Saturday, November 21, 2009

Liberals' Establishment of Religion

One of the reasons liberals are so hostile to public expressions of Christianity is because it threatens the monopoly that the religion of liberalism enjoys in the public square. The late Ted Kennedy was more than a leading senator, to liberal supporters. He was a secular saint. His appeal was essentially religious. He made it fairly explicit in his famous concession speech to the Democratic National Convention that re-nominated President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy reduced thousands of liberal delegates to tears with this emotional peroration:
May it be said of our Party in 1980 that we found our faith again.

And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

"I am a part of all that I have met

[Tho] much is taken, much abides

That which we are, we are --

One equal temper of heroic hearts

Strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

Not for Ted Kennedy the cool rationalism of his party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had famously said “if I had to go to Heaven in a political party, I would not go at all.” For Ted Kennedy and for those weeping delegates, the Democratic Party holds that place that used to be reserved for church and church alone. It’s no wonder that those teary believers—more than 90 percent of whom tell researchers they never go to church—end their search for the meaning of life in political activism.

Analyze Kennedy’s Epistle to the Gentiles and you will see that the concern, the work, the cause, the hope, the dream that is the subject of his panegyric is government. Government giveth and Government taketh away. The only Government worthy of that capital G is one that provides health, education, and welfare. All Americans are invited into the Democratic Church. Only the heretical conservatives are excluded.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was at the Kennedy School at Harvard last week. Liberals go to Harvard the way Muslims go to Mecca. Pelosi was basking in liberal approval for having been the first Speaker to deliver on the promise of universal health care. She established her bona fides early in her sermon. “For thirty years I’ve been an advocate of single payer,” she said. Single payer is liberal speak for socialized medicine, run entirely by the state, paid for by the state. But we have to make some tactical compromises, she said. Well, there may have to be a few little detours on the road to the Heavenly Liberal City.

“We all have our theology in politics,” she said to murmurs of approval from her audience. When Gov. George W. Bush said in a Republican debate in 2000 that Jesus Christ was his favorite political philosopher, liberals were aghast. But when Nancy Pelosi speaks of “theology,” we must assume she uses the word the way Webster defines it: “the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially : the study of God and of God's relation to the world.”

For Pelosi, God commands universal health care without a restriction on funding abortion. And God apparently also commands the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Pelosi invoked the patron saint of San Francisco. She recited the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. It was probably the first time in history that that gentle saint was dragged in to bless the slaughter of innocents and the abolition of matrimony.

Predictably, there were no ACLU protests. And no atheizers ran to MSNBC to deplore her breaching the Wall of Separation between Church and State.

Pelosi was perfectly free not only to preach her religious ideas, but to impose jail time and fines on those who dissent. In the Gospel According to Nancy, the liberal Preacher of the House promises to bring the liberal Heaven to Earth. Is it any wonder growing numbers of Americans think it’s a living hell?



Conning the conservatives

Growing up, I always thought Jesus' admonition in the Book of Matthew, "The poor you will always have with you," wasn't meant to be taken literally as a directive to ignore the poor, but that's exactly what a prominent Roman Catholic charity believes.

As this Sunday's "second collection" approaches, most Catholics planning to donate to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development probably think their money will be used to help the poor by funding soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Well, the joke's on them. CCHD has never provided direct relief to the poor. That's not its purpose.

It is an extreme left-wing political organization created to feed and foster radical groups like ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Most Catholics are blissfully unaware of its true mission, though it says right on its Web site that it aims to support "organized groups of white and minority poor to develop economic strength and political power."

Long mocked as the "Catholic Campaign to Help Democrats," CCHD is the charitable arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its creation in 1969 - the year before ACORN was founded - CCHD says it has given more than $290 million to fund what it calls more than 8,000 "low-income-led, community-based projects that strengthen families, create jobs, build affordable housing, fight crime, and improve schools and neighborhoods." Some say the grand total is closer to $450 million.

Both ACORN and CCHD were inspired by radical agitator Saul Alinsky, the Marxist Machiavelli who dedicated his activism opus, "Rules for Radicals," to Lucifer, whom he called "the first radical." The late Mr. Alinsky developed the concept of "community organizing" in order to mobilize poor neighborhoods to make demands, long and loud, on public officials and the private sector.

CCHD gives generously to the Industrial Areas Foundation, which Mr. Alinsky himself founded, and to similar leftist groups including the Gamaliel Foundation, People Improving Communities Through Organizing (PICO), and Direct Action and Research Training Institute (DART).

Over the years, some Catholics have called out CCHD for its Marxist radicalism. Former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon, a Catholic layman, complained in the late 1980s that CCHD was a "funding mechanism for radical left-wing political activism in the United States, rather than for traditional types of charities." Catholic writer Paul Likoudis observed that CCHD could be considered "a political mechanism bonding the American Church to the welfare state."

But President Obama is a big believer in CCHD. In 1985-88 he ran the Developing Communities Project from an office in Chicago's Holy Rosary Church. The project was part of the Gamaliel network. "I got my start as a community organizer working with mostly Catholic parishes on the South Side of Chicago that were struggling because the steel plants had closed," Mr. Obama told Catholic Digest. CCHD "helped fund the project, and so very early on, my career was intertwined with the belief in social justice that is so strong in the church." Mr. Obama has said he "tried to apply the precepts of compassion and care for the vulnerable that are so central to Catholic teachings to my work [such as in] making health care a right for all Americans."

CCHD only cut off ACORN, whose ties to Mr. Obama have been exhaustively documented, as a grant recipient a year ago under intense pressure. It must have been excruciating for CCHD to disown ACORN, its own flesh and blood in the class struggle, in November 2008 after critics raised concerns that some of parishioners' money might have been used for illegal partisan activities.

After years of complaints by conservative Catholics, CCHD finally gave ACORN the heave-ho after channeling $7.3 million in churchgoers' money to the group over the last decade. The bishops acted only after Catholics outraged by reports of legal and ethical improprieties involving ACORN let their views be known.

Bishop Roger Morin announced at the time that ACORN would no longer receive grants "because of serious concerns about financial accountability, organizational performance and political partisanship." A nearly $1 million embezzlement within ACORN, first revealed in the summer of 2008, and its subsequent cover-up by ACORN officials, had been the last straw. At the time, Bishop Morin said CCHD and the Bishops Conference had hired forensic accountants "to help determine if any CCHD money was taken or misused." A forensic audit has been completed, but its findings have not been disclosed.

CCHD director Ralph McCloud admitted some of the funds that CCHD "contributed to ACORN in the past undoubtedly were used for voter registration drives." Most, perhaps all, of the voter drives ACORN conducted were "in support of politicians who support abortion-on-demand and other policies that most Catholics oppose," notes conservative Catholic activist Richard Viguerie. Both CCHD and ACORN have yet to be held to account.



Obama's attorney general does not know even basic law

Mr. Holder the Attorney General was being cross-examined by Senator Graham of the Judiciary Committee, who posed a simple question: “If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?”

The answer is so simple that even a 1L could get it (Of course, we have no time to say the whole phrase “first-year law student” in Law School, so we call them "1L").

The person in custody is entitled to a Miranda Warning at the moment of custody. Custody is defined as the moment when the party either is or feels he is not free to leave, because he is being detained by an officer of the law acting under the color of legal authority. The defendant must be informed of his Miranda Rights before any questioning, and must be reminded of them periodically, otherwise his testimony (including any evidence springing from his testimony) cannot be admitted as evidence in court.

Got it? The question is “When do Miranda Rights attach?” The answer is: “At the moment of custody.”

Holder flubbed the question. His answer was, “Again I'm not -- that all depends. I mean, the notion that we –“ Wrong. Even the Asparagus Mascot of the William and Mary law school could tell you that. Even I, who graduated lower in class ranking than the Asparagus, Pocahontas and Tribe Guy put together, could tell you that.

Mr. Graham again provided the correct answer: “Well, it does not depend. If you're going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.”

So why could Mr. Holder, the Attorney General — a title that implies he wears a bicorn hat and waves a gold sword, commanding whole legions and battalions of Attorney Majors, Attorney Captains, and Paralegal Paratroopers — why could the Attorney General not answer a question any 1L could have aced?

Mr. Graham also asked, “Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?” A standard question. Every law professor at some point asks every law student to cite the precedent to support his case.

Mr. Holder’s answer: I don’t know. I’d have to look at that. I think that, you know, the determination I’ve made --

Mr. Graham: “I’ll answer it for you. The answer is no.”

I’d have to look at that? You mean you did not read the textbook, the outline, or the CrimLaw 101 Nutshell book? Don't have your notes ready, do you? Here I must quote what any prof from my school would have said. These are the words of crusty old Professor Kingsfield from THE PAPER CHASE. “Mister Holder, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.”

I should also mention that Senator Graham served in the Judge Advocate General’s office – the JAG corps. GO NAVY!

More here. Background here.



Some Lutherans still respect the Bible: "Conservative members of America's largest Lutheran denomination announced that they are splitting from the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, making it the second mainline Protestant church to undergo a major schism over the issue of homosexuality and related matters of biblical authority. The U.S. Episcopal Church has experienced a similar split, with whole dioceses attempting to leave, new Anglican churches formed and a series of property fights in the years since the 2003 consecration of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. On Wednesday, an 11-member steering committee of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal), meeting in New Brighton, Minn., said it cannot remain inside the 4.7-million-member ELCA after the denomination agreed at its August churchwide assembly in Minneapolis to ordain partnered gay clergy. That decision, CORE said in a statement, created "a biblical and theological crisis throughout the ELCA and conflict in local congregations. "We are not leaving the ELCA. The ELCA has left us," said Ryan Schwarz"

Army to keep media from covering Palin at Fort Bragg: "Army officials plan to prevent media from covering Sarah Palin’s appearance at Fort Bragg on Monday, saying they fear the event will turn into political grandstanding against President Obama, the Associated Press reports. Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum tells the AP that Army officials had decided to keep media away from Palin’s book promotion at the North Carolina base. Other members of the public would be permitted to attend.”

Want job growth? Cut taxes: "Unemployment continues to rise, and it is painfully clear that the so-called stimulus bill Congress passed earlier this year has failed. In fact, President Obama has called for a summit on jobs next month and Democrats in Congress are scrambling to hurry through yet another massive spending bill under the guise of job creation. Apparently, they think the stimulus bill didn’t spend enough money.”

New CO politics in Israel: "Driving through the West Bank recently, I picked up two hitchhikers. Both wore the long, thick sidelocks and extra-large skullcaps that have become the mark of young men on the religious right, especially among settlers. Since they were what Israelis call army age (what Americans would call college age), the conversation turned to military service. Despite Israel’s universal draft, the hitchhiker in the back seat said he didn’t intend to serve. The Israel Defense Forces, he argued, hurts Jews — a point he presumed was obvious from the ‘uprooting’ of settlements in Gaza four years ago and the occasional dismantling of tiny, illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank more recently. Besides that, he said, the IDF ‘doesn’t want to kill Arabs because it wants to look nice in the world.’ He didn’t want to die because commanders were too concerned with Arabs’ lives.” [Using the army against settlers is insane. That is police work. It undermines support for the entire IDF]

Palin Derangement Syndrome: When it’s time for a long, long rest: "[Andrew] Sullivan’s continuing, unrelenting obsession with Palin is bizarre in the extreme. I would also suggest to The Atlantic that they do no good service for Sullivan or themselves by allowing this to continue. Episodes of this kind are the sort of thing one might encounter in a textbook on psychology, one with a heavy emphasis on aberrant behaviors. It is not behavior one expects or hopes to find in a mainstream publication; I say that even as someone with a notably low opinion of the content of all such publications. Still, to hope for certain limits would not seem to be beyond the bounds of reasonable expectations.”

Choking the Blue Dogs: "The political collars continue to tighten around Blue Dogs and other Democrats representing Republican-leaning congressional districts. Recent election results in Virginia and New Jersey, as well as a bevy of new polls, all suggest these vulnerable lawmakers face an increasingly hostile environment entering the 2010 election year. At-risk Democrats are experimenting with different voting strategies to achieve political survival. Some support the White House, calculating that cozying up to the president and liberal interests groups will yield electoral dividends. Others are distancing themselves from a president rapidly losing altitude with swing voters. Time will tell which strategy works better. Yet a return to normal voting patterns — after GOP under performance in 2006 and 2008 in some of these districts — could swamp many Democrats next year, no matter how they posture themselves in Washington.”


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, November 20, 2009

The black stain in Brazil -- as Brazilians see it

Even a small amount of African ancestry causes Brazilians to classify themselves as black. This may be peculiar to Brazil, however, where skin colour and social class are intertwined. One might also note that "white" in Brazil mainly means Portuguese and the Portuguese can be rather swarthy

A new study compares personal perceptions of race, color and ancestry of Brazilian high school students with the results of genetic ancestry tests, with the aim of investigating the tensions between cultural and scientific conceptions of race. The research, led by Ricardo Ventura Santos of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Oswaldo Cruz foundation, appears in the December issue of Current Anthropology.

Modern genetics can provide detailed information about a person’s geographic ancestry. But most scientists agree that human genetic variation doesn’t correspond neatly with traditional notions about race. “In recent decades biologists, especially geneticists, have repeatedly stated that the notion of race does not apply to the human species,” Santos and his team write. “On the other hand, social scientists claim that race is highly significant in cultural, historical, and socioeconomic terms because it molds everyday social relations and because it is a powerful motivator for social and political movements based on race differences.”

The tension between scientific and cultural conceptions of race is on full display in Brazil. Brazilians pride themselves on their mixed European, African and Amerindian ancestries. But in recent years, racial inequalities —especially for blacks— have spurred controversial government policies, including racial quotas for government jobs and university admissions. “At the same time,” the researchers write, “the results of genomic studies that emphasize the considerable extent of biological admixture in the Brazilian population have been widely reported in the media …, bringing up further questions about the implementation of public policies based on race.”

In that context, Santos and his team worked with a group of students from a technical high school just outside Rio de Janeiro. The students were asked in a series of questionnaires to categorize their race or color, and to estimate by percentage their geographic ancestry. The students also gave DNA samples that were used for genetic ancestry tests. The researchers then discussed the results with the students. “The results of the genomic ancestry tests are quite different from the perceived ancestry estimates,” the researchers report. In general, the genomic results showed that the students had far more European ancestry than they had thought.

For example, students who categorized themselves as “black” perceived their ancestry to be, on average, were 63 percent African, 19.8 percent Amerindian and 17 percent European. But the genetic tests showed that European ancestry actually dominates among the black students. The tests showed average ancestry as 51.7 percent European, 40.9 percent African and 7.4 percent Amerindian.

Students who saw themselves as “brown” perceived themselves as having roughly equal European, African, and Amerindian ancestry. The genetic test again, however, came out more European—in fact, over 80 percent European. White students, who perceived themselves as having substantial African and Amerindian descent, were shown by the tests to have very little of either.

The students’ reactions to the results varied. “Students who had classified themselves as white generally declared themselves ‘disappointed’ with the low percentages of African and Amerindian ancestry in their genomic reports,” the authors write. Others were “disconcerted” when their test results showed high European ancestry. Some were even defiant. “In spite of that high percentage of European ancestry I won’t cease to be ‘black’; never!” one student said.

One student greeted the news with humor. “One girl, who had classified herself as brown, talked about her ambition to become a ballet dancer; but, according to her, the admission process of ballet companies, especially classical ballet, favored girls with whiter skin,” the researchers write. “She said jokingly that at the next admission exam she was going to dance with the genomic test results glued to her forehead, proving her predominately European ancestry.”

Some addressed issues of public policy and race directly. “Mine is 96 percent European, 1 percent Amerindian, 3 percent African,” one student said. “I guess the only thing that changes is that I don’t have a chance of getting on the quota.”

There is little doubt the influence of genomics on societies will continue to grow. This study, the authors say, “is pertinent to understanding the complex ways in which information about genetics may be interpreted by the lay public, and why it pervades the politics of race and/or racism affecting national policies designed to promote social inclusion.”



Obama's phony federalism

Friends of federalism cheered last month when the Obama administration reversed the Bush policy of prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states that have legalized the practice. Welcome though that change was, let's hold the applause. Not yet a year into his administration, Obama's record on 10th Amendment issues is already clear: He'll let the states have their way when their policies please blue team sensibilities and he'll call in the feds when they don't. Thus, he'll grant California a waiver to allow it to raise auto emissions standards, but he'll bring the hammer down when the state tries to cut payments to unionized health care workers.

That's not how it's supposed to work. As Madison explained in Federalist 45, the powers delegated to the federal government were "few and defined," to be exercised mainly on "external objects" like foreign policy and international trade. All else -- criminal law, marriage, social policy -- remained with the states or the people.

Of course, No. 45 also contains one of the Federalist's saddest sentences, in which Madison predicts that federal tax collectors will be "principally on the seacoast, and not very numerous." (Sometimes the Framers weren't all that prescient.) Indeed, the federal government's massive power to tax and spend has increasingly allowed it to trample state prerogatives. As the $786 billion stimulus package came online this year, for the first time ever, federal aid surpassed the sales tax as the largest source of revenue for the states. "This money isn't manna from heaven," warned Indiana state Sen. Jim Buck, "it comes with a price."

California learned that lesson back in May. Struggling to close a $40 billion budget gap, the state government lowered payments to home health care workers, but the Obama team threatened to withhold billions of dollars in stimulus money unless the wage subsidies were restored. Officials in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office accused the Service Employees International Union, a longtime Obama ally, of improper influence.

Just a few years back, the Republicans -- nominally the party of federalism -- were busily wielding federal power to enforce red state values -- prosecuting medical marijuana patients, punishing doctors participating in Oregon's "Death with Dignity" initiative, and trying to overturn Florida court decisions that allowed Terry Schiavo to be removed from life support. In that odd political climate, you often heard liberals lamenting the decline of states' rights.

That strange new respect for the 10th Amendment lasted roughly as long as the blue team's exile from power. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said recently that "if we accomplish one thing in the coming years, it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America." Diversity is bad, uniformity double-plus good; get with the program, comrade.

But one of federalism's core virtues is the enormous diversity it allows. Decentralization makes it easier for Americans to escape unwelcome state experiments with fiscal and social policy. It enhances the political power of individual citizens by allowing important decisions of governance to be settled closest to where Americans live and work. And it avoids making politics a centralized war of all against all, where each contested issue is settled in a one-size-fits-all fashion at the level furthest from the people.

Our federal system shouldn't be a red team/blue team issue, respected or flouted depending on who's up and who's down. Conservatives are learning to rue their abandonment of federalist principles during the last administration; liberals may come to regret their rush toward centralization during the next.




Palin's book tour boosts Michigan spirits: "Sarah Palin apparently had a point to make when she chose economically ravaged Michigan as the first stop on her heavily promoted book tour. "We're Americans. We don't give up on each other," she had written in the conclusion of "Going Rogue," which shot to the top of best-seller lists upon its release Tuesday. Breaking out in intermittent cheers of "Palin, Palin, Palin," hundreds stood in line for hours inside the Woodland Mall for a glimpse of the former vice-presidential candidate and Republican superstar. Supporters called her a fierce defender of families with solid potential for a White House run in 2012. Mrs. Palin arrived at Barnes & Noble bookstore at about 5:40 p.m. aboard a massive blue tour bus emblazoned with her image and the book's cover. It was a celebrity-worthy entrance as flags waved, cameras flashed and Mrs. Palin arrived all smiles in a red blazer and black skirt to briefly address the crowd. Hundreds had camped out overnight for just a few seconds with the vivacious party darling, who resigned as Alaska's governor earlier this year. Mary Ellen Oleniczak, a mother of six from Grand Rapids, said she understood the outpouring of interest. "I think she's a pioneer. She's daring. She's not afraid to speak out on issues that aren't popular," said Mrs. Oleniczak, 59."

Palin’s popularity vs. media mania: "There seems to be a media competition at work, a sort of championship tournament. Every reporter, anchor, and pundit in America is engaged in a frantic effort to be the hero who fires the silver bullet that slays the Republican werewolf from Wasilla. Whether or not Sarah Palin is the last, best hope of the GOP, she is inarguably the worst nightmare of crusading liberal journalists. Not since Oliver North showed up for a key congressional hearing in his Marine Corps uniform has the Washington press corps been so spectacularly vexed at its inability to destroy an intended victim.”

Yuk! " Talk about Washington and London's special relationship. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted she has a "crush" on Britain's youthful-looking, 44-year-old Foreign Minister David Miliband, according to an interview published in US Vogue magazine. "Oh my God!" she told a Vogue journalist in the December issue. "If you saw him it would be a big crush." Ms Clinton, who is married to former US president Bill Clinton, described Mr Miliband as "vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He's a really good guy - and he is so young!" According to Britain's Sun daily, Mr Miliband reciprocated the gushing feelings, calling Ms Clinton, 62, "delightful" and a "tease".

The French will be glad to hear this: "Germany could be home to as many as 17 million fewer people in 50 years' time, official statistics showed today, laying bare the scale of the demographic crisis in Europe's top economy. At the same time, Germans are greying rapidly, with one in three set to be over 65 by 2060, compared to one in five now, the federal statistics office said. One in seven will be over 80. The total population, currently 82 million, will slump to between 65 and 70 million and neither immigration nor an increase in the birth rate - currently 1.4 children per woman - can do much to ease the crisis, the office added. Like other advanced economies, Germany is facing a snowballing population crisis, leaving the country short of workers and adding to the strain on already stretched public coffers." [At 2.1, France has the highest birthrate in Europe]

Obama prejudges a court case: "President Barack Obama on Wednesday predicted that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be convicted and executed, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified in the Senate to defend the strategy of civilian trials for the alleged Sept. 11 plotters. In an interview with NBC News, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it ‘offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.’”

Just what it is that this capitalism thing is good at?: "From $3 billion to $1,000 in only 12 years: yes, the thing which capitalism is so good at is making things cheap. This is why it works as a socio-economic system. Leave aside all the morality plays of exploitation and the like for a moment and think purely as an entirely hard hearted pragmatist. We’ve got cheap food now, we can all fill our bellies at the expenditure of trivial, by historical standards, amounts of labour. Cheap clothing: it’s within the memory of those alive that Sunday Best really did mean one’s second and only other set of clothing. Even housing which seems so expensive has increased in quality so much that it is cheap by any long term comparison. Add medicine, transport, heating, alomst any sector of the eonomy or consumption that you wish to mention. All are incredibly cheap by the only standard that really matters: how long and how hard must we labour to get them.”

Democracy denied in DC: "A measure to let voters decide whether to ban same-sex marriages in D.C. cannot go on the ballot because it would violate a city human rights law, the Board of Elections and Ethics ruled Tuesday. The D.C. City Council is expected to approve gay marriage next month, but opponents wanted voters to weigh in. The elections board said allowing residents to vote on a ban would conflict with the city’s 1977 Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination.”

NY: Hospital aids, abets kidnappers — then demands payment from victim: "In a previous Libertarian News Examiner article … [Julian] Heicklen explained how he was never arrested, handcuffed, or received a citation or summons for handing out pamphlets on public property but was nevertheless transported to Bellevue Hospital where he was confined in the psychiatric ward. ‘It was an out-and-out kidnapping,’ Heicklen insisted then and still insists now. When he demanded to know when he would be released he was injected with Thorazine …. Nearly two weeks later Heicklen unbelievably received a letter from Bellevue offering to help him settle his hospital bill if he would provide his identification and medical insurance information.”

Hate filled nut finally going to jail: "Disbarred civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, convicted four years ago of shuttling messages from imprisoned Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman meant for senior members of an Egypt-based terrorist organization, was ordered to prison Tuesday by a federal appeals panel to begin serving her sentence. … Stewart was convicted of using her status as Abdel-Rahman’s lawyer to violate federal rules that barred him from communicating from his high-security imprisonment.”

Push to curb credit card rates fades: "Efforts in Congress to cap credit-card interest rates are faltering because of opposition from Democrats and a lack of specific support from the White House, despite growing consumer outrage over a rush by banks to impose rates as high as 30 percent. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama vowed to back a strict limit on credit-card interest rates. But the White House is not yet behind any particular plan this year. While Obama has chastised credit-card companies, his spokeswoman declined to say this week how he planned to follow through on his campaign pledge.”

SIEU thugs again: "A Pennsylvania union leader has come under fire after threatening legal action against the city of Allentown for allowing a Boy Scout to voluntarily clear a walking path in a local park. Nick Balzano, president of the Service Employees International Union’s Allentown chapter, said last week that the union might file a grievance against the city for allowing 17-year-old Kevin Anderson to clear the hiking trail, instead of paying some of the 39 recently laid-off SEIU members to do the work. Balzano’s office did not return messages left by, but the Morning Call quoted him as telling the city council that the union would be ‘looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails … There’s to be no volunteers.’”

TN: Fedgoons raid Gibson Guitar plant: "An international crackdown on the use of endangered woods from the world’s rain forests to make musical instruments bubbled over to Music City on Tuesday with a federal raid on Gibson Guitar’s manufacturing plant, but no arrests. Agents of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service made a midday appearance and served a search warrant on company officials at Gibson’s Massman Drive manufacturing plant, where it makes acoustic and electric guitars. … Federal officials declined to say whether anything was removed from Gibson’s plant or what specifically the agents were trying to find. But some exotic hardwoods traditionally used in making premium guitars, such as rosewood from the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil, have been banned from commercial trade because of environmental concerns under a recently revised federal law.”

The “stimulus” for unemployment: "When you subsidize something, you get more of it. Extending unemployment benefits from 26 to 79 weeks was guaranteed to leave many more people unemployed for many more months. And longer unemployment translates to higher unemployment rates — because the relatively small numbers of newly unemployed are added to stubbornly large numbers of those who lost their jobs more than six months ago. Until benefits are about to run out, many of the long-term unemployed are in no rush to make serious efforts to find another job — or to accept job offers that may involve a long commute, relocation or disappointing salary and benefits.”


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, November 19, 2009

Zimbabwe anarchy an unforeseen blessing

Most interesting from a libertarian viewpoint

In February 2009 Zimbabwe was the only country in the world without debt. Nobody owed anyone anything. Following the abandonment of the Zimbabwe Dollar as the local currency all local debt was wiped out and the country started with a clean slate.

It is now a country without a functioning Central Bank and without a local currency that can be produced at will at the behest of politicians. Since February 2009 there has been no lender of last resort in Zimbabwe, causing banks to be ultra cautious in their lending policies. The US Dollar is the de facto currency in use although the Euro, GB Pound and South African Rand are accepted in local transactions.

Price controls and foreign exchange regulations have been abandoned. Zimbabwe literally joined the real world at the stroke of a pen. Money now flows in and out of the country without restriction. Super market shelves, bare in January, are now bursting with products.

I recently visited Zimbabwe in the company of a leading Australian fund manager. As a student of monetary history, I was interested to see what had happened to a country that had suffered hyperinflation. How did the people cope? How is the country progressing now? The current Zimbabwean situation is complicated by the fact that President Robert Mugabe is determined to stay in power whatever the cost....

The worst trauma for ordinary people during the hyperinflation was lack of food. This was due mainly to the imposition of price controls. If the cost of production of an item was $10 and the price controllers instructed that the item could only be sold for $5, the business would soon go bankrupt if they sold at the controlled price. The result was that production and imports just dried up, hence the empty shelves in the supermarkets.

People survived by shopping in neighboring countries and relied on assistance from South Africa and the aid agencies. Companies survived the hyperinflation with great difficulty and often by ignoring laws. Although companies were left without debt post February 2009, they were also left deficient in working capital and had dilapidated plant and equipment. Regular repairs and maintenance could not be afforded. Most companies now require urgent recapitalization.

There has been a major exodus of Zimbabweans over the years, estimated at about 3 million prior to 2008. Many of these were qualified people who were subjected to Mugabe’s campaign of terror. During the latter stages of the hyperinflation there was a further exodus because people were starving. Most of these people went south into South Africa. The current population of Zimbabwe is estimated to be between 10 and 12 million people, so the numbers that have fled the country are significant relative to the total population.

Current economic activity is strongly supported by remittances from Zimbabwean migrants to their families in Zimbabwe. Once the political situation settles down, it is likely that many of these migrants will wish to return to Zimbabwe. Some have already done so. Many activities that perished in the hyperinflation, such as insurance, are now starting to resuscitate.

Credit financing activities are starting to revive. Visa credit cards are once again operating successfully in Zimbabwe, others will surely follow. Banks have had both sides of their balance sheets devastated by hyperinflation and now have no lender of last resort to call on. They are understandably cautious in lending the deposits that are slowly filtering back into the system. Banks also lost much of their equity capital. Barclays Bank survived because it had 40 branches where the bank owned the real estate and had a strong parent. These properties plus some foreign currency holdings represent the equity capital on which the bank currently operates.

In a country with no debt, only assets, people and companies are under geared. With the ultra cautious lending policies of the banks, there is a huge opportunity for foreign investors in the credit purveying industry.

There has been a sharp rise in economic activity since February. Real wages have risen substantially compared to a year ago. Whatever workers were paid in Zimbabwe Dollars during the hyperinflation bought virtually nothing. Now even the minimum wage of around $100 per month allows for basic purchases. A 10kg bag of maize meal, a staple in the local diet, costs $3.50 and lasts for two weeks. Demand for products and services is increasing rapidly. Corporate profits are rising, leading to greater tax revenues for the Government, augmented by rising VAT taxes. Greater Government revenue allows for greater Government spending.

This self-reinforcing loop will continue. The improvement in the economy will become dramatic once Mugabe leaves the scene. At that time aid agencies, NGO’s, Charities and foreign governments will start injecting large volumes of funds and assistance into the country. They refuse to commit any meaningful funds while Mugabe is still the President.

With Mugabe out of the way and the economy recovering strongly, one could reasonably anticipate that a large proportion of the Zimbabweans living overseas will return to the country bringing welcome skills and capital. Indeed foreigners will also be attracted to investing in the country in those circumstances.

It is fascinating to see how rapidly the economy is recovering. It is a great testament to what can be achieved in a free enterprise environment by the elimination of controls combined with the institution of new money that people trust. It needs to be money that their Government cannot create via the printing (or electronic) press.

The economic future of Zimbabwe is likely to be in mining, agriculture, tourism and service industries, especially those providing infrastructure and maintenance facilities. There remain many problems, not the least being chronic unemployment, but the future looks bright beyond the Mugabe horizon. The population is amongst the best educated in Africa and most people can speak English. With the Zimbabwe’s natural assets, there is scope for realistic optimism about the economic future, especially once the current political difficulties are overcome. The population has been brutally traumatized by the hyperinflation and the political situation. They really deserve a decent change of fortune.

Much more HERE


Stop lying about those stimulus jobs

Give the mainstream news media some credit: They have diligently dug into President Obama's fanciful boasts of job creation. When Obama claimed earlier this month that his $787 billion economic stimulus package had "saved or created" 640,000 jobs, a dozen news organizations pounced. They soon highlighted some of the most egregious cases of sketchy job creation in about 20 states.

From their reports, The Examiner has created an online interactive map for tracking exaggerated stimulus claims. So far, more than 75,000 jobs -- exceeding 10 percent of the total -- are either highly doubtful or clearly imaginary. In the coming weeks, we expect to add many thousands more to that total as other media organizations scrutinize stimulus grants in their areas.

Obama and his senior aides have sought to downplay the importance of exact numbers, but they invited close scrutiny earlier this year by setting dramatic expectations for the effect the stimulus program would have on employment. If his stimulus program was approved, Obama promised, unemployment would not go above 8 percent this year. The reality is that it passed 10.3 percent in October. So now the stimulus books are being cooked to mollify an anxious public worried that real-world jobs continue to disappear and angry that Obama has thrown almost $1 trillion down the stimulus rathole.

With his political advisers in a panic, Obama is now planning a State of the Union policy pivot intended to stave off a disastrous congressional election in 2010. After running up the nation's first-ever $1.4 trillion annual budget deficit for 2009, Obama will strike a new pose in January as the man who will stop government extravagance. Budget Director Peter Orszag says Obama will offer new suggestions for budget cuts and "revenue raisers," aka "tax hikes."

Obama's previous budget-cutting masquerade was laughable. In July, he called for a pathetic $265 million in cuts. But with a $3 trillion annual budget, Washington blows that much in about two blinks of an eye. Besides, most of the Obama "cuts" were proposed in full knowledge that Congress would never approve them. No doubt, Obama will present the same sort of faux budget cuts in 2010. But Obama's "concern" about excessive government spending likely will be no more credible to voters next November than the thousands of phantom stimulus jobs he claims to have created this year.



BrookesNews Update

The US economy is beginning to resemble a Japanese economic tragedy : Inflation is the disease, not the cure. Using inflationary policies as counter recessionary-weapons will - depending on the circumstance - create stagflation or generate another boom followed by another crash. Right now it looks like stagflation
The Treasury wants to impose the fallacious rental resource tax on mining companies : Despite the fact that the concept of economic rent has been refuted a number of times the Treasury is now proposing to use this dangerous fallacy as an excuse to impose more taxes on the mining industry. Treasury officials seem to think of the mining industry as a magic cow that can keep on giving no matter how much you milk it
Will a constant money supply generate economic stability? :The whole idea that money could be neutral is ridiculous. Neutrality means that money would cease to be the medium of the exchange. However, then it would no longer be money
Headed towards defeat in Afghanistan : The Democrats really are the Party of Defeat. The administration's loathing for America is reflected in its callous treatment of US troops, treatment that is killing them
When our military is attacked, Obama is a Nowhere Man : Obama loves his wife, children, dog Bo, and himself - especially himself. And he relishes his far left ideology. But the working stiff, the heart and soul of this country? I don't see it. The United States? I don't think so. And that's why Obama should never have been elected president
The Fort Hood massacre: Time to jump to some conclusions : Political correctness is murdering American troops and Obama refuses to stop it in the name of diversity. An army is held together not by diversity but discipline, unity of purpose and patriotism - especially patriotism. Is that why Democrats loath the military?
The Berlin Wall: 20 years on : The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall finds millions of human beings still under recalcitrant communist tyrannies that have defied the historical 'inevitability' of totalitarianism's demise. We owe it to the inhabitants of Cuba, North Korea, Laos and Cambodia to take a fresh look at what happened on Nov. 9, 1989



Jobs 'Saved or Created' in Congressional Districts That Don't Exist: "Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says. There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts. And ABC News has found many more entries for projects like this in places that are incorrectly identified."

Bernanke offers grim job outlook: "Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke waded Monday into the debate among policymakers over the vigor of the economic recovery, offering a sobering view of what lies ahead in his most detailed comments on the economy in months. Bernanke's focus on the weak job market and his opinion that inflation will remain subdued show that he is looking to keep the Fed focused on supporting growth for quite a while longer by leaving interest rates at rock-bottom levels. Financial markets may be soaring and the economy expanding. But, he said, "the best thing we can say about the labor market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly."

South Korea gains as global bidder to build nuclear power plants: "South Korea is emerging as an unexpected contender in the global race to build nuclear power plants, turning up as a finalist for one of the industry's most-coveted projects. The Korean bid has surprised more-established competitors -- including industry leader Areva of France -- as well as officials in the United Arab Emirates, who are examining bids for a contract that could be worth as much as $US40 billion to build and run the Arab world's first nuclear-power plants. UAE officials could award the contract as early as the next few weeks. Three groups have been short-listed for the UAE deal, according to people familiar with the situation. Early in the bidding process, many observers expected a two-horse race between a French consortium including Areva, GdF Suez, Electricite de France and Total and a US-Japanese consortium including General Electric and Hitachi. But the Korean bid has emerged as "far more competitive than anyone first thought," according to a person familiar with the situation. The UAE deal calls for the winner to spearhead the development, construction and operation of nuclear reactors and supporting facilities in Abu Dhabi, the biggest and richest of the UAE's seven semiautonomous emirates."

Your patriotic and economic duty: Fire a Democrat: "If you are an employer who will be forced to fire employees (or not hire) because of the damage done to your business either by the weak economy (made much weaker by the Democrats’ policies) or by Democrat-passed legislation, such as if health care ‘reform’ or cap-and-trade were to pass, fire Obama supporters first. Of course, you can’t actually say that’s your reason.”

The media as enablers of government: "Why do politicians so easily get away with telling lies? In large part, because the news media are more interested in bonding with politicians than in exposing them. Americans are encouraged to believe that the media will serve as a check and a balance on the government. Instead, the press too often volunteer as unpaid pimps, helping politicians deceive the public. In 1936, New York Times White House correspondent Turner Catledge said that President Roosevelt’s ‘first instinct was always to lie.’ But the Washington press corps covered up Roosevelt’s dishonesty almost as thoroughly as they hid his use of a wheelchair in daily life.”

Andrew Cuomo should leave Intel alone: "New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on November 4 that he is suing Intel for antitrust violations. Cuomo’s lawsuit is a mistake. He should drop it for two simple reasons. First, Intel’s alleged behavior is pro-competitive, not anti-competitive. Second, Cuomo has severely underestimated the extent of the relevant competitive market. The primary charge against Intel is that the chipmaker has given out billions of dollars in payments and rebates to its customers in exchange for exclusivity agreements. Dell alone received nearly $2 billion in 2006. Cuomo calls this practice ‘bribery.’ But in economic terms, this is exactly the same as lowering prices — and lower prices always help consumers.”

Utter folly: British army tells its soldiers to 'bribe' the Taleban: "British forces should buy off potential Taleban recruits with “bags of gold”, according to a new army field manual published yesterday. Army commanders should also talk to insurgent leaders with “blood on their hands” in order to hasten the end of the conflict in Afghanistan. The edicts, which are contained in rewritten counter-insurgency guidelines, will be taught to all new army officers. They mark a strategic rethink after three years in which British and Nato forces have failed to defeat the Taleban. The manual is also a recognition that the Army’s previous doctrine for success against insurgents, which was based on the experience in Northern Ireland, is now out of date. Addressing the issue of paying off the locals, the new manual states that army commanders should give away enough money to dissuade them from joining the enemy. The Taleban is known to pay about $10 (£5.95) a day to recruit local fighters.... Britain’s early experience of handing out cash in Afghanistan proved abortive. About £16 million in cash was given to farmers to stop them growing poppy crops for the heroin trade, which helps to fund the Taleban. The money is believed to have had little impact on the opium yields." [They tried "Danegeld" once before in their history but found that they still had to fight in the end]

British speed camera INCREASES crashes: "A motorway speed camera responsible for raking in more than a million dollars in fines has been blamed for increasing accidents since it was installed. The camera, which monitors a busy stretch of the M11 near London, results in 9000 tickets a year, but figures released by police show crashes have risen by a quarter at the site. A Freedom of Information request made by campaigners who oppose what they see as revenue-based penalty tickets also showed casualties have almost doubled since 2001 when the camera was set up. Paul Pearson, who runs motoring website, said: 'No wonder they haven't removed the camera that is causing these accidents. 'It is just raising too much money and they clearly want to keep it there.' The data showed that in the five years before the camera was installed, there were 13 accidents and 14 casualties in the area. In the following five years, the number of accidents rose to 16 and casualties to 24." [In the usual British way "safety" is the rationale for such cameras but that is clearly not the real motive]

British rail travel: "A tour of the worst stations in the country was never going to be a glamorous or uplifting assignment. Pretty soon it turned into an exercise in extreme travel. Mine was an odyssey of wind-swept platforms and urine-soaked floors. Old ladies struggled over footbridges, travellers shivered in the elements as they waited to get home. They talked of parking rage and waiting for taxis in the rain. Many refused to use the fetid facilities. It became a journey of headaches and hunger; inedible food provided from vending machines. There was the stench of disinfectant, rubber floors that gave the feel of hospital waiting rooms, peeling paint and pigeons picking through litter. Disgrace, dismal, dreadful, dingy: just some of the words my companions used to describe the stations. Britain deserves better. Surely the country that developed the first railways should aspire to an infrastructure worthy of the 21st century, not a dilapidated relic of what it had 100 years ago? Anyone who spends enough time on our trains runs the risk of falling out of love with the railway."


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, November 18, 2009

A soprano worth listening to:

Although there are some marvellous arias for sopranos, I usually find contraltos much more pleasant to listen to. My favourite contralto aria is "Quae moerebat et dolebat" from the Pergolesi "Stabat Mater" (See here for a beautiful rendition of it as a duet). But about an hour ago Anne and I were listening to "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" sung by Yvonne Kenny and I was rather mesmerized by her performance. Such a strong pure voice.



By Mark Steyn

For the purposes of argument, let's accept the media's insistence that Major Hasan is a lone crazy. So who's nuttier? The guy who gives a lecture to other military doctors in which he says non-Muslims should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats? Or the guys who say "Hey, let's have this fellow counsel our traumatized veterans and then promote him to major and put him on a Homeland Security panel? Or the Army Chief of Staff who thinks the priority should be to celebrate diversity, even unto death? Or the Secretary of Homeland Security who warns that the principal threat we face now is an outbreak of Islamophobia?

Or the president who says we cannot "fully know" why Major Hasan did what he did, so why trouble ourselves any further? Or the columnist who, when a man hands out copies of the Koran before gunning down his victims while yelling "Allahu akbar," says you're racist if you bring up his religion? Or his media colleagues who put Americans in the same position as East Germans twenty years ago of having to get hold of a foreign newspaper to find out what's going on?

General Casey has a point: An army that lets you check either the "home team" or "enemy" box according to taste is certainly diverse. But the logic in the remarks of Secretary Napolitano and others is that the real problem is that most Americans are knuckledragging bigots just waiting to go bananas. As Melanie Phillips wrote in her book Londonistan: "Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority."

To the injury of November 5, we add the insults of American officialdom and their poodle media. In a nutshell: "The real enemy — in the sense of the most important enemy — isn’t a bunch of flea-bitten jihadis sitting in a cave somewhere. It’s Western civilization’s craziness. We are setting our hair on fire and putting it out with a hammer."



A trial that will betray America

In the string of amazing decisions made during the first year of the Obama administration, nothing seems more like sheer insanity than the decision to try foreign terrorists, who have committed acts of war against the United States, in federal court, as if they were American citizens accused of crimes. Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States. Terrorists have never observed, nor even claimed to have observed, the Geneva Convention, nor are they among those covered by it.

But over and above the utter inconsistency of what is being done is the utter recklessness it represents. The last time an attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a matter of domestic criminal justice was after a bomb was exploded there in 1993. Under the rules of American criminal law, the prosecution had to turn over all sorts of information to the defense-- information that told the Al Qaeda international terrorist network what we knew about them and how we knew it.

This was nothing more and nothing less than giving away military secrets to an enemy in wartime-- something for which people have been executed, as they should have been. Secrecy in warfare is a matter of life and death. Lives were risked and lost during World War II to prevent Nazi Germany from discovering that Britain had broken its supposedly unbreakable Enigma code and could read their military plans that were being radioed in that code. "Loose lips sink ships" was the World War II motto in the United States. But loose lips are mandated under the rules of criminal prosecutions.

Tragically, this administration seems hell-bent to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war. The very phrase "war on terrorism" is avoided, as if that will stop the terrorists' war on us. The mindset of the left behind such thinking was spelled out in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, which said that "Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way-- the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation's adherence to the rule of law." This is not the rule of law but the application of laws to situations for which they were not designed.

How many Americans may pay with their lives for the intelligence secrets and methods that can forced to be disclosed to Al Qaeda was not mentioned. Nor was there mention of how many foreign nations and individuals whose cooperation with us in the war on terror have been involved in countering Al Qaeda-- nor how many foreign nations and individuals will have to think twice now, before cooperating with us again, when their role can be revealed in court to our enemies, who can exact revenge on them.

Behind this decision and others is the notion that we have to demonstrate our good faith to other nations, sometimes called "world opinion." Just who are these saintly nations whose favor we must curry, at the risk of American lives and the national security of the United States?

Internationally, the law of the jungle ultimately prevails, despite pious talk about "the international community" and "world opinion," or the pompous and corrupt farce of the United Nations. Yet this is the gallery to which Barack Obama has been playing, both before and after becoming President of the United States.



Five Terrible Cruelties of Liberalism

Liberalism is an extraordinarily deceptive, ruinous and cruel ideology. That's because liberalism comes, arms wide open, whispering sweet words of compassion and pity, even as it forcefully slams down a boot upon the neck of people it's "helping." It's bad enough to see people's lives ruined by those who make no pretense about their intentions, but to see human beings destroyed by those who claim to have only their best interests at heart...well, let's just say it's a hell of a thing.

What liberalism does to minorities: Liberalism falsely convinces minorities in America that they are widely hated and despised for their skin color. How terrible it must be to spend your days seeing racial slights that don't exist, feeling despised by people who don't give you a second thought, and expecting that you will be treated unfairly by people, most of whom think no more of your skin color than they do the color of the carpet they're standing on.

Believing these lies leads to a sense of victimhood that liberalism offers to "fix" with more destructive solutions like Affirmative Action. How many white Americans have doubted the achievement of a black American because of Affirmative Action? How many black Americans have doubted their own worthiness because they thought they may have been given a helping hand because of their race? How many black college students who would have graduated with honors at UNC-Chapel Hill flunked out of Harvard because Affirmative Action got them into a college that was over their head? In the wildest dreams of the Ku Klux Klan, they could have never come up with an ideology as deviously destructive to minorities in America as liberalism.

What liberalism does to children: One of the great ironies of modern life is the constant liberal refrain of "do it for the children." That's true, not only because liberalism is directly responsible for the death of more than 40 million children via abortion, but because liberal policies have descended like a plague of locusts upon the inheritance that America's sons and daughters would have otherwise received. Generations after everyone who went to Woodstock is in the ground, Americans will still be paying off their spending. What better thing could we do for the children than to safeguard the country we grew up in so that they'll have an opportunity to live the American dream, too?

What liberalism does to Africa: Liberalism's smothering paternalism has arguably done considerably more damage to Africa than European colonialism. "The Western world has given Africa 'about a trillion dollars in aid in the past 50 years' and yet as a whole, the continent could be fairly said to have gone backwards over the last 10-15 years." Obviously our aid is doing little for Africa, but we can't stop, even if it would be better for them to learn to stand on their own two feet, because liberalism says it’s better to ruin millions of lives than to risk making liberals feel bad.

If only liberalism similarly prioritized the lives of African children over those of song birds. In another great irony, it's conservatives who argue that DDT should be used in Africa to kill mosquitoes and wipe out malaria, while liberals are willing to watch millions die because they're afraid that to do otherwise -- might put a few birds at risk.

What liberalism has done to the American family: Oh, the intentions are always liberalism says. They just don't want anyone to feel bad or be judged negatively. They want everyone to have a good time and they believe the government should be there to pick up the pieces if things don't go well. So, we get...

Welfare checks. Gay marriage. No fault divorce. The sexual revolution. Attacks on Christianity. Lauding hedonism and single mothers in Hollywood. "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."

But, when inevitably divorce rates skyrocket, our prisons fill up with children who never had fathers living in the home, and our society starts to fray around the edges, no one wants to admit that liberalism is at the heart of the entire problem.

What liberalism does to the poor: What mother dreams that her child will grow up to be on food stamps? What decent father wants to see his son eating free breakfast at school? How can you care about a person and want to see him living in a government housing project, collecting welfare, and nursing a grudge against the people in our society who have succeeded in life, instead of trying to become a success himself?

Liberalism says its adherents should pat themselves on the back for their compassion because they're making it possible for people to live that way. How many men's pride have they stolen with that "compassion?" How many lives has that "compassion" helped mire in misery? How many people, who could have made good lives for themselves, in the end, became dependent on the government and chose lives of mediocrity? If someone views that as "compassion," then his moral compass is shattered.




I mentioned recently that I had updated my pictorial homepage -- a page which is mainly for fun. I have now done a bit more and updated my personal homepage. I also have a more boring academic home page. I think one thing you will note in my homepages is general good cheer. I see lots to criticize in the world about me but I leave the whining and miserabilism to Leftists.

Obama bow a low blow, say critics: "Photos of Barack Obama bowing to Japan's emperor have incensed critics in the US, who said the President should stand tall when representing America overseas. Mr Obama is in China, having wrapped up the Japan leg of his Asia trip. But Washington commentators are still weighing whether or not the US president disgraced his country by making a deep bow at the waist while meeting Japan's Emperor Akihito. Conservative pundit William Kristol said: "I don't know why President Obama thought that was appropriate. Maybe he thought it would play well in Japan. "But it's not appropriate for an American president to bow to a foreign one." He told the Fox News Sunday program the gesture spoke of a United States that had become weak and overly-deferential under Mr Obama. Another conservative voice, Bill Bennett, said on CNN's State of the Union program: "It's ugly. I don't want to see it. "We don't defer to emperors. We don't defer to kings or emperors. The president of the United States - this coupled with so many apologies from the United States - is just another thing." Some conservative critics juxtaposed the image of Mr Obama with one of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who greeted the emperor in 2007 with a firm handshake but no bow."

GOP weighs filibuster of anti-Christian judge appointment: "Republicans who decried Democrats' filibusters of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees are debating whether they should use the same tactic against one of President Obama's nominees, a candidate who they say has an antipathy toward Christianity and pro-life legislation. With conservative activists cheering them on, some Republicans said Democrats set a new standard by filibustering nine of Mr. Bush's appeals court nominees and said Republicans will have the chance to turn the tables on one of Mr. Obama's own appeals court nominees. "The new rule is filibusters are legitimate, but only if there are extraordinary circumstances," said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said he'll vote to block Judge David Hamilton for the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. "That's where we are." A vote on Judge Hamilton, currently the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, is expected Tuesday afternoon."

Obama will push additional tax hikes next year: "Buried in this Friday story on Obama's future plans is a curious statement, attributed to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, which didn't get nearly enough attention: Orszag has said the spending blueprint, for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, 2010, would put the nation "back on a fiscally sustainable path" and suggested it would include a mix of spending cuts and new revenue-producing measures. "New revenue-producing measures." In other words, more tax increases -- increases beyond the dozen or so that are already planned in the health care reform package. President Obama's advisors understand that they have to counter the perception that deficit spending is out of control. But that doesn't mean Americans want to pay higher taxes."

Taxpayers on hook as some bailed-out firms prove frail: "A year ago, the financial system was tottering and government officials arranged a $2.3 billion emergency cash infusion into CIT Group, a troubled lender to small businesses. Today, CIT is in bankruptcy court, and the taxpayers’ investment is on the brink of being wiped out. It would be the largest loss so far from the government’s massive rescue of the financial system, but it isn’t likely to be the last.”

Why drug makers are raising prices: "In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992. The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year. Drug makers say they have valid business reasons for the price increases. Critics say the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in coming years.”

ACORN considering bankruptcy: "As its financial resources dwindle, radical advocacy group and organized crime syndicate ACORN may have to file for bankruptcy protection before Christmas, ACORN insiders say. "They may have to file for bankruptcy if they don't have several big pending grants approved or get emergency loans," a highly placed ACORN source told me over the weekend. This information bolsters Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) claim last week that ACORN is in turmoil amidst internal power struggles and on the verge of bankruptcy. Given that ACORN is a network of hundreds of affiliated nonprofits, it's not exactly clear how a bankruptcy filing would work, but the idea is under serious consideration by ACORN's leadership. It was discussed at length at the group's most recent national board meeting, which took place in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., during the Oct. 14-15 weekend, ACORN sources told me. But even if ACORN were to go bankrupt, that doesn't mean it would disappear. ACORN may dissolve and then re-emerge as a new organization, the group's lawyer Arthur Z. Schwartz says. As of Nov. 11, ACORN and its affiliates owed at least $2,328,596 in long overdue back taxes to all levels of government."

NOW President O’Neill Slams Catholic Bishops: "Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, accused Catholic bishops of “smelling blood” and deciding to get involved as backers of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. She added that their actions to remove abortion coverage from health care legislation recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives equates to overturning Roe v. Wade. Of course, O’Neill isn’t one to let truth get in the way of her feminist viewpoints. She made that clear while speaking before a group of single-payer health care advocates during the opening session of the 2009 National Strategy Conference Saturday in St. Louis."


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, November 17, 2009

Obama's psychopathic detachment

I never thought I would find myself wistfully remembering President Clinton and wishing he were still around to inject some heart into the Oval Office (I know, I know, he may have injected some other things as well). However, after listening to President Obama's passionless words in poignant moments over the past ten months, I now yearn to hear the oratory of President Clinton. After Obama's reactions and comments to the Islamic massacre at Ft. Hood, I could only remember the good old days when our president inspired us and spoke passionately after a tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing. At least when President Clinton spoke, you knew he cared about the people he addressed.

Obama's poor crisis leadership skills revealed themselves in June when Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad murdered Private William Long outside a military recruiting center in Little Rock. Two full days passed without even a word from the president. Finally, President Obama issued a terse statement of “sadness” and never mentioned the incident again. Quite a contrast to his swift, strongly worded response and his statement of “shock” and “outrage” at the “heinous” murder of abortion doctor, George Tiller, just days before in Wichita, Kansas.

In August, at the funeral for Sen. Ted Kennedy, again President Obama's coldness and aloofness raised red flags. Others, like Peggy Noonan, have also noted Obama's cold distance as he arrived, nodded, shook hands and spoke to the family and friends of the Kennedys. In watching the funeral, I was struck by how the president could simultaneously be so completely appropriate and so emotionally vacant. He was polite to be sure, but exhibited a total absence of warmth.

Last week, in his remarks via telecast, at the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, President Obama recognized no other presidents before himself and also failed to mention either Margaret Thatcher or Pope John Paul II . Worse still, he failed even to utter the words “communism,” or the “Soviet Union,” or “Russia.” A major moment arrives, the president speaks, and he whiffs entirely. He exhibits no knowledge of history, no sense of poignancy or America's contribution to the world, and no passion for the freedoms that arrived with the fall of the wall. An utterly cold and vacuous moment.

Finally, the Islamic massacre at Ft. Hood occurs, and President Obama's initial instincts are to warn us all “not to jump to conclusions.” He urges us to react in direct contrast to his own hasty reaction in Gates-gate at Cambridge, and his comments there that the police “acted stupidly.” More strikingly, Obama is unable to state the simple, obvious truth: we have had another incidence of Islamic terror on our own soil. Islamic terror does not occur in a vacuum; jumping to conclusions is very different from reading the pattern of having 63 other Muslim men charged, convicted, or sentenced on terror in our own country just in 2009. Obama again totally misses the point. His trademark coolness belies a glaring ignorance of the matter at hand and his total lack of passion for the American people.

Worse still, his remarks at the memorial service at Ft. Hood fell flat. Does anyone remember a word he said? Years later, I can still remember the warmth and grace exhibited by President Clinton in the aftermath of Oklahoma City. In contrast, Obama's presence and comments at Ft. Hood were utterly forgettable. He failed to show up emotionally in any way. Were one to listen to the president's comments regarding the terror deaths of 13 Americans on an American military base at the hands of an Islamic jihadist, one would notice no difference whatsoever in modulation, tone, or posture from any other speech he has ever given. They have all begun to sound the same. He is everywhere, speaking on everything, and thereby speaking on nothing. No one listens anymore. He speaks as if he is just passing through, a mere observer on the events of life. The hollowness is unsettling.

All in all, Obama's impassioned speeches are reserved for fund-raisers and for healthcare addresses, for which he has no shortage of energy. Line up a pile of dead Americans, and he can barely muster an inflection or an exclamation point. Fill the room with wealthy donors, and the man comes alive. For a mercenary, that may be an admirable thing, but for a president, the vacancy is disturbing.



U.S. troops battle both Taliban and their own rules

Army Capt. Casey Thoreen wiped the last bit of sleep from his eyes before the sun rose over his isolated combat outpost. His soldiers did the same as they checked and double-checked their weapons and communications equipment. Ahead was a dangerous foot patrol into the heart of Taliban territory. "Has anyone seen the [Afghan National Army] guys?" asked Capt. Thoreen, 30, the commander of Blackwatch Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment with the 5th Stryker Brigade. "Are they not showing up?" A soldier, who looked ghostly in the reddish light of a headlamp, shook his head.

"We can't do anything if we don't have the ANA or [the Afghan National Police]," said a frustrated Capt. Thoreen. "We have to follow the Karzai 12 rules. But the Taliban has no rules," he said. "Our soldiers have to juggle all these rules and regulations and they do it without hesitation despite everything. It's not easy for anyone out here." "Karzai 12" refers to Afghanistan's newly re-elected president, Hamid Karzai, and a dozen rules set down by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, to try to keep Afghan civilian casualties to a minimum. "It's a framework to ensure cultural sensitivity in planning and executing operations," said Capt. Thoreen. "It's a set of rules and could be characterized as part of the ROE," he said, referring to the rules of engagement.

Dozens of U.S. soldiers who spoke to The Washington Times during a recent visit to southern Afghanistan said these rules sometimes make a perilous mission even more difficult and dangerous. Many times, the soldiers said, insurgents have escaped because U.S. forces are enforcing the rules. Meanwhile, they say, the toll of U.S. dead and injured is mounting.



Media's Long Knives Unsheathed on Palin

The long knives of the media have truly been unsheathed for Sarah Palin of late. Exhibit A: demonstrating all the class and balance of its owner Al Gore, the failing "Current TV" network slimed the erstwhile Vice Presidential candidate with some genuinely nasty references. Days after announcing another huge layoff, Al Gore's Current TV referred to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a "Gun-Ho" and a "TWILF."

These disgraceful, sexually-charged epithets were part of an attack on prominent conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and came in the form of a cartoon ironically titled "The Stupid Virus"... In the end, this was just a lot of conservative bashing in very bad taste, especially the shot of Palin's Twitter page and her astonishingly offensive screen name "Gun-Ho".

Given that Current TV's Nielsen ratings fall somewhere between airport radar and sonograms, this sort of attack is as feeble as it is distasteful.

And I'll patiently await the cries of protest from the National Organization of Women and other groups that claim to protect the fair treatment of women.

Exhibit B: The dying periodical Newsweek offered its own form of attack, helpfully informing the Republican Party that Palin is "bad news".

As for "bad news for everybody else," Palin is obviously "bad news" that people are hungry for. Palin’s book is going bonkers on the bestseller list and is proving to be one of the best stimulus programs the book industry has had in a good while — and Newsweek’s subscription rate is falling and they’re laying off employees by the dozen.

The only immediate “bad news” is for Newsweek — and when they do gratuitiously negative pieces on a figure who is looked up to by a demographic that spends a fortune on books… not to mention magazines, Newsweek’s death spiral makes all the more sense. This is why the mainstream newspaper business is dying too — you simply can’t dismiss a huge slice of the news consuming public with your bias without ultimately suffering economically.

Never mind that a woman -- who fought corruption both inside and outside her own party, managed a multi-billion-dollar oil deal, ran an entire state government and was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight -- became an overnight political sensation. Never mind that she attracts immense crowds wherever she goes.

She is despised by the Left for two reasons named Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, who sandbagged Palin with interviews that were shocking in their naked attempts to humiliate the Governor.

Simply compare and contrast Gibson's interview questions for Barack Obama and those for Sarah Palin. Gibson's Interview Questions for Obama:

• How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
• How does it feel to “win”?
• How does your family feel about your “winning”, breaking a glass ceiling?
• Who will be your VP?
• Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
• Will you accept public finance?
• What issues is your campaign about?
• Will you visit Iraq?
• Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
• What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton's] speech?

Gibson's Interview Questions for Palin:

• Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking?
• Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
• Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
• Questions on foreign policy...
• ...territorial integrity of Georgia
• ...allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
• ...NATO treaty
• ...Iranian nuclear threat
• ...what to do if Israel attacks Iran
• ...Al Qaeda motivations
• ...the Bush Doctrine
• ...attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
• ...Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric both intentionally attacked Palin with questions designed to embarrass. Had Obama been queried with the same devious intentions, he'd have been reduced to the blubbering teleprompter-less soul we saw yesterday in Japan.

When confronted with the question of whether the U.S. did the right thing in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, his response was "stumbling and ill-prepared." One need only watch the video to appreciate how pathetic his performance was, not to mention the fact that he -- once again -- refused to stick up for his own country.

It is clear that had Gibson and Couric attacked Obama with similar vigor, the Presidential candidate would have been reduced to the "Homina, homina, homina" filibuster he employs when his teleprompter takes its occasional cigarette break.

And here's something else to consider: The fear and anxiety that Sarah Palin generates among the elitist snobs of the Left is truly something to behold. It reminds me of the insecurity and animosity they once reserved for the former Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan.

SOURCE (See the original for links & graphics)



Eleven AP Reporters Turn Up Little in Palin 'Fact Check': "The Associated Press recently assigned eleven of its writers to fact-check Sarah Palin's new book "Going Rogue." AP's team of truth-seekers only found six errors the former Alaska Governor's book, most of which were trivial and presumably not worth the time of a team of reporters. "AP writers Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine contributed to this report", reads the sign-off of Calvin Woodward's fact-check. Even with this impressively large crew, the AP seemed to stretch to find objectionable statements in "Going Rogue"."

MSNBC Uses Fake, ‘Sexy’ Photos of Sarah Palin on Air: "On Friday's edition of Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan featured fake photos of Sarah Palin during a mocking segment on why Americans are fascinated with the former vice presidential candidate. While listing the show’s top ten reasons, Ratigan showed a doctored photo of Palin’s head on the bikini-clad body of a woman holding a weapon. The host never admitted or addressed the fact that his network was passing off counterfeit pictures to his viewers. Earlier in the segment, Ratigan displayed an image of Palin in a short, black mini-skirt. This photo is also not real. MSNBC should immediately apologize for presenting such false information." [How they hate her!]

Obama kisses — not kicks — ass in Asia: "When prices rise steeply month-after-month, a buying panic will set in. People will hoard and scarcities will occur. I don’t know exactly how the American government will react; all I know is how other governments in the past have reacted — e.g. rationing of some commodities, anti-hoarding laws, devaluation of the dollar, seizing of banks, the outlawing of gold, etc. I do not mean to be a Chicken Little and I take no pleasure in wearing the costume but no other economic scenario makes sense to me given the perfect storm that is now brewing around the dollar. The American government has only 2 basic ways to forestall the downpour. It can print more money, which will make the collapse more brutal but which may ‘kick the can down the road.’ (I’m hearing that phrase more and more these days.) Or it can induce others — especially governments — to buy more American debt. Predictably, the Obama administration is doing both.”

Castros afraid of the truth: "Paz y amor. Peace and love. That was the message that 200 young people chanted in Havana while holding placards calling for ‘no more violence’ as passing cars honked their horns. Not among them: Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, who was on her way to the Friday demonstration when she and another blogger, Orlando Luis Pardo, were hauled into a car by three men, likely state security agents. The pair was dragged into the car, beaten black and blue in the head and chest before being dumped miles away from the demonstration as if they were trash. (You can watch a short video of the protest at In a Sunday blog post, Ms. Sanchez, who is walking with a crutch because of back pain post beating, summed up the ‘blame the victim’ attitude that permeates after 50 years of dictatorship: ‘The dozens of eyes that watched as Orlando and I were forced into a car with blows would prefer not to testify, and so they put themselves on the side of the criminal.’”

That good ol' double standard: "If politicians stopped meddling with things they don’t understand, there would be a more drastic reduction in the size of government than anyone in either party advocates. It was fascinating to see Barack Obama warning us not to leap to conclusions about the killings at Fort Hood, Texas — after the way he leaped to conclusions over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, when he knew less about the facts than we already know about the massacre at Fort Hood.”

We can’t sit back and allow the loss of our freedoms: "We elect the government. It works for us. As we watch the Democrats’ plans for health care take shape, we can only ask how did our government get so removed, so unbridled, so arrogant that it can tell us how to live our personal lives? Last Saturday, at 11 o’clock in the evening, the House of Representatives voted by a five vote margin to have the federal government manage the health care of every American at a cost of $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years.”

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)