Saturday, March 27, 2010



Goodwin Liu's America

Chinese Communism coming to America



By Theodore H. Frank, president of the Center for Class Action Fairness.

President Obama's nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is Goodwin Liu. I oppose the nomination of 39-year-old Berkeley Professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and I urge the Senate to reject it.

In 2005, Goodwin Liu spoke out against the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court because of Roberts’s support for “free enterprise,” “private ownership of property,” and “limited government”—demonstrating nothing more than the bubble that a twenty-first century left-wing law professor lives in that would treat such fundamental principles of America as “code words” worthy of condemnation.

This alone is sufficient, by itself, to disqualify Liu from this new position to which he has been nominated. The man who speaks out against private ownership of property does not deserve a lifetime Article III appointment.

Mr. Liu should also be rejected by the Senate because he stands for an extremist view of the Constitution and the role of the courts. The judiciary, in Liu’s words, is not bound by the text of the Constitution or the commands of the legislature, but by “socially situated modes of reasoning” and “culturally and historically contingent meanings of particular social goods in our own society.”

It is a view of judicial supremacy: Where legislatures have failed to affirmatively act in ways that foster the “evolution of welfare rights,” courts are to step in and act as both a legislature and an executive branch to allocate funding to schools or otherwise “leverage” the expansion of existing social programs.

Goodwin Liu’s America is a land in which “justice” means judges remedying “societal discrimination” regardless of the consequences on innocent people; where 20th century immigrants to the United States are “responsible” for the crimes of 19th century slave-owners; where states would not be allowed to exercise the will of the people in punishing murderers with capital punishment; where racial quotas are not only not forbidden, but required.

America is a better and freer nation than Goodwin Liu thinks. Yet in the current state of the Ninth Circuit, his rigid ideology will further tip the scales of justice against the kind of country America is and ought to be.

The Ninth Circuit is a court that was one vote away from striking down the Pledge of Allegiance; regularly abuses the law to disregard states’ wishes to impose capital punishment; has ordered California to release 25% of its prisoners; has forbidden Los Angeles from enforcing laws against sleeping on sidewalks; has said it has seen no reason why animals should not be allowed to sue the federal government; held an ex-police officer could sue his employer for firing him for running a porn site in his uniform; said that gun manufacturers could be held civilly liable for the shooting sprees of the mentally ill.

Congress should be insisting that President Obama take steps to rectify the imbalance already present on the Ninth Circuit, rather than exacerbating it. No justice would be better than this injustice.

SOURCE

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CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP



President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation's economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.

In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president's budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.

"An additional $1.2 trillion in debt dumped on [GDP] to our children makes a huge difference," said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "That represents an additional debt of $10,000 per household above and beyond the federal debt they are already carrying."

More HERE

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The Freedom Factor



The raging debate over Obamacare is not exactly all about health. It's really about freedom, or lack thereof. It's simple when you cut through all the overheated rhetoric: The anti-Obama folks believe the president is imposing a massive federal presence that will erode personal freedoms. The pro-Obama crew supports a huge federal apparatus to impose "social justice," believing that is the government's moral responsibility.

The personal freedom issue is pretty clear, as well. We have less of it today than we did this time last year. In an aggressive power grab, the feds now control the health care industry, and the IRS has increased its already enormous power, as it will enforce Obamacare mandates. In addition, your private medical records will no longer be private. They will be accessible by federal bureaucrats. If that doesn't make you queasy, nothing will.

And then there's higher education. The president wants the feds, not private lending institutions, to distribute college loans, and it looks like that will happen.

And then there's the banking industry. The Obama administration seeks tough oversight rules and wants to call major shots in the financial world. Federal regulation could strangle some banks and force most of them to do exactly what the government wants.

And then there's the energy industry. The president wants to mandate how private business consumes energy and to dish out financial punishment if federal rules are not followed. That's the cap-and-trade deal.

In addition to the direct intrusion on business and private behavior (through health insurance), the redistribution-of-wealth train is roaring toward its next destination. That would be a national sales tax like they have in Europe. The president well understands the huge debt that is piling up because of all the federal spending. He has to raise more money. Wealthy Americans are going to get hammered by income tax and capital gains hikes, but there are simply not enough rich folks to counter the red ink. So get ready for a proposed new tax on stuff you buy.

Not since the early days of the Vietnam War has there been such a stark divide between liberal and conservative Americans, between Republicans and Democrats. The battle lines are clearly drawn: individual freedom versus federal power. Take your pick.

SOURCE

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Roots of Russian Anti-Americanism

On Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation hosted a public discussion on Russian anti-Americanism, which has risen since 2000. So, what are the root causes of anti-Americanism, how do they affect US-Russian relations, and how should they be addressed?

Helle Dale and Dr. Ariel Cohen, both senior research fellows at The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies and Davis Institute, as well as Daniel Kimmage, a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute, agreed that the Russian government uses anti-Americanism to create an external enemy, to unite domestic support, and to bolster the authoritarian regime.

Dr. Cohen stressed that by and large, Russian national television networks are state controlled. “Talking heads” appear on government TV channels spewing anti-American propaganda, and often clear falsehoods, such as the US Government being behind the 9/11 attacks or the US Government financing the Bolshevik coup of 1917.

The Government of Russia denies American broadcasters access to Russian TV channels and radio waves.

More HERE

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China's military expanding

The commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific said Thursday that the buildup of Chinese armed forces is continuing "unabated" and Beijing's goal appears to be power projection beyond Asia....

He also disclosed for the first time in the testimony that China is moving ahead with a new anti-ship ballistic missile capable of attacking aircraft carriers hundreds of miles from China's coasts.

China also will deploy its own aircraft carrier by 2012 and currently has more than 60 submarines, he said.

China is "developing and testing a conventional anti-ship ballistic missile based on the DF-21/CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile designed specifically to target aircraft carriers," Adm. Willard said in his prepared statement.

The new missile is designed to hit targets at extended ranges from the Chinese mainland, and other anti-access weapons include a large number of submarines, new integrated air- and missile-defense capabilities and cyberwarfare and anti-space weapons, Adm. Willard said, noting "all of which we have been monitoring very closely for some years."

More HERE

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ObamaCare puts up huge roadblocks to new hospitals

Because of the new health care law, Dr. John Dietz has an empty building that he's not sure what he's going to do with. Dietz is part owner of the Indiana Orthopedic Hospital. "It is an expansion of our hospital that is three-quarters finished; it had three operating rooms for outpatient surgery," he said. "Now it can't be used for that purpose. We'll have to figure out an alternative for it."

Dietz and his fellow investors put $27 million into that new building. Under the new law there are a host of bureaucratic hoops that physician-owned hospitals must go through to expand.

• The hospital must apply to the Department of Health and Human Services and can do so only once every two years.

• It must then wait for a period for members of the community to provide input.

• It must be in a county where population growth is 150% of the population growth of the state in the last five years.

• Inpatient admissions must be equal to or greater than the average of such admissions in all hospitals located in the county.

• Its bed occupancy rate must be greater than the state average.

• It must be located in a state where hospital bed capacity is less than the national average.

• Once a hospital meets all of those conditions, it is prohibited from expanding more than 200%.

More here

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Who wins in health care mess? The IRS

The biggest winner from the passage of Obama’s health care reform bill is not the American people but the Internal Revenue Service. The new bill will require the IRS to hire almost 17,000 new employees.

I don’t know a single person who enjoys dealing with the IRS, but thanks to Obamacare, the IRS will become 12 times more intrusive than it already is. Currently, Americans must deal with the IRS for an annual tax return and all the revisions required if it is not completed to their satisfaction. Under Obamacare, the IRS will be checking every month to see if we have health insurance acceptable to them, not to us. The IRS will levy fines if our insurance is not acceptable.

The Democrats have definitely become the party of government control and socialism. Obamacare heightens the control of the federal government in a major way. It is a government takeover of 18% of the American economy.

Not only is the government ruling over us in a much greater way, but also we have to pay them to rule over us. Our taxes will pay the 17,000 new IRS workers to reign over us. This seems to be the only way that Obama can create new jobs....

More here

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 26, 2010



Obama’s legacy and the Iranian bomb

The gravest threat faced by the world today is a nuclear-armed Iran. Of all the nations capable of producing nuclear weapons, Iran is the only one that might use them to attack an enemy.

There are several ways in which Iran could use nuclear weapons. The first is by dropping an atomic bomb on Israel, as its leaders have repeatedly threatened to do. Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran, boasted in 2004 that an Iranian attack would kill as many as five million Jews. Mr. Rafsanjani estimated that even if Israel retaliated with its own nuclear bombs, Iran would probably lose about 15 million people, which he said would be a small "sacrifice" of the billion Muslims in the world.

The second way in which Iran could use nuclear weapons would be to hand them off to its surrogates, Hezbollah or Hamas. A third way would be for a terrorist group, such as al Qaeda, to get its hands on Iranian nuclear material. It could do so with the consent of Iran or by working with rogue elements within the Iranian regime.

Finally, Iran could use its nuclear weapons without ever detonating a bomb. By constantly threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation, it could engender so much fear among Israelis as to incite mass immigration, a brain drain, or a significant decline in people moving to Israel.

These are the specific ways in which Iran could use nuclear weapons, primarily against the Jewish state. But there are other ways in which a nuclear-armed Iran would endanger the world. First, it would cause an arms race in which every nation in the Middle East would seek to obtain nuclear weapons.

Second, it would almost certainly provoke Israel into engaging in either a pre-emptive or retaliatory attack, thus inflaming the entire region or inciting further attacks against Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas.

Third, it would provide Iran with a nuclear umbrella under which it could accelerate its efforts at regional hegemony. Had Iraq operated under a nuclear umbrella when it invaded Kuwait in 1990, Saddam Hussein's forces would still be in Kuwait.

Fourth, it would embolden the most radical elements in the Middle East to continue their war of words and deeds against the United States and its allies.

And finally, it would inevitably unleash the law of unintended consequences: Simply put, nobody knows the extent of the harm a nuclear-armed Iran could produce.

In these respects, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is somewhat analogous to the decision by the victors of World War I to allow Nazi Germany to rearm during the 1930s. Even the Nazis were surprised at this complacency. Joseph Goebbels expected the French and British to prevent the Nazis from rebuilding Germany's war machine.

In 1940, Goebbels told a group of German journalists that if he had been the French premier when Hitler came to power he would have said, "The new Reich Chancellor is the man who wrote Mein Kampf, which says this and that. This man cannot be tolerated in our vicinity. Either he disappears or we march!"

But, Goebbels continued, "they didn't do it. They left us alone and let us slip through the risky zone, and we were able to sail around all dangerous reefs. And when we were done, and well armed, better than they, then they started the war!"

Most people today are not aware that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain helped restore Great Britain's financial stability during the Great Depression and also passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits, pay pensions to retired workers and otherwise help those hit hard by the slumping economy. But history does remember his failure to confront Hitler. That is Chamberlain's enduring legacy.

So too will Iran's construction of nuclear weapons, if it manages to do so in the next few years, become President Barack Obama's enduring legacy. Regardless of his passage of health-care reform and regardless of whether he restores jobs and helps the economy recover, Mr. Obama will be remembered for allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. History will not treat kindly any leader who allows so much power to be accumulated by the world's first suicide nation—a nation whose leaders have not only expressed but, during the Iran-Iraq war, demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction.

If Iran were to become a nuclear power, there would be plenty of blame to go around. A National Intelligence Report, issued on President George W. Bush's watch, distorted the truth by suggestion that Iran had ended its quest for nuclear weapons. It also withheld the fact that U.S. intelligence had discovered a nuclear facility near Qum, Iran, that could be used only for the production of nuclear weapons. Chamberlain, too, was not entirely to blame for Hitler's initial triumphs. He became prime minister after his predecessors allowed Germany to rearm. Nevertheless, it is Chamberlain who has come to symbolize the failure to prevent Hitler's ascendancy. So too will Mr. Obama come to symbolize the failure of the West if Iran acquires nuclear weapons on his watch.

SOURCE

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It's Tea Partiers and Republicans against the elitist Democrats

America’s current political war is less a struggle between the Left and the Right than one between populism, represented, however imperfectly, by the “big R” Republicans, and the elitism of President Obama.

Obama is so extremely elitist as to blithely torture, and possibly destroy, the Democratic Party itself.

An article in the March 15th New Yorker, “Obama’s Lost Year,” by George Packer, contains a telling detail about the White House decision-making process, noting that “… the surest way to win Obama over to your view is to tell him it’s the hard, unpopular, but correct decision.” Key word? Unpopular.

Small "r" republicanism neatly is summed up by the Wikipedia: “Citizens choose their leaders and the people … have an impact on [their] government.” Republicanism is the antithesis of elitism, of which monarchy is the extreme form. Our president is, in spirit, a modern monarchist.

The Gallup poll invariably shows that about 40 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives, while 20 percent are liberals, and 40 percent are independents.

A pattern can be traced back to our national beginnings. About 40 percent of colonial Americans favored the American Revolution, 20 percent were loyal to the Crown, and 40 percent were uninvolved, according to historian Robert Calhoon in his “'A companion to the American Revolution.”

Behold a law of nature, “the 40-20-40 rule,” and call it “Bell’s Postulate,” after Jeffrey Bell, author of the defining modern classic, “Populism and Elitism.”

By placing himself in opposition to the popular will, and treating this opposition as a virtue, Obama aligns himself with the spirit of monarchy. He takes it as a virtue to thwart the consent of the governed.

Our “Mr. President” makes inappropriately deep, cringe-worthy, bows to the Emperor of Japan and the King of Saudi Arabia because … Obama is, if not exactly the King of America, the crown prince of an elitist/monarchist faction self-styled as “Liberal.”He knowingly sacrifices his, and his political party’s popularity and legitimacy, on the altar of elitism.

Thousands of Tea Party Patriots descended upon the Capitol March 16th to oppose the health care bill. Hundreds of thousands flooded the Capitol Switchboard in protest. Millions will assemble to petition the government for the redress of grievances on April 15.

Meanwhile, the White House launches elitist salvo after salvo, including more bailouts, cap and trade (under which, in Obama’s own words, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”), proposals to gut teacher accountability, and to expropriate the Internet. Obama’s elitism intensifies daily.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen may have written the most important book for this moment, “In Search of Self Governance.” Rasmussen summarizes by saying “Americans don’t want to be governed from the left, the right or the center. They want to govern themselves. The American desire for – and attachment to – self-governance runs deep.”

What is at stake today is identical to the stakes of the American Revolution itself. It is a battle between those who respect republicanism and those who reverence elitist rule.

From our very beginnings, only 40 percent of us supported republican principles and could accurately be called populists. Another 20 percent were monarchists in support of centralized command and control; they were elitists.

The prospects of the original revolutionary republicans often were dire. Thomas Paine, on a drumhead by firelight in Gen. George Washington’s camp wrote: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Against ferocious odds, the republican minority prevailed against the elite-supported monarchist faction. Against ferocious odds, republican forces have continued, and will continue despite tactical setbacks, to prevail against resurgent elitism.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

US House passes “health reform” amendments: "The House of Representatives cleared the final hurdle in Congress’ overhaul of the nation’s health care system, passing a health care reconciliation bill by a 220-207 vote. The amendment bill, which included the fixes made to the Senate version of the health care bill, will now go to President Obama for his signature. The Senate passed the legislation this afternoon by a 56-43 margin after defeating 41 amendments offered by Republicans.”

Bond markets reflect the true cost of Obamacare: "Not many people noticed amid the Democrats' struggle to jam their health care bill through the House, but in recent weeks United States Treasury bonds have lost their status as the world's safest investment. The numbers are pretty clear. In February, Bloomberg News reports, Berkshire Hathaway sold two-year bonds with an interest rate lower than that on two-year Treasuries. A company run by a 79-year-old investor is a better credit risk, the markets are telling us, than the United States government. Buffett's firm isn't the only one. Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Lowe's have been borrowing money at cheaper rates than Uncle Sam."

Poll: 79% Say U.S. Economy Could Collapse: "The latest Fox News poll finds that 79 percent of voters think it’s possible the economy could collapse, including large majorities of Democrats (72 percent), Republicans (84 percent) and independents (80 percent). Most American voters believe it’s possible the nation’s economy could collapse, and majorities don’t think elected officials in Washington have ideas for fixing it. Just 18 percent think the economy is "so big and strong it could never collapse." Moreover, 78 percent of voters believe the federal government is "larger and more costly" than it has ever been before, and by nearly three-to-one more voters think the national debt (65 percent) is a greater potential threat to the country’s future than terrorism (23 percent)."

Gas up $1 a gallon on Obama's watch: "Gas prices have risen $1 since just after President Obama took office in January 2009 and are now closing in on the $3 mark, prompting an evaluation of the administration's energy record and calls for the White House to open more U.S. land for oil exploration. The average price per gallon across the U.S. hit $2.81 this week, according to the Energy Information Administration. That was up from $1.81 the week of Jan. 26, 2009, just after the inauguration, and marks the highest price since Oct. 20, 2008. Gas prices have been on a roller-coaster ride over the past decade, dropping to near $1 after President George W. Bush's first year in office"

Average Americans' words harsh for Obama: "Certain robust public perceptions about President Obama have surfaced among average citizens rather than so-called "wingnuts" and "lunatic fringe." A Harris Poll released Wednesday found that 40 percent of Americans say Mr. Obama is a socialist, a third think he's a Muslim, a quarter think he was not even born in the U.S., is not eligible to be president and is a "domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of. Among other things, the poll also found that three-out-of-10 Americans think Mr. Obama "wants to turn over the sovereignty of the U.S. to a one-world government." About an equal number - 29 percent - said he had "done many things that are unconstitutional" while 27 percent said "he resents America's heritage."

GE Exploits Reagan Legacy to misrepresent itself: "In response to GE's recent announcement of its sponsorship commemorating the Centennial Celebration of President Ronald Reagan's birth, today the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research is criticizing GE CEO Jeff Immelt for exploiting Reagan's legacy to curry favor with conservatives. "I'm outraged over Immelt's shameless exploitation of President Reagan's historic presidency to improve GE's reputation among conservatives. Reagan is the champion of conservatives because he fought for liberty and limited government. In contrast, Immelt uses GE's vast lobbying resources to expand the size and role of government in order to create markets for its products and loot Americans of their liberty," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., Director of the Free Enterprise Project. Borelli notes that GE is an aggressive supporter of cap-and-trade legislation"

No ObamaCare for Obama: "President Obama declared that the new health care law "is going to be affecting every American family." Except his own, of course. The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well. A weasel-worded definition of "staff" includes only the members' personal staff in the new system; the committee staff that drafted the legislation opted themselves out. Because they were more familiar with the contents of the law than anyone in the country, it says a lot that they carved out their own special loophole."

Moscow: US-Russia nuclear deal has some worried: "A sweeping new bargain to slash the offensive nuclear arsenals of Russia and the US — what they used to call the ‘balance of terror’ — appears almost ready for Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama to sign. Unofficial sources say the signing may take place as early as April 8, in Prague, Czech Republic, the venerable eastern European capital in which Mr. Obama launched his campaign for a nuclear weapons-free world just one year ago. Experts say the new agreement, designed to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, will reduce strategic nuclear warheads by one-quarter, to around 1,600 on each side, and halve the number of delivery vehicles — missiles, bombers, and submarines — to 800 for each country.”

They fly first class … on your dime: "“Will you and your family put off a vacation this year because you can’t afford it? Too bad, because you have paid for some terrific trips — for government bureaucrats. The Washington Times reports that last year $13 billion in tax dollars was spent to pamper ‘public servants’ on trips that double as vacation junkets. The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, frequently sent employees overseas on first- or business-class airplane tickets that cost taxpayers up to $10,000 each … Likewise, agencies spend millions sending employees to private industry trade shows that just happen to be in resort locations such as Las Vegas. The Department of Commerce spent $7.5 million on conferences of this sort in 2007.”

Is WikiLeaks being tailed by the government?: "For those unfamiliar with document hosting site WikiLeaks.org, here’s a little primer for you. WikiLeaks acts as the internet’s Fort Knox for the whistle blowers of the world. … According to tweets from Wikileak insiders, members of their editorial advisory board are being tailed by State Department and CIA officials, and have been shown ominous photos taken secretly during their production meetings.”

Why the mainstream media panders to statism: "It stands to reason that the mainstream media is supportive of statism. It loves things that cause drama. Murders get ratings and so do government actions. The health care takeover is just one example. It isn’t big news that people can take care of their own needs if government steps aside. However, the resistance and opposition to this scheme has the possibility of getting very dramatic and messy.”


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)

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Thursday, March 25, 2010



Obama’s Alliance With Iran

By "Spengler"

Ralph Peters’ op-ed in today’s New York Post shows that our putative allies in Afghanistan as well as Iraq are in bed with Iran. He argues that it’s a blunder. It will be a blunder, but it’s actually Obama’s policy, and it was spelled out by now Defense Secretary Gates and Zbignew Brzezinski back in 2004. It’s as bad as Peters says it is, and then some.

“It’s wretched enough that our ‘friend’ Ahmed Chalabi has become Iran’s point man in Iraq. Now ‘our man in Kabu,’ President Hamid Karzai, is quietly shifting his loyalty to Tehran,” Peters writes.

Peters continues:
Beyond Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad’s recent chummy visit to Karzai — reported by the media but played down by Washington — Iran’s been training Taliban forces to kill our troops more efficiently.

Karzai hasn’t complained. Nor has he objected to Tehran’s expansion of its support for its clients in western Afghanistan. He wants that support for himself.

Where I disagree with Peters is in the matter of the administration’s intent. In a March 16 “Spengler” column for Asia Times Online, I quoted State Department officials’ on-record invitation to Iran to play a major role in Afghanistan. Getting Iran involved IS the administration’s “exit strategy.” Obama wants an ALLIANCE with Iran. And that’s why he picked a fight with Netanyahu over the non-issue of apartment construction in a part of North Jerusalem that every draft piece plan agrees will remain Israeli. If Israel hits Iran’s nuclear capacity, the deal is off.

As I wrote March 16:
Despite the enormous difference in outlook between the last administration and the present one, there is an underlying continuity in Washington’s stance towards Iran, due to the facts on the ground put in place by Iran itself. I wrote on this site in October 2005, shortly after Ahmadinejad came to power:

I do not believe any formal understanding is in place, but the probable outcome is that Washington will refrain from military action to forestall any Iranian nuclear arms developments, while Tehran will refrain from disrupting Washington’s constitutional Potemkin Village in Iraq. Tehran thinks strategically, as befits a country with a government newly elected by an overwhelming majority, while Washington thinks politically. President George W Bush is struggling to persuade the American public of the wisdom of his nation-building scheme in Iraq, and badly wants the Iranians to keep their hands in their pockets. Iran is prepared to do so as long as America keeps its opposition to its nuclear program within the confines of the diplomatic cul-de-sac defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency. (See A Syriajevo in the making?, Asia Times Online, October 25, 2005)

Nation-building in Iraq is the tar baby that has entrapped American foreign policy. The notion that the United States should take responsibility for the political evolution of a country cooked up by British cartographers with the explicit purpose of keeping Sunni Arabs, Shi’ite Arabs and Kurds at each others’ throats, ranks as one of the great political delusions of the past century. Since the American invasion in 2003, it always has been in Iran’s power to make the country ungovernable. More important to Iran, though, is the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons. Should it become a nuclear power, Iran could set its cats’ paws in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan to whatever task it chose with far less fear of American retribution.

The Obama administration’s abortive opening to Iran always aimed at obtaining Iranian help in stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things by soliciting Tehran’s good offices with the Shi’ite Hazara minority in Afghanistan. Iran has ties both to the Hazara as well as to their mortal enemies, the Sunni Taliban, and keeps its options open. Its prospective influence in Afghanistan is potent enough to panic the US – Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Kabul unannounced on March 8, the same day that Ahmadinejad was expected in the Afghan capital, prompting the Iranian president to postpone his trip by two days. Gates’ unexpected trip was interpreted as a pre-emptive action against Iranian influence. Karzai embraced his Iranian counterpart as a friend and ally.

As Asia Times Online’s M K Bhadrakumar wrote on March 13: “Karzai can hope to tap into Iran’s influence with various Afghan groups, which traditionally focused on the Persian-speaking Tajiks and Hazara Shi’ites but today also extends to segments of the Pashtun population. Significantly, Ahmedinejad was received on Wednesday at Kabul airport by the Northern Alliance leader Mohammed Fahim, who has become the first vice president in Karzai’s new government despite strong opposition from the US and Britain.” (See A titanic power struggle in Kabul, Asia Times Online, March 13)

The United States responded to Ahmadinejad’s Afghan visit by paying obeisance to Iran’s influence. “The future of Afghanistan has a regional dimension and we hope that Iran will play a more constructive role in Afghanistan in the future,” said US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley. He added in the past, the US and Iran have “cooperated constructively” and hoped that they would do so again, given that Iran has “a legitimate interest in the future of Afghanistan”.

The answer to the question: “What is Obama’s exit strategy from Afghanistan?” – is a Great Gamelet in which Iran and Pakistan work out a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan and establish a miniature balance of power between Sunnis and Shi’ites. All that is missing is Johnny Depp in Mad Hatter makeup replacing Richard Holbrooke as AfPak czar, distributing 3-D glasses to the diplomatic corps.

Outrageous, but true.

Solution to the next mystery: Why is General Petraeus going around saying that Israeli intransigence is putting American lives at risk in the Middle East?

In order to make Iraq look better than it was and to make Petraeus surge look like a success, the Bush administration made a conscious decision to treat Iran carefully — Bush was as emphatic as Obama in dissuading the Israelis from striking Iranian nuclear capability.

Petraeus made his reputation with the surge knowing perfectly well that if Iran wanted to jack up the list of US casualties, it could.

When he says that Israel is endangering American lives, the question is — how? Who is going to kill Americans? The Egyptians are virtually allied with Israel now — they let Israeli subs and missile boats through the Suez Canal. The only possible answer is: the Iranians, via their proxies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Provoke Iran, and Americans will die. JCS Chief Admiral Mullen has been saying the same thing for some time. These are officers whose careers advanced on the strength of a de facto deal with the Iranians and now they are stuck with it. And that’s why they are dumping on Israel: if Israel hits Iran, the whole American “exit strategy” (based on a silly balance of power game involving Iran) falls apart.

More HERE

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Oh, Canada!

by Ann Coulter

Since arriving in Canada I've been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn't yet given, and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my "bucket list").

Posters advertising my speech have been officially banned, while posters denouncing me are plastered all over the University of Ottawa campus. Elected officials have been prohibited from attending my speeches. Also, the local clothing stores are fresh out of brown shirts. Welcome to Canada!

The provost of the University of Ottawa, average student IQ: 0, wrote to me -- widely disseminating his letter to at least a half-dozen intermediaries before it reached me -- in advance of my visit in order to recommend that I familiarize myself with Canada's criminal laws regarding hate speech. This marks the first time I've ever gotten hate mail for something I might do in the future.

Apparently Canadian law forbids "promoting hatred against any identifiable group," which the provost, Francois A. Houle advised me, "would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges." I was given no specific examples of what words and phrases I couldn't use, but I take it I'm not supposed to say, "F--- you, Francois."

While it was a relief to know that it is still permissible in Canada to promote hatred against unidentifiable groups, upon reading Francois' letter, I suddenly realized that I had just been the victim of a hate crime! And it was committed by Francois A. Houle (French for "Frank A. Hole").

What other speakers get a warning not to promote hatred? Did Francois A. Houle send a similarly worded letter to Israel-hater Omar Barghouti before he spoke last year at U of Ottawa? ("Ottawa": Indian for "Land of the Bed-Wetters.")

How about Angela Davis, Communist Party member and former Black Panther who spoke at the University of Zero just last month?

Or do only conservatives get letters admonishing them to be civil? Or -- my suspicion -- is it only conservative women who fuel Francois' rage?

How about sending a letter to all Muslim speakers advising them to please bathe once a week while in Canada? Would that constitute a hate crime?

I'm sure Canada's Human Rights Commission will get to the bottom of Francois' strange warning to me, inasmuch as I will be filing a complaint with that august body, so I expect they will be reviewing every letter the university has sent to other speakers prior to their speeches to see if any of them were threatened with criminal prosecution.

Both writer Mark Steyn and editor Ezra Levant have been investigated by the Human Rights Commission for promoting hatred toward Muslims.

Levant's alleged crime was to reprint the cartoons of Mohammed originally published in a Danish newspaper, leading practitioners of the Religion of Peace to engage in murderous violence across the globe. Steyn's alleged crime was to publish an excerpt of his book, "America Alone" in Maclean's magazine, in which he jauntily described Muslims as "hot for jihad."

Both of them also flew jet airliners full of passengers into skyscrapers in lower Manhattan, resulting in thousands of deaths. No, wait -- that was somebody else.

Curiously, however, there was no evidence that either the cartoons or the column did, in fact, incite hatred toward Muslims -- nor was there the remotest possibility that they would.

By contrast, conservative speakers are regularly subjected to violent attacks on college campuses. Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan, David Horowitz and I have all been the targets of infamous campus attacks.

That's why the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (a sponsor of my Canada speeches) and the Young America's Foundation (a sponsor of many of my college speeches) don't send conservatives to college campuses without a bodyguard.

You'd have to be a real A-Houle not to anticipate that accusing a conservative of "promoting hatred" prior to her arrival on a college campus would in actuality -- not in liberal fantasies of terrified Muslims cowering in terror of Mark Steyn readers -- incite real-world violence toward the conservative......

If a university official's letter accusing a speaker of having a proclivity to commit speech crimes before she's given the speech -- which then leads to Facebook postings demanding that Ann Coulter be hurt, a massive riot and a police-ordered cancellation of the speech -- is not hate speech, then there is no such thing as hate speech.

Either Francois goes to jail or the Human Rights Commission is a hoax and a fraud.

More HERE

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BrookesNews Update

Will the US economy survive Obama's economic policies? : The sheer magnitude of Obama's tax and spending program is completely unprecedented. It fiscal weight is such that if it is allowed to go unchecked it will do to the American economy what similar policies did to Argentina
Is the Chinese economy running out of steam? : If the present trend continues manufacturing will start to contract and the recession will then rapidly spread down China's production structure. Of course, the government can only push down on the monetary accelerator. But in a sense this is where monetary and capital theory combine to produce an unstable and highly explosive mixture
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy, part 1: The U.S. government has gross debt outstanding of $12 trillion. Depending on the source and calculation methodology, the U.S. government is on the hook for an additional $50 to $100 trillion more in unfunded liabilities. Using $75 trillion as the proxy for unfunded liabilities, that's debt plus unfunded liabilities of 6 times GDP and an eye-popping 41 times 2009 receipts. This is a recipe for disaster
Tony Abbot's maternity leave fiasco : Tony Abbot's proposal to impose a maternity levy on those businesses that have the audacity to generate a taxable income in excess of $5 million dollars is another example of the Liberal Party's incompetence, opportunism and absence of economic credentials
Soderbergh's Che and historical accuracy, Part II : Surprise, surprise, Steven Soderbergh, the mastermind behind that outrageous piece of agitprop called Che, turns out to be another nasty little leftist liar. We now learn that the script was basically supervised by none other than the sadistic Castro: mass murderer, drug runner, terrorist sponsor and Hollywood's favourite Marxist thug
Thoughts on the benefits of share market diversification : The use of sophisticated mathematics and probabilities in compliance with the modern portfolio theory misses he entire point of an investor-entrepreneur activity

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ELSEWHERE

The latest Leftist attempt to tear down America's military: “The Pentagon is scheduled to announce Thursday that it will relax enforcement of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rules that prevent gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, a decision that officials described as a temporary measure until Congress can take permanent action. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to announce that the military will no longer investigate the sexual orientation of service members based on anonymous complaints, will restrict testimony from third parties and will require high-ranking officers to review all cases, sources familiar with the changes said"

More sanctions against Iran are not the answer: “Because President Barack Obama’s attempt to entice Iran to give up its nuclear program has ended in unsurprising failure, he is now trying to ratchet up the pressure on the regime by leading the drive to increase international economic sanctions. However, even if he were to succeed in getting Russia and China to go along in the United Nations Security Council, the measures would probably be unsuccessful in achieving their stated goal.”

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best: "Never in the history of our country have there been so many people who believe they are ‘entitled’ simply because they exist. America’s current economic crisis and the exorbitant amount of personal debt is evidence of this twisted mentality. Over several generations society has taught the wrong values resulting in a populace that is totally clueless when it comes to right and wrong or basic respect for other peoples rights. We are facing the downfall of society as we know it and the price will be mind numbing.”

The fix is in: "Americans would do well to ponder a recent admission by a former British minister in the Blair government. On March 2, the Guardian reported that the ex-minister, now Lord Warner, said that while spending on Britain’s National Health Service had increased by 60 percent under the Labour government, its output had decreased by 4 percent. No doubt the spending of a Soviet-style organization like the NHS is more easily measurable than its output, but the former minister’s remark certainly accords with the experiences of many citizens, who see no dramatic improvement in the service as a result of such vastly increased outlays. On the contrary, while the service has taken on 400,000 new staff members — that is to say, one-fifth of all new jobs created in Britain during the period — continuity of medical care has been all but extinguished.”

The reality of Obamacare: "The Obama administration has turned the insurance industry into the Blackwater of socialized medicine. That’s what Obama always had in mind. During the now-legendary health-care summit, Obama, who loves to talk about ‘risk pools,’ ‘competition, ‘consumer choice,’ and the like, let it slip that he actually doesn’t believe in insurance as commonly understood. … A risk pool is an actuarial device where a lot of people pay a small sum to cover themselves against a ‘rainy day’ problem that will affect only a few people. Such ‘peace of mind’ health insurance is gone. What we have now is health assurance. With health assurance, there are no ‘risk pools’ really, only payment plans.”

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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Wednesday, March 24, 2010



Blog suspended

Now that the battle against socialized medicine in America is largely over, I have decided to suspend publication of my SOCIALIZED MEDICINE blog. I will of course still be posting on the issue when matters of particular interest arise but I will do so on this blog from now on -- as you will see below. My AUSTRALIAN POLITICS blog will also continue to cover the disasters of socialized medicine in Australia.

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Healthy tax increases, not only on wealthy

Half-trillion dollars over 10 years to pay for bill

When it comes to the taxes associated with the new health care bill, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s assessment stands: It's a big — very big — deal.

The historic overhaul of the nation's health care system that President Obama signed Tuesday, when combined with the fixes making their way through Congress, will raise taxes over the next 10 years by more than a half-trillion dollars.

The tax increases range from hundreds of billions of dollars in new Medicare levies, including one that taxes investment income such as capital gains and dividends for the first time, to a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services that will raise less than $3 billion over the next decade.

Imposing a Medicare tax on investment income "would reduce demand for investment, which is the last thing that the economy needs right now. It would slow [economic] recovery, reduce employment opportunities and hinder wage growth," said Karen Campbell of the conservative Heritage Foundation. "Less investment, lower investment values and lower wages hinder the ability of households to build wealth."

Under a procedure that doesn't require a 60-vote majority for approval, the Senate is considering a package of changes to the new health care law to placate House members' concerns about the Senate bill, which the lower chamber approved Sunday with no Republican support. Among other things, the Senate must approve the numerous tax-law changes that the House passed in a second bill Sunday to fix the upper chamber's December proposal.

By far the biggest tax increase — more than $210 billion from 2012 through 2019 —. involves Medicare, the $500 billion federal health care program for the elderly and disabled. Medicare taxes would be raised in two ways.

First, the new law increases the Medicare payroll tax on employee wages and salaries from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on earnings above a certain amount — $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples who file jointly. The employer's share would remain at 1.45 percent for all wages and salaries — creating an effective 3.8 percent tax rate for income in those higher brackets.

Second, for the first time ever, the bill would apply Medicare taxes to several forms of "unearned income" — capital gains, dividends, interest, royalties and other sources besides wages and salaries — above the $200,000 and $250,000 thresholds. The individual or couple must pay the whole 3.8 percent Medicare tax because there is no employer with whom to split the bill on "unearned income."

Consider a married couple who earn $300,000, divided evenly between salaries and capital gains. Their total salary income of $150,000 would be subject to the combined 2.9 percent Medicare tax — split evenly between employee and employer. The first $100,000 in capital gains would not be subject to any Medicare tax, but the couple would have to pay a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on the last $50,000 in capital gains.

The two Medicare provisions "would improve both tax equity and economic efficiency," said Chuck Marr of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who notes that the two taxes would affect "only the 2.6 percent of U.S. households with the highest incomes." Mr. Marr reports that 91 percent of the increase in Medicare taxes would be paid by people earning more than $500,000.

SOURCE

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An Off-Budget Office?

by Thomas Sowell

Under the headline "Costly Bill Seen as Saving Money," the San Francisco Chronicle last week began a front-page story with these words: "Many people find it hard to understand how the health care legislation heading for a decisive vote Sunday can cost $940 billion and cut the horrendous federal deficit at the same time."

It's not hard to understand at all. It is a lie.

What makes this particular lie pass muster with many people, who might otherwise use their common sense, is that the Congressional Budget Office vouched for the consistency of the budget numbers that say you can add millions of people to a government-run system and yet save money.

The Congressional Budget Office does honest work. But it can only use the numbers that Congress supplies-- and Congress does dishonest work. It is not the CBO's job to give their opinion as to whether any of the marvelous things that Congress says it will do in the future are either likely or possible.

The Congressional Budget Office is like a computer: Garbage in, garbage out. The numbers in the health care bill are especially smelly garbage.

Do we really need a government agency to give us a false sense of security? Don't we already have politicians to do that? Weren't they doing that at the height of the housing boom that preceded the collapse, which then brought down the whole financial system and the whole economy? Many warnings were brushed aside by Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd and many others in Congress.

What we really need-- and will never get-- is a Congressional Off-Budget Office. This would be an agency that does not have to accept whatever numbers Congress sends them and pretend to take those numbers seriously.

An independent agency could add up all of the government's financial liabilities, whether they are in the official budget or not. For example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which guarantees bank accounts, has only a fraction of the money that it is supposed to have on hand to see that people's life savings don't get wiped out when a bank fails.

No administration of either party is going to let people's life savings get wiped out. That would be political suicide. FDIC is definitely too big to fail. But none of the billions of dollars that will be necessary to pour into FDIC at some point, as banks continue to fail and the FDIC's reserves continue to shrink, appears in the official budget numbers that the CBO sees.

It is a similar story with the Federal Housing Administration, which has what the Wall Street Journal calls "razor thin reserves" as it goes around the country, merrily guaranteeing ever larger mortgages for ever larger numbers of people, while 14 percent of those mortgages are already delinquent.

When the FHA is finally scraping the bottom of the barrel, trying to come up with the money to redeem all the reckless-- but politically popular-- guarantees it is making, where do you think that additional money they need will come from? From taxpayers-- current and future.

But none of this money is in the official federal budget that the Congressional Budget Office sees. There are many other financial liabilities of the government that are "off-budget," which means that they do not show up in the official numbers.

What if an individual operated this way? If you are 80 years old, and your assets exactly balance your liabilities, you're in good shape, right? Wrong.

At your age, you know that there may be some big medical bills coming, somewhere down the road. If you have been following politics-- which may be bad for your blood pressure-- you know that the mountainous federal deficits that extend into the future, as far as the eye can see, are likely to set off inflation that will silently steal a big chunk of the value of whatever money you have put aside for your old age. But none of that shows up in the numbers measuring your current assets and liability.

Moreover, at 80 years of age, you are not likely to be able to resume a career and make anything like the money you once made. What can you do? Unlike the federal government, you cannot just send your official numbers over to the Congressional Budget Office and have them announce that you are in great financial shape.

SOURCE

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Israel spat no worry for Democrats

Domestic issues seen as more pressing

The Obama administration's spat with Israel over Jewish settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem is unlikely to hurt Democrats politically in any major way, primarily because of voters' preoccupation with domestic issues, such as health care and the economy, analysts say.

The administration's actions, they say, also indicate that it is not very worried about domestic political consequences. Not only has it refused to back off its demands, but this week it again clashed publicly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about what is in Israel's interests.

"They are not letting Netanyahu off the hook," said Michele Dunne, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "They clearly see some utility in airing their disagreements with him in public."

According to polls, President Obama is seen by many Americans as being tougher on Israel than his predecessors, but that is unlikely to become a major issue in this year's midterm elections, said John R. Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration.

"Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming emphasis on domestic issues, and it's difficult to break through the economic news — and when you add health care, this is one more problem many people don't want to have," Mr. Bolton said.

In fact, Ms. Dunne said, Mr. Obama may be more emboldened to maintain pressure on Israel now that he has had a domestic success in passing health care reform. The failure to do that last fall was one of the reasons the president "backed down from a confrontation" with Mr. Netanyahu at the time, she said.

At the same time, Mr. Obama is unlikely to escalate his dispute with the Israeli leader and "distract public attention from this week's story line of success on social domestic legislation," said Daniel Levy, co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation.

Mr. Levy, who was a special adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak — the current defense minister — in the late 1990s, said that a "vocal mobilized minority" of Jewish Americans most likely will try to make the dispute an election issue, but they will not be successful.

"The vast majority of American Jewish voters in November won't be basing their vote on this spat," he said. "A small minority for Jewish Democrats will raise it, and part of the Republican base will use it as one of many mobilizing vehicles, but those voters will be mobilized anyway — though, on margins, it could raise money for certain candidates."

Members of Congress from both parties have urged the administration to end the dispute, which began with Israel's announcement of 1,600 new housing units just as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in the Jewish state two weeks ago. Lawmakers have signaled that they care more than the administration about domestic perceptions.

More HERE

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Redistribution justification

The Left's favorite mantra justifying income redistribution is "excessive benefit from Bush policies." The liberal illogic goes that "the wealthy" have been receiving too much and paying too little and should now make it up with higher taxes. The flaws in this slanted reasoning are many. The danger in it is even greater.

For those who missed it, let's recount what "the wealthy's excessive benefit" was. For one thing, they got to pay a top federal tax rate of 35 percent. That means the federal government got to take over a third of everything they earned. In reality, it means "the wealthy" got to keep well less than 65 cents of every dollar they made, once state and local taxes are added to the federal tax rate.

This "too-low" top rate means that "the wealthy" paid taxes at the same federal rate as corporations. Of course, as many correctly argue, the corporate tax rate is too high to be globally competitive. The fear is that businesses and investment will migrate abroad. For some reason, the same concern does not exist for top individual producers.

If the wealthy's gains are ill-gotten, then wouldn't justice be better and more quickly served to prosecute, rather than persecute, them? There rightly was no hesitation with Bernie Madoff. Seeking to tax the wealthy to justice is the least efficient manner for redressing the Left's claimed wrong. Unless, of course, you presume that all the wealthy's gains are ill-gotten…

Top earners' real "crime" is success. What do they do with their excessive benefits? Invest, save, and start businesses. All of which employ others and give customers goods at the lowest possible prices. Criminal.

Who are these insanely wealthy souls? A married couple making over $374,000 this year would qualify for the top tax rate. It is impossible to put a face on them though -- because their ranks change every year. As people age, they migrate through the tax rates -- the "wealthy" one year, were likely "poor" earlier, and will likely return to lower tax rates again as they reach retirement.

This income migration points out the dangerous but implicit element of the Left's redistribution justification. Raising present taxes in order to penalize past benefits smacks of retroactivity. As income migration shows, it is a very imprecise imposition -- people who had lower tax rates in the past may no longer be in the top income group next year, and people in the top income group next year, may not have been in the top over the previous decade. No matter to the Left.

The retroactive nature of the Left's justification should indeed be a concern to the rest of us though. It is more dangerous than the taxes themselves. It not only offers an unlimited rationale for raising future taxes, but leaves neither amount nor type of income immune from its rearward reach.

By all competent projections, Washington is on an unsustainable spending path. Generated by entitlements and inertia, there is no effort on the Left to avoid excessive spending. Its demand will therefore turn for more and more revenue. The two largest pots will be in baby-boomer savings and middle class earnings. If someone's past success can justify a reach-back revenue-grab, what makes retirement accounts safe? If someone can be deemed to have benefitted "excessively," why does anyone have comfort that today's middle class do not become tomorrow's wealthy?

We can never rest secure in liberals' limits because there is no limit for liberals. The Left thinks in non-economic terms and acts under anti-economic rules. Under its system, there are no market forces to align supply to demand. Therefore there are no means to enforce boundaries on actions. There are only the Left's own good intent and the inherent belief that it can order society better than society and markets can order themselves.

Thus liberals can not tell us how much "the wealthy" need pay in taxes. Already those in the top tax bracket pay almost 35 percent of all federal income taxes paid in the U.S. This despite the fact that they make up less than four percent of federal taxpayers. How much more a burden should they shoulder? The Left cannot be more precise than to simply say "more."

The Left should say what it means. If it believes America is under-taxed -- in whole or in part -- it should say so. If it believes that Washington must have more revenue because spending cannot be cut -- it should make the claim. Of course, it will say neither, because America would reject both assertions.

For this reason, the Left rarely says what they mean. But the Left does mean what it says. And often far more. The problem is America just does not listen.

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)

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010



Tehran's terrible future, and maybe America's too

It was a sobering read. In 1950, Samuel Glasstone's "The Effects of Atomic Weapons" provided the first unclassified explanation of the physical destruction caused by nuclear weapons. The book's descriptions were detailed, clinically precise ... and terrifying. For decades, it remained the authoritative source on the topic. Only one problem: It wasn't always right. Take this conclusion: "The shock wave produced by an air-burst atomic bomb is the most important agent in producing destruction. ..."

For years, military planners used that insight to estimate the scope of destruction wrought by a mushroom cloud. They were way off. In "Whole World on Fire" (2003), Lynn Eden argues that focusing on shock waves led planners to significantly underestimate the destructive power of atomic warfare because they didn't take into account the damage done by mass fire. Analysts had concluded it was difficult to predict the effects of fire and, because it was only a secondary agent of destruction, they simply omitted fire from their calculations.

Big mistake, Eden says. Recent research suggests that nuclear weapons are much more destructive than previously thought because of the effect of mass fire. At the moment of detonation, the heart of an atomic fireball is four to five times hotter than the sun. It generates a firestorm of hurricane-force winds. Air temperature soars above the boiling point.

Both Washington and Tehran have much to learn from this. The people of Iran should realize the terrible price they may pay due to their president's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. For Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nukes are more than a status symbol. He views them as a useful tool. He publicly yearns to bring about the "death of Israel" and live in "a world without America." Nukes are the way to reach these goals. Give this delusional dreamer a nuclear weapon and a missile to deliver it, and he'll be only too eager to threaten his enemies with nuclear holocaust.

That, of course, would only invite atomic retaliation ... the type that would obliterate Iran. Ahmadinejad is an existential threat to his own people. And that's reason enough for Iranians to take back their country.

The lesson for Washington is that the United States, a long-established nuclear power, must act like a responsible one. President Obama has started a mad dash down the "road to zero" -- with the announced goal of eliminating our nuclear arsenal. It's a path more likely to end in a nuclear firestorm than in peace.

Why? The danger starts with the administration's refusal to fully modernize our nuclear weapons. Our aging inventory is increasingly less usable and reliable. The continuing erosion of a credible deterrent force will only invite aggression. Moreover, slashing U.S. arsenals may well spur a news arms race. It may encourage emerging atomic enemies such as Iran and North Korea to "pick up the pace" to become our nuclear equals. That in turn could spark other nations wary of these rogue regimes to fast-track their own nuclear programs. Instead of easing tensions, our nuclear drawdown could ratchet up worldwide instability.

The administration has compounded its nuclear error by hobbling our missile defense program. War gaming exercises consistently show missile defenses not only deter attacks, they deter others from even building up their arsenals. Why build missiles when they'll just be shot down?

A world on fire is horrific vision of the future. The Iranian administration views it as glorious, while our administration steadfastly averts its gaze. It should worry peace-loving Iranians and Americans alike.

SOURCE

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How NY Times Coverage Buries Middle East Reality

In my entire life I have rarely read an article which simultaneously showed the need to be well-informed before reading a newspaper and the shocking shortcomings of mass media coverage of the Middle East than this minor piece about the reopening of the Cairo synagogue. I've never said this before but will now: If you want to understand the Middle East's reality and how it is distorted in the media, read the following anlysis. Have a little patience and I think you will see precisely what I mean.

There are four huge-gigantic-gaps in this article that show how the Middle East story is being missed. The word "gap" here is polite. I can think of a number of less polite words defining the combination of whitewash and ignorance displayed here. Here is the link. Go and read the short piece if you want to see if you can spot them, then come back and read my response. Or, if you prefer, read my analysis first. It's up to you.

Ok, here we go. The headline for this story is, "A Synagogue's Unveiling Exposes a Conundrum." So, naturally, you want to know what the conundrum was. The article explains: "The restoration project, and its muted unveiling, exposed a conundrum Egyptian society has struggled with since its leadership made peace with Israel three decades ago: How to balance the demands of Western capitals and a peace process that relies on Egypt to work with Israel with a public antipathy for Israel."

So here is point number one-how can the article not even mention the Egyptian government's own role in stoking public antipathy toward Israel? Of course, this antagonism is also the product of history and to a considerable extent comes from the public itself. Yet day after day, the Egyptian government's religious, educational, media, and other institutions preach slander and hatred. toward Israel. There is no effort in terms of communication with the public to reduce antagonism.

Let me make it clear: I am not blaming Egypt's government for the very existence of "public antipathy," but not to mention its role in this process at all is shocking. The effect is to play down the role of regimes, even moderate ones, in so heating up the atmosphere as to make full peace and normalization close to impossible. Their fault, as opposed to criticism of Israel for the lack of resolution in the conflict, gets buried.

Here's point two. One of the main people quoted in the article is Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Here is what it says about him: "'This is an Egyptian monument; if you do not restore a part of your history you lose everything,'" said Zahi Hawass, the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which approved and oversaw the project. "I love the Jews, they are our cousins! But the Israelis, what they are doing against the Palestinians is insane. I will do anything to restore and preserve the synagogue, but celebration, I cannot accept."

Later his role is again mentioned: "But the work was completed, and at first the authorities told members of the Egyptian Jewish community that the news media could not attend the ceremony because they wanted to make the official announcement themselves. Then Dr. Hawass announced he was canceling that, too. "'I am trying to give the Israelis a message that they should make peace,' Dr. Hawass said."

So the New York Times allows Hawass to talk about how he loves the Jews and he even wants peace with Israel, he just wants them to be a bit more flexible. One would never guess, however, that when this article was being edited the Times should have been aware of other public statements Hawass has made. Indeed, MEMRI translated this in a dispatch that came out about the same time that the reporters were preparing the story. Here is what Hawass said on Egyptian television last year: Zahi Hawass: "For 18 centuries, [the Jews] were dispersed throughout the world. They went to America and took control of its economy. They have a plan. Although they are few in number, they control the entire world."

Notice that Hawass hates his cousins and that his hatred is based on his belief in the most basic antisemitic stereotypes for a 2000-year period, not since Israel was created in 1948.

And here we see how the Times hides the massive problem of antisemitism in the Arab world, the fact that the conflict cannot be resolved not because Israelis don't want to make peace but because many or most Arabs don't want any Israelis to exist. More likely than not, letting Hawass sound like a dove of peace rather than a raving Jew-hater is due to ignorance rather than intention. The result is the same.

This feeds into point three, which is equally incredible. Let's read the text: "When the subject of restoring the synagogue of Maimonides was first raised about two years ago, Egypt agreed to do the work, but asked that it not be made public. The project was announced a year later when the culture minister, Farouk Hosny, was hoping to become the next director general of Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. When his bid for the post failed, many doubted whether the project would be completed."

Are you a curious person? Perhaps you'd like to know why Hosny's bid failed. It is a matter of public record, covered in hundreds of articles. Even a glance at his biography in Wikipedia-but not the Times--includes the answer to that question. So let's see what the Times staff could have read if they had gone to Wikipedia: "During a May 2008 argument with a Muslim Brotherhood member of Parliament concerning cultural ties with Israel, Hosny provoked controversy by declaring, 'I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt."

"Prior to the book burning comment, the Anti-Defamation League noted that Hosny 'has a long record of stymieing cultural relations with Israel, promoting censorship in Egypt, and making harsh anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements.' In 2001 interview, he called Israeli culture 'inhuman' and in a 1997 interview stated, 'The Israelis do not stop claiming that they built the [Egyptian] pyramids... This proves that Israel has no history or civilization....''

There was an international outcry at the former culture minister's expressions of antisemitism and attitudes-favoring book-burning-not entirely consistent of being the world's most important cultural official. Despite the fact that he was originally thought to be a shoe-in for the job, Hosny was defeated. The state-controlled Egyptian media then went on an antisemitic rampage, blaming the Jews for his defeat.

Might this have some relevance to the background of the synagogue restoration? The article mentioned that the project was announced during the time Hosny's candidacy was put forth but there is no hint as to the project being a transparent fig-leaf to make people forget about Hosny's own behavior. The project was completed but then downplayed and there was an attempt to act as if the synagogue had nothing to do with anything specifically Jewish.

Finally, there is a remarkable gap in covering internal Egyptian politics, which shows how dictatorships often get the benefit of the doubt in Times coverage. I want to quote this point fully so as to give you a sense of what's the issue here:
"Hala Mustafa, the editor of one of Egypt's premier political journals, Democracy, was formally censured last month for having met the Israeli ambassador in her office. It was first time the journalists' syndicate punished a member for defying a ban on normalization since the group was founded in 1941, according to the independent daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.

"Even some of her critics, who strongly disagree with Ms. Mustafa's politics, said they were surprised at the selective nature of the condemnation. Singling out Ms. Mustafa said as much about the way the state and state-aligned institutions apply laws and rules, critics said, as it did about widespread hostility to Israel.

"While Ms. Mustafa was punished, six top Egyptian scholars, including some from the nation's premier research center, the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, attended a conference with the Israeli ambassador. None of them were punished."

But again the reader is at a loss. Why was Mustafa singled out for special punishment? The answer is only hinted at by the name of her journal, Democracy. Mustafa is a liberal reformer and a democracy advocate and that is why she is being repressed. It is one more step in the campaign of Arab regimes against liberals and for maintaining a very tight control over their own societies. Without knowing this, the three paragraphs make no sense.

I am not focusing on an individual reporter here, especially because I don't know how his original piece was edited. But what is important is the product. In this one article, the Times deserves an "F" for journalistic competence and it has failed to inform readers of some of the most important aspects of the contemporary Middle East. In these respects, I cannot imagine a better example of what's wrong with media coverage of the region-and much more.

To quote George Orwell on a similar situation in 1945 (when the correspondent of a left-wing newspaper was criticized by readers for revealing how badly Soviet troops behaved toward civilians), once you accept the idea that the media should support "good causes" rather than just report accurately: "It is only a short step to arguing that the suppression and distortion of known facts is the highest duty of a journalist."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

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Outdated union red tape strangles recovery

For nearly 80 years, contractors working on federally funded construction projects have been forced to pay their workers artificially inflated wages that rip off American taxpayers while lining the pockets of organized labor. The culprit is the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which requires all workers on federal projects worth more than $2,000 to be paid the "prevailing wage," which typically means the local union wage.

Here's what happens. Unskilled construction workers possess one clear advantage over their skilled, unionized competitors: They're willing to work for less money. But Davis-Bacon destroys that advantage. After all, why would contractors working on a federal project hire any unskilled workers when the government forces them to pay all of their workers what amounts to a union wage? Contractors make the rational choice and get their money's worth by hiring skilled unionized labor even when the project calls for much less.

Davis-Bacon is a blatant piece of special-interest, pro-union legislation. It hasn't come cheap for taxpayers. According to research by Suffolk University economists, Davis-Bacon has raised the construction wages on federal projects 22 percent above the market rate. James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation finds that repealing Davis-Bacon would save taxpayers $11.4 billion in 2010 alone. Simply suspending Davis-Bacon would allow government contractors to hire 160,000 new workers at no additional cost, according to Mr. Sherk.

To make matters worse, the Davis-Bacon Act has explicitly racist origins. It was introduced in response to the presence of Southern black construction workers on a Long Island, N.Y.. veterans hospital project. This "cheap" and "bootleg" labor was denounced by Rep. Robert L. Bacon, New York Republican, who introduced the legislation. American Federation of Labor (AFL) president William Green eagerly testified in support of the law before the U.S. Senate, claiming that "colored labor is being brought in to demoralize wage rates."

In sum, we have a law that drives up the costs of federal projects, hurts unskilled workers, unfairly advantages organized labor and has explicitly racist roots. It's time for Davis-Bacon to go.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

Israel: Netanyahu re-affirms “right to build” in Jerusalem: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted Israel’s ‘right to build’ in Jerusalem, following a row with the US over plans for new homes in the city. ‘Jerusalem is not a settlement, it’s our capital,’ he said in Washington. … In his speech to a convention of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), Mr Netanyahu said that ‘the Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building it today.’ But he said construction ‘in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.’”

UK: Three former ministers suspended amid new scandal: "Three former Cabinet ministers have been suspended from Britain’s ruling Labour Party over allegations that they tried to trade access to government officials for cash, as the country’s Parliament faces a new set of ethics scandals. Former defense secretary Geoff Hoon, former transport minister Stephen Byers, and ex-health secretary Patricia Hewitt have all been suspended from Britain’s Parliamentary Labour Party, the party said in a statement late Monday night, only hours after a documentary caught them apparently boasting of their influence to a fictional U.S. lobbying firm.”

ACORN to formally disband (and re-emerge under different names): "The liberal grass-roots group ACORN will formally disband on April 1 due to falling revenues, as its state chapters reorganize, the group said on Monday. Most of the 20 chapters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which endorsed President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign, have disbanded on their own and reorganized under new names, a source within the group said. Funding dried up after a widely disseminated YouTube video last September that showed ACORN workers giving advice on how to flout the law to two conservative activists who posed as a pimp and a prostitute. A separate embezzlement scandal also damaged the group’s credibility.”

Krugman’s Hoover history: "At his popular New York Times blog, Paul Krugman is at it again, offering a very misleading analysis of deficit spending. Without technically lying, Krugman perpetuates the myth that Herbert Hoover insisted on budget austerity in the midst of the Great Depression. Then Krugman interprets a chart with adjectives that show his eyes can only see what his Keynesian theory will allow.”

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)

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Monday, March 22, 2010



Is President Obama At War With America?

If a frontal assault on the foundational principals and values of American life can qualify as being “at war” - then yes, Barack Obama is in combat with our country. And while the belligerence of both his administration and his party’s congressional leadership have seemingly created a sense of alarm across the U.S., their apparent disregard for their own self-inflicted political damage is all the more staggering.

Taking aim at America’s foundations has impacted us both here at home, and abroad. European allies France and England have both made note of our President’s “short shrift” treatment over the past fourteen months, while earlier this month French President Nicolas Sarkozy chastised Obama for his protectionist, anti-free trade policies ( “this is not the right way to behave” Sarkozy told our President). And just last week Vice President Biden took U.S.-Israel relations to a new low point by criticizing the nation on their own soil.

But domestically, Obama’s greatest offense to American life is fundamentally economic in its nature. And at its root, his assault on our sensibilities is best described in terms that he himself has used to criticize others.

In a quickly produced campaign commercial back in the Fall of 2008, candidate Obama addressed the then- melting down American financial system, stating that “this crisis serves as a stark reminder of the failures of crony capitalism, and an economic philosophy that sees any regulation at all as unwise and unnecessary…” At that moment in time, long-standing American financial institutions were being crushed, mostly by their overexposure to sub-prime mortgages, while the stock market was tumbling precipitously.

Was “cronyism” in the financial system really our problem back then? Arguably it was one of many problems at that time, although Obama’s insinuation that our capitalistic free market economy is “un-regulated” was phony (completely un-regulated capitalism does not exist).

But today, cronyism is so flagrant and blatant at the highest ranks of our government, that the President and the congress have lost the confidence and the trust of both America’s cultural “right” and “left.” The stunning, “we’ll-stop-at-nothing” fight to take-over the healthcare industry and the medical profession has put Obama-styled cronyism on full display – and therein lies the greatest assault on America.

The cronyism, however, didn’t begin with the healthcare fight. After taking office, President Obama got to work right away buying-off people who would serve his interests, as he continued the destructive precedent established by George W. Bush and handed over billions of our tax dollars to Chrysler and General Motors. He then established his special “Automotive Task Force,” and appointed as the head of the task force Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in the car business but with lots of experience in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats.

When GM and Chrysler ended-up in bankruptcy, President Obama insisted that everybody involved needed to “sacrifice,” yet the only people to experience a loss were the companies’ secured creditors. The Obama Administration used the full power of the White House to force the creditors to accept debt payment of thirty cents on the dollar, and then during the “re-structuring” of the companies managed to have chunks of each corporation “gifted” to the United Auto Workers Union (the UAW currently owns about 17% of GM, and slightly over 50% of Chrysler).

President Obama had a good reason to provide “gifts” to the UAW – labor union members frequently make great, loyal, campaign foot soldiers for Democrats. And for this reason it was no surprise when President Obama negotiated an exemption from the mandates of his nationalized healthcare plan for UAW members – they already receive healthcare benefits, and it made no sense to entangle into government healthcare a group of people who could be politically beneficial to Barack Obama.

Then there are the “gifts” to individual members of Congress. The “Louisiana purchase” with Senator Mary Landrieu and the “Cornhusker kickback” happened months ago. Yet all within the last week, we saw Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich go from a “no” to a “yes” vote on Obamacare after his wife was given a job working for Michelle Obama. And the Obama Administration used the power of the Department of the Interior to expand California’s water allocations, in exchange for the votes of on-the-fence Representatives Costa and Cardoza.

And why, exactly, does the Obamacare agenda require all Americans to buy health insurance? Using the force of government to create more “demand” for their product was a great way for President Obama to garner the political support of the insurance industry.

Yet at the epicenter of all of this – all the bribes, manipulations, and heavy-handed mandates – is the narrow, political self-interest of one man: Barack Obama. America’s cultural “right” decries the loss of freedom and the rise of abusive government, while the “left” decries a government that lines the pockets of for-profit corporations (companies that are presumed to be “greedy”), all for the benefit of one self-serving politician.

This is the assault on America’s foundational principals and values. It is the assault of governmental cronyism, on our basic understandings of what is right, and fair.

SOURCE

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Keeping An Eye On The Domestic Threat

David Horowitz

One of the most frequent questions I am asked about my transit from the political left to the right some thirty years ago is why I did not stop somewhere along the way, and in particular somewhere “in the middle,” by which the questioner usually means on the Democratic Party side of the political divide. In fact, I remember very clearly why I did not. At the time of my transition, just before the 1984 re-election, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans were trying to hold the line against a Communist offensive in Central America, while Democratic senators – Tom Harkin, John Kerry and Christopher Dodd among them – were conducting their own private diplomacy in Central America to cut deals with the Communists while the Democratic House was seeking to cut funds for the anti-Communist forces on the ground. I had turned my back on the left because of the support it gave to the Communists in Indo-China, which had enabled the slaughter of two-and-a-half million peasants when Democrats cut-off funding to the anti-Communist forces.

I was reminded of these events by a report that appeared recently on the Newsweek website: “Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and other prominent Senate Democrats have accused spies at the Homeland Security Department of basing official intelligence reports on dubious open-source material. Inquiries … indicate that at least some of the data that Feinstein and her colleagues deemed ‘questionable’ came from a website set up by outspoken conservative activist David Horowitz to catalogue negative information about the political left.”

This was a reference to DiscovertheNetworks.org, an encyclopedia of the left, which I launched in February 2005 and which has attracted over the last five years 22.4 million unique visitors, among them the producers of innumerable radio and TV talk shows. According to the Newsweek report, Senator Feinstein’s immediate concern was: “a profile of an unnamed but prominent American Islamic leader and was produced by Homeland Security’s intelligence office during the latter years of the Bush administration. The report was requested by the Department’s civil rights office, whose officials were preparing to meet with the Islamic leader. But instead of sending the civil rights office a quick bio of the individual in question, Homeland’s intelligence office issued a ‘finished’ intel report that was circulated to other intelligence agencies and, eventually, to Congressional oversight committees.”

In other words, Senator Feinstein and the Democrats were objecting to the scrutiny of a prominent Islamic leader scheduled to meet with the Bush Administration, even though leaders of prominent “mainstream” Islamic organizations such as CAIR have been convicted of terrorist activities, while others have been linked by the FBI to a formally organized network of the Muslim Brotherhood, the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism.

The letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is the focus of the Newsweek article, complains that the Department of Homeland Security “used ‘certain questionable’ source material to glean ‘derogatory’ information about [a particular] Muslim leader, including information from an unidentified source ‘with obvious political motivation whose stated purpose is to “identif[y] the individuals and organizations that make up the left”.’ The senators added that the source also included information on “’numerous members of Congress and two former Presidents of the United States.’”

The source was censored from the Intelligence Committee letter, but Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball was able to identify it using a Google search as Discoverthenetworks.org: “The website is one of a number of anti-left and anti-Islamic websites operated by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Los Angeles-based assortment of conservative political organizations founded and headed by David Horowitz, a 1960s-vintage far-left organizer who migrated sharply to the political right.”

When Hosenball interviewed me, I told him that I had no knowledge of the Homeland Security incident but hoped that intelligence officials were consulting DiscovertheNetworks regularly – for the sake of the country. The political left, I told him, “including some members of Congress – [the one I named was Barbara Lee, head of the Black Caucus] has a long history of … actively working with and collaborating with America’s enemies.” I also assured him that the material on his DiscovertheNetworks.org is “factual,” and not written in an inflammatory manner, which could be easily checked.

Of all the projects of the David Horowitz Freedom Center over its 22-year history, its university campaigns, the scores of books its principals and contributors have authored, the hundreds of lectures they have given and the thousands of articles its websites have published, I regard the creation of DiscovertheNetworks as its single most significant achievement with the most far reaching long-term impact on the future of this country. This is not because it is a “catalogue [of] negative political information about the political left,” as Newsweek claimed. It is no such thing, but rather a map describing the origins, activities, agendas, funding and interlocking networks of a political movement whose collective goal is the destruction of American capitalism and pluralism, and the framework its Founders created more than 200 years ago.

Ever since making my political conversion I have been aware that the American public is dangerously naïve about the nature and purposes of the American left (although mercifully it is an innocence that is rapidly coming to an end). The extent of this innocence is reflected in an incident twenty years past when I gave a speech to the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation in St. Louis. Cardinal Mindszenty was a hero of the anti-Communist cause, and the Mindszenty Foundation was as conservative an organization was likely to host me.

In my days as a radical I would have described myself as a “Marxist revolutionary,” but when it came to my introduction, my host presented me as “a former peace activist and civil rights worker.” How familiar is this? Sworn enemies of American capitalism and American democracy such as Angela Davis and Michael Moore are universally described by mainstream media as “liberals” even though they are Marxists. The campaign to prevent America from toppling Saddam Hussein was portrayed in the mainstream media as a “peace movement” even though its leaders were self-described supporters of Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and other Communists, and they did not organize a single “peace” demonstration in front of the Iraqi embassy to demand that Saddam Hussein cease his defiance of 17 UN arms control resolutions and allow inspectors the required access to his weapons sites.

DiscoverTheNetworks strips the veil from thousands of radical groups who fly under false flags and attempt to slip beneath the radar by referring to themselves as peace movements and civil liberties organizations and campaigns for “social justice.” For the first time the left’s history, and agendas and commitments are displayed for a public that has not made the study of the left a lifetime occupation. This is a service to the country and the cause of freedom. For that reason, the most alarming aspect of the Newsweek report is the fact that the Bush Homeland Security Department had to refer to our research to warn the White House of the dangers a prospective visitor might pose and did not have this information in its own files.

SOURCE

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Proud to help -- and to fly our flag

The United States has brought millions of dollars and many tons of aid to Haiti, but one thing we brought is not welcome: the American flag. For awhile, it flew over the compound where the Joint Task Force Haiti was operating, but no more. Apparently, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive thought it implied a U.S. occupation, and so, in a pitiful example of political correctness, it was lowered. This is even more ironic given that the French contingent proudly flies its flag and France held Haiti as a colony until a bloody revolution.

If the Haitian prime minister is unhappy with having the U.S. flag on his soil, we certainly can remove it. We can fold it nicely and place it in one of those giant containers full of food and medical supplies we brought, take one of the many pieces of construction equipment we brought, load it on one of the many planes and ships full of more of the same, and take them all back to the United States.

The prime minister should be so lucky as to have the United States occupy Haiti. Perhaps then his citizens could enjoy security and prosperity that he couldn't deliver even before the earthquake. Haiti consistently has been the worst place to live in the entire Western Hemisphere. But we are not there to occupy the country; we are simply doing what we always do. When the world dials 911, the phone is answered at the Pentagon. We may or may not be the world's policeman, but we certainly are its first responders.

Whenever a disaster occurs, man-made or natural, the U.S. military is the only force on Earth that can and does respond. No matter where, no matter who. When I served in Army Special Forces, we regularly came to help when tropical cyclones, typhoons and even the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines left people in need of humanitarian aid. We always showed the American flag, as it is a signal of security and safety in times of crisis. It also enabled those we helped to know who brought them relief. Surprisingly, instead of wondering whether we were there to occupy them, most people were smart enough to understand we were there to save their lives.

The idea that we have a reason to be ashamed or something to hide for doing this is disgraceful. It is one thing to be cognizant of the feelings of other countries. It is quite another to act as if the American flag is something other than a shining beacon of freedom and safety. Sadly, this is just another example of the current administration's feeling that America has more reasons to apologize than to be proud. The U.S. military does more humanitarian work around the world than anyone, and we should be flying our flag proudly over those operations.

SOURCE

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ELSEWHERE

ACORN sliding toward bankruptcy?: "The indelible images of ACORN workers helping a faux pimp and prostitute set up a tax shelter for a brothel certainly played into the advocacy group’s slide toward bankruptcy, though its problems began long before last year’s scandal. The New York Times is reporting that officials at the housing advocacy group will hold a teleconference this weekend to announce a bankruptcy filing. The group is reeling from a disbanding of at least 15 of its 30 state chapters in recent weeks, including the one in Maryland that served as the set for one of the most outrageous videos produced by conservative reporters James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, and led to government agencies like the Census Bureau severing ties to ACORN.”

Legislators rethink on teens & “sexting” : "In Iowa, Jorge Canal is on the sex offenders registry because, at 18, he was convicted of distributing obscene materials to a minor after he sent a picture of his penis by cellphone to a 14-year-old female friend who had requested it. In Florida, Phillip Alpert, then 18, was charged with distributing child pornography and put on the sex offenders registry because after a fight, he sent a photograph of his nude 16-year old girlfriend by e-mail to dozens of people, including her parents. In most states, teenagers who send or receive sexually explicit photographs by cellphone or computer — known as ’sexting’ — have risked felony child pornography charges and being listed on a sex offender registry for decades to come. But there is growing consensus among lawyers and legislators that the child pornography laws are too blunt an instrument to deal with an adolescent cyberculture in which all kinds of sexual pictures circulate on sites like MySpace and Facebook.”

On the unnecessary nature of much regulation: "I will admit that much of my personal opposition to the swamp of regulations in which we find ourselves is that I personally cannot stand being told what to do: I’ll find my own way to my grave thank you very much. This isn’t, I’ll also admit, all that strong an argument as a public or political policy against regulation. My personal wants or desires only become such when they are widely shared. However, there is a much stronger argument against said regulation: it doesn’t actually do what it sets out to do.”

Cash-strapped, state governments boosting traffic fee scams: "Shomari Jennings was willing to pay the $70 ticket he received for driving without a seatbelt, but not the slew of tacked-on fees and penalties that ballooned the cost more than tenfold. Every $10 of his base fine triggered a $26 ‘penalty assessment’ for courthouse construction, a DNA identification program, emergency medical services and other programs. Other fees ranged from $1 to $35. ‘It’s the new tax,’ Jennings, 30, complained while waiting in traffic court to contest a staggering bill compounded by a $500 fine for missing a court date. And motorists can only expect more of the same as cash-strapped cities and states consider measures ranging from expansion of red-light camera systems to charging drivers for cleanup after accidents.”

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)

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