Friday, October 01, 2010

Some rambling comments on social networking sites and the great firewall of China

Way back in the distant days of about 5 years ago, the premier social networking site was MySpace. Since then Facebook has taken over and, rather oddly, MySpace has become the preserve of blacks. Market segmentation, they call it in the trade (I think). As a legacy of those ancient days I do have a small presence on Myspace so I get marriage proposals from African ladies about one a month.

I suspect that Africans like MySpace because it is simpler. I sympathize with that as Facebook is still something of a mystery to me. I have a presence on Facebook but I am not even sure whether I have two sites there or one. I seem to find different things there according to what email program I am using when I log on. But I only look at it when somebody asks to be my "friend", which happens about once a day on average. But I still don't really know what it is all about. If I want to see friends and family I put on a dinner for them. And they put on dinners for me too. My personal blog records such occasions. I have been using computers since 1967 but have obviously not kept abreast of all developments.

Anyway, when MySpace was king, Bill Gates decided to put up his own alternative to it -- called Spaces Live. I managed to make some sense of it so I established a presence there too. In particular, I used its blogging facility to put up a backup site for my personal blog.

And was such a pathetic thing that China didn't even bother blocking it. That suited me as I have a couple of friends in China who could use it to check out my personal blog once in a while.

Inevitably, however, Bill Gates has now pulled the plug on and migrated all its blogs to Wordpress. So the backup site for my personal blog is now here. Wordpress blogs are however blocked in China so I have also put up a special China-evading version of the blog here


The knowall party

The more ignorant you are, the more likely you are to think that you know it all

The bookish, twice-unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson once sighed that if most thinking people supported him, it still wouldn't be enough in America because, "I need a majority."

For some reason, Democrats have chosen to follow the disastrous model of Stevenson and not that of feisty man-of-the-people Missourian Harry Truman -- though the former nearly wrecked the party and the latter got elected.

Former President Jimmy Carter likewise seems to feel that he's still too smart for us. Carter, who turns 86 on Friday, is hitting the news shows to explain why he remains America's "superior" ex-president -- and why more than 30 years ago he was so successful yet so underappreciated as our chief executive.

Most Americans instead remember a very different President Carter who finished his single term with 18 percent inflation, 18 percent interest rates, 11 percent unemployment, long gas lines, and a world in chaos from hostage-taking in Teheran and Soviet communist aggression in Afghanistan and Central America.

Now, John Kerry -- who failed to win the presidency in 2004 and recently tried to avoid state sales taxes on his new $7 million yacht -- is voicing similar frustrations about Americans' inability to fathom what their betters are trying to do for them. He is furious that an unsophisticated electorate might not return congressional Democratic majorities in 2010. Kerry laments that, "We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on." Instead it falls for "a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening."

In 2006, Kerry warned students that if they did poorly in school, they could "get stuck in Iraq." He apparently had forgotten that soldiers volunteer for military service, and are overwhelmingly high school graduates.

In the 2008 campaign, Michelle Obama at one point said of her husband's burden, "Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics."

That sense of intellectual superiority was channeled by Barack Obama himself when he later tried to explain why his message was not resonating with less astute rural Pennsylvanians: "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

During the recent Ground Zero mosque controversy, Obama returned to that Carter-Kerry-Obama sort of condescension. When asked about the overwhelming opposition to the mosque, the president felt again that the unthinking hoi polloi had given into their unfounded fears: "I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society."

The president often clears his throat with "Let me be perfectly clear" and "Make no mistake about it" -- as if we, his schoolchildren, have to be warned to pay attention to the all-knowing teacher at the front of the class.

Disappointed progressive pundits also resonate this angst over having to deal with childlike Americans. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently psychoanalyzed the falling support for the president by claiming that "The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats."

Thomas Frank's best-selling 2004 book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" lamented that uninformed voters were easily tricked into voting against their "real" economic interests.

When America votes for a liberal candidate, it is redeemed by the left as intelligent -- and derided as dense when it does not. We were told not to worry that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did not pay all his income taxes since we were lucky to have someone so well educated and experienced in high finance.

Note that few Democratic candidates are running on the health-care bill they passed, promising at the time that it would be appreciated by a suspicious American public. More federal borrowing and amnesty are still pushed under the euphemisms "stimulus" and "comprehensive immigration reform." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the Tea Party was merely a synthetic Astroturf movement.

Professors and preachers may like such sermonizing, but for politicians it's a lousy way to get elected. Again, compare the relative fates of the patronizing Adlai Stevenson and the plain-speaking Harry Truman.

For many of today's liberals, the fact that the president has to deal with so many Neanderthal know-nothings explains why he can't, as promised, close Guantanamo, end "don't ask, don't tell," or do away with Bush-era renditions, tribunals wiretaps, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But current polls suggest that these clueless and unappreciative Americans apparently believe that an elite education does not ensure their officials can balance a budget, pay their own taxes or speak candidly. What an outrageous "How dare they!" thought.



Why Dems Are Going Down in November

Arnold Ahlert

Unless something totally unforeseen occurs, Democrats are poised to take a real beating in November. Their response to the impending disaster has run the gamut. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is in denial: "One thing I know for sure is that Democrats will retain their majority in the House of Representatives." Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is condescending: "We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening." President Obama is angry: "It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election." Why is the electorate ready to kick Democrats to the curb? Here's why:

* An "unstimulated" economy. The original Mother of All Stimulus packages, $787 billion dollars, quickly grew to an astounding $865 billion. It wasn't enough. Congress pumped out another $26 billion in "supplemental" stimulus in August. The results? Unemployment in the private sector remains well above the eight percent Democrats promised, even as public sector workers who support Democrats were rewarded; our Democratically-controlled Congress has amassed more debt in the last four years than nearly the previous two hundred and thirty combined; the Keynesian economic model Democrats stand by is a colossal failure; the Summer of Recovery was a propaganda fiasco.

* The health care bill. The absolute epitome of ideological, public-be-damned arrogance. A horrendous compendium of bribes, exploding bureaucracy, runaway costs, written in secret and unread by those who passed it. It includes a mandate, likely un-Constitutional, forcing people to buy health insurance or pay a fine. The same administration which originally claimed the commerce clause of the Constitution made such a fine possible is now saying that the federal governments's "power to tax" justifies it. Irrelevant. 60% of Americans want this monstrosity repealed, ASAP.

* The federal lawsuit against the state of Arizona. Again, it's the arrogance, stupid. Despite all the hectoring from Democrats and the Obama administration about racist this, and xenophobic that, fair-minded Americans recognized four things: people have a right to protect their life and property, and if the federal government can't or won't do it, they have a right to do it themselves; the idea that anyone opposing the "rights" of illegal aliens is a bigot is nonsense on stilts; the ruling class in Washington, D.C. is holding genuine border control hostage to "comprehensive reform;" the glaring double-standard of suing Arizona for violating federal immigration statues, even as the feds turn a blind eye to hundreds of "sanctuary cities" with illegal protection directives unquestionably in conflict with federal law.

* The demonization of the Tea Party movement. Take your pick: teabaggers, racists, angry white men, fringe elements, bigots, Astro-turfers, etc. etc. Democrats and the media have tried every one, and every one has been a miserable failure for one overwhelmingly simple reason: decent Americans know they're decent, and getting insulted by Democrats running the country into the ground has only stiffened their resolve. Progressives want to demonize people who believe in smaller government, fiscal responsibility and a desire to return to Constitutional principles? Why not attack people who believe in guns, and religion too? Oh wait. The president already did that as well.

* A hopelessly compromised media. Air America tanked, CNN is tanking, and ABC, NBC and CBS news programs have been shedding viewers at historically unprecedented rates—even as Fox and the Wall Street Journal prosper. Americans don't mind people in the media expressing their opinions, as long as they're characterized as opinions, but they seethe when such opinions are portrayed as "hard news." They get even angrier when certain stories are "omitted" by those same organizations, especially when Americans recognize such omissions are calculated to protect the progressive agenda. I wonder if it occurs to either Democrats or their media water-carriers that a majority Americans may savor whacking both groups in November. Depressed looks on the faces of Nancy Pelosi and Katie Couric? In theater circles, that's known as a "two-fer."

* The Ground Zero mosque. Yet another reminder of the contempt progressives and their media enablers have for ordinary Americans who had the "temerity" to allow their feelings to be known. Despite every attempt to characterize these Americans as Islamo-phobic bigots, the public wasn't buying, again for one overwhelmingly simple reason: decent Americans once again demonstrated their decency by separating the legality of the project from the appropriateness of it.

* The complete disconnect between the First Family and ordinary Americans. The golfing, the soirees, and the high-priced vacations have created the perception that we are living through another "let them eat cake" moment in history. On Tuesday, the president called the public schools in Washington, D.C. a "'struggling' system that doesn't measure up to the needs of first daughters, Sasha and Malia." Those would be the same public schools Congressional Democrats tossed 3,300 low-income kids back into when they killed funding for vouchers that had freed those kids from D.C.'s educational ghetto. The First Lady is hectoring Americans to eat healthier. Perhaps more Americans would if they could afford to: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated in their Producer Price Index that the price of food increased 2.4% for March 2010. That's the biggest increase in almost 30 years.

* The war on terror. A politically correct contingency operation against unnamed insurgents with a specific draw-down date? Democrats once again prove that all the talk about Afghanistan being the "good war" was complete rubbish. They want out, and victory—along with the heroic efforts of our men and women in harm's way—be damned. Once again: has America ever fought another war where they knew the exact location of the enemy, had the ability to inflict possibly irreparable damage on them—and decided to split the difference instead? If you answered "Vietnam," another progressively-instigated catastrophe resulting in the deaths of fifty-eight thousand American soldiers and three million innocent Asians, go to the head of the class. And when is that civilian trial of the 9/11 perpetrators scheduled to begin?

* Czars and nationalization. The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats may bristle when Americans call them socialists, but the nationalization of banks, car and insurance companies, student loans and healthcare sure isn't free-market capitalism. Neither is wiping out oil jobs in Louisiana with a government-mandated ban on offshore drilling—after the feds completely bungled their role in cleaning up the spill which engendered it. Unelected czars who answer to no one but the president, along with out-of-control government agencies such as the EPA have made it clear to many Americans that this administration often considers Congress a completely unnecessary component of governance, especially if they don't kowtow to the president's agenda.

* "Unexceptional" America. Progressive contempt for the values and traditions which make this the greatest country on earth can no longer be disguised. An American president who "believe(s) in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism" has made it plain that this is not a great nation which needs tweaking, but a fundamentally flawed one needing a complete progressive make-over. Once one understands this basic premise, everything this administration and Democratically-controlled Congress does makes sense. All of it centers around the ridiculous premise that America owes the world an apology for any number of shortcomings, many of which can only be alleviated by government-mandated "social justice." That would be the same social justice which demanded—and still demands—that Americans manifestly unqualified to own homes be given mortgages, regardless.

Unknown to the majority of Americans, this precise mindset was part of the financial "reform" bill which also requires banks to lend a certain percentage of capital to minority-owned businesses, even if it means lowering their lending standards. Apparently progressives won't be satisfied with their odious social-engineering schemes until every sector of the American economy bears a striking resemblance to the housing sector. So far, Americans support financial reform because it's been framed as "Main Street versus "Wall Street." It's not. Like every other initiative undertaken by this Congress and this administration, it's the elevation of irresponsible and dishonest Americans over those willing to accept the consequences of their own behavior.

There you have it. Democratic control for four years in Congress, and two in the White House has been exactly what many predicted: an ideologically-driven disaster of epic proportions. For years, progressives obfuscated their true intentions, because even they knew most Americans couldn't stomach them. The elections of 2006 and 2008 changed everything. Progressives bought into their own hype, believing they had pulled off a multi-generational transformation of the American mindset. As a result, they showed Americans their true colors: unbridled arrogance, utter contempt for the average citizen's intellect, and a ham-fisted, never let a crisis go to waste determination to bend the electorate to their will, using government as a club.

That's why they're going down in November. And the most satisfying aspect of the whole scenario is this: despite every attempt they've made to blame anyone and everyone else for their problems, they brought it on themselves.



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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


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