Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why isn’t America hiring?

On July 1st we saw the release of two piece of important employment data: the Challenger, Gray & Christmas monthly survey of lay-offs and the Monster Employment Index which measures on-line want ads. The latter is an improvement over traditional want ads which were showing declines due to loss of market share to the web rather than actual job opening declines. Just because companies were not recruiting by printing their ads on dead trees doesn't mean they were not hiring. But even in the world of friction-free job recruiting, they are indeed not hiring. The index showed only one up month out of the last eight, and even now with the economic picture improving, job recruiting is still dropping. Why?

It's not as though these jobs are being decimated by lay-offs. Yes, there was a lay off peak last Fall and another bigger one in January, but since then lay-offs have dropped every month so far. In January there were roughly a quarter million jobs eliminated according to this survey. Last month there were less than seventy five thousand. You have to go back to Spring of 2008 to find levels that low.

So we're not firing many people, but we're not hiring either. Why? This is especially confusing given the political mood in Washington during the past two years which has been far more focused on job creation (or savings) than on general economic growth. The stimuli plans were supposed to be job plans. The auto/bank bailouts cum nationalizations were supposed to be about saving jobs, not 'Wall Street'. So given two record breaking stimuli within two years, why isn't America hiring?

America isn't hiring precisely because of government policy. Small business owners, who are usually the first into and the first out of the job pool, are standing by the fence and watching. They are paralyzed by regulatory uncertainty. If they hire someone who ends up doing poorly, will they be able to fire that person? Will they have to pay their health care bills after they've been terminated? If so, for how long? Who will pay for all these stimulus checks? If it will turn out to be small business, why would they hire instead of keeping costs low to prepare for the big tax bill? Where will the market move? Are you in the right business or are your clients in a politically disfavored industry? Are your clients in health care (being nationalized), autos (already nationalized), banking (somewhat nationalized) or any energy production process which uses carbon (pulverized)? Until you know, you don't grow, and until you grow your market, you don't grow your payroll.

Jobs aren't languishing despite the government's best efforts. They're languishing because of them.



The stimulus that didn't stimulate: The Excuses Begin

Democrats are in a bit of a jam on the stimulus, as many reporters have noticed: “Democrats are all over the map on the stimulus and the possibility of a sequel, and it’s not hard to see why: When it comes to a second stimulus, they may be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.” But there is nothing they would have done differently, right? That phrase may prove to be this administration’s “Mission Accomplished” banner.

The current excuse — that somehow the administration didn’t understand how severe the crisis was — isn’t going over so well. In fact, it’s so easily disproved by rolling back the tapes of all the gloom-and-doom talk that permeated the president’s remarks in the early days of his term, that his critics are having a field day. House Minority Leader John Boehner, for example, isn’t buying any excuses:

I found it … interesting over the last couple of days to hear Vice President Biden and the president mention the fact that they didn’t realize how difficult an economic circumstance we were in. . . Now this is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I’ve been in Congress. I’ve sat in meetings in the White House with the vice president and the president. There’s not one person that sat in those rooms that didn’t understand how serious our economic crisis was.

Well he does have a point; the president kept calling it the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The simple truth is the stimulus was ill-conceived and poorly executed. Sooner or later, the president and his advisers will need to acknowledge that deferring to Nancy Pelosi to devise a grab-bag of goodies for liberal interest groups wasn’t smart politics or smart policy.



Federal Government Was Culprit in Housing and Economic Crisis, Says Congressional Report

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the chief culprits in the housing crisis because they encouraged people who could not afford payments to borrow money, according to a congressional report released Tuesday. The claims in the report have long been advanced by conservatives, who argue that the Community Reinvestment Act and other federal programs fed the housing bubble that burst in 2007 and led to the economic downfall in 2008.

But the report explains in detail how Fannie and Freddie -- government sponsored enterprises (GSE) that were not subject to the same oversight as other publicly traded firms -- “privatized their profits but socialized their risks.” “In the short run, this government intervention was successful in its stated goal – raising the national homeownership rate,” says the report, the result of an investigation launched last fall by Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “However, the ultimate effect was to create a mortgage tsunami that wrought devastation on the American people and economy,” says the report. “While government intervention was not the sole cause of the financial crisis, its role was significant and has received too little attention.”

The report talks about the Clinton administration’s National Homeownership Strategy, citing President Clinton’s directive to “lift America’s homeownership rate to an all-time high by the end of the century.” The Clinton strategy further said that Freddie and Fannie should reduce down-payment requirements and, according to the report, “called for increased use of ‘flexible underwriting criteria,’ which it said could be achieved in concert with ‘liberalized affordable housing underwriting criteria.’”

“That is the perfect smoking gun that tells how Barney Frank [D-Mass.], the Clinton administration and others would do it in those days,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, said Tuesday in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. “The seeds of the meltdown began with the well-intentioned goal that everyone have a home even if they can’t afford it,” he said. “It led to one of the biggest ponzi schemes ever.” .....

The report also talks about how the two GSEs became a powerful lobby. Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson opened up “partnership offices” in congressional districts, hired relatives of members of Congress, and GSE employees contributed $15 million to federal campaigns from 1998 to 2008. Throughout that time, all attempted reforms in Congress were blocked....

The report cites Frank’s accusations that to blame Fannie and Freddie is to blame only the lender and not the borrower. “This misses the mark entirely. In fact, responsibility for the erosion of mortgage lending standards, which began with government affordable housing policy, rests squarely on the policy makers who advocated these ill-conceived policies in the first place,” the report says. “Borrowers quite naturally responded to the incentives they were given, irrespective of their socioeconomic status, and risky lending spread to the wider mortgage market.”




The case for doing nothing: “The first thing to note about the financial crisis is that the federal government never had any business intervening in the personal decision of whether you want to own a home. There is no rational economic argument, or any argument I know of, that says the market of buying and selling homes is imperfect in some way, requiring government action. Construction firms have plenty of incentive to build homes and sell them. People who have the wherewithal have plenty of incentive to buy homes if they so choose. For the government to intrude into homeownership was an off-budget, nontransparent, backdoor attempt at redistributing income. And when the policy became a way of transferring income to people who couldn’t afford those homes, it was doomed to failure.”

75 years of housing fascism : “On June 28, 1934, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the National Housing Act (NHA) of 1934. Hugh Potter, president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB) called it ‘the most fundamental legislation … ever enacted affecting real estate and home ownership.’ While federal intervention in housing had begun in 1932 under the supposedly laissez-faire Hoover, Potter’s assessment was correct in the sense that the act broke new ground in terms of the range of public-private collaboration — and the unintended destructive consequences of such.”

Washington needs to help businesses for a change: “Are the stock market and economy taking turns for the worse? Do we really need a new stimulus plan from Washington? Let’s begin by rolling back the clock to last Thursday’s June jobs report. It was not a good report. Stocks have fallen over 4 percent since then. And here’s one reason why: plunging wages. Private hours worked continue to free-fall. Hourly wages have flattened. It was a nasty report. Job losses are still substantial. It’s a powerful and nasty combination. While I am an optimist by nature, this does worry me. It suggests a later, and weaker, economic recovery. So here’s a novel thought for all the geniuses down in Washington. Help businesses for a change.”

Canada: US soldier denied asylum : “The first woman soldier to flee the U.S. military for Canada to avoid the Iraq war on Wednesday appealed the findings of a report that led to her deportation order. Lawyers for Kimberly Rivera argued a Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration report did not adequately measure the potential risks the war resister could face if she were returned to the U.S. before a Canadian court ordered her to be deported earlier this year. Rivera’s lawyer, Alyssa Manning, argued in Canada’s federal court that her client would more likely face a court martial and jail time instead of an administrative discharge because of her political opposition to the war.”

Why sacrifice? : “I just don’t know what exactly President Obama means when he says ‘We must all expect to sacrifice during these times’ or the equivalent. Never mind why we must do this — does he want to enact laws that force us all to sacrifice? Is that his job? But, as I said, never mind such tiny details. What exactly does the president consider a sacrifice? Does reducing our standard of living amount to a sacrifice?”

British Labour isn’t working : "The latest figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions show a telling but frightening story as to the societal damage New Labour have inflicted upon Britain. According to the data, over a million people have been on constant state benefits since 1997 whilst another 1.9 million have been on benefits for over seven years. These results are not as surprising once New Labour’s welfare policies have been inspected. Although they claim to support the most vulnerable in society they seem to have penalised them at every opportunity. State benefits are set at a level where it is more beneficial for an individual to remain on them rather than seek employment.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, July 10, 2009


There is a new article out in the NYT on the research of Russell Fazio, work which I mentioned late last year under the same heading as that which I have used above. Fazio studies college students who are unlucky enough to be assigned a roommate of a different race -- in the bright-eyed but now hoary hope that living with a black will make you like blacks more. The theory (generally called the "contact hypothesis") goes back to the 1940s and I summarize most of the early research on it here. As I think most readers would expect, the facts give little support to the theory. The theory is based on the view that blacks are just the same as whites, only browner -- and if you believe that you will believe anything.

Needless to say, Fazio finds what many others before him have found -- that most whites thrown together with blacks very rapidly want out. Those who do stick it out, however, seem to have more positive attitudes towards blacks at the end of the experience. In the usual logically-deprived reasoning that seems to pervade the sciences that I know something about (psychology, sociology, medicine and climate science) Fazio just assumes he knows what is the cause of that improvement. One of the first things you learn in Statistics 101 (I used to teach introductory statistics at university level) is that "correlation does not prove causation" -- but an awful lot of scientists seem not to have done a statistics course. Fazio somehow seems to think the improved attitudes observed in some students confirms his "contact hypothesis". But what does it really prove? It COULD prove that it is only when blacks "act white" that whites can live with them and that those whites who live with such blacks are relieved to find that such blacks do exist. Much more likely, however, is that the whites who stick it out are more politically correct and know what to say when Fazio questions them. Students are very good at giving their professors the answers that their professors want. That's how most of them get their degrees.

So if anyone thinks that Fazio has found anything useful towards improving race relations, all I can say is I admire your optimism but not your reasoning power. I was amused, however, by the finding that living with Asians tended to make you dislike Asians. Given Asian superiority in all sorts of academically relevant ways, I don't find that surprising at all! And it does in fact reinforce the most usual finding from "contact hypothesis" research: That getting to know other races makes you like them LESS.

I was amused also by this sentence from one of the other researchers quoted: “Just having diversity in classrooms doesn’t do anything to increase interracial friendships”. That does rather undermine the whole rationale of having "diversity" on campus, it seems to me!


The Internet's Effect on Intellectual Conservatives

Below is an excerpt from a new blog that should be fairly congenial to most readers of this blog. The blog is called OneStDv, a reference that students of IQ will understand immediately. A caution, however: Have a look at the brief glossary at the top of his side column before you read at any length in his blog. He uses some abbreviations that are customary only in his own field of discourse

In my experience, there are generally two groups of conservatives: the traditional and the intellectual. The traditional sect is typified by Bible belt, blue-collar whites who support social conservative values, religion, and a strong sense of American pride. The intellectual sort is typified by individuals like Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and George Will. He's a libertarian in the social sphere, though he does support many traditional aspects of culture because, simply, they work. He champions limited government, merit-based economy, and a fortified national defense. (I classify myself as this.)

The former group came to public prominence due to Jerry Fallwell's Moral Majority coup in the early 1980's. This ascendancy did not represent a cultural shift amongst this political bloc. Rather, it reflected the already present social values entrenched in these geographic regions. Voicing politically incorrect opinions concerning black crime rate, feminism, welfare, and nationalistic pride is considered mundane amongst these voters. Yet, when one resides in suburbia, the domain of middle and upper class whites, these opinions are considered at best, improper, and at worst, abhorrent.

As a result, suburbia produces a large portion of ideological drones, individuals who assume liberal politics is the default position of the enlightened and sophisticated. Not only are they exposed to little dissent from the PC agenda, but any contrary opinions are rarely voiced due to social ostracism. Until recently, the conservative suburbanite or elite academic had no forum in which to vent his conservative opposition. He was surrounded by conforming, high intelligence liberals, espousing almost identical positions on the controversial issues.

But recently, this conservative has found a proper outlet for his frustration and his unwillingness to accept the polite doctrine. His potential intellectual and political peers no longer reside in just his geographic vicinity. The Internet, alongside endless amounts of porn and frivolous viral content, serves as a meeting place for the token, intellectual conservative unable to find common ground with his liberal acquaintances or overtly religious peers. Conservative websites and forums, especially those in my "Related Blogs" section, attract a large scope of visitors, many of whom are the product of middle-class, educated parents.



Minimum-wage folly

by Jeff Jacoby

AS IF THE RECESSION hasn't been rough enough on those near the bottom of the economic food chain, fresh bad news is on the way. Beginning July 24, the federal government will be making it more difficult for employers to hire low- and unskilled American workers. Thanks to an ill-advised law enacted with bipartisan support in 2007, the cost of providing an entry-level job to individuals with few skills or minimal experience will be going up by more than 10 percent. Those who cannot find a job paying at least $7.25 an hour will not be permitted to work.

Welcome to the latest chapter of America's minimum-wage folly.

This will mark the third time in recent years that Washington has forced up the cost of employing low-skilled workers. Last July the minimum hourly wage was increased from $5.85 to $6.55; the July before that, from $5.15 to $5.85. By the end of this month, in other words, the lowest rung on the employment ladder will be nearly 41 percent higher than it was just two years ago. Needless to say, that will put it beyond the reach of many marginal workers, leaving them without work.

Those who press for a higher minimum wage often claim that making entry-level jobs more expensive won't reduce the number of entry-level jobs. Were the government to compel a 41 percent increase in the price of gasoline or movie tickets or steel, every rational observer would expect a drop in the demand for gasoline, movie tickets, or steel. Yet when it comes to the minimum wage, politicians and journalists somehow persuade themselves that making workers more expensive won't reduce the demand for workers. Senator Edward Kennedy, for example, blithely asserts: "History clearly shows that raising the minimum wage has not had any negative impact on jobs." Activist Holly Sklar, campaigning for a $10 minimum wage, likewise insists that "raising the minimum wage does not increase unemployment in good times or bad."

But that's exactly what it does. Artificial price floors -- mandatory minimum prices set higher than what the market will bear -- generate surpluses. Minimum-wage laws are no exception. The price floor imposed by the government on the supply of low-skilled labor results in a labor surplus, which is just another way of saying higher unemployment. How much higher? Economists Joseph Sabia of American University and Richard Burkhauser of Cornell estimate that the minimum-wage hikes of the past two years will wipe out more than 390,000 jobs. According to David Neumark of the University of California at Irvine, an expert on labor force economics, the minimum-wage jump scheduled for this month "will lead to the loss of an additional 300,000 jobs among teens and young adults."

It is bad enough that Congress and the president would deliberately price so many workers out of the market. What is worse is that they claim to be helping the poor when they do so. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama backed a minimum-wage of $9.50 an hour because, his website explained, he "believes that people who work full time should not live in poverty." But if helping the poor is the goal, making it harder for them to get that crucial first job -- the one that may not pay much at first, but that gives new workers their first foothold in the job market -- is not the way to achieve it.

Politicians cannot cure poverty by raising the cost of entry-level employment any more than they can do so by waving a magic wand. After all, if aiding the needy were as easy as setting a compulsory minimum wage, why not set it at $20 an hour -- or better yet, $120 an hour -- and really help them out?

The laws of supply and demand are not optional. They weren't enacted by Congress and Congress cannot override them. Of course a higher minimum wage may benefit some low-skilled workers. But there are innumerable others whom it harms: Those who lose their jobs or can't get hired in the first place because the higher rate is more than their labor is worth. Those whose employers compensate for the wage increase by cutting employees' hours. Those whose jobs are outsourced to a market with lower labor costs.

Minimum-wage laws don't make low- and unskilled Americans more productive, more experienced, or more desirable. They merely make them more expensive -- and more likely, as a consequence, to be unemployed.



BrookesNews Update

Is the Fed predicting economic stagnation for the US? : Unemployment is still rising, business investment is plunging, manufacturing is still contracting, construction is still shed labour as are services. Obama's economic policy is in a shambles. His solution to every economic problem is always more taxes and more government control. But what is really happening to the US economy?
Obama's economic failure lessons from the Great Depression: Obama's failure to tackle the recession is becoming more and more apparent with each passing day. His childish mantra of blaming Bush for every lousy economic statistic that emerges no longer washes with the great majority of Americans. Nevertheless, it is necessary to confront the economics myths of the Great Depression that are being used to justify has massive expansion of government
Why Obama's massive energy bill will wreck the US economy : The costs of the Obama scheme are massive and cumulative. If fully implemented they would wreck the economy and savage living standards. His policy is not a 'jobs bill' but an attack on jobs
Global warming crisis yet another flagrant con: The Waxman=Markey bill is based on outrageous lies and will be an economic disaster. If the congressional, administration and activist conspirators behind this deceit were in the private sector — peddling bogus drugs, rather than bogus science — they'd be jailed for fraud
Honduras and congressional Banana Democrats: There was a coup in Hondura, but it wasn't committed by the US or the Honduran court. It was committed by the leftwing Zelaya. He brazenly defied the law, and Hondurans overwhelmingly supported his removal (a pro-Zelaya rally Monday drew a mere 200 acolytes). Yet Obama stood with Chavez and Castro, calling Zelaya's lawful removal 'a coup'
When they are paying my salary, then I'll worry: Our society has gone, just a few short years ago from being inundated with daily stories of Michael Jackson's 'sleepovers' in his bed with very young friends to all of Hollywood speaking about the great loss that the nation is suffering because of this 'great' man?
The Obama teleprompter lies about Obamacare : These are scary times and if you're over the age of 55, be very scared. If you're chronically ill with diabetes or high blood pressure or multiple sclerosis, etc., your future won't be very bright under Obamacare where federal government and bureaucratic pencil-pushers will decide how long we should live? If we are not entirely convinced of this possibility, do we really want to find out the answer the hard way?
Demands are only growing bigger for a shrinking base of taxpayers: "Washington's champion spenders — from Obama on down — appear to suffer from a delusional psychosis about money. They believe that federal spending is a healing balm. It has magical powers. If applied often enough in large enough quantities, it will cure everything. They also seem to think the money belongs to them and not the taxpayers from whom it was extracted
I'm With Sarah Palin! : America's strength has always come from 'we the people', not 'we the politicians.' It is time for all Americans to remember that and quit relying on government and/or politicians for solutions. Just as Sarah Palin has


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, July 09, 2009

Honduras Outraged by Obama-Chavez Alliance

(The sign says: "Honduras is an example to the world: we do not have oil or dollars. But we have balls")

I continue to receive messages from Honduran citizens upset at the international media for their distorted coverage of the situation in the Central American country. The people support the ouster of Manuel "Mel" Zelaya, who is considered a puppet of Venezuelan Communist ruler Hugo Chavez. They are mystified that an American president would want to return this Chavez puppet to power in Honduras.

One Honduran wrote: "The recent action taken by our Congress is highly supported by several organizations in support of peace and democracy: the State General Attorney, the Supreme Court, the Armed Forces, the private organizations and especially many young people. Mr. Zelaya broke the law on several occasions even after the Supreme Court stated that it was illegal. He had no respect for our laws and our Constitution.

"It's not a new fact to the international media what are Chavez intentions over Central and South America. And we in Honduras don't want that. We don't want to go back to socialism or communism. We still believe very strongly in our democracy and very strongly in our freedom...We should be an example to Central American countries as well as South American countries who have not yet been influenced by Chavez.

"May God bless our small but courageous country. And I hope the international media investigate very deeply. Send your people here and interview people from Congress and Supreme Court. Thank you again for reading our side of the story. We want a democracy, peace, freedom, and a president who doesn't believe he is above the law.

"Many people don't know where Honduras is, but after this, they shall remember that Honduras said no to socialism and communism.



Dumbing down the naval academy

Bruce Fleming, a tenured professor of English at the Naval Academy, is accusing his school of "dumbing down the Naval Academy" and "dumbing down the officer corps" through the use of an admissions policy that favors minority candidates. Fleming's claim appears to have merit.

According to the Washington Post, the Academy has proclaimed as a top priority the building of a student body that reflects the racial madeup of the Navy and of the nation. Consistent with this goal, its newly admitted group of plebes includes 435 minority group members in a class of 1,230. This is the most racially diverse class in the academy's 164-year history.

While the Academy claims that these numbers have been attained "with no loss of scholarship," that claim is inconsistent with the data. According to Fleming, 22 percent of this year's plebes scored less than 600 on the math SAT. Last year, only 12 percent of the plebes failed to hit 600.

Against this evidence, the Naval Academy can boast that 76 percent of the class of 2013 came from the top 20 percent of their high school classes, the same proportion as a decade ago. But the test score data are more probative than the class rank data. For if, as appears, the Academy is now filling its ranks with top students from high schools with lower achieving students than before, the Academy is, indeed, being dumbed down, as Professor Fleming says.

Oh well, it's only our nation's security that's at stake.



Putin on Bush and Obama

Putin Praises Bush

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin praised the hospitality and openness of U.S. former President George W. Bush in a telegramme sent hours before meeting his successor Barack Obama.

"During the last years we have been working on strengthening Russia-U.S. cooperation. Although there were differences between our countries, I always valued your openness and sincerity," Putin said, congratulating Bush on his 63rd birthday on July 6.

"With special warmth I recall your hospitality in the Crawford ranch and your family estate in Kennebunkport," Putin wrote, referring to their 2007 meeting at the Bush family vacation home when the two leaders went fishing and ate lobster.

Putin rebukes Obama

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday rejected U.S. President Barack Obama's charge that he was mired in Cold War thinking, setting the scene for a stormy first meeting at a Moscow summit next week.

In a pre-trip interview, the U.S. leader told the Associated Press that Putin needed to "understand that the Cold War approach to U.S.-Russian relationship is outdated" and that Putin had "one foot in the old ways of doing business."

Putin -- who once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the century" -- hit back, saying Russians were standing firmly on both feet.




Strange "Rightists" in Sweden these days: Yesterday the main Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (News of Helsinki) writes about Sweden's awakening to Leftist violence. In the article there are interviewed both a researcher of the Swedish secret police (Säpo) and the minister of immigration (with a non-Swedish name) Nyamko Sabuni. The police representative first says that the extreme left is JUST AS violent in their actions as the extreme "right". The minister goes ahead and ADMITS that both the media and the politicians have tolerated the violence of the Leftists due to "historic facts" and labelled the acts as "the riots of the youth". The most visible proof of this willful misunderstanding is the picture attached to the news. The text below the picture states: "The Swedish extreme right usually demonstrates its power on the Swedish National day June the sixth". At you can see in the picture, the "extreme right" members wear the abbreviation NSF on their shirts, which is short for "National Socialist Front". What kind of right wing supporters would carry the word "Socialism" in the name of their group? It's Hitler all over again: Only "Rightist" from the viewpoint of Marxism/Leninism.

Obama: US has “absolutely not” okayed Israeli strike on Iran : “President Obama, issuing an unusual clarification of his vice president’s words, said Tuesday that his administration had ‘absolutely not’ given its blessing for an Israeli attack on Iran. Obama said that although Israel had the right to defend itself, U.S. officials had emphasized the need to avoid ‘major conflict in the Middle East.’ Vice President Joe Biden created a stir Sunday by suggesting the U.S. would stand aside if Israel wanted to attack.”

Great! Ward "Eichmann" Churchill loses bid to reclaim job : “A judge refused Tuesday to reinstate a University of Colorado professor who was fired on plagiarism charges after he likened some Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims to a Nazi leader. If it stands, the ruling means Ward Churchill cannot return to the classroom even though he won a lawsuit in April arguing that his firing was politically motivated. … A jury ruled Churchill shouldn’t have been fired, but the decision on whether to reinstate him was left up to the judge, Larry J. Naves of Denver District Court. Naves ruled Tuesday that the decision by the university’s governing Board of Regents ‘occurred with sufficient procedural protections.’ He also noted that jurors awarded Churchill only $1 in damages. He said the low figure meant that the jury concluded Churchill did not incur any damages.”

US lurching towards “debt explosion”: “The US economy is lurching towards crisis with long-term interest rates on course to double, crippling the country’s ability to pay its debts and potentially plunging it into another recession, according to a study by the US’s own central bank. In a 2003 paper, Thomas Laubach, the US Federal Reserve’s senior economist, calculated the impact on long-term interest rates of rising fiscal deficits and soaring national debt. Applying his assumptions to the recent spike in the US fiscal deficit and national debt, long-term interests rates will double from their current 3.5pc. The impact would be devastating by making it punitively expensive to finance national borrowings and leading to what Tim Congdon, founder of Lombard Street Research, called a “debt explosion”.

The triumph of crony capitalism: “First President Bush, then President Obama poured billions into General Motors and Chrysler to keep the companies alive but barely breathing. That was just for starters. Next came Obama’s creation of an Auto Task Force to oversee the auto companies. To head the task force, the president picked Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in automaking but lots in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats. GM and Chrysler were quickly restructured, mostly to the benefit of the United Auto Workers, the union which spent millions in 2008 to elect Obama and Democrats. The UAW now owns 17.5 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler — quite a return on an investment of zero dollars. Obama said all parties should ’sacrifice,’ but only bondholders did. They got a fraction of what they were legally entitled to receive. UAW retirees, in contrast, got a gift of $9.5 billion at GM and $14.2 billion at Chrysler. There’s an epilogue. Delphi, the auto parts manufacturer once owned by GM and still its biggest supplier, has been in bankruptcy for four years. To acquire its assets and run the company, Delphi and Obama’s Auto Task Force picked an affiliate of the private equity firm Platinum Equity. There was no auction or competitive bidding, though Platinum stands to make millions in the deal. Why Platinum? The UAW favored it, sources said. There’s a name for all this: crony capitalism.”

Christian car repair in Missouri: "American motorists afraid that repairing the family car might break their budget are increasingly turning to Christian repair garages that offer honesty and charity as well as mechanical expertise. Christian Brothers Automotive, founded in Texas in the early 1980s, has just opened its 59th franchise in the recession-hit suburbs of St Louis, Missouri as part of its plans to have 120 outlets across the United States. Most are currently based in the South’s Bible Belt but the company is now expanding north. Nearly 80 per cent of Americans describe themselves as Christians so the company’s philosophy of ministering to its customers and treating them like family while fixing only what needs to be fixed is turning out to be good business during the recession."

Activists left and right spotlight a broken federal government: “Millions of Americans perceive that the federal government is broken and might not be fixable. They view centralized power as heavy-handed, intrusive — and yet useless when it’s called upon for help, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Right or wrong, like them or not, state sovereignty activists say, ‘We have a solution.’ Their solution is radical local activism to restore power to citizens at the state level. They aim to make state laws that counteract federal ones. They hope to preserve local or regional cultures against homogenization. They’re all aiming for their idea of freedom — although often their concepts of freedom are diverse, to say the least. Watch them: They may be the vanguard of a much larger movement of frustrated citizens who feel helpless to achieve their aims at the federal level but who aren’t willing to accept the status quo.”

Federal web sites knocked out by cyber-attack : “A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime …. The Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week, according to officials inside and outside the government. Some of the sites were still experiencing problems Tuesday evening. Cyber attacks on South Korea government and private sites also may be linked. … U.S. officials refused to publicly discuss any details of the cyber attack, and would only generally acknowledge that it occurred. It was not clear whether other government sites also were attacked.”

Royalties deal lets Internet radio play on: “An agreement has been reached to help ensure the future of internet radio by warding off potentially devastating copyright-royalty rate hikes. The deal is between SoundExchange, a nonprofit royalty collection and distribution organization associated with the Recording Industry Association of America, and three small internet-radio webcasters: radioIO, Digitally Imported, and AccuRadio.”

East Germany: Homesick for dictatorship : “Glorification of the German Democratic Republic is on the rise two decades after the Berlin Wall fell. Young people and the better off are among those rebuffing criticism of East Germany as an ‘illegitimate state.’ In a new poll, more than half of former eastern Germans defend the GDR. … Today, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 57 percent, or an absolute majority, of eastern Germans defend the former East Germany. ‘The GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there,’ say 49 percent of those polled. Eight percent of eastern Germans flatly oppose all criticism of their former home and agree with the statement: ‘The GDR had, for the most part, good sides. Life there was happier and better than in reunified Germany today.’” [Young people draped in the East German flag above]

The tough job of bossing us around: “White House officials are so busy wielding vast government power that they barely have time to see their kids! That’s the gist of a New York Times human-interest piece, that portrays Obama administration apparatchiks as overburdened by the demands of their ambitious agenda, to the point that their home lives are somewhat neglected. Let me suggest that the bunch of them should punch out and let the policy wish-list gather a bit of dust. It’s OK; we’ll survive.”

UK: Kindness not enough to cut the queues : “Cheers all round as the Human Tissues Authority announce that the number of people donating kidneys to strangers has increased by 50 per cent. The only problem, alas, is that the increase is from ten people to fifteen. And three of those have yet to undergo surgery. In a country where 7,000 people are in need of a kidney, an increase of two donors is hardly a cause for celebration. Fortunately there is a long-ignored solution: compensating organ donors.”

I have put up a fair bit up on my Paralipomena blog recently, for what it is worth.


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, July 08, 2009

It takes b*tches to tear down a lady

By Andrew Breitbart

What a shock that Maureen Dowd devoted her New York Times column Sunday to attack Sarah Palin. It did not so much criticize Alaska's governor for prematurely stepping down from her official duties as to finish off what sister snipers Katie Couric and Tina Fey began last fall: The assassination of Sarah Palin - by media.

For those who didn't pay attention, Mrs. Palin's unexpected stratospheric rise as a national political figure threatened the media's preordained presidency of Barack Obama.

In light of how the Obama machine took down Hillary Clinton, which unsettled many feminists who believed 2008 was their time, many who saw sexism at play - the destruction of an ascendant Republican female icon was an urgent imperative for the Democratic Party. In conjunction with the laws of political correctness as perfected by the Democratic Media Complex, it would take prominent women to take down an unlikely and unexpected conservative feminist symbol that threatened to steal away Mrs. Clinton's votes from the Chosen One.

While the vanquished then-senator from New York conspicuously removed herself from this task - going so far as praising Sen. John McCain's running mate as "a very composed and effective debater" - a trio of media partisans, each with a unique skill set, rose to the task of tearing down Sarah Palin.

Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey - Obama's Angels (featuring Joy Behar in the role of "Bosley") - used a potent mix of mockery, snobbery and vitriol to undermine Mrs. Palin's feminist bona fides. They are what my wife calls "pad throwers," an allusion to the shower room scene in the Stephen King film "Carrie," in which the popular girls throw sanitary napkins and tampons at the film's namesake. Simply put, they are bullies. And female bullies - "Mean Girls" as Miss Fey's film calls them - are the cruelest kind.

Primarily motivated by a desire to keep abortion "safe, legal and rare," female liberals in the media have carte blanche to do and say anything. But since Mrs. Palin, a mother of five including a boy who was known to have Down syndrome before he was born, is a potent symbol of the pro-life movement, she is considered an enemy of the sisterhood.

Miss Dowd's attempted takedown of Mrs. Palin is less skillful surgery than it is name calling using fun noun and adjective pairings. Think "Mad Libs." And, that's exactly what Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey are. Once the ladies did their job, liberal men like Jon Stewart and David Letterman had the cover to join the hate campaign.

While Mrs. Palin is at ease with her gender, as well as her place in the workplace and at home, Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey convey a base insecurity in their feminine skin. Their rage is fueled by liberalism's false feminist dogma and they take it out on a woman who chose not to join their angry sorority.

The governor of Alaska's compelling narrative - athlete, beauty queen, wife, mother, hunter, successful politician - shows adherents of narrow leftist dogma that, perhaps, women really can have it all. Most importantly: freedom of thought. In calling Alaska's governor "Caribou Barbie," Miss Dowd used beauty as a weapon to diminish Mrs. Palin's achievements. A man would be reprimanded for this, but Miss Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning pad thrower and is licensed for such vindictive pettiness.

"Caribou," of course, is a stab at Mrs. Palin's backwater, Red State ways, attacks on which an Upper Westside liberal snob can never get enough. Miss Dowd goes on to ridicule "Sarah's country-music melodramas." This is her barely veiled attempt to call Mrs. Palin "white trash." And this has been the loathsome subtext of all media criticism of the Palins. They even went after their children. Mercilessly. And Mrs. Palin during the Letterman saga finally cried, "Enough!"

Exposed in the relentless Palin attacks is not just political bias, but unmitigated class bias. The American mainstream media in its current free-fall is begging for more comeuppance when it continues to berate the values and lifestyles of the folks in flyover country who in simpler times used to be considered valued customers.

While "empathy" and "tolerance" may be liberalism's highest values, Miss Dowd offers her conservative victims none. They are caricatured, demeaned and dehumanized. They are to be mocked and ridiculed to the point where the other students point and laugh. The MoDo template is so simple and repetitive it could be written into a software program.

Perhaps resigning from her first term in office may hurt Mrs. Palin's attempts to run for higher office. Even I, a Palin supporter, now have qualms about her seeking higher office. But politics is not the most important way to influence our country, and reinforce conservatism's relevancy in the current global disorder. Media is. Sarah Palin may best serve her country by entering the media fray. In the pursuit of taking her down, Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey have created the person who burns the liberal media prom down.



Honduras and Chile

I want to start with a good intoduction to my topic from Taranto. Taranto has a strong albeit subtle (dare I say Jewish?) sense of humor so, although I love his closing line, it is not the point of what I want to say:
"The Central American nation of Honduras continues its defense of the rule of law in the face of an assault by the Organization of American states, the Associated Press reports from the capital, Tegucigalpa:
Honduras' interim government closed its main airport to all flights on Monday after blocking the runway to prevent the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Clashes with his supporters caused the first death in a week of protests. . . . Honduras' new government has vowed to arrest Zelaya for 18 alleged criminal acts including treason and failing to implement more than 80 laws approved by Congress since he took office in 2006. Zelaya also refused to comply with a Supreme Court ruling against his planned referendum on whether to hold an assembly to consider changing the constitution.

Bizarrely, President Obama has sided with the OAS and the scofflaw ex-president. A Bloomberg report from last week quotes a Honduran Supreme Court justice, Rosalinda Cruz, explaining the situation:
"The only thing the armed forces did was carry out an arrest order," Cruz, 55, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Tegucigalpa. "There's no doubt he was preparing his own coup by conspiring to shut down the congress and courts."

Why won't Obama listen? Does he have something against wise Latina women?

What I want to point out is that the situation in Honduras is a very close re-run of what happened in Chile in 1973. A far-Leftist President was defying the law of the land and the military responded to a plea from the Parliament to remove him. The outcome of that was in the end very good for Chile -- which is now a prosperous and stable democracy -- so I have some hopes that Honduras will benefit similarly. Honduras would be lucky to have a military leader as wise and as principled as Augusto Pinochet, however. Incidentally, Pinochet was an appointee of the man he deposed, Salvador Allende. Allende appointed him because Pinochet was known as non-political. He responded when his country called, however. You will read none of that in the press, of course.


Obama regime cheapens one of America's highest honours

We read:
President Obama on Wednesday signed a measure awarding the 300 surviving Women Airforce Service Pilots from World War II the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed by both chambers of Congress bestows one of the nation's highest civilian honors on the group known as WASPs more than 60 years after they were the first women to fly U.S. military aircraft.

"The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country's call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since," Obama said in a statement. "Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve."

The Women Airforce Service Pilots was formed in 1942 to create a corps of female pilots able to fill all types of flying jobs at home, freeing male military pilots to travel to the war front. The 1,100 members had to pay their own way to Texas for months of rigorous training.

Once assigned to military bases, they did everything from participating in ground-to-air anti-aircraft practice; to towing targets for air-to-air gunnery practice with live ammunition; to flying drones; to conducting night exercises; to testing repaired aircraft before they were used in cadet training; to serving as instructors and transporting cargo and male pilots to embarkation points.


I entirely support recognition of their service at home while men were sent into the war zone but did their service justify such an extremely high honour? If it did, all the pilots who went abroad should also get it. As far as I can see, fewer than 300 congressional gold medals have previously been given since George Washington received the first. In the period following WWII only 8 army men received gold medals, all generals. This affair just shows what contempt Democrats have for military values and distinguished service.

The fact that Republicans also voted for this measure just shows that they too are under the thumb of political correctness



How's the stimulus working for you so far?: "Well now. Our economy is really lunging forward, isn’t it? What a ride! Are you holding on? We’re billions of dollars further in debt (trillions?) and the economy is still stagnant. TARP, the stimulus bill, massive debts our children and grandchildren will have to pay .. and what has this all brought us? Banks aren’t lending, businesses aren’t hiring – let along expanding – and consumers aren’t buying. Oh, to be sure, the malls are crowded. Turn up the thermostats and see how long that lasts. Those aren’t shoppers, they’re just your neighbors trying to stay cool while watching the latest absurd teen fashion and freak shows".

Lessons from the Fourth of July : “The true revolutionary aspect of the Fourth of July was not the military battles that the English colonists waged against the British Empire. Instead, it was the notion that was expressed in the Declaration of Independence: man’s rights do not come from government but rather from nature and God. Throughout history, people have been taught to believe that their government is the source of their rights. The consequence of that mindset is logical — people express gratitude to their public officials for their freedom.”

Fuel standards are killing GM: "General Motors can survive bankruptcy far more easily than it can survive President Barack Obama’s ambitious fuel economy standards, which mandate that all new new vehicles average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The actual Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) results will depend on the mixture of fuel-thrifty and fuel-thirsty vehicles consumers choose to buy from each manufacturer — not on what producers hope to sell. That means only those companies most successful in selling the smallest cars with the smallest engines will, in the future, be allowed to sell the more profitable larger pickups and SUVs and more powerful luxury and sports cars.”

Markets need freedom to fail: “President Obama has announced his ’sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system.’ We can debate endlessly whether the Constitution authorizes any president to ‘overhaul’ the financial system. But I want to focus on a different matter: whether any president, with all his advisers, is capable of overseeing something as complex as the financial system. My answer is no, and it is ominous that a bright guy like Obama doesn’t know this. He thinks he must regulate the system because it is so complicated and important. In fact, those are the reasons why he cannot regulate it, and should not try.”

Goldman Sachs angry at 'vampire squid' description: "If only financial journalists would dish out more insults as good as a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, business columns might suddenly seem so much more interesting. Alas, the world must turn to its music magazine writers, such as Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, for the really colourful stuff when it comes to describing financial titans such as Goldman Sachs. Mr Taibbi... used the flashy phrase when he took it to the Wall Street giant in a recent edition of "Rolling Stone". But much more shocking than Mr Taibbi's well-crafted paragraphs about Goldman Sachs engineering every great market event since the Great Depression, and running the US Government, was the reaction by the normally tight-lipped firm. Instead of ignoring an article that accused it of rigging the booms in internet stocks, oil prices and mortgage-backed bonds.... Goldman went running to Wall Street's favourite tabloid, the New York Post, to defend itself. "(Mr Taibbi's) story is an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories," a furious Goldman spokesman, Lucas Van Praag, emailed the Post." [The rest of the article points out that Taibbi has a lot of facts on his side -- which may explain the reaction]


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, July 07, 2009

WOW! Iran clerics declare election invalid and condemn crackdown

Iran’s biggest group of clerics has declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election to be illegitimate and condemned the subsequent crackdown. The statement by the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom is an act of defiance against the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has made clear he will tolerate no further challenges to Mr Ahmadinejad’s “victory” over Mir Hossein Mousavi.

“It’s a clerical mutiny,” said one Iranian analyst. “This is the first time ever you have all these big clerics openly challenging the leader’s decision.” Another, in Tehran, said: “We are seeing the birth of a new political front.” Professor Ali Ansari, head of Iranian Studies at St Andrews University, said: “It’s highly significant. It shows this is nowhere near resolved.”

The association’s statement also shows how deeply the political establishment is divided, and the extent to which the Supreme Leader now derives his power from military might, not moral authority. It makes it much harder for the regime to arrest Mr Mousavi and other opposition leaders. At the weekend a top aide to Mr Khamenei demanded that Mr Mousavi and other opponents be tried for “terrible crimes”, and the elite Revolutionary Guards accused them of “trying to overthrow the Islamic establishment”.

The association did not support a candidate in the election, but has now lined up firmly behind Mr Mousavi. In a rebuke to the regime it declared on its website: “Candidates’ complaints and strong evidence of vote-rigging were ignored . . . Peaceful protests by Iranians were violently oppressed . . . Dozens of Iranians were killed and hundreds were illegally arrested . . . The outcome is invalid.”

It called on other clerics to speak out, demanded the release of all those arrested in the past three weeks, and directly challenged the authority of the Guardian Council, a body of 12 senior clerics that has openly backed Mr Ahmadinejad and his patron, Mr Khamenei. “How can one accept the legitimacy of the election just because the Guardian Council says so?,” it asked.

On Wednesday, a day after the Guardian Council said that the election result was final, Mr Mousavi talked of forming a new political grouping to fight an illegitimate government. With the popular former president Mohammad Khatami and Medhi Karoubi, another defeated candidate, challenging the Government’s legitimacy, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, another former president, pointedly meeting the families of those killed in street demonstrations, that coalition is beginning to take shape.



A Femi-Leftist who defends Sarah Palin

The woman below seems to lack the hate that suffuses Leftists -- so finds herself emotionally lost in that company. She is a genuine feminist instead of a Leftist hater masquerading as an advocate for women

Sarah Palin’s surprise resignation has brought out the crazy again, and reading through the blogs I’m reminded of how much pure bullshit has been said and believed about her and continues to be said and believed. I’m reminded of how so many feminists seem possessed of a wholly irrational hatred for this woman. Why?

This isn’t going to be the kind of post where I sketch out a pattern and then give you The Key To Understanding It All. This is going to be more like a stream-of-consciousness tiptoe through the violets of my reclusive thought processes. I’ve been puzzling over this stuff since last August. One reason I’ve written as many posts as I have about Palin is because I’m so baffled by the reaction to her. I can’t figure it out. It’s like quantum entanglement or dark energy: I make myself sick trying to understand it and worry that I’ll die before I get it sorted. (I know: Xanax.)

Of course, the first answer you’ll get if you ask feminists why they hate Sarah Palin is that “it’s because she ____” — and then fill in the blank with the lie of choice: made rape victims pay for their own kits, is against contraception or sex ed, believes in abstinence-only, thinks the dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago, doesn’t believe in global warming, doesn’t believe in evolution, is stupid and can’t read, etc., etc., etc., etc.

But none of those things is true. None of them. Which brings me to my first puzzlement: why don’t people bother to find out what Sarah Palin really believes? I don’t mean people as in the usual sexist freaks; I mean feminists.

Sarah Palin is only the second woman in the history of this country to run on a major party’s presidential ticket. That alone makes her, to me, a fascinating figure worthy of serious investigation. When McCain announced Palin as his choice for VP, I immediately tried to find out as much about her as I could. I wanted to know who she was, what she believed, what her politics were. It never occurred to me that this interest would make me in any way unusual among feminists, but apparently it did. Apparently most feminists — at least the ones online — are content to just take the word of the frat boys at DailyKos or the psycho-sexists at Huffington Post. That amazes me. Aren’t you even interested in who she really is? I want to ask. She’s only the second woman on a presidential ticket in our whole fricking history!

But even weirder is what happens when you try to replace the myths with the truth. If you explain, “no, she didn’t charge rape victims,” your feminist interlocutor will come back with something else: “she’s abstinence-only!” No, you say, she’s not; and then the person comes back with, “she’s a creationist!” and so on. “She’s an uneducated moron!” Actually, Sarah Palin is not dumb at all, and based on her interviews and comments, I’d say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

But after you’ve had a few of these myth-dispelling conversations, you start to realize that it doesn’t matter. These people don’t hate Palin because of the lies; the lies exist to justify the hate. That’s why they keep reaching and reaching for something else, until they finally get to “she winked on TV!” (And by the way: I’ve been winked at my whole life by my grandmother, aunts, and great-aunts. Who knew it was such a despicable act?)

The only thing Palin is commonly accused of that is actually true is her anti-abortion stance, though, as I’ve pointed out several times, her political position is that “the will of the people” should decide the law. She has also expressed sympathy for women choosing abortion and has said that she is totally opposed to any woman ever being criminalized for it. I’m not pretending she’s anything other than what she is (an adamant “pro-lifer”), but I am trying to be as clear and honest as I can be about her actual stance.

The fact is, that stance alone is not enough to explain the kind of frenzied hatred and feminist repudiation that Palin has attracted. Notice the example of Hugo Schwyzer, who, as I pointed out in my comment at IBTP, is allowed to call himself a feminist and even cross-post at RH Reality Check — while Sarah Palin is endlessly ridiculed and reviled for having the same beliefs. Notice, too, that the Republican Party (and even the Democratic Party) is full of other “pro-life” politicians, none of whom have ever been crucified and slandered Palin-style.

Speaking of slander, that brings me to my next big puzzlement: what is it with the feminists who just freely make shit up about Palin? The lies had to start somewhere, and they didn’t all hatch in the bowels of the Obama campaign (though a bunch of them did). Some of them were incubated by feminists, particularly the ones about Palin being an anti-sex “purity queen,” the kind of batshit Christian who believes in Purity Balls and abstinence pledges and is opposed to sex ed. None of that is true.

When I first started investigating Palin, I was very relieved to discover that she’s not nearly as nutty as she might be, given that she’s a Christian. I was pleased to learn that she’s not one of those fundies who thinks wives have to submit or that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs. She’s not into that whacked-out purity or abstinence-only stuff. That’s good. It’s good that she’s not a nutjob. So…why aren’t other feminists also happy that she’s not a nutjob? Why do they, in fact, spread lies to make her seem worse than she is?

Are people simply confused about the differences between Christians? Do they think all Christians are alike? I doubt it. I’m no godbag and I personally wish that Christianity would evaporate from the face of the earth, but I still recognize that not all Christians are alike. I think most other people do, too. I think most people in this country understand that Tennessee snake handlers don’t go to Catholic mass, and that the Quiverfull people are not the same as the Episcopalians. Being a Christian, even a conservative Christian, doesn’t automatically mean you’re a young earth creationist in a calico dress with a purity ring on your finger.

Besides, I know for a fact that the feminists spreading the lies about Palin knew they were spreading lies. Not to tell tales out of school, but: they knew. They were supplied with the correct information, and they chose to lie anyway. Why?

Was it just about electing Obama? Were feminists simply willing to commit any slander necessary to elect the Chosen One? That’s a likely explanation, but here again: we’re talking about feminists. Feminists doing this — slandering a woman, and doing so in unmistakably sexist terms. After all, caricaturing Palin as a purity queen (Bible Spice, Sexy Puritan) is just the flip side of caricaturing her as a porn queen. As I’ve said before, it’s like the NAACP sponsoring a lynching. The mind boggles.

Even more mind-boggling are the attacks that don’t even bother with false claims about policy or beliefs, but just go straight for free-floating misogynistic rage. Ridiculing her hair, clothes, makeup, voice, body, womb. “Sarah Palin is a c*nt” — good one! Calling her a bimbo — good one! Calling her a f*cking whore — good one! Fantasizing about her being gang-raped — good one! And all this from feminists. Forget the NAACP sponsoring a lynching; this is like the NAACP ripping off their masks to reveal that they’ve been replaced by white supremacist pod people.

Think back to the reactions to Sarah Palin’s speech at the convention. Remember the gal at Jezebel whose head throbbed with hate blood as she listened to Palin speak? The one who said she wanted to “murk that c*nt”? What the hell is that? I cannot figure it out. I look and look, and it’s like trying to see someone else’s hallucination. No matter how hard I squint, I can’t see whatever it is they’re looking at. What is so horrifying?

My own reaction to Palin’s convention speech was the polar opposite. I can honestly say that, aside from Nixon’s resignation speech, Sarah Palin’s address at the convention is the only Republican speech I have ever enjoyed. Or even been much interested in. I don’t agree with Republicans on politics — not by a long shot — but as a person, I found Palin charming in a Harry Truman, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Erin Brockovich kind of way. How could you not? Especially after the goons had spent the previous weekend in a misogyny fest of lurid speculation and grotesque sexual insults about her and her family. I was proud of her for her courage, as well as for her personal accomplishments as a working-class regular person who went into politics and succeeded.

Her speech also delivered some welcome punctures to the national gasbag known as Obama. And that’s another thing: it has not escaped my attention that many of the things Palin is accused of, falsely, are actually true of Obama. This is a guy who, as a U.S. senator from Illinois, didn’t even know which Senate committees he was on or which states bordered his own. (And don’t even get me started on Joe “The Talking Donkey” Biden, who thinks FDR was president during the stock market crash and that people watched TV in those days.) I’m not saying Obama’s a moron, but he’s sure as hell no genius. People say Sarah Palin rambles; excuse me, but have you actually heard Obama speak extemporaneously? As for being a diva, surely we all remember the Possomus sign and the special embroidered pillow on the Obama campaign plane. The fact is, Obama is an intellectually mediocre narcissist with a thin resume who’s lost without a teleprompter and whose entire campaign had all the substance and gravity of a Pepsi commercial. Yet people say Sarah Palin is a fluffy bunny diva.

So: are we back to Obama after all? Is this a transference thing? Are people subconsciously frustrated by the fact that Obama is an empty suit, and are they transferring that rage to Palin? As you see, I don’t have the answers.

Awhile ago I came up with what I think is the most plausible explanation yet when I said: "Sarah Palin is the Designated Hate Receptacle for self-described feminists. They know they’re not supposed to hate other women, but they do anyway because their feminism is not quite as strong as their patriarchal brainwashing. Sarah Palin is the culture’s designated Hate Receptacle."

I’m not entirely satisfied with that, but it’s the best I can come up with. If we add to that the subconscious Obama resentment-transference, perhaps on a kind of sliding rheostat thing, we may be getting close to a solution.

What’s alarming is that the need for a female Hate Receptacle exists, even with feminists. But that would explain why Palin haters are so reluctant to give up hating her. It would explain why they’re so resistant to the truth. They don’t want to find out that the lies are lies; they don’t want to be disabused. They need a hate receptacle, and so they need Palin to be the sum of all things they fear. I guess.



We need a lot more of this

From Gov. Palin's legal counsel:

To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as “fact” that Governor Palin resigned because she is “under federal investigation” for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those “responsible for the abuse of that right.” Alaska Constitution Art. I, Sec. 5. These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any regard for the truth, and is actionable.

And note this:

A day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resigned, a federal official in her home state dismissed one potential explanation for her sudden and unexpected resignation: a rumored FBI investigation into the former Wasilla mayor on public corruption charges. Despite rumors of a looming controversy after the Republican governor's surprise announcement Friday that she would leave office this month, some of them published in the blogosphere, the FBI's Alaska spokesman said the bureau had no investigation into Palin for her activities as governor, as mayor or in any other capacity.

"There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we're investigating her or getting ready to indict her," Special Agent Eric Gonzalez said in a phone interview Saturday. "It's just not true." He added that there was "no wiggle room" in his comments for any kind of inquiry.




The Fascists are back in Mexico: "The ruling National Action Party (PAN) of Mexico admitted defeat in the country’s legislative elections. … Sunday’s balloting gave the opposition centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) 40 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent gained by President Felipe Calderon’s PAN, according to an exit poll made public by the Televisa network. The leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) was running third with about 15 percent of the vote, the survey showed. The trend was largely borne out by partial official returns.”

Bulgaria: Socialist coalition loses to center-right party: “Mayor Boyko Borisov of Sofia, a burly former black-belt bodyguard with a penchant for tough talk, cigars and leather jackets, led his center-right opposition party to a larger-than-expected election victory on Sunday over Bulgaria’s governing Socialist-led coalition, which was weakened by a severely deteriorating economy and voter fatigue with chronic corruption. With nearly two-thirds of the vote counted on Sunday night, Mr. Borisov’s party, the Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria, had 42 percent of the vote, while the Socialist-led coalition had 18 percent, less than had been anticipated. Mr. Borisov will probably be the next prime minister, if negotiations to form a coalition government are successful. Mr. Borisov’s party has become the leading political force in the country, campaigning on promises of change and bringing accountability to government.”

Faith re-emerges in the Church of England: "A hardline Anglican group launched today could cause a “disastrous” split in the Church of England, an evangelical bishop has warned. The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is opposed to the ordination of gay clergy, blessings for gay marriage or civil partnership, and the consecration of women bishops. The new fellowship will today publish letters from the Queen, supreme governor of the Church of England, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, acknowledging its launch. Its founders claim it is nothing more than an “orthodox” movement intended to bring about reform and renewal from within. They claim it bears comparison with Anglican agencies such as the Church Mission Society. Archbishops of conservative Anglican provinces from around the world, including the Nigerian primate Dr Peter Akinola, have sent messages of support. Dr Graham Kings, consecrated last month as Bishop of Sherborne and founder of the moderate evangelical grouping Fulcrum, said the new fellowship represented a structure that would allow its founders to “split” from the Church of England.... Significantly, Dr Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the newly founded province that is claiming to be the authentic Anglican Church in the US but is awaiting recognition from the Archbishop of Canterbury, will give a keynote address to today’s meeting."

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


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, July 06, 2009

There Are No Permanent Majorities In America

Permanent Majorities are Almost Non-existent in American History. If a party attains “permanent majority” status, we would expect that party to dominate both Houses of Congress and the Presidency for an extended period of time, perhaps twenty to thirty years.

But such periods of dominance are rare. Consider the following chart. It measures Republican strength in the White House and House of Representatives by averaging the party’s percentage of the popular vote in the most recent Presidential election with the party’s percentage of seats won in the most recent House of Representatives election. It begins with the formation of the modern Republican party and continues to the present day. Senate seats are ignored for two reasons: (1) Senators were not elected by popular vote until the early 1900s (the exact date varies by state); and (2) only 1/3 of the Senate (give or take a seat) is up at any given time, so including Senate membership would necessarily serve as an artificial dampener on the partisan swings in the country (both toward Republicans and Democrats).

Notice how noisy the chart is. If there were stable, permanent majorities being formed at any time, we would expect to see long periods of time where Republicans are consistently well above the 50% threshold or consistently well below the 50% threshold. But the longest unbroken period of time we ever see for partisan control of Washington is the time of Republican dominance from just before the Civil War to just before Reconstruction ends. Of course, when most of your political opponents consider themselves a part of a different country and/or are not allowed to vote, it is easy to build a massive majority.

Even if we dampen the effect of outliers somewhat by charting a 3-year rolling average, we still see quite a bit of movement, which is inconsistent with permanent majorities:

Instead of a permanent Democratic majority from 1932-1968, and a Republican majority from 1968-2008, what we see is this: Republicans get whacked after the depression, but the American public quickly pulls them back to parity. Then the recession of 1958 hits, and Republicans get knocked down again. The American people pull them back to parity, then the Watergate scandal hits. The American people pull the Republicans back to parity, then the recession of 1990 hits. All of this is consistent with minority status driven by events and Republicans either holding the Presidency at inopportune moments or being incompetent, depending on your viewpoint.

Much more HERE


Spendthrift Sunbelt States

Arizona, Florida, and Nevada have run through the riches of their boom and are starting to look more like cash-strapped New York.

If states were airlines, New York and California would be Delta and United. Even when competently managed, they must shoulder the institutional inheritance of decades of other people’s decisions, good and bad. They must bear the heavy cost of legions of retired government workers. And they carry billions of dollars of debt that backs expensive, complex infrastructure.

Over the last few decades, when New Yorkers and Californians tired of paying high taxes to fund big government, they tended to migrate to what we might call the JetBlue states: Arizona, Florida, and Nevada. In those three low-tax refuges, the construction industry swelled to build houses for the new residents. And the construction workers themselves needed houses, providing jobs for still more construction workers. All the new people needed new places to shop, as well as new doctors, dentists, and restaurants. The local financial industry also grew and grew, filling office parks with the folks who did the back-office work for all the mortgages that New York bankers were eagerly approving. The result: double-digit population growth.

But during the boom times, elected officials in Arizona, Florida, and Nevada took a page out of the old states’ playbook, driving up spending at an unsustainable pace. Now that the growth of the low-tax states has hit a wall, shattering revenues, they face a tough choice: they can raise taxes to fund permanently higher costs, or they can aggressively cut spending. So far, it’s proving surprisingly easy for them to choose Option One, taking a small step toward transforming themselves into the high-tax states that so many of their own residents have fled.



Can California Be Sold On Ebay's Former Leader?

California's campaigns introduce candidates not only to the state's voters but to its immensity. In Bakersfield, Meg Whitman, 52, the former CEO of eBay who is campaigning for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination, learned about carrots.

In 1968, the Grimm brothers were selling vegetables at a roadside stand in Anaheim. They moved to Bakersfield and today Grimmway Farms and one rival provide 80 percent of the nation's carrots, partly because the brothers figured out how to make the vegetables pleasingly uniform in shape.

Who knew? Whitman didn't, and the story, which she tells enthusiastically and at length, delights her because it confirms her conviction that California "was built by intellectual capital," and not just the Hollywood and Silicon Valley sort.

California's cascading crises prefigure America's future unless Washington reverses the growth of government subservient to organized labor. The state cannot pay its bills, poorly educates its young, and its taxation punishes whatever success that its suffocating regulatory regime does not prevent.

Whitman, a Roman candle of facts and ideas, insists, "We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem of epic proportions." Twenty-five percent of California's revenues come from income taxes paid by the 144,000 richest taxpayers, so "if one of them leaves, it's a really bad thing." Lots have left. Some never really arrive. Pierre Omidyar, after founding eBay in San Jose, resided in Nevada, which has no income tax.

Whitman says 50 percent of California's spending on education, grades K through 12, goes into overhead, not classrooms, compared to 20 percent in, for example, Connecticut. The public education lobby likes it that way, but because California elementary school students rank 46th among the states in math, 48th in reading, 49th in science, it is, Whitman says tersely, hard for defenders of the status quo to "hide behind the results."




Zero money down, not subprime loans, led to the mortgage meltdown: "What is really behind the mushrooming rate of mortgage foreclosures since 2007? The evidence from a huge national database containing millions of individual loans strongly suggests that the single most important factor is whether the homeowner has negative equity in a house -- that is, the balance of the mortgage is greater than the value of the house. This means that most government policies being discussed to remedy woes in the housing market are misdirected. Many policy makers and ordinary people blame the rise of foreclosures squarely on subprime mortgage lenders who presumably misled borrowers into taking out complex loans at low initial interest rates. Those hapless individuals were then supposedly unable to make the higher monthly payments when their mortgage rates reset upwards. But the focus on subprimes ignores the widely available industry facts (reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association) that 51% of all foreclosed homes had prime loans, not subprime, and that the foreclosure rate for prime loans grew by 488% compared to a growth rate of 200% for subprime foreclosures."

Feds OK seizure of extremist assets: “The Obama administration on Thursday authorized the seizure of assets belonging to an extremist organization in Iraq and an Iranian backer of insurgents, saying both are responsible for deadly attacks in Iraq. The Treasury Department is targeting Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and the Iraq-based group Kata’ib Hizballah for committing, directing or supporting acts of violence in Iraq against U.S. and Iraqi forces.”

FL: Supreme Court says Crist can’t reject judge nominees: “The Florida Supreme Court says Gov. Charlie Crist can’t reject an all-white list of appeals court nominees, even though he wants to appoint someone who will make the judiciary more diverse. The justices unanimously ruled Thursday that the Florida Constitution leaves Crist no choice but to pick one of the six white candidates submitted by a judicial nominating commission.”

How to encourage software piracy: "Adobe Systems is facing massive customer service delays worldwide, with some phone calls taking 40 minutes to answer. The company apologised for the inconvenience but said it would take at least a month to fully rectify the situation. One local customer told The Australian he faced registration difficulties last week after purchasing the Adobe Student package at $529. Like all vendors, Adobe requires student status to be validated. The company takes three days to process student software registrations as it is a manual exercise. After the wait time, the customer still hadn't received a registration key. He was finally told that other people had been waiting for over a week for theirs. When contacted, Adobe admitted its customer care division for consumer clients had been hurt by a change in vendors. Unfortunately there's been an extended wait time for student registrations and phone calls," Mr Frazer said. Adobe exceeded the three-day target for student registrations but customers trying to contact the company via telephone fared far worse. Mr Frazer said some calls took more than half an hour to answer while other callers hit a brick wall. "We had some customers waiting for about 40 minutes and some calls couldn't get through," the Singapore-based executive said." [People who have honestly paid a lot of money for something they could have got from a pirate source should not be subjected to this]

Another charming Muslim: "Music star Cheb Mami has been sentenced to five years in jail for trying to make a former lover undergo a forced abortion, despite pleading for forgiveness at his trial near Paris. Wearing a white shirt, the star, whose real name is Mohamed Khelifati, showed no emotion as the verdict was read out, before being escorted from the courtroom in Bobigny, outside Paris, and remanded in custody. The victim, a 43-year-old photographer whose name was withheld, was sequestered and drugged in Mami's villa in Algiers in the summer of 2005 after revealing she was pregnant with his child. Two women and a man then tried to carry out an abortion on her. Returning to France, the woman learned her pregnancy had not been terminated and went on to have the child - a girl - now three years old. "They insulted me. They threw me on the mattress and tore off my pants....I was given three shots with needles, one woman pressed against my stomach and the other put her hand in my vagina and started scraping," she told the court. The victim was not present to hear the verdict but her lawyer, Marie Dose, said her client was "relieved to see that the court understood the violence she was subjected to," and hoped her young daughter "can forgive her father". During his testimony, Mami broke down in tears and pleaded for the woman's forgiveness, admitting he made a "serious mistake" but saying he did not love her and felt "trapped" when she told him she was pregnant. "I was ashamed to have an illegitimate child. A child should be born from a union. I didn't want this child," said the singer."

Consumers likely to find increased bank costs: "An array of government-created insurance agencies — which have long charged bargain-rate premiums to banks, credit unions, and brokerages — are seeking to make up for massive shortfalls in their insurance funds by raising fees and premiums, many of which are likely to be passed on to consumers. The billions of dollars in new fees are the result of decisions by Congress and the agencies to allow the insurance funds and premiums to be capped at levels that proved far too low, according to Jeffrey R. Brown, a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has studied the issue. ‘This is what happens when you put the government in charge of an insurance program,’ Brown said. ‘Politically, they don’t run them the way the need to be run.’”

Life, liberty, and property are inseparable: “Life, liberty, and property were the central, inalienable rights that formed the foundation of the great experiment in self government called the United States of America. The founders of our country never broke apart this sacred triumvirate, because each one of these rights is inextricably bound to the other. No one of these three can exist without the other. Moreover, when all three are secured, it is almost impossible for injustice to exist. Wherever one does find injustice, one invariably finds a violation of one of these three basic rights at its root.”

Wal-Mart tired of abuse so joins the corrupt system: “The Wall Street Journal explains Wal-Mart’s motivation in benign-sounding terms: ‘Wal-Mart — which provides insurance to employees’ — ‘wants to level the playing field with companies that don’t.’ This is a sugary way of saying that Wal-Mart wishes to use the aggressive controls of the state to force firms smaller than it to provide what they may or may not have the resources to provide. Those firms that are unable to continue operating under the state’s new regulations will, of course, be forced to go out of business (unless they’re able to procure bailouts — this is also problematic), thus leaving less firms with whom Wal-Mart will need to compete. This is bad not only for workers but also for consumers. We shouldn’t really be surprised by Wal-Mart’s recent move. As Mr. Lew Rockwell reported in 2005, Wal-Mart called for an increase to the minimum wage so as to impose a higher cost on smaller competitors.”

Why I’m lucky to be an American: "“It is true that genuine scarcity can exist in some regions afflicted by drought or other natural disaster. Scarcity can affect individuals through random crime, disease, or accident. For the most part, however, scarcity is created by governments. That is true of the United States government. Government policy created and prolonged the Great Depression. It caused stagflation in the 1970’s. It is behind the current depression. Nevertheless, I feel fortunate to be an American. For it is the American experience which proves that scarcity need not exist.”


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)