Saturday, March 13, 2010



Denying the Truth at all Costs

Politics and policy has become surreal. Webster's defines the term as "bizarre or dreamlike". No word better describes the current state of affairs. For yet another example of the "dreamlike" suspension of reality that is everyday Washington, D.C. consider the recent announcement from union-toady, Congressman George Miller. Miller is proposing to spend $100 billion on a bailout of local governments. That is $100 billion we will have to get from China or the Federal Reserve's printing press to allow local governments to pretend a little while longer that they can act like spoiled children without consequence.

The Miller proposal would funnel the massive sum of borrowed money to local governments so they can "save or create" jobs. Boil it all down and the Miller scam is exposed as a temporary fix for the junkies who are attempting to avoid withdrawal at all costs. But cold-turkey withdrawal is exactly what they and America need.

The facts are well known. Government at all levels has grown faster than any other segment of the economy. Government, also, pays far more than corresponding workers in the private sector and has lavish benefit packages unmatched by any private worker. As the Cato Institute detailed in their January, 2010 Tax & Budget Bulletin # 59, the compensation scales and benefits of government are simply unsustainable. They cannot continue, there must be an adjustment.

But blocking that "adjustment" is the primary goal of labor unions. And whatever Big Labor wants, George Miller will try to deliver. So, the $100 billion bailout is meant for one thing and one thing only; paying off the unions and avoiding for even a little while the inevitable downsizing of government. Since the largest expenditure any government makes is on personnel, that downsizing means one thing – firing tens of thousands of unionized public employees.

Think for a second what Miller and his cronies are asking of American families, taxpayers and businesses. They want us to go deeper into debt, to the tune of another $100 billion, to pay employees we don't need to do things that are of marginal value. We are eating our seed corn. This money will not be spent on things that will allow future growth and production or future prosperity. It is to be squandered on consumption. Like the raging alcoholic, full of bravado, we are maxing out the American credit card to buy lunch for everyone in the barroom.

The situation we confront is basic. We all know the nature of the choice. All of us were taught this choice as small children. We should all remember the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper frittered away the summer, eating and having a great time. The ant, on the other hand, worked and saved and did without, so that he would have provisions for the winter. When winter arrived, the ant is secure and prepared while the grasshopper froze, starving from lack of food.

George Miller and his union masters are the grasshoppers of our time. They eat and drink and live in a dreamlike state where the bill never comes due. The only problem, of course, is that they do have a plan. They plan to stick all of us with the bill for their reckless behavior.

Its time we ants took matters into our own hands. The credit card needs to be cut into pieces. Local governments, as well as states and the Federal behemoth, need to face the facts. They have to live within the means of the people that fund them. The insane, surreal politics of spending and debt must come to a stop.

Any member of Congress, regardless of party, who opposes the Miller scheme should be praised and supported. Any local government that does the right thing and cuts its functions and personnel needs backing. Conversely, those who embrace the bizarre world of George Miller need to be shown the door. They are simply too sick to be in a position of authority.

SOURCE

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The deadline kid

The White House fondness for deadlines is once again playing havoc with President Obama's agenda, this time on health care. "If you don't set a deadline in this town, nothing happens," Obama said last year, just before Congress missed an earlier deadline to pass health care reform. The administration is pressuring House members to pass a Senate version of health reform by March 18, when the president departs on an overseas trip.

But the many moving parts of Congress are balking at the administration's timetable -- and have learned from several previous forays that missing them carry virtually no consequences. "Any talk of deadlines is an absolute waste of time," said Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Obama last year admonished Congress to pass health care reform by August, and vowed to sign a reform bill in 2009. The Senate finally passed one in late December. Lawmakers also missed a 2009 deadline from the White House to pass an energy bill, and a financial regulatory bill.

But ignoring White House deadlines is not restricted to Congress. Tehran is currently ignoring a deadline from the Obama administration and the United Nations to come clean about its nuclear program. They were given until the end of the year -- 2009.

Obama also has missed his own deadlines -- notably, one contained in an executive order closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay by the end of his first year in office. The prison remains open and under review.

Some deadlines remain to be seen. Obama set a deadline of July 2011 to begin pulling troops from Afghanistan. But that deadline has some built-in wiggle room -- he never said when he would finish. Some deadlines are looming:

"Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama told Marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina last year. Soon after he announced the Iraq deadline, however, the White House reportedly began considering some exceptions.

Over the course of the year, deadlines have become for Obama what benchmarks were to the previous administration -- a clear set of original objectives that frequently end up victim to chance.

The White House wants the House to pass the bill before Obama leaves town, to give the Senate time to work on the measure before both chambers leave on a two-week break March 27.

The risk to Obama in repeatedly setting and missing deadlines can already be measured in the offhand dismissal lawmakers in his own party greeted the latest edict. And also in the fact that if Congress planned to miss the administration's deadline, the White House was among the last to know. "The information I gave out last week was based on conversations with staff that I've had here in the building, and I've been given nothing that would change that advice that I was given last week," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said of the March 18 deadline.

SOURCE

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Millennials will be end of the road for Progressives

Imagine watching as the government robs your parents of their retirement security, denies them access to decent health care, and compromises the independence that is supposed to mark their Golden Years. That’s not a scene likely to generate support for those inflicting such agonies on the people who gave you life, especially when the perpetrators also hand you the bill. Thus will the progressive vision for America end with the Millennials.

Conventional wisdom sees Social Security and Medicare going bust just as massive numbers of the Baby Boomer generation begin applying for benefits. Political upheaval will surely ensue as Boomers experience the destitution that follows hard after collapse of these two landmark entitlements.

But look beyond the Boomers to their kids – the Millennials, 60 million strong and the first “grown-up digital” generation, (see Don Tapscott’s book by that name).

This coming entitlement crisis will engulf Boomers just as Millennials enter the most fecund years of family life and career. But instead of enjoying such rewarding endeavours, they will face the hardships and heart breaks that will come with being what The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson earlier this week called “the Chump Generation:” Samuelson’s label, however, doesn’t begin to do justice to what lies ahead for Millennials, thanks to their government:

* Their federal taxes will hit unprecedented levels as Washington props up Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlement programs. So will state and local taxes, thanks to similarly generous pensions for teachers, cops, firemen, and bureaucrats.

* Good health care will be harder to get for middle class Millennials and their kids, thanks to government rationing of medical services.

* With a no-growth, high-tax, “green economy,” entrepreneurial opportunities will be scarce, new jobs rare, and standards of living falling for the first time in American history. Most things will cost more, everyday tasks like getting to work and grocery shopping will be more tedious, and the general quality of life will be noticeably less pleasant.

In the process, millions of Millennials will have to take in their aging Boomer parents or otherwise care for them, and do so with fewer personal resources and under far greater economic pressures than those faced by perhaps any previous American generation since before the Great Depression.

Samuelson said Millennials were notably strong Obama supporters in 2008, but he wondered if being the Chump Generation will “dim their enthusiasm for government.” I see something far more serious than merely less enthusiasm for activist government, for two reasons.

First, the dominant values of Millennials are inimical to centralizing, top-down, command-and-control government at the heart of the Progressive vision. Millennials grew up in a decentralized digital world of endless choices, limitless opportunity, and transparency in everything.

Think about that: Where Obama and the progressives dispatch reams of bureaucratic edicts, legions of bureaucrats, and tons of tax dollars to solve a problem, Millennials reach for their laptops, Internet creativity, and collaboration with each other. They don’t need officious, over-paid GS-14s in Washington to tell them what to do. And they know it.

Second, it will be crystal clear who caused the entitlement crisis. Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are seeing to that now in their mad rush to pass Obamacare, even if means doing so over unanimous Republican opposition.

So, trust me, when the entitlement crisis hits home in full force during the next two decades, the Millennials will be hit hard and they will know exactly who to hold responsible. There will be hell to pay, with no grace period, no more bailouts and no more patience for politicians peddling lies about what government will do for them.

SOURCE

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Obama Justice Department Shut Down Federal ACORN Investigation

If you want to know the sordid details behind ACORN’s corrupt activities and the Obama administration’s disinterest in holding the organization accountable, I have good news for you. Judicial Watch recently obtained a large batch documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) detailing investigations into ACORN corruption.

This is a huge “get” for Judicial Watch. The documents include internal FBI memoranda, signed affidavits, subpoenas, fraudulent voter registration cards, and publications describing ACORN’s policies and practices. The documents also include details regarding numerous allegations of corruption extending beyond voter registration fraud, to include attempts by ACORN employees to coerce workers to participate in campaign activities on behalf of Democratic candidates.

But here’s what I find most interesting of all: The documents provide the details surrounding the Obama administration’s terrible decision to shut down a criminal investigation into two voter registration fraud complaints in March 2009 without filing criminal charges. I’m specifically referring to separate complaints filed in October 2008 by Lucy Corelli and Joseph Borges, Republican Registrars of Voters in Stamford and Bridgeport, Connecticut, respectively, during the 2008 election season.

According to Corelli, on August 1, 2008, her office received 1,200 ACORN voter registration cards from the Secretary of State’s office. Over 300 of these cards were rejected because of “duplicates, underage, illegible and invalid addresses,” which “put a tremendous strain on our office staff and caused endless work hours at taxpayers’ expense.” Corelli claimed the total cost of the extra work caused by ACORN corruption was $20,000.

Likewise, Borges contended that: “The organization ACORN during the summer of 2008 conducted a registration drive which has produced over 100 rejections due to incomplete forms and individuals who are not citizens…” Among the examples cited by Borges was a seven-year old child, who was registered to vote by ACORN through the use of a forged signature and a fake birth certificate claiming she was 27-years old.

The FBI and Department of Justice opened an investigation. However, the Obama Justice Department, while noting that ACORN had engaged in “questionable hiring and training practices,” closed down the investigation in March 2009, claiming ACORN broke no laws....

More here

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Democrats: Abortion Is Good, Because Kids Are Costly

Bart Stupak just had a revelation. And it’s a disturbing one.

Sitting in an airport, on his way home to Michigan, Rep. Bart Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, is chagrined. “They’re ignoring me,” he says, in a phone interview with National Review Online. “That’s their strategy now. The House Democratic leaders think they have the votes to pass the Senate’s health-care bill without us. At this point, there is no doubt that they’ve been able to peel off one or two of my twelve. And even if they don’t have the votes, it’s been made clear to us that they won’t insert our language on the abortion issue.”…

What are Democratic leaders saying? “If you pass the Stupak amendment, more children will be born, and therefore it will cost us millions more. That’s one of the arguments I’ve been hearing,” Stupak says. “Money is their hang-up. Is this how we now value life in America? If money is the issue — come on, we can find room in the budget. This is life we’re talking about.”

We knew this. For all their talk of pro-choice, the far left is actually pro-abortion. It’s about an agenda to them, not about life. And remember, not too long ago Senator Feinstein said it was “morally correct” to fund abortion. This just exposes the face underneath the mask a bit more. Now, it isn’t just about funding abortion, but using it as a cost-saving tool. Bart Stupak is realizing that now — in a moment of division with his party, he had some clarity. He is a Democrat insider and he sees this chilling reality in his own Caucus.

SOURCE

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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)

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

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Friday, March 12, 2010



REDIRECT for "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH"

Response times on the site hosting "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH" have become so slow as to render the blog almost inaccessible.

I have therefore moved the blog back to its original home on blogspot. Go HERE to access all the recent postings.

I moved it off blogspot at a time when Google (the owner of blogspot) was having a severe bout of irrationality but they seem to have settled down since then so I am hoping that the move back can be permanent.

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Why Democrats Don't Care about $9.7 Trillion Debt

As reported by The Washington Post, "President Obama's proposed budget would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday." CNN adds, "Of that amount, an estimated $5.6 trillion will be in interest alone."

The Post continues: "The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) and the White House (are) ... both predicting a deficit of about $1.5 trillion this year -- a post-World War II record at 10.3 percent of the overall economy. But the CBO is considerably less optimistic about future years, predicting that deficits would never fall below 4 percent of the economy under Obama's policies and would begin to grow rapidly after 2015. "Deficits of that magnitude would force the Treasury to continue borrowing at prodigious rates, sending the national debt soaring to 90 percent of the economy by 2020, the CBO said."

CNN adds that "By 2020 the (CBO) estimates debt held by the public would reach $20.3 trillion, or 90 percent of GDP. That's up from 53 percent of GDP in 2009."

I suspect that most Americans, if asked whether these numbers trouble the Democratic leadership and President Obama, would answer in the affirmative. They would be wrong.

They would be wrong not because the Democratic Party or the president are economically illiterate or bad individuals, but because the Democratic Party and the president are leftists. And most Americans, including most Democrats, do not understand the left. They may understand liberalism; but President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and most Democratic representatives and senators are not liberals; they are leftists. And most Americans do not understand the difference between liberal and left. They do not realize, for example, that there is no major difference between the American Democratic Party and the leftist social democratic parties of Western Europe. They do not know that from Karl Marx to Obama, the left (as opposed to liberals) has never created wealth because it has never been interested in creating wealth; it is interested in redistributing wealth.

Therefore, unprecedented and unsustainable debt, a debt that will negatively affect most Americans' quality of life, renders the dollar increasingly undesirable, and undermines America's prestige and power in the world -- these developments do not particularly disturb the left. They may trouble the president, the Democratic Party, and others on the left on some political level, but that pales in comparison to what the left really wants: a huge government overseeing a giant welfare state and a country with far fewer rich Americans.

Achieving those goals is far more important than preventing a decline in the American quality of life. The further left one goes, the more contempt one has for the present quality of American life in any event. The left regularly mocks many of the symbols of that life -- from the three-bedroom suburban house surrounded by a white picket fence to owning an SUV (or almost any car) because Americans should be traveling on public buses, trains and bicycles.

As for the dollar, I can bear personal testimony to the decline of the dollar's prestige. I am writing this column in Morocco. In Casablanca, my wife and I and another couple hired a Moroccan driver for the day. And when it came time to pay, the man refused to accept dollars; he wanted to be paid in either Euros or Moroccan dirhams. Yes, dirhams rather than dollars. But the demise of the dollar as the world's currency disturbs the left as much as does America's not getting a gold medal in curling at the Winter Olympics.

And as for America wielding less power in the world, that is a positive development for the American left. It is the world community as embodied in the United Nations that should wield power throughout the world, not an "overstretched," "imperialist" and "militarist" United States.

I used to believe that left and right have similar goals for America, that they just differed in the means they wanted used to get there. I was mistaken. The left has a very different vision of America than those who hold the founding values of America, most especially individualism and small government. And if the price of a once in a lifetime possibility of getting to a giant welfare state dominated by the left is America's steep financial decline, that is a price fully worth paying.

SOURCE

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The Roadmap Warrior

Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future would drastically overhaul the American welfare state in a free-market direction. The Congressional Budget Office says it would solve the entitlements crisis through a series of changes to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. The Roadmap also includes a fundamental tax reform -- one that Ryan says, and the CBO assumes, would bring in revenues equivalent to the long-term historical average of 19-percent of GDP. Two new studies dispute that figure, however. I talked to Ryan this evening to get his response.

"We feel good about our numbers," Ryan told me. "You can tweak a plan to get it toward a historic trend." He's referring to a Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center study that says the Roadmap would fall short of its 19-percent goal over the next 10 years, bringing in revenues of somewhere between 16.6 percent and 16.8 percent of GDP. In a statement last night, Ryan said that "the purpose of the Roadmap is to get spending in line with revenue -- not the other way around." He reiterated that argument in his conversation with me today. "The point is the spending."

Philip Klein made some salient observations in a post earlier today:
There's good reason to believe, based on economic theory and empirical experience, that at least some portion of that "lost" revenue would be recouped by higher GDP. But the overaching point is that the Ryan plan, as scored by the CBO, shows that there's a way to balance the long-term budget by keeping taxes at historical levels rather than raising them to levels that would cripple the economy. If critics acknowledge that Ryan's reforms to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the health care system can make our nation solvent as long as we maintain historical levels of tax revenue, and the only argument left is over how to maintain historical levels of taxation, then I'd say that's a major victory for Ryan.

The other charge critics make is that Ryan's tax changes would hurt the poor. That's the theme of a second report by the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), which concludes with this: "It's difficult to design a tax plan that will lose $2 trillion over a decade even while requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more. But Congressman Ryan has met that daunting challenge." It's impossible not to notice the snide tone. But sarcasm isn't always persuasive.

The $2 trillion figure is a reference to the Bush tax cuts, which Ryan's plan would make permanent for everyone. (One should note that by this measure, the Obama tax plan will also "lose" some revenue, since the president only wants the tax cuts to expire for upper-brackets.) But Ryan also cuts spending over time. Obama does not.

As for "requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more," that's a swipe at Ryan's zeroing out the stimulus and replacing the corporate income tax with a business consumption tax. You see, Ryan says the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in Obama's stimulus bill is spending, not tax cutting. He'd eliminate it. And CTJ counts a reduction in that spending as a tax hike.

The business consumption tax would be passed on to the consumer, making it regressive. But Ryan notes that Americans indirectly feel the consequences of the above-average U.S. corporate tax rate today, through lost wages and higher prices. And these effects are regressive, too. Unlike the current situation, Ryan goes on, the business consumption tax "is cleaner, simpler, and it's on paper." It would also make American exports more competitive than they are today. "I believe it's a better deal," he says. Most important: "It's more uniform. You can't play social engineering."

The dynamic effects of Ryan's reforms are impossible to predict. Over time, government would shrink, investment would expand, and America's credit rating would improve. America would become a haven for foreign capital. Her citizens would have more individual choice and, yes, more individual responsibility. "Policies such as these," Irving Kristol wrote decades ago in his essay "The Republican Future," "have the obvious advantage of reconciling the purposes of the welfare state with the maximum degree of individual independence and the least bureaucratic coercion." No wonder Paul Ryan is smack in the middle of liberal sights.

SOURCE

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Low-tax Texas beats big-government California

"Stop messing with Texas!" That was the message Gov. Rick Perry bellowed on election night as he celebrated his victory over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for governor. In his reference to Texas' anti-littering slogan, Perry was making a point applicable to national as well as Texas politics and addressed to Democratic politicians as well as Republicans.

His point was that the big-government policies of the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders are resented and fiercely opposed not just because of their dire fiscal effects but also as an intrusion on voters' independence and ability to make decisions for themselves.

No one would include Perry on a list of serious presidential candidates, including himself, even in the flush of victory. But in his 10 years as governor, the longest in the state's history, Texas has been teaching some lessons to which the rest of the nation should pay heed.

They are lessons that are particularly vivid when you contrast Texas, the nation's second most populous state, with the most populous, California. Both were once Mexican territory, secured for the United States in the 1840s. Both have grown prodigiously over the past half-century. Both have populations that today are about one-third Hispanic.

But they differ vividly in public policy and in their economic progress -- or lack of it -- over the last decade. California has gone in for big government in a big way. Democrats hold big margins in the legislature largely because affluent voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area favor their liberal positions on cultural issues.

Those Democratic majorities have obediently done the bidding of public employee unions to the point that state government faces huge budget deficits. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to reduce the power of the Democratic-union combine with referenda was defeated in 2005 when public employee unions poured $100 million -- all originally extracted from taxpayers -- into effective TV ads.

Californians have responded by leaving the state. From 2000 to 2009, the Census Bureau estimates, there has been a domestic outflow of 1,509,000 people from California -- almost as many as the number of immigrants coming in. Population growth has not been above the national average and, for the first time in history, it appears that California will gain no House seats or electoral votes from the reapportionment following the 2010 census.

Texas is a different story. Texas has low taxes -- and no state income taxes -- and a much smaller government. Its legislature meets for only 90 days every two years, compared with California's year-round legislature. Its fiscal condition is sound. Public employee unions are weak or nonexistent.

But Texas seems to be delivering superior services. Its teachers are paid less than California's. But its test scores -- and with a demographically similar school population -- are higher. California's once fabled freeways are crumbling and crowded. Texas has built gleaming new highways in metro Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

In the meantime, Texas' economy has been booming. Unemployment rates have been below the national average for more than a decade, as companies small and large generate new jobs.

And Americans have been voting for Texas with their feet. From 2000 to 2009, some 848,000 people moved from other parts of the United States to Texas, about the same number as moved in from abroad. That inflow has continued in 2008-09, in which 143,000 Americans moved into Texas, more than double the number in any other state, at the same time as 98,000 were moving out of California. Texas is on the way to gain four additional House seats and electoral votes in the 2010 reapportionment.

This was not always so. In the two decades after World War II California, with its pleasant weather, was the Golden State, a promised land, for most Americans, while Texas seemed a provincial rural backwater. Many saw postwar California's expansion of universities, freeways and water systems a model for the nation. Few experts praised Texas' low-tax, low-services government.

Now it is California's ruinously expensive and increasingly incompetent government that seems dysfunctional, while Texas' approach has generated more creativity and opportunity. So it's not surprising that Texas voters preferred Perry over an opponent who has spent 16 years in Washington. What's surprising is that Democrats in Washington are still trying to impose policies like those that have ravaged California rather than those that have proved so successful in Texas.

Michael Barone, The Examiner's senior political analyst, can be contacted at mbarone@washingtonexaminer.com. His columns appear Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.co

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Traders cut supplies of petrol to Iran: "The world’s largest oil traders have quietly stopped supplying petrol to Iran in a clear sign that the threat of sanctions and Washington’s behind-the-scenes efforts to convince companies not to sell to Tehran are paying off. However, the decision by Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura is unlikely to cut Tehran off completely from the global petrol market as traders said Iran’s long-standing suppliers were being replaced by small Dubai-based and Chinese companies. Although Iran is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, its refineries are dilapidated and it suffers from runaway petrol demand because of generous subsidies. Energy executives said Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura, which have hitherto sold Iran half of its petrol imports of 130,000 barrels a day, stopped supplying Tehran because of mounting political risk. “The political and public relations problems more than outweigh the business rewards,” said one executive."

Five lies about the American economy: "The ongoing recession has raised a troubling question for otherwise resurgent Keynesian economists: How can the American economy keep getting worse under the intensive care of an interventionist economic team almost universally praised for its brilliance? The answer may be that the Obama administration is dealing with a fictional economy, one that bears little resemblance to the economy the rest of us inhabit. And when the difference between fact and fiction becomes too apparent, they just make stuff up. Herewith, five big lies the administration loves to tell and the mainstream media (with some notable exceptions) love to repeat …”

Chris Matthews claims Israel hates Obama because he is black‏: "Perhaps the first sign was when the administration agreed to bring along MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, whose penchant for gaffery rivals Biden's. The media guest of honor used his Monday programming to suggest, along with another reporter, that Israelis dislike President Obama because they're racist. "Who's more popular over here? Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden. Put them in order," Matthews asked New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner Monday on air. When Bronner put Obama at the bottom, Matthews inquired: "Okay, that tells you a lot. So tell me why the president of the United States is so far at the bottom? Is it his middle name? Hussein?" Bronner said "prejudice" about Obama's Islamic background was a factor, and then Matthews took it a step further, saying, "Yeah, because they see him as a black man."

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)

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

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Thursday, March 11, 2010



An interesting email from Jay Watts (lots_a_watts@yahoo.com) about some strange documents

Please read the following disclaimer: "This book is a product of it's time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work."

Now this sounds like you are getting ready to read something fairly bad, and pretty racy - does it not? This is printed on the copyright page of a pamphlet I just received from Amazon.com.

The Title - Are You Ready!

"The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, and The Articles of Confederacy"

I Kid You Not!

This is a link to the pamphlet at Amazon.com so you may see the actual pamphlet and look inside to see the copyright page for yourself. (Click "copyright" at the side)

You should know that there is not one line of commentary, definitions of meaning or anything thing else in this pamphlet. Just the full text of the Documents responsible for the creation of the Greatest Country on this Planet. Now what in these documents could possibly warrant a disclaimer like what I included above, and how in the world does it not fit the values of today? I have read these documents many times in my life and I can tell you there is not one item or statement that comes remotely close. This is purely "Political Correctness" run-amok.

People we must stand up against this stuff. Please People: Other than the Bible, these are the most Sacred Documents of our lands. Treatment of this kind, of these documents Must Not be Allowed.

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The Clarity of False Choices

"There are those who claim we have to choose between paying down our deficits…and investing in job creation and economic growth," President Obama said in December. "This is a false choice." During the same speech, he asked his audience to "let me just be clear" that, having racked up the biggest budget deficits ever, he is embracing fiscal responsibility, as reflected in his vow that "health insurance reform" will not increase the deficit "by one dime."

For connoisseurs of Obama-speak, the address featured a trifecta, combining three of his favorite rhetorical tropes: the vague reference to "those who" question his agenda, the "false choice" they use to deceive the public, and the determination to "be clear" and forthright, in contrast with those dishonest naysayers. These devices are useful as signals that the president is about to mislead us.

Obama says his opponents wrongly insist that we choose between "paying down our deficits" and "investing in job creation and economic growth." But that is not the way his real critics, as opposed to the imaginary, nameless ones who appear in his speeches, would frame the issue.

The real critics question the premise that the spending Obama supports, which he says ultimately will boost tax revenues and curtail outlays for public assistance programs, should be considered an investment at all—and, if so, whether it is a better use of this money than the market would have found. Copying his predecessor by throwing more money at schools, for example, is a dubious strategy for spurring economic growth, or even educational growth, since there is no clear relationship between spending and student achievement.

Likewise, Obama's promise that health insurance subsidies will not expand the deficit may be "clear," but it's not realistic, since it's based on accounting tricks and wishful thinking. Legislators avoided counting a $240 billion Medicare "fix" by putting it in a separate bill and assumed reimbursement cuts that probably will never materialize.

Here are some other things Obama has asked us to let him be clear about: "Earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects"; the U.S. government "has no interest in running GM"; Medicare cuts will be made "in a way that protects our senior citizens" from changes in benefits or costs; and a "public option" for health care, which would invite businesses to offload their medical costs onto taxpayers and could drive private insurers from the market, "would not impact those of you who already have insurance." From now on, when you hear Obama speak, replace "let me be clear" with "let me lie to you" and see if it makes more sense.

Speaking of making sense, some of the "false choices" Obama has identified in the last year are more puzzling than misleading. "I reject the false choice between securing this nation and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars," he declared in March. So according to Obama, we can secure this nation and waste billions of taxpayer dollars. Actually, that sounds about right.

Obama's depiction of his critics is further removed from reality. In the health care debate, he says, "there are those who simply don't believe Washington can bring about this change"; "there are those who will say that we do not go far enough"; "there are those who would have us try what has already failed, who would defend the status quo"; "there are those who will oppose reform no matter what"; and "there are those who want to seek political advantage."

What about those who do not like the status quo but have a different vision of reform, not because they want to go farther than Obama does but because they want to go in a different direction, toward more choice and less government involvement? In Obama's world they do not exist. Instead we have his bold yet achievable plan, pitted against socialist utopianism and blind partisan intransigence. Let me be clear: This is a false choice.

SOURCE

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Radicalizing Civil Rights

In his State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned the protections enshrined in the Constitution and said, “No matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law, you should be protected by it.” Obama followed this lofty rhetoric with a claim that his Justice Department “has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil-rights violations and employment discrimination.”

As anyone familiar with the Division’s workings can tell you, this assertion is patently false. Obama’s Civil Rights Division will prosecute cases only depending on “what you look like.” If you are white and you are discriminated against in your job, at the polls, or in seeking equal access to federally funded institutions, the Division won’t lift a finger to make sure you’re “protected.”

Over the last year, I have written many articles about the politicization and outright misconduct of the Civil Rights Division under the Obama administration. I have pointed out the Division’s politically motivated dismissal of a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party, its highly dubious objection to the state of Georgia’s verifying the citizenship of newly registered voters, and its almost comedic effort to prevent the small town of Kinston, N.C., from changing its partisan town-council elections to nonpartisan because it might hurt Democratic candidates.

If you want to understand how the Civil Rights Division is being run in the Obama administration, imagine for just a moment what would happen if the most radical, ideologically left-wing advocacy organizations in Washington took control of it. Because that’s exactly what happened.

Much more HERE

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ACLU Prints Lies in the Times

The ACLU is trying to push President Obama to maintain the decision that he (not Attorney General Holder) made to try the 9/11 defendants in ordinary criminal court in New York City. Its method is a full-page ad printed in the New York Times. The ad contains several major statements which can best be described as deliberate lies.

Some of the facts for this article, but none of the legal conclusions, come from an ad that the ACLU published in the New York Times on 7 March, 2010. The point of the ad is that President Obama is morphing into President Bush because he is reconsidering Attorney General Holder's alleged decision to try the KSM 9/11 planners, in an ordinary criminal court, in New York City.

The ad says that Obama is "considering reversing his attorney general's decision." The ACLU does not explain what authority any Attorney General has over the American military. He has none. This is Obama's decision which he is now thinking of reversing.

The ad says that Obama can "keep us safe without violating the Constitution." The ACLU has apparently not read the leading Supreme Court decision on trials for terrorists seeking to blow up buildings and kill Americans. The case was Ex Parte Quirin, 1942, concerning eight German saboteurs who sneaked into the US from two German submarines. All eight were convicted in a military tribunal including the one who said he was American since he was born in Chicago. The Court held, unanimously, that this process was constitutional.

The ACLU is chock full of lawyers. Presumably, most of them can read. One must conclude therefore that the ACLU is deliberately lying to the American people by publishing this ad which ignores the operative law.

The ad continues that Obama should "keep his promise to restore our Constitution and due process." This statement contains another lie. As the Supreme Court clearly explains in the Quirin case, due process concerning the Law of War is met by a military tribunals which convicted and executed Colonel Nathan Hale (the American spy) and Major John Andre (the British spy). This article has labeled those two men who were convicted and executed as illegal combatants, for the benefit of the ACLU whose ignorance apparently extends to the history of the American Revolution.

SOURCE

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Who Poses the Greater Threat?

Bill Gates is the world’s richest person, but what kind of power does he have over you? Can he force your kid to go to a school you do not want him to attend? Can he deny you the right to braid hair in your home for a living? It turns out that a local politician, who might deny us the right to earn a living and dictates which school our kid attends, has far greater power over our lives than any rich person. Rich people can gain power over us, but to do so, they must get permission from our elected representatives at the federal, state or local levels. For example, I might wish to purchase sugar from a Caribbean producer, but America’s sugar lobby pays congressmen hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to impose sugar import tariffs and quotas, forcing me and every other American to purchase their more expensive sugar.

Politicians love pitting us against the rich. All by themselves, the rich have absolutely no power over us. To rip us off, they need the might of Congress to rig the economic game. It’s a slick political sleight-of-hand where politicians and their allies amongst the intellectuals, talking heads and the news media get us caught up in the politics of envy as part of their agenda for greater control over our lives.

The sugar lobby is just one example among thousands. Just ask yourself: Who were the major recipients of the billions of taxpayer bailout dollars, the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)? The top recipients of TARP handouts included companies such as Citibank, AIG, Goldman Sachs and General Motors. Their top management are paid tens of millions dollars to run companies that were on the verge of bankruptcy, were it not for billions of dollars in taxpayer money. Politicians preach the politics of envy whilst reaching into the ordinary man’s pockets, through the IRS, and handing it over to their favorite rich people and others who make large contributions to their election efforts.

The bottom line is that it is politicians first and their supporters amongst intellectuals who pose the greatest threat to liberty.

Dr. Thomas Sowell amply demonstrates this in his brand-new book, “Intellectuals and Society,” in which he points out that: “Scarcely a mass-murdering dictator of the twentieth century was without his intellectual supporters, not simply in his own country, but also in foreign democracies … Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler all had their admirers, defenders and apologists among the intelligentsia in Western democratic nations, despite the fact that these dictators each ended up killing people of their own country on a scale unprecedented even by despotic regimes that preceded them.”

While American politicians and intellectuals have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision. Tyrants denounce free markets and voluntary exchange. They are the chief supporters of reduced private property rights, reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly. They are pro-control and coercion, by the state. These Americans who run Washington, and their intellectual supporters, believe they have superior wisdom and greater intelligence than the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Like any other tyrant, they have what they consider good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. A tyrant’s primary agenda calls for the elimination or attenuation of the market. Why? Markets imply voluntary exchange and tyrants do not trust that people behaving voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they should do. Therefore, they seek to replace the market with economic planning and regulation, which is little more than the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by the powerful elite.

We Americans have forgotten founder Thomas Paine’s warning that “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

SOURCE

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BrookesNews Update

The state of the US economy is worse than it looks : Many are looking to the expansion of factory production and the rise in GDP as evidence of economic recovery, proving once again how ignorant of economic history the great majority of pundits and journalists really are.
Why capital gains taxes undermine economic growth : The Democrats are going to raise capital gains taxes significantly because Obama says that would be only fair. But what is fair about attacking economic growth, which amounts to an attack on future living standards?
Why 'saving' energy raises the demand for more energy : We have seemingly reached the absurd situation that someone who has spent four years at university studying economics can leave with a first class honours without a grasp of sound economic reasoning
There is no business cycle : The current economic situation has got members of the commentariat nattering about Australia's business cycle, Reserve policies, government borrowing, consumer spending, etc. Far be it from me to contradict our economic Solons but there is no business cycle
Cuban dissident murdered by Castro's thugs: On February 23 black human rights activist Orlando Zapata-Tamayo died after an 83-day hunger strike and a series of savage beatings by Castro's thugs. There were no headlines in the Western press nor were there any protests. Hollywood's Castro lovers like Oliver Stone and Chevy Chase and Sean Penn remained silent. As is always the case with the left, it is never the crime that matters but who commits it
Is Obama trying to bankrupt America? : Is Obama trying to bankrupt America? One short year ago, asking this this question would have guaranteed my inclusion among the ranks of right-wing nuts and/or conspiracy theorists. Today, it is a serious question being asked by a number of commentators
Scolding and the Biblical Law : Even committed Zionists have become indifferent and cynical due to the self-destructive policies and inaction of successive Israel governments. There is an atmosphere of despair among many staunch Zionists and supporters of the state of Israel

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)

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

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Political Correctness Watch

My "Political Correctness Watch" site has been a bit slow in coming up for a couple of days but the mirror sites have all the latest and should come up promptly. See here or here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010



Some stray thoughts on Vorwärts! Vorwärts! (The song of the Hitler Youth)

While I have the work I did on the subject a couple of days ago still in mind: I see that British critics of the HJ (Hitler Jugend; Hitler Youth) during the war described it as "education for death". And there have been academic articles that identify Fascism/Nazism as a death cult too. And if you look at the last line of the first verse of Vorwärts! Vorwärts! (below) you can see why. HJ members were encouraged to give up their lives for Hitler if need be.

But is it really fair to condemn that? Consider two other well-known statements: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Is Christianity a death cult? Early Christians certain did often lay down their lives for their faith.

And what about: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"? (Originally said by Pericles and recycled by JFK in his first inaugural). Was JFK inaugurating a death cult?

Neither quote is an exact analogue of what the HJ asked of its members but throughout history it has normally been seen as heroism to give up one's life for others and I personally see the sadly misled young members of the HJ as walking in that tradition. The only pity is that their dedication was so badly abused.

They in fact thought that they were fighting for Freiheit und Brot (freedom and bread). We forget in our age of affluence that an abundance of food for all is a quite recent achievement. Hunger was just around the corner for most people throughout history. And Hitler did promise to banish that danger via his policy of Lebensraum. And hunger is an urgent need so fighting for "bread" was a much more important goal in the time of the HJ than it is today. Hence its prominence in their song.

But perhaps the most interesting bit in Vorwärts! Vorwärts! is that the HJ also thought they were fighting for "freedom". Freedom from what? Basically, freedom from Jewish oppressors, I think. It was a fantasy of course but one that was widely believed at the time. The prominence of Jews in all walks of life in prewar Germany certainly helped foster that illusion.

And the flag of the HJ heralded "the new time". I can remember the days in the 50's, 60s and even 70s when "new" was a Leftist catchword. The "new" theatre or the "new" school would be understood by politically aware people as being on the far Left. So, as far Leftists, the Nazis presented themselves that way too. That tyranny and collectivism are as old as the hills was somehow ignored. But for a long time people did think -- or hope -- that Fascism and Communism were something new, improved and positive. I think it was the obviously sclerotic state of the old Soviet union that eventually caused the Left to abandon their propaganda about being "new". Though I suppose that "hopey change" is just a variation on it.
Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran. Our flag flutters before us
In die Zukunft ziehen wir Mann für Mann We trek into the future as man for man
Wir marschieren für Hitler We march for Hitler
Durch Nacht und durch Not Through night and hardship
Mit der Fahne der Jugend With the flag of youth
Für Freiheit und Brot. For freedom and bread
Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran, Our flag flutters before us
Uns're Fahne ist die neue Zeit. Our flag is the new time
Und die Fahne führt uns in die Ewigkeit! And the flag leads us into eternity
Ja die Fahne ist mehr als der Tod! Yes the flag is more to us than death

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Systems of government



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Iraq's new birth of freedom

RONALD REAGAN liked to say that there was no limit to what a man could accomplish if he didn't mind who gets the credit. The transformation of Iraq from a hellish tyranny into a functioning democracy will be recorded as a signal accomplishment of George W. Bush's presidency, and he probably doesn't mind in the least that the Obama administration would like to take the credit.

This week's parliamentary elections in Iraq brought 12 million voters to the polls -- a remarkable 62 percent turnout, notwithstanding a vicious wave of Election Day bombings that killed 38 people and destroyed several buildings in Baghdad.

"Iraqis are not afraid of bombs anymore," a middle-aged voter named Maliq Bedawi told a New York Times reporter as they stood amid the rubble of a Baghdad apartment building destroyed by a Katyusha rocket. If anything, the jihadists' violence succeeded only in intensifying the refusal of ordinary Iraqis to be intimidated. "Everyone went" to vote, Bedawi said. "Even people who didn't want to vote before, they went after this rocket."

Iraqis have paid a steep price for their burgeoning young democracy: Tens of thousands of lives were wiped out in the horrific insurgency that followed the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Perhaps that awful butcher's bill explains the fervor with which Iraqis have embraced democratic self-governance. In Sunday's elections, 6,200 candidates representing 86 political parties contended to fill 325 seats in parliament. (Would that our own congressional elections were so competitive.) Such democratic passion would be impressive anywhere. To see it flourish in one of the world's most dangerous and undemocratic neighborhood is downright heroic.

Of such heroism, a new Iraq is being fashioned -- the Iraq Bush foretold in an address to the National Endowment for Democracy in November 2003, when he declared that "Iraqi democracy will succeed" and predicted that "the establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution." Six years later -- six years in which Iraq was convulsed by the bloody agony of sectarian terror, and in which 4,000 US military personnel were killed -- that prophecy is coming to pass.

"Something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq," acknowledges Newsweek in a recent issue. "And . . . it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East." On the magazine's cover are the words "Victory At Last," and a photograph of Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, where in May 2003 he appeared before a backdrop reading "Mission Accomplished" to proclaim that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

In 2006 and 2007, few Americans expected to ever see such a magazine cover. Over and over they were told that the war in Iraq was lost, that there was no military solution to the carnage there, and that invading Iraq had been the biggest mistake in US history. Bush's decision in January 2007 to change strategy and "surge" an additional 20,000 additional troops into Iraq was scathingly denounced. Such a "fantasy-based escalation of the war," wrote The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, "could only make sense in some parallel universe where pigs fly and fish commute on bicycles." Senator John Kerry called the surge "a senseless decision." Barack Obama, gearing up to run for president, warned that doubling down in Iraq was not "going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

But the critics were wrong. The surge turned the war around, giving Iraq a new lease on life. Where Saddam once ruled a ghastly "republic of fear," Iraqis live today in democratic freedom and relative peace, dispelling daily the canard that democracy and Arab culture cannot co-exist.

Of course there are no permanent guarantees, and it remains to be seen whether Iraq's nascent democracy can sustain itself. For now, though, the news is very good. So good that even Vice President Joe Biden -- who a few years ago was calling for Iraq to be partitioned, and who blasted Bush's surge as "a tragic mistake" and "not a solution" -- now takes credit for Iraq's rebirth. "I am very optimistic about Iraq," Biden recently told CNN's Larry King. "I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration."

Somewhere, Ronald Reagan must be chuckling.

SOURCE

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Obama's corrupt Justice Dept. not getting a free ride

Give credit for honorable persistence to Northern Virginia's veteran Republican congressman, Frank Wolf, and to Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. For good reason, they refuse to let the Justice Department bury questions about a voter-intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.

The case involves two Black Panthers who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place in November 2008 while wearing paramilitary garb and using racial epithets, while one of them brandished a nightstick. The Obama Justice Department dropped three out of four charges in the case last May after the cases, in effect, had already been won.

At every turn, the Justice Department has stonewalled the two lawmakers and others wanting an explanation for the dismissal. Since September, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) supposedly has been conducting an investigation into why the charges were dropped. To outside observers, that "investigation" has seemed lethargic at best. Meanwhile, OPR chief Mary Patrice Brown reportedly is on the verge of an Obama nomination for a federal judgeship, for which she is being vetted by some of the same people who presumably would be questioned in the Black Panther probe.

OPR also came under fire two weeks ago when the department's senior career officer, David Margolis, overruled the office and criticized its shoddy work on its review of the conduct of two George W. Bush-era lawyers who wrote memos on enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorists.

In light of OPR's own apparent or potential politicization, Mr. Wolf asked the Justice Department's inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, to conduct his own inquiry into the mishandling of the Black Panther case. In early February, Mr. Fine declined, saying such an investigation is out of the scope of his responsibilities - although, he added, he had long told Congress that such questions should indeed be within his purview.

Enter Mr. Wolf again, this time joined by Mr. Smith. On March 2, they sent another letter to Mr. Fine, urging the IG to reconsider because of "the host of troubling questions about whether the Department's political appointees abused their power in this case for political purposes." They listed at least five major questions they think the IG, not OPR, can best answer, including "whether White House officials attempted for partisan political purposes to influence the [Black Panther] case [and] whether senior Department management officials and political appointees actually colluded for these purposes with White House officials to derail the [Black Panther] case or cases against minority defendants in general." They wrote that those "larger issues in this affair, whether for the pursuit of impartial justice, the pursuit of criminal justice for government officials or the credibility of the Department, lie within your jurisdiction, not OPR's."

This point is important. At some level, there needs to be some independent authority, untainted by political entanglements, who can investigate allegations of improper political entanglements. The congressmen note that Mr. Fine and OPR conducted simultaneous and complementary investigations into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration when some of the same considerations applied.

One way or another, the truth will get out. It doesn't take Inspector Clouseau to figure out that if the Justice Department has the image of springing Panthers from the penalty box, it looks mighty suspicious.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Stimulus Dollars Buy Buses for Greyhound in Missouri: "I’m thinking about taking a ride on the commercial bus line soon. Why? Because, as a taxpayer, I’m paying for it. I came across this news after reading a release on the White House web site that listed the Missouri Department of Transportation as the recipient of $4.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a., “stimulus”) funds for use in “construction of two facilities and purchase of two intercity vehicles.”... The MoDOT spokesperson confirmed that, in order to meet the federal mandate that 15 percent of ARRA funds provided to states be spent on intercity bus transportation, the State of Missouri will use $945,210 of federal taxpayer monies to reimburse Greyhound Bus Lines for the addition of two new buses to the company’s fleet. In other words, Greyhound is getting a federal subsidy and the Show-Me State is acting as a laundromat of sorts."

Tolerating the intolerable: "What is a democracy without fair elections? Not a democracy, wouldn't you say? So why does America, the granddaddy of democracies, tolerate election systems that aren't free of fraud? OK, how rare is it? Can anyone put a number on it and tell us how much voter fraud is happening? Is voter fraud so rare in America that it can't affect an election? In a contest not finalized until nearly 8 months after Election Day, Democrat Al Franken won Minnesota's 2008 race for U.S. Senate by 312 votes. Out of the 2.9 million votes cast, that's a winning margin of just over .01%, or .0001075 of the total. Those 312 "votes" gave Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat Senate majority, allowing them to enact legislation that could forever change America. With so much being decided by such a small margin, shouldn't we be more concerned about fraud, regardless of whether it's committed by voters or vote counters? Vote counters weighed heavily in the Coleman-Franken election. Matthew Vadum alleges: "The election was stolen at the precinct level, during the recount, and during the post-election litigation."

Poll: U.S. has lost global standing under Obama: "A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than two years ago and believe President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, according to a poll by two left-leaning groups. The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the United States has dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama's presidency. The Democratic Party also plummeted on national security. A May survey by the pollsters found that the public saw the Democratic and Republican parties as equally able to handle national security (41 percent trusted Democrats more and 43 percent trusted Republicans more). On conducting the war on terrorism, the two parties were tied at 41 percent. But the latest poll shows a massive gap, with Democrats trailing by 17 points, 33 percent to 50 percent, on which party likely voters think would do a better job on national security."

Obama and the l-word: "Here’s how predictable the president’s slippery relationship with the truth has become: Hours before the State of the Union address, Washington Examiner reporter Timothy P. Carney posted a ‘pre-emptive fact check’ that, among other things, prebutted any presidential claim to have ’stopped the revolving door between government and corporate lobbying.’ As it happened, that night Barack Obama made an even bolder (read: less truthful) claim: that ‘we’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs.’ In fact, more than 40 former lobbyists work in the administration, including such policy makers as Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn (who was lobbying for Raytheon as recently as 2008), Office of the First Lady Director of Policy and Projects Jocelyn Frye (National Partnership for Women and Families), White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz (National Council of La Raza), and Treasury Secretary Chief of Staff Mark Patterson (Goldman Sachs).”

The taxing-the-rich delusion: "Those who like to propose novel taxes usually propose that they should be levied on rich people and corporations, and one of their standard assumptions is that rich people and corporations will actually pay them. In their hypothetical world the banker or businessman says, ‘Oh dear. There’s a new tax. Darn it, I’m just going to have to be poorer.’ The same banker or businessman then hands over the cash to government and accepts the loss stoically. In the real world, of course, they work out ways of avoiding the tax if possible, or of making sure that someone else pays it if not.”

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)

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

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010



The end of the road for Barack Obama?

Barack Obama seems unable to face up to America's problems, writes Simon Heffer in New York

It is a universal political truth that administrations do not begin to fragment when things are going well: it only happens when they go badly, and those who think they know better begin to attack those who manifestly do not. The descent of Barack Obama's regime, characterised now by factionalism in the Democratic Party and talk of his being set to emulate Jimmy Carter as a one-term president, has been swift and precipitate. It was just 16 months ago that weeping men and women celebrated his victory over John McCain in the American presidential election. If they weep now, a year and six weeks into his rule, it is for different reasons.

Despite the efforts of some sections of opinion to talk the place up, America is mired in unhappiness, all the worse for the height from which Obamania has fallen. The economy remains troublesome. There is growth – a good last quarter suggested an annual rate of as high as six per cent, but that figure is probably not reliable – and the latest unemployment figures, last Friday, showed a levelling off. Yet 15 million Americans, or 9.7 per cent of the workforce, have no job. Many millions more are reduced to working part-time. Whole areas of the country, notably in the north and on the eastern seaboard, are industrial wastelands. The once mighty motor city of Detroit appears slowly to be being abandoned, becoming a Jurassic Park of the mid-20th century; unemployment among black people in Mr Obama's own city of Chicago is estimated at between 20 and 25 per cent. One senior black politician – a Democrat and a supporter of the President – told me of the wrath in his community that a black president appeared to be unable to solve the economic problem among his own people. Cities in the east such as Newark and Baltimore now have drug-dealing as their principal commercial activity: The Wire is only just fictional.

Last Thursday the House of Representatives passed a jobs Bill, costing $15 billion, which would give tax breaks to firms hiring new staff and, through state sponsorship of construction projects, create thousands of jobs too. The Senate is trying to approve a Bill that would provide a further $150 billion of tax incentives to employers. Yet there is a sense of desperation in the Administration, a sense that nothing can be as efficacious at the moment as a sticking plaster. Edward B Montgomery, deputy labour secretary in the Clinton administration, now spends his time on day trips to decaying towns that used to have a car industry, not so much advising them on how to do something else as facilitating those communities' access to federal funds. For a land without a welfare state, America starts to do an effective impersonation of a country with one. This massive state spending gives rise to accusations by Republicans, and people too angry even to be Republicans, that America is now controlled by "Leftists" and being turned into a socialist state.

"Obama's big problem," a senior Democrat told me, "is that four times as many people watch Fox News as watch CNN." The Fox network is a remarkable cultural phenomenon which almost shocks those of us from a country where a technical rule of impartiality is applied in the broadcast media. With little rest, it pours out rage 24 hours a day: its message is of the construction of the socialist state, the hijacking of America by "progressives" who now dominate institutions, the indoctrination of children, the undermining of religion and the expropriation of public money for these nefarious projects. The public loves it, and it is manifestly stirring up political activism against Mr Obama, and also against those in the Republican Party who are not deemed conservatives. However, it is arguable whether the now-reorganising Right is half as effective in its assault on the President as some of Mr Obama's own party are.

Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry, in which most of the media participated with an astonishing suspension of cynicism. The sound of the squealing of brakes is now audible all over the American press; but the attack is being directed not at the leader himself, but at those around him. There was much unconditional love a year or so ago of Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama's Chief of Staff; oleaginous profiles of this Chicago political hack, a veteran of that unlovely team that polluted the Clinton White House, appeared in otherwise respectable journals, praising the combination of his religious devotion, his family-man image, his ruthless operating technique and his command of the vocabulary of profanity. Now, supporters of the President are blaming Mr Emanuel for the failure of the Obama project, not least for his inability to construct a deal on health care.

This went down badly with friends of Mr Emanuel, notably with Mr Emanuel himself. His partisans, apparently taking dictation from him, have filled newspaper columns and blogs with uplifting accounts of the Wonder of Rahm: as one of them put it, "Emanuel is the only person preventing Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter". They attack other Obama "sycophants", such as David Axelrod, his campaign guru, and Valerie Jarret, a long-time friend of Mrs Obama and a fixer from the office of Mayor Daley of Chicago who now manages – or tries to manage – the President's image. These "sycophants" have, they argue, tried to keep the President above politics, letting Congress run away with the agenda, and gainsaying Mr Emanuel's advice to Mr Obama to get tough with his internal opponents. This naïve act of manipulation has brought its own counter-counterattack, with an anti-Emanuel pundit drawing a comparison with our own Prime Minister and ridiculing the idea that Mr Obama should start bullying people too.

The root of the problem seems to be the management of expectations. The magnificent campaign created the notion that Mr Obama could walk on water. Oddly enough, he can't. That was more Mr Axelrod's fault than Mr Emanuel's. And, to be fair to Mr Emanuel, any advice he has been giving the President to impose his will on Congress is probably well founded. The $783 billion stimulus package of a year ago was used to further the re-election prospects of many congressmen, not to do good for the country. America's politics remain corrupt, populated by nonentities whose main concern once elected is to stay elected; it seems to be the same the whole world over. Even this self-interested use of the stimulus package appears to have failed, however. Every day, it seems, another Democrat congressman announces that he will not be fighting the mid-term elections scheduled for November 2. The health care Bill, apparently so humane in intent, is being "scrubbed" (to use the terminology of one Republican) by its opponents, to the joy of millions of middle Americans who see it as a means to waste more public money and entrench socialism. For the moment, this is a country vibrant with anger.

A thrashing of the Democrats in the mid-terms would not necessarily be the beginning of the end for Mr Obama: Bill Clinton was re-elected two years after the Republicans swept the House and the Senate in November 1994. But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily. It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right. That wasted first year, however, is another boulder hanging from his neck: what is wrong needs time to put right. The country's multi-trillion dollar debt is barely being addressed; and a country engaged in costly foreign wars has a President who seems obsessed with anything but foreign policy – as a disregarded Britain is beginning to realise.

There are lessons from the stumbling of Mr Obama for our own country as we approach a general election. Vacuous promises of change are hostages to fortune if they cannot be delivered upon to improve the living conditions of a people. The slickness of campaigning that comes from a combination of heavy funding and public relations expertise does not inevitably translate into an ability to govern. There is no point a nation's having the audacity of hope unless it also has the sophistication and the will to turn it into action. As things stand, Barack Obama and America under his leadership do not.

SOURCE

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American Media, Blaming the ‘Right’: From Duranty and the KGB to Reuters

A recent article by Reuters is good reason to revisit the history of statist American media. A Reuters article last month titled “German protesters stop neo-Nazi march in Dresden” takes a hyper-partisan stab at what would otherwise have been a dull story. The article is short, 474 words, and describes a neo-Nazi funeral march in the German city to remember Nazi deaths by the Allied air raid in WWII. This event was thwarted by anti-Nazi protesters.

In this brief article about clear-cut good and evil, the political “right-wing” is awkwardly invoked six times, including under the caption. Such a ham-handed approach to finger-pointing can hardly go unnoticed. It is a sloppy attempt to paint the right-wing as sharing the ideology of one of the most evil men in history, Adolf Hitler.

As many people are beginning to understand, Nazism has nothing to do with modern conservatism or the clichéd “extreme right-wing” canard favored by the political left. In fact, all totalitarian regimes are on the extreme political left; nothing but anarchy exists on the extreme political right.

The modern left has its roots in the political phenomenon of the 1930s when progressivism, communism, fascism, socialism, and Nazism coalesced under the common flag of centralized governments and an ideology of collectivism. This worldwide movement went largely unchallenged ideologically until the reassertion of classical liberalism through the American conservative movement in the 1950s. The in-vogue politics of the 1930s spanned merely from the “right-wing” nationalistic fascism of Mussolini and Hitler to a “left-wing” muddle of socialism, Marxism, and communism.

To equate the George Washington-loving, Constitution-quoting, flag-carrying, tea partying conservatives of today with the Nazis or fascism is an exercise in fear mongering and a simple wordplay on the misconceptions of the historical context of “right-wing.” (For a simplistic explanation of this assertion, see this brief video.)

The “objectivity” of the modern press is often breached by such outbursts, as seen in the article referenced above. The political right-wing is excoriated through straw men and outright lies to be subliminal reminders of the purported righteousness of the ideological left. Nothing less can be expected of those with no defense based on their own history...

The most recent attempt on the alteration of history was perpetuated by Time magazine in its “The Year in Pictures” 2009 photo essay. One of the largest citizen marches on Washington, D.C., was conducted by the tea party movement on September 12, 2009. Estimates varied wildly from 60,000 to a whopping 2 million participants. A picture from this march was omitted from the essay. In fact, no reference at all was made to the massive grassroots phenomenon.

Instead, a photo of people simultaneously exhaling marijuana was included, as was a photo of a koala bear in a Melbourne animal rescue center. This tactic is from Soviet Russia. It was implemented under Stalin to purge political and military opposition from existence, both literally and historically. Aside from mass executions, prominent resisters and political competition had their faces sloppily airbrushed or blotted out in photographs. This was an intentional psychological blow by Stalin because it sent a message that his opposition would not only be defeated, but would ultimately be stricken from the record of history. It created a feeling for dissenters of utter futility.

Any shred of leftist intellectual honesty and journalistic curiosity was obliterated once Senator Obama threw his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate. The “mainstream” media whored out its last shred of credibility in a non-stop sycophantic obsession with this man of mystery. Having no desire to investigate clear connections to domestic terrorist William Ayers or Obama’s twenty-year relationship with black nationalist Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the media concentrated on defending the idea of “hope and change” personified.

Conservative commentator and rising media star Glenn Beck outs anti-capitalists in Washington, reports on economic news otherwise ignored by the American press, and teaches economic principles and American history to his audience. It’s not exactly the Jerry Springer styled chair-throwing brawl the left expects of Beck’s supposed neo-Nazi, gun-nut, ignorant, and religiously fanatical viewers. But then again, it’s possible the left could be wrong.

Most of his media critics even go so far as to enumerate Beck’s own weighty claims, but rather than demonstrate journalistic curiosity, they mock the messenger instead. Such antics smack of a desperation to retain control of information, especially as Beck’s recommended books and organizations rocket in sales and membership.

Activist and filmmaker James O’Keefe and friend Hanna Giles, featured on Glenn Beck’s show, single-handedly exposed the left-wing corruption ring of ACORN. Even an exasperated and self-proclaimed “fake journalist,” Jon Stewart, exclaimed: “Where were the real reporters on this story?”

After Climategate was plastered over European newspapers, the American “mainstream” media couldn’t even muster the will for corrections on previous alarmist climate articles, much less give equal exposure for the scandal. In fact, during snowstorms up and down the east coast, the New York Times published a defiant and lengthy op-ed by none other than Alliance for Climate Protection founder Al Gore.

Nary a peep came from a sleepy media while children were compelled by schools to sing songs of praise about Obama and celebrities pledged to be “a servant to the president.” These disturbing events send chills down the spines of anyone acquainted with even a passing knowledge of fascist propaganda tactics.

The left-wing media was unconcerned with phone conversations conducted at the behest the White House to plan propaganda for Obama’s agenda by the National Endowment for the Arts. At the very least MSNBC should have been outraged that they weren’t directed to step up their efforts before being replaced. The story broke on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood and later followed on Fox News.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of efforts ranging from unethical to egregious on the part of the media to promote a left-wing ideology. In fact, if the proxy war on conservatism through attacks on Republicans were included, this could easily be a book. But I’ll stop it here. In fairness, not all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from left-wing ideologues are unleashed on conservatives. Their Tourette-like outbursts of angry or childish musings can occasionally find even the most unlikely of targets: Maureen Dowd from the New York Times, in the midst of a slobbering entry about Barack Obama, did happen to criticize his ears for “sticking out.”

Of course, it wasn’t long before Dowd was “put on notice” that Obama had been “teased relentlessly as a kid” for his big ears. After that, she rejoined her journalistic cohorts in what they do best — polishing the boots of dictators.

More HERE

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ELSEWHERE

New Obama Appointment Has Castro Ties : "President Obama made a terrible mistake nominating Mari Del Carmen Aponte to be ambassador to El Salvador. Aside from the fact that Aponte has given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, why would Obama waste more political capital trying to get this controversial and incompetent nominee into government? Nearly a dozen years ago, President Clinton nominated Aponte to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Several months later, her nomination was withdrawn because Aponte did not wish to answer Senators' tough questions about her past".

WI: ACORN registration workers charged with felony voter fraud: "Five Wisconsin residents, including two who worked for community organizing group ACORN, were charged Monday with election fraud relating to the 2008 presidential election. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced felony charges against Maria Miles, Kevin Clancy, Michael Henderson, Herbert Gunka and Suzanne Gunka. Miles and Clancy worked for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and are accused of submitting multiple voter registration applications for the same individuals, including each other, to meet voter registration quotas imposed by the community organizing group. Henderson is charged with one count of voting by a disqualified person and providing false information to election officials. The allegation claims he was on a felony probation and prohibited from voting at the time. Herbert and Suzanne Gunka are each charged with double voting -- a felony -- by allegedly absentee voting and then going to the polls to vote."

Obama, Congress wink at massive surveillance abuses: "Here's how it was supposed to be. Under his administration, candidate Barack Obama explained in 2007, America would abandon the "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide." There would be "no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime" because "that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists." The serial betrayal of that hope reached its culmination last week, when a Democratic-controlled Congress quietly voted to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act without implementing a single one of the additional safeguards that had been under consideration -- among them, more stringent limits on the national security letters (NSLs) Obama had once decried. Worse yet, the vote came on the heels of the revelation, in a blistering inspector general's report, that Obama's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) had issued a secret opinion, once again granting retroactive immunity for systematic lawbreaking -- and opening the door for the FBI to ignore even the current feeble limits on its power to vacuum up sensitive telecommunications records."

CBS Radio Fails to Mention Muslims’ Role in Massacre of Hundreds of Christians in Nigeria: "The differences between news reports on the recent massacre of hundreds in Nigeria are stark. Listening to St. Louis’ KMOX-AM 1120 this morning, I heard the CBS Radio News report about about some 200 people being killed in “sectarian violence” during the past few days had left at least 200 dead in Nigeria. Conversely, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald reported that the latest violence appeared unrelated to national sectarian political frictions. What else did the report from “the land down under” mention that CBS chose to omit? Two key facts: The vast majority of people killed were Christians; and Those doing the killing — primarily with machetes — were Muslims."

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)

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

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