Saturday, June 19, 2010

For Leftists, hate takes the place of knowledge

Last year, I put up a post on STACLU about an allegedly Christian organization, "World Vision", refusing to take donations on behalf of poor Jewish children.

The article got a number of comments at the time, some clearly antisemitic. JS, the owner of the blog, deleted the more virulent ones, which was rather a pity. It is always amusing to see the combination of ignorance and hate which is typical of Leftist comments on conservative blogs.

Another commenter has, however, just left a comment on the post which offers some amusement. JS has already deleted it but I get a copy of all comments by email so I am going to revive it. Here it is:
John, you are exactly the type of person that needs to be wiped off this earth. You give your religion a horrible name and you look like a ridiculous fool in the process.

Pam's comments are totally fine. Israel is the most heinous country in the world...note I said ISRAEL not JEWS

The writer appears to be a Canadian named Gordon Sands []. He appears to be an administrator with an outfit called "Real Estate 101 Forum". He also informs us, as part of a foul-mouthed tirade, that "I masturbate once a week". Impressive!

But isn't it charming how he thinks that people who he disagrees with should be wiped off the face of the earth? A Canadian Stalin or Hitler could rely on Gordy to do their dirty deeds. Brutal disregard for others seems to be in the genes of Leftists. They are fundamentally hate-motivated.

And also in good Leftist style he feels no need to check his facts. He just KNOWS. We see that in his apparent assumption that I am Jewish. The most casual Google search would reveal that I am an atheist of Presbyterian background and British ancestry.

And the one-eyed condemnation is also typical Leftism. If Israel is the most heinous country in the world, what price Burma, Iran, North Korea, Sudan etc.?


Coming from Obamanation: $7 Gasoline

President Obama has decided to dodge responsibility for the Gulf oil disaster by cleverly changing the subject to Cap and Tax. A clutch of esteemed Harvard researchers have determined at least one sobering effect of such legislation.
To meet the Obama administration's targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, some researchers say, Americans may have to experience a sobering reality: gas at $7 a gallon.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector 14 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the cost of driving would simply have to increase, according to a report released Thursday by researchers at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs......

Researchers said that vehicle miles traveled will increase by more than 30 percent between 2010 and 2030 unless policymakers increase fuel taxes.

In order to save the planet from a hoax, the Obama Regime is prepared to crush the economy of this nation. Through such gas taxes as predicted by these Hahvaad experts, who gets hurt the most? Those "little people" that the Democrat party claims to "look out for." Will we soon be looking back at these per-gal tax rates with wistful nostalgia as we plod about in our government mandated GM pedal-cars?

Congrats, progressive trolls! This is the very Hope and Change you were voting for.



A Mind-Changing Page

Sometimes you can read a book that will change your mind on some fundamental issue. Rarely, however, is there just one page that can undermine or destroy a widely-held belief. But there is such a page-- page 77 of the book "Out of Work" by Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway.

The widespread belief is that government intervention is the key to getting the country out of a serious economic downturn. The example often cited is President Franklin D. Roosevelt's intervention, after the stock market crash of 1929 was followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s, with its massive and long-lasting unemployment.

This is more than just a question about history. Right here and right now there is a widespread belief that the unregulated market is what got us into our present economic predicament, and that the government must "do something" to get the economy moving again. FDR's intervention in the 1930s has often been cited by those who think this way.

What is on that one page in "Out of Work" that could change people's minds? Just a simple table, giving unemployment rates for every month during the entire decade of the 1930s.

Those who think that the stock market crash in October 1929 is what caused the huge unemployment rates of the 1930s will have a hard time reconciling that belief with the data in that table.

Although the big stock market crash occurred in October 1929, unemployment never reached double digits in any of the next 12 months after that crash. Unemployment peaked at 9 percent, two months after the stock market crashed-- and then began drifting generally downward over the next six months, falling to 6.3 percent by June 1930.

This was what happened in the market, before the federal government decided to "do something."

What the government decided to do in June 1930-- against the advice of literally a thousand economists, who took out newspaper ads warning against it-- was impose higher tariffs, in order to save American jobs by reducing imported goods.

This was the first massive federal intervention to rescue the economy, under President Herbert Hoover, who took pride in being the first President of the United States to intervene to try to get the economy out of an economic downturn.

Within six months after this government intervention, unemployment shot up into double digits-- and stayed in double digits in every month throughout the entire remainder of the decade of the 1930s, as the Roosevelt administration expanded federal intervention far beyond what Hoover had started.

If more government regulation of business is the magic answer that so many seem to think it is, the whole history of the 1930s would have been different. An economic study in 2004 concluded that New Deal policies prolonged the Great Depression. But the same story can be found on one page in "Out of Work."

While the market produced a peak unemployment rate of 9 percent-- briefly-- after the stock market crash of 1929, unemployment shot up after massive federal interventions in the economy. It rose above 20 percent in 1932 and stayed above 20 percent for 23 consecutive months, beginning in the Hoover administration and continuing during the Roosevelt administration. As Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up." It is all there on that one page.

Those who are convinced that the government has to "do something" when the economy has a problem almost never bother to find out what actually happens when the government intervenes.

The very fact that we still remember the stock market crash of 1929 is remarkable, since there was a similar stock market crash in 1987 that most people have long since forgotten.

What was the difference between these two stock market crashes? The 1929 stock market crash was followed by the most catastrophic depression in American history, with as many as one-fourth of all American workers being unemployed. The 1987 stock market crash was followed by two decades of economic growth with low unemployment.

But that was only one difference. The other big difference was that the Reagan administration did not intervene in the economy after the 1987 stock market crash-- despite many outcries in the media that the government should "do something."



After big 1979 spill, a stunning recovery

MALAQUITE BEACH, Texas The oil was everywhere, long black sheets of it, 15 inches thick in some places. Even if you stepped in what looked like a clean patch of sand, it quickly and gooily puddled around your feet. And Wes Tunnell, as he surveyed the mess, had only one bleak thought: "Oh, my God, this is horrible! It's all gonna die!"

But it didn't. Thirty-one years since the worst oil spill in North American history blanketed 150 miles of Texas beach, tourists noisily splash in the surf and turtles drag themselves into the dunes to lay eggs. "You look around, and it's like the spill never happened," shrugs Tunnell, a marine biologist. "There's a lot of perplexity in it for many of us."

For Tunnell and others involved in the fight to contain the June 3, 1979, spill from Mexico's Ixtoc 1 offshore well in the Gulf of Campeche, the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico conjures an eerie sense of déjà vu.

Like the BP spill, the Ixtoc disaster began with a burst of gas followed by an explosion and fire, followed by a relentless gush of oil that resisted all attempts to block it. Plugs of mud and debris, chemical dispersants, booms skimming the surface of the water: Mexico's Pemex oil company tried them all, but still the spill inexorably crept ashore, first in southeast Mexico, later in Texas.

But if the BP spill seems to be repeating one truth already demonstrated in the Ixtoc spill - that human technology is no match for a high-pressure undersea oil blowout - scientists are hoping that it may eventually confirm another: that the environment has a stunning capacity to heal itself from manmade insults.

"The environment is amazingly resilient, more so than most people understand," says Luis A. Soto, a deep-sea biologist with advanced degrees from Florida State University and the University of Miami who teaches at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

"To be honest, considering the magnitude of the spill, we thought the Ixtoc spill was going to have catastrophic effects for decades. ... But within a couple of years, almost everything was close to 100 percent normal again."

At first, little hope

That kind of optimism was unthinkable at the time of the spill, which took nearly 10 months to cap. The 30,000 barrels of oil a day it spewed into the ocean obliterated practically every living thing in its path. As it washed ashore, in some zones marine life was reduced by 50 percent; in others, 80 percent. The female population of an already-endangered species of sea turtles known as Kemp's Ridley shrank to 300, perilously close to extinction.

What survived wasn't much better off. Soto, surveying fish and shrimp in the Mexican coastal waters near the spill, found them infested with tumors.

The sizable fishing industry in the area was practically shut down - not that the boats were able to make their way through the massive clumps of giant tar balls bobbing through the Gulf of Campeche anyway.

In Texas, meanwhile, tourism curdled. Oil was so unavoidable on the popular beaches of Padre Island, just south of Corpus Christi, that hotels installed special mats outside along with signs pleading with guests to clean their feet rather than track tar into their rooms.

And scientists feared a less visible but more insidious effect of the spill: that it had killed off small organisms living at the tide line that form a crucial part of the marine food chain.

"These are things that most people never notice, some small segmented worms called amphipods, some little shrimplike crustaceans," says Tunnell, associate director of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "They were practically wiped out. And if they didn't recover, it would have drastically affected the food chain, from small fish and crabs up to shorebirds and beyond."

Then, a hurricane

But after three months in which nothing went right, Texas had some good luck - or, to put it in a glass-half-empty way, Alabama and Mississippi had some bad luck. Hurricane Frederic, while plowing into those two states, sent tides of two-foot waves reeling into the Texas shoreline. Overnight, half the 3,900 tons of oil piled up on Texan beaches disappeared. And human cleanup efforts began putting a dent in the rest.

Even in Mexico, which had neither the resources nor the hurricanes of the United States, the oil began disappearing under a ferocious counterattack by nature. In the water, much of it evaporated; on beaches, the combined forces of pounding waves, ultraviolet light and petroleum-eating microbes broke it down.

The bacteria as well as other marine life forms along the shoreline got a boost from a strategy employed by both the United States and Mexico: to more or less give up on stopping the oil spill from reaching beaches while concentrating on keeping it out of estuaries and wetlands.

"Texas just made a superhuman effort to keep the oil away from rivers, with two or three or four layers of booms to skim it away," said Thomas C. Shirley, a biodiversity specialist at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. "We know how to clean up beaches, and it's simple. It's just sand.

"But you get up into wetlands, where you're cleaning up shrubs and sea grasses, and it's far more difficult. Everything you're cleaning is alive, and you have to be careful not to do more harm than good."

By keeping oil out of rivers and lagoons, authorities ensured a steady stream of nutrients back into coastal areas. And as the spill diminished, marine life had a baby boom.

Key differences

But as much as the experts marvel at the way the environment recovered from the Ixtoc spill, none of them are shrugging off the BP disaster. Some larger species with longer life spans took years to recover from the Ixtoc spill. It wasn't until the late-1980s that the population of Kemp's Ridley turtles, which lay a couple of hundred eggs a year, as opposed to the millions produced by shrimp, started recovering. The immediate losses from an oil spill continue to ricochet through larger species for generations.

And while the Ixtoc and BP spills are in many respects startlingly similar, they also have important differences - particularly the depth at which they occurred. The Ixtoc well was in relatively shallow waters, about 160 feet deep. Nobody knows what happens to oil at 30 times that depth.

"Do I think the environment has an amazing resilience? Yes, I see it every day as we patrol the shoreline," says Travis R. Clapp, a National Park Service resource manager who works at the Padre Island National Seashore. "But I'd be cautious about saying how quick the recovery from this spill is going to be. We're in a whole new ballgame here."



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


Friday, June 18, 2010

A charming reminiscence of Margaret Thatcher

From the formidable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley -- A classics man who can code in machine language!

Anthony Watts’ splendid wattsupwiththat blog has an interesting posting about Margaret Thatcher’s sceptical approach to the climate question. This prompted some comments asking whether I could add anything to the story, since I gave her advice on science as well as other policy from 1982-1986, two years before the IPCC was founded. So here goes.

First, what on Earth was a layman with a degree in classical languages and architecture doing giving advice on science to the British Prime Minister, who was herself a scientist and a Fellow of the Royal Society?

Truth is, British government is small (though still a lot bigger and more expensive than it need be). The Prime Minister’s policy unit had just six members, and, as a mathematician who was about to make a goodish fortune turning an obscure and hitherto-unnoticed wrinkle in the principles of probabilistic combinatorics into a pair of world best-selling puzzles, I was the only one who knew any science.

So, faute de mieux [for want of better], it was I who – on the Prime Minister’s behalf – kept a weather eye on the official science advisors to the Government, from the Chief Scientific Advisor downward. On my first day in the job, I tottered into Downing Street dragging with me one of the world’s first portable computers, the 18-lb Osborne 1, with a 5” screen, floppy disks that were still truly floppy, and a Z80 8-bit chip which I had learned to program in machine language as well as BASIC.

This was the first computer they had ever seen in Downing Street. The head of security, a bluff military veteran, was deeply suspicious. “--What do you want a computer for?” he asked. “--Computing,” I replied.

I worked that weighty little box hard. It did everything: converting opinion-poll percentages to predictions of Parliamentary seats won and lost (we predicted the result of the 1983 General Election to within 1 seat); demonstrating a new type of index-linked home loan that removed the inflationary front-loading of interest payments and made it easier for working people to buy the State-owned houses they lived in (we sold a million, and turned cringing clients of the State into proud homeowners with a valuable stake in Britain); and calculating the optimum hull configuration for warships to prove that a government department had defrauded a lone inventor (he got $1 million in compensation).

The tiny computer back-engineered the Social Security Department’s model that showed the impact of changes in tax and benefit rates on different types of family; discounted Cabinet Ministers’ policies to present value to appraise their viability as investments; and worked out how much extra revenue the Government would get if it cut the top rate of income tax from 60 cents on the dollar to 40 cents.

On that one, I was right and the Treasury were wrong: as I had calculated, the rich ended up paying not only more tax but a higher percentage of total tax, even though the top tax rate they had previously paid was 50% higher than the new rate.

The only expenses I ever claimed for in four years at 10 Downing Street were £172 for soldering dry joints on that overworked computer, on which I also did the first elementary radiative-transfer calculations that indicated climate scientists were right to say some “global warming” would arise as CO2 concentration continued to climb.

I briefed my colleagues in the Policy Unit, and also the Prime Minister herself. My advice was straightforward: CO2 concentrations were rising, we were causing it, and it would cause some warming, but at that time no one knew how much (plus ca change), so we needed to find out.

The Prime Minister’s response was equally hard-headed: we were to keep an eye on the problem and come back to her again when action was necessary.

Did she even mention that “global warming” presented an opportunity to give nuclear power a push and, at the same time, to do down the coal-miners who had destroyed a previous Conservative government and had also tried to destroy hers?
Certainly not, for four compelling reasons.

First, nuclear power was politically dead at that time, following the monumentally stupid attempt by the Soviet operators of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor to shut it down without external power just because they were curious to see what would happen.

Secondly, by then the mineworkers, under their Communist leadership, had long been defeated, and we were making arrangements for the deep, dangerous, loss-making coal-mines that had killed so many brave pitmen to be shut down and replaced with safer, profitable, opencast mines.

Two mineworkers came to my farewell party at 10 Downing Street: the first miners ever to enter Downing Street during a Conservative administration.

Thirdly, Margaret Thatcher was never vindictive: it simply was not in her nature. If any of us ever suggested taking any action that would unfairly disadvantage any of her political opponents, she would give us the Gazillion-Gigawatt Glare and say, very firmly and quietly, “Prime Ministers don’t, dear!”

Fourthly, she had an unusual mind that effortlessly spanned CP Snow’s Two Cultures.

As a former food chemist, she possessed the ruthlessly honest logic of the true scientist. As a former barrister, she had the vigor and articulacy of the true practitioner of the forensic arts. Too many scientists today are in effect politicians: too many politicians pretend to be scientific.

Margaret Thatcher was genuinely both scientist and politician, and was able to take the best from both roles without confusing them. She would not have dreamed of doing anything that in any way undermined the integrity of science.

A little vignette will illustrate her scientific integrity. In the late 1970s, a year before she won the first of her three General Elections and became Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, I had sent her a tiny piece of propaganda that I had designed, The Labour Pound.

The little slip of paper bore this simple message:

“This is a Labour Pound. This is how small your banknote would be today if it had been shrunk to match the fall in its value under Labour. Vote Conservative!”

Margaret Thatcher noticed at once that the piece of paper was a little too small. Inflation had been bad under the Labour Government (at the time it was running at 27% a year), but not that bad. “Do it again and get it right and be fair,” she said. Humbled, I did as I was told – and tens of millions of Labour Pounds were distributed throughout Britain at the subsequent General Election, to satisfyingly devastating effect.

In 1988 it was my successor at No. 10, George Guise, who traveled one bitterly cold October weekend down to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country house, and sat in front of a roaring fire writing the speech that would announce a government subsidy to the Royal Society to establish what would become the Hadley Centre for Forecasting.

George remembers how he and the Prime Minister chuckled at the irony of writing a speech about “global warming” on an evening so cold that he could hardly hold his pen.

But that’s October for you: a couple of years ago the scientific illiterates who now inhabit the House of Commons voted for the Climate Change and National Economic Hara-Kiri Bill by one of the largest majorities in Parliament’s history, with only three gallant MPs having the courage to defy the Whips and vote against – and this on the very night that the first October snow in 74 years fell in Parliament Square.

In due course, the scientific results began to arrive. It became as clear to Margaret Thatcher as it has to me that our original concern was no longer necessary. The warming effect of CO2 is simply too small to make much difference and, in any event, it is orders of magnitude cheaper and more cost-effective to adapt to any consequences of “global warming” than to wreck the economies of the West by trying to demonize CO2 and cut our emissions.

Margaret Thatcher was very conscious that the Left tries to taint every aspect of life by attempting to politicize it.

In her thinking, therefore, there is genuine outrage that the coalescence of financial and political vested-interest factions in the scientific and academic community that are driving the climate scare should be striving to bring the age of enlightenment and reason to an end by treating scientific debate as though every question were a political football to be kicked ever Leftward.

In the elegant words of my good friend Bob Ferguson of the Science and Public Policy Institute, she is interested not in “policy-based evidence-making” but in “evidence-based policy-making”. The present crop of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic could learn much from her honest, forthright, no-nonsense approach.



Surprise! America's Leftists have no respect for democracy

They know what's best for you. The will of the people be damned!

Mike Allen broke this astounding bit of news yesterday:
Phil Schiliro, the White House congressional liaison, has told the Senate to aim to take up an energy bill the week of July 12, after the July 4 break (and after the scheduled final passage of Wall Street reform). Kagan confirmation will follow, ahead of the summer break, scheduled to begin Aug. 9. The plan is to conference the new Senate bill with the already-passed House bill IN A LAME-DUCK SESSION AFTER THE ELECTION, so House members don't have to take another tough vote ahead of midterms.

A White House aide has the official word: "President Obama reiterated his call for comprehensive energy and climate legislation to break our dependence on oil and fossil fuels. In the coming weeks he will be reaching out to Senators on both sides of the aisle to chart a path forward. A number of proposals have been put forward from Members on both sides of the aisle. We're open to good ideas from all sources, and will be working with Senators on a comprehensive proposal. The tragedy in the Gulf underscores the need to move quickly, and the President is committed to finding the votes for comprehensive energy legislation this year."

The only reason to pass such a major piece of legislation during a lame duck session is because the proposal is unpopular. If Democrats could sell the bill to their constituents, they would pass it before the November elections then campaign on it. Party leaders must also expect that the political will for this bill will not exist in the 112th Congress after the voters have spoken in November. In other words, the new representatives coming in are not going to vote for it - so Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama had better get the representatives who were just fired to support it before they're forced into early retirement.



Engulfing the Internet

Despite opposition by a House of Representatives majority and a bipartisan group of Senators, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday is expected to proceed with plans to impose federal government regulation of the Internet, which would essentially treat broadband networks -- and the companies that invested more than $200 billion in private capital to deploy them -- as utilities.

The commission's chairman, Julius Genachowski, and his staff have insisted that imposing federal regulations originally written in the 1930s for the telephone is the only way the Obama Administration can gain the "kind of oversight and control that we need," says an FCC staffer with ties to another Democrat commissioner. "Look at the Gulf oil spill, that's what happens when we let corporations just do their own thing without any accountability. We can't allow that to happen with the Internet. We won't allow it."

The vote to continue the review and comment process at the FCC is expected to be a party-line vote, with the two Republican commissioners voting against the proposed regulatory scheme.

Under the Obama Administration's plan, the FCC would be able to enforce so-called "net neutrality" rules, allowing the federal government to set how broadband and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) manage the networks. By bringing broadband and the Internet under FCC regulatory oversight, the FCC would also be able to impose policies related to speech or online business models.

"The American public really has no idea how devastating these policies are going to have on free speech and the Internet," says a Republican Senate staffer. "If they are able to impose these regulations, they would be able to impose a host of different regulations that would limit free speech online and essentially give the left the upper hand. First the auto industry, then health care and the financial services industry, now this."




U.S. private sector not recovering: "Wall Street seems to have no concept at all that every bit of growth we've observed over the past year can be traced to government deficit spending, with zero private sector expansion when those deficits are factored out. As I noted last week, if one removes the impact of deficit spending, "the economy has recovered to the point where the year-over-year growth rate since early 2009 now matches the worst performance of any of the 50 years preceding the recent downturn." In effect, Wall Street's is seeing "legs" where the economy is in fact walking on nothing but crutches.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Rose Last Week: "The number of Americans seeking jobless benefits last week unexpectedly rose to a one-month high, indicating firings are staying elevated even as the U.S. economy grows. Initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 472,000 in the week ended June 12, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected 450,000 claims, according to the median forecast. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance rose, while those getting extended benefits dropped."

Record 57% Of Americans Disapprove Of Obama’s Performance: "That’s a new low for President Obama in the latest Rasmussen poll. Just 42% approve of his performance, matching a record low. Likely voters are increasingly frustrated with Obama over the BP (BP) oil spill, Rasmussen noted Tuesday: "Meanwhile, 45% now say the president is doing a poor job handling the incident. That’s up 11 points from two weeks ago and 19 points at the beginning of last month. Thirty percent (30%) give the president good or excellent marks for his handling of the situation, down from 38% two weeks ago." Rasmussen is the only one on the RCP list that queries likely voters"

Voters in big states prefer skinflint candidates: "Government in New York is too big, ineffective, and expensive,’ the candidate’s website proclaims. ‘We must get our state’s fiscal house in order by immediately imposing a cap on state spending and freezing salaries of state public employees as part of a one-year emergency financial plan, committing to no increase in personal or corporate income taxes of sales taxes and imposing a local property tax cap.’ A tea-party candidate? Some right-wing Republican? No, it’s Andrew Cuomo, son of three-term Democratic governor Mario Cuomo. Interestingly, he’s the only Democrat with a significant polling lead in the gubernatorial races in our eight largest states, which together have 48 percent of the nation’s population.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Racial quotas for elections?

Leftist racism marches on

Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ends Tuesday and results are expected late Tuesday.

Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. He rejected a government proposal to break the village into six districts, including one that took in heavily Hispanic areas.



L.A. Times blogger does a great job on President Emptyhead

Some scathing words by Andrew Malcolm below

For all his reputation as the nation's Top Talker, Barack Obama took his sweet time giving a maiden Oval Office address to the country. And waiting another nearly 60 days to speak nationally about the oil spill that’s become the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history.

Obama, the first modern president to pass his first full year in office without addressing the country from his historic desk, had the setting right. Just back from a day-and-a-half on the gulf coast listening, reassuring, talking tourism, eating seafood. He wore the proper suit, had the requisite flags and family photos in the background.

For 18 minutes he delivered the words crisply and forthrightly, though too often distracting anxious viewers with his fidgeting hands like the lecturing professor he once was. Or wait! Was Mr. Cool nervous? (See video below.)

Obama had the firmness down OK: Make no mistake etc. We will hold BP accountable etc. He....

...had the God references. The talk of real live shrimpers devastated. An American way of life threatened. And though he likened the spill more to an epidemic, he also brought in the requisite battle metaphors. And, in case anyone hasn't heard by now, Obama noted has another Nobel Prize winner in his cabinet, Stephen Chu, who hasn't been able to stop the oil leak either.
But there was something wrong. The first two-thirds of the president's remarks read just fine (Full text over here on The Ticket as usual). By golly, we’ll get the money, we’ll clean it up, no matter how long it takes.
Democrat president Barack walks to the Oval Office shortly before his national speech 6-15-10

But watching the president and hearing him was a little creepy; that early portion of the address was robotic, lacked real energy, enthusiasm. And worst of all specifics. He was virtually detail-less.

After almost two months of waiting through continuously contradictory reports, an anxious American public wanted to know, HOW are you going to accomplish all this?

Even Obama's cheerleaders over at MSNBC were complaining. "Where was the How in this speech?" demanded Keith Olbermann. Seriously.

Everyone's assumed that fixing the leak was a given since Day Four, which was still five days before the Democrat got his big plane and presidential entourage down there.

Local gulf coast officials are tearing out their hair trying to comprehend and comply with seventeen (as in seven more than 10) federal agencies falling all over themselves to do The Boss’ bidding and help and impose and superimpose their visions and regulations on what is a war zone with hundreds of ships and some 30,000 people involved, many of them frightened. And all of them inexperienced on a disaster of this scale.

Trust me, the president said, tomorrow I'm going to give those BP execs what-for. As CBS' Mark Knoller noted on his Twitter account, the president has allotted exactly 20 whole minutes this morning -- 1,200 fleeting seconds -- to his first-ever conversation with the corporation responsible for the disaster.

Then, he's got an important lunch with Joe "I Witnessed the World Cup's First Tie" Biden.

Well, just-believe-in-my-change-to-believe-in may have been good enough to win Obama's party primaries and the general election in 2008 and drag along into office enormous congressional majorities of fellow party travelers.
Democrat president Barack Obama gives his first Oval Office Speech 6-15-10

But after yelling "JOBS!" for a year and getting a protracted Democratic intra-party fight over Obama's beloved healthcare instead, Americans wanted some Oval Office specifics Tuesday evening on stopping the uncontrolled undersea oil escape.

Instead, Obama was like a Harvard-trained nurse talking vacation to a new patient bleeding all over the ER floor. Hello, could we please stop the blood flow here before we discuss the long-term recovery?

Obama’s delivery did not really come alive until the end when the ex-community organizer got into his favorite Big Picture stuff. Memo to American Homeowners: Do not call Obama over to fix your leaking roof – or pipe. Have him design a new house, no, better yet an entire neighborhood or city from scratch.

Following the advice of his chief of staff, Rahm "I Got a Rent-Free Apartment from a BP Adviser" Emanuel, Obama is determined to leave no crisis unused. When he got into the decades-long fossil fuel addiction rehab stuff, his eyes shone. His delivery punched up.

Now, that is an issue that requires greatness. Another galactic reform out of Hyde Park. It sounds swell unless mega-trillion-dollar federal deficits are on your mind, which voter polls now show ranks with terrorism as Americans' top fears.
Obama’s historic presidential campaign was not only big in terms of an unprecedented three-quarters of a billion dollars to win. It was about Big Promises. He was going to change America, radically reform the entire education system, healthcare, comb the entire federal budget line-by-line, oh, and change the 200-year-old partisan ways of the capitol. About the only big change the White Sox fan didn't promise was getting the Cubs a World Series ring.

It was all impractical, of course. But the country wanted to believe.... his change to believe in. And it did, handing complete control of the federal government over to Obama and his Democratic party. And today, after 17 months of lop-sided Democratic majorities now nervously confronting midterm elections Nov. 2, about 60% of Americans would like the new healthcare bill repealed. And they're hinting they'd probably like some more Republicans in Congress too.

President Obama has said he doesn’t sense an appetite to address something as large as the illegal immigrant issue this year. But suddenly – watch the left hand over here because he wants you to not focus on how long it’s taken him to take charge of the spill – he thinks there’s a compelling need to spend a motorcade full of moola that the federal government doesn’t have in order to change the country’s energy habits.

And we've gotta start that right now because of an underwater leaking pipe 40 miles off Louisiana that we haven't plugged and don't really understand how it broke in the first place. So let's do the electric car thing and build more windmills now.

And if, by chance, the nation’s politicians end up fighting over an energy plan during the next five months until the voting, maybe the politically damaging healthcare regrets and hidden costs will drown in all the words like so many thousands of seabirds in all the gulf’s still-surging oil.



Economic Myths, Fallacies and Stupidity

George Orwell admonished, "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." That's what I want to do -- talk about the obvious. Suppose that a person is faced with the choice of spending $50,000 on a brand-new car or paying two years worth of college tuition for his 18-year-old. What is the solution?

That's a stupid question. In the world of economic decision making, there are no solutions -- only tradeoffs, where having more of one thing means having less of another. Having one desire fulfilled means having another unfulfilled. For example, there's no solution to our health care issues. Congress' health care law simply substitutes its judgment on the delivery of medical services in the name of helping the uninsured. The tradeoff is that Americans have less of something else such as fewer personal choices, less after-tax income and very likely a lower quality of medical services.

How about the criticism that businesses are just in it for money and profits? That's supposed to be an anti-business slam but upon simple examination, it reflects gross stupidity or misunderstanding. Wal-Mart owns 8,300 stores, of which 4,000 are in 44 different countries. Its 2010 revenues are expected to top $500 billion. Putting Wal-Mart's revenues in perspective, they exceed the 2009 GDP of all but 18 of the world's 181 countries. Why is Wal-Mart so successful? Millions of people voluntarily enter their stores and part with their money in exchange for Wal-Mart's products and services. In order for that to happen, Wal-Mart and millions of other profit-motivated businesses must please people.

Compare our level of satisfaction with the services of those "in it just for the money and profits" to those in it to serve the public as opposed to earning profits. A major non-profit service provider is the public education establishment that delivers primary and secondary education at nearly a trillion-dollar annual cost. Public education is a major source of complaints about poor services that in many cases constitute nothing less than gross fraud.

If Wal-Mart, or any of the millions of producers who are in it for money and profits, were to deliver the same low-quality services, they would be out of business, but not public schools. Why? People who produce public education get their pay, pay raises and perks whether customers are satisfied or not. They are not motivated by profits and therefore under considerably less pressure to please customers. They use government to take customer money, in the form of taxes.

The U. S. Postal Service, state motor vehicle departments and other government agencies also have the taxing power of government to get money and therefore are less diligent about pleasing customers. You can bet the rent money that if Wal-Mart and other businesses had the power to take our money by force, they would be less interested and willing to please us.

The big difference between entities that serve us well and those who do not lies in what motivates them. Wal-Mart and millions of other businesses are profit-motivated whereas government schools, USPS and state motor vehicle departments are not.

In the market, when a firm fails to please its customers and fails to earn a profit, it goes bankrupt, making those resources available to another that might do better. That's unless government steps in to bail it out. Bailouts send the message to continue doing a poor job of pleasing customers and husbanding resources. Government-owned nonprofit entities are immune to the ruthless market discipline of being forced to please customers. The same can be said of businesses that receive government subsidies.

The ruthlessness of the market discipline, which forces firms to please customers and thereby earn profits, goes a long way toward explaining hostility toward free market capitalism.




Presbyterians lurching Left: "The compounding problem with the Accra Confession is that it takes the wrong side, the side that embraces an essentially neo-Marxist narrative of Third World alienation and victimization, and seeks ‘justice’ in the form of retribution against First World villains. Far from promoting the kind of unity that is at the core of ecumenical efforts, this kind of rhetorical and ideological confessionalism drives apart those who ought to be joining together. It pits the rich against the poor, north against south, east against west, inserting the divisive language of economic class into the definition of the Christian church. Wholesale rejection of globalization should not be made into an article of the Christian faith.”

The criminalization of business: "Under the radar, the Obama administration has exhibited a disturbing tendency to criminalize business. Recently the administration announced that it was opening a criminal investigation into the activities of Goldman Sachs in selling securities backed by subprime mortgage loans. Now comes word that the Food and Drug Administration is considering imposing criminal penalties against Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit for a ‘pattern of non-compliance’ with rules governing the manufacture of pharmaceutical products. This criminalization of business represents a dramatic expansion of government power that is unwarranted.”

End the drug war: "I understand that people on drugs can do terrible harm — wreck lives and hurt people. But that’s true for alcohol, too. But alcohol prohibition didn’t work. It created Al Capone and organized crime. Now drug prohibition funds nasty Mexican gangs and the Taliban. Is it worth it? I don’t think so. Everything can be abused, but that doesn’t mean government can stop it, or should try to stop it. Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.”


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)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amusing crap about IQ

A murder in your area lowers your IQ -- even if you don't know about the murder concerned? It's totally implausible but Leftists never give up in their hatred of around 100 years of IQ research that show IQ to be mostly genetic.

The author below found that people living in areas where a crime had occurred recently have lower IQs. But what sort of area is likely to have experienced a crime recently? A area that has high rates of crime generally and an area where anybody with brains would NOT live. Note that criminals have long been known to have generally low IQs and very low levels of educational attainment.

So all that the author below in fact found was that people living in high crime areas tend to be dumb, which is no surprise to anyone. The journal article is The acute effect of local homicides on children's cognitive performance.

The statement below to the effect that "The effects wear off after a week to nine days" is simply not supportable from the data available. It is just another perverse guess. You would need before-and-after data on the same person to substantiate that claim and the author simply did not have such data.

A murder in the neighborhood can significantly knock down a child's score on an IQ test, even if the child did not directly witness the killing or know the victim, U.S. researchers reported on Monday....

Sharkey compared data on crimes broken down to within a few blocks in a neighborhood with school test scores.

He collected details of more than 6,000 murders in the Chicago area and the results of two surveys of children and families in Chicago neighborhoods. The surveys included scores from tests that are used to determine a child's IQ.

If a murder occurred in a child's neighborhood -- an area of roughly six to 10 square blocks as denoted by the U.S. Census -- the children's test scores fell by an average of half a standard deviation, Sharkey reported.

On an IQ test using 100 as the average or norm, one standard deviation is 15 points. So if a child took the test within a week of a local murder, his or her score was 7-8 points lower on average than the score of a similar child in a similar neighborhood where there was no murder.

This fits in with what is known about the effects of post traumatic stress, Sharkey said. "The results suggest that children may carry the burden of violence with them as they take part in daily life within the neighborhood or school settings," he said.

The effects wear off after a week to nine days, Sharkey found. But in areas with a lot of crime, this does not provide much relief.




Deepwater-Gate: Administration Modifies Peer-Reviewed Report After it was Reviewed by Scientists

In the days following the Gulf oil spill, President Obama requested that the Secretary of the Interior conduct a 30-day review of the offshore drilling program in the United States and issue a report with recommendations. This report was to be “peer reviewed” by a team of seven engineers recommended by the National Academy of Engineering.

The team of engineers reviewed, approved and signed off on a version of the 30-day review that was presented to them by the Administration. However, after they signed their names to this document, a significant change was made – a change that led to the 6-month suspension of deepwater exploratory drilling.

The eight panel members said they disagree with the moratorium on all exploratory drilling.” In justifying its broad moratorium on deepwater drilling, the Obama administration emphasized that the measure was recommended by an Interior Department report prepared in consultation with scientists and industry experts.

The May 27 report to President Barack Obama said the experts “peer reviewed” its recommendations, including the six-month moratorium and 22 safety measures. But eight of the 15 members of the review panel are charging that the administration misrepresented their position by suggesting they supported a blanket moratorium that they actually oppose. Their criticism, and the administration’s response, are evidence that the six-month stoppage is based on politics rather than on science.



Obama Blocked Clean-Up of BP Oil Spill by Friendly Countries

Is this another crisis Obama doesn't want to waste?

Crucial offers to help clean up BP’s oil spill “have come from Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian firms that . . . possess some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships.” But the Obama Administration wouldn’t accept the help, because doing so would require it to do something past presidents have routinely done: waive rules imposed by the Jones Act, a law backed by unions.

“The BP clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by the Jones Act. This is a piece of 1920s protectionist legislation, that requires all vessels working in U.S. waters to be American-built, and American-crewed. So the U.S. Coast Guard" cannot "accept, and therefore don’t ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels specifically designed for the task in hand.”

The law itself permits the President to waive these requirements, and such waivers were “granted, promptly, by the Bush administration,” in the aftermath of hurricanes and other emergencies. But Obama has refused to do so, notes David Warren in the Ottawa Citizen.

“After the Obama administration refused help from the Netherlands, Geert Visser, the consul general for the Netherlands in Houston, told Loren Steffy: ‘Let’s forget about politics; let’s get it done.’” But for Obama, politics always comes first: “The explanation of Obama’s reluctance to seek this remedy is his cozy relationship with labor unions. . . ‘The unions see it [not waiving the act] as … protecting jobs. They hate when the Jones Act gets waived.’”

Ironically, even the staunchest supporters of the Jones Act are now distancing themselves from refusals to accept foreign help, saying they have “not and will not stand in the way of the use of these well-established waiver procedures to address this crisis.” Obama is being more intransigently pro-union than the unions themselves. Never mind that "each day our European allies are prevented from helping us speed up the clean up is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.”

In April 2009, the Obama administration granted BP, a big supporter of Obama, a waiver of environmental regulations. But after the oil spill, it blocked Louisiana from protecting its coastline against the oil spill by delaying rather than expediting regulatory approval of essential protective measures. It has also chosen not to use what has been described as “the most effective method” of fighting the spill, a method successfully used in other oil spills. Democratic strategist James Carville called Obama’s handling of the oil spill “lackadaisical” and “unbelievable” in its “stupidity.”

Obama is now using BP’s oil spill to push the global-warming legislation that BP had lobbied for. Obama’s global warming legislation expands ethanol subsidies, which cause famine, starvation, and food riots in poor countries by shrinking the food supply. Ethanol makes gasoline costlier and dirtier, increases ozone pollution, and increases the death toll from smog and air pollution. Ethanol production also results in deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Subsidies for biofuels like ethanol are a big source of corporate welfare: “BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels . . . that cannot break even without government support.”



BrookesNews Update

Is the US economy heading for the rocks? : If the public had — or at least the country's economic pundits — had a far better understanding of how the economy functioned Obama's destructive economic policies would never have got of the ground
Is the US economy facing deflation?: A sharp fall in commodity prices has raised the spectre of deflation in the US. But so long as the rate of monetary expansion remains positive there can be no deflation. And monetary pumping by the Fed has kept monetary growth in positive territory. Moreover, there is the distinct possibility that stagflation will emerge
Rudd's disastrous resource rent tax: how the right let the country down again : What is truly bizarre about the present situation is not a single member of our rightwing has come out against the theoretical basis of Rudd's tax. Equally bizarre is their refusal to acknowledge that the theory of economic rent has been effectively debunked, even though they are stridently attacking the tax
The Gaza flotilla's organisors' terrorist links : The 'charity' that organised the Gaza flotilla is in fact a terrorist front with strong links to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Evidence is emerging that suggests Erdogan collaborated with these terrorists in an effort to score a propaganda victory against Israel, a victory that the willing collaboration of the Western media guaranteed, making Erdogan a sponsor of international terrorism
CNBC is collaborating with Castro's KGB-trained secret police : CNBC has decided to partner itself with Castro's secret police. In a hit job on the rescue of more than 14,000 children from Castro's vicious regime it brought in Maria Torres, neglecting to mention that she is an agent of influence for the Castro regime and is a also a member of the Antonio Maceo Brigade, an organization that is run by Castro's KGB-trained DGI. CNBC has once again revealed itself as a deeply corrupt, even treasonous, phony news outlet
Friends of Israel take a stand : The goal is to fight the web war against Israel by blogging and using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and posting talkbacks on a range of media sites
A shrink asks: what's wrong with Obama? : Obama will not learn from his mistakes. He will not grow and mature from on-the-job experience. Over time he will become a more ferocious version of who he is today. Why? Because this is a damaged person. Obama's fate was sealed years ago growing up in his strange and poisonous family



On Henry Ford and his $5 a day: "It's a fairly common trope in US lefty land that Henry Ford and his $5 a day wages back in 1913 marked a huge change in labour relations. He was moved to raise wages so high (approximately double the prevailing wage) so as to help create a market for his own products. This is an interesting thought, certainly, but not one that stands much examination. That year his establishment of workers was some 14,000 head: his sales some 170,000 and that's just the year that he started ramping up production through the moving assembly line (reaching 500,000 in a couple of years and near a million within a decade). The spending power of his workforce was entirely marginal."

How can America’s “War on Drugs” succeed if alcohol Prohibition failed?: "America’s Prohibition laws were meant to cut crime and boost morality — they failed on both fronts. So how can the ‘War on Drugs’ ever succeed? It can’t.”

Views from abroad: "Having spent almost six years living in various parts of Asia and traveling to over 50 cities, I always made a deliberate effort to absorb as much of the local sentiment as possible. Sometimes this is very difficult given time constraints, language barriers, etc.; however, certain aspects of my travels were very clearly spelled out and remain very vivid to this day. When I found myself engaged in meaningful discussions with people who understood their society and seemed genuinely connected to their society, I would always ask ‘what do you think is the biggest problem in society?’ From my time spent in places like Philippines, India, Vietnam and China, the overwhelming majority of times, I received a similar response — ‘Government.’”

Bailing out politicians now?: "Obama calls it an ‘emergency’ measure to prevent ‘massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters.’ Yet, none of the 20 million state, county or municipal workers can lose their job unless an elected legislature and a chief executive agree that they should go. Obama is calling for a taxpayer rescue of the political class to which he belongs, to spare it the painful duty tens of thousands of business executives have had to perform. Private employees — 25 million of whom are out of work, underemployed or have given up looking for jobs — may be expendable, but government workers are not.”


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)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crisis puts nails back in Keynesian coffin

Comment from Australia

LAST year's global financial crisis heralded the stunning return of Keynesian fiscal policy as governments pumped up their budgets to stave off a feared global depression. This year's European sovereign-debt crisis signals its spectacular fall as governments are suddenly forced to cut their budgets even when their economies are weak.

The discrediting of activist fiscal policy also dashes Kevin Rudd's wild talk that the GFC marked the end of unregulated extreme capitalism and its overthrow by a new epoch of "social democracy". As the PM's essay in The Monthly approvingly quoted French President Nicolas Sarkozy: "Le laissez-faire, c'est fini."

Of course, the neo-liberal minimalist state doesn't exist, particularly in Europe. Yet the Europeans continued to blame unregulated financial markets as their sovereign-debt crisis spread from Greece across the world in April and May. The Swedish Finance Minister likened the markets to "a pack of wolves".

Only after the EU's emergency $US1 trillion ($1.17 trillion) financial stabilisation fund failed to stabilise the situation did the euro finally drop. The recession and the huge budget stimulus and bank bailout packages had pushed Europe's budgets over the brink. Investors demanded much higher risk premiums before they would be prepared to buy bonds issued by the most profligate governments, such as Greece, Portugal and Spain. This threatened to club their economies even harder, make their budget positions worse and risk feeding back through sovereign defaults into a new European banking crisis.

After championing last year's huge budget stimulus packages, the International Monetary Fund now says the euro area crisis primarily results from "fiscally unsustainable policies". Advanced economies will have to contract their budgets nearly nine percentage points of gross domestic product to reduce their gross government debt from post-war highs of over 100 per cent to 60 per cent of GDP by 2030. The World Bank says a severe loss of confidence in the budget positions of high-income economies is now the biggest risk to the global economy. "Demand stimulus in high-income countries is increasingly part of the problem instead of the solution," it says.

One of the world's leading macro-economists, Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs, argues that Europe's enforced switch from budget stimulus to fiscal austerity reveals the folly of last year's Keynesian revival.

"Keynesian stimulus was premised on four dubious propositions," Sachs wrote last week in the Financial Times. "That it was needed to prevent a global depression; that a short-run fiscal boost would jump-start the economy; that 'shovel-ready projects' could combine short-term cyclical and long-term structural agendas; and, last, that the rapid rise of public debt occasioned by stimulus need not be a concern. That these ideas were so widely accepted was a testament to the perennial political attractiveness of tax cuts and spending increases."

Sachs dismisses last year's ubiquitous references to another Depression as glib. Politicians panicked when they should have left the financial crisis to central bankers. Many of the budget stimulus programs were "dispiriting wastes of scarce time and money". And they ignored a key rationalist insight of modern macro-economics: that the effectiveness of such stimulus packages depends not only on current taxes and spending but also on their likely future trajectories.

The irony is striking. Rudd claimed that the GFC revealed the neo-liberal fallacy that financial markets naturally self-corrected. But it has taken the markets to finally discipline the political tendency for the modern welfare state to repeatedly ratchet up spending and taxes as a share of national income. EU president Herman Van Rompuy now even blames financial markets for being too "soft" on European fiscal irresponsibility for too long after the euro was born in 1999.

And the battle to save the euro will not be waged through Rudd's seismic social-democratic overthrow of neo-liberalism. Along with austerity, it will require more pro-market reforms - particular to Europe's over-regulated labour markets - to provide the internal economic flexibility required by a single-currency area.

More here


Time to Stop Funding Luxuries, Like Public Broadcasting

As a taxpayer, it is a good idea to take a step back and evaluate the government-run programs you are financially supporting.

Most likely you will be appalled. As American families have to adjust their spending budgets due to the depressed economy, the federal government continues to plunge the nation into unprecedented debt levels. The only way out of this mess is for the government to start cutting non-essential programs.

One such program, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), is a good place to start.

Networks such as Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) feed off federal funding from CPB. This year alone, American taxpayers are spending $420 million to fund CPB. That’s $420 million too much.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) is proposing legislation this week that will put an end to taxpayer subsidies of public broadcasting. CPB is a non-profit that receives about 13 percent of its funding from the federal government — meaning taxpayers.

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting puts out some programs that I enjoy and a lot of people enjoy, but they can stand on their own two feet,” Lamborn says in an exclusive interview with Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “In fact, 87 percent of their money comes from sources other than the U.S. taxpayer. So why should we, in days of $1 trillion annual deficits, give money to a corporation or any company that can fund itself.”

More here


African-American Ethics Judge Accused of being bribed by a trip Overseas

In an ironic revelations concerning a California judge, details of a suit accusing the judge of accepting a trip oversees as a form bribery were publicized recently by a faith-based watchdog group. The suit accuses Patrice Elizabeth McElroy (aka Pat McElroy), a judge with the State Bar Court of California, of accepting bribery as part of a scheme and as a valuable consideration in exchange for favorable rulings from a private attorney who appeared before her in a case in which he was involved.

The suit also alleges that McElroy never made any disclosures to the other litigants appearing before her concerning her participation in the trip which she had had secretly accepted from the private attorney.

Patrice McElroy is the supervising judge of the State Bar Court Hearing Department, which is part of the State Bar of California. The work of Patrice McElroy involves judging others in matters relating to ethics.

Press release here. Details here.


Big Labor Is Humbled by Blanche Lincoln's Win

How bad a defeat did labor unions suffer when Sen. Blanche Lincoln defeated their candidate and won the Arkansas Democratic runoff last week? That's like asking how Custer fared at Little Big Horn.

Like Custer, the unions bet heavily, putting something like $10 million into Arkansas to support Lincoln's challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, since he started his campaign in early March. And they did so for good reason.

Union leaders desperately need Congress to pass their card check bill, which would effectively abolish the secret ballot in unionization elections. Card check would allow union thugs -- er, organizers -- to collect signatures on cards of a majority of employees and then, presto, the union would be recognized as a bargaining agent, and dues money would come pouring in.

It isn't now, at least at the rate union leaders would like. Last January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that union membership in 2009 was at an all-time low since the 1930s. Only 12 percent of wage and salary workers were union members, and the number of union members dropped 771,000 between 2008 and 2009.

And, for the first time in history, more union members (7.9 million) work in the public sector than the private sector (7.4 million). Only 7.2 percent of private-sector workers are union members, a huge drop from the peak figure of 28 percent in the mid-1950s.

Moreover, unions aren't picking up many young workers. The BLS reports that 16.6 percent of workers 55 to 64 years old are union members. That's compared to only 4.7 percent of workers 16 to 24.

Union leaders spent some $400 million in the 2008 campaign cycle to elect Barack Obama and Democratic candidates for Senate and House. They got their wish: Obama won, House Democrats gained a solid majority and, once Al Franken was seated last July, there was a 60-vote Democratic supermajority in the Senate. There was speculation in sympathetic blogs about how many Senate Republicans would join the Democrats in passing card check and sending it to the president for his signature.

But politicians don't always stay bought. Every Democratic senator but one (who was out sick) voted for cloture to consider the card check bill in 2007, including Blanche Lincoln. But that was when it was sure to be vetoed by George W. Bush.

After the 2008 elections, Lincoln undoubtedly started to hear constituents in Arkansas -- including, undoubtedly, top management at Wal-Mart and Tysons Food, who don't want unions to do to their firms what the United Auto Workers did to General Motors and Chrysler. Polls showed large majorities of the national electorate opposed to eliminating the secret ballot. By January 2009, Lincoln was saying she didn't think "there is a need for this legislation right now."

She wasn't the only Senate Democrat to take that view. Her Arkansas colleague Mark Pryor, re-elected without opposition in 2008, said he wouldn't co-sponsor card check again. Card check slowly died.

Union leaders are under no illusion that there will be more Democrats in the next Congress than in this one. But they think far ahead, and they decided to oppose Lincoln to teach every Democrat a lesson: If you oppose big labor, we will end your career. Whether they persuaded Halter to run or just hitched a ride on his last-minute candidacy, they went all-in for him.

More here



I don't know that it proves anything much -- other than the usual Leftist hypocrisy -- but there is an article here about Hitler's homosexuality. It is a review of Lothar Machtan's book, "The Hidden Hitler". Homosexual aggression is nothing new. The Pink Swastika by Scott Lively is the best-known book on homosexuality in the Nazi party.

Democrat thug caught out: "In a video released early this morning, a North Carolina congressman gets rowdy with a "college student" who accosted him with questions. Rep. Bob Etheridge has apologized for the incident, captured on YouTube, where he grabs the inquisitive young man a repeatedly asks, "Who are you?" Etheridge, was apparently peeved by the question of whether he fully supports the Obama agenda. The congressman released the following statement regarding the altercation: "I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved," Etheridge said. "Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response." (Video here)

The ambiguity of "equal rights": "Ted Olsen's view, widely shared by supporters of gay marriage, is that current California law fails to provide homosexuals the same right it provides to heterosexuals - the right to be married to the partner of their choice. An opponent could respond, with equal logic, that it is consistent with equal rights. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals have the right to marry a partner of the opposite sex, neither has the right to marry a partner of the same sex. Seen from this standpoint, the difference is not in what rights different people have but in what rights matter to different people."

What’s your plan, Senator Reid?: "It is no secret that Harry Reid sees the road to his Senate re-election as running through Social Security. His opponent, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, supports proposals to allow younger workers to privately invest a portion of their Social Security taxes through personal accounts. Reid has been practically salivating at the prospect of portraying her as sentencing seniors to a life of eating cat food. … Social Security is certainly a fair-game issue. It is the largest government program in the world, accounting for 23 percent of the federal budget. … Millions of seniors depend on Social Security for their retirement income. Angle’s position should be scrutinized and debated. But one must also ask Sen. Reid what, exactly, he would do about Social Security’s looming fiscal meltdown.”

Jobs programs: “Job creation, government style, is a splashy, photo-op filled, nice-sounding program that makes politicians sound clever and seem proactive. The Boise Valley Economic Partnership is a taxpayer and private money example of the process. They are now four years into this five-year, $5,000,000 government program. The planned $650,000,000 private/taxpayer investment has fallen short of the goal, but only by $530,000,000. The planned 5,000 new jobs has fallen short by 3,194 jobs. But the Boise area did get 1,806 new jobs (… while losing 10,000 — oops). Those new jobs only cost $66,445 each!”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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


Monday, June 14, 2010

Gmail difficulties

In their never-ending attempts to "improve" their services (i.e. stuff their users around), Google seem to be trying to integrate more closely their and Gmail services. Because I divide my use of services into two separate accounts (for security purposes) with different passwords, that leads to a lot of difficulties -- and accessing my gmail a/c has become particularly tricky

Fortunately, I have been phasing out mention of my gmail address on my blogs and just giving my hotmail address. So most people using my gmail address will be ones who have it stored from somewhere in the past. As Google get more and more East German, however, it seems likely that I will lose all access to my gmail address, so if anybody reading this uses my gmail address, I would suggest that they change it forthwith to my hotmail address: I also have a backup address that I check only about once a day: I check my hotmail address many times throughout the day.


Most Israelis are indigenous to the region

WHEN HELEN THOMAS sniped that Israel's Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany, she displayed more than just hostility for the Jewish state. She also revealed her ignorance of basic Israeli demography.

Contrary to the anti-Zionist stereotype, Israel is not primarily a nation of Europeans and their descendants: The largest share of Israel's population is ethnically Middle Eastern and North African. Some Jewish survivors from "Poland and Germany" did find haven in Israel after the Holocaust, but a far greater number of Israeli Jews were refugees from the Arab world.

"Jews In Grave Danger In All Moslem Lands," reported the New York Times in May 1948, "Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia Face Wrath of Their Foes." In the years that followed Israel's creation, ancient Jewish communities in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere were decimated as their inhabitants fled from anti-Semitic violence and terror. Israel absorbed most of those refugees, and they and their descendants -- the Jews indigenous to the region -- became the core of the country's population.



Deafening silence from Left as Iranians protest

Proof that the Left stand for nothing but their own self-interest

IT is surely one of the great paradoxes of this age that while many of our cleverest minds have fallen headlong in love with peoples whose causes are more or less entirely alien to us, we can find no stirring in our hearts for peoples whose greatest hope is to become . . . well, more like us.

Thus we artlessly dispatched our hearts on a sentimental journey to Gaza designed for our benefit by the canny Islamists in Ankara and their bloodstained allies in Gaza; people who, in any other context, would treat our Western soft-heartedness and woolly-mindedness with undisguised contempt.

And yet our hearts have no space whatever for the thousands of young Iranian students who, on Saturday, defied the threats of their government, the beatings of the extra-legal militias, and the pusillanimity of their erstwhile leaders, merely to ask for the right to have their votes treated with dignity, rather than being fabricated out of some dodgy Russian software in Iran's Ministry of the Interior.

To the best of my knowledge, not one single person has died at the hands of Iran's green opposition, even as thousands of their number have been arrested, hundreds sexually and physically tortured in prison, and dozens murdered in loneliness, often in the most squalid and humiliating of circumstances. Their cause has been Gandhian, almost to a fault. ("The students will die, but they will not accept humiliation", they chanted at Tehran University.)

And yet their plight leaves us entirely cold. Who knows: if they strapped bombs to themselves, or professed a secret admiration for the racial policies of the Third Reich, would they then become sufficiently exotic to pique our jaded imaginations, and would we then love them a little more?

Fearless Western journalists, we are told, boarded the Gaza flotilla at hazard to their lives, the better to pen florid descriptions of the predations of the Israeli "hyenas"; sentences that could presumably have been written with equal vigour and no less accuracy from the comfort of their computer terminals.

Yet presently there is not one solitary Western journalist, willing to risk the wrath of the Iranian security forces to file a report from Tehran in the open air. And so the job is left to the Iranians themselves: to the anxious young students whose wavering phone cameras record those fleeting snippets of history, floating like sea-wrack across the YouTube ocean in 15 or 20-second fragments. And to the exiles and expatriates, like the courteous, serious-minded and courageous London Guardian stringer Saeed Kamali Dehghan, who have spirited their way back into the country, at genuine hazard to themselves, before the people whose stories they need to tell have disappeared.

Dehghan' s new documentary For Neda - recorded secretly in Iran, using interviews from the family of the young murdered bystander Neda Soltan - will air on US and British television on the anniversary of Neda's death this Wednesday, no doubt to murmurs of polite interest. Perhaps the most touching aspect of this heartfelt documentary is its portrait of a young woman (not in the least political, at least in the Western intellectual sense of the word) who wanted merely to live her life, true to herself as best she could be, and at peace with the world, much in the same manner as any thoughtful Western teenager.

And yet, even before she was gunned down at random by a twitchy sniper, her efforts to follow her own star had been thwarted by laws which view Western popular music as corrupting, Western casual dress as lascivious, and an uncovered head or arms as the grossest of moral provocations. In the Iranian moral-spiritual imagination Neda has already been adopted as a martyr. And yet our Western hearts seem curiously closed to her. Could this be because she reminds us too much of ourselves?

As well as the Iranian elections, and the death of Neda Soltani, we should perhaps recall a third ill-starred anniversary. It was, after all, just one week before the Iranian elections that US President Barack Obama rose in Cairo to deliver an oration on the relations between the US and the Muslim world: a speech, full of generous sentiments and carefully balanced praise and blame for all parties, which for some weeks made him the darling of the political class all over the world. Who knows: perhaps Obama was being merely naive when he spoke encouragingly of a new and optimistic climate of negotiation with the regime in Tehran, even though we must suspect that this signal aided the regime in its decision to overturn the following week's election result, rather than simply to flee to Syria, as they feared they might have to do....

In one of those stolen phone-camera fragments from Saturday's rally, at Tehran University, one of the demonstrators runs towards the camera. Her bright green hijab has been twisted around to cover her nose and mouth, providing protection from tear gas, and a necessary cloak of anonymity. It's an image whose irony, sad to say, would be lost on President Obama, as well as on some of our otherwise clever souls. In that respect, as in others, those brave young Iranians put us all to shame.

More here


The remote man

Far from having a multicultural awareness, Obama doesn't even know or understand America. All he knows is his little Far-Leftist bubble

So a man swept into office on an unprecedented tide of delirious fawning is now watching his presidency sink in an unstoppable gush. That’s almost too apt.

It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That’s not to say he’s un-American or anti-American, but merely that he’s beyond all that. Way beyond. He’s the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job — that it’s really too small for him and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.

And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, “I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking . . . ” Good grief, what more do you people want? Alas, he’s not a good enough actor to fake it. So the more desperately he butches up the rhetoric — “Plug the damn hole!”; “I know whose ass to kick” — the more pathetically unconvincing it all sounds.

No doubt my observations about Obama’s remoteness from the rhythms of American life will be seen by his dwindling band of beleaguered cheerleaders as just another racist, right-wing attempt to whip up the backwoods knuckle-dragging swamp-dwellers of America by playing on their fears of “the other” — the sophisticated, worldly cosmopolitan for whom France is more than a reliable punchline.

But in fact my complaint is exactly the opposite: Obama’s postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It’s true that he hadn’t seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn’t seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he’s passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn’t depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world.

The U.N., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: these are the colors a progressive, worldly Westerner nails to his mast. You don’t need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.

This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W. Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action — which is frankly beneath them. One thinks of the insistence a few years ago by Louis Michel, then Belgian foreign minister, that the so-called European Rapid Reaction Force “must declare itself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability.” As even the Washington Post drily remarked, “Apparently in Europe this works.”

Apparently. Thus, Barack Obama: He declared himself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability. But, if it works for the EU, why not America? Like many of his background here and there, Obama is engaged mostly by abstractions and generalities. Indeed, he is the very model of a modern major generalist. He has grand plans for “the environment” — all of it, wherever it may be. Why should the great eco-Gulliver be ensnared by some Lilliputian oil spill lapping round his boots?

He flew in to Cairo to give one of the most historically historic speeches in history to the Muslim world. Why should such a colossus lower his visionary gaze to contemplate some no-account nickel-’n’-dime racket like the Iranian nuclear program? With one stroke of his pen, he has transformed the health care of 300 million people. But I suppose if there’s some killer flu epidemic or a cholera outbreak in New Mexico, you losers will be whining at Obama to do something about that, too.

In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so “weird.” But, in fact, he’s not weird. True, he’s not, even in Democratic terms, a political figure — as, say, Clinton or Biden are. Instead, he’s the product of the broader culture: There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When you’ve spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it’s bound to be a disappointment.




Afghanistan: Vast mineral deposits found: "The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials. The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.”

The Prohibition folly repeated: "It is not my purpose in this essay to debate the merits or demerits of drug use, a question that should properly be left to the individual. … Given the number of turf wars, drive-by shootings, corrupted police and other officials, and invasions by police of the wrong address that are closely associated with the War on Drugs, it should be clear by now that drug laws and the attempt to enforce them cause vastly more destruction to individuals and society — and consume much more time, energy, and money — than the drugs in question ever did. We owe the existence and character of the police state which has sprung up all around us largely to government excesses in the name of the War on Drugs.”

Obama’s failures creating new libertarians: "Despite the damage to the nation, President Barack Obama’s failed presidency has accomplished one thing: more people are embracing libertarian values. While no one should confuse the tea party with libertarianism, the populist movement does embrace many libertarian values, such as smaller government, fewer taxes and respect for federalism, the very core values of this nation’s founding.”

A leak in the presidency: "Leave it to my wife to come up with a jewelry metaphor for Barack Obama. Obama is, according to my bride, the political equivalent of cubic zirconia. Usually sold to people who love the look of diamonds but can’t afford a real one or are fooled into buying an imposter, cubic zirconia is superficially pretty and appealing. But when subjected to the scrutiny of an expert or when placed under great pressure, the falseness and weakness compared to the real thing become apparent. The pressure analogy is particularly appropriate given that the source of Barack Obama’s troubles lie a mile under the ocean’s surface, where pressures are about one ton per square inch. The pressure of the situation is causing Obama’s vaunted reputation as ‘competent’ to crack like the false promise it always was.”

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


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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)