriCorps watchdog Gerald Walpin’s unceremonious dismissal first broke last week in Youth Today, an independent national publication focused on the volunteerism sector. Walpin was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007 and has served well, honorably, and effectively. Too effectively. His removal came a week after he “questioned the eligibility of the largest and most expensive AmeriCorps program, and while the IG was contesting the ‘propriety’ of a settlement made with a mayor for alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds,” according to Youth Today.

The first taxpayer-subsidized program is the Teaching Fellows Program, run by the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. Walpin’s audit (which can be found online at uncovered a multitude of grant violations, including criminal background check lapses and “pervasive problems of eligibility, timekeeping, and documentation.”

Walpin office questioned duplicative educational awards of more than $16 million and costs worth nearly $775,000. CUNY refused to return excess funds that it had drawn down, failed to revise procedures to prevent such grant abuse, and refused to provide proof documenting that its AmeriCorps participants actually existed. Walpin advised AmeriCorps’ parent organization, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), to cut off any new funding and reexamine past government funding totaling upwards of $75 million.

Walpin’s recommendations have been ignored by CNCS, now chaired by Democrat mega-fundraiser Alan Solomont. The Obama watchdogs are snoozing. Expect the same kind of lackadaisical approach toward policing the $6 billion AmeriCorps expansion/government national service programs signed into law by President Obama in April.

The second program Walpin challenged is the non-profit St. HOPE Academy, run by Obama supporter Kevin Johnson, the Democrat mayor of Sacramento and a former NBA basketball star. In a special May 2009 report, Walpin’s office blew the whistle on a highly politicized U.S. Attorney’s Office settlement with Johnson and his deputy, Dana Gonzalez. The pair exploited nearly $900,000 in AmeriCorps funding for personal and political gain. Based on Walpin’s investigation last year, CNCS had suspended their access to federal funds after determining that they were:

*Using AmeriCorps members to “recruit students for St. HOPE Academy;”

*Using AmeriCorps members for political activities in connection with the “Sacramento Board of Education election;”

*Assigning grant-funded AmeriCorps members to perform services “personally benefiting . . . Johnson,” such as “driving [him] to personal appointments, washing [his] car, and running personal errands;” and

*Improperly using AmeriCorps “members to perform non-AmeriCorps clerical and other services” that “were outside the scope of the grant and therefore were impermissible” for “the benefit of St. HOPE.”

But in the wake of Johnson’s mayoral victory and President Obama’s election in November, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento rushed to settle with the new mayor so he could avail himself of federal stimulus funds and other government money. It was, Walpin said in his special report last month, “akin to deciding that, while one should not put a fox in a small chicken coop, it is fine to do so in a large chicken coop! The settlement…leaves the unmistakable impression that relief from a suspension can be bought.”

Shortly after, the White House announced that it had “lost confidence” in Walpin. With Walpin’s removal, the top management positions at AmeriCorps’ parent organization are now all open. The decks are clear to install lackeys who will protect the government volunteerism industry and its Democrat cronies. And a chilling effect has undoubtedly taken hold in every other inspector general’s office in Washington.

GOP Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is pressing Obama for more details. Tough questions need to be asked of First Lady Michelle Obama, who has “taken the lead” in selecting AmeriCorps’ managers, according to Youth Today. Her former chief of staff, Jackie Norris, will serve as a “senior adviser” to CNCS beginning next week. What role did they play in Walpin’s sacking? And why?

Mrs. Obama’s interest is more than passing. She ran the AmeriCorps-funded non-profit Public Allies in Chicago from 1993-1996 and served on its national board until 2001. Like so many of the AmeriCorps recipients investigated by the inspector general’s office over the years, Public Allies was found to have violated basic eligibility and compliance rules. A January 2007 audit reported that the group lacked internal controls verifying that recipients who received education grants and living allowances were legal citizens or permanent residents as required by law.

Transparency. Accountability. Fiscal responsibility. In Obama World, these are proving to be nothing more than words. Just words.



It’s Iran, Stupid

The unintended consequences of Obama’s attempt to jump-start the peace process

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday, in which he reversed his longstanding position on Palestine and said he would be willing to work toward the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, has met with almost no opposition in Israel. This is a very unusual course of events in a country where elections take place on average every two years because coalitions are so unstable and often fall with little provocation.

Netanyahu’s government, led by his own center-right Likud party, includes two settler parties and Avigdor Lieberman’s Russian-immigrant party, Yisrael Beiteinu, all of which might have been expected to pull out of the coalition after hearing the prime minister endorse a “two-state” solution. But the right wing remains firmly behind the prime minister, and now some members of Kadima, the largest center-left party, have indicated they might be willing to join Netanyahu’s coalition because he has met their demand that he recognize a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s speech met with so little opposition because his coalition partners, like most Israelis, realize that the conditions he posed for the creation of a Palestinian state are unlikely to be met any time soon. First, there is the fact that the Palestinian polity remains divided between Hamas in Gaza and Abu Mazen’s government in the West Bank, which makes any long-lasting solution improbable. Second, Washington, in its role of fostering the peace process, will be very hard pressed to find a Palestinian leadership that would be willing to accept demilitarization, agree to Israeli control of the whole of Jerusalem, cease to demand a right of return for Palestinians who fled from Israel, and, above all, recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Israelis on all points of the political spectrum understand that these preconditions are highly unlikely to be met, and therefore that a unified and independent Palestinian state is no closer today than it was before Netanyahu accepted it in theory.

But beyond this, one has to return to the opening sentences of Netanyahu’s speech to understand why it has met with so little opposition at home. The prime minister listed in order of priority the three greatest issues on his agenda: the Iranian threat, the financial crisis, and the promotion of peace. In this list, Iran remained the most crucial issue. It is not a mistake that the peace process received only the third order of priority. The centrality of the Iranian threat is a matter of consensus in Israel that crosses party lines. Every Jewish member of the Knesset understands that the Iranian question is a matter of Israel’s survival, whereas the conflict with the Palestinians, though important, does not directly threaten the existence of the state. Netanyahu gave his speech in response to hard pressure from the Obama administration, which believes that successfully implementing a two-state solution is the key to solving all the other issues of the Middle East. Without this American pressure it is improbable that Palestinian statehood would have been the subject of Netanyahu’s first major policy speech.

The centrality of the Iranian issue has muted opposition to Netanyahu. It would be difficult to oppose a prime minister who is facing what is viewed in Israel as a true crisis of national security. The Obama administration might have hoped that pressure on the Palestinian issue, and in particular on the question of settlements, would bring down the Netanyahu government. It may find out that, on the contrary, it has strengthened Netanyahu’s position. If Kadima, or even some of its members, now decide to join forces with him, Netanyahu will have one of the broadest coalitions in Israel’s history, one unifying the four largest parties: Likud, Kadima, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Labor. At that point his government could not be brought down by the defection of any single partner. With a coalition of this magnitude, Netanyahu will have a unified backing should he order a strike against Iran.

In entering the maze of Middle Eastern conflicts, President Obama is likely to learn the rule of unintended consequences. The president seems to have thought that he could pacify the Muslim world, negotiate with Iran, and force Israel to accept a compromise it had long rejected. But as is often the case in this region, matters have not proceeded according to plan. The president now faces upheaval in Iran, a Muslim world that is no more receptive to his message than it was previously, and an Israel in which Netanyahu now has a stronger standing both coalition-wise and in regard to an attack on Iran. The peace process will now get bogged down in pedantry and semantics, while Israel’s strong coalition has opened opportunities that could fundamentally change the rules of the game.




Not Just Walpin - 3 Inspector General Firings Being Questioned: "This is interesting. I looked around and perhaps I missed it on another blog, but the Chicago Tribune reports that it isn't just Walpin's firing over which Senator Grassley wants some answers. He's worried about a pattern, as no fewer than three IG's have recently been fired, all while investigating so-called sensitive issues."

Bachmann fears ACORN role in census: "Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she's so worried that information from next year's national census will be abused that she will not fill out anything more than the number of people in her household. In an interview Wednesday with The Washington Times' "America's Morning News," the Minnesota Republican said the questions have become "very intricate, very personal" and that she feared ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, would be part of the U.S. Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts. "I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home," she said. "We won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."

GM retirees tried to play it safe: "General Motors Corp.'s troubles have derailed the retirement plans of many Americans, especially investors in the automaker's once-prized bonds. Bobby Work, 87, bought GM bonds with her husband 30 years ago and dearly misses the $20,000 they once yielded each year. Teresa Durhone, 50, put the profit from the sale of her house into the bonds so she could quit work and care for her sick mother. Now she'll need to find work again. The list goes on. After GM's bankruptcy filing on June 1, these and many other bondholders were forced to cut back on their expenses and find other ways to pay their bills. They hadn't plan to do that in retirement, but the largest industrial bankruptcy in U.S. history got in the way. "I'm very, very distressed," Ms. Durhone said. "It's as if the law has changed." Bondholders thought their retirement dreams were safe. After all, they had bought bonds, not stocks."

Energy panel OKs bill to drill offshore: "The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday approved an energy bill that would boost renewable energy use and expand offshore oil and gas drilling. But the measure faces an uncertain future. The committee, which met 11 times since late March to debate amendments, voted 15-8 to send the bill to the full Senate. Chairman Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, called the bill "a solid piece of work" that reflected bipartisan viewpoints. Ranking member Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, lauded some of the pro-drilling provisions in the bill and said the measure will face a number of amendments on the Senate floor to expand nuclear power, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and other issues."

Detroit dodges Dodge: "They call this the Motor City, but you have to leave town to buy a Chrysler or a Jeep. Lochmoor Chrysler Jeep on Detroit's East Side has stopped selling Chrysler products, one of the 789 franchises Chrysler is dropping from its retail network. There was a time early in the decade when downtown Detroit was sprouting new cafes and shops, and residents began to nurture hopes of a rebound. But lately, they are finding it increasingly tough to buy groceries or get a cup of fresh-roast coffee as the 11th largest U.S. city struggles with the recession and the auto-industry crisis.


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, June 18, 2009

More twisted Leftist logic: Ahmadinejad is like Sarah Palin!

Handing out welfare money to the poor and making government bigger is "Rightist"?? Leftism is definitely bad for your brain

I could swear that Matt Yglesias used to talk about how Ahmadinejad was ultimately reasonable. Now Ahmadinejad's a really bad guy because he's like . . . Sarah Palin.

"Ahmadinejad is in most ways a classic right-winger, a demagogic nationalist and cultural conservative. In a manner somewhat reminiscent of a Sarah Palin, however, he clothes this right-wing politics in a language of class resentment, painting his more pragmatic and reformist opponents as decadent elites out of touch with ordinary people. Unlike the populists of the American right, however, he merges this rhetoric with something resembling an actual populist economic agenda. The main element has been the use of oil revenue to expand the state sector of the economy in an attempt to distribute wealth more broadly throughout the country. This approach has gained Ahmadinejad a loyal following among the rural poor and public employees, but Iran’s objective economic performance has been disappointing, even during the great oil boom years".

Daniel Halper responds:

Yes, Yglesias is referring to the same Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, who denies the existence of the Holocaust, who calls Jews (whoops, Zionists) the “true manifestation of Satan,” and so on. [Yep. Just like Sarah Palin] But the main distinction between Ahmadinejad from Palin? The former is in favor of redistributing the wealth, which automatically makes him better than Palin in Yglesias’s mind.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

I used to think that Yglesias was one of the more intelligent Leftists but now I think he is simply shrill, if not deranged. He is a fairly young man -- still in his 20s -- and the onset of psychotic illnesses does often occur in that age range -- JR


The problems of letting governments print as much money as they like

And both Britain and the USA are printing LOTS at the moment

Nobel Laureate John Nash lashed out at Keynesian economists, comparing them to Bolsheviks, while speaking at the Game Theory conference in Mumbai. Reading his paper on “Ideal Money and Asymptotically Ideal Money” at the conference, Nash said that both Keynesians and Bolsheviks claimed that they knew what was best for the people. The public, or the “consumers” of policy, were deemed unable to appreciate the fine art of economic management.

Nash’s diatribe against Keynesians stemmed from his regard for sound money, which, according to him, means zero inflation. Keynesians, with their dangerous flirting with inflation, symbolise the forces of evil in Nash’s world view, a view almost religious in its fervour for stable money — at one point Nash used the word sin to describe unstable currencies. “The government that distributes its own currency pardons its own sins,” said Nash, referring to the ability of governments to water down their debts by inflation.

The power of the European central bank at Frankfurt is compared with the power of the Holy Roman Empire.

Current inflation rates of 2 to 3 per cent are not low enough — if you ask the people (consumers of money) what rate of inflation they want, they’ll obviously say zero. It’s this repression of the will of the people by misguided central bankers and Keynesians that make them comparable to Bolsheviks. And Bolsheviks, as everyone who has seen A Beautiful Mind will know, are those nasty people whose secret codes Nash was employed by the US government to break.

Nash calls for an ideal money, a new standard of value to replace the gold standard, based on the costs of raw materials used in industry. “A global money standard could have a value similar to that of standard measures such as those of the metric system,” says Nash.

The trouble is that while “the latter of these is invariant with regard to various places and times on the Earth, the former varies with the effective political regime and with time rather than being as if like the value of the metal in the standard kilogram.”

But even the ideas of Nobel Laureates may not be taken seriously, which is why Nash proposes an alternative “Asymptotically ideal money”, as a more realistic option to the fully rational “ideal money” world currency. Recall that, in an asymptote, as a point moves along the curve the distance from the point to the line approaches zero. Ditto for asymptotically ideal money, which will, in time, as people appreciate its benefits, approach the goal of ideal money.

Inflation targeting by central banks is what he means by this intermediate stage, and Nash endorses the New Zealand central bank’s experiments in this regard.

At the end of his lecture, Nash made what he said was a “humorous” point. He said that “A possible standard of value would be simply the cost of making a duplicate of precisely the same composition and weight of the standard kilogram,” referring to the kilogram kept with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures at Sevres, France. The humour being greeted by a deathly silence, Nash was obliged to explain that this standard kilogram was made of the precious metals platinum and iridium. Nobody laughed. There were probably too many Keynesians in the audience.




Sotomayor rapped for ties to women's club: "One month ago, the Belizean Grove was a quiet group of powerful women whose main activity was taking annual vacations in South American countries. Today, the New York-based club finds itself caught up in Supreme Court confirmation politics, with Republican lawmakers raising questions about the group's most famous member. Federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor joined the group a year ago and went on her first trip last year to Peru. Her membership went largely unnoticed until she listed it on a Senate questionnaire in preparation for her July 13 confirmation hearings. Now Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that her membership in a "discriminatory" private club violates American Bar Association ethical guidelines for judges. Judge Sotomayor this week defended the club, saying that despite its membership, it does not discriminate against men. [But Leftists always claim that any "disproportion' is PROOF of discrimination]

New Anglican Church returns to the Bible: "The Anglican Church in North America will be formally founded next week, challenging the legitimacy of the U.S. Episcopal Church and posing a dilemma for the worldwide Anglican Communion over who represents Anglicanism in the United States and Canada. When 232 delegates to the ACNA convention at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, approve the organization's constitution and canons on Monday, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan will become archbishop for this "emerging" 39th province of the communion, consisting of several groupings that have left the Episcopal Church over issues related to sexuality and biblical authority. A ceremony celebrating Bishop Duncan's installation is set for June 24 at Christ Church in the Dallas suburb of Plano, the ACNA's largest parish, with more than 2,000 members. Also among the ACNA's members are 11 Northern Virginia parishes, including the historic The Falls Church and Truro parishes, which left the Episcopal Church to found the Convocation of Anglicans in North America."

American Jews waking up: "President Obama’s strongest supporters among Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives, and some are questioning what he really believes, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. Though Hoenlein says he is only offering his personal views, the conference he represents is a political powerhouse that includes 50 major Jewish groups. Among them are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah, and the Anti-Defamation League. Hoenlein has been the professional head of the conference since 1986, overseeing its day-to-day activities as the coordinating body for American Jews on issues of concern in the U.S. and globally. Jewish leaders "are expressing concern about what was said [in Obama’s Cairo speech]," Hoenlein says. "I’ve heard it from some of his strongest supporters. It’s expected from his detractors. Even people close to him have said to us that there were parts of the speech that bothered them." ... According to the exit poll conducted by major press organizations during the 2008 election, Obama captured overwhelming support from American Jews, winning 78 percent of their vote.

Outlasting the Ayatollahs : "The Obama policy of extending an open hand to Iran is working and ought not be abandoned because of the grim events in Tehran. For the Iranian theocracy has just administered a body blow to its legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people and the world. Before Saturday, the regime could credibly posture as defender of the nation, defiant in the face of the threats from Israel, faithful to the cause of the Palestinians, standing firm for Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear power. Today, the regime, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is under a cloud of suspicion that they are but another gang of corrupt politicians who brazenly stole a presidential election to keep themselves and their clerical cronies in power. What should we do now? Wait for the dust to settle. No U.S. denunciation of what took place in Iran is as credible as the reports and pictures coming out of Iran.”

GOP fears slant in ABC "news" special: "Relations between ABC News and President Obama are being criticized as becoming too intimate, as the network announced it would produce a prime-time broadcast from the White House that includes questions solicited from viewers without equal time for the Republican point of view. Media credibility and fairness are at issue, with waggish bloggers renaming ABC the "All Barack Channel." At issue is "Prescription for America," a live, one-hour special to be moderated by ABC's Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, set to air at 10 p.m. June 24 from the East Room. Even before that prime-time hour, Ms. Sawyer will have interviewed Mr. Obama on "Good Morning America," and Mr. Gibson will have anchored "World News Tonight" from the White House's Blue Room. Media watchdogs doubted the show would be balanced, and the Republican National Committee was officially irked".

GOP, Virginia style: "The Republican candidate for Virginia governor says that if elected he will look for budget cuts within the Transportation Department and the state's Medicaid agency even as he explores ways to cut corporate taxes to attract business. With the governor's race attracting nationwide attention, former Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that Republicans need to rebrand themselves and that education reform should emerge as the party's signature issue at the state level. "I'm trying during this campaign to help to rebrand our party as the party of positive, happy, friendly, conservative leadership that's pro-growth, pro-free enterprise, pro-economic development. And that's really what we stand for," Mr. McDonnell said."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks: "Nowhere in the world is bigotry so rampant as in Muslim countries. No difference is greater between American and Islamic principles than the founding ideals of both. It is on the basis of the founding ideals of Islam that al-Qa'ida and other Muslim puritans insist on the implementation of sharia law, jihad and the eternal subjection of women. It is on the basis of the founding ideals of America that blacks and women fought for -- and gained -- equal rights and gays and new immigrants continue to do so.... The more one is dark-skinned in Saudi Arabia, the bleaker his circumstances, not to mention hers. For in Saudi Arabia, black is still considered to be inferior. Men and women convicted of adultery, apostasy, treason and other "offences" are beheaded. Thousands of women are rotting in Saudi jails, waiting to be flogged, or are flogged daily for acts such as mingling with men, improper attire, fornication and virtual relationships on the internet and mobile phones".

The UN: The worst emerging disease of all: "From the beginning of the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, WHO’s decisions and pronouncements have been far from reassuring. Most flu and public health experts consider WHO to have been overly alarmist, and that their decision during the week of April 27 to raise the pandemic flu threat to the penultimate level, Phase 5, ‘Pandemic Imminent,’ far outpaced the data that had accumulated and was unwarranted. Even worse was their official declaration of a pandemic, which illustrates that WHO’s fundamental paradigm is flawed: A warning system based solely on how widely a virus has spread but that does not consider the nature of the illness it causes is prone to false positives; it would classify as ‘pandemics’ not only seasonal flu but also the frequent but largely inconsequential outbreaks of virus-caused colds and gastroenteritis, for example. It makes the term almost meaningless.”

Degrading art: "The modern pseudo-artists have forgotten the beautiful words expressed by that exquisite writer that was Oscar Wilde: ‘Art is beauty.’ Today’s motto is the exact opposite: ugliness, the absurd, the hostility towards all positive human values is displayed daily in exhibitions of ‘modern art,’ so-called avant-garde theatres and other such atrocities. Not even symphonic music and operas have been able to escape from such appalling attacks.”

In a Convention of Sovereign States, July 4, 2009: "“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the federal government has refused to stay within the Confines of its constitutionally Delegated powers. The government created by the Compact is exercising powers Not granted and attempting to consolidate the Sovereign American States into a single nation. That a consolidation of Sovereign States, controlled exclusively by political parties, would institute a form of government Foreign to our Constitution and rejected by our Forefathers. That whenever the federal government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the Right of the States, as the exclusive parties to the Compact between themselves, to alter or abolish their common government and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and general Welfare.”

The official myth about the Great Depression: “According to Austrian theory, inflation generates the business cycle, which means it causes periodic depressions. When a collapse came in 1929, government broke with precedent and adopted measures to minimize the pain of readjustment but in so doing retarded recovery. Through a long succession of economic interventions, both the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations turned what likely would have been a typically brief depression into the Great Depression. Historians and economists, though, have developed arguments extolling the fascist policies of the Roosevelt years for saving an inherently flawed capitalist system, while heaping blame on Hoover for his do-nothing approach. Intentionally or not, they created a mythology that has been fed to generations of American school kids.”


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, June 17, 2009

An amazing defence of Nazism as "Rightist"

And apparently coming from someone of broadly conservative views!
Nazism and fascism were very much about restoring an earlier, idealized order – the very definition of the right, as it has long been understood. Mussolini harkened back to the lost grandeur of the Roman Empire. Hitler sought to restore the mythical purity of the Aryan race. The nationalism of these totalitarians was far more extreme than their socialism, and their cultural predilections looked largely backward (build classical columns, ban “degenerate” art). Their appeal to their followers was in no small part that they would reestablish order against modern decay.

Latter-day admirers of the Nazis and fascists, such as James von Brunn, typically emphasize racial or national chauvinism over socialistic economics by a wide margin. They want to recapture a lost (and generally bogus) past, rather than remake the world according to a future vision. As such, they are on the extreme right. It does no credit to current-day conservatives, and adds nothing to understanding, to redefine the extreme right out of existence by claiming that it’s just another bunch of leftists.

Harking back to a romanticized past is conservative?? Has this guy never heard of Greenies? Has he never noticed the strong alliance between Greens and the Left? Conservatives conserve. They want to preserve the best of what has worked. They are wary of attempts to alter the status quo. It is reactionaries who want to return to the past and the chief reactionaries of today are undoubtedly the Greenies.

And this is particularly clear in the case of Hitler. The rural agrarian past that he romanticized seems to be very much the same as what the Greenies idealize. He even shared the Greenie obsession with running out of resources. He wanted Lebensraum in the East for Germany because he calculated that Germany was soon going to have difficulty feeding its population -- so he wanted to seize Slavic farmland to grow the food that Germany would need. And as for caring about the lives of others, what Greenie has ever expressed regret for the millions of lives lost to malaria in Africa because of the ban on DDT? Hitler had a LOT in common with the Greenies but nothing in common with conservatives. He in fact persecuted Germany's conservatives.

And Mussolini was a Greenie too. As well as being an "anti-globalizer", there were several other ways in which Mussolini would have appealed to modern-day Greenies. He made Capri a bird sanctuary and in 1926 he issued a decree reducing the size of newspapers to save wood pulp. And, believe it or not, he even mandated gasohol -- i.e. mixing ethanol with petroleum products to make fuel for cars. Mussolini also disliked the population drift from rural areas into the big cities and in 1930 passed a law to put a stop to it unless official permission was granted. What Green/Left advocate could ask for more?

So if the addled writer above wants to equate reactionary ideas with the "Right", let him go ahead. He can call Greenies "Rightists" all he likes for all I care. But just don't pretend that such a "Right" has anything to do with conservatives. And if it is "totalitarians" who are Rightists, I guess Stalin was a Rightist too.


The Ayatollahs make a mockery of Obama's trust in talk

Silver linings are deceptive and often hard to find, but that might be a tiny sliver of silver in that dark cloudbank over Iran. Barack Obama got notice from the election results that his tongue, golden and honeyed though it may be, is no match for reality. If Iranian voters had thrown Mahmoud Ahmadinejad into the street, the American president would have assumed that he was the One who did it, and the American press would have led the hosannas for the messiah from the south side of Chicago. Just a few more speeches, a few more respectful bows toward Mecca, and all the rough places would be made smooth and plain. But now even Mr. Obama must wake up and smell the tear gas.

The prospect that a victory by the Iranian moderates would cure what's wrong in the Middle East was a hookah dream from the start, a tale of the Arabian night indulged by those unable to bear the sight, sound and responsibility posed by reality. Iran is not ruled by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but by the head ayatollah, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and his pigsty of brutal mullahs. Mr. Ahmadinejad never misses an opportunity to pay craven tribute to these unelected agents of harsh Islamic rule, always with a bending of the knee and a kiss for every outstretched holy hand.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the current object of Western desire, put up the brave fight and now puts up a brave loser's front, stiff upper lip and all that. But he's under virtual house arrest as thousands of his supporters continue to throng the streets, screaming and vowing never to recognize a suspect verdict. He was reduced Monday to begging the mullahs to issue a fatwa decreeing that Mr. Ahmadinejad is not really the president, and asking the chief ayatollah to change his mind. He wants the government to dismiss the results and call a new election. All that, and a lollipop, too.

The election results, together with the high probability that the result was tinkered with if not rigged, and the cops and troops controlling the streets with clubs and tear gas suggest that, surprise, surprise, Mr. Ahmadinejad is getting away with it. From the capitals of the West, there was mostly spluttering and whining. The French foreign minister said the treatment of the demonstrators was "somewhat brutal," the operative word apparently the "somewhat," and the German government said the Tehran reaction was "unacceptable," which is diplo-speak for, "is there any more tea?"

There was all but silence from the White House, where Mr. Obama said he was pleased with the "robust debate" in Iran, proving only that he's easily pleased and eager to get back to what he does best, wrapping appeasement of the enemy in the sticky warmth of mere words. The "robust debate" Mr. Obama admired featured the opposition candidate smeared as both inspired by Hitler and a creature of the Jews, with skeptical newspapers shut down and Internet sites closed. Foreign observers were forbidden to watch and listen to the "robust debate." Given that nobody voted secretly - voters are easily identified and the naughty ones often punished - the 33 percent who voted for the opposition were brave, indeed.

Joe Biden, our long-missing veep, complains that "we just don't know enough," which is business as usual for good ol' Joe. (Nobody ever tells him anything.) "Is this the result of the Iranian people's wishes?" he asks. "The hope is that the Iranian people, all their votes have been counted, they've been counted fairly." Well, yes, we can all hope that.

But Mr. Obama will have to do better than admire "robust debate" and hope that once the evildoers hear the sound of his voice they will straighten up and fly right. Iranians, like everybody else, have a right to elect whomever they want, and even to steal elections without outside interference. The reality that President Obama must deal with goes beyond whether the election was free and fair. The mullahs who guide the hand of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have made it abundantly clear that they have an agenda, and intend to enforce it with the clenched fist Mr. Obama imagines he can unclench with a teleprompter.

Some people in the West - particularly in Washington - are tempted to dismiss the Iranian president as a clown and a fool, given to writing checks ("Israel must be wiped off the map") he could never cash. But these skeptics are the fools. President Obama must now rise to the occasion to deal with Iran as it is, and not as he wishes it to be. This is the job he said he wanted.



Obama's Muslim absurdities

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to, and questioned, President Barack Obama's inaccuracies regarding the size and significance of Muslims within the context of American society and even history in general in various statements and utterances since he assumed office. He has, not once, but on several occasions, accorded a privileged place to Muslims when describing America, a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and heritage.

In his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2009, President Obama said, "We Are A Nation Of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non believers." Again, in an interview on the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on January 26, he referred to America as "a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers." In these two instances, President Obama placed Muslims ahead of Jews and, in the second, ahead of Christians as well.

Yet, throughout its history, the United States has always been known as a nation based on Judeo-Christian values and heritage. Thus, the norm has been to speak of this nation as primarily one of Christians and Jews, the two religious civilizations from which America has drawn most of its inspiration and which are the two larger religious blocs in the country. (It was typical, for example, for former President George W. Bush to state in his 2001 Inauguration Speech, "Church and charity, synagogue and mosque, lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and laws." This sort of sentence reflected the general understanding of America's self-identity and the fact that there are more Jews and synagogues in America than Muslims and mosques, for which reason Jews are mentioned ahead of Muslims).

President Obama's placement of Muslims ahead of Jews is also statistically odd. Surveys show that there are some 5-7 million Jews living in the United States - more than the 1.3-2.8 million Muslims living in the United States estimated by reputable surveys. In his Cairo speech on June 4, President Obama inaccurately referred to "...nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today." He further inflated the Muslim presence in America by stating on French television, "If you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."

These claims are astonishing - and groundless. The figure of 7 million is a three-fold plus exaggeration of the actual number of American Muslims. Inflated figures like these are usually cited only by Islamist organizations like the Council on American Islamic relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Society of North America (ISNA). In contrast, the 2007 Pew Research Center study estimates a U.S. Muslim population of 0.6 percent, resulting in a figure of approximately 1.8 million American Muslims, while a 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, puts the figure even lower, at 1, 349,000.

If there are 1.8 million Muslims in America, then there are 41 countries in the world with larger Muslim populations. Moreover, even if one accepted the inflated figure of 7 million American Muslims, this would still be far from making America one of the world's largest Muslim countries: of the world's 48 Muslim-majority states, 25 of these have larger Muslim populations. By not stretch of the imagination can America be described honestly as "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world."

In an interview on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV on January 26, President Obama said that "My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives." This is not a claim that he has made in respect of any other minority group within America. Another example of President Obama seeking to promote Islam in America came in his Cairo speech, where he said that, "in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat [zakat refers to the Muslim obligation to give a portion of income to certain charities]." It is hard to know in which way President Obama intends to help Muslims but, again, this offer to facilitate observance of Islam is not something he has extended to any other religious group: he has not offered it to Mormons, or Jews. In America, Muslims can and do contribute to many Muslim charities and the only ones that have been shut down are those found to be subsidizing Islamist terrorism.

This inflation of Muslim numbers and significance to America's evolution is also accompanied by a diminishing of Christians and Jews. The instances of referring to Muslims ahead of Jews and on one occasion, ahead of Christians as well, has been noted. President Obama was doing this even before he ran for office. In a 2007 speech, he declared that, "Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation." He repeated again that "America is not a Christian nation" a few weeks later. As President, at a press conference before delivering a major speech in Turkey, he stated that "[O]ne of the great strengths of the United States is - although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation..." However, President Obama regards the secular Turkish republic as a Muslim country and chose its capital when decided to give a speech in a "Muslim capital." The secular American republic is overwhelmingly Christian (79 percent) while the secular Turkish republic is overwhelmingly Muslim (99 percent). Why, then, is Turkey Muslim but America not Christian?

Additionally, President Obama has indulged in apologetics investing Islam with greater influence on civilization than the historical record warrants. In his Cairo speech, he said, "I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality."

Much of this is simply incorrect. "Arabic numerals" were developed in pre-Islamic India, the astrolabe was developed before the rise of Islam; Christian scholars first preserved in Arabic classical Greek texts, not Muslim scholars; the first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683, and so on. Moreover, while he credited Al-Azhar University with making great contributions to the world, he did not note that its Grand Sheikh, Muhammad Tantawi, stated in 2003 regarding the Palestinians that suicide bombing is not contrary to Islamic law if performed in defense of a homeland. Tantawi has also made anti-Semitic statements about the evil and degenerate nature of Jews, making exceptions only for those Jews who convert to Islam. None of this induced President Obama to decline Al-Azhar's sponsorship of the speech. Instead, he named the institution for its contributions to civilization.




Conservatives hold big lead over liberals: "A new poll released Monday found that, even in the Age of Obama, there has been a "slight increase" in the number of Americans who call themselves conservatives, outnumbering self-described liberals by a 2-to-1 margin. The Gallup Poll organization said 40 percent of Americans interviewed in 10 surveys from January to May described themselves as conservative, 35 percent as moderate and 21 percent as liberal - a finding that could have a significant influence on the way President Obama's agenda is perceived in the months to come. The 40 percent figure for conservatives is the highest in nearly two decades."

GM workers trusted investment in product: "Ted Dobski knew firsthand how solid General Motors Corp.'s cars were. He was a raw-materials buyer for the auto giant for three decades and believed in its future. So when he retired in 2001, he bought GM bonds to help fund his leisure years. That turned out to be a serious mistake. Like so many other disappointed GM bondholders, Mr. Dobski is now struggling to keep his retirement intact. The value of his bonds collapsed when the American icon sought bankruptcy protection this month. But Mr. Dobski is not your average cranky creditor. He, like thousands of other bondholders, invested his retirement dreams in the industry he knew best -- his own -- yet still came out a loser". [Maybe he should apply to the UAW for a handout. They are the cats who got the cream]

D.C. bypasses voters on homosexual marriage: "D.C. elections officials Monday rejected a request to put the issue of same-sex marriage before voters, creating a clearer path for city lawmakers to allow gay couples to be married in the nation's capital. The D.C. Council, which passed a bill last month to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, is poised to consider another bill that would allow such unions to be performed in the District." [They know it would never get past their voters]

NOT to big to fail: "Washington regulators have justified several recent interventions in the financial realm by warning that firms like Bear Stearns and AIG are too big to fail. Allowing these firms to go bankrupt, the argument goes, would result in fire sales and a domino effect, which pose systematic risks to the entire economy. But Jean Helwege, associate professor of finance, writes that there is little to no evidence to support these too-big-to-fail threats of counterparty risk and fire sales."

Auto Intervention Could Dampen Future Lending for all businesses: "Bankruptcy attorneys and business leaders fear a bumpy ride as the U.S. government takes the wheel at General Motors…. Some turnaround specialists are concerned the government-guided bankruptcy reorganizations of Chrysler and GM could make it harder for companies to obtain capital. In these cases, the companies’ labor union, the United Auto Workers, received more favorable treatment than the companies’ secured creditors. That violates well-established bankruptcy law principles, said Peter Kaufman, president of Gordian Group LLC’s restructuring practice in New York.”

Obama betrayal on DOMA angers homosexual groups: "President Obama, who said as a candidate that he would seek repeal of a law denying federal recognition of same-sex marriage, has angered gay rights groups with court arguments portraying the law as a nondiscriminatory measure that ‘preserves scarce government resources.’ The Justice Department’s filing with a federal court in Santa Ana was the administration’s first statement on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act …. Obama called the law ‘abhorrent’ during the presidential campaign and said he would work to overturn it. He has not presented any such legislation to Congress since taking office, however.”


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, June 16, 2009

Letter from a Dodge dealer

My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people. We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month. All depend on our business for part of their livelihood. We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community. We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees. Sunshine Dodge is my life.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler's insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.



This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.


I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.



David Letterman, Rev. Wright, and Thoughts on a Creepy Culture

By V.D. Hanson

The Demise of David Letterman

I had a number of exchanges on the Palin-Letterman controversy (see below). Where to start on David Letterman’s attack on Palin on her visit to New York to do charitable work, accompanied by her 14-year-old daughter Willow?

The hypocrisy of the Left that used to monitor slurs about women’s appearances, sick jokes about statuary rape, demonization of women with charges of promiscuity-all this rightly was taboo? But now silence? (But then no one seemed bothered either by the rather shameless instance of plagiarism on the part of Maureen Dowd, the NY Times columnist, who habitually accuses Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld of lying and other moral lapses.)

The metrosexual, hip David Letterman offered an apology I think that essentially was something along the following lines. Here’s my paraphrase: ‘Sorry, I confused the 14-year-old Willow Palin with the 18-year-old Bristol Plain, so I was wrong for suggesting the younger Palin girl would be “knocked up” during a baseball game with Alex Rodriguez, or draw in Eliot Spitzer for sex, when I really meant that Bristol certainly would.” (Note the silence about calling Governor Palin “slutty” looking. So if some right-wing nut says that Michelle Obama is “slutty” looking, are we to expect no consequences?)


What it is about Sarah Palin that drives the Left insane? Her charisma? Her authentic blue-collar roots? The accent? Todd? The pregnancies? The ability to galvanize crowds. Joe Biden tried to fake his working class origins, but Palin seems to live, not romanticize, the life of the middle strata, so would not the Left appreciate someone from the non-elite?

I suggest two reasons for the fury of the aristocratic Left. One was Palin’s stance on abortion. In the elite feminist mind, the perfect storm would be for a 40ish career woman, on the upswing of her cursus honorum, getting pregnant and, then, heaven forbid, delivering the child with full fore-knowledge of chromosomal abnormality. Or having her 17-year old come to full term with a child, unmarried, and without money?

The Shadow of Abortion

For most upscale, educated liberals, a daughter’s future career is ruined by pregnancy, and abortion is often the answer. Second, Todd Palin, the Palin accent, the Wasilla connection, the whole notion of Alaska, all this conjured up the elite liberal notion of “trailer trash”-and we all know from Obama’s clingers speech, that the white Christian working class is the last group in America that can be caricatured and slurred with impunity. To the liberal urban elite, poor “whites” are those responsible for racism and other sins associated with the dominant culture, and thus by association taint the white aristocracy unfairly.

Race, again, all the time

I received a lot of angry mail about a recent prediction that the Obama administration would acerbate not diminish racial tensions, by its addiction to identity politics and the constant invocation or racial difference. Nothing since his ascension has disabused me of that observation. Obama himself, in unusual fashion, has given a number of speeches abroad emphasizing his African heritage, his middle name Hussein, and his father’s Muslim’s connection.

We have heard the Attorney General call his countrymen “cowards” for not talking more about racial identity. We have heard our Supreme Court nominee state on repeated occasions that a Latina is intrinsically better at being a judge than a white male counterpart. Now Rev. Wright has reemerged to suggest that Obama will no longer meet with him because “Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me ….” (a new book about Obama suggests he and Wright met in secret during the campaign after the Wright racist outbursts).

He’s Back

Note as well, that Wright, in his anti-Semitic diatribe, employs the now customary straw men “they”, which we’ve become well accustomed to. (I note here that what was most disturbing about the Letterman Palin jokes and his “apology” was the audience laughing at his crudity-reminiscent of the standing ovations in the Trinity congregation that met Wright’s profanity, racist outburst, and damning of the United States. This country has a long way to go.)

This racialism will continue. Why? Because Obama discovered long ago than racial identification brings as many dividends as does the content of one’s character or achievement. It is a force multiplier and foolishly left untapped. I fear more, not less, of this, as the tab for Obama’s charge-it economy comes due at about the same time dubious players abroad conclude that serial apologies amount to a green light for adventurism. When his popularity dives, I think critics will be seen as biased and prejudicial.

What was ironic about all Wright’s accusations of Obama’s Jewish hypnosis, was that in just the first six months of his administration Obama has proven to be the most anti-Israeli President since the founding of the Jewish state. Wright should be delighted not disappointed; perhaps his unhappiness is the inability to bask publicly in White House visits, rather than ideological discord.

Doctor Faustus

(Remember that Obama’s connection with Wright was premeditated: in the Chicago racialist atmosphere, his career was going to be stalled at the state level, since he lacked, as a half-white, half-African Harvard graduate, fides as an authentic African-American from the Chicago neighborhood. Wright gave Obama just that authenticity-the more Wright laced his sermons with racism and hatred, the better Obama might resonate with the community as a Trinity devotee.)

But there is nemesis in the world. And once one makes a pact with Mephistopheles, well, read Marlowe and Goethe. Wright is Obama’s Fury, one of his Keres as it were.

Is there anything that explains all these strange developments? Yes, a postmodern view that the tawdry means justify the utopian ends, that a Letterman is cool and progressive, that a Wright means well in the end, that a Dowd is on the right side of the political attack on the Bush administration-and therefore sexism, racism, and plagiarism are, well, simply alternate narratives rather than violations of absolute norms and protocols.




Commentary on Netanyahu's recent speech: "How great was it to hear Bibi Netanyahu bat that ugly Obamunist lie right back in his teeth--that BS about Israel being a consolation prize for the historical suffering of the Jooooos...Bibi's entire address was really a masterful, artful assertion of Jewish rights in Israel, incl. Judea and Samaria, while holding out just enough hope for the Balesdinians so that no-one can argue he's being unreasonable, or "against peace." The funny thing is that the Bals instantly asserted that the speech "is a slap in Obama's face" (which of course it was), but the cowardly Obamunists, true to their Leninist heritage, immediately backed down in the face of strength: ""The President welcomes the important step forward in Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech," was the White House statement. See, at the end of the day, Obama, like all his leftist and Islamist pals, is just a mean-spirited bully, and bullies always turn cowards when confronted with determined strength".

PA: Man arrested after complaining to government: “A Bridgeville man who was arrested and convicted after making repeated complaints to his local government took his appeal to one of Pennsylvania’s highest courts on Tuesday. Team 4 investigative reporter Jim Parsons, who originally broke the story, was in Superior Court for the arguments. At issue: How many letters to borough officials does it take to constitute a crime?” [The 1st Amendment does include a right to petition for a redress of grievances]

Property rights take a hit: “‘Crony capitalism’ is a term often applied to foreign nations where government interference circumvents market forces. The practice is widely associated with tin-pot dictators and second-rate economies. In such a system, support for the ruling regime is the best and only path to economic success. Who you know supersedes what you know, and favoritism trumps the rule of law. Unfortunately, this week’s events demonstrate that the phrase now more aptly describes our own country. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Chrysler's secured creditors based on the government's argument that the needs of other stakeholders outweighed those of a few creditors. In this case, the Administration concluded the interests of the United Auto Workers outweighed the interests of the Indiana teachers and firemen whose pension fund sued to block the restructuring. Given the enormous financial support that the UAW poured into the Obama campaign, such partiality is hardly surprising. When making their investment in Chrysler just a few months ago, the Indiana pension fund agreed to commit capital because of the specific assurances received from the company. In allowing this sham bankruptcy to be crammed through the courts, we have shredded the vital principal of the rule of law, and have become a nation of men, rather than one of laws"

Taxes, greed and prudence : “Never mind the attempt at intimidation by some, like the Nobel Laureate Woody Clark, claiming that if you work to reduce or let alone to abolish taxes, you are greedy. You are not. You simply have a common sense understanding that there is something basically amiss with a system that coerces you and millions of others to part with your resources for services that would appear to be either hardly needed or, where need, capable of being funded without using force. Moreover, not only are you not guilty of the vice of greed. You can take pride in your practice of the virtue of prudence. Because what this moral virtue requires of us all is that we make sure we and those we are responsible for are well taken care of.”

Retreat into apathy : “Willie Whitelaw, a genial old buffer who served as Margaret Thatcher’s deputy for many years, once accused the Labour party of going around Britain stirring up apathy. Viscount Whitelaw’s apparent paradox is, in fact, a shrewd political insight, and all the sharper for being accidental. Big government depends, in large part, on going around the country stirring up apathy — creating the sense that problems are so big, so complex, so intractable that even attempting to think about them for yourself gives you such a splitting headache it’s easier to shrug and accept as given the proposition that only government can deal with 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)


Monday, June 15, 2009

Stimulus fraud could hit $50 billion

Swindlers, con men, and thieves could siphon off as much as $50 billion of the government's planned stimulus package as the money begins flooding the economy in coming months, according to David Williams, who runs Deloitte Financial Services Advisory and counsels clients on fraud prevention. Williams predicted that about $500 billion of the total $787 billion stimulus would be channeled into the traditional procurement network for government contracts, while the rest will be spent directly by the government or outside the corporate network.

"The rule of thumb typically is that of the about $500 billion worth of money that's going to run through the procurement process, somewhere between 5% and 10% of that usually finds it way into potential problems," Williams said. "That's sort of the benchmark that I use."

Companies will face increased pressure to try to stem the tide, and need to be prepared to safeguard data as well as the cash, according to Williams.

Williams said this week that the money flowing from the current stimulus package is particularly vulnerable to fraud because almost all movement of money is now done electronically. "We're telling our clients to be very careful and to make sure their firms are resilient in terms of dealing with the potential opportunities for fraud and waste," Williams said.

That means keeping an eye out for the traditional scams such as billing for services not performed. But it also means firms must become even more diligent about electronic records and network security. "It becomes ever more important that firms remain diligent about their data," Williams said.



A wise Jew speaks

I think that, in his article below, Dominic Lawson ("Liebsohn" ancestrally) arrives at a more optimistic conclusion than is warranted but he does see the problem. I noted the selfsame problem on May 27

If Alan Michael Sugar – soon to be Lord Sugar – didn’t exist, he might have been invented by antiSemites. That, at least, would have been the view of my maternal grandmother, part of a Jewish family that had built up a very successful business, starting with a barrow in the East End of London and ending up as the catering and food empire J Lyons & Co.

Yet the family were at all times anxious not to draw attention to their success. None of them would have dreamt of buying a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley; none of them acquired a country estate, still less an exotic home overseas. If they gave to charity, it would be anonymously.

In my grandmother’s view, this was all very wise: she had a great fear of antiSemitism (not surprisingly, given what had happened in Europe during her lifetime) and felt that any ostentatious display of wealth, besides being inherently vulgar, could provoke dark forces lying just below the civilised surface of British society.

So the idea of Sir Alan Sugar appearing on peak-time television driving a Rolls-Royce Phantom with the number plate AMS1 before yelling at various humiliated Gentiles, “You’re fired!” would have filled her with despair. I suspect she might have had a similar reaction to Michael Winner’s unashamedly sybaritic columns in this newspaper, detailing our hero’s brutal put-downs of errant staff at some of the world’s most expensive restaurants and hotels.

If I am to be entirely honest (not always a good idea), I must admit I have inherited a bit of my grandmother’s neurosis: a small part of me wonders if it is entirely wonderful that Britain’s two best-known Jews seem so comfortably to tally with the antiSemitic stereotype of the money-obsessed loudmouth.

This reflects much worse on me than it does on them. Why should anyone moderate his naturally brash or exuberant behaviour to appease the prejudices of others? In any case, it can’t be said that either man is too stupid to be aware of the impression created. Sugar told Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, a few years ago: “The Jew [in England] is portrayed as Fagin, and you won’t shake that out of people’s heads. It’s an underlying thing – that the Jews are a little bit sharp, a little bit quick, not to be trusted, possibly. If you ask a group of nonJews in a pub what it is that they don’t like about Jews, this is what they’ll come out with . . . that they hoard money.”

Sugar’s reference to the Charles Dickens character is well judged. George Orwell observed in 1945, as Britain became fully aware of the horrors of the Holocaust: “There has been a perceptible antiSemitic strain in English literature from Chaucer onwards.”

In his fascinating essay AntiSemitic Stereotypes in the English Novel, Professor Philip Jenkins looks at Our Mutual Friend, in which Dickens – aware that the invention of Fagin had, as one contemporary critic put it, “encouraged a vile prejudice against the despised Hebrew” – created a more sympathetic Jewish character: a moneylender called Riah.

Yet Dickens has Riah say of his own usury that “if . . . I had been a Christian, I could have done it, compromising no one but my individual self. But doing it as a Jew, I could not choose but compromise the Jews of all conditions and all countries. It is a little hard upon us, but it is the truth. I would that all our people remembered it”.

So even a Dickens attempting to make amends for the crude caricature of Fagin promotes the notion that Jews have an obligation to avoid professions such as moneylending in order to save their entire race from a special form of persecution. This was especially perverse, given that medieval European governments had often restricted such practices to Jews on the grounds that they were morally inappropriate for Christians – and also that the Jewish presence in moneylending was a function of the fact that constant fear of expulsion meant they would always want to be in a business with very liquid assets.

So for me to worry about whether Sugar encourages antiSemitic stereotyping is to commit the same error that Dickens attributes to the mind of the moneylender Riah: making an individual responsible for appeasing the collective prejudice of a multitude of bigots.

There are in fact, as one Jewish friend put it to me half-jokingly, “two sorts of Jew: book Jews and money Jews” – but it seems to be only the latter who are taken as the stereotype. This ignores the “book Jew”, who is interested in ideas rather than material possessions and who leads a life dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and intellectual discovery.

This is something that the Swedes of the Nobel prize committee have never failed to appreciate: Jews have gained almost a quarter of the Nobel prizes awarded worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century, with a particular concentration on physics, chemistry and medicine. When one considers that Jews make up barely a quarter of 1% of the global population (and just 2% of the American population), this record ought to encourage a more sympathetic stereotype.

On the other hand, even to make this point is to draw attention to what I think remainsa distinction between English Jews and English Gentiles, at least of my generation and background. The former have no desire to hide their intellectual light under a bushel, while the latter regard it as courteous to pretend that they are no more hard-working or determined than anyone else, regardless of how many hours of midnight oil they burn. This might be described as traditional English modesty or hypocrisy, depending on your point of view.

You can see an element of the discomfiture caused by this slight cultural difference in the reaction of many Tory MPs to John Bercow’s campaign to be Speaker of the House of Commons. The 46-year-old Bercow, who would be the first Jewish Speaker, has openly campaigned for this position in a way that even those colleagues who can stomach his shameless schmoozing of the government front bench regard as unseemly. English upper-middle-class Gentiles are no less given to plotting and planning for personal promotion than their Jewish counterparts; but they feel it is simply not done to be open about it.

Perhaps there is something of the same irritation in the attitude of many Labour MPs to Lord Mandelson (whose father was advertising manager of The Jewish Chronicle). What infuriates them is not so much that Mandelson’s brain is much faster than theirs at political calculation, but that he makes absolutely no attempt to disguise this fact.

It will be interesting to see how the Labour benches in the House of Lords greet Sugar when he takes up his place – assuming that he does find the time in his busy schedule to grace them with his presence. They will treat him rather as my grandmother would have done, I suspect.

Yet, if she were alive today, she should have been encouraged by Gordon Brown’s decision to ennoble the owner of AMS1. The prime minister has appointed him “enterprise champion” only because he desperately wants some of Sugar’s popularity to rub off onto the despised Labour government – The Apprentice is watched by up to 10m faithful and devoted viewers.

This, in turn, demonstrates that the sort of figure who once might have been seen as a caricature of the money-obsessed Jewish tycoon is now taken to the nation’s heart – and that therefore my grandmother’s fears were unwarranted; but I still can’t watch him in action without feeling a spasm of unease.




I have just put up here a wonderful story of bravery from Afghanistan

Obama fires honest official: "An inspector general fired by President Obama says he was given no warning and only one hour to decide whether to resign or be let go, hinting the action was retaliation for a report highly critical of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA basketball star and an Obama supporter. Gerald Walpin, a 2006 Bush appointee who reviewed grants awarded by AmeriCorps and other national service programs, said the telephone call he received Thursday evening from White House counsel Norman L. Eisen informing him he was ousted "occurred totally out of the blue." Mr. Walpin said he and his staff had always acted with the "highest integrity" during his two-and-a-half-year tenure. "We performed very well the responsibility of the independent overseer of the agency, and reported things as we saw it," he said. [More on the story here and here]

The Food, Drug & Tobacco Administration: "I'd like to echo Tevi Troy's concerns about the tobacco legislation that seems to be taking the express route to the president's desk. Unless Congress is about to dramatically increase the FDA's resources, its new tobacco obligations will come at the expense of its other, more important functions. I hear Naderite pro-regulation types complain that the FDA is resource-starved all the time. Requiring the FDA to control the tobacco industry will only make this problem worse. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg of this bill's problems. Among other things, the federal government will have vast new control over the advertising and promotion of a legal product. The First Amendment concerns about some of the bill's requirements are very real — and there will be years of litigation over its implementation. It's also a concern that the path to the bill's passage was paved by the cooperation of the nation's largest tobacco company, Philip Morris (aka Altria or whatever its name is now). Large incumbent firms tend to like government regulation because it squeezes out competitors. But it should also make regulation advocates wonder: If Philip Morris likes this bill, how much can it really do to control cigarette consumption and protect public health?"

Do as I say, not as I do: "Your post about Judge Sotomayor’s hiring of law clerks reminds me of the tension between Justice Ginsburg’s employment practices (as of the time she was nominated to the Supreme Court) and her own aggressive support for disparate-impact statistics as evidence of intentional discrimination. In her 1993 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it was learned, much to Ginsburg’s visible embarrassment, that in her 13 years on the D.C. Circuit she had never had a single black law clerk, intern, or secretary. Out of 57 employees, zero blacks." [Typical Leftist hypocrite. They have no real principles at all]

‘Stimulus’ Kills Pennsylvania Steel Jobs: "Obama signed his US$787 billion economic recovery bill into law in February. It dictates that the steel and manufactured goods bought with federal funds must be made in the U.S.... As many as 600 steelworkers in Pennsylvania, whose union lobbied for the Buy America law, are slated to lose their jobs at Duferco Farrell after the company lost orders from its biggest customer because some of its goods are partly produced abroad. Capitol Hill legislators are stubborn, Kristof Champney says, and believe it's sufficient that the bill contains a requirement that international trade obligations must be honoured. "When we speak to members of Congress and tell them that provision has no application at all municipally or regionally, they look at you with a blank stare of confusion and then you see efforts to try to save face," she said.... A Canadian embassy official said earlier this week that many Capitol Hill legislators have been surprised to hear how many jobs in their jurisdictions are tied to trade with Canada... Braddock predicted the ramifications of Buy American are going to get more severe in the months ahead, including further job losses in the U.S. - a turn of events that could finally bring about a change of attitude on Capitol Hill.... "What we're really talking about here is the two leaders of the biggest trading partnership in the world, Canada and the United States, coming together to avoid protectionism. If we can't do this, do you think anyone else in the world can?"

The Roe train has left the station: “Roe v Wade is a done deal. That train has left the station, and there’s no turning back. If one is seriously pro-life, the only reasonable alternative is not to try to overturn it, but to move forward. To side with parties and movements that resist all taxpayer funding of abortions and reject all regulations, federal or state, that might force private hospitals to perform abortions. There is no ‘right’ to an abortion at taxpayer’s expense, but there is a right to refuse to provide or host an abortion."

You can have community without coercion: "“No sooner does one speak up in support of individualism than some clever folks will accuse one with wanting to isolate individuals, to destroy human community life. But this really is bunk and is either a misunderstanding or an out an out attempt at distortion. Just because human adults require independence of mind and a sphere of personal authority, which is secured by protecting their basic rights, it doesn’t mean at all that they do not greatly benefit from community life. There is little that’s more satisfying to human beings than one or another kind of association they can forge with their fellows. Think of marriage, family, company, team, chorus, orchestra, and on and on with the myriads of ways people come together and make the most of it. Alas, there is one way of forming communities that is simply unsuited to people, namely, coercively, when they are herded into groups they do not choose based on their own understanding and goals.”

Should conservatives join the Democratic Party? “Effective political action demands a realistic assessment of existing reality. This is why I registered to vote in the Democrat primary in 2008. When John McCain secured the Republican Party nomination, there wasn’t anything left for me to do but try to influence the yet-to-be-decided Democrat Party nominating process. It’s also why I haven’t switched back to the Republican Party following the election. Power today has shifted to the Democrats. They own the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, the Federal Judiciary, and the news media. This is where the game is played in 2009, and if you want to participate, this is where you need to be.”

Boaring Israelis: " Palestinian Authority media outlets continue to blame Israel for problems caused by wild boars in Samaria, despite Israeli efforts to cull the animals. On Thursday, PA farmers near Ariel complained that “Israeli settlers” had engineered a wild boar attack that destroyed agricultural produce. The farmers' claims were repeated by the head of the regional PA farmers' union, who accused Israelis living in Ariel and nearby towns of planning the attacks. The union head did not explain how Israelis allegedly trained the pigs to destroy only Arab crops. Arab residents of Samaria have made several similar claims over the past three years. The claims have been backed up by PA armed forces, whose officers have been quoted as confirming to PA media that Israel is behind wild boar attacks." [No mention from these nutcases that pigs are unclean to Jews too]


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)