Saturday, February 06, 2010



A BIRTHDAY TO REMEMBER

Today is the Gipper's birthday. If only we still had him with us



Feb. 6, is the 99th anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. Although it has been 21 years since President Reagan completed his second term and left the White House, he still remains a figure of great interest to many Americans, including a large number of young people who were not even born during the time he was president.

New books come out about Reagan every year. The more research that is done about him, the greater the appreciation of what he accomplished and of him as a person. During 2008 Reagan was the president whose name was most mentioned in the debates of both parties, as an example of an effective leader the candidates wished to follow. Since he left office, Ronald Reagan has been the standard to which subsequent presidents have been compared. In numerous polls Reagan has been selected as one of the outstanding presidents in the history of the country

More here

***********************

Obama's 2011 Budget Tax Hikes Contradict Focus on Job Creation

President Obama has said his number one goal for 2010 is to create jobs, but the abundance of tax increases in his recently released 2011 budget contradict this objective. Higher taxes on businesses, upper-income taxpayers, and fossil fuels; an increased death tax; and new taxes to pay for health care would destroy jobs and slow economic recovery. Congress should reject these higher taxes and the rest of its business-killing agenda to speed economic growth and encourage job creation.

President Obama's 2011 budget calls for $2 trillion in higher taxes over 10 years--after accounting for the $154 billion in tax cuts called for in the budget. This would be a $17,000 tax increase for every American household during that span. This figure does not include possible revenue from the cap-and-trade legislation currently before Congress.

The budget claims additional tax cuts, such as the Making Work Pay credit for 2011 and 2012, the research and experimentation credit, and bonus depreciation for certain assets. Each of these provisions is an extension of current policy and should not count as an additional tax cut. The tax increases proposed in the budget break down into six broad categories:

1. Higher Taxes on Businesses. The higher taxes on businesses include the recently proposed "bank tax" that is supposed to recapture the money lent to big banks as part of the TARP program--even though most of the banks hit by the tax have already paid back the funds they received.[2] The Obama budget would also repeal the "last in, first out" method of inventory accounting that allows businesses to deduct their more costly inventory from income first. This would increase taxes for many businesses.

The most damaging tax increase on businesses, however, would be the higher levies on businesses operating internationally. The budget would restrict their ability to deduct interest expenses associated with foreign income until the business recognizes it in the U.S. The budget would also make it more difficult for businesses operating internationally to claim a credit for taxes paid in foreign countries, increasing the likelihood of double taxation.

The U.S. is the only country in the world that taxes the overseas income of its businesses. All other countries tax only income earned within their borders. To help level the playing field, the tax code allows businesses with foreign income to pay tax only when businesses bring the income back to the U.S. This tax credit prevents them from paying tax on income already taxed by other countries.

Changing these provisions will substantially increase taxes on U.S. businesses that operate overseas and, in doing so, hurt job creation at home. Higher taxes will further encourage these businesses to keep their income earned abroad in those foreign countries and invest it there. They will move jobs they would have created in the U.S. to other countries. Not only will this reduce employment in the U.S., it will depress wages for existing workers.

Going after businesses that operate internationally is a backward method of job creation that is akin to trade protectionism.[3] The U.S. already has the second highest corporate income tax in the world, trailing only Japan.[4] Implementing these provisions would only further reduce America's international competitiveness and discourage businesses from opening new ventures in the U.S.

2. Higher Taxes on Upper-Income Earners. President Obama's 2011 budget would allow the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire for families making over $250,000 a year and raise their top two marginal tax rates from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively. The budget would also limit the amount these families could deduct from their income and reduce their personal exemptions. President Obama also proposes raising the tax rates on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent for taxpayers with incomes over $250,000 a year.

Each of these provisions would hurt economic growth and lead to slower job and wage growth. Higher income taxes on high-earners would decrease investment, which would lead to fewer new businesses opening and dissuade existing businesses from expanding operations. Higher taxes on dividends and capital gains would drive the cost of capital higher, which would compound the problem.

President Obama would also hammer taxpayers that move income offshore with higher taxes. To the extent these taxpayers are engaging in illegal activity, they should be prosecuted. But most of the taxpayers that move their income offshore do so legally because of high capital taxes in the U.S. The answer to this problem is not to make the U.S. even less inviting for capital investment but to reduce capital taxes to keep that money here so it can support domestic job creation.

3. Death Tax Increase. The dreaded estate tax, better known as the "death tax," expired on January 1. This was the result of a decade-long policy that reduced the tax and finally repealed it for 2010. But due to budgeting quirks, the tax comes back to life in 2011. The Obama budget stealthily increases it by assuming in its baseline that Congress will vote to continue the death tax at 2009 levels (45 percent rate and $3.5 million exemption) starting in 2011 and beyond. If Congress continues the tax, it would be a tax increase, and the budget should explicitly count it as such.

The budget would also increas taxes on family farms and businesses. When the death tax was active, family farms and business could discount asset values to account for the fact that it is difficult to sell them in order to pay the death tax. The Obama Administration would disallow this discount and force families to pay the death tax on the full value of the assets, even though there would be no new cash generated to pay the tax. The budget would also make it more difficult for family-owned businesses to protect their business from the death tax as it grows. Repealing the death tax permanently would create 170,000 to 250,000 jobs each year.

4. Higher Energy Taxes. The budget increases taxes on oil, gas, and coal companies by repealing several tax credits available to these businesses.

These energy companies would undoubtedly pass these tax increases on to customers in the form of higher prices, which will increase costs across the entire economy. And higher taxes on energy would act as yet another deterrent to job creation, since they increase the cost of doing business, which includes hiring new workers and retaining existing ones.

5. Health Care Taxes. The budget creates an allowance for revenue raised due to health care reform. Since a final bill is not complete, it is not possible to know what specific taxes would pay for health care reform if it passes Congress.

The taxes included in the separate House and Senate bills--and a variety of other taxes proposed but not included in either bill--are the best guide available to which taxes could do the job.[7] Each of these taxes would have their own punitive effect on the economy and each would hinder job creation in its own way.

6. Other Taxes. The budget includes several other tax increases, including taxing carried interest as regular income, closing the tax gap through stricter enforcement, more taxes on businesses, and making the unemployment insurance surtax permanent.

President Obama has said repeatedly that job creation is his number one priority in 2010. But if Congress passes the tax hikes included in the budget into law, countless jobs will be destroyed.

Congress should pass on these tax hikes and drop the anti-business legislation it is currently considering. Legislation such as health care reform, cap and trade, card check, and other regulations are plaguing businesses with uncertainty that is preventing them from expanding, taking on new risk, and adding new workers. Unfortunately, all the new taxes proposed in President Obama's budget will only add to their worries.

SOURCE

**************************

Liberal Economic Illiteracy

When it comes to economic policy, there's stupid, breathtakingly stupid — and liberalism. Thursday, in another mind-numbing display of ideology-driven stupidity, Senate Democrats passed new budget rules only a liberal could believe will make it harder to run up the deficit: they will make it as difficult as possible to extend the current tax cuts, or enact new ones.

This is precisely what happens to people suffused with an ideologically-inflamed sense of superiority. They truly believe that both common sense — and historical evidence — are irrelevant considerations with respect to economics. For example, it doesn't matter one iota that there have been three major tax cuts initiated by three different presidents since the 1960s — and every one of them resulted in increased revenue flowing into federal coffers. It doesn't even matter that the largest one was passed, not by a Republican president, but by Democrat John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Here's what one of the American left's most cherished icons had to say about the subject: "Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased-not a reduced-flow of revenues to the federal government."

Anyone seriously believe JFK wouldn't be drummed out of the current Democrat party for spouting such "heresy?"

Liberals would like the public to believe they can't make a connection this simple: Americans who have more of their own money to spend actually spend it. This produces more economic activity. More economic activity produces greater amounts of taxable income. Greater amounts of taxable income produce greater amounts of revenue for the government. Greater amounts of revenue for the government more than offset revenue lost from the original tax cuts. Game, set, match.

What a lot of Americans don't know is that liberals can indeed make the connection, but they resist it for one simple reason: more private sector success equals less need for government. Less need for government equals less power for big-government liberals. Less power for big-government liberals with monstrous, "we know what's better for you than you do" egos equals an unacceptable trade off. Game, set, match — and screw the country.

In other words, this is a naked power grab courtesy of a Democratically-controlled Congress which has spent every dime we've sent them — plus trillions more in deficit spending. Liberals love to characterize such insanity as "taking care of the little guy" or instituting "social justice."

Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. Ten percent of America is unemployed and these hacks actually think that makes it the perfect time to take even more of our hard-earned wages — or in the case of far too many Americans, our savings — and spend it on whatever suits their fancy.

Even more infuriatingly, the left's media lapdogs will tout this unconscionable heist as "Democrats getting serious about fiscal responsibility."

I've said it before to liberals and I'll say it again: keep it up, comrades. Keep it up until even the deepest Kool-aid drinkers recoil in disgust. Keep it up until those with no memory of the Carter years learn their own historical lessons firsthand. Experience is by far the best teacher, and when Americans get tired of experiencing high unemployment, exploding deficits and ever-greater losses of economic and personal freedom, you'll all be tossed under the bus. It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of egotistical ideologues.

SOURCE

***********************

ELSEWHERE

Dodgy jobs data: "The US economy lost 20,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate fell, according to official data that offered mixed signals about prospects for a sustainable recovery. The Labor Department report, seen as one of the best indicators of economic momentum, puzzled analysts since the two surveys used offered a vastly different picture of the labour market. The report released overnight showed the jobless rate eased to 9.7 per cent from 10.0 per cent in December, based on a household survey that appeared to contradict the payrolls data, but reflected in part discouraged workers leaving the labour force. The nonfarm payrolls data fell short of expectations for a gain of 15,000 jobs that would have been a clear sign of a turnaround in the troubled labour market... The divergent paths for payrolls and unemployment stem from the use of two separate surveys that often provide conflicting results. The payrolls figures, often seen as a more reliable indicator of hiring, comes from a survey of 140,000 businesses, while the jobless rate is calculated from a survey of 60,000 households." [General population surveys are easier to "fiddle"]

Social security is finally broke: "Don't look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system. A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits. Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation's biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing -- in other words, a taxpayer bailout.... years earlier than projected, Social Security is adding to the government's borrowing needs... this year's Social Security cash shortfall is a watershed event. Until this year, Social Security was a problem for the future. Now it's a problem for the present.

How to Make a Weak Economy Worse: "You get the feeling President Obama is girding for battle with the financial sector. In last week's State of the Union address, he promised to regulate the industry. On Jan. 21, he was blunter, warning that he would not let companies that enjoyed "soaring profits and obscene bonuses" block his financial reforms. "If these folks want a fight," he said, "it's a fight I'm ready to have." This declaration of war echoes that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1936, late in his campaign for a second presidential term, FDR spoke of the challenges of "business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking." Wall Streeters and businessmen hated him, he said, adding that "I welcome their hatred." Mr. Obama might want to stick to a moderate approach. FDR's war against business played to the crowd, but it hurt the economy. While monetary policies impeded recovery in the late 1930s, it was the administration's assault on companies and capital that ensured the Depression's duration.... The attacks started with taxes. In 1935, well before the "hatred" speech, FDR led Congress in passaging a law that replaced a flat rate on corporate income with a graduated rate—itself a penalty on larger firms....Even John Maynard Keynes chided FDR for his attitude about businessmen: "It is a mistake to think they are more immoral than politicians." Among themselves, the New Dealers acknowledged failure. FDR's second Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, eventually determined that the problem was lack of what he labeled "business confidence."

Denmark shows the way: "Danish special forces have stormed a Slovenian cargo ship which had been captured by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, freeing the 25 crew members, a spokesman for the EU's anti-piracy naval force says. "It's the first time that an assault of this nature has taken place,'' John Harbour, spokesman for the European Union Naval Force (NAVFOR) said today. The operation took place around 1100 GMT yesterday (10pm yesterday AEDT) soon after the pirates seized the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship Ariella. The ship's crew had managed to send out a distress signal which the international coalition forces patrolling the waters off Somalia intercepted. A plane from the EU anti-piracy force flew to the spot and called on a Danish NATO ship in the area to intervene with its special forces. That was made possible after the whole ship's crew managed to lock themselves into a room on board, the spokesman said."

Afghanistan situation no longer deteriorating says Stanley McChrystal: "The American commander who warned in September of "failure" in Afghanistan has said that the situation there is no longer deteriorating and President Barack Obama's troop surge has set the stage for "real progress" in 2010. Speaking in Istanbul before the anticipated offensive against the Taliban-held town of Marja in southern Helmand, Gen Stanley McChrystal gave a strikingly upbeat assessment of the situation in the country he said last year was in danger of slipping into Islamist hands. The Marja offensive is widely viewed as the first major test of Gen McChrystal's counter-insurgency doctrine... Gen McChrystal conceded that it was "unconventional" to announce the Marja offensive beforehand because it gave the Taliban the opportunity to flee, bury bombs and fortify. The aim, however, was to send a message to insurgents that "it's about to change" and to Afghans that the writ of their government was about to be extended. "If they want to fight, then obviously that will have to be an outcome. But if they don't want to fight, that's fine, too, if they want to integrate into the government. "The biggest thing is in convincing the Afghan people. This is all a war of perceptions."

Dutch must help Iran with nukes: "Students from Iran can take nuclear courses in the Netherlands after all. A judge in The Hague ruled yesterday that the government is not allowed to exclude them. The judge ruled that the Iranians were discriminated against by the exclusion regulation. This regulation, introduced based on a UN resolution by Education Minister Ronald Plasterk and Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, will now have to be scrapped. A group of Iranian Dutch were opposing the sanction measure excluding students from Iran from certain Master's courses and studies at certain locations, including the nuclear installations in Petten and Borssele. Verhagen had not yet commented on the verdict yesterday. The measure was intended to prevent Iranian students from being able to collect information that could help with the making or spread of nuclear weapons. In the past, nuclear secrets came into the hands of a number of countries via an Iranian nuclear physicist who took them with him from Dutch uranium processing company Urenco."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

****************************

Friday, February 05, 2010


RACE AND IQ

I suppose I am dreaming but I have this crazy idea that as a much-published psychometrician, I should be permitted to convey what I know about IQ research. IQ research is part of psychometrics. I will of course be accused of being a "racist" for telling what I know but to hell with that: truth comes first for me. If telling the truth makes you a racist, that sounds like praise for racism to me.

I reproduce below some excerpts from the latest academic paper on the subject. I first give the abstract and then an excerpt from the body of the article. Readers who want to look at the full article will find the link at the bottom, as is my usual practice. The excerpt from the body of the article first gives the misleading claims of Nisbett in Nisbett's own words and is followed by a recounting of what Nisbett has left out or misrepresented.

The Open Psychology Journal, 2010, 3, 9-35

Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett's Intelligence and How to Get It

By J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur R. Jensen

Abstract:

We provide a detailed review of data from psychology, genetics, and neuroscience in a point-counterpoint format to enable readers to identify the merits and demerits of each side of the debate over whether the culture-only (0% genetic- 100% environmental) or nature + nurture model (50% genetic-50% environmental) best explains mean ethnic group differences in intelligence test scores: Jewish (mean IQ = 113), East Asian (106), White (100), Hispanic (90), South Asian (87), African American (85), and sub-Saharan African (70). We juxtapose Richard Nisbett's position, expressed in his book Intelligence and How to Get It, with our own, to examine his thesis that cultural factors alone are sufficient to explain the differences and that the nature + nurture model we have presented over the last 40 years is unnecessary. We review the evidence in 14 topics of contention: (1) data to be explained; (2) malleability of IQ test scores; (3) cultureloaded versus g-loaded tests; (4) stereotype threat, caste, and "X" factors; (5) reaction-time measures; (6) within-race heritability; (7) between-race heritability; (8) sub-Saharan African IQ scores; (9) race differences in brain size; (10) sex differences in brain size; (11) trans-racial adoption studies; (12) racial admixture studies; (13) regression to the mean effects; and (14) human origins research and life-history traits. We conclude that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that in intelligence, brain size, and other life history traits, East Asians average higher than do Europeans who average higher than South Asians, African Americans, or sub-Saharan Africans. The group differences are between 50 and 80% heritable.

2. THE MALLEABILITY OF IQ SCORES

Nisbett:

James Flynn discovered that in the developed world as a whole, IQ scores increased markedly over the last 50 years. This suggests that the 15-point IQ difference between Blacks and Whites will gradually disappear over time. Indeed, Black IQ today is superior to White IQ in 1950! Dickens and Flynn [24] showed the Black-White IQ gap narrowed by 5.5 points between 1972 and 2002. They documented a drop from 15 to 9.5 points on a combination of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), the Stanford- Binet, and the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). It is hard to overestimate the importance of a gap reduction of this magnitude. It reduces the ratio of Whites to Blacks with an IQ of 130 (the level needed to be a highly successful professional) from 18 to 1 to only 6 to 1. Even including the several additional tests that Rushton and Jensen [25] said were wrongly omitted, the median Black IQ gain is still 4.5 points, which is not very different from the 5.5 point estimate given by Dickens and Flynn.

The Black-White difference shrank comparably on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Long- Term Trend tests. These have been given every few years since the early 1970s by the U.S. Department of Education to a random sample of 9-, 13-, and 17-year-olds. For children born as early as 1954, the Black-White difference in reading and math averaged a full 1.2 SDs. For the most recent cohorts the gap is between .60 and .90 SDs-a very large reduction. It is interesting to note that if we convert the NAEP gains to IQ-type scales with a mean of 100 and SD of 15, and average the gains in math and reading across all age groups, we obtain a 5.4 point reduction in the Black-White education gap during the period for which Dickens and Flynn [24] found a 5.5 point reduction in the IQ gap.

Rushton and Jensen:

In fact, there is very little evidence of any significant narrowing of the Black-White IQ gap. Rushton and Jensen [25] disputed Dickens and Flynn's [24] claim that Blacks gained 5.5 points by showing that Dickens and Flynn excluded several tests and then "projected" forward by multiplying a small gain from their highly select group of tests by more years than were available for most of the data. Dickens and Flynn excluded the Wonderlic Personnel Test, which showed a gain of only 2.4 points for Blacks between 1970 and 2001; the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC), which showed a loss of 1 IQ point for Blacks between 1983 and 2004; the Woodcock-Johnson test, which showed a zero gain for Blacks; and the Differential Ability Scale, which showed a gain of only 1.83 points for Blacks between 1972 and 1986.

Moreover, even the test data they did present did not directly support their conclusion. Simple arithmetic, rather than a multiplied projection, yielded a mean gain for Blacks of 3.4 points (23%), not the 5.5 points claimed (37%). Including the aforementioned tests reduced the gain from 3.4 to 2.1 points (14%).

Nisbett does not explain how he arrived at an overall Black gain of 4.5 IQ points (30%) after including the four small (or negative) gain tests. Simple arithmetic applied to all eight tests yielded a mean gain for Blacks of only 2.1 points (14%).

Other researchers have also failed to find a significant narrowing of the Black-White gap over the 30 years covered by Dickens and Flynn (i.e., from 1972 to 2002). For example, Murray [26, 27] concluded there was "no narrowing" in two independent studies. In the first, he found no narrowing in either verbal IQ or achievement test scores for children born to women in the 1979 sample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. In the second, he found no narrowing for 6- to 65-year-olds in the Woodcock-Johnson standardizations of those born in the last half of the 1960s and early 1970s.

When Roth et al. [9] confirmed the 1.1 SD difference in a sample of 6,246,729 corporate, military, and higher education testees, they also addressed the question of whether the differences were decreasing. They concluded that any reduction was "either small, potentially a function of sampling error.or nonexistent for highly g loaded instruments" [9, p. 323, our italics].

Nisbett seems also to have exaggerated a select sampling of NAEP scores to emphasize gains. Gottfredson [28, 29] found that from the 1970s to the 1990s, the Black-White difference on school achievement tests only narrowed from 1.07 to 0.89 SDs. Even this 20% reduction (not the 35% claimed by Nisbett) had: (a) occurred by the 1980s and no longer continued; and (b) was compatible with a heritability of 80% for IQ.

However, the differences in results between Nisbett and Gottfredson are partly due to the NAEP scores coming in two distinct varieties. Nisbett reported on the NAEP Long Term Trend Assessment test, which measures student performance in Reading and Mathematics every four years or so and has remained relatively unchanged since its first administration. Gottfredson analyzed the Main NAEP Assessment test, which is given every two years and includes other subjects such as Science, Geography, and History, with test items modified every few years to reflect changing school curricula.

In any case, when gains do occur, they may be due to increased familiarity with test material and "teaching the test" rather than to genuine improvement in learning (see Section 8.1).

More HERE

**********************

Obama ditching soft approach towards China?

By Dr John Lee

If 2009 was the year of treating China with kid gloves, 2010 is likely to be much more tumultuous with President Barack Obama gearing up to prove that he has the mettle to defend American interests as well as the charm that swept him into power.

Last year, Obama’s foreign policy advisors conceded that China responded to the President’s softly, softly approach with disrespect and ‘kicked him in the teeth’ over and over again, most notably at the Copenhagen Summit. With poll numbers sagging and no foreign policy achievements to speak of, he is trying to avoid being compared to previous failed Presidents such as the one-term Jimmy Carter – also a Nobel Peace Prize winner – who was seen as cerebral but na├»ve and weak.

Indeed, it the first month of 2010, Obama has publicly defended Google in the company’s spat with China, approved an arms package for Taiwan that includes a few unexpected military ‘extras,’ and announced his intention to meet the Dalai Lama – something that was postponed in 2009 to appease Chinese sensitivities when the Dalai Lama visited the United States. America has done more in January to stand up to and enrage China than during the whole of 2009.

Ultimately, Washington wants China to be part of the solution rather than problem on global issues: to be a ‘responsible stakeholder.’ When China fails to behave like one – which is often the case – it creates additional headaches for an America burdened by global responsibilities. From Beijing’s point of view, the ‘responsible stakeholder’ approach is cleverly designed to inhibit and restrain China’s rise and to preserve American advantages in the bilateral relationship and within the global order. The implication: US-China tension is structural.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated February 5. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

**********************

Dumbama just hasn't got a clue

Today President Obama told Senate Democrats that they had faced "enormous procedural obstacles that are unprecedented.." "You had to cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and 1960s combined. That's 20 years of obstruction jammed into just one."

This is astonishing. A filibuster is the successful use of 41 or more votes to prevent the closing of debate. There wasn't a single filibuster in 2009. Not one.

The president will say anything to advance a narrative that makes him a victim of obstruction. It is clear that 2010 will be spent pivoting from his 2009 mantra of Bush's fault to his campaign year blasts at the "do nothing Republicans."

SOURCE

************************

The Great Peasant Revolt of 2010

"I am not an ideologue," protested President Obama at a gathering with Republican House members last week. Perhaps, but he does have a tenacious commitment to a set of political convictions. Compare his 2010 State of the Union to his first address to Congress a year earlier. The consistency is remarkable. In 2009, after passing a $787 billion (now $862 billion) stimulus package, the largest spending bill in galactic history, he unveiled a manifesto for fundamentally restructuring the commanding heights of American society -- health care, education and energy.

A year later, after stunning Democratic setbacks in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Obama gave a stay-the-course State of the Union address (a) pledging not to walk away from health care reform, (b) seeking to turn college education increasingly into a federal entitlement, and (c) asking again for cap-and-trade energy legislation. Plus, of course, another stimulus package, this time renamed a "jobs bill."

This being a democracy, don't the Democrats see that clinging to this agenda will march them over a cliff? Don't they understand Massachusetts? Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly.

Liberal expressions of disdain for the intelligence and emotional maturity of the electorate have been, post-Massachusetts, remarkably unguarded. New York Times columnist Charles Blow chided Obama for not understanding the necessity of speaking "in the plain words of plain folks," because the people are "suspicious of complexity." Counseled Blow: "The next time he gives a speech, someone should tap him on the ankle and say, 'Mr. President, we're down here.'" A Time magazine blogger was even more blunt about the ankle-dwelling mob, explaining that we are "a nation of dodos" that is "too dumb to thrive."

Obama joined the parade in the State of the Union address when, with supercilious modesty, he chided himself "for not explaining it (health care) more clearly to the American people." The subject, he noted, was "complex." The subject, it might also be noted, was one to which the master of complexity had devoted 29 speeches. Perhaps he did not speak slowly enough.

Then there are the emotional deficiencies of the masses. Nearly every Democratic apologist lamented the people's anger and anxiety, a free-floating agitation that prevented them from appreciating the beneficence of the social agenda the Democrats are so determined to foist upon them.

That brings us to Part 2 of the liberal conceit: Liberals act in the public interest, while conservatives think only of power, elections, self-aggrandizement and self-interest.

More here

***********************

ELSEWHERE

Biden swears in Brown as newest US Senator: "Republican Scott Brown has become the junior senator from Massachusetts today after being sworn in a week earlier than expected on the Senate floor. Brown, 50, was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden more than two weeks after his upset victory in the Jan. 19 special election shook up the political landscape in Washington by giving Republicans the 41 votes they need to block controversial bills.”

Hypocrite Obama hits tactic he himself used as a senator: "President Obama blasted Senate Republicans Wednesday for using "holds," a Senate tactic that delays consideration of nominees - even though as a senator he used the technique to block several of President George W. Bush's appointments. Mr. Obama complained that Republican objections have created "a huge backlog of folks who are unanimously viewed as well qualified" but who get held up because a single senator is trying to force the administration's hand on an issue. He said that's the case with Martha Johnson, his nominee to head the General Services Administration. "Let's have a fight about real stuff. Don't hold this woman hostage. If you have an objection about my health care policies, then let's debate the health care policies. But don't suddenly end up having a GSA administrator who is stuck in limbo somewhere because you don't like something else that we're doing," he said. But that's exactly what Mr. Obama did in two instances when, as a senator, he blocked all Environmental Protection Agency nominees in late 2005 to try to force release of new rules on lead paint and, a year later, blocked a Federal Aviation Administration nominee to try to force the FAA to decide whether Midwest wind farms would interfere with radar."

Job losses from Great Recession about to get worse: "Job losses during the Great Recession have been huge and they’re about to get bigger. When the Labor Department releases the January unemployment report Friday, it will also update its estimate of jobs lost in the year that ended in March 2009. The number is expected to rise by roughly 800,000, raising the number of jobs shed during the recession to around 8 million.”

Air marshals say service roiled with cronyism, chaos: "Despite calls from President Obama to beef up the program designed to provide security aboard U.S. flights, the Federal Air Marshal Service is in disarray, a CNN investigation has found. In more than a dozen interviews across the country, air marshals said the agency is rife with cronyism; age, gender and racial discrimination; and attempts by managers to make the agency appear more efficient than it is by padding numbers.”

Zogby poll: Ethnic and religious profiling OK: "Majorities of U.S. adults favor both ethnic and religious profiling and full-body scans at airports as measures to prevent terror attacks; and 69% say they are comfortable sacrificing some privacy for security. These are among the findings of a Zogby Interactive survey of 2,003 U.S. adults conducted from Jan. 15-18, 2010. This survey has a margin of error of +/-2.2%, with larger margins for sub-groups. The survey also found that 51% expect a major terror attack in the next year, and 25% plan to fly less frequently in order to lower their risk of being a terror victim. Seventy-five percent agreed that there is too much political correctness in discussion of terrorism."

Illinois primary voting numbers look good for Republicans: "Illinois held the nation’s first non-special primary election this year, and almost all the results are in. The big story for national politics is the race for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat, now held by the inimitable Roland Burris. And the news is very good for Republicans. North Shore suburban Congressman Mark Kirk won the Republican primary with 57% of the vote to 19% for conservative Patrick Hughes, while the Democratic race was much closer. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, long well ahead in the polls, won 39% to 34% for former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman. Giannoulias has been running mostly ahead of or even with Kirk in public polls, but there’s reason to believe he is beatable. He is young and articulate, but his family-owned bank, Broadway Bank, has made some loans to unsavory individuals, including convicted fraudster Tony Rezko. Kirk, in contrast, is a clean-as-a-whistle representative of the affluent North Shore suburbs, historically very Republican but in recent years trending Democratic on cultural issues; Kirk managed to win reelection by a 53%-47% margin in 2008 even as Barack Obama was carrying his district 61%-38% and his Democratic opponent was spending $3.5 million."

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

****************************

Thursday, February 04, 2010



Democrat ostriches?

A chilling spectacle just took place before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked, "What is the likelihood of another terrorist-attempted attack on the U.S. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low?"

And one by one, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta and FBI Director Robert Mueller all agreed an attack was "certain."

But log onto the Department of Homeland Security's Web site and all seems fairly calm. The first news item listed says, "Secretary Napolitano Announces More than $23 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Fire Station Construction Grants." And three of the other four news items on the main page tout the ways the department's $56.3 billion fiscal year 2011 budget request would be spent.

You have to look for the fine print and click a couple of times to find out the nation's terror alert condition — yellow or "elevated," like during most of the time since 9/11.

But if an attack is "certain" as the U.S. intelligence community tells us (but only after being asked by a senator), then shouldn't there be a bit more urgency than this?

Far from scrambling to stave off sure and impending disaster, this administration is bragging that its ill-advised policies haven't yet done harm.

We shouldn't be releasing anyone in our custody who could end up returning to terrorist activities, but White House counterterrorism chief John O. Brennan was touting "significant improvements to the detainee review process" for Gitmo prisoners in a Monday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Even if the recidivism rate is zero among the dozens of POWs that have been released, as Brennan reports, we saw on Christmas Day that it only takes one terrorist to kill hundreds. This is exactly what would have happened over the skies near Detroit had a little luck and a lot of guts from passengers not been on our side.

The administration boasts that Undiebomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is now "cooperating" — as if they didn't blow the chance for a treasure trove of lifesaving information from him about al-Qaida's structure and future plots by reading him his Miranda rights, getting him a lawyer, and allowing him to clam up less than an hour after being detained.

The president's answer to legitimate unease about homeland security is to ask the concerned to "put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough."

Last April, the president visited CIA headquarters to boost morale. "Speaking before some of the very intelligence officers he had publicly accused of complicity in torture," as Bush White House chief speechwriter Marc Thiessen writes in his new book defending the CIA's enhanced interrogation, "Courting Disaster," President Obama admitted to them that under his new policies, "you've got a harder job."

"The president has, by his own admission, forced the CIA to operate with one hand tied behind its back" -- Obama's own analogy -- and "made the agency's job of protecting us from terror harder," adds Thiessen.

At the risk of being accused of a schoolyard taunt, does the certainty of another attack have anything to do with one of America's hands being tied?

SOURCE

************************

Obama Attacks Churches, Charities and Home Values

These are policies that President Obama has advocated in the past, so we shouldn't be surprised to see them in his 2011 budget. Still, it's hard not to be a little shocked. The budget says, at page 40:
Reduce the Itemized Deduction Write-off for Families with Incomes over $250,000.

Currently, if a middle-class family donates a dollar to its favorite charity or spends a dollar on mortgage interest, it gets a 15-cent tax deduction, but a millionaire who does the same enjoys a deduction that is more than twice as generous.

That's because the "millionaire" pays income taxes that are more than twice as high. It isn't "generous" for the government to refrain from taking all of your money. The document continues:
By reducing this disparity and returning the high-income deduction to the same rates that were in place at the end of the Reagan Administration, we will raise $291 billion over the next decade.

This is, of course, Orwellian. The "disparity" is in fact a disparity in tax rates--higher income people pay much more. And the reference to the Reagan administration must have been intended as a cruel joke on taxpayers. The "high-income deduction" will be the same as during the Reagan administration, but the high-income marginal tax rate won't be, so now the deduction will apply to only half the contribution.

It's easy to understand the Obama administration's purpose with regard to churches and private charities, which it regards as competitors of the government. It wants to damage or destroy them by making contributions more expensive. But what about the mortgage interest deduction? The administration purports to be concerned about the decline in home prices that triggered the economic crisis of 2008-2009. But severely reducing the mortgage interest deduction will inevitably depress home prices. And not just the prices of expensive homes, either; as those prices fall, the values of less-expensive houses will decline as well. Is this really what the administration wants? It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama administration simply doesn't care about America's economy.

SOURCE

********************

When a Trend Cannot Continue, It Stops

Dick McDonald

Margaret Thatcher said it best: “The trouble with socialism is that it runs out of other people’s money.” And so it has come to pass in 21st century America – we have been presented with a Federal budget for the fiscal year 2011 that spends $1.6 trillion more than anticipated tax receipts and projects doing the same for the next 10 years. David Sanger's current New York Times article points out this grim reality.

Seventy-five years of social engineering has already left the American taxpayer with $119 trillion of debt. Taxpayers know politicians have legislated them into a corner and believe there are no present solutions other than returning the conservatives to power and hope they can stop the bleeding and start to reduce the deficit and debt. There is no time to waste in applying an economic tourniquet to the body politic – projections indicate that this $119 trillion debt grows at the rate of $8 trillion a year.

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. Liberals have decided to turn on the populist propaganda and spend the country into economic chaos in an identical way government did in 1936. That strategy threw the country into a deep depression within a deep depression. What is being promoted today can also be deemed to be equally “insane.”

Fortunately, too many Americans – especially those that don’t pay taxes – don’t have jobs. This trend cannot continue. Trends that cannot continue will stop. The question is, how will conservatives stop the bleeding? Our Founders provided the answer. If we could just believe what so many politicians always promise but repeatedly ignore – a return to a smaller government.

There is only one way to seriously shrink the size of government – and that is to privatize entitlements. By letting people invest in the American economy the 15.3 percent of their working life income now confiscated as payroll taxes will not only cut the size of government in half but revive our economy by infusing over $100 billion a month of new capital into the markets.

Politicians purposely ignore “privatization” because it takes money away from their political control and returns it to the control of every American citizen. Politicians and their propaganda ministry keep privatization off the negotiating table and deceive the American people into believing that raising taxes and cutting benefits are the sole methods to solve the dilemma that has created a $119 trillion debt. It isn’t. Privatization was recommend by FDR himself in the 1940s. He wanted the taxes invested in annuities by 1965 for the benefit of individual taxpayers.

Privatization is the solution and we need to pursue it – otherwise we are heading for the problems described in Sanger's New York Times article. The privatization plan contained in RUA is the greatest wealth producing proposal every advanced in a civilized society and is based on free market capitalist principles. Read all about it – you will like it.

Consider the idea that these new deficits and debts leave no room for these new spending proposals, but the individuals who proposed them knew this in January 2009, yet still pursued an agenda that can only be deemed as one to destroy the American capitalist system and its way of life. Unfortunately, we are running out of money.

SOURCE

**********************

More new taxes, more new spending

Can someone explain how this is change?

Over the next decade, President Obama plans on increasing taxes by $1.4 trillion, offset by his planned $300 billion in tax cuts. But his spending splurge will increase so much that Mr. Obama will add $5.1 trillion to the national debt over the next five years and $8.5 trillion over 10 years. This will be on top of the $1.4 trillion deficit we ran last year. At the end of these 10 years, the publicly held national debt will nearly double to $18 trillion.

Even Mr. Obama's own estimates put all the other tax-and-spend liberals to shame. And Mr. Obama hasn't even gotten his massive, costly takeover of the health care system and his even more costly cap-and-tax proposal. It is not as if Americans couldn't survive with a smaller amount of government spending - eight years ago, the budget was about half as big as Mr. Obama's proposal.

Next year, despite Mr. Obama's frequent campaign promises not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, people currently in the 10 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 36 percent personal income tax rates will all face higher tax rates. This is not the first time that Mr. Obama has broken or tried to break this promise, but higher marginal income tax rates will completely obliterate yet another Obama promise.

Yet, with all these new taxes, this coming year's deficit is likely to run to $1.6 trillion, a new record that would surpass the massive record $1.4 trillion set just last year. If you add last year's deficit to what Mr. Obama would like to see happen over the next decade, that $10.1 trillion debt will bankrupt the country. For a family of four, that debt would equal $134,700. Americans need to ask themselves what they could have done for themselves with that much money. How many new firms could have opened and how many more productive jobs would there be in the private sector if the government weren't taking up all these resources?

During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Obama attacked the George W. Bush administration during the third presidential debate: "But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments." But Mr. Bush's deficits, even including the relatively high deficits generated largely by a Congress completely controlled by Democrats, averaged well less than $400 billion per year.

Even by the year 2020, Mr. Obama's own estimates indicate that the annual budget deficit will be $1 trillion. If we were living beyond our means when Sen. Obama was running for president, we're now living beyond our means and our children's means and our grandchildren's means and ...

SOURCE

************************

ELSEWHERE

Sen.-elect Scott Brown may be sworn in Thursday: “Sen.-elect Scott Brown, the Republican who won last month’s upset victory in Massachusetts, appears likely to be sworn in tomorrow — a week earlier than originally anticipated. A spokesman for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement that the governor will certify the results of the Jan. 19 special election tomorrow and a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Brown could take his seat as early as tomorrow afternoon.”

GOP's Senate prospects on the rise: "The long-shot bid by Republicans to retake control of the Senate is suddenly in play, as the prospect of high-profile Republican candidates entering the fray has pushed the GOP even or ahead in polling for 10 races. The potential candidacies of former Republican Govs. George E. Pataki in New York and Tommy G. Thompson in Wisconsin are improving the polling fortunes of the party as it pursues seats long in the hands of Democrats, while the anti-government "tea party" movement has provided momentum to Republican challengers in states such as Florida, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. "If the election were held today, the Republicans could come close to winning back the Senate, if not actually win it," said pollster John Zogby."

Obama's foot in mouth disease strikes again: "A careless remark by President Barack Obama about Las Vegas has triggered a furious backlash from Nevada’s cash-strapped gambling city and a key Democratic ally fighting a tough re-election battle in the state. Speaking about the economy at an event in New Hampshire, Mr Obama told Americans: “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. “You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritise. You make tough choices.” The economy of the world’s most famous gambling and entertainment destination is heavily dependent on tourism and Las Vegans were already incensed by a comment from Mr Obama last year that companies should not use federal bail out money for trips to the city. Tourism and casino officials said the comment hurt the city after companies cancelled meetings in Las Vegas and re-arranged them elsewhere. Mr Obama’s latest remark about Las Vegas prompted a swift and angry retort from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who has an uphill battle to win re-election in Nevada"

Media covering for scared Democrats in Illinois: "Lech Walesa, a Nobel Laureate and former leader of the Solidarity trade union in Poland, which helped topple 50 years of Soviet occupation there and end the Cold War, went to Chicago, Ill., last week to endorse a conservative Republican in the gubernatorial primary race but the local media largely ignored him. This near-blackout by the media occurred despite the fact that 1 million people of Polish nationality live in Chicago, making it the city with the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw, Poland, and despite the fact that Walesa himself was the first post-Soviet president of Poland (from 1990 to 1995)."

Iran sends rocket with animal menagerie into space: "Iran announced Wednesday it launched a menagerie of animals — including a mouse, two turtles and worms — into space on a research rocket, a feat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said showed Iran could defeat the West in the battle of technology. Ahmadinejad also unveiled the model of a light booster rocket that is being built and three new, Iranian-built satellites, touted as the latest achievements in the country’s ambitious space program.”

Busted budgets: States desperate for new taxes: "So what will happen if California and Colorado and New York and every other state with fiscal afflictions get the increases they want? History tells us that in a year or so they will each spend 150% of their new taxes, face yet another fiscal emergency, and go looking for more things to tax. Giving more tax money to politicians is like giving a shot of Jose Cuervo to a stumbling blind slobbering drunk. They could tax everything in the country with a pulse and never have enough money.”

New British tax comes a cropper: "I was live on CNBC when the 50 percent top tax rate was announced. Asked for an immediate reaction, I predicted emphatically that the new would raise less money, not more. Now The Times reports that the Treasury has ’significantly reduced’ (as Lord Myners puts it) its estimate of the revenue to be yielded. The increase, which publicly broke Labour’s solemn manifesto pledge not to raise tax rates, has led people to shelter income.”

Will America help the persecuted Copts of Egypt?: "The violent persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt is becoming harder for the free world to ignore. This is true thanks to thousands of Copts who recently expressed their decades of frustration and anguish in street protests across the globe. One moving example took place in West Los Angeles, Calif., last month. With American flags in hand, over a thousand Copts peacefully demonstrated. One boy simply said, ‘It is very dangerous in Egypt that is why we need America to help us.’”

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

****************************


Calloo, callah, callay!

That strange exclamation is because I have just got my internet connection back. My 5-year-old cable modem had died. It had appeared to be working but when the servicemen got here they tested it, promptly replaced it and I am happy again!

Now for some blogging! Probably not as much as usual but we will see



CABLE STILL OUT

I may not be able to post anything today.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Obama's Philosophically Fascist State of the Union Address

by Ben Shapiro

There sure is something different about President Obama. Usually, the State of the Union address is a laundry list of proposals spiced with sycophantic applause and dipped in an admixture of boredom and bravado. It is rarely a statement of basic philosophy. Not for President Obama.

President Obama's State of the Union address was the greatest American rhetorical embrace of fascist trope since the days of Woodrow Wilson. I am not suggesting Obama is a Nazi; he isn't. I am not suggesting that he is a jackbooted thug; he isn't (even if we could be forgiven for mistaking Rahm Emanuel for one).

President Obama is, however, a man who embodies all the personal characteristics of a fascist leader, right down to the arrogant chin-up head tilt he utilizes when waiting for applause. He sees democracy as a filthy process that can be cured only by the centralized power of bureaucrats. He sees his presidency as a Hegelian synthesis marking the end of political conflict. He sees himself as embodiment of the collective will. No president should speak in these terms -- not in a representative republic. Obama does it habitually.

It would be pointless to discuss at length the dictatorial, demagogic nature of much of Obama's address -- the attacks on the banking system; the unprecedented personal assault on the Supreme Court justices; the dictatorial demands ("I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay"); the scornful looks and high-handed put-downs directed at his political opponents. It would be even more pointless to discuss the incomprehensible stupidity of Obama's policy proposals. (Export more of our goods? Why didn't anyone else think of that?)

It is worth examining, however, the deeper philosophy evident from Obama's address. From the outset, his speech was an ode to himself. He opened, bizarrely, by comparing this moment in history to past American crises: "when the Union was turned back at Bull Run …" He suggested that "America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people." This, of course, is unmitigated, self-serving rubbish -- 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War because we didn't move forward as one nation. But that is irrelevant to Obama -- in his mind, today's crisis is just like the Civil War. He is a modern-day Lincoln, and those who oppose him are benighted rebels. What's more, only his powerful leadership can lead us through.

Then it was on to his critique of American politics. It should be noted at the outset that American politics is designed to produce gridlock. The governmental structure was carefully calibrated to thwart grand, ambitious programs like Obama's socialist remolding of America; the founders deliberately shackled government by pitting interest against interest. Obama does not accept that, and so he despises the American system of republicanism. He acknowledged that political debate is deeply entrenched: "These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they've been taking place for over 200 years. They're the very essence of democracy." Then he dismissed the very essence of democracy in a single stroke: "But we still need to govern."

Obama's alternative is government as a single blunt instrument wielded by him. "What the American people hope -- what they deserve -- is for us … to overcome the numbing weight of our politics … it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength." This is 100 percent wrong. The American government is designed to be limited precisely so that the individual decency and strength of Americans can be unleashed. The government does not embody us -- it serves us.

But in Obama's mind, it is not even the government that embodies us -- it is Obama himself who encapsulates our hopes, dreams and spirit. "What keeps me going -- what keeps me fighting," he blathered, as though we were all deeply interested in the state of his psyche, "is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on."

After noting several Americans in whom the spirit of America lives, Obama turned to the camera in maudlin fashion and noted, "It lives on in you." (Note: quoting the Broadway version of "The Lion King" is heavy-handed theatrics.) Then he capped his sickening papal benediction with this note: "We don't quit. I don't quit."

We are not he. The American spirit is not the Obama spirit. America is not defined by our collective desire to bring about political utopia through abdication of representative democracy to a body of "wise pragmatists." America is defined by Americans -- individuals fighting to support their families, to preserve their values and their freedoms. And that Americanism stands in direct opposition not only to the Obama agenda, but also to Obama's vision of himself.

Source

**********************

A Reuters journalist who will be looking for a new job soon

Sometimes, the truth hurts. In the case of an article they published yesterday at 4:04 p.m. Eastern, it appears Reuters editors were afraid writer Terri Cullen’s adventure into truthful journalism might hurt their news agency’s relationship with President Barack Obama — so they pulled it.

Published under the headline, Backdoor taxes hit middle class, the article opened by describing the Obama Administration’s plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as relying “heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.” Four hours and three minutes after it hit the wire, the story was “withdrawn” with a promise that “A replacement story will run alter in the week.”

Why did Reuters pull the story? Business Insider cited a Reuters rep as saying the piece was withdrawn “due to significant errors of fact” and “should not have gone out.” I think it was the language used in the article that prompted Reuters to pull it. In particular, it was a series of phrases shown below that, combined with the one mentioned above, must have made the hair stand up on the back of Rahm Emanuel’s neck:

“…effectively a tax hike by stealth.”

“middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.”

Perhaps the largest contributing factor to the article being yanked is a list of tax break provisions popular among middle-class families that Obama might allow to expire:

* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;

* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;

* The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;

* Individuals who don’t itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;

* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.

The last line of the story was, perhaps, the proverbial “nail in the coffin” for the Reuter’s piece:

Trickle-down-taxation.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

***********************

ELSEWHERE

The false gospel of liberalism: "How can liberalism — an egregiously false and destructive worldview — be so wildly popular? Granted, some oddballs are attracted to an idea because it’s false and destructive, but most liberals are basically normal people. How can tens of millions of regular Joes and Janes be so enthusiastic about legitimizing homosexuality, killing unborn babies and flooding America with unassimilable and hostile foreigners? A partial answer is that Americans are surrounded from cradle to grave by liberal indoctrination.”

High-speed rail: Fast track to the poorhouse: "It must be a sickness. Perhaps the superb doctors at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., can give President Barack Obama something to cure his delusional state. On Thursday, a day after a State of the Union address in which St. Barack made silly promises such as a spending freeze that might save $250 billion if maintained for 10 years, he handed out $8 billion for a high-speed rail project that will be a further drain on our already fragile economy.”

Millions of US passengers fly on unsafe planes: "US airlines permitted at least 65,000 flights with millions of passengers on planes that were not fit for takeoff over the past six years. USA Today reported today after a six-month investigation that flights were allowed to take off after problems ranging from damaged rudders to faulty engines were subject to substandard repairs by unaccredited mechanics or simply went unreported or unchecked. Passengers would have been unaware of any problem with their plane, and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is not always notified of issues by airlines, said the newspaper. Over the time period investigated, the FAA levied $US28.2 million ($32 million) in fines and fees against US airlines who had violated safety standards, but reports indicate the airlines often continued to fly faulty plans after paying the fine."


My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

****************************


More problems

My cable connection is off the air again today so it's anybody's guess how much I will be able to get up today

Tuesday, February 02, 2010




PROBLEMS

My internet connection (cable) has been "down" since midday to my blogging today is much disrupted. Some blogs are up as usual while others have reduced or absent posts. It's the obnoxious Telstra/Bigpond again. Their's is the only cable that passes my door so I have to put up with their contempt for their customers. If their service gets any worse I may add a wireless connection via another provider. I am posting this at a friend's place.

*********************

Money DOES make you happy

Or so a large recent survey seems to show

Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-Being: Evidence from the U.S.A.

By Andrew J. Oswald and Stephen Wu

A huge research literature, across the behavioral and social sciences, uses information on individuals’ subjective well-being. These are responses to questions—asked by survey interviewers or medical personnel—such as, "How happy do you feel on a scale from 1 to 4?" Yet there is little scientific evidence that such data are meaningful. This study examines a 2005–2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System random sample of 1.3 million U.S. citizens. Life satisfaction in each U.S. state is measured. Across America, people’s answers trace out the same pattern of quality of life as previously estimated, from solely nonsubjective data, in one branch of economics (so-called "compensating differentials" neoclassical theory, originally from Adam Smith). There is a state-by-state match (r = 0.6, P < 0.001) between subjective and objective well-being. This result has some potential to help to unify disciplines.

Science 29 January 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5965, pp. 576 - 579

More detail here. The study actually shows that people are happier if they live in more pleasant places but more pleasant places are of course in general more expensive so money buys you happiness by giving you better location choices.

One would think that location choice was only a small factor in the many things that can affect one's happiness but the authors report a remarkably high correlation of .6 between happiness and the "amenity" of where you live. The correlation is however an "ecological" one (involving grouped data) in statistical terms and such correlations are often inordinately high so can be generalized from only weakly.

**********************

Richard Nisbett’s Leftist account of IQ is as crooked as one would expect

I had several shots at Nisbett's nonsense last year (e.g. here) so it is good to see a demolition of his claims from someone at the cutting edge of IQ research -- Professor J. Philippe Rushton (below)

In his book, Intelligence and How to Get It, Richard E. Nisbett, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan, asserts that cultural factors alone are sufficient to explain all the race differences to be observed in IQ and educational achievement.

Nisbett [Email] criticizes the nature + nurture model Arthur Jensen and I presented in 2005 in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. . [Thirty Years Of Research On Race Differences In Cognitive Ability (PDF)] Nisbett claims the heritability of IQ is lower than assumed, that Blacks have substantially narrowed the gap on Whites, that any remaining differences can be eliminated through educational and social intervention, and that any assertion of a mean IQ of 70 for sub-Saharan Africans is “desperately wrong”.

The dust jacket blurb puts Nisbett’s book in the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure of Man (1981, 1996). What is striking, however, is how much ground the egalitarians have given since Gould’s effort to debunk race, genetics, and IQ.

Nisbett concedes that general intelligence exists, that IQ tests predict success at both school and work, that scores are influenced by genes, and that in White populations, genes contribute to social class differences. He even accepts that IQ is related to brain size and that “Blacks are sometimes found to have smaller brains than Whites”. Gould must be spinning in his grave!

Such is the state of expert opinion today that Nisbett simply had to make these concessions lest his book be disqualified as serious scholarship. But while he admits that genes play a role in accounting for within-group differences, he still maintains they play no significant part in between-group differences.

Nisbett acknowledges that measured group differences exist: Jewish (mean IQ = 113), East Asian (107), White (100), South Asian (87), Hispanic (87), African American (85), and sub-Saharan African (70), although he erroneously claims that South Asians score as highly as East Asians. But Nisbett asserts that family pressure for success leads East Asians and Jews to high levels of achievement, while low expectations and a lack of opportunity lead Hispanics and Blacks to much lower levels of achievement.

Jensen and I have provided a long point-counterpoint review of Nisbett’s book in The Open Psychology Journal. [Race and IQ: A Theory-Based Review of the Research in Richard Nisbett’s Intelligence and How to Get It(PDF)] We found much that was admirable and informative in it, such as the cost-benefit survey of the literature on educational interventions and what can be done to increase school performance. But, sadly, we concluded it was mainly a work of advocacy, not scholarship.

Nisbett misrepresents much of the available information using highly selective reviews of the literature. Especially egregious are his many errors of omission. For example, while complaining of unrepresentative samples in a 1991 review paper by Richard Lynn, Nisbett side-stepped the very much larger compilation of data in Lynn and Vanhanen’s 2006 book. Nisbett completely ignores the adoption studies of East Asians, as well as those on brain size showing a genetic contribution to their high achievement.

According to Nisbett, Blacks closed the IQ gap by 5.5 points (35%) between 1970 and 1992. At the same time, Blacks narrowed the gap in educational achievement by a commensurate 35%. Nisbett argues that educational interventions such as the Milwaukee project, the Abecedarian project, and the Infant Health and Development Program, imply the gap could be eliminated altogether.

Contra Nisbett, however, Jensen and I found that IQ differences between Blacks and Whites have been steady for nearly 100 years, at between 15 and 20 points (about 1.1 standard deviations). After re-analyzing the data on which Nisbett relied, we found that the most optimistic assessment of the Black IQ gain was 2.1 points (14%). Using a wider array of tests, we found no narrowing at all. [See The Black-White Test Score Gap and the New Math Results By Charles Murray, AEI blog, October 15, 2009]

Nor has there been much (if any) narrowing on tests of educational achievement. Furthermore, the most powerful intervention strategies result, at best, in moving people from the 16th to the 25th percentile at the cost of millions of dollars per person.

Nisbett reviews several adoption studies to demonstrate the power of environmental intervention on IQ. He claims that poor children adopted into wealthier homes made huge gains—between 12 and 18 points. But he omitted to mention the finding that by late adolescence, these effects have dissipated.

Nisbett’s tendency to omit crucial information is particularly apparent in his discussion of the well-known Minnesota Trans-Racial Adoption Study in which White, Mixed-Race, and Black children were raised by upper-middle-class White parents in Minnesota. This was the largest study of its kind ever undertaken, and the only one with a longitudinal follow-up component, testing the same children at 7 years (in 1975) and 17 years (in 1986).

Nisbett describes how adopted White children averaged an IQ of 112 at age 7, but he omits that on follow-up at age 17, the IQ of these White children had fallen to 106. He did note that the Black children on follow-up had dropped from a mean IQ of 97 to one of 89—which he attributes to the psychological disturbance and “identity problems” they suffered from being raised by Whites!

Compounding his sins of omission, Nisbett neglects to mention three trans-racial adoption studies of East Asian children. In contrast to the Black children, the East Asian children adopted by White parents, despite being malnourished at birth, grew to excel in both intelligence (mean IQ = 108) and educational achievement......

Our conclusion: Predictions that the Black-White IQ gap will narrow are acts of blind faith. A much stronger dose of skepticism is required than Nisbett manifested in regard to the power of educational and social interventions.

Much more HERE (See the original for links)

**********************

Less Economic Freedom = Fewer Jobs for Americans

What does America’s declining economic freedom mean for you? It means that America will create fewer jobs. And that means that Americans will be poorer, as well as less free. A statement last week by Graham Mackay, the head of SAB Miller, one of the world’s largest brewers (they make, among many other beers, Miller Lite), explains how and why this will happen.

In 1999, SAB Miller moved its headquarters to London, attracted, Mackay said, by “the liberal and predictable tax regime.” But since the mid-2000s, the UK has been losing economic freedom. In fact, in 2010, the UK fell out of the top ten for the first time, just as the U.S. dropped into the ranks of the ‘mostly free’ in the Index of Economic Freedom. The UK’s ranking has now declined for four consecutive years, and the level of economic freedom in Britain is now as low as it has been since the Index began to measure it in 1995.

As a result, Mackay pointed out, the conditions that drew SAB Miller to Britain no longer exist:
Today the tax system is not predictable and there have been numerous increases, particularly when it comes to personal taxation. This means that as a global company we are no longer able to attract our best global talent to the UK. Why would someone move from Hong Kong where the marginal tax rate is 15 per cent and come to the UK where it is closer to 52 per cent. Taxation was a key part of our decision to locate a new global procurement business not in the UK but in Zug in Switzerland.

That single decision lost Britain 400 jobs. And SAB Miller is not the only company to flee the increasingly unfree economy of Britain. The damage goes far beyond the banking and financial sector: firms such as Vodafone, the cellular provider, have also departed.

And where have they gone? SAB Miller is worried about drawing talent to Britain (ranked eleventh in the Index) from Hong Kong (ranked first) and instead set up its new business in Switzerland (ranked sixth). Vodafone went in part to Ireland (ranked fifth). This is a competitive world, and businesses have choices. If the U.S. continues to fall behind in economic freedom, some businesses – as the example in Britain of SAB Miller shows – will make a rational decision to move elsewhere, and others will have less money to pay workers because they will be giving more to the taxman.

In his State of the Union address, the President stated that “And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it’s time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the United States of America.”

But they’re not “our jobs” by eternal right. They are jobs created by private enterprise, within the context of the burdens imposed by the federal government. And as those burdens get heavier, the number of jobs on offer in this country shrinks. If the President is serious about job creation, he will address the real threat to it: the policies of his administration, and of past ones, that reduced the willingness of companies to invest and their ability to grow by restricting our economic freedom.

SOURCE

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

****************************

Monday, February 01, 2010



A constitutional lawyer (guess who?) who doesn't know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence

The media constantly overlook that this guy is a DUMMY

In last night's State of the Union Address, President Obama said: "We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal...."

Um, wrong founding document, Mr. President. It is in our Declaration of Independence that we read: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

Remember when we were force-fed by many in the media articles about the storied legal career of Barack Obama? The first black President of Harvard Law Review (who never wrote a signed legal opinion; nor released his transcripts) and the teacher of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. He was our last best hope to restore respect for the Constitution in the Oval Office.

If George Bush or any Republican had made the same mistake can you imagine the media firestorm? I still recall that the New York Times ran a series of photos on the front-page when George Bush tried to open the wrong door while he was on a diplomatic visit to China. This is leagues above that simple faux pas.

I recall a New York Times article portrayed Obama's years as a constitutional teacher at the University of Chicago Law School that may relate to his problems understanding the basic principles of our founding documents. The article noted he avoided legal discussions with fellow teachers: "The Chicago law faculty is full of intellectually fiery friendships that burn across ideological lines. Three times a week, professors do combat over lunch at a special round table in the university's faculty club, and they share and defend their research in workshop discussions. Mr. Obama rarely attended"

Now maybe we know why. He just has no idea how the Constitution works. And a President pledges to the best of his ability "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Of course, he also misread the Supreme Court decision on campaign speech. He has a long history of misunderstanding basic principles of law.

More HERE (See the original for links)

**************************

The Public is Not Buying the Spending “Freeze”

During his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about a proposed spending freeze (underwhelming, as it is) and how such action can save money and get us out of debt. Well, the good news is that no one is buying it. Virtually no one believes that the spending freeze will do anything to have an impact on the deficit.

According to Rasmussen Reports, only 9% of the population think that the proposed spending freeze will have a big impact on the deficit. Forty-two percent believe that it will have no impact. However, there is a majority in support of a spending freeze, but there is a slightly larger majority in favor of reduced spending in government — a message that the Obama administration clearly is not getting. Obama is giong to grow the deficit by $13 trillion over the next ten years while having a freeze of $447 billion with only 15 billion to be saved.

Although it sounds like a large number (and 447 billion is certainly nothing to sneeze at), it is only a very small portion of federal spending. As we stated in our reaction to the State of the Union Address, it is only about 1/8 of all spending. They would not freeze all of government spending, just those that won’t “create” jobs. Aside from the obvious problem that the government cannot create jobs, it would cut costs from programs like the Judiciary, but others such as the Department of Education would see increased spending.

So with all of President Obama’s campaigning during the State of the Union address for his spending freeze, the public seems largely unimpressed. The Obama Administration needs to start realizing that the public is not buying their failed policies, and they should look in a new direction. We have a few good ideas here at Heritage.

SOURCE

**********************

Why Obama's Proposals Are Close to Worthless

The incoherent State of the Union address this week only reinforced what is becoming painfully obvious to any observer--President Obama's proposals are more confusing than clarifying, they pretend to do something big but don't achieve it, and they seem desperately out of touch with the average American.

How else can one explain that following his involvement in the campaign, he helped lose a Senate seat in Massachusetts that had belonged to his party since before his own birth? "But," you may argue, "the State of the Union was last week, what about his accomplishment since?"

Ok. I'll take the bait. Let's just deal with the past 24 hours. On the road in Florida, and in conference with Republican congressional representatives, the President still could not come up with coherent, sound ideas for resolving unemployment, or re-reforming a health care proposal that few in the nation like--on the left or right. In the conference with House Republicans he even went so far as to reassert his oft repeated lie that the GOP had not put forward any ideas in the Health Care debate. Understandably Mike Pence, Dr. Tom Price, and Paul Ryan all seemed to strenuously object and attempted to hold Obama's feet to the fire. Obama literally bristled on camera while being held to such open accountability before the watching television eye....

Then there's the proposed "freeze on spending" that the White House revealed more details concerning. Twenty billion is all they plan to address. Twenty billion? Twenty billion? Tarp was $350 billion x 2. Stimulus was $800 billion on paper. And the proposed budget Obama asked for topped out at $3 trillion. Don't get me wrong--I'd be thankful for a liberal to ever admit they will curb any amount of spending, but Obama's macho bravado on being fiscally sound doesn't resonate with his policies.

Thus is the state of things with Barack Obama. 400 speeches didn't "explain health care enough" to the American people, and spending freezes that begin in 2011 and consist of roughly 00.58% are supposed to be like a wave of the magic wand and cause people to fall back into their wonder-lust with the man who speaks hope and change.

But wasn't that kind of indicative of what we ended up getting all of Obama's first year? He was willing to ignore the increasing unemployment while the rates ballooned to over double what they were on average under Bush, but moved heaven and earth to get the himself overseas to campaign for the city of Chicago to score the Olympics.

He knew that 1 in 10 Americans are without jobs, and 1 in 5 families don't make enough to pay their bills with the work they have, but played more rounds of golf in his first year than Bush did in all eight.

He pushed the domestic "criminal" trials of hardened terrorist animals upon the city that suffered the most on 9/11, but held 9 cabinet level meetings to decide to follow through on his own plans to try to win in Afghanistan. He accepted the Nobel prize for peace... for doing nothing... and then sent 30,000 troops to attempt a strategy that military leaders said would work best with 80,000.

And best of all at the State of the Union, he claimed that the science is settled on "climate change" when the world had seen its fraud exposed, and even this weekend has had more evidence of the manipulation of that fraud come to light, but he pushed for the job killing, tax implementing cap and trade bill anyway.

From purely a strategic perspective, Obama has failed even himself. There is nothing for him to fall back on. It's all on his shoulders. His lies, as reported by... CNN. His plans, as he states them for himself. His terms, because he refuses to offer the other side a place at the table to discuss. President Obama is utterly out of touch with real people. And his worthless policy priorities demonstrate that better than any opposing strategist could ever devise.

SOURCE

**************************

The Era of Laissez-Faire?

One of the established memes about the financial crisis is that it demonstrates the failure of unfettered capitalism, the dog-eat-dog, laissez-faire environment that prevailed in the West over the last few decades, all driven by the ideology of “free-market fundamentalism.” This seems to be a truism among most of the Commentariat. Of course, as pointed out repeatedly on this blog, the truth is virtually the opposite: there was never any “deregulation,” the Bush Administration spent public money like a drunken sailor, and government continued to expand as it always does. But a picture is worth a thousand words, so try these on for size. (US data)



One response I sometimes hear is “Sure, there are more regulations and more government spending, but the set of things that should be regulated and the amount of government spending the economy needs are growing even faster!” This is essentially the Krugman-DeLong view about the stimulus: it just wasn’t big enough. Or they say that financial markets were “deregulated,” de facto, because the number of regulations and regulators increased more slowly than the number of new financial instruments and new markets. I wonder, though: are these falsifiable propositions? No matter how big the government is, if there are any problems, it’s always because the government isn’t big enough!

More charts HERE

**************************

ELSEWHERE

White House: US government deficit to hit all-time high: "As President Obama prepares to unveil his $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011, which begins Oct. 1, the White House is projecting the current fiscal year will end with a $1.6 trillion deficit, congressional sources confirmed to Fox News. Next year’s budget will have a nearly $1.3 trillion debt, according to those sources, dropping to just over half that — $700 billion in fiscal year 2013 — before jumping back up to $1 trillion in 2020, the furthest out that budgeters will predict. A $1.6 trillion deficit would represent more than 10 percent of the gross domestic product, but the White House says over the next 10 years, the average deficit will represent only 4.5 percent of GDP annually.”

No sanctions for “waterboarding” lawyers: "Bush administration lawyers whose secret memos approved waterboarding of terrorism suspects will not face sanctions, U.S. officials said. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded John Yoo and Jay Bybee used poor judgment but will not be referred for disciplinary action, a legal source who was not publicly identified told The Washington Post in a story published Sunday.”

Tough fight set for homosexuals in the military: "President Obama's pledge to lift the military's ban on openly gay service members this year seems at best headed for extremely close votes in the House and Senate, according to Congress watchers. The president's proposal needs 218 votes in the House. A bill to repeal the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell" has fewer than 190 co-sponsors. What's more, a number of Democrats representing conservative districts, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri, are set to buck the president and vote against repeal. In the Senate, senators who support the ban could filibuster the 2011 defense authorization bill if it contains a repeal, giving opponents of the ban an uphill task of gathering 60 votes."

CBO chief warns of long, slow recovery: "The director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had little but bad news on the economy for Congress. The pace of the U.S. economic recovery will be "slow in the next few years," and the unemployment rate will average 10 percent through the end of fiscal 2011, while the annual budget deficit will likely remain above $1 trillion, CBO chief Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday. The CBO chief told the congressional panel that he expected economic growth in fiscal 2010, which ends Sept. 30, will be just 1.6 percent, and the unemployment rate will average 10.2 percent. The outlook for fiscal 2011 is not much better, he warned, saying that growth in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) will barely accelerate to 1.8 percent and the unemployment rate barely budge, averaging 9.8 percent for the year. Mr. Elmendorf, citing another in the string of forecasts that his well-respected nonpartisan office had developed, also warned that annual budget deficits are likely to top $1 trillion for this year and next and remain at stratospheric levels for years. The resulting public debt will make up a huge share of the overall economy and remain a constant threat to economic growth for the foreseeable future."

Palin’s PAC raised $2.1 million in 2009: "Sarah Palin raised $2.1 million through her political action committee in 2009, POLITICO has learned, putting the former Alaska governor’s take on par with those of her potential 2012 Republican presidential primary contenders. Palin took in $1.4 million of her total in the last 6 months of the year, after she resigned as governor on July 3. Heading into 2010, SarahPAC, had $900,000 in the bank after contributing $64,600 to dozens of candidates and beefing up its staff from just a handful of operatives.”

Obama has more in common with Fascism than Communism: "If we don’t get the analysis right, we won’t get the response right. Despite what some popular right-wing talk-show hosts claim, Obama is not pushing Marxism, revolutionary or otherwise. The threat is not from socialism in the sense of State ownership of the means of production, much less a proletarian uprising. Rather, he’s pushing good old American progressive-corporate elitism, or corporatism. (Some would simply call it capitalism.) It is anti-free market, but not anti-business.”

The Obama Boondoggle Express: "President Obama is taking his 8 billion State of the Union job-creation stimulus bucks on the road. Railroad, that is. Specifically, he wants to build high-speed rail in 13 major corridors across the country, including a 220-mile-per-hour bullet train in California and a pokey 168 mph Tampa to Orland run in Florida. In case you think this politically motivated bank-busting grandiose ‘vision thing’ is a swell idea, here are a few libertarian-eye-view reasons why it isn’t..... It won't create any new jobs; it will merely create different jobs. The money from profits that millions of business operators would have used to expand their businesses, thereby creating new jobs and hiring more employees, will instead be siphoned off by politicians"

Don’t blame Proposition Thirteen: "The real reason there is a budget crisis is because those in government are unwilling to control their spending. The situation in California is identical to a person who continuously lives beyond his means and then blames his employer for not giving him enough money once the credit card bill is due. If an individual makes that argument, the absurdity of the claim is readily apparent. But when a government official makes that claim, for some reason people actually take it seriously.”

Why has Hollywood forsaken conservatives?: "I don’t know what my butcher’s political beliefs are, and I don’t want to know. I pay him for his services and we are both happy. I want the same arrangement with my entertainers. If my butcher constantly mocked my values, I’d soon take my business elsewhere. Yet Hollywood regularly mocks conservative values. … The entertainment industry’s depictions of various characters and values add up to one message: Conservatives are bad for our country. What does that teach our children about respecting the right to hold dissenting opinions?”

Crisis of the government party: "Obama’s dilemma, evident in his State of the Union, is that the progressives, who were indispensable to his victories over Hillary, now feel betrayed, especially with apparent abandonment of health insurance reform, while conservative Democrats and independents, who were indispensable in giving Obama his November victory, are angry and alienated and disposed to vote Republican to stop what they see as America’s plunge into socialism. The non-negotiable demands of these two essential elements of Obama’s coalition are in irreconcilable conflict.”

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

My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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)

****************************