Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home While Black

by Larry Elder (who is black)

Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, retained a lawyer. Why? He claims cops in Cambridge, Mass., racially profiled him. Here's what happened.

Gates, "one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars," writes The Boston Globe, was arrested about 1 p.m. at his home near Harvard Square by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. "The incident," says the Globe, "raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling."

"Friends of Gates," writes the Globe, "said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver's license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours." The Globe posted redacted arrest reports on its Web site. But for reasons unknown, the Globe removed them less than a day later.

The Cambridge Chronicle, however, still posts the reports on its Web site. The Chronicle's article also mentions a few things the Globe omitted -- including that "during the incident, Gates accused Cambridge police officers of racism."

The Chronicle writes: "A witness had called police when she saw a black man, apparently Gates, wedging his shoulder into the door, trying to gain entry, according to the arrest report. ...

"In the arrest report, police said Gates initially refused to step onto his porch when approached by (Cambridge Police Sgt. James) Crowley. He then allegedly opened his door and shouted, 'Why, because I'm a black man in America?'

"As Crowley continued to question Gates, the Harvard professor allegedly told him, 'You don't know who you're messing with.' When Crowley asked to speak with him outside, Gates allegedly said, 'Ya, I'll speak with your momma outside.'"

Crowley says he responded to a call of a possible break-in by a woman on the sidewalk, who said she'd seen a black male "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry." Crowley reported he "could see an older black male standing in the foyer." He continued: "As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as Gates, I asked if he would step out onto the porch and speak with me. He replied 'no, I will not.' He then demanded to know who I was. I told him that I was 'Sgt. Crowley from the Cambridge Police' and that I was 'investigating a report of a break in progress' at the residence. While I was making this statement, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed 'why, because I'm a black man in America?' I then asked Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While yelling, he told me that it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer."

Crowley's report, as well as that of another responding officer, describe Gates yelling repeated accusations of racism while asserting that the officer "had no idea who (he) was 'messing' with" and that the officer "had not heard the last of it."

After initially refusing to produce any identification confirming his residence, Gates finally supplied a Harvard ID. By that time, a crowd of officers and passers-by was outside. In front of the house and "in view of the public," Crowley states he twice warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. But Gates' yelling and "tumultuous behavior" continued, causing "surprise and alarm" in the citizenry outside. Crowley then placed Gates under arrest.

Crowley "asked Gates if he would like an officer to take possession of his house key and secure his front door, which he left wide open." Gates said "the door was unsecurable due to a previous break attempt at the residence." (Emphasis added.)

OK, the cops overreacted. Cops' training involves dealing with verbally abusive citizens. They could have walked away, written a report and allowed the prosecutor to determine whether to file charges. But Gates overreacted, too.

Last week, about 2 p.m., while driving a nice car, I got stopped by a police officer about a block from my home in Los Angeles. The officer asked for license and registration. "Yes, sir," I said, handing him my license. Before I could retrieve the registration, he said, "Mr. Elder, do you still live at this address?" I said I did. He said: "OK. I stopped you because you rolled through a stop sign. Two pedestrians saw you, and they gestured to me, as if saying, 'Are you going to do something about that?' So I felt I had to stop you. I'm not looking for area residents. I'm looking for people who don't live here who might be committing crimes. You're fine."

I did roll through the stop sign. He could have ticketed me. Rather, he responded to my politeness with politeness. Besides, don't we want a proactive police department that, within the law, doesn't just react to crime but also tries to prevent it?

Cops routinely deal with conflict, angry citizens and quite often the worst of the worst -- while going to work every day willing to take a bullet for someone they don't even know. Even Henry You-Don't-Know-Who-You're-Messing-With Gates should understand that. Cops are human beings, too.



Colorblind test failed

It’s Henry Gates who plays race card

‘I said, are you doing this because I’m a black man in America? Are you doing this because you’re a white police officer and I am a black man?” - Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounting a conversation with his arresting officer in Cambridge.

So what if the cop had been black? What if Sgt. James Crowley happened to be one of Cambridge’s 41 black police officers rather than bearing as he does the affliction of whiteness? If a black police sergeant responded to the call of a possible breaking and entering, and asked Gates for some form of identification, what would have happened then?

Gates would have been just as tired after his trip to China - an excuse his defenders use to explain his arrogance and rudeness. And if having a cop show up at your door and ask about your identity is, as Gates claims, intrusive or insulting, it would have been just as intrusive from a black cop as a white one.

The context would have been identical as well: Nine daytime, front-door break-ins reported in the neighborhood in the first quarter of 2009; Gates’ own door damaged by a previous, possible break-in attempt, according to the police report.cw0

Imagine all the facts and all the circumstances identical, but a black police officer instead of a white one. What would have been different? Everything. The tired professor would have found the strength to hand over his ID without significant objection. The officer would have gone on his way. No angry shouts, no (alleged) “yo mama” comments, no screams so loud they attracted the neighbors, or embarrassing photos of a raging Skip Gates on the front of the Herald.

All changed, not because of a different cop, but a different Professor Gates. The Gates who greeted Crowley was a racist. And I know, because the professor said so himself. By his own admission, Gates didn’t just blame the incident on the fact that he is “a black man.” He also added the accusatory question, “Are you doing this because you’re a white police officer?”

Review every account of the Gates arrest, including Gates’ self-serving interviews, and it’s hard to find an action of Crowley’s that can be characterized as inherently racist.

Yes, it’s possible that the arrest itself was a racist act. But it’s also possible that it wasn’t. It may have been a righteous arrest, or the action of an annoyed, flustered cop. Or Crowley may be a power-mad jerk with a badge. All possibilities.

But the only motive for Gates’ behavior, by his own admission, is the cop’s skin color and Gates’ race-based assumptions about him. Once again, the “white cop” charge comes from Gates’ own words, not the police report. And not just white cops, but white witnesses, too. According to an eyewitness quoted in the Herald yesterday, when police asked him for ID, Gates started yelling, “I’m a Harvard professor . . . You believe white women over black men.”

Not that Gates is without compassion. “Crowley should beg my forgiveness,” he told one reporter. “If I decided he was sincere,” Gates assured us, “I would forgive him.” Don’t you just love a rich guy who summers on the Vineyard asking a working-class cop to “beg”? How perfectly Cambridge. Gates’ race-obsessed heart may not be in the right place, but his house certainly is.


It seems clear to me from the two reports above that Larry Elder is a pleasant, polite guy and Henry Gates is neither. That is the whole difference behind what the two men experienced. But the race-obsessed American Left cannot allow that, of course. I also had some postings yesterday on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH about the matter -- JR



Barely six months into his presidency, Barack Obama seems to be driving south into that political speed trap known as Carter Country: a sad-sack landscape in which every major initiative meets not just with failure but with scorn from political allies and foes alike. According to a July 13 CBS News poll, the once-unassailable president's approval rating now stands at 57 percent, down 11 points from April. Half of Americans think the recession will last an additional two years or more, 52 percent think Obama is trying to "accomplish too much," and 57 percent think the country is on the "wrong track."

From a lousy cap-and-trade bill awaiting death in the Senate to a health-care reform agenda already weak in the knees to the failure of the stimulus to deliver promised jobs and economic activity, what once looked like a hope-tastic juggernaut is showing all the horsepower of a Chevy Cobalt. "Give it to me!" the president egged on a Michigan audience last week, pledging to "solve problems" and not "gripe" about the economic hand he was dealt.

Despite such bravura, Obama must be furtively reviewing the history of recent Democratic administrations for some kind of road map out of his post-100-days ditch.

So far, he seems to be skipping the chapter on Bill Clinton and his generally free-market economic policies and instead flipping back to the themes and comportment of Jimmy Carter. Like the 39th president, Obama has inherited an awful economy, dizzying budget deficits and a geopolitical situation as promising as Kim Jong Il's health. Like Carter, Obama is smart, moralistic and enamored of alternative energy schemes that were nonstarters back when America's best-known peanut farmer was installing solar panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Like Carter, Obama faces as much effective opposition from his own party's left wing as he does from an ardent but diminished GOP.

And perhaps most important, as with Carter, his specific policies are genuinely unpopular. The auto bailout -- which, incidentally, is illegal, springing as it has from a fund specifically earmarked for financial institutions -- has been reviled from the get-go, with opposition consistently polling north of 60 percent. Majorities have said no to bank bailouts and to cap and trade if it would make electricity significantly more expensive.

According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, more than 80 percent are concerned that health-care reform will increase costs or diminish the quality of care. Even as two House committees passed a reform bill last week, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the proposal "significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs" and dramatically raises the cost "curve." This sort of voter and expert feedback can't be comforting to the president.

As writers who inveighed against last year's GOP candidate and called George W. Bush's presidency a "disaster," we're equal-opportunity critics. As taxpayers with children and hence some small, almost certainly unrecoverable stake in this country's future (not to mention that of General Motors, Chrysler and AIG), we write with skin in the game and the fear that our current leader will indeed start busting out the 1970s cardigans… continue reading here.




Obama hold on records raises hypocrisy charge: "After lampooning the Bush administration for secrecy, President Obama used the same legal arguments as his predecessor to block the release of logs showing which industry executives met with the White House to help formulate his health care policy. The new administration abruptly reversed course Wednesday evening after being accused of hypocrisy and released a list of more than a dozen meeting attendees. Among the more than dozen executives identified as weighing in with presidential advisers on health care during February were Richard Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association; Billy Tauzin, the former congressman who heads the drug lobby PhRMA; Angela Braly, chief executive of WellPoint Inc.; and Jay Gellert, chief executive of Health Net Inc. The episode turned the tables on Mr. Obama, who during the 2008 presidential campaign accused Vice President Dick Cheney of unnecessary secrecy in refusing to identify which energy executives weighed in on energy policy early in the Bush years and who criticized his primary rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, of doing the same thing during the 1993-94 health care debate."

Obama health-care claims disputed: "Even as President Obama delivered a prime-time sales pitch for his embattled health care reform plan Wednesday, basic facts about coverage, cost and who foots the bills remain in dispute and many of the president's favorite talking points are challenged not only by Republicans but also by independent fact-checkers. For example, Mr. Obama promises that people who are happy with their current health insurance can keep it. That's a claim contradicted by, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center. The group found that while the government would not require people to change their health insurance, proposals by Senate Democrats would result in some people losing health care benefits from employers, either because it would become too expensive or because workers would be able to get a better deal elsewhere. Such inconsistencies between the rhetoric and the reality cloud much of the health care debate as Mr. Obama retools some of his claims to fend off criticism and adjusts positions he staked out on the campaign trail. [See also many posts on SOCIALIZED MEDICINE about this]

In defence of hedge funds: “Douglas Shaw of Black Rock spoke at a Civitas lunch this week on the topic ‘In Defence of Hedge Funds.’ Good luck to him. The industry is about to be overrun by an EU army of new regulations, which will knock any innovatory stuffing out of them. As investment businesses evolve and grow in the US, Switzerland, the Middle East and Asia, the stunted European hedge funds will look more and more like the evolutionary throwbacks of the Galapagos. I don’t know why hedge funds don’t spend about a thousand times more on PR, because they have a positive story to tell.”

Rasmussen. Just 25% Now Say Stimulus Has Helped The Economy, 31% Say it Hurt: "Confidence in the $787-billion economic stimulus plan proposed by President Obama and passed by Congress in February continues to fall. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 25% of U.S. voters now say the stimulus plan has helped the economy. That’s a six-point drop from a month ago. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the stimulus actually hurt the economy, little changed from a month ago. However, this is the first poll showing that more voters believe the plan hurt rather than helped. A plurality (36%) says the plan has had no impact. Just after Congress passed the plan, 34% said it would help the economy, 32% that it would hurt and 26% predicted no impact."


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 24, 2009

Amazon attacked for deleting George Orwell

Two books bad ... Amazon deleted 1984 and Animal Farm from its electronic book reader, the Kindle. Outraged customers lose texts they bought. Is this a warning of what our future holds? I am now feeling rather glad that, like most academics, I have a substantial library of REAL books. There are many books printed hundreds of years ago that are still readable. How long will material stored on today's magnetic and optical media remain available and readable? Will we one day need to go to a government-run museum just to read a CD? I have a little story to tell in that connection which I will put at the foot of the news item below:
Online retailer Amazon has been forced to fend off accusations of Big Brother-like behaviour after it erased two George Orwell books from customers' electronic book readers. In an Orwellian move, copies of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were mysteriously wiped from customer's Kindle devices.

The Kindle is an electronic book reader that lets users download and read texts from Amazon's online catalogue. Online complaints compared Amazon's move to a book shop breaking in to a customer's house to steal back purchased books. One student lost all of the notes he had made while reading one of the books.

The texts were uploaded by a publisher who did not have reproduction rights, Amazon told technology news website CNet, and so they were deleted. "We removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers," a spokesman said. "We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances." [But will anybody ever trust them again?]


My story: I recently decided to convert my old Windows computer into a DOS machine -- as a sort of museum for all the old DOS software we used to use a dozen or more years ago. In particular I wanted to create a collection of all the old DOS games that the kids used to play and which they enjoyed so much.

But as soon as I tried, I failed. I had set up DOS machines often in the past so I expected no trouble but this time I failed. I just could not get DOS to boot from the hard drive. Fortunately, my stepson is both himself a computer retailer and also the son of a computer retailer so he remembered a rare switch (/mbr) to the old FDISK command that solved the problem.

But I then found that a lot of my old floppy disks had become corrupt over time so it was important to get the CD drive accessible from DOS as soon as possible. And that was easier said than done. After a couple of hours of hunting around and head-scratching, I finally found a driver file that worked and also figured out the syntax of how to set it up (with driver in CONFIG.SYS and CD command in AUTOEXEC.BAT).

But then there was the problem of getting the sound to work. Modern motherboards have the sound onboard and DOS cannot access that. Fortunately, however, I had an old Soundblaster card left over from a project of a few years ago and we found a slot on the motherboard that would take it. But we have no DOS drivers for it so, at the time of writing, the sound is not yet working. My stepson is however fairly confident that he will be able to find the files we need. But would he be able to find them in (say) 10 years' time?

So the moral of the story is obvious. Stuff that is stored on the routine technology of today can become almost inaccessible in as little as 10 years' time. It makes you think. Technological change does create some risk of wiping out our past.


Lawmakers Express Outrage at ‘Potential’ $23.7-Trillion Liability Bank Bailout Law Could Impose on Taxpayers

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) called it a “brave new world.” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) called it “one fraud after another.” Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) said the corporate bailout was being run as a “don’t ask, don’t tell program,” and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) made biblical references. A bipartisan group of lawmakers were mystified Tuesday at how what began as the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) could potentially reach a liability of $23.7 trillion for U.S. taxpayers--compared to the U.S. gross domestic product of $14 trillion.

Neil Barofsky, special inspector general of the TARP program, testified Tuesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the same day his office’s TARP quarterly report was released, which showed the potential escalating cost of the program. “Your report really demonstrates that we have entered into a very, very scary territory, a brave new world where Washington decides what happens on Wall Street and Main Street, and hopefully sometime in the future, we can find a way to have an exit strategy,” Bilbray said.

Barofsky was sure to state that the $23.7 trillion figure was “the total potential government support,” a worst case scenario of sorts under the current structure. “The speculation is if every one of these programs is fully subscribed to, that is the total commitment of guarantees,” Barofsky told the panel. Rep. Dan Burton (R-In.) remarked, “If even half of that is correct, we’ve got a big problem.”

Barofsky stressed that the amount currently outstanding is closer to $3 trillion. Of the original $700 billion in TARP funds approved by Congress and President George W. Bush, $643.1 billion have been allotted to 12 different programs, while a total of $441 billion has been spent. The actual bulk comes from loan programs through the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). “But when you add up all of the different programs, including the ones that are paid back, including ones that may have been cancelled, including collateral programs, the total amount of support, which is what we are trying to capture is, does total $23.7 trillion,” Barofsky said.

Documents obtained by showed that the $23.7 trillion covers total estimated exposure of the government in dealing with the financial crisis and specifically some 50 “initiatives or programs” created by myriad federal agencies in dealing with the crisis, reported The New York Post. However, Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams called the figure “inflated” and said the estimate “does not provide a useful framework for evaluating the potential cost of these programs,” the Associated Press reported.

Issa, the committee’s ranking Republican, said the $23.7 trillion figure was “about 30 times what you would have if you gave away $1 million a year from the birth of Christ until today--just for somebody to try to figure out if that’s true or not.”



Destructive Social "Justice"

There is more than a bit of nastiness in this liberal-progressive urge to smash what others have built and to drag people down to their level.

The Democrat/Socialist Party's plan to nationalize healthcare exemplifies the essence of social justice: an invidious urge to destroy what exists and a faith that social harmony depends upon making everyone equally miserable.

Liberal-progressives estimate that 46 million people, 15% of the population, lack health insurance. In order to provide them insurance, liberal-progressives intend to force each of us to forgo any vestige of individuality and to accept a prison-like regimentation of our healthcare.

When Hillary Clinton was working in 1993 to impose socialized medicine upon us, the Washington Monthly, one of the purest strains of socialism within the liberal-progressive, mainstream media, editorialized forthrightly that a fundamental aim and benefit of Hillary Care would be forcing business leaders to sit for hours in crowded doctors' waiting rooms to receive medical care. There is more than a bit of nastiness in this liberal-progressive urge to smash what others have built and to drag people down to their level.

Why stop at health care? If Lyndon Johnson's equality-in-fact is the aim, the best way to attain it is to put everyone in prison. Everyone then would have tasks assigned by the political state's intellectual czars, along with identical clothing, housing, bedding, food, and drink.

As history shows us, that is the end point toward which all liberal-progressive governments proceed. Most people will not willingly give up what they have worked for all their lives to attain. Force of law, and ultimately of arms, is required to take from some to give to others. Some governments, the United States among them, have not yet traveled too far along that path, but all have the shining example of the Soviet Union to guide them.




There is an amusing takedown of that puffed-up toad known as Andrew Sullivan here.

Hillary accepts Iranian nuclear status: "The US would extend its “defence umbrella” across the Middle East to defend its allies against a nuclear-armed Iran, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, said yesterday. Mrs Clinton’s comments provoked an anxious reaction from the Israeli Government. Israel’s Minister for Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Dan Meridor, bristled at the implication that Iran’s nuclear status might be regarded as a strategic reality to be offset by other defence capabilities. “I was not thrilled to hear the American statement that they will protect their allies with a nuclear umbrella, as if they have already come to terms with a nuclear Iran,” he told Israeli army radio. “I think that’s a mistake.” Mrs Clinton, speaking at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) in Thailand, said that acquiring nuclear weapons would not make Iran more secure. “We will still hold the door open but we also have made it clear that we’ll take actions, as I’ve said time and time again, crippling action, working to upgrade the defence of our partners in the region,” she said. “We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment . . . that if the US extends a defence umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon.”

Pakistan objects to expanded US combat plans in Afghanistan: “Pakistan is objecting to expanded U.S. combat operations in neighboring Afghanistan, creating new fissures with Washington as thousands of new U.S. forces are arriving in the region. Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan, Pakistani intelligence officials said.” [The Paks shouldn't worry. Predator drones will get the Talibs in Pak territory too]

Obama: US on track for 2011 Iraq pullout: “President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States will stick to its schedule and remove all its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011 even though there will be ‘tough days ahead.’ Standing in the Rose Garden alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Obama said the two nations were in the midst of a ‘full transition’ that would be based on mutual interest and respect.”

Obama's FDA thugs consider ways to short-circuit electronic cigarettes : "“The Food and Drug Administration, recently granted the authority to regulate tobacco as a drug, is taking aim at electronic cigarettes — battery-powered cigarette look-alikes that deliver nicotine and produce a puff of odorless vapor. Tests show that e-cigarettes contain ‘known carcinogens and toxic chemicals,’ including diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, officials announced Wednesday during a teleconference. The FDA notes that the products have no warning labels.”

Obama is delaying the economic recovery: "Don’t believe the Obama Administration rhetoric about how this economy has just turned out to be so difficult and they are doing the best they can. While the economy is still getting worse, the truth is the recovery is long overdue. The National Bureau of Economic Research dates this recession as starting some time during December, 2007. The longest recession since World War II was 16 months, with the average being 10 months. The current recession has now lasted 19 months. By this reckoning, we should have had a normal cyclical recovery at least 3 months ago.”

Green Baptists preach salvation by breaking car windows: “Who could possibly claim that buying up drivable used cars at prices far in excess of their market value, for the express purpose of destroying them, will be beneficial for the economy or the planet? You guessed it: a combination of economy-saving politicians and earth-saving green activists are peddling the wonders of a new government program popularly known as ‘Cash for Clunkers.’ The Consumer Assistance Recycle and Save Act of 2009 has the two ostensible goals of jump-starting the stalled automobile industry and combating global warming (or climate change, or whatever they’re calling it these days) by replacing old, gas-guzzling smog machines with new, more fuel-efficient, cleaner cars.”

Have government deficits “saved the world?”: “Last week, I wrote about the crudeness of so-called Keynesian economic theory in which one assumes that all assets and capital ‘investment’ are ‘homogeneous’ in character, which means that their only contribution to the economy is from the money that is spent in their creation and continued operation. This view contrasts with the Austrian paradigm, which emphasizes the structure of production within an economy and the unsustainability of capital that is malinvested during a boom. Unfortunately, too many people in high places are prone to believe what on its face is unbelievable: running huge federal deficits somehow is a good thing for the economy.”

Walking away when you can pay: "Some of the promises our government has made in the last few months about ‘helping people keep their homes’ may actually worsen the housing crisis. New proposals ignore the real danger associated with ’strategic default,’ when homeowners decide to stop paying their mortgage, even though they have enough money to make payments. The Obama administration is working to lower monthly mortgage payments, but as a recent study conducted at the University of Chicago points out, it is not necessarily high payments but negative equity in homes that drives default.”


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 23, 2009

Punishing consumers to 'protect' them

Democrats have a control issue. They passed a national energy tax to help control what types of cars we can drive. Democrats announced a plan that allows the government to control what doctors we can see and when we can see them. Now, Democrats want to create a new government bureaucracy to control which -- if any -- credit cards, mortgages and consumer loans we are allowed to receive. Yes, there's a troubling trend.

Conservatives, however, are poised to fight for consumer protection and to ensure that decisions that belong in the hands of America's families and small businesses are not dictated instead by Washington.

HR 3126 would create a new bureaucracy run by five unelected individuals appointed by the president. The ironically named Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) would have the power to strip from consumers their freedom of choice and restrict their credit opportunities in the midst of a financial recession -- all in the name of "consumer protection." Positively Orwellian.

Representing one of the great assaults on consumer rights (not to mention transfers of power from Congress to the executive branch), this agency would possess sweeping powers to ban or modify any home mortgage, credit card, personal loan or other "consumer financial product" it subjectively deems to be "unfair" or "abusive." If the mortgage that would allow you to be a homeowner is deemed "unfair," you'd better find another one. If the credit card you choose for your family is "abusive," you might find yourself paying cash.

Proponents say this agency will work like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which they credit for ensuring our toasters don't blow up. The parallel doesn't work. No one wants a toaster that blows up, and whether it does is largely out of our control. Many Americans, however, may want an adjustable rate mortgage because they could not otherwise become homeowners. If we act responsibly, whether the mortgage blows up on us is largely within our control.

The CFPA will further harm consumers by stifling innovation. It is doubtful how many financial firms will choose to invest in research, development and consumer testing on new products, only to discover later the CFPA deems them to be "unfair" and thus unlawful. Had the CFPA existed 25 years ago, we would probably have no ATMs, frequent-flyer miles or debit cards. Functionally, a new federal bureaucracy will now be in charge of research, development and product approval for almost all new consumer-financial products.

Another byproduct will be less competitive markets. Smaller and regional firms cannot afford the legal and regulatory burden of CFPA. Contraction in community financial institutions will accelerate when they lose their ability to customize their products and compete with the large financial institutions.

Small businesses, the job engine of America, will be hurt by this proposal, too. Although the plan proposes to restrict only "consumer financial products," according to the Federal Reserve, 77 percent of all small businesses use credit cards to help finance their businesses. An erosion of risk-based pricing and CFPA credit customization will naturally exacerbate a credit contraction already under way and kill jobs....

Let's protect consumers from force and fraud, let's empower them with effective and factual disclosure, and let's give them opportunities to enjoy the benefits of product innovations like automated teller machines and online banking. But let's not constrict - under the guise of safety - their credit opportunities at a time when they need that the most.



Outmaneuvering Obama: Russia's Crafty Weapons "Cuts"

In chess, a player will sometimes sacrifice some pawns as part of a grand strategy to compromise an opponent’s defenses. Pawns are relatively unimportant pieces, so it’s a good way to get something for virtually nothing. Russia’s leaders are, apparently, skilled chess players.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama visited Moscow and signed a preliminary agreement aimed at getting both countries to reduce their nuclear and conventional weapons systems. But the Russians are playing a clever game. The “cuts” they propose wouldn’t actually affect their defenses at all.

Obama has promised that the U.S. will reduce its number of strategic force launchers --the systems that deliver both nuclear and conventional weapons -- to between 500 and 1,100 (the U.S. is permitted 1,600 launchers under a current treaty). Moscow matched that commitment, but that’s not saying much, since the number of Russian weapons is going to plummet with or without a treaty.

“By 2017-2018 Russia will likely have fewer than half of the approximately 680 operational launchers it has today,” arms control expert Keith Payne recently testified before Congress. “With a gross domestic product less than that of California, Russia is confronting the dilemma of how to maintain parity with the U.S. while retiring its many aged strategic forces.” One way, of course, is to sacrifice some pawns -- the non-existent or inoperable weapons -- to take out vital American weapons. In short, the Russians agreed to “cut” weapons they were going to have to retire anyway.



Arnie enforces spending cuts

No signs of a cutback to the bureaucracy, though

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, struck an eleventh-hour deal with political leaders yesterday that saved the Golden State from bankruptcy — but the budget he announced contained some of the most painful and swingeing cuts in its history. After weeks of negotiations, in which the state of California had been issuing IOUs to thousands of contractors and small businesses, Mr Schwarzenegger emerged with legislative leaders to say that a deal had been reached to close the state’s $26 billion (£15 billion) shortfall.

Cuts to services and the reduction in the size of California’s government were profound. The higher education system, including the University of California, will be hit by nearly $3 billion in cuts. The state-run school system, already burdened by large class sizes, loses $6 billion and thousands of teachers and staff. Thousands of pensioners and children lose access to healthcare.

The entire state workforce, except firefighters and the California Highway Patrol, have already been ordered to take three days off a month without pay — a 14 per cent wage cut. Some state buildings will be sold and some state parks will be closed.

Mr Schwarzenegger also succeeded with a proposal to expand oil drilling off the southern California coast, generating about $1.8 billion over time. The plan, opposed by environmentalists, would be California’s first new offshore oil project in more than 40 years.

His greatest victory was standing firm and warding off tax increases, something that Democrats had demanded. Another large chunk of the budget shortfall will be paid for by borrowing money from the state’s local governments — its counties and cities — which has enraged many local politicians.



Brookes News Update

Larry Summers and Obama are taking the US economy down the road of economic ruin: Larry Summers economic advice will cause great damage to the US economy. His economic thinking is justifying Obama's destructive spending and borrowing program as well as a massive increase in taxation. One can only wonder at how Summers acquired the reputation of being a brilliant economist
America's recession: learning the wrong lesson from the Great Depression: The arguments being used by the Obama administration to justify giganatic borrowing, spending and tax increases are based on fallacious economic thinking and a complete misreading of the Great Depression. But Obama's program is not really motivated by a desire to rescue the American economy but a fanatical desire to massively and permanently expand government no matter how much it will damage American living standards
Supermarkets are once again under attack by capitalist-hating leftists: Supermarkets are once again under attack by capitalist-hating leftists. These political parasites hate supermarkets because they have been successful in cutting costs and prices and in officering an unprecedented and ever-growing range of goods to the masses. For this reason they have to be destroyed
Israeli soldiers speak out against false allegations: Israeli soldiers speak out against leftwing propaganda that smears them as sadistic killers
No tears for them in Argentina: In the 1990s, a center-right Peronista, President Carlos Menem, attempted to reverse Peronismo with free-market reforms while still claiming Peron's mantle. Tragically, those reforms did not go far enough and were tainted by corruption, too much public spending and a rigid monetary system that collapsed in 2001. It is time to try again and to get it right once and for all
Welcome back, Jimmy Carter: Obama is using Carter's playbook. Defense is again being gutted with programs like the F-22 Raptor being tossed aside and Reagan's SDI missile shield being gutted. Allies are treated with contempt while America's enemies are given every consideration. Energy is going to be strangled and inflation is set to rocket along with more unemployment. The misery index is coming back with a vengeance
Congress, if you won't read Waxman-Markey (aka American Clean Energy and Security Act ) before voting, at least read this: Thirty-five crucial reasons not to vote for the Waxman-Markey bill on carbon taxes. This bill is a direct attack on American living standards. It is thoroughly dishonest and utterly corrupt. It is means a massive increase in taxation and the destruction of American capital which will savage real wages. It is Waxman and Markey who deserve to be executed — not their vicious bil



Obama popularity lower than Bush's: "President Barack Obama's tumbling poll numbers have dipped below those of his predecessor George W. Bush at the same point in his White House tenure, according to a national poll. Mr Obama's approval rating is 55 per cent six months into his presidency, a USA Today/Gallup poll found. But 56 per cent of those polled approved of the job done by George W. Bush after six months, the daily reported. Mr Obama's handling of the economy appears to be key in his fading popularity, as Americans become more pessimistic about how long it will take the economic downturn to end. "His ratings have certainly come back down to Earth in a very short time period," Republican pollster Whit Ayres told the daily. By 49 per cent to 47 per cent, respondents said they disapprove of Mr Obama's handling of the economy, while they disapprove of his health care policy by 50 per cent to 44 per cent."

I don't always believe Amnesty but I believe this: "Human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia have soared as a result of counter-terrorism measures introduced since the 2001 attacks in the United States, Amnesty International said. The London-based rights organisation warned in a new report that under the guise of national security, thousands of people had been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy and others had been killed in "uncertain circumstances". There have long been human rights problems in the kingdom but Amnesty said the number of people being held arbitrarily, including both Saudi nationals and foreigners, "has risen from hundreds to thousands since 2001". "These unjust anti-terrorism measures have made an already dire human rights situation worse," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program. Amnesty noted that in June 2007, the Saudi interior ministry reported that 9000 security suspects had been detained between 2003 and 2007 and that 3106 of these were still being held. Some of those held are prisoners of conscience, targeted for their criticism of Government policies, the report said. The majority are suspected of supporting Islamist groups that are opposed to Saudi Arabia's close links to the United States and have carried out a number of attacks targeting Westerners and others."

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement: “President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same. Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were ’surprised’ and ‘chagrined’ by Obama’s declaration in June that he doesn’t have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.”


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 22, 2009

Study Concludes “Negroes Genetically Less Intelligent”

The following is a useful summary of some academic work done back in 2005. I have taken the summary from Democrat=Socialist who appears just to have discovered it. The academic journal in which the research review appeared is "Psychology, Public Policy, and Law" and the issue contents can be reviewed here. Academic journal articles on racial differences in IQ and related concepts do appear from time to time but the general public is usually not aware of them because academic articles are hard to read and journalists dare not touch the subject. There was a similar review of the findings in a 2004 issue (vol. 86 no. 1) of the American Psychological Association's most widely-circulated journal -- "The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology", which also got little airing among the general public. So summaries such as the one below are useful.

"Psychology, Public Policy, and Law" actually devoted a whole issue to the topic, taking two of the most eminent researchers in the field as its lead authors. Various "Replies" were also printed but were from well-known lightweights who work towards a conclusion rather than from the facts. One of those was Nisbett, about whom I have said rather a lot lately (e.g. here) and the other was Sternberg, who reduces himself to absurdity rather quickly -- as I show in my brief mention of his work here. By far the most comprehensive coverage of the topic is however Lynn's 2006 book, which I review here

A 60-page review of the scientific evidence, some based on state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain size, has concluded that race differences in average IQ are largely genetic.

The lead article in the June 2005 issue of Psychology, Public Policy and Law, a journal of the American Psychological Association, examined 10 categories of research evidence from around the world to contrast “a hereditarian model (50% genetic-50% cultural) and a culture-only model (0% genetic-100% cultural).”

The paper, “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability,” by J. Philippe Rushton of the University of Western Ontario and Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley, appeared with a positive commentary by Linda Gottfredson of the University of Delaware, three critical ones (by Robert Sternberg of Yale University, Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan, and Lisa Suzuki & Joshua Aronson of New York University), and the authors’ reply.

“Neither the existence nor the size of race differences in IQ are a matter of dispute, only their cause,” write the authors. The Black-White difference has been found consistently from the time of the massive World War I Army testing of 90 years ago to a massive study of over 6 million corporate, military, and higher-education test-takers in 2001.

“Race differences show up by 3 years of age, even after matching on maternal education and other variables,” said Rushton. “Therefore they cannot be due to poor education since this has not yet begun to exert an effect. That’s why Jensen and I looked at the genetic hypothesis in detail. We examined 10 categories of evidence.”

1. The Worldwide Pattern of IQ Scores. East Asians average higher on IQ tests than Whites, both in the U. S. and in Asia, even though IQ tests were developed for use in the Euro-American culture. Around the world, the average IQ for East Asians centers around 106; for Whites, about 100; and for Blacks about 85 in the U.S. and 70 in sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Race Differences are Most Pronounced on Tests that Best Measure the General Intelligence Factor (g). Black-White differences, for example, are larger on the Backward Digit Span test than on the less g loaded Forward Digit Span test.

3. The Gene-Environment Architecture of IQ is the Same in all Races, and Race Differences are Most Pronounced on More Heritable Abilities. Studies of Black, White, and East Asian twins, for example, show the heritability of IQ is 50% or higher in all races.

4. Brain Size Differences. Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) find a correlation of brain size with IQ of about 0.40. Larger brains contain more neurons and synapses and process information faster. Race differences in brain size are present at birth. By adulthood, East Asians average 1 cubic inch more cranial capacity than Whites who average 5 cubic inches more than Blacks.

5. Trans-Racial Adoption Studies. Race differences in IQ remain following adoption by White middle class parents. East Asians grow to average higher IQs than Whites while Blacks score lower. The Minnesota Trans-Racial Adoption Study followed children to age 17 and found race differences were even greater than at age 7: White children, 106; Mixed-Race children, 99; and Black children, 89.

6. Racial Admixture Studies. Black children with lighter skin, for example, average higher IQ scores. In South Africa, the IQ of the mixed-race “Colored” population averages 85, intermediate to the African 70 and White 100.

7. IQ Scores of Blacks and Whites Regress toward the Averages of Their Race. Parents pass on only some exceptional genes to offspring so parents with very high IQs tend to have more average children. Black and White children with parents of IQ 115 move to different averages–Blacks toward 85 and Whites to 100.

8. Race Differences in Other “Life-History” Traits. East Asians and Blacks consistently fall at two ends of a continuum with Whites intermediate on 60 measures of maturation, personality, reproduction, and social organization. For example, Black children sit, crawl, walk, and put on their clothes earlier than Whites or East Asians.

9. Race Differences and the Out-of-Africa theory of Human Origins. East Asian-White-Black differences fit the theory that modern humans arose in Africa about 100,000 years ago and expanded northward. During prolonged winters there was evolutionary selection for higher IQ created by problems of raising children, gathering and storing food, gaining shelter, and making clothes.

10. Do Culture-Only Theories Explain the Data? Culture-only theories do not explain the highly consistent pattern of race differences in IQ, especially the East Asian data. No interventions such as ending segregation, introducing school busing, or “Head Start” programs have reduced the gaps as culture-only theory would predict.

In their article, Rushton and Jensen also address some of the policy issues that stem from their conclusions. Their main recommendation is that people be treated as individuals, not as members of groups. They emphasized that their paper pertains only to average differences. They also called for the need to accurately inform the public about the true nature of individual and group differences, genetics and evolutionary biology.

Rushton and Jensen are well-known for research on racial differences in intelligence. Jensen hypothesized a genetic basis for Black-White IQ differences in his 1969 Harvard Educational Review article. His later books Bias in Mental Tests (1980) and The g Factor (1998), as well as Rushton’s (1995) Race, Evolution, and Behavior, show that tests are not biased against English speaking minorities and that Black-White-East Asian differences in brain size and IQ belong in an evolutionary framework.


Americans Are Beginning to Understand the Left

There is only one good thing about the Obama administration's attempts to nationalize most health care and to begin to control Americans' energy consumption through cap-and-trade: clarity about the left. These attempts are enabling more and more Americans to understand the thinking and therefore the danger of the left.

The left has its first president -- with the possible exception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- and for the first time controls the Democratic Party and both houses of Congress. In the name of compassion for the sick and the poor and in the name of preventing worldwide environmental catastrophe, it is attempting to remake America. In so doing some principles of the left are becoming clearer to more Americans:

Principle One: The left, as distinct from traditional liberals, is not, and has never been, interested in creating wealth. The left is no more interested in creating wealth than Christians are in creating Muslims or Muslims in creating Christians. The left is interested in redistributing wealth, not creating it. The left spends the wealth that private enterprise and entrepreneurial risk-taking individuals create.

The left does not perceive that poverty is the human norm and therefore asks, "Why is there poverty?" instead of asking the economic question that matters: Why is there wealth? And the obvious result of the left's disinterest in why wealth is created is that the left does not know how to create it.

Principle Two: The reason the left asks why there is poverty instead of why there is wealth is that the left's preoccupying ideal is equality -- not economic growth. And those who are preoccupied with equality are more troubled by wealth than by poverty. Ask almost anyone on the left -- not a liberal, but a leftist like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- which society they consider more desirable, a society in which all its members were equally lower middle class or one in which some were poor, most were middle class, and some were rich (i.e., America today). And whatever they say, in their hearts, the further left they are the more they would prefer the egalitarian society.

Principle Three: The left everywhere seeks to make as big and powerful a state as possible. It does so because only the state can redistribute society's wealth. And because only a strong and powerful state can impose values on society. The idea of small government, the American ideal since its inception, is the antithesis of the left's ideal.

The cap-and-trade bill's control of American energy and the "ObamaCare" takeover of American health care will mean an unprecedented expansion of the state. Added to increased taxes and the individual becomes less and less significant as the state looms ever larger. Americans will be left to decide little more than what they do with vacation time -- just as Western Europeans do. Other questions are largely left to the state.

Principle Four: The left imposes its values on others whenever possible and to the extent possible. That is why virtually every totalitarian regime in the 20th century was left-wing. Inherent to all left-wing thought is a totalitarian temptation. People on the left know that not only are their values morally superior to conservative values, but that they themselves are morally superior to conservatives. Thus, for example, the former head of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, could say in all seriousness, “In contradistinction to the Republicans, we don't think children ought to go to bed hungry at night.”

Therefore, the morally superior have the right, indeed the duty, to impose their values on the rest of us: what light bulbs we use, what cars we drive, what we may ask a prospective employee, how we may discipline our children, and, of course, how much of our earnings we may keep.

It is dishonest to argue that the right wants to impose its values to anywhere near the extent the left does. This can be demonstrated to a fifth-grader: Who wants more power -- those who want to govern a big state or those who want to govern a small state?

The president of the United States and the much of the Democratic Party embody these left-wing principals. Right now, America's only hope of staying American rather than becoming European lies in making these principals as clear as possible to as many Americans as possible. The left is so giddy with power right now, we actually have a chance.




Gates: Army to get 22,000 more troops : “Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Monday that the size of the Army is being increased temporarily by 22,000 soldiers to help meet the needs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other missions around the world. This is the second time since 2007 that the military has determined it doesn’t have a large enough force. Gates had already increased the size of the Army and Marine Corps shortly after taking the Pentagon job.”

US, India agree on nuclear and defense deals: “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton paved a path to expanding relations with India during her three-day visit there. … But it was another announcement that, even more than the others, demonstrated the Obama administration’s designation of India as a crucial partner for the United States in the 21st century. On Nov. 24, Secretary Clinton said, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be President Obama’s guest in a White House state visit, making Mr. Singh the first foreign leader to make that level of visit under the new American leader. … But it should not surprise the Obama administration if the attention to India and Singh causes problems with another crucial US partner in the region: Pakistan.”

Gates argues against additional F-22s : "“Saying he ‘didn’t molt from a hawk into a dove on Jan. 20, 2009,’ Defense Secretary Robert Gates sharply criticized Congress for trying to push more F-22 fighter jets into the Pentagon budget than he and President Barack Obama say the country needs. ‘If we can’t get this right, what on Earth can we get right?’ Gates said in a speech last week to the Economic Club of Chicago.” [He's right. Who are they going toi be used against? Osama bin Laden?]

Obama Steers Left on Honduras: "When Hugo Chávez makes a personal appeal to Washington for help, as he did 11 days ago, it raises serious questions about the signals that President Barack Obama is sending to the hemisphere's most dangerous dictator. At issue is Mr. Chávez's determination to restore deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya to power through multilateral pressure. His phone call to a State Department official showed that his campaign was not going well and that he thought he could get U.S. help. This is not good news for the region. The Venezuelan may feel that his aims have enough support from the U.S. and the Organization of American States (OAS) that he would be justified in forcing Mr. Zelaya on Honduras by supporting a violent overthrow of the current government. That he has reason to harbor such a view is yet another sign that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. In the three weeks since the Honduran Congress moved to defend the country's constitution by relieving Mr. Zelaya of his presidential duties, it has become clear that his arrest was both lawful and a necessary precaution against violence. Mr. Zelaya was trying to use mob rule to undermine Honduras's institutions in much the same way that Mr. Chávez has done in Venezuela."

Regulators are in the pocket of Wall St: " The low-slung cubicles wrap around the ninth floor of a building three blocks from Wall Street, each manned by a young staffer staring at flashing numbers on a flat-screen computer monitor and working the phones to gather the latest chatter from financial markets around the world. It could be any investment bank or hedge fund. Instead, it is the markets group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which has been on the front lines of the government's response to the financial crisis. Federal Reserve and Treasury Department officials make the major decisions, but the New York Fed executes them. The information gathered there provides crucial insights into the financial world for top policymakers. But the bank is so close to Wall Street -- physically, culturally and intellectually -- that some economic experts worry that the New York Fed puts the interests of the financial industry ahead of those of ordinary Americans. "The New York Fed sticks out as being not just very, very close to Wall Street, but to the most powerful people on Wall Street," said Simon Johnson, an economist at MIT. "I worry that they pay too much deference to the expertise and presumed wisdom of a sector that screwed up massively." Even some former insiders at the Fed say the bank does not pay enough attention to the fundamental flaws in the country's financial system or to the risks associated with bailing out financial firms"

Why No Evangelical Justice?: "When Republicans were warned not to give Sonia Sotomayor the drubbing Democrats gave Robert Bork and Sam Alito -- lest they be perceived as sexist and racist by women and Hispanics -- the threat was credible, for it underscored a new reality in American politics. The Supreme Court, far from being the last redoubt of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant in America, reflects the collapse of that WASP establishment, and a rising racial, ethnic and gender consciousness and solidarity. Consider. In 45 years, no Democratic president has put a single white Protestant or Catholic man or woman on the court."

Public healthcare already in action: "Speaking of the government letting people die, here's a story from Fox News last year about a 53-year-old cancer patient in Lane County, Oregon who wanted Oregon's public health plan to help him pay for chemotherapy. Nothing doing, said Oregon, as the man's cancer was such that chemotherapy stood less than a 95 percent chance of guaranteeing the man would live an additional five years. Two years or 4 years 11 months of life was not worth the cost of chemo to Oregon. But don't think Oregon's government-run health plan lacked sympathy. It sent the man a letter offering to foot the bill for physician-assisted suicide. And no, the letter was not a mistake. It was official policy."

Obama's anti-Israel agenda: "President Barack Obama last Monday met for the first time with leaders of selected Jewish organizations and leaks from the meeting now make one thing very clear. The only free country in the Middle East no longer has a friend in the leader of the free world. Obama is the most hostile sitting American president in the history of the state of Israel. This was the very first meeting with Jewish community's leaders. Earlier requests for an audience with major Jewish organizations had reportedly been ignored. Six months after taking office the president finally got around to issuing an invitation to stop the bleeding. Increasing numbers of Jews even among the overwhelming number who voted for Obama ¬ have been voicing serious concern about his real agenda.... There is no doubt that the pressure on Israel from the Obama administration is going to get a lot worse, as the President told the group "there is a narrow window of opportunity for advancing the peace process." Everyone understood the threat. The narrow window is Obama's self-defined political ambitions bearing no relationship to the realities of the Middle East ¬or the welfare of either Israel or the United States."

CNN fires bigoted reporter: "TVNewser has learned CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen's contract will not be renewed and she will be leaving the network. Roesgen, you'll recall, was criticized for her coverage at the tax day tea parties in April, when she said the event she was covering in Chicago was, "anti-CNN since this is highly promoted by the right-wing, conservative network Fox." Roesgen took a break for a few weeks after that reporting and returned to the air in May covering the Drew Peterson arrest. Most recently, she covered Michael Jackson's death from Los Angeles. Roesgen joined CNN in 2005. When TVNewser asked whether Roesgen's comments at the Chicago tea party rally had anything to do with her not being renewed, a CNN spokesperson said, "I can't comment on personnel matters." [CNN got a lot of protests about her]


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 21, 2009

Measuring inequality

It's almost impossible to open a newspaper these days without being reminded that inequality has grown in recent decades. The reactions to the stated rise do vary, that is true: from it being an unfortunate side effect of growth or globalisation in general to proof positive that we'll all be murdered in our beds when the rabble realise how badly they're being treated.

Will Wilkinson at Cato has a paper out which covers much of the extended conversation and I think's he's right in that inequality simply hasn't grown as much as some say: "To put if more breezily, if cheap stuff gets better faster than expensive stuff, the gap between cheap and expensive stuff narrows, which in turn narrows the gap in the quality of life between rich and poor."

There's a great deal to this: as he says, there's a difference between an expensive car and a cheap one but that gap is as nothing to the one between having a car and using Shank's Pony. Or between an expensive fridge, a cheap one and none.

It's very definitely true that income inequality has risen in recent decades: but much much harder to insist that consumption inequality has done. As an example, there are certainly differences in diet between the rich and the poor in the UK: but it's only in the last 50 years or so that all, of whatever station in life, are financially able to eat a full and balanced diet. We no longer have the height inequality we did (reflecting again nutrition, where the rich were substantially taller than the poor), nor the health care inequality and while education is rightly a bone of contention we've certainly advanced from the medieval idea that only the male rich or the clergy might be literate or numerate.

What makes this oversight from certain on the left so puzzling is that they are exactly the people who have been telling us for years that there is much more to life than simply grabbing for the filthy lucre. That health, enjoyment, leisure are also important, perhaps more so than money. Anyone with an adult and rounded view of life would have to agree with that sentiment, that there's more to it all than simply pilng up the pounds. Which makes it all the more puzzling that there is so much vituperation over inequality rising in that most trivial of things, mere cash, while all the other historically extant inequalites have been shrinking.



Obama is a hollow shell compared to the Gipper

By Ron Miller

I have been critical of President Obama's overseas pronouncements apologizing for America, equating our failings to some of the world's most egregious offenses against humanity, and excusing the atrocities of terrorists and dictators as byproducts of America's sins in world affairs.

If he's trying to curry favor in the international community with his equivocation and expressions of shame, he's naive. If he truly believes what he's saying, then I am appalled at his contempt for the nation that elected him to the most powerful position in the world.

His recent statements in Moscow disavowing America's pivotal role in ending the Cold War frustrated me because while he was organizing communities and pursuing his law degree, I was engaged in helping my country fight that war.

I was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 1992. I reviewed and analyzed our most sensitive intelligence information and briefed senior commanders on the militaristic and murderous actions of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.

When Ronald Reagan went against the advice of the State Department and his advisors and declared the Soviet Union "an evil empire," he was condemned by many but I cheered his words because they rang with the authority and clarity of truth. And I wasn't the only one.

Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident and human rights activist, was in a Soviet gulag serving 13 years of forced labor when Ronald Reagan uttered those words. While the voices of appeasement in the United States and the West cried out against the provocative words of our "cowboy" President, the reaction in the gulag was markedly different:
"It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell's Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.

"It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin's "Great October Bolshevik Revolution" and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution--Reagan's Revolution.

"We were all in and out of punishment cells so often--me more than most--that we developed our own tapping language to communicate with each other between the walls. A secret code. We had to develop new communication methods to pass on this great, impossible news. We even used the toilets to tap on."

When Sharansky was asked if Ronald Reagan was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said simply, "yes." He went on to say:
"Ronald Reagan had both moral clarity and courage. He had the moral clarity to understand the truth, and the courage both to speak the truth and to do what needed to be done to support it. There was more to Reagan than rhetoric...

"Reagan's great strength was his optimistic faith in freedom and that every human being deserved freedom and that this freedom is a force that can liberate and empower and enrich and ennoble...

"Thanks to Ronald Reagan, to the legacy he leaves behind, we now know that totalitarianism can be beaten and that freedom can come to anyone who wants it."

Powerful words from a man who experienced the evil of the Soviet Union personally and understood the impact of Ronald Reagan's words and deeds in bringing an end to the regime that murdered over 53 million men, women and children beginning with the barbarism of Vladimir Lenin in 1917.

Maybe it's more important to President Obama to be "a fellow citizen of the world" as he proclaimed in Berlin during the campaign.

As Newt Gingrich says, however, "I am not a citizen of the world; I am a citizen of the United States of America." Despite her struggles and failures, America has never stopped striving toward a more perfect union. I have always been proud of my country, and I ask our President to give her the credit she deserves for tearing down that wall



Destroying Jobs in Order to Save Them

Obama's corporate tax "reforms" make a bad situation worse

President Barack Obama is very insistent on the need to “save American jobs.” The spending and the Buy American provisions of his massive stimulus package, approved by Congress in February, were meant to “create or save” millions of U.S. jobs. “Saving jobs” was also the stated goal of his recent pledge to eliminate tax advantages for companies that do business overseas. But instead of saving American jobs, Obama’s new corporate tax is apt to worsen what is already the highest unemployment since 1983 and make America’s companies even less competitive in the global marketplace.

Last spring, partly in response to the anti-bailout tea parties that were sweeping through the country on and around the April 15 tax deadline, the president announced that he plans to simplify the tax code. That sounds like a worthwhile goal, but it turns out that forObama, simplification means taxing previously untaxed income.

For instance, the proposal targets what executives consider to be a lifesaving feature of an otherwise depressing corporate tax code: permission to indefinitely defer paying U.S. taxes on income earned overseas. According to the Obama administration, this practice keeps $700 billion or more of American corporate earnings in overseas accounts, beyond the taxman’s reach.

The president also wants to overhaul what he describes as a “much-abused” set of tax regulations known as the “check-the-box” rules. These regulations give companies some latitude in deciding where their subsidiaries will be taxed and make it easier for multinationals to transfer money between countries. The result, which Obama frowns upon, is that many companies have placed their offshore subsidiaries in low-tax countries.

While he’s at it, the president wants to restrict tax credits that the U.S. grants companies to offset taxes they pay to foreign governments.

Until now, Obama said when unveiling his plan in May, we’ve suffered under “a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York.” This notion is wrong in several ways.

It is a mistake to assume that U.S. domestic firms and U.S. multinationals are primary competitors, engaged in a zero-sum struggle. In fact, the true competitors of U.S-based firms with international operations are mainly foreign-based companies. And in that competition, the existing U.S. corporate tax code puts American firms at a clear disadvantage—one for which the alleged tax loopholes were intended to compensate.

The U.S. corporate tax rate is simply too high. When you add state corporate taxes to the 35 percent federal rate, you arrive at a whopping 40 percent average corporate tax burden, the second highest among the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Economists are in broad agreement that cutting the corporate rate is a national priority. In a 2002 study, American Enterprise Institute economists Kevin Hassett and Eric Engen argued that the most efficient corporate tax rate is zero. The mobility of capital income means that even a small amount of tax introduces large distortions into an economy as capital flies away to a lower tax environment. More interesting, if counterintuitive, is the fact that because of capital mobility the people who stand to benefit most from a corporate tax cut are workers. In a 2006 study, the economist William C. Randolph of the Congressional Budget Office concluded that “domestic labor bears slightly more than 70 percent of the burden” imposed by corporate taxes.




It's now been 40 years since Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo Kopechne to her death. Jeff Jacoby describes the infamous behaviour that Kennedy got away with. Powerline also has some good comments. The People's Cube also has some relevant cartoons -- for those with strong stomachs.

Analysis: States hit hardest get least $timulus: "The stimulus bill ‘includes help for those hardest hit by our economic crisis,’ President Obama promised when he signed the bill into law on Feb. 17. ‘As a whole, this plan will help poor and working Americans.’ But has analyzed data tracking how the stimulus money is being given out across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and it has found a perverse pattern: the states hardest hit by the recession received the least money. States with higher bankruptcy, foreclosure and unemployment rates got less money. And higher income states received more.”

The myth that women do not perpetrate “domestic violence” : "Am I the only one who is disturbed by the double-standard that permeates the media coverage of Steve McNair’s shooting death? On July 4 the former NFL star was killed by girlfriend Sahel Kazemi. McNair was shot as he lay asleep on his couch, first in the left temple, twice in the chest, and finally in his right temple. So why are the news media stubbornly refusing to put the words ‘Steve McNair’ and ‘domestic violence’ in the same sentence? And where are all the hand-wringers who reflexively shriek we need to break the shroud of silence that surrounds partner abuse?”

Bibi flatly rejects US demand to halt housing project: "Jerusalem is the "unified capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish people, and sovereignty over it is indisputable," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday, responding to an American demand to put an end to a housing project to be built in east Jerusalem. "Hundreds of apartments in the west of the city were purchased by Arabs and we didn't get involved. There is no prohibition against Arab residents buying apartments in the west of the city and there is no prohibition barring the city's Jewish residents from buying or building in the east of the city," Netanyahu added at the weekly cabinet meeting. "That is the policy of an open city that is not divided. "We cannot accept the notion that Jews will not have the right to buy apartments specifically in Jerusalem. I can only imagine what would happen if they were forbidden from purchasing apartments in New York or London; there would be an international outcry. This has always been Israel's policy and this is the policy of the current government," the prime minister added. Netanyahu's remarks came after Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren was summoned to the US State Department over the week-end and was told that the Obama administration wanted Israel to put an end to construction work at the site of the historic Shepherd's Hotel in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah."

Europe Thumps U.S., Again. First lower taxes, now freer trade: "On present trends, most of Europe will soon have lower income tax rates than most of America. And now the European Union is stealing another competitive march on Washington, this time on a free trade deal with the world's 13th largest economy, fast-growing South Korea. Last week Brussels and Seoul finished the outline of a new trade agreement, and the two sides will now write up the technical language to codify it. As for the pending U.S.-Korea trade agreement, Congress has done . . . nothing. South Korea has made negotiating trade deals a centerpiece of its foreign and economic policy. The U.S. FTA, signed in 2007 but still not ratified, is one example. Negotiations are planned or under way with a long list of countries, including India, Canada and Australia. On the EU side, the Commission is vigorously defending the pact against domestic critics, including the European auto industry. EU approval isn't a sure thing, but Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is aiming to finish it by December. Compare that to the U.S., where the FTA with Korea is bogged down in Big Labor politics".

I guess I'm missing something but we see here that the Obama regime is paying over a million dollars for 2lb of ham. Defence contractors eat your heart out! (H/T Charlie Foxtrot)


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 20, 2009

Why Winners Win

by Rich Tucker

Nice to see someone else unwinding Gladwell's popular but simplistic formulas below. I have had a few shots at the Gladwell fantasies myself -- e.g here

Fortune, it is said, favors the bold. And best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell is certainly bold. In his latest chart-topper, “Outliers,” Gladwell sets out to change our perception of success by showing that we must “appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”

Throughout the book, Gladwell does an entertaining job of peeling back the onion. Bill Gates is a success not simply because he’s smart, Gladwell writes, he’s a success because of when and where he was born, because he had access to an early version of a computer. Because companies in his area needed help programming their mainframes. And on and on and on.

Gladwell digs into the lives of successful people and shows how someone’s life can be changed by when they’re born, by what their parents do for a living, even by the culture they’re raised in. But what’s surprising is that he omits the most important factor: The negative effect of government on people’s lives.

For example, he writes about the importance of being born at the “right” time, and shows that hockey and soccer players born early in the year have big advantages. Fair enough. Then he lists the 75 richest people in human history, and adds that almost a fifth come from “a single generation in a single country,” all born in the United States in the 1830s.

These men came of age “when all the rules by which the traditional economy had functioned were broken and remade,” Gladwell writes. And that’s true. But they were also the last generation to come of age when they were allowed to keep all the money they earned. Congress passed an income tax in the 1890s, and an amendment to the Constitution in 1913 made income taxes a permanent feature of the landscape.

As conservatives have long understood, the heavier you tax something, the less you get of it. Our nation decided to tax economic success, so we shouldn’t be surprised that we’ve produced fewer successful people than we once did.

He also writes about the success of Silicon Valley in its early days, noting that computer programming “was a wide-open field in which all participants were judged solely on their talent and their accomplishments.” That was true in 1976, of course, but not as much today. In the late 1990s the government sued Microsoft for antitrust violations, and today’s Silicon Valley companies hire plenty of lobbyists who attempt to use the power of the federal government to swat down other companies.

Gladwell also takes on the American educational system without zeroing in on the true culprits. Summer vacation, he writes, “is considered a permanent and inviolate feature of school life” even though he cites a study showing it harms lower-income children. “The only problem with school, for the kids who aren’t achieving, is that there isn’t enough of it,” he writes.

Well, the Japanese school year runs 243 days. The South Korean school year lasts 220 days. Why can’t the U.S. expand its 180-day school year to match the Asian tigers? Because American schools are run by the government, and the government is swayed by the lobbying efforts of teacher’s unions.

Most parents would love a longer school year; my children certainly get bored in mid-August. But unions exist to limit the amount their members are forced to work, and teacher’s unions would never approve of adding weeks to the school year.

The interesting thing is that the United States is itself an outlier. The book “The Size of Nations” points out that of the 10 richest countries, only one has a large population. The U.S., now with some 300 million people, is miles ahead of Switzerland, the next largest with a mere 7 million. It’s a lot easier for nations (the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom) to break up than for them to remain united and succeed.

In the past our federal government mostly stayed out of the way, allowing the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Gateses to build huge companies and deliver products and services that benefit all of us. But over the decades it’s become more intrusive through higher taxes and regulations. Year by year it’s eroding the traditional advantages of being an American.

“To build a better world we need to replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success,” Gladwell writes, “with a society that provides opportunities for all.”

Very true, but we’re going in the wrong direction. The government is buying and propping up failing companies, instead of encouraging innovation. It dominates the housing market, the financial market and the insurance market. It aims to annex health care and subject Americans to European-level taxation.

Soon fortune won’t favor the bold, it’ll favor those with the best lobbyists. Maybe that changing landscape should be the topic of Malcolm Gladwell’s next expose.



Destroying America's financial capital

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Florence, Genoa, and Venice were the financial capitals of the Western world. When they declined, financial leadership shifted to Amsterdam, then to London, and finally to New York, whose supremacy went unchallenged from 1945 until the end of the twentieth century. In the new millennium, however, it is showing cracks. A decade ago, companies fought for the privilege of being listed on the New York exchanges, but interest has dropped significantly since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000. The credit crisis has only made things worse. Will the city be able to retain its title as the world's finance king? What will Wall Street look like in 2015?

Geography alone guarantees that New York will remain one of the world's financial leaders. A globalized economy spanning 24 time zones offers room for at least three major financial centers. With one center likely in Europe or the Middle East and a second in East Asia, New York would be the natural third pillar in a hemisphere that offers little competition for the job.

If we look beyond the Americas to the broader world, however, New York's enduring supremacy is not a foregone conclusion. Besides the power of inertia--people like to trade where others trade, so they trade in New York--the city has benefited from three comparative advantages in the past: a sophisticated and well-trained workforce, reliable but not intrusive regulations, and (at least since Ronald Reagan's presidency) a favorable tax and political environment. All these advantages have shrunk, if not vanished.

New York's skills advantage eroded long before the 2008 crisis. Thanks to its early deregulation of brokers' commissions in 1974, New York took the lead in the quality and reliability of trade. Global companies came to the city to be traded and judged by New York's analysts. But during the 1990s, most European stock exchanges caught on. Their tardiness allowed them to adopt the most recent trading technology easily, and they moved faster and more decisively into electronic trading, creating markets that were at least as liquid as the traditional exchanges. Most of the daily trading in cross-listed companies--companies traded on both the traditional and electronic exchanges--moved back to the country of origin, eliminating one of New York's advantages.

Over the last 20 years, American business schools also helped close the knowledge gap between New York and the rest of the world by admitting more students from abroad, to the point that over 30 percent of the schools' populations were foreign-born. Most of these students chose to return to their home countries after they finished school, bringing new ideas and techniques with them. The financial crisis has only accelerated this process. Restrictions against hiring foreign workers imposed by the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) ensure that a larger flow of talented people will head back to their native countries, further reducing the skills gap between America and the rest of the world.

New York's competitive advantage has also eroded on the regulatory front. For financial markets to work properly, the regulatory regime must strike a delicate balance between preventing fraud and abuse, on the one hand, and jeopardizing the freedom to innovate, on the other. For many years, the United States appeared to have achieved this balance. No longer. From Enron and WorldCom to Bernie Madoff and the subprime meltdown, the Securities and Exchange Commission's reputation as an effective enforcer is in tatters. Once, foreign companies were happy to list in New York because subjecting themselves to American regulators signaled to investors that they were transparent companies with reliable accounts. But what's the certification value of being listed on a New York exchange if the New York policers don't detect fraud? Meanwhile, the restrictions imposed ex post facto on TARP recipients, Congress's confiscatory tax on executive bonuses, and contemplated populist financial! reforms have made clear that regulators will heavily interfere with private business. In fact, from both a political and a regulatory perspective, the United States of the future will look like a continental European country. That's not an environment conducive to financial innovation.

Finally, the crisis will have major effects on New York's competitive edge in the tax area. Despite New York City's and New York State's heavy taxes, the federal government's low top tax rate and favorable treatment of hedge-fund income long made New York an attractive place for financiers to live and work. Prospective tax increases (at both the federal and state levels) and the likely closing of tax loopholes will make New York very unattractive, especially for resident aliens who can avoid higher taxes by moving abroad. New York's main consolation is that the United Kingdom's fiscal deficits will prevent the British from competing too aggressively on the tax front. But new financial centers, such as Singapore or Dubai--or even old ones, like Zurich--could become a real threat.

One might argue that New York maintained its world dominance during the high-tax years of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, so higher taxes can't hurt more. But the delocalization of trade brought about by technology and the Internet has made global competition much more intense than it used to be. Bermuda, the capital of reinsurance, could easily become the capital of the hedge-fund industry as well.

The biggest threat of all to the Big Apple's financial supremacy, however, comes from Washington. The Founding Fathers wisely decided that the nation's political capital should be separate from its financial capital (in both senses of the word). Now this splendid segregation has ended. If the outcome of the Chrysler bankruptcy is any indication, Washington is willing to flex its muscle in financial decisions, altering the substance of contracts freely agreed to by private parties. In so doing, the national government has undermined the certainty of the rule of law, which was the American capital market's strongest asset.

Unfortunately, since Washington is the source of the problem, New York City can do little by itself to defend its position. Perhaps the city's best bet is to offer favorable tax treatment to the financial industry--but to do that, it had better first put its finances in order.




Rasmussen: 80% Say Wall Street, Not Taxpayers, Benefited More From Bailout - As Goldman Sachs Announces Record Profit: "Eighty percent (80%) of Americans now say Wall Street benefited more from the bailout of the financial industry than the average U.S. taxpayer. Only eight percent (8%) of adults say the taxpayer benefited more, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. This marks a notable increase in skepticism from October when 63% saw Wall Street as the chief beneficiary as the first bailout of the financial industry was working its way through Congress. In February when the Obama administration announced another bank bailout plan, 67% said Wall Street would benefit more than taxpayers. Goldman Sachs, one of the Wall Street recipients of a bailout, repaid that money in June. The firm, which also has benefited from cheap government financing, is now reporting a record profit for the last quarter and has announced plans for billions in employee bonuses."

From a time when the Episcopal church was still Christian: "On Sunday July 20, 1969 the first people landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were in the lunar lander which touched down at 3:17 Eastern Standard Time. Buzz Aldrin had with him the Reserved Sacrament... Later he wrote: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’ …Eagle’s metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.” NASA kept this secret for two decades. The memoirs of Buzz Aldrin and the Tom Hanks’s Emmy- winning HBO mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon (1998), made people aware of this act of Christian worship 235,000 miles from Earth."

Obama's hatred of small businesses on display: "The White House on Wednesday blasted growing, bipartisan congressional efforts to aid closed auto dealers but stopped short of threatening a veto. An amendment to put dealers back in business survived a challenge in the House Rules Committee on Tuesday and is to be voted on as part of the financial services appropriations bill this week. The Obama administration said reversing dealer closings would set a "dangerous precedent, potentially raising legal concerns, to intervene into a closed judicial bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of one particular group at this point." The statement is consistent with the administration's position during the bankruptcies of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, in which the automakers shed more than 3,000 dealerships. Nonetheless, battle lines are being drawn as a number of high-ranking congressional Democrats back a measure opposed by a president of their own party." [Obama likes big businesses only -- ones he can more easily control]

Seattle boondoggle finally operational: "Thousands of people enjoyed free rides Saturday on the first day of service for Seattle's new light rail line. After more than four decades of political wrangling and financial struggles that ran transit rail plans for Seattle off the tracks, trains are finally running. Sound Transit officials estimated more than 30,500 riders had used the new light rail line as of Saturday afternoon. A soccer game and a popular food festival were expected to add to those numbers as the day progressed. The agency offered free rides Saturday, and will do so again on Sunday for the opening weekend of the new line... A dozen two-car trains ran at 7 1/2-minute intervals. Two more trains were in reserve, along with seven other rail cars that also could be used."

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)