Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beware the Stalin in progressive hearts

If nothing else, the Obama eruption in American politics is steadily revealing the stark reality behind the progressive movement - the totalitarian temptation is always there and, for more than a few, possessing the official power to compel sooner or later becomes irresistible.

Not everybody on the left, of course. Some of the folks I most admire in this town are liberals whose work on behalf of values like transparency in government and protecting civil liberties is remarkable and essential.

Still, that this danger is real and growing becomes more obvious as public opposition grows to the president's across-the-board campaign to turn Washington into the all-powerful, centralized behemoth that Woodrow Wilson and FDR could only dream about. Consider: Nowhere does the Constitution grant Congress authority to require every American to buy a particular private service or product on pain of forfeiture of a significant portion of their wealth. Yet, every version of Obamacare currently being discussed in Congress requires just that.

Forcing all of us to buy officially approved health insurance is essential to a functioning government-run system. As Obama told Congress, "many of insurance reforms we seek - especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions - cannot be achieved" without the individual mandate.

Why? Because the politicians and bureaucrats who will manage the government-run health care program know that, without the force of government behind them, they won't be able to make the rest of us do what they tell us to do.

Once the power is granted, the question becomes how severe will the enforcement be. Fines will suffice, for Obamacare, for now. For Stalin, the first choice was usually the Gulag, or a bullet. It's just a matter of degree.

But that is what government always does as it becomes more costly, intrusive and intolerant of dissent. As if to drive the point home, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a gag order this week telling all private companies participating in the Medicare Advantage program to shut up. Violators would face fines and jail time. Forget the First Amendment. The gag order was issued after Humana Corp. sent a letter to its policyholders who participate in Medicare Advantage telling them the facts about Obamacare's effect on the program. The companies were ordered "to end immediately all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your website."

The bureaucrats added this blunt threat: "Please be advised that we take this matter very seriously and, based upon the findings of our investigation, will pursue compliance and enforcement actions. ...." Those, my friends, are the words of soft tyranny. How much longer before it becomes a hard tyranny?

History - and the words of progressives themselves - suggest not long. Consider New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's telling admiration for the communist thugs who run the Chinese government: "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonabley enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."

That in a nutshell is the totalitarian temptation that plagues all who would use the power of the state to impose their vision of the good society on the rest of us. It's the ever-present Stalin whispering in the progressive ear: "Ignore those reactionary, loud-mouthed, ignorant Tea Party protesters and decree Obamacare, Waxman-Markey, and all the rest of it. Do it now while you have the power!"

And if the dissenters won't be quiet, Bill Ayers, Obama's once-and-future colleague, can always dust off his copy of that old Weather Underground plan for FEMA re-education camps in the desert southwest.

You think I exaggerate? Read National Review Editor Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," or historian Paul Johnson's "Modern Times," two books without which you cannot understand where we've been or where we are headed. We may have only two more chances to turn things around, in 2010 and 2012.



Can the Republicans win the House in 2010?

By: Michael Barone

There’s starting to be some speculation that Republicans might recapture a majority in the House in 2010. That would require them to gain 40 seats—the exact number they needed to gain in 1994, the last time they recaptured a majority from the Democrats. Interestingly, I don’t recall anyone predicting the Republicans would win a majority, much less gain the 52 seats they actually did that year, until July 1994, when I wrote an article in U.S. News & World Report suggesting there was a serious possibility they would do so. One reason the commentariat was so late in making such a prediction was that almost no one had been around the last time the Republicans won a majority of House seats, in 1952. In contrast, today’s commentariat remembers that there was a Republican majority in the House just three years ago.

One reason it’s hard to predict who will win which party will win a majority of House seats is that it’s impossible, or at least impracticable, for national pollsters to ask respondents in each of the 435 congressional districts which of the two major party candidates they’ll vote for. Challengers are typically little known even in the weeks just before the election, much less 14 months before—when most challengers haven’t even been picked and many haven’t started running. So pollsters ask the generic ballot question—which party’s candidate will you vote for in the election for House of Representatives. Currently Real Clear Politics reports that Democrats lead Republicans by only 41%-39% in the generic ballot. But there’s a clear difference between the results shown by pollster Scott Rasmussen, who limits his surveys to those he determines to be likely voters, and other pollsters. Rasmussen currently shows Republicans leading 42%-38% and has had them ahead every week since the results he reported June 28—just about the time the House was passing the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill by a 219-212 margin. Other pollsters during the same period have, on average, shown Democrats ahead 44%-39%, with Democrats leading in nine of ten such polls and Republicans ahead by just 1% in the other.

Now comes political scientist Andrew Gelman, on the blog run by the Obama enthusiast and gifted numbers cruncher Nate Silver, saying that the generic polls suggest that Republicans could recapture a House majority in 2010. I have noticed that over the years generic vote questions have tended to understate the ultimate Republican percentage of the popular vote for the House; Gelman says his research indicates “the out-party consistently outperforms the generic polls.” Gelman says that in current generic polls Democrats get 52% of the two-party vote, comparable to what they got in 1946, 1994 and 1998—all years in which Republicans got more popular votes and won more House seats than Democrats.

Wisely, Gelman notes it’s still early; opinion which has shifted away from the Democrats during the first eight months of the Obama term could shift the other way in the next 14 months. He also notes, again I think wisely, “the general unpopularity of the Republicans.” But I think there’s less to his third caveat, that “it will be year 2 of the presidential term, not year 6 which is historically the really bad year for the incumbent party.” Historically, yes, but not in recent times. Ronald Reagan’s Republicans and Bill Clinton’s Democrats lost more seats in year 2 than in year 6; only George W. Bush of the presidents of the last 30 years saw his party do worse in year 6 than year 2. Reagan’s Republicans suffered from recession and high unemployment; Clinton’s Democrats suffered from liberal overreach. Both factors could—not necessarily will, but could—work against Barack Obama’s Democrats next year.

Having said all that, I think the chances of the Republicans recapturing the House have to be rated now at well below 50%. But I think they’re not as negligible as I thought even a few weeks ago.



At the U.N., Terrorism Pays

It was my duty as defense minister to stop Hamas rockets, says EHUD BARAK below

This week the United Nation's Human Rights Council produced a 600-page report alleging that Israel carried out war crimes in Gaza. The Goldstone Report —named for its chief investigator Richard Goldstone— also asserts that Israel's motives for its operation against Hamas nine months ago were purely political. I am outraged by these accusations. Let me explain why.

It is the duty of every nation to defend itself. This is a basic obligation that all responsible governments owe their citizens. Israel is no different. After enduring eight years of ongoing rocket fire —in which 12,000 missiles were launched against our cities, and after all diplomatic efforts to stop this barrage failed— it was my duty as defense minister to do something about it. It's as simple and self-evident as the right to self-defense.

While such logic eluded Mr. Goldstone and his team, it was crystal clear to the thousands of Israeli children living in southern Israel who had to study, play, eat and sleep while being preoccupied about the distance to the nearest bomb shelter. When I accompanied then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on his visit to the shelled city of Sderot, he said "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." Too bad the Human Rights Council wasn't listening.

Whenever we are forced to defend our own lives, it is our obligation to do so in a way that ensures that the lives of innocent civilians on the other side are protected. This duty becomes extremely difficult when we have to face an enemy that intentionally deploys its forces in densely populated areas, stores its explosives in private homes, and launches rockets from crowded school yards and mosques. In Gaza, we reached out to the civilians via millions of leaflets, telephone calls and text messages urging them to leave areas before we acted.

So when the Goldstone mission gathers testimony from local residents in Hamas-ruled Gaza, but forgets to ask them whether they happened to notice any armed Palestinians during the Israeli operation, or didn't realize that its impartially chosen witnesses happened to be known Hamas operatives according to Israeli intelligence, I begin to question the methodology of such a "fact-finding" effort.

Although I am incensed by the Goldstone Report, I must admit that I was not surprised. It is, more than anything else, a political statement —not a legal analysis. This shameful document was produced by the Human Rights Council, a body whose obsession with Israel has led it to produce more resolutions condemning Israel than all other countries combined. By its lights, the evils of Israel far outweigh those of countries like Burma, Sudan and North Korea.

In its blind zeal to demonize Israel, the council has produced a document that undermines every other democracy struggling to defend itself against terrorism. The message broadcast by this report to the new world order? Terrorism pays.

Yet, an accusation, however ludicrous, is still an accusation, and it mustn't remain unanswered. If the U.N. or anyone else has complaints, they should direct them towards the Israeli government. I have in-depth knowledge about the extent of the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) efforts to reduce civilian casualties, and I am convinced that the actions our government took are equal to or exceed actions taken by the armed forces of any other democratic nation. Strikes against extremely valuable Hamas targets were aborted in mid-operation due to the unexpected presence of civilians.

Hundreds of thousands of warnings of impending IDF activity were provided to the population by leaflet, radio, telephone and text messages. Humanitarian supplies were allowed to flow into Gaza despite the fact that Hamas shelled the convoys and confiscated the aid they carried.

Israel is not perfect. As much as we as a society try to uphold the IDF's ethical code, mistakes sometimes happen and deviations from procedure occur. Whether we like it or not, Israel is one of the most scrutinized countries in the world. And when we are told that things may not be right, we check it out and, when necessary, prosecute those involved. We are now pursuing two dozen criminal investigations regarding events that occurred in Gaza. We don't need the Human Rights Council, Richard Goldstone, or anyone else to teach us how to maintain the democratic principles which are our lifeblood.

As sobering as the thought may be, terrorists will welcome this report. It has made their work much easier, and the work of their potential victims more difficult. I believe that the time has come for us to put an end to this calculated erosion of common sense. The nations that share democratic values must not allow themselves to be handcuffed by the abusive application of lofty ideals. Democracies should be concentrating on defending themselves from extremism —not from accusations by kangaroo courts.




Veterans' promised tuition checks AWOL: "The U.S. government failed to send promised college tuition checks to tens of thousands of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars before they returned to school this fall, even after being warned that it was inadequately staffed for the job. The Veterans Affairs Department blamed a backlog of claims filed for GI Bill education benefits that has left veterans who counted on the money for tuition and books scrambling to make ends meet. Out of more than 277,000 veterans who have filed for the college tuition benefits this semester, more than 200,000 claims have been processed and approved, but fewer than 11 percent of the veterans have received the funding, according to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). The group says it has been contacted by thousands of veterans who have not received their benefits and that they are forced to take out loans or pay the money out of their pockets. "This is absolutely unacceptable," the group said. "The men and women who so courageously served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve better." A VA spokeswoman did not return a call for comment, but in a statement the agency said employees are working overtime to deliver the checks and that retired claims processors have been rehired." [And Obama wants such bunglers to look after your healthcare!]

Jury rejects family's FEMA trailer claims: "A federal jury on Thursday rejected a New Orleans family's claims that the government-issued trailer they lived in after Hurricane Katrina was defective and exposed them to dangerous fumes. A jury of five men and three women decided that a trailer made by Gulf Stream Coach Inc. and occupied by Alana Alexander and her 12-year-old son, Christopher Cooper, was not "unreasonably dangerous" in its construction. The jury also concluded that Fluor Enterprises Inc., which had a contract to install FEMA trailers, wasn't negligent in doing so. The federal government wasn't a defendant in this first of several "bellwether" trials. Gulf Stream denied its trailer jeopardized the health of Alexander and her family. Andrew Weinstock, a lawyer for the Nappanee, Ind.-based company, said FEMA had purchased thousands of trailers from Gulf Stream since 1992 without receiving any formaldehyde complaints until 2006." [Great! The lawyers have lost a goldmine]

Glenn Beck: Probe of ACORN 'bogus': "Conservative commentator Glenn Beck said Thursday the ethics investigation into the community activist group ACORN will yield no meaningful findings unless it reaches into the top levels of the organization or the White House gets involved. "I think this whole thing is bogus," said Mr. Beck, a Fox News talk-show host. ACORN on Wednesday named former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, a Democrat, to lead an independent inquiry into the liberal group's social-services program. The inquiry follows the recent release of videotapes showing undercover operatives posing as a prostitute and pimp seeking tax and housing advice at five ACORN offices. "It's a show," Mr. Beck told The Washington Times' "America's Morning News" radio show. "They moved too fast, too quietly. The president is not involved. Until you start going to the people at the top ... the people connected to the White House, you cannot clean up this mess."

Obama at the U.N.: "Barack Obama's excellent New York adventure was all he hoped it would be. He got to make a speech, pave the streets of Manhattan with harmless platitudes, bask in the admiration of various Third World mediocrities and hear himself nominated to be president of the United States for life. "It was an excellent day," he said as night fell, as it always must. All in all, he did no particular harm, and we can all be grateful for that. The messiah had a rough summer, and he was entitled to the pleasure of presiding, if only for a day, over the Children's Hour. With President Obama presiding over "the historic session," the U.N. Security Council approved unanimously an American resolution committing all nations to work for - please sit up straight for this - a world free of nuclear weapons. Somewhere in the fine print was a clause praising small babies, little puppies and chocolate candy. The resolution was so harmless that even Russia, China and several "developing" nations (the usual euphemism for the socialist satraps) voted for the resolution. A good time was clearly had by all."

Spanish Judge expels woman wearing burqah: "A Spanish judge overnight expelled a Muslim woman wearing a burka from his court for refusing to show her face when testifying in the trial of a group of Islamic extremists. "Seeing your face, I can see if you are lying or not, if you are surprised by a question or not," Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez told the woman, the sister of an Islamic radical killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2005. The woman said that her religion forbade her from appearing in public without her burqah, the all-covering article of clothing worn by some Islamic women. When she refused to reveal her face, the judge expelled her from the courtroom. But after speaking to the judge later in his chambers, a compromise was reached. She said she had agreed to testify on Tuesday minus the part of her burqah which normally covers the face "between the chin and the eyebrows" and with her back turned to the public and journalists in the courtroom".


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, September 25, 2009

A conservatism hater

David Greenberg, a professor of history at Rutgers, has a very self-satisfied and sneering essay in Slate which admits his failure to understand conservatism at great length. Apparently inspired by the latest "Time" magazine, he dredges up the old Marxist nonsense of Hofstader, Adorno & Co. and seems to think that there is something in it, but ends up admitting that none of them give a useful explanation of modern-day American conservative politics. Rather amusing really.

It is difficult to fisk something as lightweight as Greenberg's essay but maybe I should make two points:

In typical Leftist style, he projects onto conservatives the very thing that most moves Leftists: Hate. The title of his essay is "The Obama haters". That people might violently disagree with Obama's policies without hating him seems to be a combination outside Greenberg's limited emotional range. Again in good Leftist style he offers no evidence that ANYBODY hates Obama. He just asserts it. He KNOWS! Obama is personally a very agreeable personality so I find it hard to imagine that anyone hates him. Obama's extremely limited understanding of economics (e.g. his claim that he can give healthcare to more people with less money) does reduce one to despair at times, but despair is a long way from hate.

But I suppose the main defence mechanism that keeps Greenberg's sense of superiority alive is not so much projection as denial. He just cannot see that people like Glenn Beck have reasonable points to make: Points reasonable enough to cause at least one Obama appointee to resign. So if the words of Beck & Co. are not reasonable, there must be something other than reason behind them. Frustratingly for Greenberg, he just cannot figure out what that might be. Again, quite amusing.

If Greenberg reads this, he will probably accuse me of "psychologizing" or some such. That would be amusing too as that was precisely what Greenberg tried to do, but could not convince even himself. But I do after all have over 100 papers in the academic literature on the psychology of politics so I probably have a more useful background for "psychologizing" about politics than he does.

Some excerpts that might interest Prof. Greenberg:

Secret protocols of Beck’s legions

Grassroots conservative enthusiasm notwithstanding, the talk-radio host and Fox News personality is under attack this week, with the liberal establishment's favorite weapon, a Time magazine cover: "Mad Man: Glenn Beck and the angry style of American politics." This continues a long tradition of weekly newsmagazine covers demonizing conservative figures like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich... After a few more paragraphs, Von Drehle plays his trump card: "The old American mind-set that Richard Hofstadter famously called 'the paranoid style' -- the sense that Masons or the railroads or the Pope or the guys in black helicopters are in league to destroy the country -- is aflame again…" Von Drehle's invocation of "the paranoid style," a trope that Hofstadter derived from Theodor Adorno's "authoritarian personality," is intended to clearly signal the reader that Beck is a kook, a conspiracy theorist, a demagogue pandering to the dangerous emotions of the ignorant mob.

Having never met Beck, I am not qualified to speak of whether he is representative of the "paranoid style." However, my friend and fellow American Spectator contributor Matthew Vadum has been a studio guest on Beck's Fox News program and did not mention any "roiling mix of fear, resentment, and anger." If Beck rants off-camera about black helicopters and Masons, it eluded Vadum's notice.

While my acquaintance with Beck is limited to occasionally catching a few moments of his TV or radio shows, I did have the opportunity to speak to many of the people at the Sept. 12 Capitol rally. My Arizona blogger friend Barbara Espinosa was there, and I spent many hours before, during and after the event talking to the organizers, attendees and speakers, including Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and author Mason Weaver. None of these people seemed to think that Glenn Beck represented a menace to public safety or the conservative movement.

They're all in on it together -- the grandmother and teenagers, Pence and Vadum and Weaver! It's all a clandestine conspiracy to conceal the hidden agenda for global domination by the Secret Legion of Beck! And if you don't believe it, then you're obviously a paranoid kook.

More here.

Why the left hates Glenn Beck : "For the last few years the left and the press would take shots at Beck, but never in a concerted fashion. He simply could be ignored, and they had bigger fish to fry, like the long-reigning king of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh. Things changed when Beck shifted from CNN to Fox News, just in time to comment on the policies of a new Democratic administration. Beck caught fire, both with his commentaries and with his growing fan base. He even took to the road for another comedy tour, blending mainstream humor with his political jabs. A few Beck bestsellers later, and he officially became a media empire. But the talker’s ability to take down his targets changed the dynamics — and the ferocity of the attacks against him.”


Strangers to dissent, liberals try to stifle it

It is an interesting phenomenon that the response of the left half of our political spectrum to criticism and argument is often to try to shut it down. Thus President Obama in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress told us to stop "bickering," as if principled objections to major changes in public policy were just childish obstinacy, and chastised his critics for telling "lies," employing "scare tactics" and playing "games." Unlike his predecessor, he sought to use the prestige of his office to shut criticism down.

Now, no one likes criticism very much, and most politicians would prefer to have their colleagues and constituents meekly and gratefully agree with them on pretty much everything. And yes, Rep. Joe Wilson does seem to have broken the rules and standards of decorum of the House (though not of the British House of Commons) when he shouted "You lie!" in the middle of Obama's speech.

But none of this justifies the charges, passed off as cool-headed analysis, that Obama's critics are motivated by racism. There are plenty of nonracist reasons to oppose (or to support) the Democrats' health care proposals.

I would submit that the president's call for an end to "bickering" and the charges of racism by some of his supporters are the natural reflex of people who are not used to hearing people disagree with them and who are determined to shut them up. This comes naturally to liberals educated in our great colleges and universities, so many of which have speech codes whose primary aim is to prevent the expression of certain conservative ideas and which are commonly deployed for that purpose. (For examples see the Web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends students of all political stripes.) Once the haven of free inquiry and expression, academia has become a swamp of stifling political correctness.

Similarly, the "mainstream media" -- the old-line broadcast networks, the New York Times, etc. -- presents a politically correct picture of the world. The result is that liberals can live in a cocoon, an America in which seldom is heard a discouraging word. Conservatives, in contrast, find themselves constantly pummeled with liberal criticism, on campus, in news media, in Hollywood TV and movies. They don't like it, but they've gotten used to it. Liberals aren't used to it and increasingly try to stamp it out.

"Mainstream media" tries to help. In the past few weeks, we have seen textbook examples of how MSM has ignored news stories that reflected badly on the administration for which it has such warm feelings. It ignored the videos in which White House "green jobs czar" proclaimed himself a "communist" and the "truther" petition he signed charging that George W. Bush may have allowed the Sept. 11 attacks.

It ignored the videos released on Andrew Breitbart's showing Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now employees offering to help a supposed pimp and prostitute evade taxes and employ 13- to 15-year-old prostitutes. It downplayed last spring's Tea Parties -- locally organized demonstrations against big government that attracted about a million people nationwide -- and downplayed the Tea Party throng at the Capitol and on the Mall on Sept. 12.

Actually "mainstream media" is doing its friends in the Obama administration and the Democratic party no favors, at least in the long run. Obama comes from one-party Chicago, and the House Democrats' nine top leadership members and committee chairmen come from districts that voted on average 73 percent for Obama last fall. They need help in understanding the larger country they are seeking to govern, where nearly half voted the other way. Instead they get the impression they can dismiss critics as racist or "Nazis" or as indulging in (as Sen. Harry Reid said) "evil-mongering."

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned us that there was a danger that intense rhetoric could provoke violence, and no decent person wants to see harm come to our president or other leaders. But it's interesting that the two most violent incidents at this summer's town hall meetings came when a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri and when a liberal protester bit off part of a man's finger in California.

These incidents don't justify a conclusion that all liberals are violent. But they are more evidence that American liberals, unused to hearing dissent, have an impulse to shut it down.




ACORN sues over video as IRS severs ties: "A community organizing group stepped up efforts to defend its tainted reputation on Wednesday, filing a lawsuit in Maryland against a conservative activist, as yet another government agency sought to distance itself from the group. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, has faced a deluge of criticism after a series of videos from hidden cameras caught staff members giving advice about tax evasion, human smuggling and child prostitution to James E. O’Keefe III and a partner, who were wearing disguises. Acorn announced it would sue Mr. O’Keefe and others involved in the video on Thursday in Maryland District Court, charging that he recorded the staff members without their consent, which is illegal. … Also on Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would no longer include Acorn in a groups approved to offer free tax preparation.”

Ex-MA AG to oversee ACORN review: "Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger was chosen yesterday to oversee an internal review of ACORN, placing him in the middle of a politically charged national controversy fueled by videotapes showing counselors from the grass-roots group giving advice to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute. Harshbarger said he believes the organization chose him for the national review because of a reputation to ‘call them like I see them.’ Speaking several hours after the chairwoman of ACORN’s board of directors announced his appointment yesterday, the 67-year-old lawyer said he has long specialized in advising corporations, nonprofit groups, and government agencies about their practices, and he was eager to play a similar role amid the controversy surrounding the community advocacy group.”

Luxury carmaker wins $529 million government loan: "The Energy Department awarded a $529 million low-interest government loan to a California-based start-up luxury automaker to fund the development of an $88,000 plug-in hybrid vehicle and a future ‘family oriented’ sedan. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the loan to Irvine-based Fisker Automotive for the development of two lines of plug-in hybrids that will save hundreds of millions gallons of gasoline and offset millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.”

Poll: Americans angry at Feds: "Americans are overwhelmingly angry at the U.S. government and is nearly as let down by the lack of ideas from both political parties, a new poll by Rasmussen Reports revealed Tuesday. Sixty-six percent of voters in a national poll said they’re angry at the policies of the federal government, including 36 percent who counted themselves as very angry. Thirty percent are not really angry, including 10 percent of whom say they aren’t angry at all. Among those most angry are Republicans — 90 percent of whom say they are somewhat or very angry. Seventy-seven percent of independents are angry and just 44 percent of Democrats are peeved. Among those suggesting anger abounds falls a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents — 59 percent overall — who say the anger is greater now than it was during the Bush administration. But few believe that the political parties have an answer. Of those surveyed, 60 percent said neither Republicans nor Democrats understand what is needed and among those who claimed to be very angry, that number rises to 80 percent.”

“Capitalism: A propaganda story”: "Michael Moore, the professional freedom-hating socialism-hugging documentary filmmaker strolled onto the Jay Leno show to push his latest misnomered movie, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story.’ Not only did he show up but he showed off his utter ignorance of economics in general and capitalism in particular. And he, like many people on the political right and virtually everyone on the left, labeled capitalism as evil even as he clearly demonstrated that the evil belongs to government.”

UN: A-Jad speech prompts US walkout: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the U.S. and Israel in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly late today, prompting a walkout of American diplomats. ‘It is disappointing that Mr. Ahmadinejad has once again chosen to espouse hateful, offensive and anti-Semitic rhetoric,’ Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the UN, said in an e-mail issued as the Iranian leader spoke. … Ahmadinejad repeated criticisms of the U.S.-led military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and drew attention to what he saw as American complicity in the international financial crisis. The ‘engine of unbridled capital’ has stopped working and ‘liberalism and capitalism that have alienated human beings from heavenly and moral values will never bring happiness for humanity,’ he said.”

Obama regime to set higher bar for state secrecy (allegedly): "The Obama administration will announce a new policy Wednesday making it much more difficult for the government to claim that it is protecting state secrets when it hides details of sensitive national security strategies such as rendition and warrantless eavesdropping, according to two senior Justice Department officials. The new policy requires agencies, including the intelligence community and the military, to convince the attorney general and a team of Justice Department lawyers that the release of sensitive information would present significant harm to ‘national defense or foreign relations. …’ That claim was asserted dozens of times during the Bush administration, legal scholars said.”

Iran: No curvy mannequins in shop windows: "Iranian police warned shopkeepers Tuesday not to use mannequins without headscarves or which exposed body curves, official news agency IRNA reported. ‘Using unusual mannequins exposing the body curves and with the heads without Hijabs (Muslim veil) are prohibited to be used in the shops,’ Iran’s moral [sic] security police in charge of Islamic dress codes said in a statement carried by IRNA. Iranian police have stepped up a crackdown on both women and men, boutiques and small companies which fail to enforce strict religious dress codes since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to office in 2005. The measures are the latest in a country-wide campaign against Western cultural influences in the Islamic Republic, where strict dress codes are enforced.”

John Stossel on going to Fox II: "When I announced last week that I was leaving ABC for Fox, some readers complained about my ‘bias.’ I replied: ‘Every reporter has political beliefs. The difference is that I am upfront about mine.’ Look at today’s burning issue: President Obama’s pledge to redesign 15 percent of the economy. Virtually every reporter calls his health care plan ‘reform.’ But dictionaries define reform as ‘improvement.’ So before they present any evidence, reporters pronounce Obama’s plan an improvement. Isn’t that bias?”

Did Cash for Clunkers “revitalize” the auto industry?: "Contrary to what Automotive News breathlessly declared, the Cash program pretty much was what anyone with common sense and decent economic training could have predicted. It spurred sales for a while, but after the money dried up, so did the new car sales. I contend, however, that where Automotive News saw ‘momentum’ for the auto industry, in reality this program has brought long-term economic damage.”


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, September 24, 2009

So ACORN Doesn't Have Tax Issues?

If you watched any of this embarrassing performance by ACORN mob boss Bertha Lewis Sunday you couldn't help by conclude the woman is a pathological liar. The most egregious lie she told was that ACORN pays all its taxes. Whoops. Would you like to have that one back, Bertha?

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday that her group "absolutely pays its taxes." Not true: The IRS and Louisiana's taxmen have imposed nearly $2 million in liens against ACORN for failing to fork over taxes at its New Orleans national headquarters. The IRS recently filed a $548,000 lien against the group, and Louisiana state tax officials have slapped $334,000 in liens on ACORN since last October.

Evidence that ACORN ignored its tax obligations may be less exciting than its branch offices' eagerness to help a self-professed pimp break multiple laws, or the voter-registration fraud for which various of its workers have been convicted.

But the tax mess shows that the lawlessness starts at its headquarters. (ACORN actually has three national HQs -- in the Big Easy, Washington, DC, and New York City.)

Another New Orleans group, the free-market Pelican Institute for Public Policy, uncovered official records that confirm ACORN's deadbeat tax status. (Full disclosure: Pelican hosted my visit to New Orleans last May.) At the Orleans Parish Clerk of Courts Office, Pelican researcher Steve Beatty found a Sept. 3 IRS filing showing that "Elysian Fields Corp., Inc., Alter Ego of ACORN" skipped five quarterly withholding-tax payments -- covering income, Social Security and Medicare levies -- in 2005-08, and made no federal unemployment-tax payments for the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008.

"We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid," reads IRS form 668(Y). So the federal taxmen have placed liens on ACORN's New Orleans offices at 2609 Canal St. and 2610 Iberville St. This follows a $1 million invoice that the IRS already had handed ACORN, as Pelican reported last August. The group's in trouble with the state, too.

"We have a full-scale investigation into ACORN and all of its subsidiaries," Tammi Arender, spokeswoman for Louisiana Attorney General Bobby Caldwell, said recently. "No stone will be left unturned. We're still looking into their recent activities." Caldwell subpoenaed ACORN, former ACORN head Wade Rathke and the group's financial institution, Whitney Bank. Caldwell seeks information stretching back to 1998 on ACORN and some 361 tax-exempt and non-tax-exempt outfits in its universe.

Citizens Consulting, Inc. -- ACORN's bookkeeping arm, no less -- scored a Louisiana "Notice of State Tax Assessment and Lien" on Oct. 29, 2008. It details 66 withholding-tax payments that Citizens Consulting skipped in 2002-08, totaling more than $300,000.

These documents are online at American taxpayers have to struggle to pay their taxes in full and on time. Meanwhile, ACORN routinely has ignored its duty -- even as it has continued to collect millions of taxpayer dollars from the government.

Be sure to visit the Pelican Institute link and view the PDFs of the tax liens.

Bertha Lewis is lying through her teeth, that much is obvious. Why most of the media is ignoring her criminal activities remains a mystery. Watch how she can't even look at Darrell Issa. It's no wonder she's desperately avoiding appearing before Congress.



ACORN rotten from the head down

The liberal political organizing group ACORN faced internal chaos and allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud long before two young conservatives embarrassed the group with undercover videos made at field offices in Washington and across the country.

Internal ACORN documents show an organization in turmoil as last year's presidential election approached, with a board torn over how to handle embezzlement by the founder's brother and growing concern that donor money and pension funds had been plundered in the insider scheme.

Minutes from a meeting ACORN held in Los Angeles last summer reveal a group then on the brink of financial collapse. "Currently owe over $800k to IRS," the minutes note. "Haven't paid medical bills of over $300k. We are essentially 'broke' nationally and lots of offices are struggling."

Some top ACORN officials tried to shield the scheme, which involved Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. "Leadership has no faith in staff. Wade betrayed them," the minutes said.

More here


Obama won’t win by calling opponents cowards

During his current media bombardment, President Obama is wisely downplaying the charges of racism his allies have been making. He told CNN’s John King that race wasn’t “the overriding issue” for the opponents of his health care plan. Not exactly an exoneration of his critics’ racial attitudes, but at least an acknowledgment that there is more than bigotry at work. What Obama says is really driving the negative response to his policies is fear. Fear of “big changes.” Fear of “uncertainty.”

The president likes to equate the resistance he’s facing with that met by Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. It’s nice that Obama wants to put himself in such elite presidential company, but Roosevelt’s first year saw the passage of at least 10 major pieces of domestic legislation and two constitutional amendments. Obama has so far managed to produce two very large spending bills, keep his predecessor’s bailouts going and little else.

Roosevelt actually changed the country in his first eight months. And did it with a quarter of the work force idled and the banks out of money. People were afraid that the republic might fail and mostly welcomed FDR’s boldness. Today, Americans aren’t so much afraid as they are tired of treading water economically and pessimistic that anything the government can do will make it better.

Even so, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last week compared the president’s detractors to Father Coughlin, the racist, populist radio priest whose anti-Roosevelt rants were the targets of some of the first free-speech restrictions on the airwaves. Coughlin actually wanted more changes and more socialism than Roosevelt, not less. But you get where Team Obama is coming from. It sees demagogues leading flocks of fearful followers away from the bright light of progress.

Emanuel pictures a nation of modern-day Joads. He sees victims of the foreclosure dust bowl huddled around their laptops, hanging on Glenn Beck’s every blog post and too panic-stricken to see the wisdom of Obamacare.

First, we were told it was fear of the unknown. Once we understood the plan, we would cease to be afraid. When the president was selling a nonexistent plan this summer, it did sound pretty sketchy. At his July 22 news conference, when asked about what people would have to sacrifice for the sake of universal coverage, Obama said: “They’re going to have to give up paying for things that don’t make them healthier.”

So yes, Dr. Obama’s Traveling Medicine Show did not inspire confidence. But it is rational to be skeptical of a politician who proposes huge changes and promises only good results. The president, though, blamed the peddlers of “myths” and “distortions” of his imaginary plans for droopy polls and the outrage being expressed at town hall meetings.

The White House said the anxieties would begin to fade when Obama came forward with his own robust plan and sold it aggressively. And the president did just that Sept. 9, including all of the elements his liberal supporters wanted in a rousing speech. And again he saw fear, not disagreement, as the problem. “It has never been easy, moving this nation forward. There are always those who oppose it and those who use fear to block change,” Obama told a joint session of Congress.

There was a brief bounce in support for the plan based on the delivery of the speech. And then people found out that the president was really proposing federally mandated coverage, cuts to popular existing programs and new financial burdens on middle-class families.

Now, Obama is trying to recapture the momentum by assaulting the airwaves like a buttoned-down Billy Mays, pitching national health care instead of synthetic chamois cloths. He says he is on TV to battle fear at a time “of transition,” as if all roads lead in the direction of government health care but foolish fears can delay the inevitable.

The best liberal thinkers, including Obama, have been working for years to bring working-class whites back into the Democratic Party and re-create the unbeatable coalition of the New Deal. FDR built that coalition by addressing the shared, urgent fears of blacks and whites, farmers and mill workers, and Yankees and Southerners. And Obama believes he can do it again. But telling people that fear is the reason they have misgivings about an outlandish-sounding solution to a long-term problem is insulting, not reassuring.



Democrats on path to repeat housing disaster

With all the attention paid to the health care battle, ACORN, and the president's "Full Ginsburg" appearances on five Sunday talk shows, few people noticed a hearing with an exceedingly boring title -- "Proposals to Enhance the Community Reinvestment Act" -- held last week in the House Financial Services Committee. But the session marked a key moment in the ongoing battle between Republicans and Democrats over what caused our current financial woes -- and how we might best avoid getting into the same trouble again.

At the hearing, and in others across Capitol Hill, Democratic majorities are pressing hard to expand some of the very policies that led to the reckless home lending that in turn helped lead to the great financial meltdown. If Chairman Barney Frank and his fellow Democrats have their way, we'll do it all again -- and more.

At issue last week was H.R. 1479, the Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. It would expand and strengthen the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which required banks to make loans in low-income areas that many lenders had traditionally shunned.

After the meltdown, some conservatives blamed the CRA for almost solely causing the crisis by requiring banks to make risky loans to unqualified borrowers. It was an unfair charge. "CRA had at best an incremental role in the U.S. housing debacle," says J.D. Foster, an economist at the Heritage Foundation. But CRA did help create the conditions in which disaster could occur. The problems began in the 1990s, when Congress made it harder for lenders to do business if they had not passed the CRA "exam" -- that is, if they had not met the government-imposed standards for loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers.

"From 1995 on, there was an incredible push by the Clinton and Bush administrations in every way they could -- CRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other ways -- to increase the homeownership rate," says Russell Roberts, a professor of economics at George Mason University. "What that did was to push up the price of housing, and that made it imaginable to lend money to people you never would have lent money to, on terms you wouldn't have done before."

In particular, Fannie Mae began to aggressively promote homeownership using the Community Reinvestment Act to give loans to people who couldn't afford them. Fannie went to bankers and said, make as many CRA loans as you can; we'll buy them and take them off your hands. "Our approach to our lenders is 'CRA Your Way,' " top Fannie executive Jamie Gorelick told the Mortgage Bankers Association in 2001. "Fannie Mae will buy CRA loans from lenders' portfolios; we'll package them into securities; we'll purchase CRA mortgages at the point of origination. ..." Fannie promised to buy billions and billions of dollars worth of CRA loans because it was under pressure to do so from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which in turn was under pressure from Congress, which set ambitious quotas for low- and moderate-income loans.

The policy ended in a lot of people losing their homes. Now, Johnson's bill would ensure more of that by applying CRA's lending requirements not just to banks but to non-bank institutions like credit unions, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders. It would also make CRA explicitly race-based by, in Johnson's words, "requiring CRA exams to explicitly consider lending and services to minorities in addition to low- and moderate-income communities."

Republicans on the Financial Services Committee strongly oppose the plan. "Instead of looking to expand the number of institutions that must abide by CRA regulations, I think we should reassess the role this and other government mandates played in the financial collapse and consider scaling it back," California Rep. Ed Royce said at the hearing. In private conversation, other Republicans were more emphatic. "There is clearly arguable evidence that the CRA is at the root of this financial meltdown," said one GOP committee member. "So what do they do? They try to expand CRA."

That's an overstatement of CRA's role in the housing mess, but it's right about the Democratic plan. Denying that CRA, Fannie and other institutions played any role in setting the stage for disaster, they're proposing more of what helped get us into trouble in the first place. It's no way to fix the problem.




See here for an amazing tale of the bungling and waste in the administration of the "cash for clunkers" program.

Maryland governor OKs ACORN investigation: "Maryland’s Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley has authorized the state’s attorney general to investigate ACORN. “The Office of the Attorney General is authorized to use all necessary subpoena powers, to present to an appropriate grand jury any evidence and testimony considered necessary to carry out this authorization and directive, and to act with the full powers, rights and privileges possessed by a State’s Attorney,” O’Malley said in a news release."

NYC Hotel takes a stand against the Iranian madmen: "New York's Helmsley Hotel said on Friday it canceled a banquet set for next week when it learned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on the guest list, saying the man who called the Holocaust a lie was not welcome. Ahmadinejad was due in New York next week to attend the U.N. General Assembly, and his public appearances outside the meeting have generated controversy in recent years. "As soon as Helmsley corporate management learned of the possibility of either the Iranian mission or President Ahmadinejad holding a function at the New York Helmsley Hotel, they immediately ordered the cancellation of that function," hotel spokesman Howard Rubenstein said in a statement."

Frustration over Obama’s Afghanistan strategy: "Military officials voiced frustration and congressional leaders urged caution Tuesday over what they described as President Barack Obama’s shifting strategy in Afghanistan, six months after he committed thousands more U.S. troops to the stalemated war there. Administration officials maintained they were looking at all options to protect the U.S. and its allies by shutting down al-Qaida leaders who are believed to be hiding in areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.”


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, September 23, 2009

More lies from ACORN

Bertha Lewis, ACORN's chief organizer, appeared on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and even though Joe Wilson was nowhere to be found in the studio, you could hear his unspoken words as she misrepresented the fates of several of her employees.

Lewis's performance during the interview with U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and host Chris Wallace was the finest in liberal arrogance and dishonesty. Throughout, she didn't bother to acknowledge Issa with eye contact and she often evaded their questions so she could continue to assert ACORN does so much good for poor, working class minorities.

Following two clips Wallace showed of the undercover videos filmed by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles at ACORN offices in Baltimore and Brooklyn, this exchange between Wallace and Lewis took place:
WALLACE: I want to point out, because you've also attacked FOX, FOX did not produce, did not make, did not buy those videos. We've just put them on the air like everybody else now has. You were brought in a year ago to clean up ACORN. Is this the new and improved ACORN?

LEWIS: Well, what did I do? Immediately these folks were terminated. Immediately...

The word terminated was used by Lewis four times in the interview to describe the status of employees that have been caught on these undercover videos. But, in Bertha's world, terminated, sometimes means suspended without pay. New York Post reported 2 days ago:
Unlike other ACORN workers nabbed on undercover video, two Brooklyn ACORN employees have not been fired -- nearly a week after they were exposed in their office giving helpful advice to a fake pimp and prostitute on how to launder money. A spokesman for New York ACORN Housing Corp. told The Post that the employees, Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera, have been suspended without pay.

Thus far we've heard various stories about the status of employees that have engaged in unethical behavior to advise the conservative couple posing as a pimp and prostitute with a plot to begin a child prostitution ring and evade paying taxes on their earnings. From what we can tell, employees from offices in Baltimore, D.C., and San Diego have been fired, but the organization has defended Tresa Kaelke of San Bernadino and only suspended without pay Volda Albert and Milagros Rivera.

The question that has to be raised is why have these two only been suspended without pay when they clearly committed offenses that warranted immediate termination?

A further look into the backgrounds of these two individuals may explain why.

Volda Albert has been with ACORN's NY office, where Bertha Lewis was the Executive Director before her promotion last May, since at least 2002. In 2006, she was highlighted for her work counseling members of the United Federation of Teachers.

Milagros Rivera has been the Office Administrator since at least 2007, when ACORN used her to testify before the New York City Council's General Welfare Committee in order to get a homelessness prevention measure passed.
Milagros Rivera lives at 1889 Sedgwick Avenue, #6H, Bronx, NY, 10453. It is a former Mitchell Lama building owned by landlord Larry Gluck. Her landlord refused to accept her Section 8 voucher. Her rent is over 90% of her income. She can only pay it by borrowing money from friends and family. If this bill passes, her landlord will have to accept her Section 8 voucher and her rent will be approximately $200 a month.

Perhaps Lewis is just looking out for a couple of her own, but in the case of Albert, she's been with the organization for at least 7 years. Given her depth of experience, is she someone they want to turn into a disgruntled former employee with intimate knowledge of the organization's operations?

Tara Benigno was the third employee in the Brooklyn video and somehow went unmentioned in the Post's article. She perhaps is the most important employee of them all. Benigno has been a housing developer with ACORN since 1999 and was named the 2004 Housing Developer of the Year. She also works with the Mutual Housing Association of New York which serves as one of ACORN's many fronts and operates out of the same office at 2-4 Nevins Street.

In the case of these three employees, in terms of titles and experience, we can no longer believe the original myth perpetrated by ACORN that all of these individuals were just junior level type employees who out of nowhere decided to go rogue. If anything, these three women understand the inner workings of the liberal criminal enterprise they work for and the behavior we saw on the videos was just business as usual.



Big Business and the Democratic Party

Ever since FDR was elected president in 1932, the Republican Party had been vilified by liberals and the news media as the party of large corporations and the defender of greedy capitalists. That claim is not supported by the facts. In the last decade, large corporations in many industries have contributed far more money to the Democratic Party and democratic candidates than to Republicans.

As the housing finance crisis illustrates, Wall Street investment firms, large banks and even government sponsored agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac made large contributions to the Democratic Party and democratic candidates especially Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and Barrack Obama to prevent tightening of borrower credit standards and the regulation of new financial instruments like derivatives. The Federal government’s promotion of home ownership without regard to credit worthiness drove up house prices and ultimately cost small investors one third of their personal savings, including 401k retirement accounts.

In the health care debate, large insurers and hospital groups have spent millions of dollars on Democratic supporters and spent additional millions running radio and TV ads to promote government healthcare. Clearly these firms believe that Nationalized Health Care will help their bottom line instead of resulting in savings for the taxpayer.

In the energy policy debate, large utilities and other industries have already reserved a large portion of the carbon credits without cost. These same industries provided significant campaign contributions to the Democratic legislators writing the bill.

One of the few benefactors of Cap and Trade legislation will be the Wall Street firms that will trade the carbon credits that are not already reserved. These firms have made significant contributions to Democratic candidates or are actually managed by politically influential Democrats such as Al Gore. Cap and Trade legislation will drastically increase the energy costs for the average American, however it will drastically increase the profitability of certain large firms that are politically well connected. By promoting government intervention into the natural supply and demand for energy, Wall Street firms will be able to achieve excessive profits at the expense of average taxpayers just as they did in the housing finance industry.

Large corporations have found that the party of free enterprise and limited government no longer serves their interests. They have found that the policies of the Democratic Party which allow government, not the marketplace, to determine the economic success of a firm are much more profitable. However, that may explain why millions of jobs have left this country for China and India and 70% of all jobs created in the last 10 years have been created in small businesses.

Small businesses still believe in self reliance, free enterprise and limited government. Perversely, it is the owners and employees of small businesses that pay the vast majority of the taxes collected in this country, and then those taxes are used to fund programs that thwart self reliance and free enterprise.



The antidemocratic Left

Voting is undemocratic, apparently. Sort that one out! Leftist Doublespeak again

Smart people should rule the world. That, anyway, is what certain folks who consider themselves far smarter than you or me tend to think. These clever souls hang out with other brainy people, all of whom are very impressed with the intelligence they find around themselves — at places, say, like the Northwest Progressive Institute.

Yes, for the good of everyone, they must rule. Without such leadership, after all, how would the little people — those of us less brilliant, less progressive — know precisely how much revenue, how much of “our common wealth,” should be obtained by state government through taxes and then spent on various programs?

You ask: What programs? Programs these really smart people think up, of course. But, if you live in Washington state and favor the work of the “strategy center,” The Northwest Progressive Institute, you have a problem. A roadblock. A hurdle. A very large brick wall. His name is Tim Eyman.

Mr. Eyman is the state’s “initiative king,” meaning there are necessarily millions of accessories to his evil plots: Washington voters. Eyman, along with several hundred thousand of these voters signing petitions, placed Initiative 1033 on the ballot . . . to be decided, in roughly six weeks, by the state’s unwashed masses. The measure, if passed, would cap the year-to-year growth of state spending to the growth of population and inflation, allowing the caps to be overridden only with express approval from these same plebes.

But this democracy idea doesn’t sit so well with Andrew Villeneuve, who tells us on the Northwest Progressive Institute’s blog that “I-1033 is the boldest assault yet in Tim Eyman’s war on representative democracy.” Villeneuve believes permitting mere citizens to occasionally vote directly on taxes and spending, on economic policies, is somehow illegitimate — and destructive of the delicate brain surgery done by legislatures.

Oh, he freely admits that the first Americans to raise the banner of Progressivism brought us initiative, referendum and recall. But many of today’s self-described progressives now say “thanks, but no thanks” to the idea of empowering the actual people on the receiving and funding ends of government. The little guy has apparently outworn his welcome.

Everyman (or -woman) might not vote the right way — that is, the “left” way. Thus, all decisions must be made by special-interest barnacled politicians. Otherwise, disaster lurks. “If all public services were dependent on voter approval to exist year to year, Washington would not even be a State,” claims the hyperbolic Villeneuve. “Our beautiful corner of America would be known as The Evergreen Chaos.” Such Chicken Little statements have little to do with the reality of Eyman’s proposal. I-1033 will not require any program to be re-upped by voters yearly.

More troubling, though, is Mr. Villeneuve complete lack of faith in the voters. Villeneuve is mistaken on the merits of I-1033, but he is dangerously unbalanced in arguing against the right of the people to check the actions of their government through initiative and referendum. “The initiative and referendum were not intended to replace the Legislature,” he says. But of course, legislators aren’t being replaced, merely overruled. By their bosses.

James Madison, an authority on republican values at least on par with Mr. Villeneuve, wrote in Federalist 49: "As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority . . ."

In his online rant, Villeneuve turns to a different source: “Even those who argue that representative democracy is flawed cannot disagree with Winston Churchill’s famous conclusion that it ’is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.’” Funny how Villeneuve edited Churchill. Britain’s prime minister did not use the term “representative democracy” at all. He actually said, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

In 1944, Churchill also said this about the lowly voter: “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper — no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.”

Villeneuve’s last refuge is to denounce the entire concept of voter initiatives for one additional reason. “Every time we the people of Washington State are forced to vote on Tim Eyman’s measures, it costs each of us a pretty penny,” he writes. “Eyman seems to have forgotten that holding elections — like every other public service the government provides — carry a price tag.” Oh, sure, democracy is nice and all, but it costs too much. Perhaps a king would be cheaper?




Dangerus has got some good graphics and captions up at the moment.

Muslim fund-raiser for Obama 'in $335 million fraud': "Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup out of more than $US290 million ($335 million) in loan proceeds, US prosecutors said overnight. The announcement follows last month's indictment of Mr Nemazee, head of a private equity firm and an Iranian American Political Action Committee board member, on one count of defrauding Citigroup's Citibank. The new indictment adds allegations that he defrauded two other banks, Bank of America and HSBC Bank USA, in a similar fashion by falsifying documents and signatures to purportedly show he had hundreds of millions worth of collateral. The office of the US Attorney in Manhattan and the FBI said he used the proceeds of his scheme to make donations to election campaigns of federal, state and local candidates, donations to political action committees and charities. He bought property in Italy and paid for maintenance on two properties in New York."

Obama turns parrot when breaking talk show record: "President Obama proved he was a man who could stay on message yesterday when he became the first US President to appear on five talk shows in one day. As anchors from CBS, ABC, CNN, NBC and Univision took turns in the hot-seat opposite the President in the West Wing, Mr Obama didn't bother to vary his statistics, turns of phrase, seating position or even jokes. Talking to ABC's George Stephanopoulos and then CNN's John King, the President even repeated the same hand movement while saying the same sentence about al-Qaeda. The interviews were given to the five major networks to try to gain ground in the nationwide debate over healthcare reform. Each network sent a full crew over to the White House for 15 minutes of the President's time. While some have praised the strong "media management" of the White House in ensuring the President dominated the networks on Sunday morning, others found the practised, parrot-like turns-of-phrase a step too far."

FDIC nearly broke: "Tired of the government bailing out banks? Get ready for this: officials may soon ask banks to bail out the government. Senior regulators say they are seriously considering a plan to have the nation’s healthy banks lend billions of dollars to rescue the insurance fund that protects bank depositors. That would enable the fund, which is rapidly running out of money because of a wave of bank failures, to continue to rescue the sickest banks.”

Groups spar over US offshore drilling plans: "Environmental and pro-drilling advocates pitched dueling messages about expanded offshore oil and natural gas production to the U.S. Interior Department on Monday, as the comment period on a Bush-era energy plan came to a close. The draft five-year offshore drilling proposal offered in the last days of the Bush administration would allow drilling along the East Coast and off the coast of California. Drilling was banned in most of the offshore areas of the United States outside the Gulf of Mexico for more than 20 years until Congress allowed the prohibition to expire last year.”

China says military arsenal comparable with West: "China’s military now possesses most of the sophisticated weapon systems found in the arsenals of developed Western nations, the country’s defense minister said in comments published Monday. Many of China’s systems, including the J-10 fighter jet, latest-generation tanks, navy destroyers, and cruise and intercontinental ballistic missiles, match or are close to matching the capabilities of those in the West, Liang Guanglie said in a rare interview posted on the ministry’s website.”


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, September 22, 2009

More Leftist lies. They NEED to lie. The truth is toxic to them

Doug Giles, a proud father, has produced a daughter who is a chip off the old block and he rebuts below the lies being told about the ACORN sting. Their near-total disregard for the truth has always identified the Left as sub-clinical psychopaths (See here and here) to anyone who is familiar with psychopaths but the total emptiness where ethics and morality should be in the heads of the ACORN staffers is a vivid reminder of how psychopathic Leftists really are -- for those who have forgotten Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and all that merry crew. Destruction is all that the Left are devoted to and they do as much of it as the power available to them allows

The heading Doug Giles put on his account below was: "No, It Wasn’t My Idea for Hannah Giles to Dress Like a Hooker and Infiltrate ACORN"
It’s been quite interesting watching and reading the statements coming from ACORN and various “news” organizations about the “facts” of the Giles/O’Keefe ACORN caper. Here’s a little sample of what they have been saying about the two evil citizen journalists, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, the ones who picked on poor, poor, poor, old ACORN.

Check it out, the truth according to nutty ACORN (and what really happened):

1. Giles’ and O’Keefe’s timeframe for filming. Bertha Lewis and others have stated that Hannah and James spent many months visiting scores of ACORN centers to get these few videos. One wizard said Hannah and James had been doing this since 2005, which would have made Hannah, oh, let’s see, about 14 or 15. Hello! I’m a cool dad—but not that cool.

I guess Bertha could be right about the time Giles and O’Keefe invested in the ACORN sting op if she counts her days in dog years. If that’s how she rolls then she’s spot-on with the “many months” statement. By the way, if that’s true, this November I’ll be 329 years old. Happy birthday to me! I think I’ll get another gun! I’m diggin’ on the S&W .500 magnum. She’s purty.

The truth of the matter, from a timeline standpoint, is that they hatched their plan in May of ’09, fine-tuned it from May 20th – July 23rd, and then launched July 24th, fully accomplishing their mission by the end of August. And that’s a fact to all those for whom facts still matter.

2. Giles’ and O’Keefe’s mission failed in many locations. Bertha and her buddies say with vigor and Reverend Wright unction that Giles and O’Keefe tried this trick in hundreds of locations without success. Marc Lamont Hill was on O’Reilly’s show this past week parroting the same smack. I heard one lunatic say they visited thousands of centers nationwide (there are under 200. Oops). Hey, guys: Why stop at hundreds and thousands? Why not say gazillions or quadrillions of ACORN centers?! Go Dr. Evil with the numbers. The truth of the matter happens to be that Hannah and James visited just a few locations—I won’t say how many—and struck gold, or sewage, everywhere they went.

3. Giles and O’Keefe had FOX News bankroll this escapade. I believe that, according to the ACORN spinmeisters, they had the amount of drachmas FOX had given Hannah and James in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The oh-so-sexy reality regarding this little nugget is that it cost these two acorn-crackers $1,300 of their own money. It’s amazing what one can do with a little cash, grandma’s chinchilla coat, a miniskirt and a whole lot of vision, eh? The only cash they received from FOX was for their hotel stay and their airfare while they did Beck’s and Hannity’s shows. That’s the truth. Oh, and as far as me giving her any pesos, for this epoch her papasito gave her nada. Not a penny. No FOX funds. No crazy Christian dad dollars.

4. Giles’ radical, ultra-conservative Christian dad put her up to it. I believe that’s how someone on one of those unwatched news shows has been bending it. Well, I can tell you as her dad that I did not. As much as me no likey the nefarious underpinnings and corrupt acts of ACORN, having my kid dress like a hooker and infiltrate such a place is not in my repertoire. That was Hannah’s baby from start to finish. I simply told her to be careful because we all know how dangerous sweet community organizers can be. Oh, FYI . . . if confessing I’m a sinner, believing orthodox Christian doctrine, saluting our flag and that for which it stands, loving the Constitution, hating terrorists, being fond of guns, hunting, country and rock music while adoring freedom makes me a crazy ultra-conservative Christian lunatic then I guess I am one of those. I will put that name right next to the other name Obama’s former green czar called such a person back in March (I believe he called us “a**holes”).

5. Giles and O’Keefe doctored the tapes. This is silly. James is a talented post-production editor, but he didn’t put the words in the ACORN workers’ mouths. He’s sharp . . . but not that sharp. Anyway, if he did you and I both would know it because it would have looked and sounded like one of those old Bruce Lee flicks. Unfortunately for Bertha, Andrew Breitbart has the vids and the transcripts in their entirety on his new site for anyone to behold. Grab some popcorn and watch ‘em. It’s a teachable moment. Oh, speaking of the tapes: You might wanna go back to the San Bernadino one and listen to the list of politicians the ACORN lady rattled off as elected officials who would possibly be ready and willing to assist with the House for Hookers program.

Well, my children, that’s the inside poop on how it happened. That’s reality. I, personally, am stunned by what my kid and her cohort did in ratting out tawdry corruption on the highest (or lowest) level. As far as I am concerned, Giles and O’Keefe are American heroes par excellence. They accomplished something in a few short weeks, on a wing and a prayer, that other agencies and people have been trying to expose for many, many moons.


One defence of ACORN that Doug Giles has not mentioned above is the inadvertently honest one given by NPR -- that the actions of the ACORN staffers are attributable to their "low income" background. I say "inadvertently honest" not because it is accurate but because it reveals what the Left really think about the poor whom they claim to champion. And it is an opinion that has got me steaming to some extent. I think it is a disgraceful slur on poor people to say that the behaviour of the ACORN staffers is typical of the poor.

I myself come from a poor family, an Australian one. I remember my mother borrowing money out of my moneybox when I was a kid so that will give you an idea of the family finances. And to this day I am most at home among working class Australians. I speak their distinctive language and, given that background, I find that they have far more realism, far more heart and a much better sense of humour than the intelligentsia. But I guess that the NPR crew didn't really mean "low income" literally. In full, they said that "ACORN's workers are coming from the same low-income neighborhoods the organization serves", so I suspect that "low income" was code for "black". So it was racism, not class prejudice, that moved them. They are bigots either way, however.


Lost: 600,000 Jobs

As if Big Labor hasn't been repaid enough for its help in electing Democrats, a new report shows that protectionism — the unions' signature issue — costs 585,000 of the rest of us our jobs.

It's not enough that unions got the cream of the $80 billion in auto industry bailouts or the center cut of the $787 billion stimulus package or a smorgasbord of regulations — from union transparency laws to court-ordered supervision — rescinded by grateful Democrats in Congress and the White House.

But the biggest payoff has been in the form of protectionist measures being applied across the U.S. economy. They include "Buy American" provisos, a Mexican truck shutout, tariffs on Chinese tires and, worst of all, the halting of free trade treaties with Colombia, Korea and Panama. Up next: tariffs on steel pipe.

The aim is to preserve a few thousand jobs at most, but it's coming at a high price. On Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a comprehensive report called "Trade Action: The Cost for American Workers and Companies." It describes how the Obama administration's trade decisions, all of which were sought by Big Labor, have so far cost 585,000 American jobs.

It started in February 2008, with the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It required all iron, steel and manufactured goods purchased for public works projects to be American-made, and all textiles, clothing and equipment purchased by the Department of Homeland Security to be U.S.-made.

"We estimate that any net increase in U.S. employment resulting from the new 'Buy American' provisions will quickly evaporate as other countries implement 'buy national' policies of their own," the Chamber said. Even a 1% loss of sales would create big job losses, the Chamber said, and that doesn't include retaliation. Job toll: 176,800.

Then there was the Teamsters' favorite — the abrogation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a provision of which requires the U.S. to permit Mexican trucks on U.S. roads as it always had until 1982.

In March, Congress passed the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act to end funding for a pilot program that would have fulfilled the treaty's requirements. The Chamber says Mexico retaliated with $2.3 billion in penalty duties on 89 U.S. products, creating an immediate cost of $421 million.

Consumers also pay $739 million "drayage" costs of transferring Mexican truck goods to American trucks, plus additional shipping. Net cost: 25,600 jobs.

The big disaster, however, is Congress' failure to pass already-negotiated free trade treaties with Korea and Colombia, which have been awaiting a vote since 2006 and 2007, respectively. Big Labor opposes all free trade, and on Colombia, the AFL-CIO calls its opposition "unalterable." But that sop to them costs the rest of us jobs.

"While the United States stalls, other major exporters, (notably the EU and Canada) are moving ahead with (free trade agreements) of their own with these countries," the Chamber points out.

"If the EU and Canada do implement their FTAs with Korea and Colombia and the United States does not, exporters will enjoy a competitive advantage over U.S. exporters" in those markets, the Chamber warns.

Add to that the China tire tariffs imposed last week, which Rutgers trade expert Thomas Prusa reckons would cost 15,000 jobs, and the grand total is 600,000 positions — a disaster for an economy in recession and a killer of consumer confidence and voter approval.

For Democrats, this ought to be a wake-up call. For every job they save to repay unions, many more are lost in other sectors of the economy. What's more, jobs that would be created as a result of freer markets never materialize. Either way, the price is intolerably high.




Civility is overrated: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, lamenting an imaginary climate of violence, wishes ‘we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made.’ Such a preposterous statement should be actionable. Pelosi, who only recently compared her political opponents to Nazis, isn’t exactly a paragon of civil discourse. American politics always has been unsightly. Most of the time, in fact, far worse than today. Have we transformed into so brittle a citizenry that we are unable to handle a raucous debate over the future of the country? If things were quiet, subdued, and ‘civil’ in America today, as Pelosi surely wishes, it only would be proof that democracy isn’t working. It’s no accident, either, that those in power are generally the ones choking up about the lack of decorum. The truth is we could use far less bogus civility in Washington.”

Book review: How America can avoid fate of other empires: "It is not difficult to hypothesize that the financial crisis and a weakened position abroad have put the United States in a position of decline from which it will be virtually impossible to emerge as anything but a battered former superpower. Instead of learning from a war of choice that, at this point, is much less disastrous than it could have been, we are on the verge of escalating another war in a much more difficult environment. We are applying the gasoline of more loose credit and deficit spending to a financial inferno based on loose credit and moral hazard, and programs like Medicare and Social Security are inexorably headed for bankruptcy. The result might not be unbearable. Vienna, London, Berlin and Paris still have their charms after the empires centered on them collapsed, and the U.S. will have charms after our empire withers. Just expect more nostalgia than innovation. Matt Harrison, author of the new book The American Evolution, is far from content with that prospect, and he believes he has found some keys not just to restoring American greatness but unleashing the creativity that could lead to an America and a world in which people will look back on our era with the same kind of wonder at its apparent backwardness with which most of us view the Dark Ages.”

Is the American dream dead?: "In recent years, our family has traveled cross-country, visiting 37 states and countless museums, landmarks and parks. … I didn’t realize, however, that a rare opportunity to stay in a ritzy hotel in Washington this summer would also be exposing them to elitism at its core. In our tourist attire, we stood out like sore thumbs. Women in polished high heels and impeccable coiffures swept past. I looked down at my rumpled sweater, Wal-Mart jeans, and $11 tennis shoes. Where did a no-frills mother of four boys fit? … Later, my 13-year-old echoed my thoughts. After taking photos of the hotel, he noted that all of the people had the same expression: disgust. My husband and I sighed. Our son wasn’t so innocent anymore. Had we been wrong not to teach him about the exclusionary nature of the ‘real world?’”

Ending child labour: "Most certainly we would all prefer a better world in which the young go to school and prepare themselves for making the future world even better. But as Paul Krugman points out, this isn’t actually one of the options available to those who currently labour in carpet factories, brickworks or upon garbage dumps. The options are work or starve. So what might we do to try and reduce these pressures upon the young innocents? How about globalisation?”

Obama is right and Carter is wrong: "It’s certainly not the first time Jimmy Carter has played the discreditable race card. In 1980, he accused Ronald Reagan over and over of being a racist. When Jimmy Carter’s dad was undeniably a segregationist in the Old South, Ronald Reagan was inviting his black friends from his Eureka College football team to spend the night in his home rather than face unjust discrimination at Illinois hotels. Ronald Reagan pledged — and kept that pledge — to enforce our nation’s historic Civil Rights laws. No matter. Jimmy Carter’s glass house may have been windowless, but that did not stop his stone-throwing. President Obama’s White House does not endorse Carter’s unsubstantiated charges. Administration spokesman Robert Gibbs said: ‘[The President] does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin.’ Gibbs attributed it instead to honest policy differences. Well, good for Gibbsy! That should settle it. But it won’t.”

Christopher Hitchens on Kristol: "Irving Kristol’s great charm … was that he didn’t care overmuch for the charm business. Most of his celebrated quips and interventions had a tough-guy street feel to them, a manner probably retained from his Marxist days. Typical of him (and I think also truthful) was the claim that he hadn’t known about CIA funding for Encounter but wouldn’t have given much of a damn if he had known. As for the image of a neoconservative as a liberal ‘mugged by reality,’ once people got over their affected fuss about the possible innuendo in the word mugged, they reluctantly saw that Kristol had found a memorably demotic way of encapsulating the sad fashion in which utopianism can collide with brute facts about the human animal. The very word neoconservative, which was used, if not coined, by socialist Michael Harrington to describe his lapsed former comrades, was eschewed or ignored by most of its targets until Irving Kristol said, in effect, the hell with it, that’s what we are, let’s adopt the title for ourselves.”

The epoch battle of our time: "It seems as though every statist has his favorite health-care reform and, more important, is convinced that his particular reform is the one that is finally going to make socialism and interventionism succeed. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but it just ain’t gonna happen. Socialism and interventionism are inherently defective. They cannot be made to succeed.”

Britain's socialist "centrist": "Nick Clegg is turning his fire on the super-rich, revealing proposals to hit owners of million-pound houses in the pocket under Liberal Democrat plans to overhaul the tax system. In an interview with The Independent, he argued that the wealthiest in society had profited from soaring property prices and tax dodges. His solution is to make them pay their fair share, promising that the extra cash collected would be channelled back into tax cuts for low- and middle-income homes.”


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